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Miami Heat Betting Outlook
Eastern Conference Odds: +635
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +2000
The Heat head into the 2020-21 campaign with essentially the same team that made the surprising run to the 2020 NBA Finals. Coach Erik Spoelstra will again rely on his All-Star duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo to do much of the heavy lifting, but there are also other pieces, including the emerging Tyler Herro, entering his second season in the NBA.
Miami will definitely be in the mix for the top spot in the conference, though this team’s mental toughness won’t be affected if they play more for the postseason, resting players like Butler, Andre Iguodala and Goran Dragic to make sure they’re healthy and rested come playoff time. The team’s defense will be its main attribute again this season, with offense coming in waves as different players get hot.
Heat 2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 51-21
Conference Standing: Third
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Miami Heat Team Leaders
Jimmy Butler brings an attitude to a team with his words and his play, motivating his teammates to play better than they’re used to. Butler also leads by example, as shown by his amazing 35-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist, five-steal effort in Game 5 against the Lakers in the Finals as the Heat staved off elimination. Butler led the Heat in scoring, assists and steals a season ago, and he’ll likely put up those same type of numbers in 2020-21.
On a team that excels at defense, Bam Adebayo stands out. The fourth-year center out of Kentucky stands 6-9, but he plays like a 7-footer, intimidating any opponent that drives into the lane (1.3 blocks in 2019-20). Adebayo is also tenacious on the boards and a solid interior scorer, leading by example with his play and never-back-down attitude that fits the Heat perfectly.
Miami Heat Injuries
Miami Heat Team History
The Miami Heat joined the NBA as an expansion franchise for the 1988-89 season, winning 33 games total in its first two seasons. The arrival of the team’s second head coach, Kevin Loughery, coincided with the team’s first appearance in the playoffs in 1991-92. Loughery had another playoff season but was let go in the middle of his fourth campaign at the helm.
The following year, the Heat made trades to acquire center Alonzo Mourning and guard Tim Hardaway and hired Pat Riley as head coach and team president. The success came immediately, as Miami made the postseason six straight seasons, including a trip to the Eastern Conference finals in 1997.
The team slumped in 2001-02, missing the playoffs, then was out of the postseason again in 2002-03 when Mourning sat out the season with a kidney ailment. Riley moved up to the front office, with Stan Van Gundy taking over as coach. Miami had the No. 5 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and selected guard Dwyane Wade out of Marquette.
The Heat returned to the playoffs under Van Gundy, then acquired center Shaquille O’Neal in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. Miami advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004-05 but lost to the Detroit Pistons.
Van Gundy was let go early in the 2005-06 campaign, and Riley returned as head coach. Miami again met the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals but came out on top this time, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time. Facing the Dallas Mavericks, the Heat fell behind 0-2 in the series before reeling off four straight wins to win the franchise’s first championship, with Wade being named Finals MVP.
The next few years weren’t as successful, with the team being eliminated in the first round in three of the next four seasons, with Riley giving way to Erik Spoelstra as head coach. The team became an instant contender in the summer of 2010 when it signed free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh to form a “super team” with Wade.
The trio had no trouble getting the Heat back to the Finals in their first year together, where they faced the Dallas Mavericks. But this time, it was Dallas coming out on top in six games.
In 2011-12, Miami fought back to the Finals, beating the Boston Celtics in a classic seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals.The Heat faced the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals and rallied to win the team’s second NBA title, with James being named Finals MVP.
The Big Three reached their third NBA Finals in their third season together, taking on the San Antonio Spurs. Down 3-2 in the series, the Heat rallied for an overtime victory in Game 6 before winning the series in seven games, with James again winning Finals MVP.
The teams met in the NBA Finals the following season, but the Spurs dominated, winning in five games. During the 2014 offseason, James decided to opt out of the final year of his contract and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent, leaving Wade and Bosh as the leaders of the team.
Miami dealt with injury troubles the following season and missed the playoffs. Bosh was an All-Star, but after playing in the All-Star Game, he was ruled out for the rest of the season due to blood clots. The Heat returned to the postseason in 2015-16, but Bosh was again sidelined for much of the second half of the season with blood clot problems.
Wade left the team during the 2016 offseason as a free agent, and Bosh was unable to return from his blood clot problems, which eventually forced him to retire. On the court, the team struggled, making the playoffs just once in the three seasons entering the 2019-20 season.
Mourning, O’Neal, Ray Allen and Gary Payton are the four former Miami Heat players that have been enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Riley is also a member of the Hall of Fame for his illustrious coaching career.
The Heat acquired Butler in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the 2019-20 season, giving the team the All-Star leader it had been lacking. The team also saw the emergence of Adebayo into an All-Star in his third NBA season. Miami got off to a fast start, holding a 24-9 record heading into January.
The team slumped a little bit over the next few weeks but had a 41-24 mark when the league had to suspend the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Heat went 3-5 during the final eight regular-season games in the Orlando bubble restart, earning them the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The playoffs were a different story, though, as Miami swept Indiana in the first round, then took down the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. The Heat defeated the Boston Celtics in six games to advance to the NBA Finals, where they met the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were able to defeat the Heat in six games for the NBA title.
Spoelstra enters his 13th season as the head coach of the Miami Heat, having won two NBA titles and appearing in the NBA Finals five times. Spoelstra originally joined the team in 1995 as video coordinator, then moved up to an assistant coach role in 1997. Spoelstra became the team’s head coach when Riley relinquished the role prior to the 2008-09 campaign.
In 12 seasons under Spoelstra, the Heat have won seven division titles and made the postseason nine times. Spoelstra enters the 2020-21 campaign with a record of 567-392 in the regular season and a postseason mark of 85-54, both franchise-best records.
Avery Bradley, guard, Los Angeles Lakers
Maurice Harkless, forward, New York Knicks
Jae Crowder, forward, Phoenix Suns
Derrick Jones Jr., forward, Portland Trail Blazers
Precious Achiuwa, forward, Memphis
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American Airlines Arena
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