The Miami Heat is on fire, no pun intended.
Since the convincing win over the New York Knicks, with ten games remaining. The Heat lost two in a row before winning two strong games beginning against the Cleveland Cavaliers and then the struggling Chicago Bulls. Six remain with the Heat in the driver’s seat of clinching a possible six seed with an eight seed as a guarantee.
Did I mention they were on fire? Miami dominated Chicago forcing them to 37 percent shooting on the way to beating the Bulls 103-92 on Thursday night, pushing its home winning streak to a season-best eight games, and cutting the magic number for clinching a playoff spot to one.
The Heat need one more win or one more Detroit loss to take their talents to the postseason for the 20th time in 30 seasons. The Pistons are in New York on Saturday, in a game that can end before the start of Miami’s home game against Brooklyn.
“It shows what we can do when we come out, and we are locked in, and we are focused,” Heat guard Josh Richardson stated.
The Bulls dropped their seventh straight, making this the third losing streak that lasted at least that long for Chicago this season. Chicago won four playoff series in 1997-98, Michael Jordan’s final season in Chicago. They’ve won five playoff series in the 20 seasons since.
Earlier in the week King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers visited downtown Miami. Lebron James entered the game averaging a triple-double since Feb. 1. Yes, James is the best player on the planet, but Miami did not back down.
Cleveland came in averaging 31 points per quarter over its last five games, then managed only 34 in the first half against the Heat.
“What hurt us more was our rotation was in disarray,” James said.
James has played in all 74 Cavs games, matching his total from last season. It was his first time playing at Miami since March 19, 2016.
Dwyane Wade finished with four blocks, a season high. Two of them from behind to stymie James, to go along with his 12 points.
“I have not looked at the stat sheet, I was probably looking at it more before I got here, I have not really looked at it,” Wade stated. “Coaches preach that with everybody, but I know I had four blocks.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was back with the team, two days after he and his wife Nikki’s first child — Santiago Ray Spoelstra.
Miami’s next two games are all against teams out of the playoff picture, with the next two of those games – against Brooklyn and Atlanta — all at home.