2015-16 Recap: A Season of Change
With all the adversity thrown Miami’s way in 2015-16, the team could have folded or succumbed to the pressure. But instead, the HEAT did just the opposite.
2014-15 Season Recap: Points of Hope
The Miami HEAT’s 2014-15 season never seemed to get off on the right foot, but despite missing the playoffs for the first time in six years it’s difficult to see it as much other than a long-term success when you see the puzzle pieces being collected, even if they were never fully assembled.
Even though things started well enough, with wins over Washington, Toronto and Charlotte en-route to a 5-2 start through the first two weeks of the season, the HEAT weren’t complete. Without Josh McRoberts for almost all of training camp, including a trip to Rio de Janeiro for a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, an already remodeled roster had almost no court time with someone who was supposed to be a key cog with his passing and floor spacing.
Still, at the time everything just seemed like a matter of patience. Read More
Hall of Fame: Alonzo Mourning
The Miami HEAT have never played a particularly easy brand of defense. Sprinting. Blitzing. Help. Recovery. Some players just aren’t made to play such a style. But in watching Alonzo Mourning play, you would never know how difficult the system was.
To say Mourning worked hard or that, to borrow a scouting term, had a high motor, is a massive undersell. Mourning worked harder than anyone else on the court, and make it look completely natural. Nothing labored. Nothing forced. Just sheer energy, overwhelming in its consistency. Mourning didn’t appear to be working within Pat Riley’s system – the system was always trying to keep up with Mourning.
2013-14 NBA Finals Recap: HEAT vs. Spurs
The Miami HEAT fell to the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the 2014 NBA Finals. LeBron James averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in the series.
Game 1: HEAT 95 – Spurs 110
The Spurs took the series opener from the HEAT in what will likely be remembered as “The A/C game.” LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each had solid outings, but San Antonio went on a 15-4 run in the fourth quarter to take the lead just before James had to go to the bench with leg cramps. The air conditioning at AT&T Center malfunctioned early on, but that didn’t hinder James’ production as he shot 9-of-17 for 25 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists before missing the final four minutes of regulation.
Wade got to the rim consistently and finished with 19 points. Chris Bosh was very aggressive and finished with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and nine boards. He not only shot 3-of-4 from downtown, but he also took it inside whenever there was a mismatch.
Game 2: HEAT 98 – Spurs 96
LeBron James and Chris Bosh made sure the HEAT wouldn’t head back to Miami down 2-0 in the NBA Finals. James caught fire in the third quarter and his teammates carried over that momentum into the final period. James hit a barrage of mid-range jumpers and threes as he shot 6-of-7 in the third for 14 of his 35 points. He also had 10 rebounds and three assists, none bigger than the one he dished to Bosh near the end of regulation.
James drove into the lane and drew two defenders after Mario Chalmers freed him up with a screen. He then kicked it out to Bosh who nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner to put Miami up 95-93 with 1:18 remaining in the game. As usual, James made the right basketball play and showed his unselfishness.
After that shot, Bosh wasn’t quite finished. Bosh drove in the lane and made an excellent bounce pass to Dwyane Wade which he finished to put Miami up 98-93 with just nine seconds left. It was all part of an 8-3 run down the stretch that led to an impressive road victory for the HEAT.
Game 3: Spurs 111 – HEAT 92
San Antonio came out absolutely on fire in Game 3 and simply couldn’t miss, shooting 75.8 percent in the first half and 70 percent from three. The HEAT contested shots well as the first half progressed, but it was just the Spurs’ night.
The HEAT made a valiant comeback in the third quarter and went on a 10-0 run to cut the Spurs’ lead to 81-74 thanks to Dwyane Wade’s fantastic play. Wade scored 11 of his 22 points in the third and was getting free with cuts off the ball. Rashard Lewis also came up big in Miami’s comeback bid and shot 4-of-5 from downtown.
As usual, LeBron James took it to the rack often in the first quarter before hitting two huge threes to keep the pressure on the Spurs. In all, he shot 9-of-14 for 22 points, dished out seven assists and grabbed five rebounds.
Game 4: Spurs 107 – HEAT 86
The HEAT started out Game 4 with a lot of energy, but also had a number of opportunities. As usual, the Spurs moved the ball very well throughout the game and found the open man. San Antonio’s offense was very methodical and fluid even as the HEAT were rotating quickly and contesting shots.
LeBron James led the charge for Miami and gave it all he had in a 19-point third quarter. He mainly attacked the rim for a majority of the quarter, but started to hit some in-rhythm 3-pointers as it progressed. In all, James shot 10-of-17 for 28 points and also grabbed eight boards.
Game 5: HEAT 87 – Spurs 104
LeBron James put it all on the line in a do-or-die Game 5 and came out with a laser-sharp focus. James made huge plays on both ends and helped lead Miami to a quick 22-6 start. He connected from nearly everywhere on the floor and finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
The HEAT played solid defense on two of San Antonio’s biggest weapons. Tony Parker and Danny Green combined to shoot just 7-of-23 from the field for 16 points. However, Kawhi Leonard stepped up and continued to have a superb series.
Despite the loss, what the HEAT have accomplished must not go unnoticed. Miami won back-to-back NBA Championships and became just the third NBA franchise to make it to four consecutive NBA Finals.Review the Series
Eastern Conference Finals Recap: HEAT vs. Pacers
The Miami HEAT defeated the Indiana Pacers in six games to take their 11th straight postseason series. In winning the Eastern Conference Finals, the HEAT advanced to their fourth straight NBA Finals.
Game 1: HEAT 96 – Pacers 107
Despite solid performances from Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, the HEAT fell to the Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. James took it to the hoop for a majority of the game and attacked Indiana’s defense head on. He shot 11-of-18 from the field for 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists. Wade also got to the rim pretty effectively and had some very nice floaters throughout. He finished with 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting and four assists.
However, a balanced attack from Indiana, led by Paul George’s 24 points, was tough for Miami to overcome. The Pacers started the game 6-of-7 from beyond the arc and finished 8-of-19 from distance. The HEAT did a solid job of contesting shots and closing out as the game wore on, but it was just Indiana’s night.
Game 2: HEAT 87 – Pacers 83
Since LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to Miami, the HEAT had never been down 2-0 in a series. With Miami trailing in the fourth quarter of Game 2, Dwyane Wade and James made sure that they would return to Miami tied at one game apiece. Wade and James led the charge on a late 10-0 run and scored 22 of the HEAT’s 25 points in the fourth quarter. Wade shot 10-of-16 for 23 points, with plenty of tough finishes inside. James started off a bit slow, but picked it up in the second half. James shot 9-of-18 for 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists.
Norris Cole stepped up on both ends and made an impact in Game 2. Cole guarded Lance Stephenson in the fourth quarter and was aggressive yet smart on the offensive end. He finished with 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting, two assists and no turnovers.
The HEAT’s defense wasn’t perfect for all of Game 2, but Miami got stops when it needed them. After a lapse in the third quarter, the HEAT clamped down defensively in the fourth which was ultimately the reason why they won. Thanks to the combined efforts of Ray Allen, James and Wade, Paul George struggled and shot just 4-of-16 for 14 points.
Game 3: Pacers 87 – HEAT 99
After the HEAT picked it up on the defensive end to finally take the lead in the third quarter of Game 3, they needed some scoring in the fourth quarter to put it away. And that is exactly what they got from Ray Allen. The HEAT went on a 21-8 run to go up 97-82 with 2:50 left in the game mostly due to Allen’s torrid shooting. Allen couldn’t miss and LeBron James did a great job of setting him up. Allen scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and made all four of his three-point attempts.
Miami was very aggressive on the defensive end as well, collapsing and rotating on time to make everything difficult for Indiana. James and Dwyane Wade combined for seven steals and Miami as whole forced Indiana to commit 19 turnovers. In turn, the HEAT scored 26 points off those turnovers and made the Pacers pay. James led the way for the HEAT with 26 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Wade added 23 points on an efficient 9-of-16 from the field.
Game 4: Pacers 90 – HEAT 102
Even though the HEAT were up 2-1 in the series, a lot of talk leading up to Game 4 was about Miami’s slow starts to games and the play of Chris Bosh. That was no longer the topic of discussion once Game 4 concluded.
Bosh connected on his first three shots and was the catalyst on a quick 10-2 start for Miami. He got to his comfort zones early and as a result, shot 7-of-12 for 25 points. Bosh was very aggressive and it made a difference. LeBron James also had a fantastic game, scoring 32 points on 13-of-21 shooting.
Once again on the defensive end, Miami stifled Indiana. The Pacers had no answer for the HEAT’s defensive pressure in the second half, most notably in a 14-7 run late in the third quarter that put Miami up double-digits.
Game 5: HEAT 90 – Pacers 93
LeBron James found himself in foul trouble early on in Game 5, so his teammates answered the call. Dwyane Wade shot 7-of-14 for 18 points and led the charge on a late run in the fourth quarter. Wade hit two timely 3-pointers in the final period to try and get the HEAT back in the game. Rashard Lewis continued to play solid defense on David West and found the range from downtown, sinking six 3-pointers for 18 points.
However, James only played 24 minutes and didn’t have much rhythm when he came back into the game in the fourth quarter. Still, Miami had a chance to win it at the end. Chris Bosh had a great look from three which would have put the HEAT up one with two seconds left. In a game where Paul George scored 37 points and James barely played, that is all you can ask for.
Game 6: Pacers 92 – HEAT 117
The final game of the Eastern Conference Finals was all about the HEAT playing at their best. LeBron James imposed his will to start Game 6 and never looked back. James shot 8-of-12 for 25 points, dished out six assists and grabbed four rebounds.
Chris Bosh also had a solid outing, scoring 25 points, grabbing eight boards and swatting two shots. He kept David West on his toes and mixed it up on the offensive end.
The HEAT used a 30-16 run at the end of the first half to effectively seal the Pacers’ fate and their season for the third-consecutive year. Review the Series
Eastern Conference Semi-Finals Recap: HEAT vs. Nets
The Miami HEAT took care of the Brooklyn Nets in five games to advance to their fourth straight Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron James led the HEAT with 30 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game in the series.
Game 1: Nets 86 – HEAT 107
All the talk before Game 1 was predicated around how the HEAT were winless against the Nets during the regular season. LeBron James made all that irrelevant with his play against the Nets to open the Eastern Conference Semifinals. James led the way with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting, five rebounds and three assists. He was very patient in the post with Shaun Livingston on him and took his time to either wait for cutters or just barrel to the rim himself. Aiding in the cause, both Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers came up big for the HEAT, combining for 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Allen did some damage with the second unit and was the catalyst behind a 12-4 HEAT run to open the second quarter. Chalmers had aggressive drives to the hoop and made crisp passes inside to set up his teammates. As a whole, Miami took it to the hoop all game and Brooklyn had no answer. The HEAT scored 52 points in the paint compared to just 28 for the Nets. On the other side of the ball, Miami held Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to just 3-of-10 shooting for eight points.
Game 2: Nets 82 – HEAT 94
Sensing they had to take one in Miami to have a shot, the Nets started Game 2 very well and had a one-point lead at halftime. Then Ray Allen checked back in with 4:28 left in the third quarter and changed the complexion of the game. Behind Allen’s instant offense, the HEAT went on a 22-13 run to go up 77-71 with 8:54 to go in the game. Allen scored 10 of Miami’s last 14 points in the third quarter and brought a much needed jolt of energy. In all, Allen shot 5-of-8 for 13 points, including 3-of-5 from downtown, and also grabbed eight rebounds. The HEAT had a possession late in the fourth quarter that lasted more than a minute thanks to three offensive rebounds. Of course, Allen was a part of the action and Mario Chalmers made a great hustle play as well to keep the possession alive. It ended on a layup from LeBron James that put Miami up 10 with 1:59 left, thus sealing the game for the HEAT. James finished with 22 points, on 50 percent shooting, four rebounds and three assists.
Game 3: HEAT 90 – Nets 104
LeBron James started Game 3 on fire, shooting 6-of-7 for 16 points in the first quarter. James relentlessly attacked the rim and did his best to get the home crowd out of the game. He wound up with 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Unfortunately, James’ hot start wasn’t enough to stop the Nets. Led by Joe Johnson and Mirza Teletovic, Brooklyn shot 15-of-25 from downtown despite solid defense from the HEAT. Miami continued to claw and fight its way back into the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough.
Game 4: HEAT 102 – Nets 96
Coming off a loss in Game 3, Miami did what it usually does after a loss in the postseason. Win. No one was more instrumental in the victory than LeBron James. James relentlessly attacked the rim, took smart 3-pointers when they were available and nailed tough mid-range jumpers with relative ease. He tied his playoff career-high with 49 points and shot an efficient 16-of-24 from the field because nothing was forced. The HEAT closed the game on a 10-4 run and held the Nets without a field goal for more than four minutes. Chris Bosh hit a clutch 3-pointer that put Miami up 97-94 with 57 seconds left. Bosh shot 5-of-9 for 12 points, grabbed five boards and blocked three shots. Dwyane Wade finished the game with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Game 5: Nets 94 – HEAT 96
Thanks to great defensive pressure, Miami closed Game 5 on a 13-3 run to seal Brooklyn’s fate and end its season. On the last play of the game, LeBron James and Ray Allen brought the intensity to Joe Johnson and made sure he couldn’t even get a shot off as time expired. The play prompted James to head to the broadcaster’s table and celebrate with the fans. James finished with 29 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Previously, things were looking bleak for the HEAT, down eight with 4:48 remaining in the game. But from there, Miami held Brooklyn to 0-of-8 shooting and zero points until Johnson made a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. The HEAT swarmed to the ball, furiously rotated and contested nearly every shot the Nets took down the stretch. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh played very well throughout the game to keep the HEAT in it. Bosh hit timely 3-pointers and finished with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Wade was absolutely on fire in the first half, scoring 20 of his 28 points before halftime. He made quick, smart decisions with the ball and was locked-in all game. Championship-level teams find ways to win tough games and the HEAT did just that in Game 5.Review the Series
Eastern Conference First Round Recap: HEAT vs. Bobcats
The Miami HEAT swept their first-round playoff series with the Charlotte Bobcats, making them the only team to do so in the 2014 postseason. It was Miami’s second first-round sweep in a row after doing so against the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2013 playoffs.
Game 1: Bobcats 88 – HEAT 99
In Game 1, Miami used a 15-5 run in the fourth quarter to take control and go up by 20 points. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade performed very well in the playoff opener. James scored 27 points and nailed four 3-pointers. Wade shot 10-of-16 for 23 points and did a lot of damage with the mid-range jumper. Norris Cole and James Jones also made solid contributions off the bench. In addition, the HEAT forced the Bobcats to commit 15 turnovers and scored 20 points off them. That would become a common theme as the series wore on. Al Jefferson tore his left plantar fascia in the first quarter, an injury that would visibly hinder him for the remainder of the series.
Game 2: Bobcats 97 – HEAT 101
In Game 2, the HEAT earned a hard-fought victory over the scrappy Bobcats in the final seconds. LeBron James hit two clutch free throws with 10 seconds left to give Miami a three point lead after Kemba Walker hit a 3-pointer on the other end. On the ensuing possession, Dwyane Wade ripped the ball from Chris Douglas-Roberts in the left corner to make sure Charlotte didn’t get a shot off. James finished with 32 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Chris Bosh had perhaps his best game of the series, shooting 8-of-11 from the field for 20 points, including 4-of-5 from downtown as he often got the ball in his comfort zones. Miami set the tone from the start and made the Bobcats fight from behind the entire game. As in Game 1, the Bobcats committed 15 turnovers but this time the HEAT scored 22 points off them.
Game 3: HEAT 98 – Bobcats 85
In front of his home crowd, Al Jefferson had one last run in him. Jefferson put on a valiant effort in Game 3 despite the pain from his plantar fascia injury. He shot 7-of-9 for 15 points in the first quarter and just had everything going no matter what the HEAT did defensively. From spin moves in the post to 18-foot jumpers, Jefferson was initially tough to stop. However, the HEAT responded and held him to just 1-of-4 shooting the rest of the way and took over the game. Miami went on two huge runs in succession thanks to the way it shared the ball. The HEAT had 26 assists on 36 made field goals and only turned over the ball six times. A 21-6 run to close the first half and a 21-7 run to open the second half put the HEAT up 79-53 with just a shade under four minutes to go in the third quarter. LeBron James led the HEAT with 30 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, but everyone contributed in the victory. Seven players scored eight or more points for Miami.
Game 4: HEAT 109 – Bobcats 98
After LeBron James took an inadvertent knee to the thigh from Bismack Biyombo in the third quarter, it was lights out. James scored 18 points after the tumble and finished the game with 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting. As in Game 1, Norris Cole and James Jones again made their presence felt. Jones spaced the floor and answered many of Kemba Walker’s 3-pointers as the game progressed. Jones finished 3-of-6 from downtown and scored nine points. Norris Cole hit a 3-pointer from the corner to close the third quarter and put the HEAT up 84-71. He scored five of his 13 in the fourth and also had some very aggressive drives to the hoop. Charlotte, led by Walker’s 29 points, fought back and got within seven points late in the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh, who finished with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, finally shut the door on the Bobcats with two clutch shots from the wing. Review the Series