Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra entered Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with intentions of going full speed.
Shortly before tip-off, things changed when their playoff fate was already determined. The Indiana Pacers defeated the Houston Rockets earlier in the day, making the Heat's 116-115 loss to the Thunder meaningless. The Heat will play the Pacers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
"We had to plan during the day that everybody would play," Spoelstra said. "When I did the (pregame) media session, we just found out that Indiana won. That changed things, of course. Just wanted to make sure we got guys in rhythm and we were able to accomplish that."
Spoelstra rested his starters the entire second half. Forward Jae Crowder was held out after bumping knees with the Thunder's Luguentz Dort in the first quarter. Spoelstra said "everything was clean" on Crowder's X-rays.
The positive was the situation provided opportunities for young players. Rookie Tyler Herro had a career-high 30 points and two-way player Gabe Vincent played 18 minutes.
"Lot of good things," Spoelstra said. "I like the way our guys competed. I loved the way our guys came out in the second half to get into a 14-point lead."
The Heat's final regular season game against the Pacers Friday will determine which team is the higher seed. It will be their ninth postseason appearance in 12 years.
"Get ready for that first round," Spoelstra said. "Our entire team and organization is excited for this opportunity. We don't take it for granted but we're looking forward to finding out when we start."
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