Let's be honest. Miami doesn't want or need the number one seed.
Why? Because the number one seed is destined for a possible second round match-up against the Brooklyn Nets, perhaps the only team that holds our kryptonite.
The Nets possessed us this year (4-0), and have been playing very well.
Let the Nets go through the Pacers if they want to meet us in the Playoffs.
Miami Heat leadership and brass are not stupid.
They may never say they tanked the number one seed by resting Lebron and Bosh against the Wizards on Monday night, but it's pretty clear they did.
Ever since the Pacers beat the Thunder on Sunday the decision was extra easy.
Coach Spo explained his reasoning, emphasizing the importance of rest:
"Our schedule was fairly extreme down the stretch... It's not an excuse. We just want to make sure our guys are feeling right, that they're sharp, that they're feeling healthy and they have minor ailments that a couple days will do wonders for them."
He may believe this.
He may have convinced the players of the same. And they will probably never admit it, but let's be real. We tanked the number one seed because the number two seed is better for us. If the Raptors hold onto the number three seed, our two most dangerous adversaries, the Nets and the Bulls are poised for a first round battle. The Bulls and the Nets have the two best records since the All-Star break (in the East) and they play us tough. The Pacers may hold the number one seed but they have not been playing like a number one seed. We're not scared of anyone, but if we can avoid a battle with the Nets or the Bulls, it makes sense to try. So, now, if the Nets are to get to us, they will have to knock off the Bulls and the Pacers, without home court advantage.
They'll be exhausted if they can even do that.
Meanwhile, we'll have Charlotte or Washington in the first round and the Raptors in the second. Even if the Bulls wiggle into the third seed (a long shot), we still avoid the Nets until the Finals, if the Nets even get that far. This is strategy all the way.
Let the white-hot quest for a three-peat begin!!