Outlining the Heat's potential path to another miracle NBA Finals run

If the Miami Heat are going to repeat as Eastern Conference champions, here's how they'll have to do it.
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics / Maddie Schroeder/GettyImages
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Similar to last season, The Miami Heat are back in the 7-8 play-in game where they ended up making a miraculous run to the NBA Finals. The main difference in this instance is Miami has to go on the road and face a red-hot Philadelphia 76ers team opposed to hosting the Atlanta Hawks.

Given the Heat can flip the script and defeat the 76ers instead of losing the first play-in game as they did last year, Miami can give themselves a better chance to get back to the finals for a second consecutive year, something that hasn't been done since the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 and 2018 led by LeBron James. Here is a possible path the Heat can take and the opponents they can potentially face en route to another finals trip.

Round 1: New York Knicks

Jalen Brunson, Jimmy Butler
New York Knicks v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Although the New York Knicks have established themselves as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference led by the dynamic Jalen Brunson, it would be much more ideal for the Heat to face off against the Knicks in the first round opposed to dealing with the Boston Celtics who have looked head and shoulders above all East teams.

This would be a rematch of the 2023 East Semis where the Heat defeated the Knicks in six games. But in this instance, the Heat would be facing a different version of the Knicks compared to last season. Not only has Jalen Brunson taken a leap that has put him in All-NBA discussions, New York added Donte Divincenzo in the offseason while also adding Bojan Bogdanovic and O.G. Anunoby via trade.

In the games Anunoby played, the Knicks have an impressive 20-3 record and played a big part in the Knicks seizing the second seed despite dealing with injuries such as Julius Randle who was ruled out for the season after separating his shoulder against Miami.

Miami would find themselves in a tough series out the gate against a revamped Knicks squad. But a big key in the series where the Heat would have an advantage is Bam Adebayo against a Knicks frontcourt who is banged up. Adebayo had a strong semifinals last season, and another series where Adebayo is enforcing his will on both ends can be the deciding factor in this potential first round matchup.