As the number eight seed in the 2022/23 playoffs, Miami Heat were the underdog in every round of their route to the 2023 NBA Finals. The Southeast Division winners have come good at exactly the right point of the campaign, winning crucial matches to keep their hopes of an NBA title alive.
Here is a look at what has been behind Miami’s fantastic campaign this season.
Jimmy Butler Has Upped Scoring in the Postseason
Six-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler has led the Miami Heat in scoring during the postseason. He averaged 22.9 points per game during the regular season, but after game two of the NBA Finals, he was averaging 27.3 points a game in the postseason. The small forward was outstanding in their opening-round success against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Butler is making his second appearance in the NBA Finals. He was part of the Miami team which lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. That was his first season with the franchise following his move from the Philadelphia 76ers.
The former first-round pick is a crucial player for the Heat as his experience is going to be invaluable for his team. As of June 5, Miami is +220 in the NBA betting to win the NBA Finals. If victorious, it would be Butler’s first NBA championship success of his career.
Tyler Herro Led the League in FT%
No player was more reliable from the free throw line than Tyler Herro in the 2022/23 NBA regular season. He finished the campaign with a 93.4% success rate. The Miami Heat player was not just effective from the free throw line, he averaged over 20 points per game.
The 2019 first-round pick often makes an impact off the bench for the Heat. In 2022, he was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. During the latest campaign, he featured more often on court, averaging 34.9 minutes per game, the highest of his career so far in the NBA.
Herro signed a sign four-year deal with Miami back in October. Unfortunately, he broke his wrist in the opening game of the 2023 NBA Finals, so he will have no further participation in the series. However, if the Heat does go on to lift the trophy, they will recognize their shooting guard’s contribution towards their success this season.
Vincent and Adebayo Contributing Heavily
In Miami’s 111-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Gabe Vincent and Bam Adebayo scored 23 and 21 points respectively. Those two players, as they have throughout the season, have contributed heavily in the scoring department, taking the pressure off Butler.
Vincent has saved his best performances for the playoffs this season. In the third game of the series against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, he scored 29 points, which was a career-high in a playoff game for the point guard.
Adebayo had produced a lot of match-winning performances this season for Miami. Early in the campaign, he scored 38 points and recorded 12 rebounds in a 110-107 success against the Washington Wizard. In the playoffs, he had a triple-double against the Milwaukee Bucks in the fifth game of the series. That performance helped his side qualify for the second round in a 128-126 overtime win.
Erik Spoelstra Has Managed His Roster Well
With two NBA championships as a head coach and one as an assistant, Erik Spoelstra is set to enter the Hall of Fame when he retires from the sport. Before then, he will be hoping to lift the trophy once again with Miami Heat.
Spoelstra has done a great job at managing his roster this season, particularly in the playoffs where his side has been on an incredible run. He has kept his players motivated and given them the belief they can keep their run going.
This is Spoelstra’s sixth appearance in the NBA Finals. His role has been vital to the Heat’s success so far and should he coach them to the NBA Championship against the number one seeds, it will be the biggest triumph of his career so far.
The final game on the 2023 NBA Finals comes on June 19, should the series require a seventh contest.