Heat First NBA Team Since 1999 To Accomplish Insane Feat

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

The Miami Heat are the first eighth seed to reach the NBA Finals since the New York Knicks did it in 1999.

Miami is hoping for a better result than New York, as the Knicks lost the 1999 Finals to the San Antonio Spurs.

The Heat lost the 7-8 play-in game to the Atlanta Hawks. They had to beat the Chicago Bulls in the 8-9 play-in game just to make the playoffs.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics & New York Knicks Updates

Miami defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, the Knicks in the second round and the Boston Celtics in the conference finals. The Heat will now face Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals and Erik Spoelstra know his group will be ready for the challenge.

“We have some incredible competitors in that locker room,” Spoelstra said after the Heat won Game 7 against the Celtics. “They love the challenge. They love putting themselves out there in front of everybody. Open to criticism. Open to everything. But to compete for it, and that’s a beautiful thing.

“We know we have more work to do. But damn, is this hard. It is hard. It’s a hard business, and it’s hard to survive three rounds just to get to that final round. We’re extremely grateful for that. We’re not even going to think about this next round until we get to Denver.”

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics & New York Knicks Updates

Spoelstra has coached LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Jimmy Butler, four of the best players in NBA history. Butler has now guided the Heat to the Finals twice in four years and Spoelstra is very appreciative of how hard the All-Star works.

“You have to have a guy that you can hold on to, particularly in those moments of truth,” Spoelstra said. “I’ve said this before, there’s no way to quantify the confidence that he can instill in everybody. And you know, Jimmy has never had to apologize. I don’t want him to ever apologize for who he is and how he approaches competition. It’s intense. It’s not for everybody, and we’re not for everybody. That’s why we think it’s like an incredible marriage. We never judge him on that. He doesn’t judge us for how crazy we get. It’s the same language.”

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About Ashish Mathur 2176 Articles
Ashish is an NBA writer for NBA Analysis Network. He has been featured on many publications, including Heavy.com, ClutchPoints, Sportscasting and Celtics Wire. You can follow Ashish on Twitter @amathur25.