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The Heat’s most important loss that changed season, per Udonis Haslem

Heat

The Miami Heat suffered quite a few disappointing losses early in the season, but there was one that weighed heavy with the team. Udonis Haslem, who serves as a valuable veteran on the Heat, revealed that Miami’s most important loss came against the Golden State Warriors.

Via the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang:

“That Golden State game hurt,” Haslem said. “I’m not kidding, I slept in my sweatsuit. I woke up the next morning and I had my clothes on and I still had my hoodie over my head, I took that one hard. That was a tough one. … I think collectively, everybody had hit bottom at that time.”

Back on Feb. 17, the Heat took on the Warriors amid a seven-game road trip in the West. Miami held a 15-point lead with under 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, only for Golden State to force overtime.

The Warriors would then outpace the Heat in overtime en route to a 120-112 Miami loss that caused players to apparently wake up. Ever since the Heat’s defeat to Golden State, they’ve won seven out of their past eight games, improving their record to 18-18 entering All-Star Weekend.

Early in the season, with injuries and COVID-19 issues to vital members of the roster, things were looking bleak for Miami. However, as they’ve gotten healthier, the Heat are now showing they have what it takes to defend their title as Eastern Conference champions. If Miami is able to put together another deep playoff run, they could credit their loss against the Warriors as a reason for their awakening.