Heat Playoff Hopes Doused, But Bright Future Ahead

Heat Playoff Hopes Doused, But Bright Future Ahead

Dion Waiters lead the heat to a 30-11 second half record, but it was not enough to overcome the Heat's weak first half. (Keith Allison/Flickr)
The playoff ambitions of the current version of the Miami Heat came down to the team's final game on the last day of the NBA's regular season, April 12, 2017. Though Miami brought the heat and did its best to do what was needed to beat the Washington Wizards at home that Wednesday night, the team ultimately did not control its own fate.  While beating the Wizards and winning their 41st home game of the season was necessary for them to advance to the playoffs, it was not the only thing they needed to happen. Sitting on pins and needles, they then had to wait for the outcome of two Central Time Zone games later that evening. Ultimately, even though the Heat had won, it just was not enough.  The Heat's flame was extinguished as both the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers eventually won their respective home court games, thus eliminating the Heat from post-season contention. It was a disappointing, anticlimactic ending to what has been described as a rollercoaster season, starting with the Heat's miserable 10-31 (.244) record for the first half of the season. They followed this up with a seemingly miraculous turnaround as the Heat caught fire and earned an astounding 31-10 (.756) record during the second half --including an exciting 13 game winning streak.  Though the Heat finished at .500 (41-41), they were, by all accounts, currently a much better team than their record indicated. Without the services of superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, none of the basketball pundits expected much from this team. No one saw a  run at a playoff spot that would come down to the last game of the regular season.  Miami Heat season ticket holder Benjamin Schwartz '18 remarked, "They completely turned the season around and gave us great hope for the future. Hopefully, they can make a big free-agency signing to complete the team."   Anchored by stars Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside but complemented by a group of young skilled players, the Heat finally coalesced and clicked as a team during the second half of the season. There is speculation that, at the very least, the core of this team will be kept intact to preserve their chemistry with the hope that they will continue to improve and win next season. However, with salary cap constraints, as well as the vagaries of free agency and injuries, no one can be certain about the future of the Heat roster.  Regardless, the Miami Heat certainly has a core of talented players to build around and, therefore, great things are expected from the team next year.  Sources: ESPN, NBC Miami Photo Source: Flickr