Miami Heat

Scoreboard watch: Whom Heat fans should root for on Tuesday

Russell Westbrook could both make history and help the Heat Tuesday night.
Russell Westbrook could both make history and help the Heat Tuesday night. AP

The Heat isn’t in a great place right now.

Miami has lost four of six.

Dion Waiters hasn’t played in weeks with a badly sprained left ankle, only recently out of a walking boot but still not close to a return.

And the Heat has fallen from a contender for the Eastern Conference’s No. 6 seed to a likely lottery team unless it shakes out of its recent funk.

Still, all is not lost. Miami (37-40) still owns the eighth seed by virtue of a tiebreaker over Indiana.

The Heat (37-40) open a three-game road trip Wednesday night in Charlotte fighting for its playoff lives. April 4, 2017.

And the middle of the East is just as lost as Miami is. The Hawks have lost eight of 10. The Bulls, while hot as of late, are without Dwyane Wade for the rest of the year. And how bad are things for the Pacers? They recently brought back Lance Stephenson.

Five games remain in this wild season for Miami, but the team can’t help itself tonight. The Heat is off, and at the mercy of external events.

But if you’re in the mood to scoreboard watch, here are five games to monitor.

Toronto Raptors (47-30) at Indiana Pacers (37-40), 7 p.m.

The line: Pacers -2.5.

The skinny: Ninth-seeded Indiana has lost four in a row and seven of 10 to fall out of the playoffs altogether. The Raptors have much to play for; the No. 1 overall seed in the East is still possible, although unlikely. Toronto, which has won eight of 10, recently jumped the Wizards into the third spot.

Root for: Toronto.

Charlotte Hornets (36-41) at Washington Wizards (46-31), 7 p.m.

The line: Wizards -4.

The skinny: Charlotte looked done a week ago, but wins over the Raptors, Nuggets and Thunder extended the Hornets’ season. They are now the 10th seed, a game behind the Pacers and Heat. The Wizards, meanwhile, have lost three straight and were destroyed by Golden State on Sunday.

Root for: Washington.

Milwaukee Bucks (40-37) at Oklahoma City Thunder (43-33), 8 p.m., ESPN

The line: Thunder -4.5.

The skinny: No team has benefited more from the slumping East teams than Milwaukee, which went from a borderline playoff team to the East’s fifth seed in 10 games. OKC’s Russell Westbrook will try to tie Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41 triple-doubles in a season.

Root for: Oklahoma City.

Chicago Bulls (38-39) at New York Knicks (29-48), 8 p.m.

The line: Knicks +3.5.

The skinny: The Wade-less Bulls have won four straight to climb to the No. 7 seed, which is impressive. Whom they’ve beaten in that stretch — Milwaukee, Cleveland and Atlanta — is even more so. New York is, as always, irrelevant in April.

Root for: New York.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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