Heat playoff hopes dwindle as Raptors clinch home court for first round
MIAMI (AP)—When the playoffs open next weekend, the Toronto Raptors will be at home.
And, almost certainly, so will the Miami Heat.
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Greivis Vasquez and Kyle Lowry each scored 12 points and Patrick Patterson had 11 for the Raptors. They clinched home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and dealt an absolutely crippling blow to Miami's postseason hopes.
[daily_cut.NBA]"For our organization, where we are, the process we're going through, I think it's important," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said about wrapping up home-court. "You can't take anything for granted. ... These guys fought for it, scratched for it. They earned it."
Dwyane Wade scored 30 points for the Heat, who can only get to 37 wins—the number that Brooklyn and Boston are already at, putting them in the No. 7 and No. 8 spots in the Eastern Conference race. Goran Dragic scored 22 points for Miami and Hassan Whiteside finished with 16 points and 18 rebounds.
But Whiteside also missed 12 free throws, going 4-for-16, and as a team the Heat went 24-of-44 from the line.
"Nobody needs to feel sorry for any of us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "This is what you sign up for in this business. You don't know what's going to happen ... and this year has had its challenges for all of us. But we've been grinding and fighting."
"We have nothing to be ashamed of," Wade said.
Williams hit a 3-pointer with 31.2 seconds left to put the Raptors up by five, and that just about sealed the game and Miami's playoff fate. The Heat must win their last two games, and get a ton of help to reach the postseason for the seventh straight year.
It was Toronto's first road win over the Heat since Nov. 19, 2008, ending a 10-game slide on Miami's home floor. The win was Toronto's 48th of the season and 22nd on the road, both tying franchise records.
"This one especially feels good, clinching home-court," said Williams, who had 17 in the second quarter alone.
Wade had 11 in the third, including one stretch where he got a rebound while down on the floor and ended up scoring seconds later, followed by another layup while getting knocked down again.
But in the end, there just wasn't enough.
"Played good enough to win," Wade said. "Just didn't."