This Miami Heat team is far from favored to win an NBA championship this season however this is possibly a team who many “Heat lifers” will never forget and become memorable.
It all starts with controlling the controllable. Win the final two home games of the regular season starting with Cleveland then Washington. Sprinkle some help from Chicago or Indiana in the form of a loss and they will become the first team in NBA history to make the playoffs after an 11-30 start.
Tyler Johnson scored 24 points, including the game’s final four from the foul line in overtime, and the Heat kept their postseason possibility moreover a chance at history alive by rallying past the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-121. The Heat (40-41) remained No. 9 in the Eastern Conference, a game behind No. 7 Indiana (41-40) and behind No. 8 Chicago (40-41) who own the tiebreaker.
“We think it’s meant to be,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But we have to take care of business.”
Deron Williams had a season-high 35 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Cavaliers, who fell to 0-7 this season when LeBron James doesn’t play. James is expected not to play the final game of the season versus Toronto in Cleveland. The Cavs were also without Kyrie Irving, and fell a game behind Boston for No. 1 in the East.
Back to ex-“Heatle” for a moment, LeBron James.
I mentioned how the Cavs are doing when LeBron is “resting” at 0-7.
The Heat are 125-120 the past three years without James and now 6-0 vs. Cleveland at home since LeBron took his talents back to Cleveland. (Most of the time LeBron rested.)
Back to the lecture at hand…
Here’s what the buzz will be for the final night of NBA season: Miami hosts Washington (which is locked into the No. 4 spot), Chicago hosts NBA-worst Brooklyn, and Indiana hosts Atlanta. Miami needs to win along with a Chicago or Indiana loss to clinch a playoff spot.
“It’s win or go home,” Heat guard Josh Richardson said. “Win, and we still might go home.”
Hassan Whiteside scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for Miami. Richardson scored 19 points, James Johnson had 16 and Goran Dragic added 15. It was a team effort and will need to be a team effort again when Miami hosts Washington.
Kevin Love scored 25 points, Channing Frye had 21 and Kyle Korver added 18 for Cleveland, who had an 11-point lead entering the fourth-quarter only to lose in OT for the second straight day. Cleveland was up 26 going into the fourth in Atlanta the previous game before losing.
Dion Waiters (ankle) missed his 12th consecutive game. I doubt he is lacing his sneakers to play the final game of the regular season.
Control the controllable, the rest is predetermined.