The Heat shot themselves in the foot on Friday night, blowing a big lead against the New York Knicks to fall to 2-1 in NBA In-Season Tournament play this season.
Still, the team can make up for the loss when it takes on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night in Miami.
There are a few scenarios where the Heat advance out of East Group B, but they are going to need some help to get there.
The Heat will win Group B if they can beat the Bucks on Tuesday night and the Knicks lose their game against the Charlotte Hornets. With Jimmy Butler ruled out for Miami on Tuesday, it’s going to be a tough task to beat the Bucks.
The other scenario where Miami wins Group B comes with both the Heat and Knicks winning on Tuesday. In this scenario, the Heat would have to beat Milwaukee by 14 or more points since Milwaukee currently has a plus-39 point differential and the Heat have a point differential of just plus-11.
In addition to Miami winning by 14 or more, the team would need the Knicks to win against Charlotte by seven or more points fewer than Miami. It seems complicated, but the Knicks currently have a point differential of plus-18, so Miami needs to make up that gap as well in a hypothetical win over the Bucks.
For example, if the Heat beat Milwaukee by 15 and the Knicks beat the Hornets by two, the Heat would win East Group B.
While winning Group B may be tough, Miami could still advance to the quarterfinals by way of the wild card in the Eastern Conference.
There are three scenarios where the Heat would make the quarterfinals as a wild card.
The first involves the Heat beating the Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers losing to the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics losing to the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets losing to the Toronto Raptors. The Heat would also need to finish second in Group B in this scenario.
The second scenario for the Heat is strictly tiebreaker based. In this scenario, the Heat would have to finish in second place in the group with a 3-1 record and win the tiebreaker over any second-place team from other groups with a 3-1 record. The team would likely need a big win over the Bucks to get into the quarterfinals this way.
Lastly, Miami can earn the wild card spot with losses by Cleveland, New York, Boston and Brooklyn and the team finishing in second place in Group B with a better point differential than any other second-place team.
The last scenario would work if Miami were to lose and no other team that didn’t win its group has a 3-1 record. The Heat would just need to have the best point differential among the rest of the 2-2 teams to advance.
Miami doesn’t control its own destiny, but picking up a big home win over the Bucks would put the Heat in position to make the quarterfinals if they can get some help from other teams.
The Heat and Bucks are scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. EST in Miami on Tuesday night.