With 9 games left, the Miami Heat are playing their best basketball of the season. The Heat have won 9 of their last 12 games, including a 113-108 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night in D.C. With the victory, Miami moved to 36-37, and they are in sole possession of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Obviously, every team wants to make the playoffs, but for the Heat, making the playoffs would be even sweeter. After 16 seasons, the great Dwyane Wade has decided to retire from the NBA, which means making the playoffs is a big deal for Miami.
“I don’t think nobody wants to make it(playoffs) more than him,” Heat F James Johnson told goforitradio’s Paul Gant about Wade on Saturday night. “And we’re fighting. I think everybody already has the mentality of we want to make it. I just think with D-Wade, being his last dance, it just makes it more special if we do.”
Based on his performance on Saturday night against Washington, Wade is doing everything in his power to make the playoffs, and while he is no longer a superstar, the 37-year-old is still playing at a reasonably high level. In 63 games this season, Wade is averaging 14.3 ppg off the bench, and late in the game against the Wizards, where Wade scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, Miami was running their offense through him, and he delivered, so it’s clear, If he wanted to, Wade could still keep playing.
“I know for sure I see he can still go,” Johnson said about Wade. “But when your heart and your mind is not into it no more, it’s not about the body after that.”
The Heat hold a one-game lead over the Orlando Magic, who Miami plays on Tuesday night at home. Miami is 1-2 against the Magic this season, which means if they lose to Magic on Tuesday, Orlando would win the season series and hold the tie-breaker against the Heat. Therefore, if Miami wants to make the playoffs, in D-Wade’s final season, it’s imperative that they beat Orlando on Tuesday night.