With LeBron James hinting he could sit out Cleveland’s next two games — both against the Celtics — many think it alludes to Cleveland’s desire to face Boston in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

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Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel feels this manipulation by the Cavs could stick a fork in the Heat’s playoff hopes and is being done, in part, to not only avoid Miami, but Brooklyn and Indiana as well.

“[Miami’s] longest winning streak of the season is three,” Winderman said on the Big O Show on WQAM. “This is going to require a five-game winning streak. It really does not look very good, especially with the manipulation that Cleveland’s gonna do to make sure they get Boston in at number seven.

“Cleveland is looking at their matchups and saying they don’t want to deal with Brooklyn and the New York media. They don’t want to deal with the Heat and the hype of a series like that. They don’t want the physicality of the Pacers so early in the playoffs. They’ve earned the right to decide.”

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Ira thinks the final spot will come down to Indiana, Brooklyn or Miami. Next up for the Heat is a home clash with the Bulls tonight with Chicago on the second night of a back-to-back.

Follow Josh on Twitter (@JoshBaumgard)

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