As the 2016-17 NBA Regular Season comes to a close, a lot of teams have been making a late run for the playoffs. Today, we look at two teams that started their season like any other sub-par team but have emerged as feared opponents towards the end of the regular season.
Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference
Out of all the teams that are hoping to make it to the playoffs, Miami Heat is probably the most deserving team for the 8th seed in the eastern conference. The Heat started the 2016-17 regular season very badly and not much was expected of them. They were expected to tank this season for a potential top-ten draft pick. That was until the Miami Heat went on a 13 game winning streak which shook the NBA. This was the longest streak in NBA history by a team under .500 win-ratio throughout the entire run. Heat is 8-2 in their last ten games and currently on a 4 game winning streak including a blowout win against top seeded Toronto Raptors. They have also beaten Cleveland Cavaliers very recently. They are currently placed 9th in the east with 32 wins.
Miami Heat is .5 games behind 8th seeded Milwaukee Bucks and only 1.5 games behind 6th seeded Indiana Pacers, so they will be looking to go as high as possible behind a solid core of Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson. Anything is possible for them right now.
Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference
Dallas Mavericks are in a slightly difficult place than the Miami Heat. They’re currently placed 10th in the west with a record of 28-37. At the start of the season, Harrison Barnes was assumed as the leader of the Mavericks. A lot has changed since then. Seth Curry has stepped up his game to a whole new level as he has been shooting lights out from three-point range. Harrison Barnes is ensuring the opponents of his presence at the offensive end. Dirk Nowitzki is also playing a lot of minutes lately. Rookie Yogi Ferrell is making his presence felt on the court with valuable contributions.
There is no doubt that they’re gonna do whatever it takes to grab that 8th seed. Dallas Mavericks have a 6-4 record in their last ten games. They are 2.5 games behind 8th seeded Denver Nuggets in the west.
Both these teams are at the zenith of their game and are not be taken lightly come playoff time.