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The History Of The Miami Heat

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The History of the Miami Heat began in 1988 as a expansion franchise. In the 24 seasons the Heat has made the playoffs 16 times. They have 10 division titles, three Eastern Conference Championships and three NBA World Championship (2006, 2012,2013). The Heat started off their first few seasons with journeymen and rookies and was among the league’s worst teams. They won their first game after recording 17 consecutive losses with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers 89-88 on December 14, 1988. Rony Seikaly, Rory Sparrow, Grant Long and Pearl Washington were among the original Heat players. They won 15 games that first year while dropping 67. Miami improved to 18-64 in year two, the same record as the first year expansion franchise Orlando Magic.

Miami Heat Memorabilia

The two franchises would then be measured against one another and at first, the Heat were coming up short. Orlando landed the number one draft pick in back-to-back seasons which became Shaquille O’Neal and later turned into Penny Hardaway. This put Orlando into the upper-echelon of the Eastern conference with a Finals appearance in 1995 and another Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 1996. But after the ’96 season, O’Neal left for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat’s first playoff appearance was in 1992 when they posted a 38-44 record. They were swept out in round one by the Michael Jordan led Bulls in three games. Their first winning season came two years later in 1994 when they were 42-40 under Kevin Loughery. They lost to the top seeded Atlanta Hawks that season in a first round best of five series 3-2. In 1995, the Heat slipped to 32-50 and Loughery was fired. Pat Riley was then hired to take over as head coach. In his first season of 1996, Miami was back over .500 at 42-40. They were swept in three games by the Bulls in the opening round of the playoffs.

In 1997, in Orlando’s first year post-Shaq, the Heat faced them in the first round of the playoffs. In the best-of-five series, the Heat beat the Magic in five games, advancing past the first round for the first time in team history. After beating the New York Knicks in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals, they lost to the Chicago Bulls and Jordan in his first full season returning from his hiatus. The Bulls beat the Heat in five games en route to their first of three straight NBA Championships.

In Riley’s second season, the Heat won their first division title with 61 wins. They beat the Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals in seven games after being down 3-1. This was the beginning of a budding rivalry. The heat then won another Atlantic Division title in Riley’s third season in 1998 and in 1999, they won it again in the abbreviated 50 game schedule by going 33-17. Those two seasons saw the Heat get bounced from the playoffs by the Knicks, further intensifying the rivalry between the two. In 2000, the Heat again lost to the Knicks in a seven game series by one point in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The cruelest blow was yet to come though. It came that summer when star center Alonzo Mourning announced he had to retire due to a rare kidney disease. In 2001, the Heat again won 50 games, finishing second in the division. They were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round by the Charlotte Hornets. In the next two seasons they bottomed out finishing well under .500 both years and missing the playoffs. A few days before the 2004 season started, Riley shocked the basketball world when he stepped down as head coach to concentrate on his duties as president. Stan Van Gundy was then named head coach. They made it to the second round of the playoffs that season, losing to Indiana.

The next season, the Heat acquired Shaquille O’Neal. In 2005, the Heat won 59 games and another division championship, this time the Southeast Division. Year two of the Shaq-Wade era, the Heat won the NBA Championship. They were 52-30 in the regular season, winning the Southeast Division again. They beat the Bulls in six games in the first round, the New Jersey nets in five games in round two and the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. They beat the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals for the first NBA Championship in franchise history. After the team was not able to repeat and some of their aging stars needed to go, the Heat slipped back into the middle of the pack for a few seasons. But in the summer of 2010, the Heat re-signed Dwayne Wade who then talked free agents Lebron James and Chris Bosh into signing with the Heat. In their first season together, the “Big Three” won the Eastern Conference Championship before losing in the Finals to Dallas in six games. But in typical Heat fashion, in year two of the James-Wade-Bosh era, they again won the NBA Championship. James, who had taken so much criticism for the way he announced the departure of his hometown franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers and for not being able to finish off games in the Finals vs the Mavs the season before, put it all together to become the best player on the planet in the 2012 season. In the lockout shortened season of 62 games, he scored 1663 points, roughly 600 more than anyone else on the team. They beat the Knicks in the first round, the Pacers in six in the second round and the Boston Celtics in a seven game Eastern Conference Finals.

The Heat then dispatched the Oklahoma City Thunder after dropping Game One in five games to win their second NBA Title. The following season, the Heat was then tasked with repeating, which they were not able to do after winning their first NBA title. But this Heat team was perhaps their best ever. With James again dominating the rest of the league, the Heat won 27 games in a row at one point in the regular season as they were 66-16 at season’s end. The playoffs started out easily enough with a four game sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks and a five game win over the Bulls. However, the Indiana Pacers took the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals while the San Antonio Spurs rested up after sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies out of the Western Finals.

The NBA Finals would be a battle of teams looking to cement their place among the greats in NBA history. The Spurs were going for their fifth world championship in the Tim Duncan era while the Heat were looking for number three in the Dwayne Wade era and second in a row. The rested Spurs won game One in Miami, meaning if they could win their three home games they would close the Heat out in five games. But the Heat stole Game Four in San Antonio and came back to their home court for Game Six. That game will be forever remembered in Miami for the amazing comeback in the last 27 seconds of regulation. The Heat trailed by five but a James bucket, a defensive stop and a desperation three from the corner with less than two seconds left from Ray Allen sent the game into overtime.

Miami went on to win Game Six in overtime thanks to two big blocked shots by Bosh and then went on to win Game Seven in large part because of two missed layups by Tim Duncan with under a minute left. Miami had won back-to-back world championships. This year they will go for three in a row and should be the favorites going into the season. Like this article leave a comment and let us know your favorite moment as a fan.

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