Playoff update: Miami Heat no longer control own destiny in the playoff race

Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson, left, tries to stop Miami Heat forward James Johnson during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 7, 2017, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

The Heat took a step in the wrong direction Friday night.

Miami wasted an opportunity to slide back into the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, falling to the Raptors in Toronto. Instead of moving back into a playoff spot, the Heat are now one full game behind the No. 8 Pacers and No. 7 Bulls (HERE ARE THE FULL STANDINGS).

With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Heat (38-41) are running out of chances to make up ground. Indiana and Chicago are both 39-40, but the Bulls are seventh and the Pacers are eighth because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Miami owns the tiebreaker over Indiana, but not over Chicago.

One thing is for sure, the Heat no longer control their own playoff destiny. With 41 losses, Miami needs to root against Indiana and Chicago down the stretch.

The Pacers hit the road to face Orlando and the Bulls hit the road to face the Nets tonight.

Friday’s loss also moved the Heat two games behind No. 6 Milwaukee and three games behind No. 5 Atlanta. Miami holds the tiebreaker over the Bucks and Hawks.

Despite all of this negative news for Miami, the Heat could find themselves back in a playoff spot by the end of Saturday night. A Heat win over the Wizards and a Pacers loss to the Magic tonight would push Miami into the eighth playoff spot.

[Goran Dragic brushes off ‘Go back to Russia’ taunt: ‘As international players we are used to that’]

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