Miami Heat Advance: Game 7 win equals Game 1 loss?
Written by @brothajay) on
Miami Heat’s flame burns strong after arguably the most entertaining Round 1 matchup has ended. It took seven out of a possible seven games, but they dealt the coup de gras in South Beach. On the back of a late-game unconscious performance from Dwyane Wade, and punctuated with the revival of Goran Dragic, the Heat swatted the Hornets for the fourth and final time on Sunday -- with time to spare before Game of Thrones. (Or Fear The Walking Dead [the better The Walking Dead shows], whatever floats your boat/zombie in the ocean.)
The important sentence of that first paragraph is the one about seven games. Going the distance in a best-of-seven series is rough, yet rewarding. And what is Miami’s reward? Well, Toronto, which is projected to be a Miami-arctic 55 degrees fahrenheit on Tuesday, when the two teams square off in Canadian spelt Air Canada Centre. (Right now, it’s 2 AM in Miami, Fl, and it’s 78 degrees fahrenheit. At 2 A.M. … Not a typo. Not to mention the oil slick of sweat that’s on everyone’s forehead from the humidity.)
The Raptors winning, overcoming the short-handed Indiana Pacers, ultimately meant that the Heat would not enjoy home court advantage this series -- an advantage that could more that likely sway the series. Traditionally, the Heat have been subpar on the road, upheld by their “I’ll take two, you take two” initial four-game home split with the Hornets. Though it should be noted that they did win Game 6 in Charlotte. So the road start and finish is one knock against the Heat in the second round, but their seven-game battle royal with the Hornets might be the bigger problem at hand. At least in Game 1.
Per basketball-reference.com, going back to 2004, Wade Era Heat teams have advanced to the next round three times following Game 7 wins (not including their 2013 Game 7 with the Spurs. Because: Ring). And after all three of those Game 7 wins and bracket hops a loss has ensued. Let’s take a look.
In the first-round of the 2004 playoffs, the Heat went the full-twelve with the New Orleans Hornets, winning in a Game 7 at home; then, the Heat proceeded to lose two in a row to the Indiana Pacers, in Indiana.
In the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat went the distance with the Boston Celtics. You might remember this series for -- Celtics fan tigger warning -- LeBron James’ “Game 6” and the stare. Miami would win Game 7 at home, only to lose Game 1 of the NBA Finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder, in OKC. That’d be the only game the Heat lost in that series while on their way to a Gentleman’s Sweep.
In the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat faced off against the stout Indiana Pacers, starring Paul George as LeBron’s foil. Those Pacers teams always played the Heat close; I’m sure a little too close if you’re a Heat. Miami would oust the Pacers in seven games, and inevitably lose the opening game of the 2013 NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, in Miami.
So, the Heat coming off a seven games series versus the Hornets -- what does that tell you? Well, history says that they’ll probably lose in Toronto. But we saw in Game 6 of this best-of-seven series with the Hornets: You don’t doubt a team with Dwyane Wade on the roster; he might just can a few triples.
VegasInsider.com’s consensus line movements have the Heat at +180 underdogs. Maybe they're on to something, too. It couldn’t have anything to do with Miami’s 20-of-41 regular season road record, right?
Prediction: No idea