Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Bulls, Pacers grab last 2 spots in NBA playoffs

The Heat were the victims this time, their season drawing to a close earlier than they would have preferred despite a 110-102 victory over the Washington Wizards. That's what's exciting about this [playoff] race. We have to do what has made us a successful team.

"Everybody is on their own journey".

If the Bulls were to lose the game against the Nets, they still would be able to potentially get into the postseason.

The downside of this is it means huge upsets aren't as likely to happen.

Archie Goodwin led the Nets with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists off the bench with KJ McDaniels adding 15 points and six rebounds for Brooklyn (20-62), which has the worst record in the league and played without several key players.

With their stars resting and other players out with injuries, nine players suited up for the Nets in their final game.

The Nets announced on Tuesday that they are going to rest Lin, Lopez and Booker against the Bulls to ensure their health in the offseason. "We're pulling and hoping to see some big games from some young guys over there". "Now the fun begins". Backup center Ian Mahinmi is also out because of injury. The future Hall of Famer seemed happy about the chance to perform on the postseason stage yet again as he spoke in front of his locker after Wednesday's 112-73 destruction of the Brooklyn Nets. The Heat should win their home against the Wizards, who are resting most of their regulars having locked up the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked whether he thought the Heat were going to make the playoffs. His former team, Miami, was squeezed out of the playoffs. We have to win the ballgame. "If we don't win, we can't control anything at all".

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He led Miami with 28 points, Hassan Whiteside scored 24 points and clinched the National Basketball Association rebound crown with 18 boards, Reed scored 16, Josh Richardson had 15 and James Johnson finished with 12 for the Heat.

"It's still full of emotions", Heat guard Goran Dragic said after the game. "It's not easy to come back from 11-30 and make it 41-41". "I thought that overall he was good tonight. That would be an unbelievable story". "That really hurts at home".

Although this 2016-17 squad will not be participating in the playoffs, their record-breaking season should have the players and personnel holding their heads high and have a place in the hearts of Heat fans forever. It's going to take time obviously, with as much as he missed, same as Rajon. "We were up seven with a minute and some change left and couldn't hit free throws".

"I thought he had some good bursts to the basket".

"There's definitely others. The Knicks here - that was definitely one that stings". "I don't know if I've ever wanted something more for a team". "But it's woulda, coulda, shoulda at this point".

Missing the playoffs was a disappointing way to end the season for the Heat.

"No", Johnson answered. "We had every opportunity to do it".

Lin said the Nets were struggling to find an identity in the first half of the season, but once they start identifying it toward the latter, the team started playing well. "But honestly it could have been 32-9 or better".

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