By JIHAD SHATARA
Just three seasons ago, Miami was in its fourth consecutive NBA Finals against soon to be champions San Antonio Spurs with the “Big 3” still fully in tact.
Fast forward to 2017 and Lebron James is playing in Cleveland, Chris Bosh is nearly forced to retire with blood clots and the impossible happened when Dwyane Wade left Miami this past summer to play in Chicago. In all honesty, this season has been miserable for Heat fans. This season was drawing many parallels to 2008 when Miami started to “tank” by trading key pieces and trying their best to lose in order to gain a top pick in the draft.
This season was not far off from that awful 2008 season. There were rumors sputtering about Miami trading starters Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside. Miami was just 1-10 in one 11-game stretch and things were going south. But one staple that Coach Erik Spoelstra and team President Pat Riley really hammer into their players is the “Heat Culture.” No matter how bad a Miami Heat roster may be, the team always seem to compete.
Miami is on a nine-game win streak at the moment. Noted draft bust Dion Waiters is playing like a super star right now averaging 20 points a game during his last 10 games. He has hit clutch shot after clutch shot, including the game-winning buzzer beater against the best team in the league, the Golden State Warriors. Other role players like Willie Reed, Wayne Ellington and James Johnson have stepped up as well. Miami is doing this all without young starters Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow.
Miami is now three games out of a playoff spot in the East. This might not be the best thing for Miami considering the team would more than likely be a first round exit if it did, in fact, make the postseason, but Miami Heat fans should definitely enjoy this ride while they can.