The Miami Heat are a professional basketball team in the National Basketball Association (the NBA). The Miami Heat play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference with four other teams: the Orlando Magic, the Washington Wizards, the Charlotte Bobcats and the Atlanta Hawks. Heat tickets will surely be hard to come by during the 2010-2011 NBA schedule.
Heat 2009-2010 Outlook
The Miami Heat finished the 2009-2010 NBA season with a 47-35 record and were the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference in the NBA playoffs. The Heat lost to the Boston Celtics in the 1st round of the NBA playoffs in a hard fought 5-game series. Superstar Guard Dwayne Wade led the team with 26.6 points per game and 6.5 assists per game during the regular season. Power Forward Michael Beasley continued his development by averaging 14.8 per game. Jermain O'Neal was the Heat's 3rd best scorer with a 13.6 points per game average.
The Heat spent the end of the regular season and the off-season releasing and trading players in order to free enough salary cap space to land one or more super star free agents - Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire or Joe Johnson, just to name a few - to team up with Wade in South Beach. The move paid off as James and Bosh both decided to join forces with Wade in Miami. The move has vaulted the Heat to the top of the pack in the Eastern Conference. The Heat still have some work to do in order to fill out their roster - in addition to the Wade-James-Bosh trio, the Heat only have 3 other players on their roster - Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller. Anything less than a Championship Title Run at the end of the 2010-2011 NBA regular season will surely be considered a MAJOR disappointment in the sports world and for Heat fans alike. Get your Heat NBA tickets at the American Airlines Center before it's too late.
The Miami Heat joined the ranks of the NBA in 1988 as an expansion team as part of a 4-team, 2-tier expansion. Along with the Miami Heat, the Charlotte Hornets joined the NBA for the 1988-1989 season, while the Orlando Magic and the Minnesota Timberwolves joined the NBA for the 1989-1990 season. The Miami Heat struggled a lot during their early years. In their first season, the Miami Heat played in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference where their closest division rival was over 900 miles away in Houston. The Miami Heat lost their first 17 games, an NBA record, and won only 15 games all season long. A move to the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference the following season did not help too much as the Miami Heat won only 18 games all season long. During the team’s 1st seven years in the NBA, the Miami Heat recorded a winning record only once, and the team advanced to the NBA playoffs twice, both times exiting in the first round of the playoffs.
Following the 1994-1995 regular season, amid early discussion of relocation plans to move the team to Las Vegas, Memphis, St. Louis or San Diego, the Miami Heat hired Pat Riley as its General Manager and Head Coach to resurrect the lowly franchise. Riley made drastic off-season moves to acquire Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatling and Walt Williams via trade and free agency. The moves generated immediate results as the Miami Heat won 42 games en route to 6 straight winning records and 6 straight playoff appearances from 1995 through 2001. Following the 1995-1996 season, Pat Riley added a few more pieces to the puzzle: Dan Majerle, P.J. Brown, Jamal Mashburn and Voshon Lenard. The Miami Heat won 61 games and recorded their first ever Atlantic Division title. In the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Miami Heat defeated Riley’s former team, the New York Knicks, in a heated series that saw the Miami Heat come back from a 3-1 series deficit. The Miami Heat lost to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals, however, denying the Miami Heat the chance at reaching the franchise’s 1st ever NBA Finals. The following season, the Miami Heat won its 2nd straight Atlantic Division title, but the Miami Heat would lose to the New York Knicks in a 1st round playoff upset. The New York Knicks also eliminated the Miami Heat from the NBA playoffs the following season, despite the Miami Heat having the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference after a 33-17 record during the lockout-shortened season. The Miami Heat moved into the American Airlines Arena for the 1999-2000 NBA regular season. The Miami Heat finished with 52 victories and the team swept the Detroit Pistons 3-0 in the 1st round of the playoffs. But once again, the Miami Heat could not survive a series against the hated New York Knicks, losing by just one point in the decisive 7th game of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Alonzo Mourning would miss the 2000-2001 regular season with a rare kidney disorder, but the Miami Heat would still win 50 games and qualify for post-season play behind the surprise all-star caliber performance from forward Anthony Mason. The inspired play would end quickly though, with a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the then-Charlotte Hornets in the 1st round of the playoffs. The Miami Heat endured 2 awful years in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 – the 1st time in Pat Riley’s career that his team did not advance to the playoffs.
During the summer leading up to the 2003-2004 season, Pat Riley selected guard Dwayne Wade with the 5th overall pick in the draft and signed Lamar Odom, Rafar Alston and Udonis Haslem through free agency. These 3 players, along with the nucleus of Brian Grant, Eddie Jones, Caron Butler, Rasual Butler and Malik Allen, formed a team unit that would turn the Miami Heat back into playoff contenders. Right before the start of the season, Pat Riley also stepped down as head coach to focus more on his role as team president, and he appointed Stan Van Gundy, his long-time assistant, as the head coach. The team finished with a 42-40 record and they defeated the New Orleans Hornets 4-3 in the 1st round of the playoffs before losing in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Indiana Pacers. The Miami Heat were once again busy in the summer leading up to the 2004-2005 season, acquiring Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant. The Miami Heat won 59 games that season behind the dynamic duo of Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal. The Miami Heat were seeded #1 in the Eastern Conference playoffs and won 8 consecutive games against the New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards before facing the Detroit Pistons. The Miami Heat held a 3-2 lead after 5 games, but a rib injury to Dwayne Wade in the Game 5 victory, cost the Miami Heat the war, as the Detroit Pistons rallied to win the last 2 games of the series to eliminate the Miami Heat from playoff contention. The Miami Heat would achieve redemption the following year after another busy off-season in which the team would acquire veterans Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, Gary Payton and James Posey. Stan Van Gundy would step down as head coach during the middle of season for personal reasons, and Pat Riley resumed his head coaching duties in mid-December and led the Miami Heat to a 52-30 record. This time, the Miami Heat would defeat the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the franchise’s 1st NBA Championship series. And after losing the 1st 2 games on the road to the Dallas Mavericks, the Miami Heat ran off 4 straight wins to capture the franchise’s 1st NBA Championship. Dwayne Wade was named the NBA Finals MVP for his constant heroics, head coach Pat Riley won his 5th NBA Championship as a head coach, Shaquille O’Neal won his 4th NBA Championship, and veterans Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton and Antoine Walker each won their 1st NBA Championship. A 2nd consecutive NBA Championship would not occur the following year. Although the Miami Heat finished with 44 wins and a #5 seed in the playoffs, the youthful Chicago Bulls were too much for the older, slower Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls recorded a 4-0 series sweep in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Although the Miami Heat have not yet retired any players’ numbers during its 20-year existence, several talented players have hit the hardwood for the Miami Heat franchise, including centers Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning, and guards Dwayne Wade and Gary Payton, and forward Antoine Walker.
All Miami Heat basketball games can be seen on the Sun Sports television networks in the greater Miami area. ABC, ESPN and TNT may also televise Miami Heat games based on the popularity of the game. Tune into 940 WINZ (English) and 1140 WQBA (Spanish) on your AM dial to catch each Miami Heat basketball game on the radio.