Wayne Ellington’s 32 points helped the Miami Heat take down the Toronto Raptors in overtime Wednesday, and the effort emphasized just how difficult it is to game-plan for a Miami team that has loads of good options but no true star. The damage can come from anywhere.
The Heat outperformed their plus-0.5 net rating this year, which was good for just 17th, but the No. 7 defense should give the 76ers a decent challenge in the first round.
14. Denver Nuggets (15)
If this feels too high for a lottery team, remember that the Denver Nuggets won more games (46) and owned a better net rating (0.8) than each of the East’s bottom three playoff entrants.
Wilson Chandler played 48 minutes and didn’t score in Denver’s season-ending overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. That’s the kind of goose egg that’ll stick with you over the summer.
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13. Boston Celtics (8)
It’s true that the Boston Celtics had little to play for once they were clear the Toronto Raptors weren’t relinquishing the East’s top seed, but four losses in their final six games still raise concerns. The Celtics head into the postseason without Kyrie Irving (knee), which means they’ll rely on Al Horford (very good at everything, great at nothing), some young wings and a stout defense.
The Bucks closed the season with a whimper, so an upset remains unlikely. But it’s unreasonable to rate Boston as if Irving, a vital playoff shot-creator for a substandard offense, were available.
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12. New Orleans Pelicans (16)
Take a bow, Anthony Davis. You hauled a team that had no business cracking .500 to 48 wins and the sixth seed in a brutal Western Conference.
After DeMarcus Cousins went down with a torn Achilles on Jan. 26, the New Orleans Pelicans ran up a 21-13 record and the league’s seventh-best net rating, which will raise some difficult questions about what to do if Cousins wants a fat new contract this summer.
Just kidding! This is the easiest call in history: Don’t pay it.
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11. Indiana Pacers (11)
Discounted as overachievers around here all season, the Indiana Pacers won seven of their last 10 games and closed a shocking 2017-18 with 48 victories.nfl cheap jerseys
Just 12th in offense and 14th in defense, Indy doesn’t profile as an elite outfit, and it feels risky to expect all those mid-range jumpers to keep falling as Victor Oladipo pilots an attack that seems to score more than it should. But the Pacers have proved us wrong for the last six months, so why stop now?nfl jerseys cheap china