Growing Pains Are Necessary As HEAT Fall To Spurs 106-99

Recap6 years ago4 min readJack Alfonso

After a close loss like the one the Miami HEAT just received at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, it’s easy to forget the positives and get caught up in the little things that let the game slip away.

In this game for Miami, that little thing was the decision to have Dion Waiters guard Kawhi Leonard in the closing minutes with Justise Winslow in foul trouble. As one could probably guess, Waiters was unsuccessful in his attempts to stop the Spurs superstar, and Leonard was able to deliver the victory for his team.

I am not here to argue that putting Waiters on Leonard in crunch time was the correct decision. I am here to argue that Miami had a great game, and a number in the loss column shouldn’t stop fans from being satisfied with their team.

As the Miami HEAT transition into a new era of the franchise, their fans may need to adapt their expectations to fit this new-look team. With Dwyane Wade, Miami saw success in the form of numerous winning seasons and championships. Wade carried the HEAT franchise to the peak of the NBA, and in his absence, Miami is left with the task of scaling that mountain once again.

HEAT fans don’t have to give up on their desire for championships, but with a young rising team, it is important to focus on the long-term rather than the short-term. If Miami does want to return to prominence, the most important thing for them will be player development. Losing is never fun, but in a period of rebuilding and growth, it may help if fans look at the process for now instead of the results. Miami may have lost, but their core players showed that they have what it takes to lead this team into the future.

Justise Winslow continued to play tremendous defense and displayed a lot of offensive growth finishing with 18 points, five rebounds, and two assists:

Goran Dragic looked as fast as ever, scoring in a variety of ways to total 25 points:

Hassan Whiteside was utterly dominant totaling 27 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks in a game where he seemed to be everywhere for his team:

The Miami HEAT played a great game that should give fans hope for the future, and a loss doesn’t take away from any of the positives. Obviously, this mentality isn’t going to sit well with the majority of HEAT fans who have grown accustomed to the success of the Wade era.

But in order to fully enjoy this year’s team, fans will have to change how they define success. Success doesn’t have to show up in the win column. For now, success can be steady growth in the nuances of Whiteside’s offensive repertoire or improved chemistry among the young core.

Miami doesn’t have to be great to be fun right now. If HEAT fans can find a way to embrace the growing pains and relish the opportunity to watch a young inexperienced squad grow together, they may appreciate it all the more when the team grows into something special.