For a night, at least, the Miami Heat's playoff hopes live to see another game. The Heat entered Tuesday night's home game against the Charlotte Hornets with its postseason plans on life support, but the 105-100 victory provided some much-needed CPR to the season. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Heat and put talk of the team sitting their starters for the rest of the year on hold — at least for now. The Heat remained in ninth place in the East with the win, still looking up at the Boston Celtics for the last playoff spot. The Heat holds the tiebreaker against Boston after winning the regular-season series versus them. And it seems more and more likely that it will come in handy.
Goran Dragic had quite possibly the game of his short Miami Heat career Tuesday, scoring 28 points and getting four rebounds and five assists in the must-win. Before the game, Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said the team must treat every game like it's game seven of the NBA Finals, and it seemed as if Dragic and Luol Deng (21 points) took that to heart; both looked fresher and more motivated than they have in weeks.
KABLAM! SEVEN-NATION ARMY DOG TIME. HE DARES YOU NOT TO LOVE HIM WITH HIS EYES.
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The Heat has four games remaining and could use each and every win. Its remaining schedule is the easiest of the teams still with a chance for the last playoff spot, with the Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, and Philadelphia 76ers still left to play. Not only is a playoff berth at stake but there is also the small detail of the Miami Heat's first-round pick that is top-ten-protected. If the season ended today, the Heat would not only miss the playoffs but its first-round pick would go to the 76ers. If the Heat is to finish in the bottom ten in the league, it would be almost guaranteed a top player in the upcoming draft.
Basically the Miami Heat is standing in the no-man's land of the NBA at this current moment, so it would be best if it chose a particular path. If we have learned anything in the past 12 years, it's that Dwyane Wade hates losing, and his chosen path is not in question.
Wade had somewhat of an off-game scoring in the win, but as he tends to do, he came up big in other ways. Wade scored 19 points on just 6 of 17 shooting but made two crucial plays down the stretch that set the table for Goran Dragic's twisting and turning, game-sealing layups.