Miami Heat Could Wind Up Anywhere From No. 2-7 in the East At All-Star Break

Shandel Richardson

The Miami Heat are in no position to get comfortable about holding the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

With seven games left before NBA All-Star Weekend, they could enter the break anywhere from No. 2-7. That's how tight the upper half of the conference has been this season. With the exception of Milwaukee, which is eight games ahead of Toronto, anything is possible.

"I think this kind of competition and the context of games brings something out of you," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "This is what you're in this game for, is to find out who your team can become under pressure, playing against good competition."

A few weeks ago, the Heat held a firm grip on the No. 2 slot. They have played .500 in the last 10 games, allowing their counterparts opportunity to surpass and gain ground. The Raptors are one game ahead of Miami while the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers aren't too far behind. The Heat could actually fall behind the Pacers in the next couple of weeks. They play five of the next seven away from home, including a five-game, West Coast trip just before the break. The Heat are just 11-12 on the road.

Miami, which is coming off a 109-101 loss to the Celtics, is in the middle of a renaissance in the East. For the last several years, it was considered the league's weak link compared to its counterpart in the West. There are signs of the balance of power shifting.

"I mentioned this probably a month ago that the East has been criticized for so many years for not having the kind of depth and talented teams," Spoelstra said. "You can't make that case this year. There's a lot of really good teams in the East. There's team that are playing well. There's teams that have similar records right now. We're all going to end up playing each other. Ultimately, this is what you want as a competitor."

Comments (4)

Team lacked energy yesterday alot of starters played deep into Monday’s win when they didnt have to... Also as hot as Dion can be offensively he is horrendous defending especially boxing out when in Zone... Do you see him in long term rotation?

No. 1-2

Crazy how tight all those teams are. But it is impossible to go down to 7, Orlando is still 6 games below .500