Heat mailbag: Is it dangerous for teams to jockey to face Boston in first round? Heat avenues to improve this summer

Everybody is looking at the Celtics and wondering if they can be beat in the first round. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – Time for another Miami Heat mailbag.

If you were not able to ask a question this time, send them along for future mailbags via Twitter to @tomdangelo44 and @Anthony_Chiang. You can also e-mail me at tdangelo@pbpost.com. The playoffs start in about a week so start loading up on those questions.

From @ChrisHypeTrain: The Heat have 2 hard games left, both Bucks and Wizard have 2 free wins. There is obviously a scenario where they drop a seed. Is catching Boston in the playoffs what these 3 teams are aiming for? How does Kyrie being out shake up the east?

That scenario became a bit more unlikely after Thursday’s results but still is possible. The Heat finish at New York tonight but then come home to face playoff teams OKC and Toronto. The Bucks, who are a game behind the Heat (with the Heat owning the tiebreaker) after a bad home loss to the Nets Thursday, also plays at the Knicks and then plays Orlando and ends at Philadelphia. The Wizards, also a game behind Miami after Thursday’s loss in Cleveland with Miami holding the tiebreaker, host Atlanta and Boston and travel to Orlando. So, yes, the Bucks and Wizards do have an easier final three games than Miami, which gives the Heat the inside track for the No. 6 seed and a likely first-round date with LeBron and the Cavs.

But as I have said before, be careful what you wish for. Yes, the coveted spot at the bottom of the East bracket is No. 7, especially after Thursday’s news that Kyrie Irving is done for the season and postseason after knee surgery. The Celtics are limping into the playoffs – Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis are out also – but Boston remains a dangerous opponent.

The Celtics are 7-4 since Irving went down and gave the Raptors a scare, closing within two games of the No. 1 seed, before Toronto ended the threat with a victory over the Celtics on Wednesday. But, yes, every team would rather play a Celtics team without their two best players (Irving and Gordon Hayward) and four rotations players than the top-seeded Raptors or LeBron James and Cleveland. It’s just that trying to get to that spot and come back to haunt you.

As far as the Irving injury shaking up the East. That just likely means we are going to see a Toronto-Cleveland conference final for the second time in three years.

From @jared_millerrr: What should (the Heat’s) main offseason focus be? free agency? drafting more young guys? continuing to develop? i mean obviously we should focus on all three but which should we be most concerned about?

Like you said at the end, Pat Riley would answer yes, yes and yes to that question. But the way it stands right now one of the three is possible. Miami does not have a draft pick, its first round selection going to Phoenix in the Goran Dragic trade; and trading out of the second round twice, once its own pick and the second time after acquiring a pick from New Orleans. And when it comes to free agency, unless the Heat make a blockbuster trade, they already are capped out.

But you missed one. Do not discount the Heat being active in the trade market not just to free up cap space but to bring in a major piece or two.

 

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