After Sunday's victory against the Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat have an opportunity to create even more separation in the playoff standings.
If the Heat win Tuesday's rematch, they will have a three-game lead over the Celtics and win tiebreaker should the teams finish the regular season with the same record.
So the Heat players know the significance.
“The one Tuesday is equally important, probably even bigger,” guard Duncan Robinson said. "especially now that we’ve gotten an opportunity to really solidify ourselves and continue to work our way up the standings. It’s what you play for this time of year, these highly competitive games, these high-stakes games. So we’re excited for it.”
By solidifying the No. 6 seed, the Heat would also avoid participation in the play-tournament. But a loss to the Celtics Tuesday will create a more suspenseful final week of the season. The Celtics would own the tiebreaker and only trail one game in the standings.
“You can’t obsess about the context of it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s about bringing your best competitive game, and how do you do that. That’s what we’ll be focused on. The meaning and the significance, and the pressure and context, if you’re a competitor which our guys are in that locker room, what you really want is all of those things to bring out the best in your game.”
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