The Miami Heat controlled their own destiny for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Beat Boston on Wednesday night and they have it. It didn’t happen. The Heat blew a 26-point lead in the second half and the Celtics won.
But when the dust settled, the Heat still got the No. 3 seed despite the loss. That’s because the Atlanta Hawks also lost.
Now, Miami meets No. 6 Charlotte in the first round. The Hornets took down the Magic in their final regular-season game. The best-of-7 series begins in Miami on Sunday. The tip time is 5:30 p.m. Eastern and the game will be televised by TNT.
The Heat and Hornets split their four games this season, each winning and losing once apiece on their home court. Both teams finished 48-34, but Miami won the Southeast Division based on the tiebreaker. The Heat was 10-6 in the division, the Hornets 8-8.
Atlanta also finished 48-34 in the division and claimed the No. 4 seed. They square off with No. 5 Boston in the first round.
Here’s what you need to know about the Heat-Hornets series:
Heat vs. Hornets Schedule & TV Channels
All times Eastern
Game 1 — Sun. April 17, Charlotte at Miami, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Game 2 — Wed. April 20, Charlotte at Miami, 7 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 — Sat. April 23, Miami at Charlotte, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Game 4 — Mon April 25, Miami at Charlotte, TBD, TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 27, Charlotte at Miami, TBD, TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 29, Miami at Charlotte, TBD, TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 1, Charlotte at Miami, TBD, TBD
Heat vs. Hornets Series Preview
The Heat is a veteran team, led by Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Goran Dragic and Joe Johnson, though 26-year-old center Hassan Whiteside might be their best all-around player.
Miami has been without Chris Bosh‘s 19 points and 7 rebounds a game since early February. Bosh has a calf injury and last season missed half the year with blood clots in his calf, though he has said he doesn’t have them anymore. There has been no indication Bosh will return to the lineup.
The Heat, though, is 19-10 without Bosh and 29-24 with him. Without Bosh, the Heat have been able to play at a faster pace, which suits their roster.
Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum have been jacks of all trades for the Hornets, generally filling the stat sheet every night. And Jeremy Lin has been playing the best he has all year, as has rookie center Frank Kaminsky.
Only two teams had better records in conference play than the Hornets, who were 33-19 vs. the East. The Cavaliers and Raptors, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, were better.