Wins by Nets, Magic leave three teams on the Eastern Conference bubble

Yes, Wade and his Miami Heat are still mathematically alive with two games remaining in this final regular season of the Hall of Fame shooting guard’s career. But after the way Sunday played out — with Miami losing a heartbreaker in overtime in Toronto, and both the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets qualifying for the postseason with road wins over favored opponents — Miami’s playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.

Don’t believe it? Just ask the Heat, who waived reserve shooting guard Rodney McGruder on Sunday following their loss in Toronto to ensure they would avoid the luxury tax this season. The Heat did that instead of keeping McGruder for the chance that he could help them in either of the final two games of the regular season or the playoffs, if Miami is fortunate enough to make it nfl jerseys cheap china

After Sunday, it’s going to require quite a bit of fortune for the Heat to do so.

That is largely because of the play of both Orlando and Brooklyn, which went on the road Sunday to pick up victories over the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers, respectively, to lock up two of the three Eastern Conference playoff spots that were still up for grabs when the day began.2

For both teams, it was a day worth savoring. Orlando (41-40) hasn’t made the playoffs in seven years, which was the third-longest playoff drought in the league entering the season, behind only those of the Sacramento Kings (2006) and Phoenix Suns (2010). Once the Magic saw the Charlotte Hornets had beaten the Detroit Pistons earlier in the day, they took the court in Boston knowing that a loss could leave them in a do-or-die game Wednesday in Charlotte in their regular-season finale.

“To be quite frank with you all, I said I’m going to keep an eye on Detroit, et cetera, et cetera,” Magic guard Evan Fournier said. “But I think when we saw the Hornets win, it kind of hit us. Like, ‘S—, we have to win. And, if we don’t, this game in Charlotte is going to be very, very hard for us.’cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

The Magic didn’t have it easy, though. The Celtics used all of their main players on Sunday, as coach Brad Stevens used the game as Boston’s final tune-up for the playoffs. But Orlando was able to get the win anyway, turning a four-point halftime deficit into a five-point lead after three quarters and a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, holding off a furious Celtics rally to get the win.

The way the Magic came back and won Sunday was a microcosm of Orlando’s season, which saw the Magic sitting at 20-31 after a home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 29, a point at which the playoffs seemed far more like fantasy than reality.