The Miami Heat were eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday night when the Indiana Pacers beat the Washington Wizards in double overtime.
It is the first time since the 2007-08 season that the Heat have not reached the postseason and breaks a streak of four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.
The Heat helped their own cause by defeating the visiting Orlando Magic 100-93 in their home finale Monday while the Brooklyn Nets were blown out 113-86 by the Chicago Bulls. But Miami could only watch as the host Pacers outlasted the Wizards 99-95 in a wild double-overtime thriller Tuesday.
Miami closes the regular season with a road game against the Philadelphia 76ers, who would take ownership of Miami’s first-round pick if it falls out of the first top 10 selections.
"We’re still going to play as hard as we can," Hassan Whiteside said after Monday’s victory had kept the Heat in the playoff race. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, we’re still going to try to win against (the 76ers)."
Indiana’s victory further solidifies Miami’s No. 10 spot in the draft lottery May 19. The Nets could still tie the Heat in the standings if they lose to the Orlando Magic and the Heat defeat the 76ers, in which case a coin toss would decide the tiebreaker.
Three teams, including Miami, will win the right to select from the top three selections in the draft lottery. However, if one of the teams that finished with a better record leapfrogs the Heat, their pick would fall out of the top 10 and would have to be forfeited to the 76ers.
If the Heat enter the draft lottery in the No. 10 spot, they would have a 4.0 percent chance of landing one of the top three picks and a 1.1 percent of winning the right to draft first overall.
Miami’s lottery-protected first-round pick was originally dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the sign-and-trade deal for LeBron James in 2010 and was then forwarded last year to the 76ers as part of a three-team trade that netted Kevin Love.