NBA

The Miami Heat will have the Brooklyn Nets to blame if they miss the playoffs - here's why

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The Brooklyn Nets have already secured the NBA's worst record and will have the best odds to win the No. 1 overall pick (which will then be swapped with the Boston Celtics' first-round pick) in the 2017 NBA Draft.

However, despite that already high level of on-court ineptitude, the Nets will likely be even worse to close the 2016-17 regular season on Wednesday night in Chicago.

That will be good news for the Bulls, as they need to win their finale in order to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but bad news for both the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.

According to ESPN.com, the Nets will be without six players on Wednesday night in Chicago, as Trevor Booker, Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin will all sit out in order to rest and Quincy Acy, Joe Harris and Sean Kilpatrick will miss the contest with minor injuries.

The Bulls currently have a 40-41 record and can clinch a playoff spot with a win, while 41-40 Indiana and 40-41 Miami are also still in the mix for the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in the East.

If Indiana wins at home against Atlanta on Wednesday night, the Pacers will clinch the No. 7 seed, but if they lose and the Heat pick up a season-ending win over the Washington Wizards, then Miami gets the No. 8 seed.

However, if all three teams win, the Heat are the odd team out and would see their campaign come to a disappointing close.

Though it would be hard for the Heat to blame the Nets specifically for missing the playoffs in the above scenario, as it is a long season and Miami had ample opportunities to climb into the playoff race, it would be a tough pill to swallow for coach Erik Spoelstra's squad if they miss the playoffs because the Nets decided to sit six of their players.

Since starting the season an abysmal 11-30, the Heat have been one of the hottest teams in the entire NBA, winning 29 of their 40 games since Jan. 17 to climb back to within one game of the .500 mark.

However, thanks to the Nets and the favorable schedule to close the year for the Bulls, the red-hot Heat may still miss out on postseason action.

Perhaps the team most thankful for that development is the Boston Celtics, as they won't have to deal with one of the hottest squads in the NBA if both the Pacers and Bulls take care of business on Wednesday night in their regular-season finales.

Topics:
Indiana Pacers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Chicago Bulls
NBA Playoffs
Brooklyn Nets
Atlantic Division
Miami Heat
Southeast Division

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