With six games left, the Miami Heat find themselves in ninth place in the Eastern Conference following a three-game losing streak.
A lot can happen in a week and the Heat are learning that the hard way. After sitting in seventh place within shouting distance of sixth, Miami is now currently completely out of the playoffs. The gap is small but so is the remaining game total.
The Heat trail the eighth place Boston Celtics by a half-game and the seventh place Brooklyn Nets by one full game. Miami will not play either team down the final stretch and must rely on outside help. In addition to this, both the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets continue to cling to hope as they sit one game behind the Heat.
The skid is the longest for Miami since early February and could not come at a worse time. Needing each and every victory it can get, the Heat have had difficulty closing out wins. Saturday's loss to the lowly Detroit Pistons made that flaw even more evident. With a relatively safe lead late in the game, the Heat collapsed and ended up on the wrong end of a one-point game.
Injuries have taken their toll on the Heat with key players lost for the year and others playing while hampered with nagging problems. Some days it seems as if head coach Erik Spoelstra has more guys considered day-to-day than healthy.
The Heat clinched the fact this will be a losing season with their 42nd loss but the playoffs remain possible. Once a ticket is punched for the postseason, anything can happen and the Heat know this well. The challenge will be getting there with players such as Dwyane Wade battling a knee problem and Hassan Whiteside who is dealing with a hand injury.
Miami will take on Indiana on Sunday in what has become almost a must-win for the team.