Here’s proof Miami Heat weren’t bubble cheats in 2020

Between the pandemic, inflation and Tuanon conspiraciesyou’d be forgiven if, over the past two years, the unfairness of opposing fanbases calling the Miami Heat bubble cheats after their 2020 NBA Finals playoff had completely eluded you.

It has not escaped ours.

Ever since the Heat ended their incredible COVID-shortened season in the Orlando bubble, haters, naysayers and opposing fanbases have mocked the Miami Heat as a team, saying they don’t were not so good and took advantage of the circumstances.

Well, two years later, the Heat are back in the Eastern Conference Finals once again, and those bubble cheating allegations have suddenly dissipated. Of course, it’s clear now that the Heat’s 2020 run was never fraudulent; it was a sign of things to come. Here are five reasons the Heat have always been real.

Performance from the bubble

If the Miami Heat were indeed bubble cheats, they should have fallen once less favorable circumstances prevailed. However, it was the teams that were on their side in the 2020 Conference Finals that fell – not the Heat.

The Boston Celtics (the team Miami faced in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals) have since torn their organization apart, changing head coaches and general managers. They’re only now set to meet the Heat again in the same place they were two years ago.

The Denver Nuggets were kicked out of the playoffs at the start of the two years since 2020. And the Los Angeles Lakers, the team Miami lost to in those Finals, didn’t make the playoffs at all this year.

Bubble scams? Perhaps. But it seems people have labeled the wrong team bubble cheats.

Bubble Bursts

It would be one thing to say the Miami Heat narrowly slipped through the Eastern Conference in the 2020 playoffs due to the so-called bubble atmosphere, but the Heat outplayed their opponents: In 2020, Miami was 12-3 through the Eastern series before losing to the Lakers in the Finals in six games. It’s not close. It’s a hot knife in butter.

The list

Miami was a team whose members had just met before COVID, and even though they were stuck in Orlando for the duration of the bubble, they felt no solace. That’s because in 2020 the Miami Heat roster had just been put together: Tyler Herro was a rookie, Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala had just arrived via trade, Jimmy Butler was in his freshman season, and Duncan Robinson was still unproven, up-and-coming player rotation.

At the time, nothing was fixed. Credit coaching – not the bubble – for a team that came together at the right time and caught lightning in a bottle.

Injuries and fatigue

Not only did the Miami Heat dominate in the Orlando bubble, they did it while battling injuries. Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo both missed time in the NBA Finals, and Jimmy Butler played 45 of a possible 48 minutes in a handful of games in Orlando. To this day, Heat fans swear those circumstances cost the franchise a championship.

Between injuries and fatigue, Miami saw no upside in 2020. It was just hard work, determination and, at times, a bit of luck.

The 2022 season

Ultimately, the Miami Heat’s 2022 season should end any talk that 2020 was a fluke. The Heat are back to where they were then, even though circumstances have returned to what they were before COVID.

The Heat had the best record in the Eastern Conference in 2022. They are in the Eastern Conference Finals. And the only change they made was replacing some veteran starters like Jae Crowder with G-League signings Gabe Vincent and Max Strus. If anything, things have gotten tougher for the Heat since the Orlando bubble – but here they are back in the Final Four.

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