2018 HEAT Playoff Push

Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
by Alex Granado
HEAT.com

The last week of the 2017-18 regular season has arrived, and the HEAT have punched their ticket to the NBA playoffs. However, the final seeding in the East is still fluid, and all four first round match-ups can change over the next 48 hours. Below, HEAT.com highlights the different scenarios that may ultimately decide Miami's first postseason opponent.

Last Four / Next Four: (4/10/18)

- Entering Tuesday, the 76ers and Cavaliers are still duking it out for the third and fourth seeds. Philadelphia can lock up the third seed by winning out against Atlanta and Milwaukee. However, a 76ers loss to either the Hawks or Bucks and a Cavaliers win secures the third seed for Cleveland. (Note: A 76ers win Tuesday against Atlanta eliminates any possibility of a Cavs / HEAT matchup in the first round).

- After a 2-2 week, Indiana is locked in at the fifth seed regardless of a win or loss against Charlotte.

- For the Bucks to secure the sixth seed, they must defeat the 76ers. However, if they lose, Milwaukee could still hold steady with a Miami loss to Toronto and a Washington loss to either Boston or Orlando.

- Miami has a chance to push Milwaukee out of the sixth seed with a win Wednesday vs. Toronto and a Bucks loss to the 76ers by virtue of the head-to-head tie-breaker. The HEAT also hold the division tie-breaker in the case of a tie against the Wizards and the conference tie-breaker in the case of a three-way tie at 44-38 with the Bucks and Wizards as well.

- The highest Washington can climb in the standings is the seventh seed - they must win their final two games against Boston and Orlando, and either Milwaukee must lose and Miami must win, or Miami must lose and Milwaukee must win. A loss to either Boston or Orlando locks the Wizards in at the eighth seed, eliminating any possibility of a Raptors / HEAT matchup in the first round.

Check out the infographic below for more details:

Miami HEAT Playoff Push, NBA Standings Last 4, Next 4 (4/10/18)

Looking for previous HEAT Playoff Push breakdowns? Find them below.

Last Four / Next Four: (4/2/18)

- The 76ers and Pacers have both closed the gap with the Cavaliers for the third seed this past week. Philadelphia and Indiana each went 4-0 over their last four games and are within a game or less of overtaking Cleveland, possibly shaking up potential playoff match-ups between the third through fifth seeds just a week out of the post season.

- If the 76ers have any hope of leapfrogging the Cavaliers for a higher seed, they must win their final matchup of the season against Cleveland April 6th in Philadelphia. The season series is currently 1-2 in favor of the Cavaliers, and Cleveland (32-15) holds the conference tie-breaker over Philadelphia (29-18) as well.

- Meanwhile, it's still not clear where the Wizards, HEAT and Bucks will end up with the sixth through eighth seeds - Washington has secured their spot in the post season, while Miami and Milwaukee both need one more win to guarantee a playoff appearance.

- However, the HEAT and Bucks are both only one game behind the Wizards for the sixth seed. As a reminder, Miami holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Milwaukee, and a better division record than Washington if these tie-breakers come into play.

Check out the infographic below for more details:

Miami HEAT Playoff Push, NBA Standings Last 4, Next 4 (4/2/18)

Last Four / Next Four: (3/27/18)

- The Cavaliers and 76ers have been red hot this past week. Both teams are 4-0 in each of their last four games and currently hold the second and third longest win streaks in the entire league heading into Wednesday.

- Meanwhile, the Wizards had a rough go at it; Washington tumbled down the NBA standings with a 1-3 record over their last four games. Though, they still maintain a one-game lead for the sixth seed over the Bucks. Washington also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Milwaukee.

- The HEAT are the only team below who play their next four games at home - meanwhile, the Pacers and Bucks both have four-game road swings over the next week.

- The HEAT finished the season series with a split against the Pacers. Miami currently holds the post season tie-breaker against both Milwaukee, by virtue of sweeping the season series, and Washington, because of a better division record (9-5 vs. 7-6). However, Philadelphia (26-18) and Indiana (31-18) both currently have better conference records than Miami (26-19), if a tiebreaker scenario materialized against either team.

Check out the infographic below for more details:

Miami HEAT Playoff Push, NBA Standings Last 4, Next 4 (3/27/18)

Last Four / Next Four: (3/20/18)

- The Cavaliers and 76ers each earned a 3-1 record over the previous four games. This helped Cleveland move back into the three seed by a half-game over Indiana, while Philadelphia closed within a half-game of Washington. They also opened a two-game lead over Miami in the process.

- The HEAT have an opportunity to take the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pacers this coming Sunday with a win. Currently, they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bucks, and split the season series against the Wizards and 76ers, forcing conference and division tiebreakers, if necessary.

- Starting Wednesday against the Knicks, the HEAT play seven of their last 11 games at home.

What do the Pacers and HEAT have in common over the next four games that the other four teams below do not? They each face off against at least three opponents who are currently seeded for a playoff spot.

Check out the infographic below for more details:

Miami HEAT Playoff Push, NBA Standings Last 4, Next 4 (3/20/18)

Last Four / Next Four: (3/13/18)

- The Pacers have pushed themselves into the upper half of the standings with a 3-1 week and now hold a half-game edge over the Cavaliers for the three seed. Indiana also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cleveland (3-1) heading into the final weeks of the season.

- The Cavaliers are the only team among the six below with three games on the road over their next four, making stops in Phoenix, Portland and Chicago before returning home to host Milwaukee the following Monday. Conversely, the 76ers face three of their next four at home, where they are 20-10 on the season.

- With wins over the 76ers and Wizards this past week, the HEAT have evened the season series against both teams at 2-2. The tiebreaker for playoff seeding against them potentially moves to conference record vs. Philadelphia (22-17), who currently holds a slight edge in the loss column over Miami (25-18), and division record vs. Washington (8-6) where Miami (9-5) currently leads with fewer losses.

- The HEAT also hold a 3-0 head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bucks, who are currently within a half-game of one another.

Check out the infographic below for more details:

Miami HEAT Playoff Push Last 4, Next 4 (3/13/18)

Last Four / Next Four: (3/7/18)

- Entering Wednesday, the fourth through eighth seeds in the East are separated by just three-and-a-half games.

- The HEAT in particular have an opportunity to close the gap against the 76ers Thursday and the Wizards Saturday, finishing the season series with both teams over the next two games.

- All the teams listed below with the exception of Washington and Philadelphia have at least two games at home and two on the road this week. Washington in particular has a tough road ahead with two back-to-backs in a six day span.

- The 76ers and Pacers had the best stretch of games among the teams below over the previous week, each going 3-1 and solidifying their positioning in the standings. The Wizards and Bucks on the other hand slid, each going 1-3 in the same window.

Check out the infographic below for more details:

Miami HEAT Playoff Push Last 4, Next 4 (3/7/18)