Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat play its final regular season game Thursday night against the Washington Wizards and none of the Big Three are expected to see any court time.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh also sat out the team’s last game, a loss to the Boston Celtics Tuesday night. Miami has nothing to play for Thursday night, which is why the Big Three and probably Ronny Turiaf.
After the Heat lost to the Celtics Tuesday night, the team was locked into the number two seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs for the second straight year. The Heat’s first round opponent is likely to be the New York Knicks.
The Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers are tied for the seventh spot in the East. New York plays at Charlotte, which should be a guaranteed victory Thursday night, while the 76ers play in Detroit against the Pistons.
If both the 76ers and Knicks finish the season tied, New York owns the tiebreaker between the two teams, meaning the Knicks would get the seven seed and travel to Miami while Philly would travel to Chicago to face the Bulls.
For Miami, keeping Bosh and Wade out of the lineup has been as much about getting them healthy as it has been about resting them for the playoffs. Bosh has been battling a hamstring injury in his right leg, while Wade has missed the last two games because of a dislocated finger.
But the Wizards game Thursday night can be special for some of the Heat members who don’t get to see a lot of court time during the season. Center Dexter Pittman played extended minutes against the Celtics Tuesday night and led the Heat in scoring with 12 points.
The Wizards have essentially been out of the playoff picture since opening 2-15, but are determined to finish the season on a high note. They defeated Cleveland 96-85 Wednesday for their fifth straight victory, their longest winning streak since reeling off six in a row from Nov. 11-21, 2007.
“Everybody plays good and plays hard,” John Wall said. “Nobody worries about how many points you’re going to score. You can tell the whole group is having a lot more fun.”
During their winning streak, the Wizards have allowed an average of 87.6 points – 11.3 points fewer than their season mark.
Wall has also stepped up his game, finishing with 21 points, 13 assists and seven steals Wednesday. It was the fourth straight double-double for Wall, who had four in his previous 24 contests.