Do Heat have to consider playoff path of least resistance? – Orange County Register

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Q: I’m a fan of seeing someone else play Brooklyn in the first round besides us. — Mike Austin, Texas.

A: As many know, I can be stubborn to an Erik Spoelstra degree when it comes to certain things. The first is always having a veteran point guard in reserve. The second is that just because Bam Adebayo can switch anything doesn’t mean the Heat defense has to switch everything. And the third is that that first rule of Playoff Club is that you do not want to face the tandem of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the first round. Whether you can maneuver out of that, considering the vagaries of the play-in round, comes down to whether you are willing to cede potential homecourt in the second round to play as the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the first round.

Q: Now that the Celtics sit atop the East, I’m really concerned. Thoughts? — Phillip, San Francisco.

A: And with good reason, or at least until this latest injury with Robert Williams, who has been their defensive anchor over the second half of the season. That will make Wednesday night’s Heat game in Boston a litmus test for both the Heat and the Celtics. Both teams are idle Tuesday, so it will be the best of what remains for both teams. Boston already has clinched the season-series tiebreaker, but the game could set the tone for a potential second-round series, provide both can survive the first round in the constantly evolving East.

Q: Ira, looking ahead with the clock running low on the regular season: Does it look like another Victor Oladipo short-term contract with the Heat seems likely? — Gabriel, Miami.

A: Not if Victor Oladipo has his way, after coming down to playing for the minimum this season. But as it was this past summer, it will be what the market dictates. At the moment, there is not much for Victor’s representation to sell, with the Heat not exactly rushing him back into a featured role. But all it takes if a breakout postseason moment or two to change the perception, if the opportunity is presented. As for the Heat, if Tyler Herro stays on a big extension, then the wing funds figure to be limited, when also considering the payouts to Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry.

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