With two games remaining in the season, the Miami Heat control their own destiny in terms of homecourt advantage.
Miami simply needs to win both of its remaining games to guarantee that it opens the playoffs at home. The Heat could also lose one game and still open at home, but they would then possibly need help.
The Heat went 28-13 at home this season as opposed to 19-20 on the road. Those kind of splits are common in the NBA, and show the importance of having an extra home game in the playoffs. That one-game difference could determine if the Heat are able to advance to the second round, or if the off-season begins early.
Beyond homecourt advantage, the Heat are also playing for seeding in the postseason. Currently, Miami could still finish anywhere from the three-seed to the six-seed in the East. Finishing in the top four guarantees a home-court advantage, and also positions Miami for potentially more desirable match-ups.
Should Miami finish as the three seed or the six seed, it would line the team up for a potential Eastern Conference Finals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams would need to advance through the first two rounds in order to create that opportunity. If Miami finishes fourth or fifth, Cleveland becomes a second-round opponent possibility only.
The Heat are sitting in fourth place and are a half-game back of the Atlanta Hawks for third place. Miami is a half-game ahead of both the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets for fifth and sixth place respectively. Due to Atlanta's loss to Cleveland on Monday, Miami's chances at landing the three-seed increased dramatically.
The Heat will take on the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night who have their own reasons to win. The Pistons are tied for the seventh and eighth seeds in the East, and can avoid a first-round series with Cleveland. Following this game, Miami will play on back-to-back nights in a pivotal game in Boston against the Celtics.
Miami and Detroit will tip-off on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
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