The Miami Heat are within reach of having home court advantage for the first three rounds of the playoffs, as a thorough beating of the Indiana Pacers on Friday night has them a half game ahead for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for the defending champs, the season isn’t over yet, and neither is the battle for the top spot.
The Heat have three games remaining on their regular season schedule, two of which are against playoff bound teams in the East. The Pacers on the other hand have only two games remaining, one of which is against the Oklahoma City Thunder (which you can pencil in as a loss due to how ridiculous Kevin Durant has been playing this season) and the other against the lottery bound Orlando Magic. Assuming the Pacers lose to just the Thunder on Sunday, this would mean the Pacers would finish with a 55-27 record, two games higher in the loss column than the Heat currently.
With a 54-25 record, the Heat could still lose just one more game this season and still be ahead of the Pacers by a half game in the Eastern Conference at season’s end. With how the Heat exerted themselves against the Pacers, their back-to-back game tonight against the eighth seed Atlanta Hawks could be a trap game in the making. This would mean the Heat would have to win out against the Washington Wizards on Monday and then the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday in order to grab home court advantage in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, which is still highly plausible.
The Heat coaching staff and the team have to decide how important the number one seed is. Is it more important than resting your star players to gain quality rest before a brutal stretch run in the playoffs, or losing out on precious home court advantage? What the Heat as a team decide to do could alter the outcome of their quest for a third straight title.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com.
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