5 Must-win games over the Miami Heat’s stretch run

Miami Heat v New York Knicks
Miami Heat v New York Knicks / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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April 7 at Indiana Pacers

Tyrese Haliburton, Jimmy Butler
Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

There aren’t external storylines or deep-seated rivalries here, but this game – the fifth-to-last game of the season for the Heat – may have the most riding on it in terms of playoff positioning.

Both teams are tied in the loss column with 25 apiece. The season series is split, 1-1. This game represents the tie-breaker for the series and may end up deciding which team escapes the play-in tournament.

The Heat don’t want to be in the play-in tournament for the second straight season. Sure, they made it to the Finals after surviving the play-in last season, but they were also a fourth-quarter surge against the Bulls away from their postseason ending early. 

The Pacers, with Tyrese Haliburton and Pascal Siakam, are a formidable opponent that has played its best basketball against the top teams in the league. Circle this game, because there’s a good chance it will have a playoff feel. A play-in for THE play-in, perhaps.