It was a very Miami Heat light night in the team’s regular season finale. Only two players in the team’s regular rotation played against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Miami had some nice moments from their young players, and Victor Oladipo was also impressive at times. However, the Magic were just too much. They hurt the Heat from downtown and nearly broke a franchise record while doing so. Orlando finished the night winning by double-digits. With the loss, Miami falls to 53-29 for the season. Here are my takeaways from Sunday’s loss in Orlando.
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Oladipo was probably the biggest positive of the night for Miami. He was very explosive and able to get anywhere he wanted to on the court, while also shooting well from beyond the arc. Most importantly, he played within the flow of the offense. His playmaking was also good. Oladipo found open teammates multiple times with nice assists. This was a positive night for Oladipo, who has battled his way back from his quadriceps surgery. He may not be in the rotation now but could become a situational player for Miami down the road. Oladipo finished the night with 40 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists.
Before Sunday’s game, news broke that Bam Adebayo was out due to health and safety protocols. He was already expected to be out for Sunday’s game, regardless. However, he could be sidelined for five days and unable to participate in practice. The good news is that Miami’s first playoff game is not until Sunday. This means Adebayo could have at least two days of practice before Game 1 of the postseason, so it should not hurt Miami too much for the playoffs. Throughout the year, Adebayo has done it all for Miami. He’s been a great playmaker and versatile defender. He is currently in the running for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Reviewing the Regular Season
The Heat finished the regular season with a 53-29 record. Considering all the missed game from starters, this has been an impressive regular season from Miami. They got contributions from plenty of guys off the bench this season. Miami also got help from players who were literally signed off the street. Despite the obstacles, Miami still rose to the top over other elite teams. During the regular season, we also saw Tyler Herro and Adebayo take leaps. Both players are going to be important this postseason, as well as in the future. Miami has shown they are an elite team, but now it’s time to make a huge run in the playoffs.
The Play-In Tournament
This week, all eyes will be on the play-in tournament. The seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets and No. 8 seed Cleveland Cavaliers will play the first game. After that, the No. 9 seed Atlanta Hawks will go up against the 10th-seeded Charlotte Hornets. The loser of the Nets and Cavaliers game will play the winner of the Hawks and Hornets game. After that, the 7th and 8th seeds will be decided, and Miami will know their opponent by Friday. With the play-in, top seeded teams will have a short time to prepare for their first opponent. They will at least have two days for preparations.
Next Up: Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Miami’s first round opponent is to be announced.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin