Heat Clinch Third Seed Despite Blowing 26-Point Lead

The Heat blew a 26-point lead on Wednesday in Boston but still clinched the third seed

The Miami Heat saw a 26-point lead vanish in a 98-88 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

Due to a loss by the Atlanta Hawks, Miami still clinches the third seed in the East and home court advantage in the first round. The Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Hawks and Celtics all ended up with the same record. Tiebreakers awarded home court to Miami and it will host Charlotte in round one.

Boston went on a 20-0 run after a minute of play in the second half. The run cut Miami's large lead into only a four-point one. The improbable run from the Celtics lasted for over seven minutes before the Heat finally scored. Miami would end up with a franchise-record low five points in the third quarter. 

Immediately following the third quarter, the teams needed to be separated as they gathered on the court. Both benches cleared but no punches appeared to be thrown. The officials were quick to break the action up and send the teams back to their respective benches. The hostile moment was brought on by contact between Goran Dragic and Marcus Smart. Technical fouls were called on Evan Turner, Udonis Haslem, Dragic and Smart.

The fourth quarter would continue the carnage for Miami at the start. After opening the fourth down only four, Boston went on another run to take a three-point lead. With 9:48 left to go, the Heat called timeout down by three after an incredible 29-point turnaround. That would extend even more as the game went on.

After only one quarter of play, Miami held a 35-13 advantage. The Heat were busy on both sides of the ball in one of their best quarters of the entire year. Boston would keep things from expanding much in the second quarter, but failed to cut into the lead. The teams headed to the locker room at the half with Miami leading by 24.

Finishing as the three-seed means that Miami can only face the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. It is a long road to that potential match-up however, and Miami must first prepare for a series with Charlotte.

The NBA is expected to announce the playoff schedule on Thursday.

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