Why do Heat feel it’s important to finish No. 6? Hint: It has nothing to do with possibly facing Sixers

Miami’s Justise Winslow drives past New York Knicks’ Emmanuel Mudiay and Luke Kornet during the Heat’s loss in New York on Friday. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK – With two games remaining the playoff picture is a bit clearer, at least for the Miami Heat.

Win both and the Heat secure the No. 6 seed. Split their final two and they cannot fall lower than No. 7. Lost both and they could wind up No. 8.

But for the Heat – who come home to finish the season against the Thunder on Monday and Raptors on Wednesday – trying to unjumble all the first-round matchup possibilities was not their priority after another disappointing performance Friday against a lottery team.

“We’ve got to take care of business,” said Josh Richardson, who on Saturday went without a field goal (0 of 3) for just the second time all season and finished with two points in the 122-98 loss at the Knicks.

“We’re not looking at who, what spot anyone is in. It’s huge for us (to win out). I mean, yeah, anything in the playoffs is a nice number, especially (after) last year, missing. It’s progression. Getting in there was the first thing. From here on out, anything could happen.”

The Heat know the ceiling and they all say they want it to reached. … no matter who awaits them in a week.

Today, that would be Philadelphia, who has a half-game lead over Cleveland for the No. 3 spot. The Sixers can secure the spot by winning their final three games. Cleveland though remains very much in play for spot.

The Sixers, though, are expected to be without All-Star center, Joel Embiid, who is recovering from surgery to repair a facial fracture. Yet, Philadelphia has won 13 in a row, five since Embiid when down.

“It would be great,” Dwyane Wade said about finishing sixth. “(We)want to go into the playoffs on a high note, you don’t want to go in losing three in a row you want to definitely go in winning and feeling good about yourself. Whatever happens at the end of the day from seeds standpoint is what it is.

“We’re at the bottom we’re going to play a Goliath team anyway. It really doesn’t matter. We want to continue to play good basketball.”

Recapturing that momentum seemed to be a theme Friday in the quiet locker room. The Heat felt good after back-to-back wins over Atlanta in which they clinched a playoff spot with a dramatic comeback at home on Tuesday and then crushed the Hawks the next night on the road with Wade, Goran Dragic and James Johnson resting because of minor injuries.

The victories gave the Heat seven wins in their last 10 games. A nice little roll if they could keep it up.

And then came the clunker of all clunkers on Saturday, of which coach Erik Spoelstra said, “we’ve only had two or three all season. This was definitely one of them.” But that was before he added, “what we see is opportunity ahead of us.”

“You want to finish the regular season in a good place, because you always feel good if you win your last games,” Goran Dragic said. “So, before the playoffs, it’s important that we stay positive and not allow this kind of game to happen again.”

Still, no matter what happens, Miami knows the season will be extended, which is an important step after last season’s second half stunning recovery ended with it missing the postseason on the final night because of a tiebreaker and then bringing  back virtually that entire team.

“It’s amazing” Wayne Ellington said. “It’s a great place to be. It’s a long season, we’ve come a long way. We have two big-time games left.”

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

[Health, not seeding, is most important for Heat entering playoffs, no matter the opponent]

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