NBA Eastern Conference playoff picture: Bulls, Pacers and Heat fight for postseason

Sporting News
The Heat fought hard, but will likely fall short of the playoffs.

NBA Eastern Conference playoff picture: Bulls, Pacers and Heat fight for postseason

The Heat fought hard, but will likely fall short of the playoffs.

The Heat are one of the best stories of the NBA, fighting back from the bottom of the standings to a potential postseason berth. Miami still has a chance to make the playoffs, but it's not going to be easy as the league concludes Wednesday night.

First, the Heat need to win against the Wizards. A loss means they are automatically eliminated. But a win isn't good enough as they need help from the Nets (playing the Bulls) or Hawks (playing the Pacers). Unfortunately for Miami, it probably won't get in.

Brooklyn announced Tuesday night that six players won't be able to play.Trevor Booker, Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez are sitting out due to rest (even though it's the final game and the Nets are eliminated from the playoffs). Injuries will keep outQuincy Acy (ankle), Joe Harris (shoulder) and Sean Kilpatrick (hamstring).

As for Atlanta, that's where things can become a bit tricky. The Hawks haven't officially announced anything yet, but there's a good chance they rest their starters as well. They've clinched their playoff seed, and have nothing to play for against the Pacers.

With the Bulls and Pacers each fighting for their own respective playoff spots, it will make the road that much more difficult for Miami.

Eastern Conference playoff scenarios

Lose Lose Lose 7th: Pacers 8th: Bulls Eliminated: Heat

Heat

Pacers

Bulls

Result

Win

Lose

Lose

7th: Heat. 8th: Pacers. Eliminated: Bulls

Win

Win

Lose

7th: Pacers 8th: Heat Eliminated: Bulls

Win

Lose

Win

7th: Bulls 8th: Heat Eliminated: Pacers

Win

Win

Win

7th: Pacers 8th: Bulls Eliminated: Heat

Lose

Lose

Lose

7th: Pacers 8th: Bulls Eliminated: Heat


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