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- Two of the Miami Heat’s Big Three will sit out Monday’s matchup at the Washington Wizards. LeBron James and Chris Bosh are out, but Dwyane Wade will play. This occurs despite the reality that the Heat (54-26) remain in play for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. With two games remaining, Miami enters Monday 1/2 game behind first place Indiana (55-26). The Pacers, off until Wednesday, hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
- The Wizards (42-28) could wrap up the sixth seed in the East with a win over Miami and a Charlotte loss. Washington has won two straight, but hasn’t won more than two in a row since March 1. Bradley Beal scored 26 points in Saturday’s 104-91 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bobcats, who own the tiebreaker over Washington, play at the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.
- Those suiting up for Miami will focus on its road performance and limiting turnovers. The Heat have lost two straight on the road, including Saturday’s setback at Atlanta. Miami committed 20 turnovers against the Hawks. “We’re trying to build some habits on the road. That’s our focus right now,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said following Monday’s shootaround.
- Wade will play his second game after missing his previous nine with a lingering knee injury. He confirmed pregame he remains on a 20-24 minutes limit.
- Toney Douglas and Shane Battier replaced James and Bosh in Miami’s starting lineup.
- The Wizards included Nene on their active roster. The power forward, who recently missed 21 games with a knee injury, sat out Saturday’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
- Miami leads the season series 2-1 with each team winning on its home court. The Heat claimed the previous matchup, 99-90 on March 10. Washington and Miami could still meet in the first round depending on the remaining results.
- If the season ended today, the Wizards would face the Toronto Raptors in first round while the Heat would open the postseason against the Bobcats.
– Ben Standig