Miami Heat: Will the Heat take a step back or forward amid the noise?

Miami Heat Jimmy Butler (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat Jimmy Butler (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

Will the Miami Heat respond amid all the noise? 

Through roughly the first three-quarters of the season, the Miami Heat were operating in stealth mode. Despite their success, it seemed as if none of the national media at large was paying much attention.

However, that is no longer the case. After a timeout skirmish in which Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler were quite animated, much of the NBA talked since that took place Wednesday night has surrounded the Heat.

With the Heat clinging to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, all eyes will be on Maimi as they take on the New York Knicks Friday night.

This is an opportunity for Miami to not only quiet the noise over the past 48 hours, but also reassert themselves as one of the best teams in the conference – over the past couple of weeks, they haven’t played to that level.

The Heat is just 3-4 in their last seven games and has looked nothing like a top seed should. Even in their wins over the past couple of weeks, the Heat has looked less than spectacular. But, oftentimes, championship teams respond well in the midst of noise.

Amid the mess is when true contenders respond. This is when the Heat will need to rise. On Wednesday night, it seemed as if the Heat was on the verge of fighting amongst themselves. Starting Friday night, against the Knicks, it’ll be important that Miami begins to shift that frustration to the opposition.

For all that the Heat has accomplished so far this season, this team was always going to be judged by what they do in the postseason. Finishing as a top 2 seed to only lose in the first or second round of the playoffs was never the goal. And it still isn’t.

It’s not why Kyle Lowry was acquired and certainly not why Jimmy Butler signed here a couple of offseasons ago.

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Amid the noise, the Heat needs to respond. When the odds are stacked against them and it feels like the walls are closing in, that’s usually what championship teams do. We’re about to find out a lot about what this team truly is.