The Miami Heat have officially clinched the number two seed in the Eastern Conference after their 114-93 blowout loss to the Washington Wizards. LeBron James and Chris Bosh were given the night off, so I know the Heat weren’t overly concerned about the top seed in the conference. The Heat are built to win in the postseason, when every game is important.
Now the Indiana Pacers have the top spot in the East and the Heat may have to win a Game 7 in Indiana if both teams meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the way the Heat have been playing recently they shouldn’t be looking too far down the road. But every year the Heat seem to play at another level once the playoffs start and this postseason will be no different.
With the number two seed in the East, the Heat have a more favorable path to the Eastern Conference Finals than the Pacers. Neither the Heat nor Pacers should have a problem with their first round opponents. However, in the second round there could be an upset. The Heat will play either the Wizards or the Toronto Raptors, which in a seven game series should be no problem for the Heat. In the Pacers’ case, they will either have to play the Chicago Bulls or Brooklyn Nets, two of the hottest teams in the East post All-Star break. With the Pacers’ recent struggles I wouldn’t be surprised to see them lose to the Bulls or Nets in the second round.
The only thing I’m worried about for the Heat heading into the playoffs is health. James has had to carry this team the majority of the season with Dwyane Wade always in and out of the lineup. Due to playing a lot more minutes this season, I’ve seen James start to break down a little more. He has had to deal with a broken nose, sprained ankles, back spasms, and probably more nagging injuries we don’t know about. That’s why I didn’t mind James sitting out last night’s game against the Wizards. Wade has missed 28 games this season, but the Heat are going to need Wade to have strong performances this postseason like he did in the playoffs last season.
The Heat are not panicking as the playoffs approach this weekend and I don’t blame them. The Heat are the most experienced team in the East and are confident in their abilities to win on the road in the playoffs. I’m excited to see how the Heat will play this postseason.