The Miami Heat come into tonight's battle in the Wach with a mere 3 wins in their last 10 games. They lost back-to-back games to Milwaukee. They lost to Chicago. Unfortunately, they also played some of their best hoops in the two games prior to the break, absolutely trouncing Houston and Atlanta. Preview, game thread and more early-thirties angst than you can shake a stick at after the jump.
Right to the matchups:
Jrue vs. Rafer Alston - Fun matchup pitting a star (in his own mind) five years past his prime, vs. a future star (in my mind) five years before his prime. I'll say advantage Jrue, for the 10 minutes he actually plays.
Willie vs. Wade - Heh. Wondering how long it takes for Iguodala or Jrue to slide to Wade and let Willie handle either Q or Alston.
Iguodala vs. Q - Sixers, hands down, both ends of the floor.
Brand vs. the Bease - Bease has no shot guarding EB. EB is going to have to step out to 18 feet to cover the kid. I'm giving the edge to Brand for his help defense and disruptive defensive plays. He really should punish the Bease to the point where the Heat have to limit his minutes, but Jordan isn't down with that kind of philosophy, even if Brand is up to that type of play (which seems to be a game-to-game thing).
Sammy vs. Jermaine O'Neal - These guys are actually kind of a wash. O'Neal gets the edge on offense, Sam dominates on defense. I seem to remember JO having big games against the Sixers in the past, and who knows how many minutes Sam will see tonight, so your guess is as good as mine tonight.
AI/LW/TY/RI/RC/MS vs. Wright/Haslem/Cook/Arroyo/Anthony - Hmmn. Two motley crews, with the Sixers holding a crystal clear offensive edge off the bench, and basically any team with a pulse holding a huge defensive edge over the Sixers' subs. Let's say advantage Sixers, in a vacuum.
EFJ vs. Spoelstra - Speaking of vacuums, whenever I think that Eddie Jordan is still coaching this team all positivity about the team and their direction is immediately sucked out of me. Disadvantage, Sixers.
Believe it or not, the Sixers are two-point favorites at home tonight. Personally, I have a hard time believing it after watching this team play all season long, especially when you consider Miami has won their past two games by a combined 51 points.
Key to The Game: Keep Wade off the FT line.
If ____________ the Sixers will win: 20+ fast break points.
This is your game thread, I'll be here throughout mocking EFJ and fiddling with the trade machine to find a way to ship Lou and Brand out without giving up Iguodala in the deal (I'll suspend disbelief as much as I want), join me if you can stomach it.