Miami and Charlotte are both currently out of the top eight, but strong finishes by either team can easily propel them into the post-season. However, given the injury woes suffered by both organizations, that will be a tough task for either squad.
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The Heat sit a game behind the Boston Celtics for the eighth postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with the Indiana Pacers, while the Hornets are 1 1/2 games behind Boston.
Miami has dropped four straight, including three in a row on the road. The Heat play four in a row at home versus Charlotte, Chicago, Toronto and Orlando before closing the season in Philadelphia.
Miami features Chris Bosh, out for the season, Chris Andersen, questionable, Hassan Whiteside, questionable, Luol Deng, questionable, and Michael Beasely, questionable. Bosh was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lungs, turning what seemed like a major opportunity after the Goran Dragic trade into a disappointing end to the year. Andersen bruised his left foot last week, while Whiteside cut his hand so severely it required 10 stitches.
Meanwhile, Deng hurt his thigh and Beasely injured his knee on Sunday. The Heat have a rag-tag line-up, featuring Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, and bodies picked off the scrap heap.
They will receive no sympathy from the Hornets, however, with Charlotte losing Al Jefferson possibly for the rest of the season due to a knee injury. Cody Zeller is also out with lingering shoulder issues, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is still waiting to get back on the court following an ankle sprain.
Both sides know this is a big game!
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|Pos, Player||PPG||RPG||Pos, Player||PPG||RPG|
|G K. Walker||17.9||3.7||G G. Dragic||16.1||3.5|
|G G. Henderson||12.0||3.5||G D. Wade||21.4||3.6|
|F J. Taylor||3.4||1.7||F L. Deng||14.2||5.0|
|F Ma. Williams||7.5||4.8||F U. Haslem||4.1||4.0|
|C B. Biyombo||4.6||6.1||C H. Whiteside||11.2||9.7|