The Miami Heat are still in the running for a NBA playoff spot as of Tuesday evening but they’re going to have a tough time of it. They play at home against Philadelphia on Tuesday night and then have to fly North to Brooklyn for the season finale against the Nets. Right now there are three teams vying for one playoff spot–all in action on Tuesday night. Detroit currently holds the #8 position but have been in awful form losing 4 straight and 7 of 10. They’ll host a tricky Memphis Grizzlies team that could give them a lot of trouble should they choose to ‘show up’.
A bigger problem could be the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are currently tied with Miami for 9th place but are in much better form. In fact, they’ve saved their best basketball for the last week or two of the season and enter play on Tuesday having won 3 straight and 7 of 10. Charlotte plays on the road against a flatlining Cleveland team who’ll play their final game of the season. The Cavs have lost 9 straight going 3-6 ATS. The Hornets also play on Wednesday night at home against Orlando.
So here are the playoff scenarios: Detroit controls their own destiny–if they beat Memphis on Tuesday and the New York Knicks on Wednesday they’re in the playoffs. If they end up losing either game things get dicey. Charlotte holds the tiebreaker against Detroit so if the two teams end up tied for 8th the Hornets go to the playoffs and the Pistons go home for the Summer. Miami is still technically alive but have less than a 1% chance of making the postseason per the FiveThirtyEight website.
For purposes of this handicap, it doesn’t really matter if Miami wins or loses on Tuesday night. Due to a scheduling quirk they’ll come in playing in the second of back to back games and for the fourth time in six days. Brooklyn has been idle since Sunday meaning they’ll be rested for this game and with the playoffs looming should be focused to go into the postseason on a winning note. Brooklyn has covered 3 of the last five head to head but the important thing here is the scheduling situation. Nets will be without DeMarre Carroll who’ll miss this game with a wrist injury. This will either be a ‘letdown’ spot for the Heat if they’re eliminated from the postseason after Tuesday’s action or a huge edge to Brooklyn based on the scheduling.