Playoff update: Heat move back into playoff spot, can move up to seventh with some help tonight

Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (15) tries to shoot over Miami Heat’s Willie Reed (35) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The Heat won 112-99. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The Heat’s wild ride continues.

Today, Miami is in one of the Eastern Conference’s eight playoff spots (HERE ARE THE FULL STANDINGS). The Heat’s huge win over the Hornets on Wednesday moved Miami (38-40) back into the eighth and final playoff spot after spending the previous 24 hours in ninth place.

The Heat slid past the idle Pacers to get back into the eighth position. Indiana, Miami and Chicago are all 38-40, but the Bulls are seventh, the Heat are eighth and the Pacers are ninth because of tiebreakers.

Wednesday’s win also moved No. 8 Miami just 1.5 games behind No. 6 Atlanta and two games behind No. 5 Milwaukee with four regular-season games remaining on the Heat’s schedule.

Charlotte and Detroit’s playoff hopes took a big hit with losses Wednesday. At this point, it would take a lot of help from other teams for the Hornets and Pistons to make the postseason as Charlotte fell 2.5 games behind the eighth spot and Detroit is now three games behind the eighth spot with one week to go in the regular season.

After starting their three-game road trip with a win over the Hornets, the Heat now travel to take on the Raptors on Friday and the Wizards on Saturday. Miami then finishes the regular season at home against Cleveland and Washington next week.

The Heat are off Thursday night, but there will be some scoreboard watching going on. The Bulls face the 76ers in Philadelphia and the Pacers host the Bucks tonight.

Losses by both would bump the Heat up to the seventh spot. Wins by both would move the Heat back to No. 9. And one team winning with the other losing would keep the Heat at No. 8.

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