On Thursday, the Miami Heat put away the Philadelphia 76ers for the summer in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 99-90 win.
Miami led by as many as 20 points in the contest, and it came on the heels of a 120-85 destruction of the Sixers in Game 5.
While the city of Philadelphia will be licking its painful wounds for the next several months, the Heat will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to face either the Boston Celtics or the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.
The Heat certainly looked impressive at times versus the Sixers, as they orchestrated the pace and picked apart Joel Embiid and company.
But they will have their hands full in the next series, as well as in the NBA Finals if they make it that far.
Do the Heat truly have what it takes to win it all?
The Heat May Not Have The Most Offensive Firepower Around
Against Milwaukee or Boston, the Heat may be underdogs, but they will certainly be at somewhat of a disadvantage on the offensive end.
They are one of the league’s best on defense, as they are very disciplined and have one of the game’s best coaches in Erik Spoelstra, a man who coached a previous iteration of the Heat to back-to-back championships several years ago.
But unlike in the days of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, Miami has less firepower than the other teams that are currently remaining in the playoffs, save for possibly the Dallas Mavericks.
Jimmy Butler is an incredible competitor, and he is arguably the league’s best crunch-time performer, not to mention a winner and a leader.
Jimmy Butler has taken the Miami Heat to the Conference Finals 2 out of his 3 seasons. Franchise player.
— Greg Sylvander (@GregSylvander) May 13, 2022
But he is a team player to a fault, and sometimes it leaves the Heat vulnerable early in games.
When they went to the championship series in 2020, they developed the habit of falling behind early in contests, putting lots of pressure on Butler to rescue them in the second half.
It may have worked against a younger, less battle-tested version of the Bucks and Celtics, but it is less likely to work this time.
Two Men Who Have Stepped Things Up A Bit
In guard Tyler Herro, the Heat have the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and a man who averaged 20.7 points a game in the regular season, which is considerably higher than his 13.5 points a game average the year they went to the Finals.
Miami needs more from him, however, as he came into Game 6 putting up just 14.2 points per contest in the playoffs while shooting only 28.3 percent from 3-point range.
Herro needs to bottle up whatever he had in Game 1 versus the Sixers when he went 9-of-17 from the field and scored 25 points while dishing off seven assists.
Another big X-factor will be Victor Oladipo, who has missed lots of time in the last three years because of injury.
He only returned from his most recent ailment late in the regular season, and although he hasn’t fully regained his game, he has given the team a lift several times this postseason.
— Victor Oladipo (@VicOladipo) May 13, 2022
If Herro and Oladipo consistently play well and are aggressive and efficient, Miami can hang with its two remaining playoff opponents and at least have a shot at winning, especially with Butler doing his thing when the chips are down.