Mar 30, 2010, 12:13 PM EDT
As NBA teams jockey for playoff position these final two weeks of the season, expect some sort of formal protest from the Bucks, Bobcats and the other teams jostling for position in the second tier of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Somehow, the Heat is being allowed to close out its season in the D-League.
Not only does no team have as forgiving a finishing run as the Heat, but also each of the eight remaining games the Heat plays comes against teams at least 20 games below .500.
Yes, you read that right, at least 20 (two-oh) games below .500.
The closing run:
Wednesday at 23-57 Detroit.
Friday at 27-47 Indiana.
Saturday at 14-60 Minnesota.
April 7 home against 26-47 Philadelphia.
April 9 home against 23-57 Detroit.
April 11 at 26-47 New York.
April 13 at 26-47 Philadelphia.
April 15 home against 10-64 New Jersey.
The Heat, of course, is saying all the right things.
“We don’t look at who we play,” center Jermaine O’Neal said. “We have not talked one time about teams’ schedules. We have not talked that. We have not talked about teams’ records. We’ve talked about us and what we needed to do.”
Still, for the mathematically challenged, the Heat closes out its schedule against competition that is 231 games below .500.
How could you not notice that?
“We’re not looking at anything like we’re good enough,” forward Quentin Richardson said. “We’re not the Lakers or Cleveland, where we could look at teams and try and look past them. I don’t even think those teams do it, either, but we definitely know we need to focus one game at a time.”
True, this is a team that has already lost at home to the Timberwolves and Wizards, as well as on the road to the Clippers and Bulls, but having won 11 of its last 14, this also has become a different team since then.
Can you say fifth seed in the Eastern Conference?
The schedule seems to be saying as much.
Now whether this is the best way to prepare for the Hawks or Celtics in the opening round is an entirely different story.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
- Spurs show they have too much offense for Grizzlies to handle in Game 1 destruction 0
- Report: Dwight Howard will consider multiple teams in free agency, is said to be most intrigued by the Rockets 34
- Spurs would like to remind you they are very good, crush Grizzlies in Game 1 14
- LeBron takes offense to something that Pacers’ head coach Vogel didn’t actually say 45
- Thunder GM says team won’t amnesty Kendrick Perkins 27
- Knicks predictably drop Game 4 to Pacers, fall behind 3-1 (93)
- Kobe Bryant responds to Michael Jordan comparison from Phil Jackson (84)
- Bradley Beal said he’d lose respect for a teammate who acted like Derrick Rose (67)
- LeBron James shrugs off claims he’s a flopper (64)
- Seattle group releases statement; forced to wait, hope for expansion (63)
- PBT: Parker carves up Grizzlies as Spurs roll in Gm. 1
- PHT: Senators sneak past Penguins in two overtimes
- PHT: Bruins crack Lundqvist, hammer Rangers
- MST: No bumping on Bump Day at Indy 500
- PST: Arsenal grabs Champions League spot
- Ferguson's managerial career ends with 5-5 draw
- Moore stays unbeaten as Rays top Orioles
- Play Video: Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
- Play Video: Durant won't 'compromise himself' like other stars
- Play Video: Knicks avoid elimination
- Play Video: Heat finish off Bulls, James 'has no energy left'
- Play Video: Health woes make Heat vulnerable
- Play Video: Good news for Sacramento, Kings stay