The Miami Heat is going to open the playoffs against the hottest team in the NBA.
Behind a career-high 32 points from Wayne Ellington and plenty of gutsy work from Justise Winslow, the Heat punched its ticket into a first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night with an exciting 116-109 overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors in the regular season finale.
The playoffs begin Saturday and the NBA is expected to release its schedule later tonight.
Down by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, Ellington made six threes in the fourth quarter and then a runner with 1:53 left in overtime to help lift the Heat (44-38) to the come-from-behind victory over the top-seeded Raptors (59-23).
Toronto, which had already clinched the top seed in the conference last week, played its starters all the way including All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
The eight three-pointers by Ellington tied his career-high and also set a new franchise record for three-pointers in a season (227). He entered the night six back of Damon Jones (2004-05) for the previous record.
Lowry had 28 points and DeRozan finished with 19 for Toronto.
The Raptors took a 43-41 lead on a Lowry layup with 4:28 left in the first half. Toronto stretched its lead to as much as 11 points in the third quarter and held the lead until Ellington buried his fourth three-pointer of the night with 5:54 to go to put Miami ahead 88-87.
Ellington’s sixth three-pointer of the fourth quarter put Miami ahead 105-103 with 18.8 seconds left. But Raptors backup center Jakob Poeltl tipped in a miss with 8.4 seconds to play and the game went to overtime when the Heat's James Johnson missed a shot in the paint late.
The Heat had eight players finish in double figures.
Miami, which has never entered the playoffs as the No. 6 seed, began the night with the No. 7 seed in the conference.
By virtue of Philadelphia’s blowout win over the previously No. 6 seeded Bucks, Miami moved past Milwaukee (44-38) in the final standings because it owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Miami and Philadelphia split the season series 2-2.
The Sixers enter the playoffs on a 16-game winning streak.