Heat Check: Loss ends Miami’s hopes for No. 1 seed in East
The Miami Heat have insisted all season that being healthy and playing well in the final weeks were more important heading into the playoffs than holding the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
In a move supporting that belief, LeBron James and Chris Bosh both sat out a 114-93 loss at Washington on Monday night. The defeat officially gave the conference’s No. 1 seed to idle Indiana.
Miami trailed by a point after the first quarter, then was outscored 43-22 in the second quarter. The Wizards led by as many as 36 points in the second half.
Dwyane Wade had nine points and shot 4 of 9 in his second straight start following a nine-game absence due to a sore hamstring.
The Heat (54-27) fell a game behind Indiana (55-26) in the East race with one game remaining for both teams. The Pacers own the tiebreaker with a better conference record.
If it had beaten Washington, Miami could have captured the No. 1 seed by beating Philadelphia on Wednesday combined with an Indiana loss at Orlando the same night. Now, those games are moot.
No matter what happened at Washington, James and Bosh also figured to rest against Philly as a way of re-energizing for the postseason.
The Heat now know they will play Charlotte or Washington in the first round of the playoffs. They were 4-0 against the Bobcats this season and 2-2 against the Wizards.
With James and Bosh out, Shane Battier and Tony Douglas joined Wade, Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers as starters.
Michael Beasley scored 18 points, Douglas had 13 and Ray Allen 13 for Miami.
Miami fell to 3-9 in its past 12 road games and to 11-13 overall since March 4.
Trevor Ariza had 25 points and Marcin Gortat added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards (43-38).
Heat center Greg Oden missed his 11th straight game due to a stomach virus.
THE TURNING POINT
After taking a one-point lead after the first quarter, Washington sank five 3-pointers and outscored Miami 43-22 in the second period.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Al Harrington left the Wizards bench to score 16 points, including eight during the decisive second quarter, and four rebounds in 18 minutes.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Wizards shot 59 percent (46 of 78) overall and 48.3 (14 of 29) from 3-point territory. They also had 36 assists.
The Heat will play the Philadelphia 76ers in the regular-season finale at AmericanAirlines Arena at 8 p.m. Wednesday.