Must-win games are usually reserved for the postseason, left for when a team is one game away from being sent home for good. For the Miami Heat, however, that situation could apply to any game in the regular season simply because of who they are.
There isn't any pressure to win in the regular season, even for a team like the Heat.
Miami's proven in the past that they can win on the road, almost thriving off of the jeers they draw from the crowds, and a number one seed in the East isn't a necessity to them. They can coast their way through a large portion of the regular season and still emerge anywhere between a one and three seed.
Still, any team wants to establish early on where they stand. Yes, the first few weeks of the regular season could be considered an extension of the preseason because of players still working their way back from the rest of the offseason, but there is still a need to begin establishing a chemistry and a presence early on.
That goes double for the Heat. With every team gunning for their spot at the top of the NBA, they're going to have to be at their best from the onset. Even early on, opponents will treat a matchup with the Heat as one of their marquee games.
After all, they're the team everyone wants to beat, and that means Miami has to always be at or near its best to pull through against every opponent.
Even the opponents that could be classified in the lower-tier put up significant fights. They're still NBA players and they still could have the types of performances that brought them into the league.
Miami will have a number of these key games early on in the season, two alone coming in the first three games and three within the first week-and-a-half.
The road to a third consecutive NBA championship will be the Heat's most difficult by far and they'll need to be locked in from day one, starting with what is sure to be a heated battle with a Chicago Bulls team that never takes any game lightly.