Table of Contents

miami heat official logo

History of the Miami Heat

The “Miami Heat” is a famous American professional basketball team located in the southern city of Miami, Florida. The team was formed in 1988 and participated in the National Basketball Association for the 1988-89 season. The next season, they go from the Western Conference to the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. After underwhelming first few seasons, under head coach Pat Riley, the team made several changes in 1995 and 1996, including the recruits of Isaac Austin & P.J. Brown. They get to the Eastern Conference finals for the 1st time in the 1996-97 season. They didn’t reach the Western Conference finals again until the 2004-05 season, under new coaches Stan Van Gundy and Dwyane Wade as a leading team member.

At this point, they moved to the Southeast Division. The following year, the team defeated the Dallas Mavericks to win the NBA Finals. Next came Erik Spoelstra as head coach. Their next successful season was 2010-2011, when they get to the NBA Finals again, losing to the Dallas Mavericks. After acquiring King James as a player, they victory the Finals in both 2012 & 2013 and won 27 straight games from February 2013 to March 2013. They reached the Finals again in 2013-14 but lost to the San Antonio Spurs. James left the team in Jul. 2014, and the 2014-2015 season was less successful. After signing Jimmy Butler, the Heat returned to the NBA Finals again in 2020, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.

1987-1989: The NBA comes to Miami

In 1987, the NBA had announced plans to add three more teams to the league. In Florida, where there were no NBA franchises at the time, groups from Orlando, St. Petersburg, and Miami applied for franchises. The Miami group is led by NBA Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham and former sports agent Lewis Schaffel, who received financial backing from Carnival Cruise Lines founder Ted Arison, who became the majority owner. Day-to-day operations will be handled by minority shareholders Cunningham and Schaffel.

In April 1987, the NBA Expansion Committee approved bids from Charlotte and Minneapolis. However, the committee is divided between awarding the third and final franchise to Miami or Orlando. In the end, it was decided to expand the NBA by 4 teams, with the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat debuting in 1988-89, and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic starting in 1989-90.

The team’s name was chosen in an October 1986 survey. After being admitted to the league, the team logo was created by Miami-based artist Mark Henderson, who has graduated in The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

The Heat entered the NBA in 1988-89 with a roster full of young players and journeymen. First-round picks Rony Seikaly and Kevin Edwards, rookies Grant Long and Sylvester Gray, and NBA veterans Rory Sparrow, Sundvold, Pat Cummings, Scott Hastings, Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, & Billy Thompson, are all on the first-round roster. The team has lost the first 17 games of the season to Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers, including a 138-91 rout, an NBA record at the time. Part of the difficulties in the first year can be attributed to the Miami Heat being placed of the Western Conference in the Midwest division, despite its location on the East Coast. The team finished with a league-worst 15-67 record.

1989-1995: Glen Rice era

glen rice 1989-1995

The Heat selected Glen Rice of the University of Michigan in the first round of the NBA Draft 1989 and Sherman Douglas of Syracuse University in the second round. The team also go to the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in 1989-90 and stayed there for the next 15 years until the Southeast Division was formed. However, the Heat continued to struggle and finished the season with an 18-64 record. After the 1989-90 season, Miami earned the No. 3 overall pick. The team made two trades with the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets for the ninth and 12th picks. They used those picks to select Willie Burton of the University of Minnesota and Alec Kessler of the University of Georgia.

Burton has missed a portion of the season, while Kessler has struggled with injury issues. While Rice, Seikaly, and Douglas all improved from the previous year, the Heat remained at the bottom of the Atlantic Division at 24-58. Rothstein has resigned as head coach at the end of the season but returned to the Heat as an assistant before the 2004-05 season, a position he held until the end of the 2014-15 season.

After Rothstein resigned before the 1991-92 season, the Heat hired NBA coach and player Kevin Loughery as their new head coach.

In the 1991 NBA draft, the team selected guard Steve Smith from Michigan State University. With the help of rookies Smith, Rony Seikaly, and the more experienced Glen Rice, the Heat finished fifth in the Atlantic Division with a 38-44 record, including a 148-80 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, And for the first time in their history. Playing against the 1991 champion Chicago Bulls, the Heat were swept in three games. That season, Steve Smith was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team.

The 1992-93 NBA season included USC rookie Harold Miner, and Detroit Pistons forward/center John Salley’s first-round pick.

The addition of Salley offers hope as he plays a major role in the Pistons’ two championship teams. Salley had some difficulty playing with the Heat, and he was selected by the Toronto Raptors in the 1995 expansion draft. The 1992-93 season got off to a bad start, with Smith sidelined with a knee injury and Burton sidelined for most of the year with a wrist injury. With Smith’s return, Miami set winning records in February and March, but it wasn’t enough to make up for their 13-27 start. They finished 36-46 and didn’t return to the playoffs.

The team was even better in 1993-94, going 42-40 for the first win in franchise history and returning to the playoffs as the Number 8 seed against the Atlanta Hawks. After Miami went 2-1, Atlanta came back from behind to win the Top 5 series. After the season, Steve Smith is selected as a member of the second Dream Team, a collection of NBA All-Star teams. Selected for Team USA at the 1994 FIBA World Championships in Toronto. The Dream Two also made up of future Heat players Shaquille O’Neal and Dan Majerle, will go on to win games.

During the 1994-95 season, the team overhauled its roster, trading Seikaly, Smith, and Grant Long for Kevin Willis and Billy Owens.

1995-2000: Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning era

miami heat duo Tim Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning

Due to the team’s poor record and lack of identity or brand recognition, Lewis Schaffel & Cunningham decided to get rid of their interest in the team. On February 13, 1995, Micky Arison, son of team patriarch Ted Arison, stepped forward to acquire a controlling stake in the Heat, ceding control of the team to his family. As the new managing partner, Arison hired Dave Wohl as general manager, and he fired head coach Kevin Loughery and temporarily replaced him with Alvin Gentry in an attempt to change the 17-30 Heat. Gentry is going 15-21 with a 32-50 overall record in the remaining 36 games of the season, 10 fewer than the previous year. 

During Gentry’s transition period, the Heat won one of the best wins in franchise history with a 126-83 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. In addition, Rice scored 56 points against the Orlando Magic, setting a personal record for the most points in a single game at the time. At the NBA All-Star Game in the Phoenix, Arizona, Heat player Harold Miner was once again the champion of the NBA Slam Dunk Competition, and Glen Rice won the NBA 3-point shootout. 

The continued improvement of the Heat’s players has drawn a lot of media attention as Alisson begins to transform the Miami Heat into a championship contender, even though the Heat will miss the playoffs for 5th time in 7 years. However, the Miami Heat’s fortunes changed dramatically in the summer of 1995. That offseason turned out to be one of the most poignant seasons in franchise history. Alonzo Mourning documentary

1995-1996: Arrival of Pat Riley

former miami heat coach Pat Riley

Arison set the tone for a new era of Heat basketball by hiring Pat Riley as the new head coach & team president of the Miami. Riley resigned as head coach of the New York Knicks immediately after the 1994-1995 season. At the welcoming ceremony, the city of Miami held a parade for Riley, who had just arrived in Miami. Shortly thereafter, Randy Puffender, Riley’s former assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers, was named executive vice president of the Miami. Determined to bring home a championship to Miami, Riley dropped a bombshell 2 nights before the season, sending Glen Rice, Matt Geiger, and 4 other players to the Hornets in exchange for All-Star center Alfred Lonzo Mourning. The Heat won 11 of their first fourteen games at the start of the season. 

The Heat faced the Knicks for the 1st time in New York in mid-December; Riley received negative reviews from fans, who often called him a “pat the rat” for his departure from the Knicks, and Riley accepted that.

By the end of Feb., with the Heat struggling 24-29, Riley continued to overhaul the team. In a series of midseason trades, Riley completed three separate deals involving ten players, including acquisitions of Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatling, and Walter Williams. However, before the trio arrives in Miami, there is one more game to play against the 72-10 Chicago Bulls. With the only 8 players on the roster, the Heat were eager to get their ninth teammate in order to adapt to league rules. If Tony Smith didn’t get to the team in time, Riley would “sign someone on the street.” Rex Chapman, traded to the Heat from the Washington Bullets, led the Heat to the biggest upset win in Miami Heat history, beating the Bulls 113-104.

After joining the team, Mourning and Hardaway quickly became the core of the Miami Heat; Mourning’s defensive performance and rebounding ability complemented Hardaway’s ability as a point guard, quickly forming one of the most dangerous combinations in the league at the time. There is new excitement in the Miami community as Hardaway and Mourning set franchise records. Finishing with a 42-40 record, the Miami Heat made the playoffs for the 3rd time in their history, only to be swept by the Chicago Bulls in three games. However, the refreshed Heat has earned optimism for a bright future and they will continue to improve next season.

1996-1997: Making the Conference Finals

In the 1996 summer season, the Miami Heat continued to revamp their roster, trading Tyrone Corbin, Terrence Rencher, Smith, Gatling, Williams, and Chapman. They planned to bring in Juwan Howard and PJ Brown in July, but the league didn’t allow a trade for Howard, preventing him from playing with the Heat. On the other hand, they will keep Brown and sign him to a contract. 

While initially a mystery as a player, the amazingly athletic Brown is a versatile guy who sprints, scores, rebounds, and blocks when needed. He will be one of the team that has important role players. 

Voshon Lenard and Dan Majerle also joined the team as a dangerous backcourt duo because of their defensive tenacity and expertise in 3-point shooting. Majerle adds some versatility especially due to his strength as a passer. Riley added the final piece to the team, acquiring Jamal Mashburn, an athletic, high-scoring swingman who can play any role asked. 

Throughout the 1996-1997 season, Riley completely transformed the revamped Miami Heat into a defensive juggernaut focused on a selfless work ethic, hustle, and cooperation. The Heat, which quickly became championship contenders, went 32-9 on the road, earning the nickname “Road Warriors.”

The Heat was the biggest surprise of the season and the most improved team in the league; they won their first Atlantic Division title with a 61-21 record, the best regular-season record in Heat history at the time. Entering the playoffs, the Heat faced the rival Orlando Magic in the first round and eliminated the Magic in the first two games. Rony Seikaly, who is traded to Orlando, sprained his ankle in Game 3 as the series moved to Orlando. Penny Hardaway & Darrell Armstrong led the Magic to Games 3 and 4, extending the series to a decisive Game 5.

 The Heat had a 17-point lead in Game 5, but Orlando cut it to within three in the fourth quarter. Hardaway beat the Magic with a 3-point dagger in the closing seconds to earn the Miami Heat their first playoff series. On May 8, Riley was being named NBA Coach of the Year, becoming the first NBA coach to have a victory award with three different teams.

In the highly anticipated Western Conference semifinals, the Heat will face the Knicks, who share many of the same characteristics in terms of defensive attributes and work ethic. The rough play led to intense competition throughout the series, sparking the start of one of the most vicious rivalries in NBA history. Patrick Ewing scored 24 pts to lead the Knicks to their first win. Two nights later, Tim Hardaway’s 34-point performance helped the Heat win Game 2 of the series. The Knicks are up 3-1 after losing Games 3 and 4 in New York. On May 14, the series returned to Miami for Game 5. It was a pretty tight game, with grumpiness as the Heat extended their lead in the 4th quarter. As regards the end of the game, P.J. Brown & Charlie Ward tangled after a Heat player made a free throw. The normally suave Brown threw Ward over his shoulder, sparking a brawl. That led to Game 6 suspensions for Ward, Ewing, and Allan Houston, and Game 7 suspensions for Larry Johnson and John Starks.

 Miami will play the remainder of the series without Brown, who watched the final two games from a hotel room. After winning 6th Game on the road, the decisive Game 7 was in Miami. He was forced to miss the rest of the game after Mourning committed his fifth foul. In response, Hardaway took over the game and eventually eliminated the Knicks.

Appearing in their 1st Eastern Conference finals, the Heat face the Chicago Bulls. Mourning guaranteed a Game 4 victory after trailing 0-3. He kept his word and beat the Bulls by eight points. However, the Bulls would beat the Miami Heat in the playoffs for the second straight year. Still, the Heat, after their greatest season ever, is finally getting into the title race.

1997-1999: Repeat New York upsets

During the offseason, the team has focus shifted to building a new, better arena to replace Miami. After overcoming political opposition, the group celebrated its 10th anniversary on January 27, 1998, when American Airlines Stadium broke ground. The Miami Heat had another great regular season in 1997-1998, which ended 55-27. Not much has changed from making the 1998 playoffs a year ago. Once again, the Heat are the champions of the Atlantic Division. Once again, they’re the No. 2 seed in the East and the Chicago Bulls are the No. 1 seed again. 

The New York Knicks are the No. 7 seed, which means the Heat will once again take on their toughest opponents from the previous year. Only this time, it will be in the first round, the best of the five series. The 2 teams appeared to be evenly matched, with Miami taking Games 1 and 3 and New York taking 2nd and 4th Game. 

The most unforgettable moment of the series came at the end of Game 4 when a spat broke out between Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson. This is the fight Jeff Van Gundy infamously grabbed Mourning by the leg in an attempt to intervene. More especially, it resulted in Mourning being suspended for the deciding game of the series. Many Heat fans believe that Johnson, knowing the Knicks had won Game 4, deliberately provoked Mourning by getting him suspended in the series-deciding game in an attempt to not only give the Knicks extra leverage but to retaliate against the previous year’s suspension. Regardless of his intentions, it worked because the Heat couldn’t match the Knicks in Game 5 without an All-Star captain and defensive core. New York won the series 3-2 in a first-round upset. After Mourning was ejected from 4th Game, Riley appeared outside the visitors’ room at Madison Square Garden with his hands on the wall and his head bowed, contemplating Mourning’s loss in Game 5.

After a disastrous 1998 playoff loss to the Knicks, the Heat immediately prepared for the 1998-1999 season. With Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, & Phil Jackson all leaving Chicago, the Heat are seen as the main contenders for the No. 1 spot in the East. Though, just a few weeks into the offseason, a massive shutdown began, and it wasn’t even clear if there would be a 1998-99 season. This is the first time in NBA history that a work stoppage has resulted in a missed game. Months passed and everything was hanging in the balance. Finally, in 1999 of January, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) had an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. Starting February 9, all teams have shortened their regular-season schedule by 50 games, with very limited rest days.

Despite the tough schedule, the Heat lived up to expectations in a 50-game season and got their wish to win the Eastern Conference No. 1. Alonzo Mourning in particular had a great game season, leading the league in blocks and winning Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named an All-NBA first-team center (d. Shaquille O’Neal) and was the runner-up for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, which Karl Malone won. If Mourning wins MVP over Malone, he will join Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only player to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. Miami will have a league-best 33-17 record to secure their first No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs. In the 1st round, they once again faced their arch-rival New York Knicks, who struggled in 50 games and barely made the playoffs with the No. 8 seed.

In the first four games, the Knicks won Games 1 and 3, and the Heat won Games 2 and 4, the complete opposite of the previous year. For the 3rd year in a row, it came down to a final, decisive game at the Miami Arena. The Heat led the entire 4th quarter and appeared to be avenging their loss from the previous year, but the Knicks managed to cut the deficit to 1. Terry Porter put Latrell Sprewell in a corner with seconds left. Baseline and Miami narrowly escape. Porter stabbed the ball out of bounds, but the referee declared it was still New York’s ball. After Porter trapped Sprewell with seconds left, the Knicks now have another chance to get the ball inside and attempt a winning shot. Charlie Ward cut inside to Allan Houston, who immediately dribbled through a huge gap and threw a float. The ball has bounced off the rim, into the backboard, back to the rim, and fell into the rim. The Knicks had one of the biggest upsets in NBA history, becoming the second No. 8 seed to beat the No. 1 seed. playoffs. For 2nd year in a row, the Heat was stopped by the Knicks, who went on to become the first Number 8 seed to reach the NBA Finals.

1999-2000: Final loss to New York

The Miami Heat looked forward to the 1999-2000 season after three championship losses and two consecutive first-round games against the determined Knicks. In preparation for the upcoming season and the new millennium, the team underwent changes, adopting a new uniform that is still in use today. The logo has also been updated, and on New Year’s Day 2000, the Heat will play their first game at the brand new American Airlines Arena. Once again, the Heat showed a lot of potential in the regular season, starting 15-4 while also playing at Miami Arena. On January 2, 2000, the Heat defeated the Orlando Magic in Game 1 at American Airlines Arena. The Heat finished 52-30 for their fourth straight division title and the second seed in the East. Mourning led the league in blocks & was once again Defensive Player of the Year. Mourning and Hardaway took the Heat to the playoffs for the fifth straight year, but Hardaway’s injury kept him out of the game.

In the first round, they met the No. 7 seed Detroit Pistons. Even without Hardaway, Miami Heat won the series 3-0, the first sweep in franchise history. That puts the Heat against the Knicks in the Western Conference semifinals and their fourth straight meeting with New York. The series started in Miami with Hardaway back in the starting lineup, but Mourning’s 26 points earned Game 1 victory. The Knicks tied the series with six points in Game 2 in Miami. Game 3 was played at Madison Square Garden and the Heat won in overtime. As the series continues, the Knicks will win Game 4 while the Heat take Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. However, the Knicks won in Game 6, forcing Miami to a decisive Game 7 victory. The Heat controlled the game with a minute left, but Mourning stole Ewing when he could have forced a shot. That gave Ewing a dunk and the Knicks led by a point. After a timeout with seven seconds left, Mourning passed the ball to Mashburn thinking Mashburn would shoot. However, Mashburn was double-teamed by Ewing & Childs, so he threw it to Clarence Weatherspoon. After dribbling past his defender, Weatherspoon pulled up a jumper, but the ball bounced off the backboard; New York won by one point.


After an elimination from the playoffs by the Knicks in a series-decision game for the 3rd straight season, Riley decided it was time for the Heat to make some changes. After losing to the Orlando Magic for Toronto Raptors swingman Tracy McGrady, Miami decided to trade Brown and Mashburn to Charlotte Hornets (among others) for Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason, and Rich Davis. Miami also selected a core of Brian Grant and Mourning, Hardaway, Majerle, Bruce Bowen, & Anthony Carter. That summer, Alonzo Mourning and Hardaway traveled to Sydney, Australia, to be part of the second Olympic “dream team” that would eventually win gold, making them the first two Olympics in Heat history Gold player.

Unfortunately, the elation quickly turned to fear. On the plane home from the Olympics, Mourning noticed that his legs were badly swollen. Mourning was found to have chronic kidney disease: focal segmental glomerulosclerosis during a physical examination on the second day of training camp. On Oct. 16, 2000, it was announced that Alonzo would not participate in the 2000-2001 season. The Heat missed 69 games in 2000-01 but found success with Grant, Jones, and Mason, the latter making his first All-Star Game. Under Hardaway, the Heat started another winning season with a 50-32 record, securing the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. With 13 games remaining, Mourning unexpectedly returned to the Heat lineup on March 27, 2001, against the Toronto Raptors. In a few weeks, he’ll score a dunk against the Milwaukee Bucks. With a full lineup for the 1st time of the year, the Heat qualified for the playoffs for the sixth straight season. 

The Heat met the No. 6-seeded Charlotte Hornets in the first round, who traded Marshburn and Brown to the same team last summer. Despite having a better regular-season record, the Heat were completely eliminated by the Hornets. Charlotte scored 26 points in each of Miami’s first two games before closing the series with 15 at home. Mourning, in particular, is his former MVP candidate’s own shell. The loss marked the end of the Mourning-Hardaway era that began five years ago, putting the team in a state of flux.

The next two seasons were the worst in Miami Heat history. Riley had missed the playoffs for the first time in his coaching career, and most of the Heat’s remaining core players (Tim Hardaway, Bruce Bowen, and Dan Majerle) that won the division championship in the late 1990s er) left. 

Miami rounded out its 2001-02 roster that included players such as Rod Strickland, Chris Gatlin, Jim Jackson, LaFonso Ellis, and Kendall Gill, as well as Mo Ning, Jones, Grant, and Carter, the Heat signed a controversial trio. What many have said is a one-year deal is too much for the young guard. To get Gatlin, Riley and the Heat traded for Richie Davis, a promising young player. The deal drew a lot of criticism at the time. The Miami Heat also signed two young undrafted players Malik Allen and Mike James to made up for not having a 1st pick round in the draft. Miami also signed Vladimir Stepania to back Mourning’s center. The veteran team nearly missed the playoffs with a 36-46 record.

Miami began rebuilding in 2002-2003. They drafted Caron Butler in the 1st round and Rasul Butler (unrelated to Caron) in the second round of the 2002 NBA draft. Presumably, Miami missed out on a possible ping-pong selection of Yao Ming in the draft lottery [citation needed]. Mourning has missed the entire season due to his deteriorating condition, and Eddie Jones has also missed most of the game season with an ankle injury. Miami signed Travis Best as the starting point guard. The Heat is led by Caron Butler and the many young players who have filled the Heat roster since 2000, including Eddie House, Carter, Stepania, Allen, and James. The Heat finished the 2002-2003 season 25-57, Riley stepped down as head coach, and the team finished seventh in the Atlantic Division.

2003-2006: Resurgence

2003-2004: Arrival of Dwyane Wade

Alonzo Mourning’s massive contract expired the following summer, giving the Heat some much-needed cap space to rebuild. However, Miami is still a few million dollars away from signing a max player. On July 1, 2003, Miami was looking forward to hearing from Anthony Carter’s agent, Bill Duffy, who is expected to make $4.1 million in the upcoming season if he exercises his option. 

Duffy’s agent never notified the team, and Miami has no contract. Additionally, last season, forward LaFonso Ellis honorably removed a clause in his contract that would have forced the Miami Heat to pay Ellis the following season as part of the Heat’s rebuilding process. unbearable burden.

Armed with cap space, the Heat locked down Elton Brand, a restricted free agent from the Los Angeles Clippers, and offered him an offer worth $82 million over six years. However, Clippers owner Donald Sterling matched Miami’s offer. The Heat then submitted a six-year, $63 million offer to restricted free-agent forward Lamar Odom, which the Clippers declined. Miami also signed free-agent point guard Rafer Alston during his time in And 1 basketball fame. The Heat also chose to draft Dwyane Wade from Marquette University with the 5th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft rather than sign a big free-agent point guard like Gilbert Arenas. The choice was a bit surprised at the time, as Miami was expected to choose a true point guard over a shooting guard. Miami also signed Udonis Haslem from the University of Florida, who fell short a season ago. Odom, Alston, Haslem, and Wade join Grant, Jones, Allen, and both Butlers in one of the most surprising teams of the season.

A few days before the 2003-2004 season, Riley stepped down as head coach to focus more on his role as their team president and promoted longtime assistant Stan Van Gundy to head coach. NBA forecasters expect this team to be one of the worst in the league. The team was deadlocked after dealing with early injury issues in Odom, Wade, and both Butlers. The Heat’s freshman brings youth and energy to the team. Dwayne Wade broke several rookie records while other Heat players resumed their careers. Wade led the Heat to a victory over the New Orleans Hornets, a team that put the Heat into rebuilding mode three seasons ago. Miami lost to the Indiana Pacers 4-2 in the conference semifinals.

2004–2005: Return to the Conference Finals

After a promising 2003-04 season, Miami took a great step toward becoming a championship team. They traded superstar center Shaquille O’Neal to the Los Angeles Lakers on July 14, 2004, for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, & Brian Grant. Riley also tried to sign Malone, but Malone decided to retire. Wade and O’Neal work well together.

This season has also reunited several former club members. Heat’s first head coach Ron Rothstein becomes an assistant, Steve Smith rejoins the club, and Alonzo Mourning re-signs after being released from the Toronto Raptors in December following the Vince Carter trade.

The Heat had the third-best record in franchise history: 59-23. They also went on a 14-game winning streak, a franchise record until the 2012-2013 season. They finished first in the playoffs and swept the first two rounds against New Jersey and Washington to advance to Eastern Conference finals against defending champion Detroit. The two teams parted ways for the first four games before Miami’s 88-76 victory in Game 5, but Wade lost to a rib muscle strain in the process as he attempted to take on Pistons forward Rasheed Wade. Lace attacked. With Wade out, the Heat lost Game 6 in Detroit, 91-66, to set up Game 7 in Miami. Wade returned to the game and the Heat led by six with three minutes left. A flurry of shooting misses and turnovers followed, and the Heat lost Game 7 of their first-ever Finals 88-82. Wade appeared to be out of breath the entire game, despite scoring 20 points.

During the offseason, the Heat restructured. In the largest trade in NBA history, in a 5-team, 13-player deal, the Heat traded Eddie Jones, Rasul Butler, and Quintel Woods for Former NBA All-Stars Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey. Miami Heat also signed former All-Star guard Gary Payton, former UCLA star Jason Kapono, and a first-round pick as well as NCAA All-American Wayne Simeon. Free agent Damon Jones opted for a larger contract offered by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Critics were fast to debate whether a reformed Heat team would have chemistry problems, be too old (O’Neal, Mourning, and Payton are all in their 30s), or have too many underachievers (Walker). Known for his poor shooting; Williams is one of the fall-prone playmakers). After an 11-10 start with O’Neal already injured, those criticisms appeared to be vindicated, culminating in Van Gundy’s resignation as coach.

2005–2006: First championship win

On December 12, 2005, after Van Gundy unexpectedly stepped down for personal and family reasons, Riley announced his second appointment as head coach. The team were responded well to the coaching change, going 10-5 in January. However, those five losses were the defending champion San Antonio Spurs twice, the Phoenix Suns twice and the Dallas Mavericks once with a 36-point blowout

that cast doubt on whether they could compete with the top teams. February and March are very successful for the Miami Heat, including 15 wins in 16 games, which began with a comeback winning over the perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse Detroit Pistons. Dwayne Wade and O’Neal helped the Heat finish with a 52-30 record, good enough to be the Number 2 seed in Eastern Conference. Their record is respectable but not as good as their 2004-2005 record and No. 1 playoff seeding season.

The Heat drew the seventh-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round. The Heat won their first two games at home, though Udonis Haslem was ejected in Game 1 and suspended in Game 2 for throwing a mouthpiece in the direction of the referee. The team lost Games 3 and 4 in Chicago but won Game 5 at home. By winning Game 6 in Chicago, the Heat won the series and faced the New Jersey Nets in the 2nd round. The Miami Heat lost Game 1 at home but won the next four, knocking the Nets out of the playoffs game for the 2nd straight year. The Miami Heat reached the Eastern Conference finals for the second time in as many years. They kicked off the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals in Detroit, a rematch of the previous year. The Heat stole home-court advantage by winning Game 1. Though Miami lost 92-88 in Game 2 (though nearly came back after falling 18 games). Over the next two games, they won Game 3 (98-83) and Game 4 (89-78) to take a 3-1 series lead. The Pistons then won Game 5 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but the Heat responded with a Game 6 win and advanced to No. 1 in franchise history against Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals, which was also their first NBA Finals.

The Heat convincingly lost Dallas’ first two games. Wade led the Miami Heat to a comeback win in Game 3, with Gary Payton hitting an 18-footer with nine seconds left in the game that put the Heat down by as many as 13 points. With their confidence, the Heat beat the Mavericks in Game 4 and survived an overtime thriller in Game 5 in which Wade scored 43 and Payton shot again with a second left The scoring team overtakes the shooting clock. With Pat Riley’s famous mantra “one suit, one shirt, one tie”, the team went on to win 6th Game in Dallas, winning their first NBA championship. They became the 3rd team in NBA history to win the Finals after falling 0-2, following the 1969 Celtics and the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers. The Heat won by a 14-point margin over the Mavs, who had a dismal start, to take a one-point lead 49-48 at halftime. Once again, Wade played a vital role in helping the Heat lead in the late game. Alonzo Mourning’s 5 blocks helped him (the Heat had more than 10 in the game, though they averaged just over 2 in the series) and James Posey’s clutch shot, who made a three-pointer. With 3 mins left in the game, the warm-up lead was 6 points. The Mavericks trailed by three with seconds left after Wade missed two free throws. However, Dallas would rest after Wade grabbed the rebound, aptly ending the game by tossing the ball into the air after Jason Terry missed a 3-pointer. Wade would go on to have victory the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP award.

The championship was all the more poignant for veteran Miami superstars Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, Jason Williams, and Antoine Walker who had never won an NBA title before. Mourning and Payton are both re-signed with the Heat during the 2006-07 season. The championship was Coach Riley’s seventh (fifth as head coach), O’Neal’s fourth, and they both fulfilled their commitments to Miami (when Riley first came to Miami and said he “envisioned Parade on Biscayne Boulevard”) and (when O’Neal first arrived, he vowed to “bring the championship home”). O’Neal also announced at the championship parade that they would win the NBA replay, later clarifying that this promise only applies if Wade is on the floor and healthy for the playoffs.

2006-2010: Post-title struggles

2006-2007: First-round sweep

The Miami Heat had a poor start to the 2006-2007 NBA season. Chicago beat Miami 108-66 after raising the championship flag before its first game against the Chicago Bulls. It marked the worst home loss in franchise history and the largest loss for the defending champion on the first day in NBA history (42 points). O’Neal played his 1st few games for the Miami Heat before missing more than three dozen games with a right knee injury. Antoine Walker and Gary Payton, key members of the Heat’s championship win, found themselves on the bench, while Jason Kapono and Dorrell Wright were eliminated. The first half of Miami Heat’s season was filled with misfortune. Coach Riley was on indefinite leave, Wade briefly injured his right wrist, and James Posey and Walker were fired after failing medical exams. The situation of the team has improved. The Heat’s original head coach Rostam returned on an interim basis. Both Posey and Walker were reinstated. Former Miami Heat star Eddie Jones re-signed with the team after being released by the Memphis Grizzlies. O’Neal returned to the game in January. Riley resumed his head coaching duties at the start of the second half of the season.

On Feb. 21, in a game against the Houston Rockets, Wade dislocated his left shoulder and left in a wheelchair. Shortly after the injury, Wade announced he would choose rehab over surgery in hopes of returning to the playoffs. The recovery was so successful that he returned on April 9. Wade rusted and said his “legs haven’t come back yet.” After Wade was injured, many predicted that the Heat would not even make the playoffs. Those predictions were fast dismissed as the Heat soared, winning 11 of 14 games. During that time, the Heat won nine straight (beating out the Pistons, Wizards, Bulls, and Jazz), in addition to extending their home streak to 14 games. O’Neal was the main reason for the Heat’s revival, playing his best basketball of the season and become focal point of the offense. Having a roster of veterans and former All-Stars also has significant benefits in dealing with losing Wade. Miami went 16-7 without him and won its third straight Southeast Division title.

Shortly after Wade come back, O’Neal’s grandfather died, causing him to miss 2 games. In addition, Udonis Haslem and Gary Payton were injured. The Miami Heat complete the regular season with a 44-38 record in favor of the Southeast Division champions and faced the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs. However, hopes of a title defense were immediately dashed, and Chicago had a better regular-season record at home, sweeping Miami 4-0 in a seven-game series. As a result, the Heat became the first defending champs to lose in the first round since 2000, including becoming the first defending champion to be swept out in the first round since 1957. It was also the first 4-game playoff series sweep in Miami Heat history.

2007-2008: Overhauling the roster

After a disappointing 2006-07 season, the Heat wants to move on. Miami Heat retained the 20th and 39th picks in the NBA draft 2007. On June 28, 2007, the Heat selected Colorado State power forward Jason Smith with the overall 20th pick and then traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers for the 21st overall pick from Ohio State University. Defender Daequan Cook and cash considerations. The Miami Heat drafted center Stanko Baracci from Bosnia and Herzegovina with the 39th overall pick, but later traded his rights to the Pacers for a future second-round pick. The Heat lost Jason Kapono to the Raptors and James Posey to the Boston Celtics. When the Heat signed Smush Parker from free agency to a three-year deal, they got a much-needed point guard. They also signed veteran guard Penny Hardaway to reunite the Shaq-Pence duo of the Orlando Magic in the mid-’90s. Hardaway was later fired in December. He never play in the NBA again. Also in the 2007 offseason, the Miami Heat made a five-man trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves that brought back Ricky Davis and Mark Blunt. Leaving the Heat are Antoine Walker, Wayne Simeon, Michael Doleke, and a conditional first-round pick. Davis played for the Heat in August 2000 but fell out of favor with Riley. When the trade happened, he became an even better scorer and is expected to be the Heat’s third option to complement Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal if things were different this season.

On Dec. 19, 2007, during the first quarter of the game against the Atlanta Hawks, Alonzo tore the knee cap tendon in his right knee while recovering from a fast break and required season-ending knee surgery. On Feb 5, 2008, the Heat was interested in trading center Shaquille O’Neal, contrary to Pat Riley’s report a month earlier that the Heat were not interested in trading the 13-time All-Star. The next day, however, the Miami Heat agreed to trade O’Neal to the Phoenix Suns for Sean Marion and Marcus Banks, effectively ending the Wade-O’Neal era. The Heat have the worst record in the NBA with a 15-67 (.183) record. Late in the season, with the Heat so far ahead in the playoff race, head coach Pat Riley missed two games as he went to scout some NCAA basketball conference games for a possible first-place finish for the Heat Prep or the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft.

On March 10, 2008, it was announced that Heat guard Dwyane Wade would be sidelined for the remainder of the season to help him recover from another deteriorating knee and shoulder in hopes of participating in the Beijing Olympics 2008. On March 10, The Heat announced the waiver of guard Smush Parker, opening the opportunity to add a player to a 10-day contract. On Mar. 12, 2008, they signed Bobby Jones to a 10-day contract for help as a shooting guard and small forward. In late March 2008, the Heat set the third-lowest scoring record in NBA history in a 96-54 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Mar. 19, followed by a new record for the fewest points. In another loss against the Boston Celtics on March 30, the 17ers made a field goal. The Heat ended the season on a positive note on April 16 with a 113-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs. On Apr. 28, 2008, Pat Riley stepped down as head coach of the Heat but still served as team president. He replaced himself with longtime assistant coach Eric Spoelstra, 37, as the youngest head coach in the NBA. Riley finished his career with 1,210 wins, second only to Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson.

2008-2010: Rebuilding

On May 20, 2008, the Heat received the second overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft the result of the 2008 NBA Draft lottery. They’re expected to pick power forward Michael Beasley or guard O. J. Mayo. Immediately after the draft lottery, Pat Riley advised the team to listen to any trade offers for the second overall pick. However, he did stress that the right offer had to be made in order for the Heat to consider such a trade (eg, Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston in the 2007 offseason). On Jun. 26, 2008, the Bulls selected Rose, and the Heat chose Beasley. In the second round, the Heat selected Kansas forward Darnell Jackson with the 52nd pick. In a somewhat unexpected move, it was announced that the Heat agreed to trade the lesser of their three 2009 second-round picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the draft rights to talented Kansas State guard Mario Chalmers, who Helped Kansas win the NCAA title, including making a 3-pointer to bring the game into overtime. It was also later announced that Jackson’s draft rights were traded to the Cavaliers in exchange for the smaller of their two second-round picks in 2009. In early July, the free agency began, and with limited cap space, the Heat signed local James Jones as the team’s 3-point specialist. With the acquisitions of Yakhouba Diawara and Jamaal Magloire, the Miami Heat added depth and experience to their roster. In Sept. 2008, Randy Pfund stepped down as General Manager, promoting Pat Riley to the position. Four days later, the Miami Heat signed former Los Angeles Clippers point guard Sean Livingston. On November 5, 2008, the Heat’s second-round pick Mario Chalmers set a franchise record for nine steals against the Philadelphia 76ers. That surpassed Tim Hardaway’s old record for the most steals in the Heat’s 21-year history. On February 13, 2009, the Heat traded Sean Marion and Marcus Banks to the Raptors for center Jermaine O’Neal and forward Jamario Moon. The Heat is rumored to be chasing O’Neal, along with Amar Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer. The deal was designed to address the team’s lack of post presence. On April 3, 2009, the Miami Heat defeated the Charlotte Bobcats for a playoff berth. The Miami Heat became the 1st team since the 1968-1969 San Diego Rockets to go from 15 victory to the playoffs in one year (ending 43-39). They were eliminated by the fourth-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the first round of seven games. However, Wade led the league in scoring with 30.2 pts per game, becoming the first team player to do so.

The Heat started the 2009-10 season with a 7-1 record in the first eight games, but was inconsistent in the rest of the season, going 35-34 in the first 69 games. On Jan. 5, 2010, the Heat traded Chris Quinn to the New Jersey Nets for the second overall pick in 2012, which allowed the team to sign recently released guard Laver Arr. Stone. The team lift up the pace late, going 12-1 in its final 13 games for the No. 5 seed in the East and finishing 47-35, progressing for the second straight season. The Heat lost five games in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Boston Celtics. The Heat are 15th in the NBA in attendance this season with 726,935.

2010–2014: The Big Three era

Coming into the 2010-2011 season with nearly $48 million in salary cap space, the Heat sparked a major power shift during the blockbuster NBA 2010 free agency, pairing Chris Bosh and LeBron James with local superstar Dwyane Wade re-signed to a six-year, $107.59 million contract. In the infamous decision aired on ESPN, James announced he would bring his “talent to South Beach and join the Miami Heat,” sparking outrage mainly from Cleveland fans; Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted In a bitterly exaggerated letter, that he claimed that Cleveland would win the championship before James. Later that night, the Heat announced that they were trading Michael Beasley to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for pair of 2nd round picks and cash considerations. On July 9, the Heat completed a sign-and-trade deal, sending 4 future first-round picks and 2 second round picks to the Raptors for Bosh and the Cavaliers for James (each signed 6 Wade, James, and Bosh, known as the “Big Three,” made their debut at the 2010 Summer Heat Welcome Party at American Airlines Arena, where they were greeted by the Heat’s on-site commentators and Event co-host introduced as Three Kings Eric Reed. James predicted the Heat’s dynasty and mentioned multiple championships: “Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven”. Howard Baker of The New York Times described the reaction of fans across the country to the party: “Everybody saw something: greatness, arrogance, self-indulgence, boldness, cowardice, pride, friendship, collusion, joy, cynicism, heroism, mercenary .”

2010–2011: Losing the Finals

The season started with much hype, and many believed the Heat were the team that broke the Chicago Bulls’ single-season record of 72 regular-season wins. The first game of the season aired on the TNT network, featuring James and Bosh in Heat uniforms, was the most-watched NBA game ever on cable channels.

The Heat started 9-8 after losing their first game 88-80. Much speculation is that Spoelstra could lose his job and Heat president Pat Riley will return as coach. However, after a “players-only” meeting, the team went on a 12-game winning streak (10 of which were in double figures) and kept opponents to under 100 points in all of those games. On January 27, 2011, through fan voting, Dwyane Wade (guard) and LeBron James (forward) were selected as the starters for the Eastern Conference All-Star Game. A few days after, forward Chris Bosh was selected as a backup. During the regular season, they lost every game to their Eastern Conference rivals, the Chicago Bulls. However, after losing the first three games against the Boston Celtics, the Heat defeated the Celtics in their fourth and final regular-season game of the 2010-2011 season.

Near the end of the regular season, the Heat were the third seed behind Chicago and Boston. Driven by a late-season landslide, the Heat finished with the third-best record in franchise history at 58-24, making them the No. 2 seed behind the No. 1 led by MVP Derrick Rose. The seeded, 62-win Bulls. In the highly anticipated 2011 NBA playoffs, Miami defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round, the Celtics in the conference semifinals, and the Bulls in the conference finals, all in five games. The Miami Heat reached the 2011 NBA Finals for the first time since 2006 in a rematch with the Mavericks. After taking a 2-1 series lead, the Miami Heat collapsed as they would lose the final three games to the Mavericks. Most of the criticism fell on LeBron James, as the loss was attributed to his offseason behavior. James struggled in the Finals, averaging just three points per game in the fourth quarter of the series. James averaged 17.8 points per game during the Finals, a drop of 8.9 points from his 26.7 points per game during the regular season, the largest drop in league history. He also contributed 6.8 assists & 7.1 rebounds, averaging 23.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists throughout the playoffs.

2011–2012: Second championship win

In the offseason, the Bulls selected Norris Cole with the 28th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but in a series of draft-night trades, the rights to him were subsequently traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who then He was traded to the Heat. After the second NBA lockout ends, the Heat will improve their roster by signing veteran Battier. In the shortened 2011-2012 season, the Heat started 27-7 and James, Wade, and Bosh were selected to the NBA All-Star Game for the second straight year. However, they will struggle 19-13 in the second half of the season. The Miami Heat finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 46-20 record. Going into the first round, they led the New York Knicks 3-0 but, like their previous series with the 76ers, failed to close out in Game 4. The Game 5 victory ended up beating New York and the Heat advanced to the second round against the Indiana Pacers. In the first home win, Chris Bosh went down with a lower abdominal strain and was declared to miss the rest of the Indiana Pacers series. After losing Game 2 at home and 3rd Game at Indiana, many criticized Dwyane Wade for his lackluster Game 3 performance, drawing attention to his spat with Spoelstra. However, as Wade visited his former college coach, the team overcame adversity to beat the Pacers over the next three games, with James and Wade often adding up to an average of 70 points to end the Pacers. They met the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, won the first two games, and then lost the next 3 games, including a home loss, as Bosh returned from injury. However, on June 7, they beat Boston 98-79 to seal the series 3-3; James had a staggering 45 points and 15 rebounds. The decisive Game 7 was in Miami. Although the Celtics were largely dominant in the first half, the lead changed several times in the second half. The Heat eventually won 101-88 and reached the NBA Finals for the second year in a row. In a highly anticipated game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Heat parted ways in the first two games, winning 2nd Game on the road before sweeping the next three games at home. James was named Finals MVP when he won his first NBA championship. Despite falling behind in three separate series (1-2 Indiana, 2-3 Boston, and 0-1 Thunder), the Heat became the first team to have victory in the Finals. Additionally, the Heat once again swept Games 3, 4, and 5 at home (becoming the third team to do so) to clinch their second championship.

2012–2013: Making history

On Jul. 11, 2012, the Miami Heat officially signed veteran Ray Allen to a three-year contract and Rashard Lewis to a two-year contract. After releasing Terrel Harris & Josh Harrellson, Miami signed Jarvis Varnado and Chris Andersen for the rest of the season to bolster the defense. Miami becomes the third team to have three All-Stars (Wade, James, and Bosh) for at least three consecutive seasons; following the Lakers and Celtics in the 1980s and the Celtics in 2008-2011 This is the 4th time such an incident has occurred in league history after the team.

Along the way, the Heat achieved personal milestones. On Nov. 21, 2012, against Milwaukee, Udonis Haslem broke Alonzo Mourning’s record to become the first undrafted player to lead the team in rebounding. On Jan. 12, 2013, against Sacramento, Mario Chalmers hit a career-high 10 three-pointers, tying Brian Shaw’s single-game three-pointer record. Against the Golden State Warriors four days later, LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points and contribute his 5,000th career assist.

On February 3, 2013 (Super Bowl 47 Day), the Heat began their winning streak with a win over the Toronto Raptors. Against Portland eight days later, LeBron James broke Moses Malone and Adrian Dantley’s six-game streak of 30 points on 60 percent shooting. The 117-104 victory was also the 1,000th regular-season win in Heat franchise history. On February 21, 2013, Miami forced the Chicago Bulls to 27 turnovers, the most Chicago has suffered since 28 turnovers against the Washington Wizards in December 2004. With a win over the Kings on February 26, 2013, Miami extended their winning streak to 12 games, tying an all-time high of 141 points. LeBron James became the 1st player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in March 1983 to shoot 64 percent from the field on at least 200 attempts in a month. With consecutive victories over the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks, the Heat first set their longest winning streak at 14 in 2004-05. The win against the Indiana Pacers extended the winning streak to 18 games, marking the first time the Heat have beaten all 29 teams in a single season. Wade became the first guard since Jordan in 1995-1996 to score over 20 percent and shoot over 50 percent in 11 straight games. While Chris Bosh is averaging a career-low in minutes per game, he is shooting by far the best at over 51 percent. The winning streak continued on March 18, five years after they beat the Boston Celtics, who ended the Houston Rockets’ 22-game winning streak and came back from a 17-point deficit in the game. Two nights later, the Heat extended their winning streak to 24 with a 27-point win over the Cleveland Cavaliers late in the 3rd quarter. Two nights later, the Miami Heat beat the Detroit Pistons by 25 points, giving the Pistons their 10th straight loss. On March 24, the Heat won their 26th game at home against the Charlotte Bobcats. The following night, the Heat traveled to the Amway Center to play against the Magic, missing shooting guard Dwyane Wade for the second straight game due to injury. Right knee; their 27th consecutive appearance.

The streak will end on March 27, when the Chicago Bulls beat the Heat 101-97 in Chicago. Still, in that game against the Bulls, Wade blocked his 50th shot of the season. It was his eighth straight season with more than 50 blocks. The only guard to have that milestone is Michael Jordan. On March 31, against the San Antonio Spurs, Chris Bosh became the first NBA team to win 17 games in a single month with a 3-pointer. That win was also the 2nd time the Heat swept the Spurs in a season series. The first time was during the “Road Warriors” period of 1996-1997. The April 10 victory against the Washington Wizards set a new franchise record of 62 wins. They achieved this without the involvement of the Big Three. On April 14, they retaliated against the Bulls 105-93, setting a new franchise record for home wins with a 36-4 score. With a block from Norris Cole, the Heat won a back-to-back second night over the Cavaliers to set a season record 15-1, tied with the 2007-08 Dallas Mavericks. Beating Orlando in the season finale set a franchise record of 66 wins in a single season. By the end of the season, the Miami Heat had won 18 of their last 19 road games, the most in NBA history to end a season on the road. The Heat went 17-1 in March, and become the first team in NBA history to win 17 games in a calendar month. After the All-Star break, the Heat went 40-2, the longest game in NBA history. Only 2 came close to it as the Chicago Bulls started the 1995-96 season with a 41-3 two-game losing streak and the Dallas Mavericks went 38-2 in the 2006-07 season. With a Game 7 victory against the Indiana Pacers, Miami became the first Eastern Conference team to reach the NBA Finals three years in a row since the Chicago Bulls in the late 1990s. The Heat finished their season with a 66-16 regular-season record as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the entire league.

Miami lost Game 1 of the Finals at home, a game decided by Tony Parker’s last-minute buzzer-beater. The Heat won Game 2 33-5 in the second half, with LeBron James’ huge block on Thiago Split being the highlight of the game. In response, the Spurs beat the Heat 113-77 at home in San Antonio, where the Spurs set a record for the most 3-points made in a single Finals game with 16 3-pointers. The two teams continued to trade wins before Game 6, with the Spurs leading by 10 in the 4th quarter and capable of ending the series and winning the championship. Lebron James went on to score 16 points in the period, at one point outpacing the entire Spurs and putting his team back in the winning position. The Spurs had a five-point lead with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter when James hit a timely 3-pointer to cut it to two. The game remained a one-handed game as Kawhi Leonard missed a crucial free throw on the other end. With five seconds left in regulation, Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, and Bosh blocked a 3-pointer by Danny Green as the Heat beat the Spurs 103-100. The game counted as one of the greatest in Finals history. Some dubbed Game 6 a “No Headband Game” because James lost his signature headband before a horrific fourth-quarter tear. The Heat defeated the Spurs 95-88 in Game 7, James had 37 points and 12 rebounds, and Wade also had 23 points and 10 rebounds. Shane Battier also had 18 points after trailing 6-8 from the 3-point line after his shooting slump throughout the playoffs. The Heat won another NBA title for the second year in a row, becoming the first Eastern Conference team to win the league since the Chicago Bulls in the late 1990s. The series is widely regarded as a classic. James was named NBA Finals MVP, and become the fifth consecutive recipient of the award after Michael Jordan, and Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, & Hakeem Olajuwon Player, and only the second player in NBA history to have win the award Finals MVP and league MVP back-to-back with Jordan. Overall, the Miami Heat’s 2012-13 season is considered one of the most historic games in NBA history.

2013–2014: Final Year as the Big Three

In the offseason, the Heat focused on keeping their team outside the Big Three. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis have opted for one-year extensions. Mario Chalmers has been on the team for another year with the team option. James Jones stayed with the team after considering retirement. In the 2013 NBA draft, the Heat traded a second-round pick for forward James Ennis with the 50th overall pick. Udonis Haslem will undergo knee surgery after tearing his meniscus during the regular season. Chris Anderson signed a one-year extension with the Heat. Mike Miller was released through an amnesty clause that would save the Heat up to $40 million in luxury tax. Greg Oden, the Number 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, signed a contract with the league for at least one year. Michael Beasley was selected by the Heat with the second overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft and signed to a one-year contract. 

The Heat started with a 22-6 record, the best start in franchise history. However, the 2013-14 season was a struggle for the Heat. Their struggle against other top teams continued in a similar fashion to the 2010-11 season. They swept the Brooklyn Nets 0-4 in the regular season, three of them leading by one point and the other going into overtime with Brooklyn. They also went 0-2 on the road against the Chicago Bulls at the Chicago United Center and 0-2 against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. 

When it comes to the Heat’s plight, many Heat players admit that the team lacks the necessary drive and energy. Fourth-quarter troubles were also to blame (as they have been in the past), with the Heat often unable to maintain their lead for four quarters. Mario Chalmers’ poor performance was also talked about, often the object of LeBron’s berating, Wade and Bosh were called the Heat’s “little brothers.” During a home game over the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 18, 2013, LeBron and Mario Chalmers exchanged a few words during a third-quarter timeout and nearly got into an argument. Chalmers said a few words to LeBron, who made another jump as if doing something until he was restrained by Udonis Haslem. James later apologized to Chalmers and tweeted that it was his “mistake.” LeBron also suffered a nose injury against Oklahoma City on Feb. 20. He returned w/ an unusual black nose mask at home against the New York Knicks on Feb. 27, and he kept up his stellar performance as Miami won 108-82. LeBron James scored a career-high 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats at home. His 61 points were also a team-high, breaking Glen Rice’s 56-point team record in 1995 against the Orlando Magic. The Heat finished the season with a 54-28 regular-season record, the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, and the lowest record in the Big Three era. In the first round of the playoffs, they swept the No. 7 seed Charlotte Bobcats. This became the second consecutive sweep of the Big Three era. In the conference semifinals. The Heat faced a sweeping opponent in the regular season: the Brooklyn Nets. As the Heat won their first two games at home, Brooklyn won Game 3, ending the Heat’s six-game playoff streak. Fortunately, James scored a career-high 49 points on the road to lead the Heat to a Game 4 victory. Back at home, the Heat avenged their sweeping loss to the Nets in Game 5 of the regular season. Moving on, the Heat suffered another rematch with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals and their third straight playoff game. Pacers head coach Frank Vogel made it clear that the Pacers felt they would beat Miami if Game 7 was in Indiana, so they worked hard to get the No. 1 seed in the East. The Pacers beat the Heat in Game 1 but lost in Game 2, 3, and 4. They avoided elimination in 5th Game, with James facing foul trouble and career-low scoring and minutes. Throughout the series, Lance Stephenson’s antics got plenty of coverage, from blowing in James’ ears to punching Norris Cole in the face with his hands. In Game 6, despite leading 9-2 early in the first quarter, the Pacers were then eliminated for the remainder of the game; Miami will advance to the fourth straight Finals, join Boston Celtics The Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Lakers became the third team to achieve such a feat. In the Finals, the Miami Heat will take on the San Antonio Spurs in another much-anticipated rematch. The Miami Heat, however, failed to achieve their three-peat goal, as they did in 2011 when they lost to the Mavericks and will end up losing in a rematch with the Spurs, though in a brutal five-game run the Heat won and Lost the game by 1 point. For every 15 or more points lost. In Game 1, Heat players were dehydrated due to a malfunctioning air conditioner at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, and LeBron in particular was unable to stay in the game with cramps, leading to internet/Twitter memes calling him “LeCramp” and contradictory catchphrases” Too hot for the Miami Heat.” After winning Game 2 in San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat lost the next three games, including a two-game losing streak at home in Game 3 and Game 4. It would be the Heat’s first playoff loss since losing to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. On July 11, 2014, LeBron James announced his decision to return to Cleveland, leaving Wade and Bosh to move on without him.

2014–2019: Post-Big Three Era and Wade’s retirement

2015: Missing the Playoffs

Like the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2014 offseason, the Heat are focused on how to stay and remain a top contender without LeBron James. However, instead of firing key members and rebuilding, the Heat kept most of the roster together and restructured. Despite James’ departure, the Heat’s offseason marked the return of many key veterans, as well as the arrival of new stars, giving the Heat hope. Chris Bosh signed a five-year, $115 million contract. Dwyane Wade also re-signed to a two-year deal. Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, and Chris Anderson also returned, but James Jones went to Cleveland to join LeBron. The Heat also signed Cleveland Cavalier’s free agent Luol Deng, Los Angeles Clippers Danny Granger, and then-Charlotte Bobcats Josh McRoberts. The Heat also acquired 2014 rookie Shabazz Napier. While not necessarily a championship favorite due to the Heat’s handling of James’ departure in the offseason, many sports analysts still see the Heat as a top contender in the East. Despite a promising 3-0 start, the Heat struggled and won at the start of the season with a 9-12 record. After that, they went through a win-lose pattern and suffered from injury problems. On Dec. 15, 2014, Chris Bosh was sidelined with a calf strain. On Dec. 23, it was announced that Josh McRoberts would miss the remainder of the season despite successful surgery on his injured knee. After applying for the disabled player exception, the Heat received $2.65 million worth of salary cap space. On Christmas Day, December 25, LeBron returned to Miami for the first time as a member of the Cavaliers. The Heat made a tribute video for LeBron and James Jones. In stark contrast to LeBron’s return to Cleveland as a member of the Heat on December 3, 2010; he was highly praised by fans. The Heat beat the Cavaliers 101-91, one of their best wins of the season, thanks to solid performances from Wade and Deng. Wade had 31 points and LeBron had 30. Ultimately, the Heat will sign 2010 second-round pick Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside made a huge contribution to the Heat, breaking Alonzo Mourning’s nine blocks with 12 blocks and 13 rebounds, and 14 points against the Chicago Bulls record.

On February 19, 2015, the Miami Heat traded Norris Cole to the New Orleans Pelicans for Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns and traded his brother Zoran Dragic for Danny Granger. On February 21, Bosh missed the entire season with a blood clot in his lungs.

At the end of the season, the Miami Heat failed to make the playoffs despite trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. They finished the regular game season with a 37-45 record, the 10th-worst record in the NBA. This will be the second time Wade has missed the playoffs since the 2007-08 season. The Heat ended their 2014-15 season with a 105-101 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

2015–16 season

During 2015 free agency, the Heat signed veteran Amar’e Stoudemire and Duke rookie Justise Winslow to one-year deals. The Heat also re-signed Wade and Dragic. Dragic extended his contract to five years. Rolden exercised his player option for the 2015-16 season. On Feb. 27, 2016, the Heat signed former 7-time All-Star Joe Johnson. Deng, Dragic, & Wade all stepped up to lead the Heat for the remainder of the season after main scorer Chris Bosh was ruled out for the rest of the season at All-Star Weekend for the 2nd straight year due to a blood clot. Joe Johnson signed with Miami Heat and started at small forward, with Deng at power forward, scoring 3 points for Miami. The Heat defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 122-101 on March 19. In March, second-round pick Josh Richardson shot over 60 percent from 3-point range to help the Heat come off the bench. Whiteside was dropped from the starting lineup and replaced by Amare Stoudemire, who was added to the Heat bench alongside Richardson, rookie Justice Winslow, and Gerald Green spark. In the final game of season over the Boston Celtics, they went 48-34 despite losing their final game of the season despite leading by 26 at halftime. Although they have the same record as the Atlanta Hawks, Celtics, and Charlotte Hornets, the Heat have the third seed in the playoffs to host the Hornets.

Against the Hornets, the Miami Heat won the first two games 123-91 and 115-103, respectively. After Charlotte won Games 3 and 4. Dwyane Wade shot 10-20 with 23 points, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals for Game 7 at home. Miami won Game 7 over the Hornets after Goran Dragic’s stunning 25-point performance. In the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Toronto Raptors, the Heat won Game 1 in overtime, but despite Wade’s 38-point performance in Game 3, the Heat won. Lost the second and third games. Defensive presence Hassan Whiteside is averaging 3.8 blocks and over 10 rebounds due to injury. Miami Heat won Game 4 at home and lost Game 5 at Toronto. Dwyane Wade led the team to a Game 6 win and a Game 7 win in Toronto. After losing Chris Bosh and Whiteside, the Heat lost Game 7 to the second-seeded Raptors.

The departure of Dwyane Wade

Free agency in 2016 saw many players leave teams to chase championships, and Wade was no exception. After failing to sign Kevin Durant (to join the Golden State Warriors), the focus shifts to the seemingly boiling relationship issues and a disagreements between Dwyane Wade and Heat president Pat Riley, mostly over contract negotiations. Wade had asked for a two-year deal worth $50 million and turned down Riley’s $42 million offer.

On July 6, Wade announced that he would be leaving the Heat to join his hometown Chicago Bulls. Wade said the Heat put Kevin Durant and Hassan Whiteside in his place, and he felt the Heat’s handling of free agency was undervalued. Patra responded to Wade’s decision with emotional text.

2018–2019 season Miami End of the Dwyane Wade era

Before joining Kobe Bryant’s home team, the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwyane Wade decided to return to the Miami Heat for the 2018-19 season to spend with LeBron James in James’ final season with the Cavaliers 2017-18 season. Missed some games after her daughter was born. On April 9, 2019, Wade played his final home game in Miami, scoring 30 points. In the final game of the second night, Wade recorded his fifth career triple-double with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Wade’s jersey number 3 was retired on February 22, 2020.

2019–present: Rebuilding

2019–20: Return to the Finals

Jimmy Butler signed with the Heat ahead of the 2019-20 season. Butler named as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on December 9, 2019. Additionally, the Heat returned to the Finals for the first time in six years after beating the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. After playing six games with wins in Games 3 and 5, the Heat ended the season as runners-up after a Finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.