Despite much adversity, the Miami Heat entered the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. After eliminating the Atlanta Hawks in Round 1 of the playoffs, the Heat (2-0) are dominating the Philadelphia 76ers in the conference semifinals.
Despite being the top team to beat, the Heat hasn’t taken over the national media’s attention. On Friday, May 6, Miami’s broadcast assistant Stephen Strom asked Fox Sports 1 analyst Chris Broussard why the Heat aren’t getting their due.
“What the hell do they have to do?” Strom asks, to which Broussard answers, “I’m just going to keep it real.”
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“They’re not as exciting,” Broussard says. “They’re not as fun to watch. You mention Jimmy Butler… their best player, whichever you think it is – I think it’s Butler, is not a superstar. They’re not as fun to watch. It’s just as simple as that.”
Saying that Butler, a six-time All-Star, who signed a four-year, $184 million contract extension this past summer, is not a superstar — is a debatable comment. During the postseason thus far, he’s averaging 26.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per game.
With the explosive return of Victor Oladipo, undrafted guard Gabe Vincent stepping up to fill in for an injured Kyle Lowry, not to mention the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award winner Tyler Herro starting to break out against the Sixers — it’s also hard to call the Heat a boring team to watch.
“If you look down the line, Phoenix has Devin Booker who lights it up and ya know, Chris Paul is there,” Broussard continues. “Golden State is obviously superstar-laden and fun to watch. Memphis even has Ja Morant. Milwaukee has Giannis. The Nets, obviously, with Durant and KD. They’ve got these more exciting players to watch than Miami does, and that’s really what it was.
“Ya know, in the playoffs, it’s been rare that a team has won it all without a superstar. It’s happened a couple of time, Detroit in 2004, Seattle in 1979… but you gotta go way back… It’s rare for a team to win it all without that iconic type superstar and that’s why people tend to underestimate the Heat.”
Heat Fans Had Strong Reactions to Broussard’s Comments on Twitter
Broussard’s comments about the Heat did not sit well with fans, who expressed their strong opinions about his “not fun to watch” comment. One person tweeted, “So, basically the Heat to them are the 2000s Spurs… got it. I take it as a compliment.”
Another fan commented, “I wonder still, do the heat not have a ‘super’ star cause no one talks about them nationally? Bam maybe the best defensive player in the league, finishes 4th in voting for DPOY. In the playoffs Jimmy is 4th in field goals made per game and 1st in steals per game.”
After hearing Broussard’s rant, one man wrote, “Say I havent watched the heat without saying i havent watched the heat.”
While some Heat fans didn’t like Broussard’s comments, they couldn’t help but admit there was some truth to them. “at least he’s honest,” one person replied, while another fan tweeted, “i mean this is obviously the answer. also reason why national media was all over big 3 heat.”
The Heat Take on the Sixers in Game 3 on Friday Night
The Heat don’t need Broussard’s blessing or national media praise to keep winning this postseason. On Friday night, Miami will take on the Sixers in a pivotal Game 3 at the Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m. ET.
What could be a huge swing in the series, is the possible return of league MVP candidate Joel Embiid, who suffered a concussion and right orbital fracture last week. While the Sixers star has cleared concussion protocols, as of 1 p.m. ET, the team only changed his status from “out” to “doubtful.”
The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted, “There’s optimism Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid will return tonight in Game 3 vs. Heat… He has been fitted for a mask and will need to feel comfortable before green light. One of the NBA’s great play-through-pain efforts recently.”
If Embiid is ready to go, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra is ready. “You have to plan for it,” Spoelstra said “Whether he does or not, it would be irresponsible not to.”
And if he does play, “It changes [the game] dramatically,” Spoelstra added. “You’re talking about an MVP talent. So we’ll just have to see.”