Miami Heat: What were the best moments of 2023?

Heat
The Heat clinching the East was one of its top moments of 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Happy New Year! We are in the thick and thin of the 2023-24 Miami Heat regular season, where the Heat are currently 19-13 and a top-4 team in the Eastern Conference. Regardless, let’s turn back the clock and reflect on 2023. Today, we are going to recap the Heat’s best moments of 2023!

Feb. 19: Kevin Love signs with Heat:

Kevin Love was the Heat’s most notable acquisition of the 2022-23, helping provide some size and depth to their frontcourt behind Bam Adebayo.

Love, who was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers in February, struggled with Miami in the regular season, averaging 7.7 points on 29.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc. But Love regressed back to the mean with his efficiency and impact in the postseason in a more limited role, posting 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds on 37.5 percent shooting from 3-point range.

The Heat eventually re-signed Love in the offseason to a two-year minimum–and the majority of Love’s impact did not come on the court, but in the locker room.

April 9: Udonis Haslem’s last regular season game:

Haslem officially announced that the 2022-23 season would be his last in the offseason beforehand, but he capped off a special 20-year career in a special fashion. He finished his final regular season game with 24 points and three boards, knocking down nine of his 17 field goal attempts and 3-of-7 from deep in the Heat’s 13-point win over the Orlando Magic.

April 14: Max Strus helps Heat survive second play-in game against Bulls:

After dropping its first game of the play-in tournament to the Atlanta Hawks, the Heat were on thin ice against the Chicago Bulls, who overcame a 19-point deficit against the Toronto Raptors 48 hours prior.

The Heat trailed by three with less than three minutes left, but Bam Adebayo, Max Strus–a former member of the Bulls organization who finished with 31 points on 7-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc–and Jimmy Butler (who also had 31) tallied the team’s final 15 points en-route to an 11-point win.

Strus’ heroics, though, stood out the most; he came one point shy of tying a career-high while sinking seven of the Heat’s 10 total 3-pointers. Miami wasn’t able to generate much offense in what was a rock fight, but Strus was the one exception; the Heat didn’t win that game or have their historic playoff run without him.

April 24: Jimmy Butler’s 56-point masterclass in Game 4 against Bucks:

Personally, this was my favorite moment of 2023: Jimmy Butler putting up 56 points and nine rebounds on 19-of-28 shooting, etching his name into Heat lore after the Heat clawed back from a 15-point second-half deficit to take a 3-1 series lead over Milwaukee.

Butler’s 56 points were not only a career-high, but a franchise record. He had 22 in the first quarter and 21 in the fourth, including this infamous stepback jumper over Jrue Holiday in transition that put Miami Heat–prompting Butler to scream “THIS IS MY S–T!!!” to the 19,614 fans roaring inside Kaseya Center.

Goosebumps.

April 26: Butler dominates Bucks, Heat sink Bucks in five games:

Butler followed up his 56-point masterpiece with 42 in an overtime win against Milwaukee, including a game-tying buzzer-beater at the end of regulation that I’m still not sure how he made (I could say that about plenty of his made shots … but this stook out). It was a cataclysmic collapse for Milwaukee, who missed 20 of its 20 field goal attempts and eight of its 20 free throw attempts in the final 17 minutes.

HEAT IN FIVE!!!!

Miami’s series win over Milwaukee was the first time in the seven-game series era that a No. 8 seed beat a 1-seed in five games or fewer. Butler completely fried Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Holiday in the series. He averaged an absurd 37.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals against the NBA’s top defense in the regular season, doing so on 59.7/44.4/70.8 shooting splits.

May 29: Heat beat Boston by 19 in Game 7:

The Heat was on the brink of a historic collapse in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics; it won three straight to tip off the series, but could not get its series-closing victory in Games 4, 5 and 6.

Never fear, Caleb Martin is here–the 6-foot-5 undrafted wing finished with a playoff career-high 26 points, 10 rebounds on 11-of-16 shooting and 4-of-6 from deep, nailing important shot after important shot whenever Boston tried to make a run back into the game over the final three quarters.

May 29: Caleb Martin dominates ECF, Butler wins ECF MVP:

Martin averaged 19.3 points and 6.4 assists on 60.2/48.9/87.5 shooting splits in the series; I’ll still maintain the take that he was the most consistently good player in the series, despite Butler winning the award.

He etched his name into “players that Boston Celtic fans hate the most” forever.

June 22: Heat draft Jaime Jaquez Jr. No. 18 overall:

The Miami Heat selected Jaime Jaquez Jr., the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year out of UCLA, No. 18 overall in the 2023 NBA Draft. Jaquez was dominant in his lone full game of the 2023 Summer League against the Los Angeles Lakers and, by all accounts, has been a top-3 rookie in this year’s draft class.

Arguably no rookie since Dwyane Wade–including Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, also mid-first-round draft picks in 2017 and 2019–has been as polished as Jaquez. That says something.

Aug. 12: Dwyane Wade gets enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame:

Wade, the greatest player in Miami Heat history, was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, Pau Gasol and Becky Hammon this summer.

Wade is the Heat’s all-time leading scorer,  minutes played, assists, steals, games and total field goals made. He also was the first-ever Heat player drafted to make the Hall of Fame.

Oct. 2: “Emo Jimmy” appears on Media Day:

Classic Jimmy Butler–one that will have a spot in the (NBA) Internet Hall of Fame … similar to showing up with dreadlocks extensions the year before. Hey, it was almost Halloween!!

Now let’s hope the National Media consistently uses his Media Day photo instead of a generic one for television advertisements. He’s the greatest troll in NBA History for a reason.

What will he do in 2024? Put on a bald cap? Let us know in the comments!

***

To check out our other content, click here.

Follow Hot Hot Hoops on Twitter/X here!

Follow Hot Hot Hoops on Instagram here!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
oregoner

The first round series against Milwaukie was excellent, and the first few games of the Finals were really fun. It’s always fun to beat the Knicks in the playoffs, but that series didn’t have a ton of memorable moments. The ECF against the Celtics was easily my favorite part of the season.

Probably my favorite Miami Heat moment of 2023 was the second half of Game-7 against the Celtics in Boston, when the Heat made a huge run to blow open the game, and Duncan hit a three-pointer in the fourth quarter and the Celtics called timeout and Dunc ran to the bench with his hand up to his ear as the entire arena was silent

Last edited 2 months ago by oregoner
ManilaHeat

The playoffs were the most unforgettable for me. All of it. With some Heat fans already counting them out starting the end of the regular season, the play-in, first round, second rd, then suddenly making them “believers” in the ecf with 3 straight wins. Amazing run! They were entirely and completely underdogs that made other teams change their coach or players after that run. So much fun!!

2
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
Scroll to Top