The Miami Heat are only the third team to advance to the NBA Finals after posting a negative point differential during the regular season. They join the 1956-57 St. Louis Hawks and 1958-59 Minneapolis Lakers.
Miami has won 41 straight playoff games when leading by 10 or more points at halftime, the second-longest streak in NBA history behind the Los Angeles Lakers (63 from 1985-2008). The Heat’s last loss was in 2000 at the New York Knicks.
Upon further review of a few NBA betting sites, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is the No. 1 favorite to win Finals MVP. Check out which sportsbooks are also showing favorable odds for Jamal Murray.
The Miami Heat are just the third team in NBA history to advance to the Finals after posting a negative point differential during the regular season.
They join the 1956-57 St. Louis Hawks and 1958-59 Minneapolis Lakers.
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— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) May 30, 2023
Moreover, the Heat are the second No. 8 seed to reach the NBA Finals, joining the New York Knicks in 1999. The Heat made the Finals with a 44-38 record in the regular season.
The last team to make the Finals with that record were the Washington Bullets in 1978. The Bullets went on to win the championship in seven games against the Seattle SuperSonics.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is making his sixth NBA Finals appearance, tying John Kundla, Gregg Popovich, and Steve Kerr for the fourth most in league history
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is making his sixth NBA Finals appearance, tying John Kundla, Gregg Popovich, and Steve Kerr for the fourth most in league history. Phil Jackson leads the all-time list with 13, followed by Red Auerbach (11) and Pat Riley (9).
However, Denver (65-32, 53-43-1 ATS) will enter Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals this Thursday as 8.5-point favorites at home over the Heat (57-45, 44-55-3 ATS). The Nuggets are making their first appearance in the NBA Finals in franchise history.
Heat in regular season:
— Negative point differential
— 30th in points
Heat in play-in:
— Lost first game
— Trailing with 3 mins left in 2nd game
Heat in playoffs:
— Beat teams with the 2 best record
— Going to the Finals pic.twitter.com/3YKVxoEF2k
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 30, 2023
The Nuggets are the fourth team to reach the NBA Finals and never face a team with a win percentage of .550 or above in that postseason, joining the 1956 Warriors, 1957 Celtics, and 1959 Celtics.
For one last note, Miami is returning to the Finals for the seventh time and first since 2020. The Heat reached their first championship series in 2006. Their seven Finals appearances are the most in the NBA during that span.
Miami advancing to this point — despite recording a negative point differential in the regular season, is nothing short of incredible.