Available 7 Days/Week       MON - FRI  8am - 7pm       SAT - SUN  10am – 6pm
Call us (754) 701-3300
Apply Now

Heat rout Raptors 118-103 but fail to get help, so it’s on to Philadelphia for Wednesday play-in showdown vs. Embiid & Co.

MIAMI — Erik Spoelstra routinely stresses how his Miami Heat relish a challenge.

They now have one, a Wednesday night NBA play-in road game against Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Win that, and it’s on to the first round of the NBA playoffs against the No. 2 New York Knicks. Lose that, and for the second year in a row there will be a winner-take-all game at Kaseya Center, this time on Friday night against the winner of Tuesday night’s Chicago Bulls-Atlanta Hawks game.

That made Sunday about far more than the Heat’s 118-103 rout of the Toronto Raptors at Kaseya Center to close out the regular season.

“Looking forward to it,” Spoelstra said of the matchup against the 76ers. “It’ll be a great environment. Philly’s been playing fantastic recently. So we know what to expect up there. What we say is it’s for competitors only, and it should be a lot of fun.”

With some outside help Sunday, the Heat could have avoided such a challenging scenario.

Now there is the cold, hard reality for a team that played Sunday in the injury absences of Terry Rozier and Duncan Robinson, and then lost Kevin Love in the first half with an arm injury.

“We’ve just got to win,” forward Jimmy Butler said of the opportunity to right an uneven season. “If you quiet the noise, everything else takes care of itself.”

With most of the Heat starters pulled in the third period, the Heat got 17  points apiece from Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo and 15 from Butler. There also were 18 points apiece from Thomas Bryant and Jaime Jaquez Jr.

“I can sense this team is ready,” Spoelstra said. “That is all you can ask for.”

Five Degrees of Heat from Sunday’s game:

1. Playoff race: Despite finishing with two more victories than last season, when they closed the record season in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, the Heat this time saw 46-36 only good enough for eighth place.

The Heat wound up closing Sunday in the same place they started the day, with the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers all winning. A loss by any of the three would have moved the Heat up the standings.

“It’s not ideal,” Herro said of entering the playoffs in eighth place, “but we’re here.”

So it will be on to Philadelphia for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. play-in game. The winner of that game will receive the No. 7 playoff seed and a trip to New York.

Should the Heat lose that game, they would host the winner of the Nos. 9-10 Chicago Bulls-Atlanta Hawks in a Friday play-in game at Kaseya Center for the No. 8 seed and a best-of-seven first-round playoff series against the No. 1 Boston Celtics.

The Heat closed the season 2-2 against the 76ers, who finished one game ahead in the standings by virtue of Sunday’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

“We know what we’re stepping into,” Herro said. “It won’t be easy, but it’s a challenge us competitors we are looking forward to.”

The NBA announced Sunday that if the Heat win Wednesday, a first-round series against New York would open Saturday. If the Heat lose Wednesday but win Friday against the winner of Bulls/Hawks, the Heat’s first-round series against the Celtics would open Sunday. Times have yet to be announced.

2. Game flow: The first quarter ended tied 24-24, with a 43-point second quarter then pushing the Heat to a 67-46 halftime lead.

The Heat then pushed their lead to 26 in the third quarter before taking a 94-71 lead into the fourth.

The Raptors, with nothing to play for on Sunday, already locked into lottery seeding in what closed as a 25-57 season, were without RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, among others.

“I feel good about the group,” Spoelstra said, with the Heat winning seven of their final 10 games. “That’s all I wanted to see the last couple of games.”

So onward, with what Adebayo said is confidence.

“This is the time of the year, backs are against the wall, you start to find out who everybody is,” he said.

3. Moment seized: With the Heat down 35-34 in the second period, Butler apparently had seen enough.

He then scored on consecutive layups and a jumper for six consecutive Heat points, shaking out immediately afterward, with the Heat up five on the way to pushing their lead to 17 during that run.

Butler, who wound up playing 24 minutes, closed the first half with 13 points and five rebounds.

“I’m straight,” Butler said, when asked how he felt going into the postseason. “I’m good. We all are.”

4. Love leaves: Kevin Love went to the locker room late in the first quarter, after consulting on the Heat bench with trainer Wes Brown, eventually diagnosed with a game-ending contusion to his upper left arm.

With Nikola Jovic and Haywood Highsmith already with two fouls, Bryant then entered with 22.8 seconds left in the opening period, his first action in eight games.

Love closed scoreless in his 3:15, his only attempt an errant 3-point shot.

It was Love’s eighth game back after missing 16 with a bruised right heel.

“He got hit in the arm, like a stinger,” Spoelstra said. “So we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

5. Wright stuff: With the Heat’s wing rotation debilitated with the absences of Rozier and Robinson, Delon Wright got the call over Patty Mills in the rotation.

Wright closed with 11 points and five steals in 28:19, possibly to retain a rotation role if the Heat remain shorthanded on the wing.

“It takes the right pros to sign up for that,” Spoelstra said of Wright’s uncertain minutes. “And that’s why we like the guys that we have, Delon has been a shorter sample size, but he’s played winning basketball.”

#fortlauderdale, #fortlauderdalemortgage, #fortlauderdalemortgagelender, #fortlauderdalemortgagerates #fortlauderdalemortgagebroker