Heat complete epic second half of season but miss playoffs

Heat complete epic second half of season but miss playoffs
By Reuters

13/04/2017 at 06:13Updated 13/04/2017 at 06:22

April 12 (Reuters) - The Miami Heat notched a milestone on Wednesday on the final day of the NBA regular season but that was little consolation as they missed the playoffs as the increasingly common practice of resting players took on extra significance.

The Heat were the victims this time, their season ending despite a 110-102 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Miami made an awful start to the season and were 11-30 at the halfway mark, but became the first team to come from more than 12 games below .500 and avoid a losing record.

They finished 41-41 and needed either the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers to lose their final games to reach the playoffs.

The Bulls, however, breezed to a 112-73 victory against a Brooklyn Nets team missing six players while the Pacers cruised to a 104-86 win over the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks, who rested five players ahead of the postseason.

"The league has got to step in here, because this is a very big black eye for this league," former NBA Coach of the Year Hubie Brown said during the Indiana-Atlanta game.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has expressed concern at the practice of resting so many players, but apart from promising to schedule teams to play less games on consecutive days, it has offered few other answers on how to solve the problem.

Boston clinched the top seed in the East, ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost their last four games, playing the final two without LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

In the Western Conference, there was nothing at stake on Wednesday except for home court advantage for the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz.

The Clippers had to win their game against Sacramento to clinch the fourth seed ahead of Utah.

Eastern Conference match-ups for first round of the playoffs:

Boston (1) v Chicago (8)

Cleveland (2) v Indiana (7)

Toronto (3) v Milwaukee (6)

Washington (4) v Atlanta (5)

Western Conference match-ups:

Golden State (1) v Portland (8)

San Antonio (2) v Memphis (7)

Houston (3) v Oklahoma City (6)

Los Angeles Clippers v Utah (seedings TBD) (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)