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Standings watch...2 days left and lots still undecided in the East

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In the standings, the Heat's win combined with the Hawks beating Milwaukee put Miami in sole possession of 5th place.  The Hawks win also put them 1½ games ahead of Boston, meaning that it is very likely that the Heat will be playing the Celtics in the 1st round.  Even if the Heat lose to Jersey on Wednesday night, Milwaukee still has to win in Boston to tie Miami and claim 5th place. 

For Boston to get 3rd place, they have to win their final two games (@ CHI, vs. MIL) and Atlanta has to lose their final game (vs. Cleveland).  Of course, if both situations happen then Miami still ends up playing Boston.  Miami could end up 6th and Boston could come back and finish 3rd.  So many things still to be decided in the final two days of the season...

One thing the Heat's win did for them tonight was ensure they wouldn't finish lower then 6th.  With one game left, Miami holds a 2-game lead over 7th place Charlotte.  The Bobcats are stuck in the 7 seed regardless of what happens between them and the Bucks.  Milwaukee has a 1-game lead and holds the tiebreaker over Charlotte, so only the Bucks and Heat can swap positions. 

In the battle for 8th place, Chicago controls their own destiny.  They currently hold a half game lead over Toronto after the Raptors win tonight in Detroit.  The Bulls have two games left, tomorrow vs. Boston and Wednesday at Charlotte.  Toronto has just one game left, Wednesday against the Knicks.  If they finish tied Toronto holds the tiebreaker, beating the Bulls 2 out of 3 during the regular season. 

Why does this matter to us Heat fans? Here is an explanation to the conditional draft pick from the Shawn Marion-Jermaine O'Neal trade courtesy of NBA.com:

The Heat receive a future first-round draft pick, to come sometime between 2010 and 2015.  It's lottery-protected, essentially meaning the first time the Raptors make the playoffs after this (2009) season, their first-rounder goes to Miami. If Miami does not get that first-round pick in 2010, it will get an additional second-round pick that year.

That basically means that if Toronto misses the playoffs this year, Miami will get their 2nd round pick in this summers draft but will still get their first round pick sometime between next season and 2015.  Seems to be a win-win situation for Miami.