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Heat playoff seeding in balance tonight versus Bucks

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The importance of tonight's clash against the Bucks.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In order to climb up the standings, the Miami Heat needed to not only win, but enjoy some luck as well. They've won, going 3-1 last week. Everyone else has lost.

As a result, the Heat are staring eye to eye at the sixth seed. But the Heat can no longer rely on the luck part anymore. Not for these next two games. Sure a four-game win streak for the first time this season would have been great, but forget what happened in Oklahoma City. For the first time a two-game win streak will be more defining than a three-game win streak. That's how important these next two are.

Here is how the standings look currently:

The Playoff Race
Seed Team Record Games Back
6 Milwaukee 34-36
7 Miami 32-37 1.5
8 Boston 31-39 3

The Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls are fighting for the #3 seed the same way Miami and Milwaukee are going for #6, so when the dust settles, we'll discuss the matchups. Till then, to be sixth seed, you have to beat the sixth seed. As tonight's preview said, the Bucks are 3-0 against Miami this season. If the Heat lose tonight, then you might as well get ready to play LeBron James in the first round.

The difference between those Milwaukee victories and today's Bucks has been the impact felt by the trade of Brandon Knight.

Milwaukee is reeling and now would be the time to take advantage. That means Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic must overwhelm the youthful backcourt of Michael Carter-Williams and Khris Middleton.  Luol Deng must play suffocating defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Lastly, it means Hassan Whiteside has to be ready for the worst. He's been quick to point out the big men that take cheap shots on him. Whiteside has to be prepared for the ultimate cheap shot tonight: Zaza Pachulia.

The Bucks are on a six-game losing streak. Remember, the Heat are on a 3-game losing streak against Milwaukee this season. Either a sweep or a streak continue tonight and the effect may be season defining. Miami has not only won games but have been lucky enough to see everyone around them lose as of late. Tonight there will be no luck needed. Just a victory will be enough.