Having been such a dominant force at home during the 2019-20 season, the Miami Heat will be trying to replicate that feeling in their new home in Orlando.
With a 27-5 record within the confines of the American Airlines Arena, the Miami Heat were one of the more dominant home teams throughout the 2019-20 season. At 41-24 overall, the difference in their overall output whether at home or on the road was pronounced.
But with the NBA having now released the final eight seeding games, the Heat need to configure a way in which to reproduce this form in their temporary home, being the Disney World Complex in Orlando.
As can be seen below, the upcoming eight-game schedule is certainly no cakewalk, despite the Heat having compiled an 8-3 record against these seven teams throughout the course of the regular season.
Through 65 games, the Heat led the league with their 38.3 percent shooting clip from 3-point. However, aside from Meyers Leonard and the recently acquired Jae Crowder, every other notable threat from long distance had a noticeable dip when playing on the road as opposed to on their home floor.
3-point percentage at home:
- Duncan Robinson: 50.0 (8.0 attempts per game)
- Tyler Herro: 41.9 (5.4)
- Goran Dragic: 41.4 (6.2)
- Kendrick Nunn: 40.2 (5.8)
On the road:
- Robinson: 39.9 (8.6)
- Herro: 36.3 (5.4)
- Dragic: 33.8 (5.4)
- Nunn: 32.6 (5.8)
While not the be-all and end-all, the Heat’s fortunes in the season 2019-20 have centered heavily around their accuracy from long range. Simply elite with a 41.8 percent clip in their 41 wins, the Heat were subpar with a 32.6 percent return in their 24 losses.
Facing an unprecedented situation with their isolated setup in Orlando, finding familiarity with their new surroundings could be the ultimate key to unlocking their ultimate success. Recently, Heat stalwart Udonis Haslem gave his perspective on how the Heat will fare as a whole come the beginning of August:
“I mean, I like our chances just as good as anybody or better. I think we probably have a better chance than anybody. Now it’s mental. When you talk about a mentally tough team, I don’t think there’s any more mental tough team in the NBA. So I like our chances just a good or more than anybody.”
With any homecourt advantage now completely out the window, the Heat, presumably like many other teams, will use the final eight games to simply recalibrate themselves with their overall playing concepts and team chemistry.
In particular, two key pieces in Meyers Leonard and Tyler Herro will be desperate to again acclimate themselves with the rest of the roster. Both injured during the Heat’s blowout home win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 3, this duo has yet to share the floor with the newly arrived duo in Crowder and Andre Iguodala.
And while 3-point shooting will be critical to the Heat, two other factors should give them a great boost of confidence entering the bubble. First is their well-established elite level of conditioning, which given the huge layoff could be a decisive edge given the complete unknown of a number of players and teams around the league.
Secondly, this is the sort of setting tailor-made for head coach Erik Spoelstra. Completely isolated with nothing other than to coach and consume basketball, Spoelstra’s presence on the sidelines is simply invaluable for a team in such a setting.
In a basketball setting unlikely to ever be repeated, the Miami Heat have a lot to look forward to as Aug. 1 rapidly approaches.