The lowest seeds in the NBA playoffs get there because they are the best of the worst. They’re good enough to contend with the best teams during the year and score some impressive victories. But all things considered, they just get by and prove they can qualify for the postseason. Nobody expects that they will get past the opening round; they’re just there to try and challenge the top dogs. But the 2022-23 Miami Heat are here and don’t look to be going away any time soon.

The Heat have got some serious star power, and are overcoming the loss of Tyler Herro, an integral part of their trip to the postseason. He has improved from his sixth man of the year campaign after being inserted as a starter. The team continues to work hard. And they are halfway to the conference finals, folks.

Taking Care of New York


It is very rare that a No. 5 seed battles a No. 8 seed in the postseason. But, that is the case at the moment, as the Knicks and Heat are locked into a competitive series. The Heat’s NBA Finals odds are looking better and better by the day. The teams have alternated win/loss for the first three, with Miami taking care of business at some on Saturday. Max Strus has been integral since being inserted as a starter. And moving Caleb Martin into a bench role with Kevin Love starting has allowed them to possess size as well as floor spacing.

Mitchell Robinson ate the Cavaliers alive in round one but has just eight points and ten rebounds combined over 35 minutes played in the past two games of the series. The fact that Bam Adebayo has been able to limit him, and they have him in foul trouble is massive. Without rim protection, driving inside against that defense seems to be simple. Jimmy Butler came into the contest averaging a shade under 36 points in the playoffs and looks like the best in the NBA at the moment.

Sure, Joel Embiid won the MVP award in the regular season. But it is Jimmy G. Buckets that is taking the league by storm right now. The 8-seed isn’t supposed to be here. Not supposed to be doing things as they are. But a year after being one three-pointer away from the finals, the team is back and trying to do it again. With the first-round sweep by the Bucks forgotten from 2020-21, the team has been within two wins of the conference finals in three straight. They just keep working hard. Jimmy being here has changed the culture for the better. If only they could have him here earlier, huh? He and Wade together could have been incredible for a year or two.

As the series still features one more in Miami, they could move close to being a step away from a second NBA Finals appearance in the last four campaigns.

The Other Guys


Kyle Lowry was written off after his poor play last regular season. In the postseason, he could not hit the backside of a barn. But now, after missing a long regular season stretch due to injury, he has emerged again. Coming off the bench this time around, he has accepted the lesser role and been ready for the task. He had 14-3-4 with three triples against New York in game 3, after blocking four shots with 18 points scored as well in the series opener.

Undrafted guys like Gabe Vincent, Haywood Highsmith, and Caleb Martin have also been unsung heroes. Martin nearly got the team a victory in game 2 when Butler was unable to take the floor. Max Strus has been knocking down shots at a highly effective clip and is somebody that will surely get paid this summer. He deserves it, and the fact he has outplayed the $90 million man Duncan Robinson is telling. It’s hard to put that money on the bench. But, Strus has proven to be better and more effective.

Robinson has struggled a bit in this series after emerging against the Bucks but did sink a triple in the victory. Cody Zeller has provided good-enough backup minutes for Bam Adebayo, and shown that he belongs on the floor when push comes to shove. The team is filled with guys that are ready to contribute.

The No. 8 seed Miami Heat have moved within two wins of the conference finals. It’s going to be fun to follow them the rest of the way. And if they are unable to control things against the Knicks, it will remain exciting in that a team that hasn’t been to the conference finals since 2000 would finally be breaking out of their long drought. Of course, they lack the undrafted gems of their opponents, but it would still be making headlines nonetheless.

The Other Underdog Series


While a lot of this talk is about Miami and New York being two lower seeds doing battle, both the Warriors and Lakers have surprised folks with their appearances in round two. The #2 Grizzlies and #3 Kings would be battling it out at the moment, if not for being upset in round one by two old superstars. LeBron James and his Lakers did enough to win that series in six games. And for the Warriors, they pulled off a mega upset a week ago in game 7 in the league’s loudest arena.

And the first couple of games of their head-to-head has been nothing short of great. If Golden State falls short in the fourth game, a 3-1 comeback may be tough. The one thing about LeBron James is that his teams will hardly ever blow a lead all the way. He has had so many playoff rallies during his impressive playoff career. The 3-1 he led in 2016 against the 73-9, the best team in history, is one that gets talked about among the tops of the top. One of the greatest feats to ever happen in the history of the NBA.

Stephen Curry has had his moments. Klay Thompson has gone from shooting lights out to being ice cold as fast as the seasons have changed from fall to winter etc. The team has got shooters and great defenders/playmakers across the board. But, it is clear that L.A. adjusted well to what the Warriors did in playing smaller. It might be enough to force JaMychal Green off the floor for the remainder of the series and have them play big.

A #6 and a #7 battling it out in the second round was not on any bingo cards. But seeing it happen has been absolutely glorious. If one of them is able to make it far enough to the finals to potentially play the Heat, it might be the most improbable NBA Finals of all time if it does wind up happening. Keep your eyes peeled on this series as things continue to progress. And it is worth mentioning two more things.

The first is that the Warriors have not lost before the NBA Finals in the Steve Kerr era. Only Toronto and Cleveland have defeated them in the postseason. And the second is that LeBron James has only been eliminated before the NBA Finals once since 2010. And that was the first-round series the Lakers had with Phoenix a few seasons back. With that, Anthony Davis was hurt. So, neither team would normally be expected to be ousted here.

But, one of them will be. Buckle up. No matter the blowouts or close scores, every second of these games are must-watch television.