1988/89: Miami who once played home to an ABA team known as the Floridians, got its first NBA team in 1988 as the Heat were the first of two teams heading to the Sunshine state in a four team expansion over two years. The expansion Heat would not find much help in the expansion draft but in the entry draft the Heat were able to select Syracuse star center Rony Seikaly. The Heat would make their debut on November 5th losing to the Los Angeles Clippers 111-91 at the Miami Arena. Miami fans would have to wait a while for the Heats first win as they got off to an ice cold start losing an NBA record 17 games to their inaugural season. Finally on December 14th the Heat got their first win beating the Clippers in LA 89-88. The Heat would get their first home win five games later when they beat the Utah Jazz 101-80. The Heat would go on to finish their first season with a terrible 15-67 record, as their leading scorer Kevin Edwards managed just 13.8 ppg.
1989/90: The Heat had a productive draft selecting both Michigan star Glenn Rice and Syracuse Sherman Douglas, but still suffered the pains of an expansion team finishing in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with an 18-64 record. Providing a glimmer of hope would be Ronny Seikaly who was named NBA’s Most Improved Player while leading the Heat in scoring with 16.6 ppg.
1990/91: Sherman Douglas, Glen Rice, and Ronny Seikaly all have solid seasons as the Heat continue to show improvement despite finishing in last place with a 24-58 record.
1991/92: Under new Coach Kevin Loughery the Heat would get their first taste of success snuck into the playoffs on the final day of the season by finishing in fourth place with a 38-44 record. The Heat were extra tough at home as the posted an impressive 28-13 record at Miami Arena, as Glen Rice leads the way with 22.3 ppg. In the playoffs the Heat would be overwhelmed by the Chicago Bulls who were on the way to a second straight NBA Championship losing in three straight games.
1992/93: The Heat would get off to a sluggish start as they are bitten by the injury bug with Steve Smith missing the first 34 games of the season. By mid-January the Heat were stuck at 13-27, as their playoff hopes were slim at best. When Rice returned the Heat would get hot posting winning months in February and March. However, it was too late to make it back to the playoffs as the Heat finished in fifth place with a record of 36-46.
1993/94: Led by the scoring of Glen Rice, the shooting of Steve Smith, and the rebounding of Ronny Seikaly the Heat continued to improve posting their first ever winning season as they finished in fourth place with a 42-40 record, to edge out the Charlotte Hornets by one game for the final playoff spot. In the playoffs the Heat would throw a scare into the top seeded Atlanta Hawks as they grabbed a 2-1 series lead. However, the Hawks would bounce back to win the next two games and take the series in five games.
1994/95: The Heat would suffer a major setback in a year of change, as they finished in fourth place with a disappointing record of 32-50. During the season the Heat would trade away Ronny Seikaly, Steve Smith, and Grant Long while acquiring Billy Owens and Kevin Willis, as the team decided to retool. Following the season the Heat would make another major move by hiring Coach Pat Riley away from the New York Knicks. To lure Riley away from New York the Heat would give Riley total power in personal decisions, while giving him part ownership of the team.
1995/96: Under Pat Riley the restructuring of the Heat would continue as they acquired Alonzo Mourning, Pete Myers, and LeRon Ellis from the Charlotte Hornets on the day before the start of the season for Glen Rice, Matt Geiger and Khalid Reeves. Mourning would become an imposing presence in the middle as the Heat got off to a fast start winning 11 of their first 14 games. However over the next two months the Heat would struggle winning just nine of their next 32 games. However, Pat Riley would jump start the Heat by making another three big deals at the trading deadline acquiring Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatling, Walt Williams, Tyrone Corbin and Tony Smith. With an almost completely different roster that started training camp the Heat would get hot at the end of the season and would sneak into the playoffs by beating out the Charlotte Hornets by one game for the final playoff spot with a record of 42-40. In the playoffs the Heat would provide no challenge, as they are swept in three straight games losing by double digits in each game to the Chicago Bulls who set an NBA record with 72 wins in the regular season.
1996/97: Tim Hardaway had a career season hitting several clutch shots while leading the Heat in scoring with 20.3 ppg. Meanwhile Alonzo Mourning and P.J. Brown provided the strong defense that had become the trademark of Pat Riley coached teams. Adding the final touch was a group of role players led by Isaac Austin would be named Most Improved Player as the Heat won their first division title with a solid 61-21 record. In the playoffs the Heat would get off to a fast start winning the first two games against the Orlando Magic at the Miami Arena. However, as the Sunshine State showdown shifted to Orlando the Heat would go cold losing both as they were pushed to a fifth game. The Heat would bounce back to win Game 5 at home 91-83. In the second round the Heat were matched up against Pat Riley’s former team the New York Knicks. Through the first four games the Knicks were dominating the Heat taking a 3-1 series lead. The Heat had successfully staved off elimination in Game 5 leading late, when P.J. Brown got into a fight with Charlie Ward that changed the entire series. While the Knicks players came off the bench, earning an automatic suspension the Heat stayed put as the discipline of Coach Riley had gotten the best of his former team. The Heat would go on to beat the undermanned Knicks in seven games establishing one of the most heated rivalries in the NBA in the process. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals the Heat would be cooled off as they are beaten by the Chicago Bulls in five games.
1997/98: Despite losing Alonzo Mourning for the first 22 games to off season knee surgery the Heat would continue to play solid basketball as backup Center Isaac Austin played string coming off the bench. Mourning would eventually return as Austin is traded at midseason to the Los Angeles Clippers Brent Barry, as the Heat feared they would lose him to free agency following the season. The Heat would go on to cruise to their second straight Atlantic Division title with a solid 55-27 record. In the playoffs the Heat would face the New York Knicks in another hard fought war in the first round. However, the tables would be turned on the Heat as Alonzo Mourning was suspended for Game 5 after fighting with Larry Johnson, a former teammate with the Charlotte Hornets now playing for the Knicks. The fight would attract national attention when Knicks Coach Jeff Van Gundy ended up riding Mourning’s leg while trying to break up the fight. Despite hosting Game 5 at the Miami Arena the Heat would be extinguished by the Knicks 98-81.
1998/99: Alonzo Mourning would have a career year in a season cut short by lockout as he led the Heat to a 3rd straight Division Title while, winning Defensive player of the Year honors, and finishing second in MVP voting with 20.1 ppg and 11.0 rebounds per game. The Heat entered the playoffs with the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 33-17 as they faced the New York Knicks again. Once again, the Heat and Knicks battled back and forth going to a decisive fifth game. Game 5 would be a defensive struggle as the Knicks and Heat carbon copies of each other would not give an inch. Up 77-76 with five seconds left the Heat appeared to be on their way to the second round. However, hearts across South Florida would end up being broken as Alan Houston won the game with a running one-hander with 0.8 left on the clock to give the Knicks a dramatic 78-77 victory as the Heat became only the second top seed to be planted in the first round.
1999/00: The Heat would begin the new Millennium with a new arena, as they opened the America Airlines Arena with a 111-103 win over the Orlando Magic on January 2nd. In their new home the Heat would continue to play strong defensive basketball as Alonzo Mourning won his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award leading the Heat to a fourth straight division title with a solid 52-30 record. In the playoffs the Heat would get off to a fast start as they swept the Detroit Pistons in three straight games to set up another showdown with the New York Knicks. The Heat would jump out to a 3-2 series lead. However, once again their season would end in heartbreak as the Knicks won Game 6 by two points then beat the Heat 83-82 at the American Airlines Arena in Game 7.
2000/01: The Heat were dealt a major blow before the season even started as Alonzo Mourning with the kidney disorder focal glomerulosclerosis after returning home from the 2000 Sydney Olympics with a gold medal. Pat Riley would reach a milestone, as he became just the second coach to win 1,000 games as the Heat beat the Orlando Magic on opening night 105-79. Riley would do perhaps his best coaching job as the Heat continued to play strong basketball posting a 42-27 record, before Alonzo Mourning returned for the stretch run and playoffs, as the Heat went on to finish in second place with a solid 50-32 record. However, in the playoffs the Heat would become ice cold, as they are blown out by the Charlotte Hornets in three straight games.
2001/02: The Heat brought in veteran free agents Rod Strickland, LaPhonso Ellis and Kendall Gill to support stars Eddie Jones and Brian Grant, while trading away Tim Hardaway. The return of Alonzo Mourning would give the Heat an air of optimism. However, Mourning was not able to play up to the same level before getting sick as the Heat’s new addition didn’t click. The Heat would go on to miss the playoffs for the first time in seven years with a disappointing 36-46 record. It would also be the very first time in Pat Riley’s coaching career that he failed to get his team into the playoffs.
2002/03: With the continued effects of his kidney ailment Alonzo Mourning is forced to sit out the entire season. Without their big man in the middle the Heat endure one of the most frustrating seasons in franchise history, as their normally cool and collected coach, Pat Riley is fined several times for lashing out at referees following games, as the Heat finish in last place with an awful record of 25-57. Providing the only reason to cheer is Caron Butler who is named to the All-Rookie team with a solid 15.4 ppg. Although he was cleared to play medically Alonzo Mourning chose to start anew and signed a Free Agent deal with the New Jersey Nets following the season.
2003/04: Prior to the start of the season the Heat were stunned when Coach Pat Riley decided to move into the front office letting longtime assistant Stan Van Gundy took over on the bench. However the Van Gundy era did not get off to a good start as the Heat dropped their first seven games on the way to an awful 5-15 start. Quietly the Heat began to play better as Rookie Dwyane Wade began to get used to the NBA game. After not sinking any further over the next three months the Heat who were in the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference caught fire, posting a 12-3 record in March to climb within one game of .500. The Heat continue playing well in April as they won five of seven games to finish in second place with a record of 42-40, which was good enough to earn them home court in the first round. Helping to guide them down the stretch was a 12 game home winning streak to close the season. Facing the New Orleans Hornets in the first round the Heat got the early jump in the series thanks to getting the fourth seed and the first two games at home winning both. However, as the series moved to the Bayou the Heat turned cold losing both games. The Heat would rebound to win Game 5 at home only to lose Game 6 on the road as the home team continued to win each game. With Game 7 in Miami the Heat continued their winning streak on their own floor beating the Hornets 85-77 to advance to the 2nd Round. In the second Round the Heat faced the Indiana Pacers and appeared to be on the way to a quick exit as they lost the first two games on the road by double digits. However, coming home re-energized the Heat as even the Pacers who posted the best record in the NBA were burnt at American Airlines Arena as the Heat won Game 3 and Games 4 to even the series. After losing Game 5 in Indiana, the Heat had a chance to force Game 7 by winning at home again. However the Heat would run out of gas 73-70 as the Heat took the series in 6 games. Following the season the Heat would stun the world when they acquired Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers in a blockbuster deal for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant, as the Heat who entered the season as a franchise on life support became one of the NBA’s top franchises in less than a year.
2004/05: The addition of Shaquille O’Neal immediately elevated the Heat to elite status in the NBA. However, the biggest effect came to the game of Dwyane Wade who established himself as one of the NBA up and coming young stars league the team in scoring with 24.1 ppg. Wade would lead the Heat in scoring each of their first four games, in which they won all on the way to a solid 10-6 November. The Heat would be even stronger in December as the won 14 of 15 games on the way to dominating the Southeast Division and finishing with the top seed despite missing Shaquille O’Neal most of the final month with a thigh injury. During O’Neal absence the Heat were not without a solid center as they reacquired Alonzo Mourning after he had refused to play for the Toronto Raptors and was brought out of his contract. In the playoffs Shaq returned and the Heat stayed red hot easily knocking off the New Jersey Nets in four straight games. In the second Round it was more of the same as the Heat swept their way past the Washington Wizards with Dwayne Wade stealing the show by scoring over 30 in each of the last three games. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Heat would face the defending Champion Detroit Pistons. The Heat would learn right away this would not be a walk over as they were beaten at home in Game 1. The Heat would rebound to win Game 2 behind Wade who scored 40 points and Game 3 as Wade led the way again with 36. After losing Game 4 the Heat took a 3-2 series lead as Shaquille O’Neal led the way in an 88-76 win. However it would prove to be costly as Dwayne Wade suffered a rib injury. Without Wade the Heat would lose Game 6 in Detroit 91-66. Wade would return for Game 7 in Miami, but he would not be 100% as the Heat losing 88-82.
2005/06: After their heartbreaking Game 7 loss the Heat looked to add balance by adding outside shooting with Antoine Walkers, while adding play making point guards Jason Williams and Gary Payton. However, early in the season the team did not gel as they got off to a mediocre 11-10 start. On December 12th Coach Stan Van Gundy suddenly resigned as Pat Riley came from the front office to run the team he had built. Riley had hinted earlier he wanted to coach the team, but insisted he had nothing to do with Van Gundy stepping down. Under Riley the Heat began to play better as they closed December strong. In January the Heat began to play considerably better rolling off to a 10-5 record, as they played their strongest basketball in February and March to lock up their second straight division title. Despite a terrible April in which the Heat appeared disinterested at times while winning just four of 11 games they would still post a solid 52-30 record. In the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls the Heat got off to a strong start winning the first two games at home. However, some of their struggles reappeared as they lost two straight in Chicago and were tied after four games. With Dwyane Wade suffering a bruised rib and coming back to score game-high 28 points the Heat regained control of the series with a 92-78 win as they went on to win the series in six games. In the second round against the New Jersey Nets the Heat would take a huge blow on the chin in Game 1 trailing 38-21 at the end of 1 period as the Nets took the opener in Miami 100-88. Game 2 would be a polar opposite as the Heat jumped out to a big lead and never looked back on the way to evening the series with a 111-89 win. The Heat would carry the momentum on the road with them as they won both games in the Meadowlands to take a 3-1 series lead, as they went on to win the series in five games to set up a rematch with the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. Taking advantage of a Pistons team that battled through a seven game war the rested Heat got off to a solid start winning Game 1 on the road 91-86. After losing Game 2, the series shifted to Miami, as Dwyane Wade took over scoring 35 points in a 98-83 win in Game 3 and 31 in an 89-78 win in Game 4 as the Heat took a 3-1 series lead. The Pistons would not go down without a fight as they beat the Heat by 17 in Game 5. The loss would only sting temporally as it allowed the Heat to come home for a celebration as Shaquille O’Neal had perhaps his best game of the playoffs scoring 28 points while pulling down 16 rebounds, as the Heat won 95-78 to clinch their first ever trip to the NBA Finals.
2006 NBA Finals: In the NBA Finals there was something special in the air, as the Heat faced the Dallas Mavericks in a matchup of two teams that had never been to the Finals. The Finals would not start well for the Heat as they dropped the first two games in Dallas, with everyone playing poorly. In Game 3 as the series shifted to Miami the Heat continued to struggle, as they trailed by 13 points with just six minutes to play. No team in NBA history had ever rallied from down 0-3 in the playoffs, so the Heat’s season was on the brink that warm June night in Miami, when suddenly Dwayne Wade found his shot and led the Heat on an improbable comeback, as Wade scored 42 points as the Heat won the game 98-96. Wade stayed red hot in Game 4 as the Heat evened the series at two games apiece with a 98-74 win. Game 5 would be another key game for the Heat as the final two games were set to be played in Dallas, and the winner of the game would be one game away from a championship. Game 5 would also be the best game of the series as the Heat and Mavericks battled into overtime with neither side giving an inch. Down 100-99 with two seconds left the game was in the hands of Dwayne Wade who was strong again, dribbling free Wade was fouled by Dirk Nowitzki with 1.9 seconds left in Overtime, calmly and coolly Wade hit both free throws to give the Heat a 101-100 win. Game 6 back in Dallas saw the Heat fall behind early as the Mavericks scored 30 points in the first quarter. However, the Heat withstood the early and bounced back nicely to take a lead at halftime. From there the game would go back and forth as Wade continued to be the best player on the court with a game high 36 points, while the Heat defense led by the old veteran Alonzo Mourning blocked ten shots, as the Heat won the game 95-92 to bring the NBA Championship to Miami. Dwyane Wade would be named NBA Finals MVP, and would later go on to earn Sportsmen of the Year from Sports Illustrated for his playoff heroics.
2006/07: Coming off their first NBA Championship, the Heat started the season ice cold, as the Chicago Bulls spoiled the opening night ceremonies highlighted by the raising of the championship banner, by blitzing the Heat 108-66, handing the defending champs the worst loss to start a season after winning a NBA Finals. Shaquille O’Neal started the season with a sore knee, that would land him on the injured list missing 30 games as the Heat struggled early in the season, entering the New Year with a sub .500 record of 13-17. Throughout the first half it seemed as if the Heat were still feeling the bruises of the NBA Playoffs, as Dwyane Wade missed a few games with a wrist injury while James Posey and Antoine Walker were deactivated for showing up to training camp out of shape. The sluggish start took its toll on Pat Riley who took a brief leave of absence from the Heat’s bench to deal with knee and hip problems. While Riley rested the Heat turned to their past, with Ron Rothstein, their original coach running the team. Under Rothstein the Heat improved as Posey and Walker were reinstated, while Eddie Jones was re-signed after being released by the Memphis Grizzlies. Also helping the Heat’s resurgence was the return of Shaq. By the time Pat Riley returned the Heat were surging as they climbed back to .500. However, on the day Riley returned the Heat took another hit as Dwyane Wade dislocated his left shoulder and had to leave in a wheelchair during a 112-102 loss to the Houston Rockets. Shortly after the injury, Wade announced that he would opt for rehabilitation instead of surgery, with the hope of returning to the lineup for the playoffs. In Wade’s absence, Shaquille O’Neal stepped up his play leading the Heat to a nine game winning streak as they surged back to the top of the Southeast Division. The Heat would go on to win the division with a record of 44-38, as Dwyane Wade returned to play in the playoffs. However, it was clear Wade was not 100%, as the Heat forced to start the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls on the road found themselves in a quick hole losing the first two games. As the series shifted to Miami things did not improve as the Heat continued to struggle losing 104-96 in Game 3, as the Bulls went on to complete the sweep. Marking the first time in 50 years that a defending champion was swept in the first round.
2007/08: The Miami Heat celebrated their 20th Anniversary, little did they know, they would equal the struggles of their first year team in 1988/89 when they posted a 15-67 record after losing their first 17 games ever played. How did a team that won the NBA title just two years earlier, disintegrate so fast? It started off at the start of the season when Heat lost their first five games and eight of their first nine. Behind the struggles was Dwyane Wade who was still feeling the effects of his shoulder injury, while age began to catch up with Shaquille O’Neal, who at time appeared to be a shell of his former self. With the two key leaders playing poorly, and a mediocre supporting cast, the Heat were no longer contenders, as they ended November with a 4-11 record. The struggles continued into December, as a knee injury brought an end to Alonzo Mourning’s season, and likely his career, as the former All-Star too no longer seemed to have any spark in his game. As the New Year began things only got worse as the Heat were in the middle of a 15-game losing streak, which buried them in the bottom of the NBA, as Shaq was traded to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks on February 5th. As the season wound down and the losses mounted Coach Pat Riley, put on his Team President hat and attended the NCAA Tournament to scout for talent for the upcoming draft. One embarrassing game saw the Heat loss to the Toronto Raptors 96-54 the third lowest score in the shot clock era. When it was all said and done the Heat had gone from first to worst in just two years, as their 15-67 was the worst in the NBA. Following the season Riley, would leave the bench again turning the coaching reigns over to Erik Spoelstra. After their lousy season the Heat landed the number two overall pick which they used to pick Kansas State Forward Michael Beasley, while a draft day trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves saw them land Mario Chalmers, who was the hero in NCAA Championship Game for Kansas.
2008/09: Coming off a disastrous 15-67 season the Heat looked to recover under new Coach Erik Spoelstra, as Pat Riley returned to the front office. The key for the Hear would be Dwyane Wade as they looked for their star to recover from a season of injuries. After a mediocre November, the Heat showed some positive signs in December, as they entered the New Year with a 17-13 record, already assuring themselves of a better season, as rookies Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley contributed right away, as Dwyane Wade showed ill-effect of the injuries that hampered him in the previous season. On February 13th hoping to improve the team in the low post, the Heat traded Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Toronto Raptors for center Jermaine O’Neal and forward Jamario Moon. The Heat would go on to finish in third place with a 43-39 record, becoming the first team in 40 years from 15 wins to the playoffs in one year. In the playoffs the Heat faced the division rival Atlanta Hawks. After getting off to a rocky start with a 90-64 loss in Game 1, the Heat came home with the series even as Dwyane Wade scored 33 points to lead the Heat to 108-93 win in Game 2. Wade was strong again in Game 3 leading the team in points and assists as the Heat seized control of the series with a 107-78 win. However, the Hawks would rally to take the next two games, putting the Heat on the brink. Dwyane Wade would once again prove to be the hero in Game 6 scoring 41 points as the Heat evened the series with a 98-72 win to force a seventh game. In Game 7 Dwyane Wade had another big game scoring 31 point, but it would not be enough as the Hawks eliminated the Heat with a 91-78 win.
2009/10: After getting back in the playoffs the Heat hoped they could get back among the Eastern Conference contenders, though their future was their biggest concern as All-Star Dwyane Wade who was going to be a Free Agent at the end of the season. To keep Wade in Miami they knew it would take more than just money, as the Heat had to demonstrate they could contend as well, especially with rumors that Wade wanted to pair up with LeBron James. The Heat got off to a strong start, winning seven of their first nine games. However, they started to show some flaws as they dropped three straight games. Mediocre play would become the hallmark of the Heat for the next three months as they hovered around .500. As February began the Heat slipped under .500, losing five games in a row to sit at 24-27. The Heat would rebound to win five in a row, but again followed it up with a four game losing streak, which included an embarrassing 91-88 loss at home to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves. As March began the Heat started to play better, winning six of seven. After a brief two game losing streak the Heat continued their strong play down the stretch, winning 12 of their last 13 games to finish the season with a 47-35 record. In the playoffs the Heat faced the Boston Celtics and started off slow, losing the first two games on the road. Needing a win as the series shifted to Miami, the Heat got a big performance from Dwyane Wade who scored a game high 34 points, but it was not enough as the Celtics took a 3-0 series lead as Paul Pierce nailed a buzzer beater to win the game 100-98. In Game 4, Wade again put up a big performance scoring 46 points as the Heat avoided the sweep with a 101-92 win. However, the Celtics would end the series with a 96-86 win in Game 5. From there the Heat would play the waiting game as they hoped to keep Dwyane Wade in Miami. Not only would the Heat sign Wade, they would pull of the coup of the off-season; getting Wade to take less than a max deal to make room for both Chris Bosh and two time MVP LeBron James to join him South Beach.
2010/11: With the signing of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James the Miami Heat instantly became the biggest story in the NBA. A day after LeBron James announced he was taking his talent to South Beach, the Heat held a rally where they introduced their three big stars, as LeBron James claimed he would win seven rings. The big three made their debut in Boston, as the Heat opened the season against the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Celtics on October 26th. The Celtics defense proved too tough for the Heat who were having trouble getting into a rhythm, winning 88-80. After a 97-87 win against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat faced the Orlando Magic in their home opener, winning 96-70 as Dwyane Wade led the way with 26 points. However, early in the season the big three failed to mesh on the court, as the Heat struggled in November, with a 7-7 mark. Heading into LeBron James return to Cleveland the Heat were on a three game winning streak, with a record of 11-8. Through 19 games LeBron James seemed tight at times, but upon returning to Cleveland where extra security was on hand to protect the two time MVP from a hostile crowd, James finally played the type of basketball that made him the biggest star in the NBA scoring 38 points while spending most of the fourth quarter on the bench as the Heat scorched the Cavaliers 118-90. That would be the spark that the Heat were waiting for as they would go on to win 12 in a row and 21 of 22 games that saw them hold a 30-9 record in early January. However, it would not be smooth sailing the rest of the way as the Heat lost four straight, and five of six. The Heat would continue this trend the rest of the season, as they struggled at times against other elite teams, and fattened up on the weakest teams. Eventually the Heat would finish the season, with the second best record in the Eastern Conference with a record of 58-24. The true test for the Heat lay ahead in the playoffs. The journey began with a series against the Philadelphia 76ers. In the series opener, Chris Bosh had a big day, scoring 25 points with 12 rebounds, as Dwyane Wade was money down the stretch scoring five points in the last 1:34 to lead the Heat to a 97-89 win. Game 2 would be all LeBron, as the King scored 29 points with seven boards and six assists, as the Heat won 94-73. As the series shifted to Philadelphia it was Wade’s turn to lead the way as he scored 32 points to lead the Heat to a 100-94 win. The 76ers would avert the sweep with an 86-82 win in Game 4, but the Heat would win the series in five games as Wade and Bosh led the way in a 97-91 win. Things promised to be tougher in the second round, as the Heat face the Boston Celtics who they struggled against in the regular season. With Dwyane Wade scoring 38 points the Heat got a key win in the series opener 99-90. In Game 2 it was LeBron James who led the way with 35 points, as the Heat won 102-91. After the Celtics scored a 97-81 win in Game 3, the Heat took a commanding 3-1 series as LeBron James scored 35 points, with 14 boards as the Heat won in overtime 98-90. The Heat would go on to take the series in five games, as they won 97-87 in Game 5, led by Wade’s 35 point effort. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Heat would start on the road against the Chicago Bulls, suffering a 103-82 loss in Game 1. However, the Heat would bounce back to win Game 2 as LeBron James took control of the game with 29 points, ten rebounds, and five assists. As the series shifted to Miami, Chris Bosh took over with 34 points and five rebounds as the Heat took control of the series with a 96-85 win. Game 4 would go to overtime, where LeBron James and Chris Bosh picked up the slack from a struggling Dwayne Wade to lead the Heat to a 101-93 victory that gave them a commanding 3-1 series lead. In Game 5 in Chicago, the Heat struggled most of the night and looked to be heading for a defeat down 77-65 late in the fourth quarter. However, with Wade and LeBron leading the way the Heat closed the game on an 18-3 win to beat the Bulls 83-80 and advance to the NBA Finals.
2011 NBA Finals: Just like 2006 when the Heat won their first NBA Championship, they were matched up against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. In Game 1, it was a big second half from Dwyane Wade who scored 15 of his 22 points as LeBron James added 24 points to lead the way in a series opening 92-84 win for the Heat. In Game 2, the Heat were on the way to taking a 2-0 series lead as they held an 88-73 win with 7:15 left. However, the Heat suddenly went cold down the stretch as the Mavericks closed the game on a 22-5 win to even the series with a 95-93 win. As the series shifted to Dallas, Game 3 would be tied late in the fourth quarter, as Dwyane Wade battled Dirk Nowitzki to each make the big shot for his team. However, for the Heat it was Chris Bosh who hit the big basket giving Miami an 88-86 lead with 39.6 seconds left on a 16 foot jumper. From there it was the defense of Udonis Haslem who pestered Nowitzki as he tried to make the game winning shot like he did in Game 2. In Game 4 the Heat who were seeking to grab a 3-1 series lead as they led 74-65 in the fourth quarter. However, the Mavs closed the game with a 21-9 as Dirk Nowitzki had a bog fourth quarter to even the series with an 86-83 win. With the series even, Game 5 was huge and tied late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, when it mattered most LeBron James and Dwyane Wade struggled as Dirk Nowitzki excelled to lead the Mavericks to a 112-103 win. The series shifted back to Miami for Game 6, with the Heat needing a win to force a seventh game. However, it was not meant to be as the Heat lost 105-95 as the Mavericks took revenge for 2006 and won the NBA Championship in six games.
2011/12: The Heat would have a much quieter season after their frustrating loss in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. After a lock out delayed the start of the season nearly two months the Heat would face the Mavericks in the season opener on Christmas Day. Watching the Mavericks raise their championship banner provided motivational fire to the Heat’s desire as they crushed the Mavericks 105-94 as LeBron James led the way with 37 points. Two nights later in their home opener the Heat got another solid game from LeBron, as they beat the Boston Celtics 115-107, as they got off to a strong start winning eight of their first nine games. Early on the Heat got contributions from everywhere as rookie Norris Cole was the unsung hero in several early season games, becoming the fastest rookie in team history to score 20 points in a game. The Heat continued their fast start until February as they held a 19-6 record on February 7th, setting a record for the best start in team history. All the way up to the All-Star break the Heat were the clear team to beat in the Eastern Conference, as they became the first team in 40 years to win three straight road games, in three different cities, on three consecutive nights. After posting a 27-7 record before the break, the Heat were unable to continue their torrid pace, as they had their struggles over the last two months dealing with injuries to Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. In the end the Heat would capture the Southeast Division for the second straight season with a record of 46-20, grabbing the second seed in the East. Earning MVP honors for the third time in his career, was LeBron James finishing with averages of 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game on 53 percent shooting.
2012 Playoffs: As the playoffs started the Heat who coasted at the end of the regular season got off to a quick start, as they clobbered the New York Knicks in the opener 100-67. The Heat continued to dominate the Knicks in Game 2, as Dwyane Wade posted 25 points to lead Miami to a solid 104-94 win. Defense was the mantra as the series shifted to the Garden, with the Heat continuing their dominance with an 87-70 win, with LeBron James scoring 32 points. The Heat would not be able to close out the series as the Knicks won 89-87 to win Game 4 and avert the sweep, as Dwyane Wade’s potential series clinching three point shot did not go in. The Heat would go on to win the series in five games, as they closed out the series with a 106-94 win, with LeBron James posting 29 points, with eight boards and seven assists. In the next round, the Heat again got off to a strong start as they beat the Indiana Pacers 95-86 with the LeBron scoring 32 points with 15 rebounds. However, the win came at a cost, as Chris Bosh suffered an abdominal injury and was lost for the rest of the series. Without Bosh, the Heat would struggle losing their next two games. Making matters worse, Dwyane Wade was hobbled with a leg injury. Needing to win Game 4, the Heat got an MVP performance from LeBron James, who scored 40 points with 18 rebounds and nine assists as the Heat even the series with a 101-93 win on the road. The Heat would regain control of the series, with a 115-83 blowout win in Game 5, as they went on to win the series in six games. In the clincher in Indiana, Dwyane Wade had his best game of the postseason, scoring 41 points, while LeBron added 28 in a 105-93 win. The Heat continued to play without Chris Bosh as they started the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. Once again, Game 1 was an easy win as LeBron James scored 32 points to lead the Heat to a 93-79 win. Game 2 would be a much tougher task, as the Heat overcame a 15 point deficit with a 15-4 run at the end of the third quarter. The game would eventually go to overtime, where the Heat scored a 115-111 win as LeBron James scored a game high 34 points, while Udonis Haslem provided some clutch rebounding. However, as the series shifted to Boston, the Celtics answered back winning 101-91 in Game 3. In Game 4, the Celtics and Heat found themselves in overtime again as they lost 93-91 as Dwyane Wade’s buzzer beater was off the mark. Chris Bosh would return in Game 5, but the Celtics continued frustrate the Heat, winning 94-90. Facing elimination on the road in Game 6, LeBron James turned into superman with a dominate performance, scoring 45 points, with 15 boards and five assists as they forced a seventh game back in Miami with a 98-79 win. Things did not start well for the Heat, as they trailed by seven points at halftime. However, with LeBron James taking over the Heat evened the game in the third quarter and went on to win the game 101-88 to advance to the NBA Finals for the second straight season.
2012 NBA Finals: In the NBA Finals the Heat would face the Oklahoma City Thunder. Starting on the road, the Heat jumped out to a 54-47 halftime lead in Game 1. However, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way, the Thunder came storming back to take the opener 105-94. In Game 2, the Heat again jumped out to an early 17 point lead. From there the Heat would have to hold on as the Thunder again attempted a four quarter charge, coming to within two points with 36 seconds left. However, with LeBron James scoring 32 points and Chris Bosh pulling down 15 rebounds the Heat would hold on to win the game 100-96 to even the series. As the series shifted to Miami, the Heat continued their fast starts. However, starting the second half on a 10-4 lead, the Thunder built a ten point lead in the third quarter. The Heat would recover and retake the 69-67 entering the fourth quarter. After withstanding one more Thunder run the Heat used clutching shooting from the foul line to take control of the series with a 91-85 win, as LeBron James had another big night with 29 points and 14 boards. The Thunder would jump out to an early lead in Game 4, outscoring the Heat 33-19 in the first quarter. However, just before halftime the Heat got two three pointers from Norris Cole to cut the deficit to three points. The Heat would go on to win the game 104-98 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Looking to close out the series, the Heat got a triple-double from LeBron James, who had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists to clinch the NBA Finals MVP, as the Heat won 121-106 to win the NBA Championship in five games.
2012/13: After winning their second NBA Championship, and the first with LeBron James the Miami Heat were the clear favorites to win a second straight when the season began as the addition of Ray Allen gave them a dangerous outside shooter. The Heat would start the season with a solid 120-107 win over the Boston Celtics as they lifted the title banner to the rafters of American Airlines Arena. The Heat would play solid basketball in the early part of the season, winning 12 of their first 15 games. Despite losing five games in December and January the Heat were looking strong as they post a 29-13 record in the first half of the season. The Heat would start February on a shaky note, losing to the Indiana Pacers 102-89. The Heat would not lose another game for nearly two months as they embarked on the second longest winning streak in NBA history at 27 games. Leading the way for the Heat during the streak was LeBron James, who in February had one of the best individual months in the history of the NBA, as he shot 64% from the field, as he had five straight games over 30 points. LeBron James would go on to win his fourth NBA Award in five years, 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game on 56.5% percent shooting, as he fell one vote short of being the first unanimous choice for MVP. The streak would finally come to an end on March 27th as they lost on the road to the Chicago Bulls 101-97. The Heat would continue their top notch play after losing to the Bulls, as they won seven of their last eight games and finished with the best record in the NBA at 66-16.
2013 Playoffs: The defending NBA Champion Miami Heat started the playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks, who were clearly overmatched as the series was a mere walk through as the Heat won in four straight games all decided by more than ten points. The Heat would advance to face the Chicago Bulls in the second round. The Bulls coming off a seven game series were banged up and looked to be easy prey for the Heat, but Game 1 would see the Heat come out flat as they suffered a stunning 93-86 loss. However, the Heat restated their dominance in Game 2, winning 115-78 to even the series. The Heat would easily win the next two games in Chicago, before closing the series out in five games with a 94-91 win, as the Heat outscored the Bulls 25-14 in the fourth quarter. It was clear right from the start that the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers would not be a cake walk for the Miami Heat, as they were outplayed in Game 1, trailing 102-101 with 2.2 seconds left in overtime. However, with a layup at the buzzer LeBron James gave the Heat a heart stopping 103-102 win, as he recorded his ninth career playoff Triple-Double with 30 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. The Pacers would respond with a 99-92 victory, as they closed the game on a 16-6 run. After splitting the next two games in Indiana, the Heat used a big third quarter from LeBron James who scored 16 of his game high 30 points as the Heat seized control of the game and the series, winning 90-79. However, with the teams alternating wins, it was the Pacers turn to bounce back in Game 6, which they did with a 91-77 win. The Heat were playing without Chris Andersen in Game 6, after being suspended for a flagrant foul. Andersen had been an invaluable addition off the bench, since joining the Heat with a ten day contract in January. Chris Andersen is known affectionately as the “Birdman” and is known for his outrageous hair style and tattoos which cover most of his body. Through the first five games of the Eastern Conference Finals Andersen was a perfect 15-for15 from the field, and helped provide a spark each time he took the court. The Birdman would return in Game 7 as the series was decided in Miami, the game was over quickly as the Heat outscored the Pacers 33-16 in the second quarter. The Heat would cruise to their third straight NBA Finals appearance as they won the game 99-76.
2013 NBA Finals: The Miami Heat would face the San Antonio Spurs with the NBA Championship on the line, and while they remained an overwhelming favorite, the Spurs presented some of the same matchup problems the Pacers gave them, with an added championship pedigree. The Spurs showed the pedigree in the series opener, as they won 92-88. LeBron James had a solid game recording a Triple Double, but failed to score 20 points, as both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh also struggled, as the Heat scored just 16 points in the fourth quarter. The Heat would continue the trend of avoiding back-to-back losses, as they bounced back to win 103-84 in Game 2. The win was a total team effort for the Heat, as five players LeBron James (17), Mario Chalmers (19), Ray Allen (13), Chris Bosh (12) and Dwyane Wade (10) recorded double digit scoring games. However, as the series shifted to San Antonio, the Heat suffered through their worst game of the postseason, losing 113-77 as they scored just 33 points in the second half, with LeBron James making just 7-of-21 shots. Once again, the Heat would rebound in Game 4, winning 109-93 as the Big Three had their best combined effort, with James leading the way with 33 points, while Dwyane Wade had 32 points and Chris Bosh had 20 points. In Game 5 the Spurs started fast, scoring 32 points. The Heat would not recover as despite their best efforts they lost 114-104 as the Spurs took a 3-2 series lead. Like the Eastern Conference Finals the Heat and the Spurs alternated wins, as the series returned to Miami for Games 6 & 7. Facing elimination, things did not look good for the Heat, as they trailed 75-65 at the end of three quarters. However, as the fourth quarter began the Heat refused to let their title reign end quietly as they took the lead thanks to a 20-7 run to start the final 12 minutes. During the run, LeBron James scored 11 points and had an assist that would live for the ages; still trailing 77-70 Mike Miller lost his shoe coming up the court and continued up the court, making a three point shot off a pass from LeBron to help swing the momentum of the game. The Spurs would answer back with an 8-0 run and appeared to be closing in on an NBA Championship leading 94-89 with 28 seconds left, as LeBron James made two back breaking turnovers. Disappointed Heat fans began exiting the building as the trophy was in the runway ready to be presented. Shirts saying NBA Champions San Antonio Spurs were on the sideline, as security was making a perimeter around the benches anticipating a Spurs victory celebration. The Heat were not about to give up. LeBron James looking to make up for his turnovers missed a three point shot, but the Heat managed to rebound the ball got it back to LeBron who this time hit from downtown to cut the deficit to two points with 20 seconds left. The door remained opened for the Heat when Kawhi Leonard missed one of his two free throws. Down 95-92, the Heat again looked to LeBron from downtown to tie the game, but once again the shot was no good. Chris Bosh who otherwise struggled all game grabbed the rebound and passed it to Ray Allen, who threw up a desperation three which was good to tie the game at 95-95. Fans in the exit scrambled back to their seats as the trophy was ushered back to the locker-room, as Tony Parker’s shot at the buzzer was no good. In overtime the Heat would continue the momentum as they went on to win the game 108-105. The game would be labeled an instant classic and one of the best NBA Finals game in the history of the league. In Game 7 LeBron James would take over, scoring 37 points with 12 rebounds, setting a new record for points in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, while Shane Battier who earlier in the postseason was banished to the bench scored 18 points by shooting 6-for-6 from three point range. The Heat would lead the game most of the way, as the Spurs continued to fight all the way coming within two points with 50 seconds left. However, the title belonged to Miami, as they won a second straight NBA Championship with a 95-88 win in Game 7, as LeBron joined Michael Jordan as the only player to win both the NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP in back-to-back seasons.
2013/14: Coming in off a second straight NBA Championship, the Miami Heat were flying high, even though following the season the Big Three had a chance to opt out of their contracts. The Heat began the season with a 107-95 win over the Chicago Bulls as the players received their rings another championship banner was raised. Despite dropping their next two games, the Heat dominated the early part of the season, winning 14 of their first 17 games. There was little drama in Miami for the first half of the season, as they went into the New Year with a record of 24-7. January would see the Heat struggle for the first time, as they lost three straight games during a tough Northeast road trip. The Heat would begin to lose ground on the Indiana Pacers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference with an 8-6 record. While the Heat managed to win nine out of ten games in February, they limped home over the final six weeks of the regular season. Posting a 13-14 record in March and April. Winning titles does its toll and Dwyane Wade had trouble staying on the court in the second half as he missed 28 games. Being a champion also puts a huge target on the back of the Heat, as teams often brought their best efforts to the court when they faced Miami. At the same time the Heat were focused on saving themselves for the postseason, and had no problem resting players or losing the odd Thursday Night game in March. The Heat did not get much from their bench, as Shane Battier and Ray Allen both struggled through most of the season, while only five players had more than nine points per game. LeBron James, however, was consistent and while not winning the MVP he again was one of the top players in the NBA with a team best 27.7 ppg, while also lead the Heat in rebounds with 6.9 per game and assists with 6.3 per game.
2014 Playoffs: After playing the last part of the season like they were bored; the Heat came into the playoffs looking to show they were ready to defend their crown. Facing the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round, the Heat dominated from the start, winning the opener 99-88 as LeBron James scored a game high 27 points. In Game 2, the Heat would build an early 16 point and held off a late charge to win the game 101-97 as LeBron again led the way with 32 points. As the series shifted to Charlotte, the Heat continued to dominate, winning 98-85 in Game 3, with LeBron scoring 30 points with ten rebounds. The Heat would go on to complete the sweep with a 109-98 win in Game 4. In the second round the Heat would face the Brooklyn Nets, who swept Miami in the regular season. In Game 1, the Heat would send the message that the playoffs were not the regular season with an overwhelming 107-86 victory at the American Airlines Arena. Game 2 would be more of the same, as the Heat won the game 104-90 as LeBron continued to dominate the postseason with 22 points. The Nets would hand the Heat their first loss of the postseason 104-90 in Game 3 as the series shifted to Brooklyn. However, the loss was a slight bump in the road as the Heat with LeBron James scoring a Heat postseason record 49 points in Game 4 took a 3-1 series lead, winning 102-96 at the Barclays Center. Back in Miami for Game 5, the Heat looked to be heading for a letdown as the Nets held an eight point lead with five minutes left. However, the Heat defense turned up the pressure and ignited a 12-0 run as the Heat won the game 96-94 to return to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Heat would once again face the Indiana Pacers. After fighting all season for home court the Pacers took Game 1 by a score of 107-96. However, the Heat would rebound to win Game 2 in Indiana 87-83, as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined to score the last 20 points for Miami. As the series shifted to South Beach, LeBron James showcased his talents with 26 points to lead the way to a 99-87 win in Game 3. He was even better in Game 4, putting up 32 points, ten rebounds and five assists as the Heat took a commanding 3-1 series lead with 102-90 win. Despite a big effort from Chris Bosh in Game 5, the Pacers kept the series hopes alive, winning 93-90. However, Game 6 would be over before it even began as the Heat jumped out to a 60-34 halftime lead on the way to winning the game 117-92. With the win the Heat became the first team to win the Eastern Conference four straight seasons since the Boston Celtics in 1987.
2014 NBA Finals: The Finals would be another rematch for the Heat as they faced the San Antonio Spurs for the second straight season. Game 1 was close for three quarters, but a failing air conditioning system at the AT&T Center made it too hot for the Heat as LeBron James suffered through dehydration and cramps as the building reached 90 degrees. The only thing hotter was the Spurs who shot 14 of 16 from the field and pulled away to win the opener 110-95. The Heat needing a win in Game 2, continued to come up big when it mattered most as LeBron James scored 35 points, with ten rebounds and had a key late steal to help Miami even the series with a 98-96 win. However, as the series shifted to South Florida, the Heat seemed to run out of gas, losing Game 3 by a score of 111-92 as Kawhi Leonard had a postseason career high 29 points. The Heat continued to have no answers for Leonard in Game 4, as the Spurs took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 107-86 win. The Spurs would go on to end the Heat’s championship reign with a 104-87 win in Game 5 in San Antonio. The loss in five games would be the end of the Big Three era in Miami, as LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade all opted out of their contracts. While the Heat were able to keep Bosh and Wade in Miami, LeBron James decided to return home and signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2014/15: Despite the departure of LeBron James, the Miami Heat felt confident they could remain a contender in the Eastern Conference as they re-signed Chris Bosh, and acquired Luol Deng. Early on the Heat played, well winning five of their first seven games before Dwyane Wade began dealing with a hamstring injury. Wade would return in December, but the Heat would struggle as four trips to the NBA Finals looked to take an early toll on Miami who went into the New Year with a record of 14-19. LeBron James would return with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day, and receive mostly positive reactions from the crowd at American Airlines Arena. Some were disappointed by LeBron’s return to Cleveland, but most fans were appreciative of his four years in South Beach, taking the Heat to the finals each season, winning two championships. The Heat would win the Christmas reunion 101-91 with Wade leading the way with 31 points. The Heat continued their mediocre play in January and February. At the All-Star Break their season would take a turn for the worse, when Chris Bosh was hospitalized with a blood clot in his lungs. Bosh would miss the remainder of the season, finishing second on the team in scoring with 21.1 points per game. Dwyane Wade would be the Heat leading scorer at 21.5 ppg, but both missed significant time due to injuries. The Heat would never make it back to .500, but were in the playoff chase until the end of the season. Though after starting April with five losses in six games the Heat would fall short, finishing with a disappointing record of 37-45, one game behind the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers who tied for the eighth seed.
2015/16: After missing the playoffs in their first year after the breakup of the big three, the Miami Heat hoped they could bounce back with the return of Chris Bosh. In his first game back on the floor Chris Bosh scored 21 points with ten rebounds as the Heat beat the Charlotte Hornets 104-94 at American Airlines Arena in the season opener. After a solid November, the Heat had their struggles in December as they went into the New Year holding a record of 18-13. The Heat continued to have their ups and downs in January, as they suffered through another rough stretch, losing seven of eight games. While the Heat were playing mediocre basketball, Chris Bosh had no trouble returning to All-Star form. In 53 games, Bosh averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and was selected to play in the All-Star Game and Toronto and participate the three-point shooting contest. However, while nursing a sore calf it was determined the blood clots were returning to Chris Bosh’s legs causing him to miss the second half of the season. Despite the loss of Bosh, the Heat played well in the second half thanks to the play of Dwyane Wade who had another terrific season, with 19.0 points per game. Another key player for Miami was Hassan Whiteside who finished third in the league in rebounding, averaging 11.8 boards per game. As the season came to an end, the Heat found themselves in a three-way battle for first place in the Southeast Division with the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets. A battle that would end up all tied up after 82 games, as each finished with a record of 48-34. Based on tiebreaker the Heat would get the third spot in the playoffs and claim the division championship.
2016 NBA Playoffs: The battle for the division title carried over into the postseason as the Miami Heat faced the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the playoffs. The Heat started the playoffs with a bang, scoring 41 points in the first quarter as they crushed the Hornets 123-91 in Game 1, with Luol Deng leading the way with 31 points. The Heat had another 40-point explosion in Game 2, posting 43 points in the second quarter as they won 115-103, with Dwyane Wade in the leading man role with 28 points. As the series shifted to Charlotte, the Hornets turned up the defense, recording a 96-80 win in Game 3. The Heat would taste defeat again in Game 4, as the Hornets evened the series with an 89-85 win. Returning to Miami, the Heat looked to regain control of the series, but were stung 90-88 on a three-point shot by Courtney Lee with 25.2 seconds left. The Heat looked to answer by Goran Dragic missed with 2.6 seconds left. Adding to Miami’s frustrations was a foul committed against Dwyane Wade on the rebound that was not called. The Heat would rebound behind a clutch three pointer from Wade in Game 6, and forced a seventh game by winning Game 6 in Charlotte 97-90. Returning home, Game 7 was all Miami as the Heat smothered the Hornets 106-73, putting the game out of reach by outscoring Charlotte 29-11 in the third quarter. The Heat moved on to face the Toronto Raptors in the second round. With Goran Dragic, scoring 26 points, they were seconds away from a Game 1 upset on the road, when Kyle Lowry launched a prayer from half court at the buzzer to tie the game 90-90 and force overtime. The Heat would rebound from the shock and outscored Toronto 12-6 in the five-minute overtime to win the game 102-96 as Hassan Whitehead played a key role with 17 boards. Game 2 would also go to overtime at the Air Canada Centre. This time it was Miami landing a late three to tie the score, as Goran Dragic hit the equalizer with 10.5 seconds left. Like the Heat did in Game 1, Toronto recovered in overtime in Game 2, winning 96-92 to even the series. As the series shifted to Miami, Dwyane Wade came alive with a game high 38 points in Game 3, but it was not enough as the Raptors won the game 95-91. Wade was the high man again in Game 4, scoring 30 points as overtime was needed for the third time, with the Heat winning 94-87 as they outscored Toronto 11-4 in overtime. The series continued to go back and forth as the Raptors got 34 points from DeMar DeRozan to deliver a 99-91 wins for the home fans in Toronto. The Heat would answer in Game 6 as Goran Dragic scored 30 points with seven boards to once again even the series with a 103-91 win. Game 7 in Toronto was close for three quarters, but ultimately the Raptors quickness was too much for the Heat to overcome as they pulled away down the stretch to win the game 116-89, outscoring Miami 30-11 in the fourth quarter. The series would mark the end of an era in Miami as Dwyane Wade left to a sign with his hometown Chicago Bulls following the season. Meanwhile, doctors informed Chris Bosh that he would likely be unable to resume his career, as continuing blood clots and the medication used to treat the condition made playing professional basketball too risky.
2016/17: With Dwyane Wade signing with the Chicago Bulls and Chris Bosh forced to retire due to health issues the era of the Big Three was officially over in South Florida. The Miami Heat turned to players like Hassan Whiteside who was quickly becoming one of the best big men in the NBA to become the face of the franchise. Whiteside started the season strong with 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Heat beat the Orlando Magic 108-96 to open the season. However, against stiffer competition the Heat did not fare as well, losing eight of their first ten games. Over the first two months of the season, Miami was one of the worst teams in the NBA as they went into the New Year with a record of 10-24, and held an 11-30 record at the season’s statistical midpoint. With their season seemingly hopelessly over, the Heat suddenly turned things around in January, piecing together a 13-game winning streak, which included a 105-102 win over the Golden State Warriors. The rejuvenated Heat suddenly found themselves back in playoff contention as Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters each had monster second half. The Heat would make it all the way back to .500 as they closed the season with three straight wins, finishing 41-41, but they lost a tiebreaker to the Bulls, dropping two early season matchups in the head-to-head. However, just getting back to 41-41, and reversing a 10-31 record to go 31-10 in the second half, had most feeling positive vibes for the future of the Heat. Miami’s leading scorer on the season was Dragic who averaged, while Whiteside average 17.0 and Waiters 15.8 points per game. Hassan Whiteside would finish the season as the NBA’s leading rebounder, averaging 14.1 boards per game.
2017/18: After missing the playoffs, the Miami Heat stood at a crossroads. To rebuild of add and retool were the decisions to be made. Miami made some small moves in the offseason, highlighted by signing Kelly Olynyk as Chris Bosh officially retired due to his heart ailment. The Heat hovered near .500 in the early part of the season as they went into the New Year with a record of 19-17. January would be a big month for Miami, as they began with a seven-game winning streak that took them to the top of the Southeast Division. When the trade deadline approached, the Heat made a deal that delighted all their fans, reacquiring Dwyane Wade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his return to Miami on February 9th, Wade got a thunderous ovation as Miami beat the Milwaukee Bucks 91-85 at American Airlines Arena. The Heat had their struggles in February as they were in the middle of a nine-game losing streak on the road. Nonetheless, they managed to stay in the playoff hunt as the entire Southeast Division underperformed. In March, the Heat won eight of ten at home, as they posted a record of 44-38 to win the division and earn the sixth seed in playoffs. Wade averaged 12 points per game off the bench in 21 games after rejoining the Heat. Goran Dragic was Miami’s leading scorer with 17.3 ppg. Hassan Whiteside also had a terrific season with 14 points and a team-best 11.4 rebounds per game.
2018 Playoffs: The Miami Heat would face the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. After an ugly 130-103 loss in the opener, the Heat watched Dwyane Wade turn back the clock in Game 2. With Wade scoring a game-high 28 points, Miami got the split in Philadelphia, winning 113-103. The Heat could not defend their home court, as they suffered a 128-108 loss in Game 3. Dwyane Wade had a strong Game 4, scoring 25, but it would not be enough as the Sixers won 106-102 to take a 3-1 series lead. The 76ers would go on to beat the Heat in five games, winning the finale 104-91.
2018/19: Before the season started, Dwyane Wade signed a one-year contract with the Miami Heat, stating it would be his final season. Wade would go on a season-long farewell tour, with 15 points per game coming off the bench. Josh Richardson was Miami’s leading scorer with 16.6 ppg. The Heat played most of the season without Goran Dragic, who was plagued all season by knee pain. The Heat had their difficulties early, as they lost nine games in November. They would get back to .500 with a five-game winning streak in December. Miami had their ups and downs in December as they hovered the entire month near .500, The month of February would be damaging to Miami’s playoff hopes as they won just three games, as they were quiet at the trade deadline. The Heat again would get back to .500, as they posted a record of 11-4 in March. Battling for the last spots in the postseason, the Heat went into April needing a strong finish to get to the playoffs. However, with losses in four of their final five games, the Heat would fall two games short with a record of 39-43.
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Miami Heat of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on May 22, 2003. Last updated on April 4, 2020, at 9:45 am ET.