In hockey and basketball, the 8th seed is usually the last team in the conference to qualify for playoffs. Often regarded as an afterthought, they are expected to be warming up for the top-seeded team in their first-round matchup. However, the Panthers and Heat are different this year. Despite being the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, they are still playing. No one told them they couldn’t upset the teams above them or that their players weren’t good enough.
In the first round, the Heat defeated the seeded Milwaukee Bucks by knocking out the No. 1, while the Panthers defeated the best regular-season team in hockey history, Boston. Something special is happening with both teams, and this South Florida sporting revelry will continue for at least a few more weeks.
On Friday night, the sport’s first event happened, where two teams from the same market won a match and advanced to the knockout stages and conference finals on the same night. The home Heat took on the Knicks, while the Panthers north of the border beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime in a thrilling game. This kind of ride never happens in sports, and now both teams go to the conference finals, where no one can bet against either team.
Stephen Goldstein is a veteran of sports broadcasting and the authoritative voice of South Florida. He joined CBS4 in 2015 as his sports anchor/reporter, commentator, and occasional news anchor.