Miami Heat still waiting to clinch playoff spot, with next opportunity set for Tuesday

From left, Miami Heat players Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade, Wayne Ellington and Bam Adebayo look from the bench during overtime against the Brooklyn Nets at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, March 31, 2018. The Nets won, 110-109, in OT. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

MIAMI — The Heat’s wait to clinch a playoff spot continues.

Sunday was the third day the Heat had a chance to secure a postseason berth. And for the third time, it didn’t happen.

The Heat could have clinched a trip to the playoffs with a Pistons loss to the Nets on Sunday, but Detroit defeated Brooklyn 108-96 to delay the celebration once again.

The Heat could have clinched a playoff berth Saturday with a home win over the Nets, but Brooklyn upset Miami 110-109 in overtime. A Pistons loss to the Knicks on Saturday also could have punched the Heat’s playoff ticket, but Detroit beat New York.

The first clinching opportunity came Thursday, but the Pistons defeated the Wizards to ruin that scenario.

Clinching a playoff spot seems like a formality for the Heat, with five regular-season games remaining. Miami’s magic number (combined number of wins and Pistons losses it needs to clinch) is one.

With Detroit off until Wednesday, the Heat will have to wait until Tuesday for their next chance to punch their playoff ticket. Miami can clinch with a win Tuesday night, when it hosts Atlanta.

The Heat’s remaining regular-season schedule is: Tuesday at home against the Hawks, Wednesday on the road against the Hawks, Friday on the road against the Knicks, April 9 at home against the Thunder and April 11 at home against the Raptors.

The Pistons have five games left: Wednesday at home against the 76ers, Friday at home against the Mavericks, April 8 on the road against the Grizzlies, April 9 at home against the Raptors and April 11 on the road against the Bulls.

The good news for Miami is the Wizards and Bucks both lost Sunday, pushing the Heat up from eighth to seventh in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee and Miami now have the same record at 41-36, but the No. 7 Heat are ahead because they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the No. 8 Bucks after sweeping the season series 3-0.

Seventh-place Miami is also one game behind sixth-place Washington.

The last time the Heat made the playoffs was in 2016, when they defeated the Hornets in the first round and were eliminated by the Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Miami missed the postseason by one game last year, as the Bulls took the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot despite having the same 41-41 record because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The NBA playoffs open the weekend of April 14-15.

[NBA rules Dwyane Wade was not fouled at end of Saturday’s Heat loss to Nets]

[What led Heat’s Hassan Whiteside to go on eye-opening postgame rant Saturday?]

[Hassan Whiteside feels ‘a lot better’ after being allowed to shed knee brace]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s