When he recovers from multiple injuries, the Heat will be fearsome

He heat He has been working miracles to compensate for the absence of vital players due to a pandemic of injuries and is confident that in this regard better days will lie ahead for him in 2024.

This streak has been so corrosive that in 19 of its first 33 games of the current regular season it featured different starting lineups.

Eric Spoelstra was forced to juggle to put teams on the court capable of responding to the demands. The strategist manages admirably and prepares his quintet so that, despite adversity, he is always a very difficult opponent for anyone.

To get an idea of ​​the difficulties the Heat are going through, it is enough to say that Tyler Herro, one of the most talented attackers in the NBA, missed 18 consecutive games due to injury.

In the last game of 2023 against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, star Jimmy Butler reappeared, after having been injured in the ankle, and that same night in a clash against an opponent he left the game and could not play in the next one either. in a new defeat for the Heat, this time against the Clippers in Los Angeles, in their first game of 2024.

On Tuesday, January 2, the Heat announced that their guard Dru Smith had undergone surgery to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Meanwhile, in the clash against the Clippers, Haywood Highsmith suffered a concussion and had to be sent back to Miami to comply with NBA protocols.

Until the clash against the Clippers, one of the Heat’s mainstays Bam Adebayo had missed a total of 10 games; Caleb Martin (right ankle) 13 games; Butler (ankle, foot), nine; Josh Richardson (back) nine; and Kyle Lowry four.

There have, however, been shining cases that have allowed Spoelstra to keep a Heat in the fight that reached the NBA Finals last season.

The most flattering case was that of the forward of Mexican origin Jaime Jacquez Jr., who not only has not missed a single Heat game but is enthusiastically mentioned as one of the strong candidates to be chosen as the Rookie of the Year in the League of stars.

Due to so many injuries, the strategist was forced to bring up youngsters like Jamal Cain (24 years old), who has already played more than a dozen games with the Heat; the Serbian Nikola Jovic (20 years old), seven; RJ Hampton (22 years old), six; and Orlando Robinson (23), 14.

Duncan Robinson, a formidable three-pointer, has barely lost two games and when he is in action he always appears as a decisive player not only for launching missiles but also for penetrating the paint and scoring.

For his part, 35-year-old forward Kevin Love lost seven games.

After a five-game trip through the West, the Heat will return home. They will face the Houston Rockets on Monday, January 8, in their first game of 2024 at the Kaseya Center in Miami.

Two days later they will host the Oklahoma City Thunder; on January 12 to Orlando City, with whom they are in a great battle for the top of the Southeast Division; and on January 15 he will wait for the Charlotte Hornets, and then go on a two-game mini-tour.

In an NBA analysis of the January schedule from most difficult to easiest of its 30 teams, the Heat are ranked 10th.

The winning percentage through December 31 of its rivals in January is .520. The Heat will have to play on consecutive days twice and of their 16 games in the first month of the year, nine will be at home and seven on the road.

Many good things can be in store for the Heat in 2024, especially due to the resistance that the team has shown in the face of unfavorable situations. With the return of his starters, Spoelstra will have a deeper deck that will allow him to establish his starting lineup and rotate players according to the needs of the circumstances.

“The Heat’s strength is in our depth,” Love said. “When we are complete we are very difficult to beat.”