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Preview: Heat face must-win game in Washington to keep playoff hopes alive

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Miami needs to find a way to win tonight to retain any hope of making the playoffs.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After a hard-fought loss to the Toronto Raptors last night, the Miami Heat (38-41) must put that disappointment behind them and face another tough rival on the road when they face the Washington Wizards (48-31) at the Verizon Center.

This will be the final home game for the Wizards, who have already clinched the Southeast Division for their first division title since the 1978-79 season, and they have gone 6-3 in their last nine home games against the Heat.

Miami beat Washington 112-101 in their last matchup on December 12, 2016 at the AmericanAirlines Arena led by Goran Dragic, who scored 13 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter. John Wall scored 30 points and Bradley Beal had 29 points to lead the way for the Wizards and they’ll be a handful tonight, not only for the Heat defensively but without Dion Waiters they’ll also need to match that backcourt offensive firepower.

The two teams will meet for the fourth and final time this regular season in the last game of the season for the Heat at the AA Arena on April 12.

Luke Babbitt remains questionable with a strained right hip flexor and Waiters did not travel with the team on their current road trip because of a sprained left ankle.

Game Projections:

numberFire’s metrics currently give Miami a 26.5% chance to win against Washington and a 37.4% chance to make the playoffs.

Broadcast Info:

Tipoff: 7:00pm

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

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

Probable Starters

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

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