The way the season has gone for the Miami Heat, it's fitting they suffered two losses in less than three hours, followed shortly by the loss of their best player.
With Dwyane Wade done for the season, the Heat look to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat when they host the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night in a matchup of last-place teams.
Miami (11-50), owner of the NBA's worst record, lost 97-94 at Atlanta in a regularly scheduled contest Saturday night. The defeat came hours after the Heat played the final 51.9 seconds of a disputed 114-111 overtime loss to the Hawks that began Dec. 19.
The replay was ordered by the NBA, which upheld Miami's protest of the December game in which the Atlanta stat crew ruled Shaquille O'Neal had fouled out in the extra period, when he actually had only five fouls. Though O'Neal, since traded to Phoenix, was not around for Saturday's game, neither team scored in the final few seconds and the result was recorded back to the original date.
In the nightcap, Miami shot 45.7 percent from the field but was outscored 21-11 in a decisive third quarter, adding another disappointing night to a miserable season.
"This was an unusual situation, because when you lace them up each night, you expect to be playing a full game, not making up the end of another," said Miami's Shawn Marion, who was with Phoenix playing at Dallas on Dec. 19 and will go into the record books as having played for two teams on the same day. "I wasn't even here for that situation."
Wade won't be there with his team for the rest of this forgettable season, as the Heat announced Monday that their star guard, who has battled knee pain throughout the season, will not play in the final 21 games. Wade averaged 24.6 points, fifth-best in the NBA, in 2007-08.
Marion had 14 points and 13 rebounds Saturday, while Ricky Davis had a team-high 27 for the Heat, who have lost all four regularly scheduled games in March and will miss the playoffs from the first time since 2002-03. Miami is just two seasons removed from winning its first NBA title.
Marion is averaging 15.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in 12 full games since being traded to Miami in the O'Neal deal, and 15.5 points and 11.5 boards in four games against Los Angeles this season.
The Heat will look to avoid a third consecutive home loss Monday while trying to finish a season sweep of the Clippers. Wade had 33 points and 10 assists as Miami shot 50.6 percent in a 100-94 win at Los Angeles on Dec. 9.
The Clippers (20-41) blew a 13-point third-quarter lead and fell 99-96 at home to Minnesota on Saturday night, their second straight loss and eighth in nine contests.
"We just have to try and play hard, forget about wins and losses and just concentrate on playing hard," said forward Corey Maggette, who scored 29 points.
Maggette is averaging a team-leading 22.1 points on the season and 25.3 in his last three games. He had 24 points and 12 rebounds in the Clippers' loss to Miami in December.