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Preview: Heat host Wizards in final game of the season to earn playoff spot

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Miami must win and hope for a loss by either Chicago or Indiana to get into the playoffs.

NBA: Miami Heat at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (40-41) host the Washington Wizards (49-32) at the AmericanAirlines Arena in the final game of the season with everything on the line. A win and they’re in the playoffs if the Chicago Bulls or the Indiana Pacers lose tonight as well.

The good news is that Miami has beat Washington three times this season and will go for the season sweep — which would be their first since the 2010-11 season — on Fan Appreciation Night. The Heat have an impressive 78-38 all-time record against the Wizards and are 43-14 at home against them. Miami most recently defeated Washington 106-103 four days ago.

Beyond the fact that the Heat don’t fully control their playoff destiny, the Bulls are facing the Brooklyn Nets at home and the Pacers will host the Atlanta Hawks, who will likely be resting some of their starters (though that didn’t stop the rest of the team from beating the Cleveland Cavaliers last week).

Aside from Chris Bosh and Justise Winslow, who are listed as out, Dion Waiters (sprained left ankle) is the only remaining player listed as questionable for tonight. Both Luke Babbitt and Josh McRoberts are available tonight, but it remains to be seen whether the Heat will play Waiters in the most important game of the season.

For the Wizards, the status of John Wall (left thigh contusion), Otto Porter Jr. (back spasms), and Ian Mahinmi (strained left calf) is to be determined. Wall missed their last game and Porter has missed the last two games. Mahinmi suffered his injury during their game against the Detroit Pistons on April 10.

Washington has clinched the Southeast Division, their first since the 1978-79 season, and have posted a 33-16 record since January 1, which is the most wins in the East and third most overall in the NBA.

Miami arrive as fresh as can be at this point in the season with just six games scheduled this month, the lowest in franchise history. They are 13-2 on Wednesday’s this season, the best record for any day of the week. If you’re going to the game, check out all the special activities and giveaways planned for Fan Appreciation Night at the AA Arena.

Game Projections:

numberFire’s metrics currently give Miami a 58.2% chance to beat the Wizards and a 41.2% chance to make the playoffs.


Broadcast Info:

Tipoff: 8:00pm

FOX Sports Sun (Eric Reid, Tony Fiorentino, Jason Jackson)

Radio: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Mike Inglis, John Crotty). Spanish - WRTO 98.3 FM (Jose Pañeda)

Probable Starters

Miami:
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Rodney McGruder
SF - Josh Richardson
PF - James Johnson
C - Hassan Whiteside

Washington:
PG - John Wall
SG - Bradley Beal
SF - Otto Porter Jr.
PF - Markieff Morris
C - Marcin Gortat