5 Things to Look Forward to in Miami’s Christmas Day Matchup

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4. How the Heat Will Respond to Adversity

Number 4 is something of a corollary to number 3.

The Heat have had an up-and-down season to say the least, mixing in impressive wins on the road against the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, with home losses to the lowly Utah Jazz and (gasp) Philadelphia 76ers.

Again, this can be chalked up to the ever-shifting lineups coach Erik Spoelstra has had to manage from game-to-game due to various injuries and ailments, especially to key players. Add to that a slower progression for some of the younger players, such as rookie point guard Shabazz Napier, and you have a recipe for a mediocre record.

On the other hand, Miami’s supporting cast has shown signs of real improvement of late. Take the Heat’s recent home victory over the Boston Celtics. Playing without Wade and Bosh, the Heat used a balanced scoring attack to snap a five-game home losing streak.

Six Heat players scored in double figures, led by Deng’s 23. Second-year forward James Ennis was especially effective off the bench for Miami, scoring 16 points and helping the Heat put the game away in the fourth quarter.

But that was followed up by an embarrassing home loss to the 76ers. With Wade in the lineup, the Heat built a 23-point lead in the second half, only to watch the 76ers mount a huge comeback and leave American Airlines Arena with the victory.

Their last two games pretty much epitomize what has been a uneven and often frustrating season for the Heat to this point. Age, injury and inexperience may be season-long issues for the Heat, but perhaps they use the signature matchup of the season thus far against LeBron and the Cavaliers to earn what would be an unexpected and most welcome win.

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Rizwan is a graduate of UCLA and Loyola Law School and is a fan of all sports, but in particular basketball (NBA and NCAA). He has been a freelance writer since 2011 and is proud to be a staff writer for HeatNation.com.