With pressure of having to win every game, Miami Heat has no time for scoreboard watching

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is focused on his team and not scoreboard watching. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

MIAMI – Josh Richardson must have been trying to make a point.

No way he walked off the court Monday after the Miami Heat’s emotional 124-121 overtime victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, celebrated with his teammates, showered and then faced the cameras, recorders and notebooks without knowing the Heat still did not control their own playoff destiny with one game remaining.

But Miami’s emerging starting shooting guard said he still did not know Chicago, Indiana and Milwaukee had won, setting up a nail-biting Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

And this was a good 20 minutes after the game.

“We didn’t have a clue,” Richardson said after playing all 17 minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime, a stretch in which the Heat (40-41)  outscored the Cavaliers by 13 points to escape with the win.

“Well, I didn’t have a clue. I still don’t know. I just know we had to win to give ourselves a shot.”

To think Heat coaches and players were not paying attention to the other scores that directly impacted their future during their game is understandable.

None of it would have mattered if Miami didn’t rally for the win.

“We had enough trouble with our game,” Tyler Johnson said. “No matter what happened with those game if we didn’t win our game. …

“We were already fighting against anything. We didn’t need any other distractions, especially with this group, to play with a free mind. Whenever we put any extra pressure on ourselves that’s when we fall into trouble just because we’re such a young team.”

In retrospect, coach Erik Spoelstra believes he made the right move by ignoring the other games, especially since Miami received no help.

“I purposely did not,” Spoelstra said when asked after the game if he paid attention to the out of town scoreboard.

“It would have totally distracted me. Absolutely, especially knowing what happened I would have been going crazy. That game was enough. I don’t need the extra stress.”

The Heat stayed alive with the win but needed help from Orlando (lost to Chicago) and Philadelphia (lost to Indiana) they did  not receive. The Heat now must defeat Washington in Wednesday’s regular-season finale at AmericanAirlines Arena and either the Bulls or Pacers must lose for Miami to capture the No. 8 seed.

If both lose and Miami wins the Heat will climb to No. 7.

If both win, not matter what Miami does one of the more entertaining (and satisfying) seasons in Heat history comes to a screeching halt.

Both are at home with Chicago hosting Brooklyn and Indiana facing Atlanta. Every game starts at 8 p.m.

“We have to take care of business,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve already developed this habit just focusing on us. So, we’ll go back to our caves, hang out and wait for the next battle on Wednesday.”

[Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson wasn’t about to experience that sinking feeling of missing crucial free throws again]

[Playoff update: Miami Heat’s playoff fate will be decided on final day of regular season]

[Dion Waiters still feeling effects of sprained left ankle, but hopes to return for playoffs if Heat make it]

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