Miami Heat Need To Take Advantage Of Upcoming Schedule
The Miami Heat have a schedule that gets a little easier in the coming days and they need to take advantage as they make their playoff push.
The Miami Heat were given the short end of the scheduling stick earlier this week when they had to take on the San Antonio Spurs in the AT&T Center on the second night of a back-to-back. The Heat saw first hand how dominant the Spurs can be, as they got blown out 112-88. But, the Heat will now draw better in the scheduling department and need to take advantage.
With the Eastern Conference playoff race being as hotly contested as it is, the Heat need to make the most of a schedule that is easier in the coming days. They are currently a half game behind the Boston Celtics for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, which also means home court in the first round of the playoffs.
At the same time, they are only four games ahead of the Detroit Pistons, who are currently in eighth place, which would result in a playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While the Heat handled the Cavaliers in their most recent meeting, it is a matchup they would like to avoid for as long as possible in the postseason. The easiest way to avoid the higher seeded teams is to continue winning games, and that is something they should be able to do in their next stretch of games.
Five of the Heat’s last seven games came against teams that are either in the playoffs or in the running for a playoff spot. In those games the Heat went 2-3, defeating the aforementioned Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls, but losing to the Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Hornets and Spurs.
While that record isn’t horrible given the competition, the Heat cannot afford to lose games and fall in the standings. That is what makes this next stretch of games so important, as the Heat are in the midst of a four game stretch in which they play no playoff teams.
They got that started off on the right foot with a strong victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night, and will continue it Monday against the Brooklyn Nets. After that they will start a west coast trip against the Los Angeles Lakers and then pay a visit to the Sacramento Kings.
At worst the Heat should go 3-1 during this span, as there are no back-to-back sets and they actually get two days of rest before facing the Nets. While these games are not must win games for the Heat, they are extremely important as they close the season with five of their last seven games against teams currently in the postseason or fighting for a postseason berth.
The Heat have had slip-ups this season against teams that would be considered inferior, but with the playoffs right around the corner they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas. If they want to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference, taking care of business against non-playoff teams to finish the regular season would be a good step in the right direction.