Spoelstra on Heat going into play-in tournament: 'This group is ready'

The Miami Heat will face the Philadelphia 76ers in the 7-8 game of the play-in tournament on Wednesday.
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

After back-to-back wins over the Toronto Raptors to finish the regular season, the Miami Heat's focus now turns to postseason basketball with Wednesday's play-in game against the Philadelphia 76ers on deck.

“We’re looking forward to it. It will be a great environment. Philly’s been playing fantastic recently. We know what to expect up there. What we say is, it’s for competitors only,” said head coach Erik Spoelstra. 

There’s a couple of options on the table for the Heat in terms of their playoff fate. If they were to beat the 76ers on the road, they would secure the No. 7 seed and play the New York Knicks in the first round. If they are unable to defeat the 76ers, they would face the winner of the lower seeded Play-In game between the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks. A win against the Bulls or Hawks would have the Heat at No. 8 in the East, primed to play the first seeded Boston Celtics.

“This is the best time of year. These kind of environments, the game, the context, all of that," Spoelstra said. "You can’t expect it to be easy no matter what the scenario may be.” 

There have been questions surrounding the Heat all season. The injuries, the chemistry, the depth. Whether Miami has enough firepower to make another run will soon be determined. It seems like every season, there are doubts surrounding the Heat, but a switch usually gets flipped. Spoelstra turns into a scheming wizard on the hardwood and Jimmy Butler morphs into one of the greatest players to ever touch a basketball. 

While the roster hasn’t fully clicked this late in the season, this is where “Heat Culture” comes into play. There’s a couple of new names in the lineup like Terry Rozier, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Delon Wright and Thomas Bryant. They may be unproven in the playoffs, but they’re fit into a two-way, gritty scheme run by Spoelstra makes them perfect candidates to help Miami in April. 

“I feel good about the group and that’s all I wanted to see these last couple of games," Spoelstra said. "I just wanted to feel it. I know my team, I know the locker room. I can sense this group is ready. That’s all you can ask for.” 

The Heat will tip off against the 76ers at 7:00 pm ET on Wednesday, going head-to-head against the hottest team in the league. Philadelphia is riding an eight-game win streak behind a star-studded duo of Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid. These are two teams that are very familiar with each other, so as Bam Adebayo says,” Let the chips fall where they may.”