MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s been quite a few weeks for the Miami Heat.
The team’s name has extra meaning lately as Miami truly is on fire.
The Heat has reeled off eight straight wins and has climbed back into the postseason conversation, sitting just 4.5 games back of the final playoff spot.
It’s an incredible turnaround for a team that just two weeks ago had the second-worst record in the NBA.
Miami’s about face boils down to three things; confidence, chemistry and camaraderie.
“It’s amazing, obviously,” said Willie Reed when asked about Miami being the hottest team in the league. “I’m new to the NBA, I’m young in the NBA and this is my longest NBA win streak.”
Right now, the Heat have the longest winning streak in the league.
A team that once looked jittery in crunch time now looks poised and ready for anything.
“We had to learn how to win in those close situations,” said Heat guard Tyler Johnson. “So now we’re a lot more comfortable with it.”
The Heat’s backcourt of Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters have become a dynamic duo.
Waiters says Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s constant prodding has driven him to become mister clutch.
“Well you’ve gotta believe in yourself, first and foremost,” said Heat guard Dion Waiters. “I’m a guy that always did that because you have to. If you don’t, you don’t belong here.”
Miami’s roster is loaded with the players who have had to prove they belong, some grinding their way up from the minor leagues. It has helped them stick together during the Heat’s ugly start to the season.
“We have a common background,” said Reed. “We understand what it took for us to get here.”
Hard work has quickly become a common theme with this group.
“We work hard,” said Heat guard Wayne Ellington. “We’re gonna go out there and compete every night, lay it on the line and try to get a “W”. We’re not about laying down.”
Now instead, the Heat are looking up, trying to continue this improbably run to reach something that once seemed unthinkable.
“We’ve been thinking playoffs from the beginning, believe it or not,” said Ellington. “We had a tough start but when you look at the standings we understand that it only takes a nice little run and you can be right there [in the playoff race].”
“Everybody else who’s gonna say ‘how can a team like the Heat who’s bottom three in the East make it to the playoffs?’,” said Johnson. “But when you look at it, it’s only 4-5 games out [of the final playoff spot].”
It took a while but things now have clicked with the Heat.
Miami will go for its ninth straight win on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks at the AAA.