Miami Heat takes over first place in the East

miami-heatThe Miami Heat are atop of the Eastern Conference for the first time this season. That’s quite a turnaround after being three games behind the Indiana Pacers less than a week ago.

The Heat defeated the Toronto Raptors 93-83 Monday night. The Heat won without key players such as Dwyane Wade who was out with a strained left hamstring and Ray Allen who has a stomach virus. However, LeBron James had another stellar game scoring 32 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and dishing out 8 assists. Chris Bosh added 18 points and Chris Anderson chipped in with 13 points as well. And with the win against the Raptors, the Heat are now percentage points ahead of the Pacers for the number one seed in the East.

The Pacers lost to the San Antonio Spurs 103-77 on Monday night and have dropped 10 of 16 games to lose their hold on first place in the East. However, both the Pacers and Heat are saying that the number one seed is the last thing on their minds. Maybe so for the Heat, but I know the number one seed is on the Pacers’ mind. Since the beginning of the season, Indiana’s players have been saying how important the number one seed in the East is to them. They felt like last year with home court advantage against the Heat, they would have one that Game 7. And now since beating the Heat last Wednesday, the Pacers have lost to the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the previously mentioned Spurs in a four day span.

The Heat’s lead over the Pacers, however, is very small. The Heat’s winning percentage is .699 and Indiana’s is .693 with just about three weeks left in the regular season, so there is still a lot that can happen before the playoffs. The Pacers are up 2-1 in the season series and the final meeting between both teams comes April 11th in Miami. The Heat need to win the race outright because if the teams finish tied, Indiana holds the tie-breaker by having the better conference record. All I know is that if the Heat can stay in control and finish the season with the number one seed in the East, the Pacers might as well cancel their plans of trying to reach the NBA Finals. The Pacers have no shot of defeating the Heat in a seven game series without home court advantage. The Heat just need to get everyone healthy again and finish strong going into the playoffs.

“We want to play the best we can and the fact that we’re in first place is pretty cool, but we’ve got so much work to do,” James said. “Just gotta play the season out.”