Playoff Seeding Guide: Determining Miami's route

Mike Ehrmann

By losing to the Washington Wizards on Monday night the Heat secured their spot as the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. What's yet to be determined, the #3, 4, 6, and 7 seed. Here's what to watch for on Wednesday.

Erik Spoelstra made it clear with his lineups and rotations on Monday, he cares much more about health than he does about seeding. The Heat rested LeBron James and Chris Bosh en route to losing big to the Wizards. The loss locked the Heat into the #2 seed in the East, but because of the standings, they won't know who they play until the conclusion of Wednesday's games. We are also watching who locks into the #3 seed as Miami's likely second round opponent.

Here's a guide on the different scenarios and you can determine who to root for.

Games to watch:
Toronto @ New York
Chicago @ Charlotte
Washington @ Boston

Miami plays Charlotte in round 1 IF:
The Wizards win in Boston or if the Bobcats lose to Chicago. Either of those combinations would secure Charlotte as the #7 seed. If they both win, then Miami will play Charlotte as well.

Miami plays Washington in round 1 IF:
The Wizards lose and Charlotte wins. Charlotte holds the tie-breaker over the Wizards and they are currently separated by 1 game. This is the only scenario that would lock Washington into a series with the Heat.

Chicago clinches the #3 seed IF:
The Bulls beat Charlotte and Toronto loses in New York. Toronto and Chicago have the same record, but the Raptors own the tie-breaker. So if they both win or they both lose, then Toronto would get the #3 seed.

So as you can see, there is no way the Heat would have the Wizards in the first round and the Bulls in the second, because in order for the Wizards to have the #7 seed, the Bobcats would need to beat the Bulls, and if the Bulls lose, they are automatically locked into the #4 seed.

I believe the best case scenario would be to have the Raptors win and the Wizards win. This would lock Miami into Charlotte in the first round (Miami won series 4-0 this year) and then a likely matchup with the Raptors in the second round (Miami 3-0 this year).

The Pacers have already locked in the #1 seed as well as the Hawks at #8 (series tied 2-2). There's still an outside chance the Brooklyn slides down to the #6 seed, which would not be helpful for Miami. If Brooklyn loses their final two and Washington wins in Boston, Brooklyn would face #3 seed and be on the Heat's side of the bracket. A lot needs to be determined on the final day of the regular season on Wednesday.

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