Game 7 between the Heat and the Raptors was not was most Heat fans were expecting. Not a lot of people expected to see the 116-89 butt-kicking that Toronto dished out. No one expected a wave of momentum from a game 6 win to crash and burn so suddenly and severely. There are many questions being asked about why the Heat could not at least make the game a little more competitive. The answer is simple: They just ran out of steam.
Miami did not have 2 of their starters (Whiteside and Bosh), Deng was dealing with a wrist injury, and then the trio of Wade/Dragic/Johnson was gassed. Miami literally threw all of their limited resources into the series and did about all they could. But kudos to the Raptors for sustaining and being patient until Lowry and DeRozan caught fire. To be completely honest, had Miami held on in game 2 and taken advantage of Valanciunas going down in game 3, we would be talking about the Heat and Cavs right now. However, that is not how it played out and the Heat are now facing new issues in the offseason. I will say that it was a fantastic season for the Heat and I feel they surpassed many people’s expectations, especially after Bosh went down.
Miami has to face its inner problems now. Whiteside, Wade, Deng, and Johnson are all free agents and Pat Riley would love to bring them all back. But as of now, Whiteside is going to be commanding a near-max salary, Wade is going to want to be compensated for his remarkable playoff showing, Deng and Johnson are both valuable assets, and there is the big free agent class that provides a stage where Riley shines in the recruitment category. The other question is the looming shadow of a possible health-induced retirement for Chris Bosh. I think that given time and proper rest, Bosh will be able to play again. I do think that he will have to start out on some sort of minutes limit or not playing both games of a back-to-back, which would give him rest while also saving him for the playoffs.
A summer full of questions, but also some high points. Winslow and Richardson have very bright futures ahead and will both vital pieces going forward. Tyler Johnson came back and had some quality minutes, which bodes well him. I think Briante Weber is a solid defender who could really provide a spark. If Whiteside were to return as many say he will, he will have improved as an offensive player and 1-on-1 defender given that he puts in the work (which he probably will).
I see a bright future ahead for Miami so no need to worry Heat fans, I see a conference finals appearance coming again soon!