Heat Need Win, Help, To Clinch Playoff Spot In Season Finale

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – After a long and grueling season full of ups and downs, it all comes down to this.

The Miami Heat will need some help to reach the postseason, but they must take care of their own business first when the playoff-bound Washington Wizards pay a visit on Wednesday night.

The Heat can reach the postseason with a victory over the Wizards along with a loss by either Indiana (who plays Atlanta) or Chicago (who plays Brooklyn), which are both playing at home on Wednesday.

“It’s the tough road for this group,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “That’s the way it’s been all year. But we have to take care of business. We’ve already developed this habit just focusing on us. So, we’ll go back to our caves, hang out and wait for the next battle.”

The Wizards will likely be without resting John Wall (sore left quad) and Otto Porter Jr. (back spasms), but Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris told reporters they want to play in the regular-season finale.

Washington is locked into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and will find out its first-round opponent in a few days.

The Wizards will have to be better on the road in the playoffs after going 19-21 away from home during the regular season, but they did win the last two including a 105-101 triumph at Detroit on Monday.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), FSN Sun (Miami)

ABOUT THE WIZARDS (49-32): Washington expects to have Wall (23.1 points, 10.7 assists) and Porter (13.5 points, 43.7 percent from 3-point range) back for the playoffs after both missed Monday’s contest.

Beal (23.1 points) poured in 33 in the victory over Detroit while Morris added 20 and drained 18-of-29 from the field over the last two contests.

The Wizards boast six players averaging double figures scoring, including shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic (12.9) and center Marcin Gortat (10.7).

ABOUT THE HEAT (40-41): Guard Tyler Johnson recorded a team-high 24 points off the bench in the 124-121 overtime win over Cleveland on Monday to keep Miami alive, but the Heat are just 6-6 in their last 12 after a torrid stretch. Goran Dragic leads the team in scoring (20.2) and assists (5.8), but has cooled off of late while making 17-of-45 from the field.

Center Hassan Whiteside picked up some of the slack, draining 20-of-33 from the floor the last two contests and stringing together six straight double-doubles.

BUZZER BEATERS

  1. The Heat won all three meetings this season, including a 112-101 victory at home on Dec. 12.
  2. Gortat leads the team in rebounding (10.4) and is shooting 66.7 percent from the field in five April games.
  3. Miami F James Johnson is averaging 19.8 points on 31-of-60 shooting over the last four games.

[graphiq id=”bQsTeoRixZr” title=”Miami Heat Profile” width=”600″ height=”950″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/bQsTeoRixZr” ]

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Sports Direct Inc. contributed to this report.)

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