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Winderman: Miami Heat get to coast into playoffs

Mar 30, 2010, 12:13 PM EDT

Wade_dunk.jpgAs 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.

  1. Mel - Mar 30, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    Actually you should learn your math a little better.. These teams have all have a 20 or more game deficit between win and lose, but at this time in the season they have all played about 74 games. That would mean that to be at 500 they would have to had won 37 games.. Now look at it again and see how many games below 37 wins each team has. Only Timberwolves and Nets would fall into the 20 games below 500. Just how much to you get paid to write these articles… I am in need or work…

  2. To Mel - Mar 31, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    That’s not how under .500 is calculated Mel, as anyone who has ever watched sports knows. While technically your assessment may be correct, no one in sports uses your method.

  3. Hey Mel - Mar 31, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    The way .500 is calculated, it is how many games the team would need to win to reach .500. A 30-50 team would need to win 20 games in a row to be .500; therefore, that team is 20 games under .500.

  4. tom - Mar 31, 2010 at 2:05 AM

    Los Angeles currently owns the first seed in the playoffs and they have the chance to clinch the first overall seed with four more victories.You can still get Cheap Lakers Tickets to the Staples Center so you can watch the games live.

  5. rory - Mar 31, 2010 at 6:28 AM

    No one seemed to care when the Heat were on their away game stretch in Jan / Feb or their stretches of difficult games. Oh by the way, The Heat seem t be poised to complete the season with a record very close to Ira’s preseason prediction. Anyway, this season has been in limbo as we wait and see what happens in the 2010 free agent game.

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