(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The Indiana Pacers clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs on Monday night — without even playing. That’s because the Miami Heat suffered a 21-point loss to the Washington Wizards, 114-93, that locked the Heat into the number two spot.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh did not play in the game, as Miami seemed content to give up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs to Indiana. Dwayne Wade, who did play after a nine-game hiatus due to a hamstring injury, said there was no concern in the Heat locker room.
“There would be no disappointment,” said Wade who finished with only nine points. “When the playoffs start, we have a new season and we will be looking forward to it.”
Miami (54-27) still does not know who their opponent will be in the opening round of the postseason. The Heat will face off against the seven seed, which could either be the Wizards (43-38) or the Charlotte Bobcats. Meanwhile, the Pacers will take on eighth seeded Atlanta.
The Wizards held a slim 27-26 lead at the end of one quarter before outscoring Miami 43-22 in the second to take control. Despite the win, Washington understood that their potential opponent in the playoffs will look much different than the team they dominated on Monday.
“We played against a totally different Miami Heat today than usual,” noted Wizards center Marcin Gortat. “Nothing to be excited about.”
Gortat posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds while Trevor Ariza led all scorers with 25 points for Washington.
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Jill Martin, CNN