The Miami Heat‘s rollercoaster performance this season has left much to admire, and Trevor Ariza, one of the team’s recent veteran pick ups, spoke candidly on their chances of making a successful playoff.
Following the Heat’s rough loss to a Zach LaVine-less Chicago Bulls on April 26, Ariza revealed Miami is now firmly in desperation mode to turn things around.
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“We have to focus on these last 10 and play ‘em like our playoff lives depended on ‘em, because they do,” Ariza said, who joined the Heat in March. “The seeding is important. So whatever we do, we have to do it knowing that we can be in the play-in situation or we can be seeded and set and ready to go.”
These next 10 games are crucial for the Heat. They will decide whether or not the team gets a break before the playoffs, or if they will jump right in on May 22 to eke out an all-or-nothing play-in game.
Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman succinctly described the Heat’s situation as they currently sit in the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference:
The play-in format is relatively straightforward: No. 7 hosts No. 8 in a single game, with the winner advancing directly to the playoffs as the No. 7 seed. Concurrently, No. 9 hosts No. 10 in a winner-take-all game to remain alive. Then the loser of the No. 7-No. 8 game hosts the winner of the No. 9-No. 10 game, with that game’s winner securing the No. 8 seed.
Ariza, the most traded player in the NBA, has impressively locked in his role in Miami. The 35-year-old power forward has a permanent spot in the starting lineup and over the past seven straight games, has shown incredible agility and strength, playing at least 30 minutes in each tilt.
Trevor Ariza’s last 3 games:
Amazing pickup 🔥 pic.twitter.com/1ZXzgmBdGp
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) April 19, 2021
In Miami’s loss to the Bulls on Monday, during which Victor Oladipo, Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Andre Iguodala were sidelined, the 6-foot-8 veteran registered 18 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks in 34 minutes of play.
Jimmy Butler Also Addressed Miami’s Perilous Position Going into the Next 10 Games
Ariza was not the only Heat player to voice his concern over the team’s lackluster and inconsistent performances of late. Five-time All-Star Jimmy Butler appears to be at a loss when speaking to the media following Miami’s winnable losses.
While talking to the media after the Heat’s 110-102 loss to Chicago, Butler’s postgame statement mirrored the comments he made after Miami’s embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team with the worst record in the entire NBA. “We didn’t guard the entire game,” Butler said. “At the end, we weren’t able to outscore them. It’s been like that all year long, honestly. I can’t tell you what team is going to show up.”
“We have to be better as a whole,” Butler continued. “So we’ve got 10 games to collectively be better.”
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