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The Heat end the season facing their playoff rivals again


Heat player Jae Crowder (99) received a blow to the knee and is doubtful for the game against the Pacers this August 14 in Orlando.


The Heat do not have an important reason to play the game this Friday, August 14 (4 pm TV: ESPN and Radio: 98.3 FM in Spanish) against the Pacers, since win or lose both teams will have to face, the best of seven , starting August 17 in the Orlando bubble.

As they are games without an audience, it is the same to be a local than a visitor, so it does not matter to him to finish fourth than to be fifth in the Eastern Conference. Currently both are tied at 44-28, but Miami is sitting in fourth place having won its particular series.

The one who wins will be fourth and this could be a small reason to want to win. Otherwise it would be a good rehearsal for the playoffs. As was the previous game between the two, but now what matters is to rest a little and preserve health.

Hence, the less common are expected to consume many more minutes, although other players will also play to keep up.

Among them Kendrick Nunn, who between the positive for COVID-19, the exit of the bubble due to a personal issue and the sore throat has prevented him from developing as expected, missing part of the preparation and playing only four of the seven games of seeding that the team has contested.

By contrast, Jae Crowder, who received a blow to the knee in the game against the Thunder on Wednesday, is expected not to play, forcing him to leave the game. Coach Erik Spoelstra said the forward was fine, but he better not take unnecessary risks.

“He told us it’s okay, the tests came back negative,” Spoelstra said Wednesday. “We’ll see how you feel tomorrow.”

Indiana already sat TJ Warren (plantar fasciitis in his right foot) and Malcolm Brogdon (neck pain) on Wednesday against the Rockets, and it is very likely that he will do so again against the Heat.

So chances are there won’t be another game between Warren and Jimmy Butler until the playoffs, where they’ll have a chance to see each other in at least four games.

In the other East games they will be Celtics vs. 76ers, Raptors vs. Nets; whose winners will meet in the first conference semifinal, and Bucks vs. Magic; in addition to Heat vs Pacers, whose winners will face each other in the other semifinal.

Meanwhile in the West the Suns are about to do a feat: make the playoffs after winning the first seven seed games. They need this Thursday to beat the Mavericks and lose the Grizzlies to the Bucks, which is possible or the Blazers to the Nets, which is more difficult.

Those who qualify 8th and 9th will have a play-in tiebreaker series and the winner will face the Lakers first in the West.

While Thursday’s game does not matter, it can help Spoelstra make some decisions, such as who will be his starting point guard and who may be the players that at any given time can help in the second unit.

It will also help its shooters stay on track for this Monday when the moment of truth arrives

Pedro González is an experienced reporter who for 15 years has covered the Miami Heat, the NBA, the Miami Open, judo and all soccer, both local and international.