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With 10 games left, where do the Heat stand?

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Miami’s favorable schedule presents an opportunity to climb up in the standings.

NBA: New York Knicks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As of today, the Miami Heat hold the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference at 39-33. If the playoffs started now they would face the 48-23 Boston Celtics, who currently hold the second seed in the East, in the first round of the playoffs. This matchup is now a lot more interesting as the Celtics’ star point guard, Kyrie Irving, has an injured knee and it has not been determined if he will be able to return for the first round of the playoffs. This could lead to a very favorable matchup for the Heat in the first round even with only the seventh seed. Luckily for the Heat the season does not end today and they still have 10 games left before the regular season ends to improve their seeding.

Over the last 10 games the Heat have a record of 7-3, most recently defeating the New York Knicks last night. The return of Dwayne Wade and the recent rise of rookie Bam Adebayo have definitely helped Miami stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The most ideal and reasonable spot for Miami to end up in is the fifth seed, which they are only two games behind. Ending up with the fifth seed means the Heat will avoid playing teams such as the Raptors, the Cavaliers, and the Celtics, as they are all expected to have one of the top three spots in the Eastern Conference.

Another favorable scenario for the Heat would be moving up one spot to the sixth seed and have the Indiana Pacers or Philadelphia 76ers overtake the Cavaliers as the third seed, which both teams trail by only one and a half games, while still avoiding the elite teams mentioned before in the first round. Though Indiana and Philadelphia are not easy teams to beat, the Heat are more likely to pull off an upset against them then the other teams.

To really have a good shot at making a lengthy playoff run, the Heat most likely need to win at least seven of their last 10 games as this would help move them up the playoff spots of the Eastern Conference. Winning seven out of 10 is achievable as five of Miami’s remaining opponents are under .500 and six of the remaining 10 games are at home for the Heat. These last games will also require more from players such as Goran Dragic and James Johnson, who have had nice seasons but will need to consistently elevate their games into a “playoff mode” mentality.