This Miami Heat team can’t walk the talk

Danger felt imminent the moment the Miami HEAT was scheduled to face the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in, except nobody would admit it. Well, maybe a few smart and scarred Heat fans.

Pundits across the board placed the Heat as a shoo-in for the seventh seed in the East to face the Boston Celtics.

So, of course, with a playoff berth on the line, Miami succumbed at home to a team they dominated as of late and were supposed to dominate again, because why would you expect what’s been a flabbergasting season to go any different?

The Heat are mid. They’re aight. They’re okay. They’re meh.

Maybe they’re a cute choice to say “oh, maybe these guys can give the Celtics some problems!” although any logical justification of that would have more to do with past performances rather than what has been a recent trend of convincing mediocrity.

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No, “Playoff Jimmy” did not show up, and the argument for a wishful thinking long Heat Playoff run relying solely on one man’s brilliance – and he had been brilliant until today, where he still finished with 21 points on 6-19 shooting as well as nine assists and four rebounds – was incredibly flawed to begin with.

Bam Adebayo was out-played and out-worked by Clint freakin’ Capela, who finished with an absurd 21 rebounds, including 8 on the offensive end. Dare I say that Capela even came in more prepared for the matchup, while Adebayo looked scared?

Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro, a backcourt that struggled to mesh during the regular season, combined for 59 points and the Heat still spent most of the evening trying to rally from a 24-point first half deficit. They were fantastic, but that wasn’t enough.

Deporte, fintech y cripto: ¿Por qué el estadio de Miami Heat deja de llamarse FTX Arena? | Sporting News Spain

Deporte, fintech y cripto: ¿Por qué el estadio de Miami Heat deja de llamarse FTX Arena? | Sporting News Spain

Miami got within 5 in the third, but the Hawks had a response for each of their comeback bids. Most of them were due to second, third, and fourth chance scoring opportunities, as the Hawks decimated the smaller Heat boys to a tune of 63 vs. 39 on the glass.

The Heat repeatedly shot itself on the foot, but some of that was beyond their control. After all, you need size and length to rebound.

Isn’t it ironic how Pat Riley was the one who once said, “no rebounds, no rings”?

Gabe Vincent provided minimal contributions before limping out of the game with a hip injury. Max Strus, Caleb Martin, and Kevin Love were nowhere to be found.

Miami has shown us who they are as a team all season long. As if there were still any doubts, today, they punctuated it.

The Heat isn’t out of the playoff yet. They face the winner of Wednesday’s Chicago Bulls vs Toronto Raptors game on Friday. The Bulls swept the season series against the Heat while the Raptors won 3 of the 4 matchups. Both possess matchup issues for Erik Spoelstra to deal with.

Whether the Heat win or lose is irrelevant to the overall picture of the NBA postseason. That feels sobering because in what’s been a strange and unpredictable ride, having a team with a shot to win the championship is a reason to get up excited every single day.

Miami is not in that chase. :: La arena de Miami Heat cambia de nombre y en lo adelante se llamará "Miami-Dade Arena"

They have a very very very very slight chance to upset a higher seed even if they do enter the NBA Playoffs. The reality is they’re more likely to lose via sweep, whether that’s direct or in gentleman style.

Add the prospect of jumping up from 20 to 14 in the NBA Draft by bowing out of the play-in, and it’s more than fair to wonder if what might be best long-term for Miami is to miss the postseason all together.

Of course, the counter to that will be how Miami’s culture does not entertain the thought of tanking in that building. Nor should that change.

But if we’re being real, the Heat haven’t exactly walked the talk this season.

They said they remain committed to winning a title, but the front office squandered what was a near title-contending roster last season by not adding firepower in free agency or at the trade deadline.

The players expressed how they’d be ready to come out focused against the Hawks only to look lost, discombobulated, and often disinterested as Atlanta beat them on the glass and with quality ball movement.

So they can still try to win Friday and they might, well, probably, still lose.

All season long this 35th campaign in franchise history has felt like a slow dance towards the end.

The end is near and that might not be such a bad thing.

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