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Heat’s Quest for 6th Seed Dims After Loss to Mavericks



Credit: Heat Twitter
After a big double-overtime win against the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat failed to make it two in a row as they fell to the Dallas Mavericks 111-92 in a game that Dallas led from beginning to end. Miami might have felt fatigued after facing the Hawks the night before in a long, drawn-out game. However, with the loss, Miami is now in the 8th seed, a half-game behind the 76ers for the 7th seed, and two full games behind the Indiana Pacers for the 6th spot that would allow Miami to avoid the play-in.

Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 29 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, and Kyrie Irving contributed 25 points for Dallas, who had all five of their starters score in double figures. For comparison, Miami’s stars struggled: Jimmy Butler had a subpar game with only 12 points, and Bam Adebayo had one of his worst games of the season, scoring eight points on 3-13 shooting and grabbing only three rebounds. The stars for Miami included Tyler Herro, who had a second consecutive solid game with 21 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, and Kevin Love, who had one of his best games of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 boards in just 18 minutes of play. Miami was without Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson, who were nursing injuries. For Miami, the theme this year has been continuity, as they have continued to struggle to find a healthy rotation. The Heat are hoping to have most of their players healthy and hope they can build cohesion fast. Tyler Herro admitted that building cohesion has been a challenge for Miami with all the injuries: “There’s no way we can get to our identity if we don’t have our team,” Herro said.

Miami has two games left, both against Toronto at home, but they do not control their own destiny. They can jump the Magic, who also have 46 wins if the Magic loses their last two games against Philadelphia and Milwaukee and if the 76ers lose their last game at home against the Brooklyn Nets. With so many factors in play, the odds are heavily stacked against Miami from avoiding the play-in.

It looks like the Heat will most likely take the hardest path possible to the playoffs again. With injuries and an aging star in Jimmy Butler, the Heat will have a lot of tough decisions to make moving forward regarding the direction of the franchise and what the future looks like if Miami exits early this postseason.

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