For all of the many feel good moments the Miami Heat have provided for fans the last two months since starting the year 11-30, this weekend both sharpened real perspective and short term consequences as the NBA season comes down to the final stretch with just twelve games left. The Heat lost more than a singular basketball game to the Portland Trail Blazers 115-104 on Sunday night. They lost a golden opportunity to stake a real claim up the Eastern Conference playoff ladder as well.
With the Indiana Pacers losing to Toronto Raptors, had the Heat won their third straight game of this current five game homestand against the Blazers, Miami would've stood only a half game behind for the #6 seed in the East. This is especially important considering Miami has already won the season series 2-1 over Indiana and would have possessed the ever so important tiebreaker in their back pocket - - if it were to actually come down to those terms.
Instead with the Heat loss coupled with the Detroit Pistons win over the lowly Phoenix Suns on Sunday, Miami now becomes the outsider looking in by virtue of the current tiebreaker with Detroit for the battle of the 8th and final playoff spot.
This week looms especially crucial for the Heat. Currently Miami’s five homestand has been relatively successful with two games remaining starting Tuesday versus the Suns and then a huge encounter with the Toronto Raptors - - who themselves are in a battle atop the Eastern Conference for preferred playoff seeding.
After that Miami prepares for a three game road trip which includes a huge battle March 28th at Detroit. That matchup against the Piston will go a long way in determining Miami’s future postseason chances.
Opportunities may continue to be available in the days to come as the regular season inches towards its conclusion. It’s now up to this team to seize it when it arises.
This weekend it arose. The Miami Heat unfortunately did not cash in.
On to Tuesday night.