The Miami Heat (42-37) defeated the Detroit Pistons (16-63) 118-105 on the road Tuesday night.
Butler’s Clutch 4th Quarter
After the first 36 minutes of play, the Heat were narrowly defeating the Pistons 80-79. This would soon change after the Heat outscored the Pistons 38-26 in the fourth. Jimmy Butler put up 18 of these 38 points to lead the Heat in the win. He shot 75% from the field, going 9-12 on the night.
Butler was able to put up 18 points in a little over seven minutes of play as he entered the game for Gabe Vincent at 7:05 remaining.
He had a perfect quarter, sinking seven two’s from the field and four from the charity stripe.
Butler had 27 PTS, 8 REB, 8 ASTS and 4 STLS on the night. He was accompanied by other key performances from Gabe Vincent (22 PTS, 6 3’s, 3 REB), Tyler Herro (18 PTS, 5 REBS) and Bam Adebayo (18 PTS, 4 REBS).
Jimmy's 4th quarter was something special. pic.twitter.com/Z2J1uf7uvX
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 5, 2023
The Final Stretch
The Heat have three games left in the regular season: at Philadelphia, at Washington and finally, vs. Orlando.
They currently stand at No. 7 in the Eastern Conference, only one game behind the 6-seed Brooklyn Nets (43-36).
Similarly to the Heat, the Nets will also play the Magic and the Sixers in two out of their last three games.
Seeds 7-10 have the opportunity to participate in the play-in, which is where the Heat currently stand. Seeds 1-6 clinch playoff berth. So, with these last three regular season games, the Heat are battling with the Nets to secure the 6-seed rather than needing to participate in the play-in to earn a playoff spot.
The Sixers (52-27) are likely to be the Heat’s biggest challenge out of their remaining games. Sixers star Joel Embiid had a monster 52-point game against the Celtics Tuesday night, and the Heat will need to rally on the defensive end to put a stop to Embiid.
Philadelphia has clinched playoff berth, standing at No. 3 in the Eastern Conference behind Boston and Milwaukee. The Wizards and Magic, however, have been eliminated from the playoff.
Chances at Playoff vs. Play-in for Heat
There are a couple scenarios in which the Heat could clinch the 6 seed. Not only would they need to finish the season strong, but the Nets would need to finish poorly for this to happen.
If Miami wins their final three games and the Nets lose their final three games or go 1-2, the Heat clinch the 6 seed. Additionally, if the Heat go 2-1 and the Nets go 0-3, they will get the 6 seed. These are the only circumstances in which the Heat can secure a spot in the playoffs without having to participate in the play-in tournament, which begins on April 11, followed by the playoffs that start on April 15.
What we know for sure is that the Heat have an opportunity at playoff contention. It can happen in two ways: being the No. 6 seed or needing to fight in the play-in. This all depends on this final three-game stretch.
Up Next for the Heat
Miami will play back to back games on the road Thursday and Friday, beginning with the Philadelphia 76ers and then the Washington Wizards. They will then head back to Miami-Dade Arena for the regular season finale on Sunday vs. the Orlando Magic.