When the Sixers take the floor tonight there's no way to tell if they'll be the attacking team we saw in Atlanta last night. Will they be the team that smothered the Hawks on defense, or the team that couldn't get a stop or hit a shot against Charlotte two nights early? The sad fact is, it doesn't matter. The real question is whether Miami will continue to toy with the league and rest LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (neither has played since their streak ended on March 27th).
Believe it or not, and it's certainly hard to believe, Jrue had a stretch of quite good games not so long ago, with a near giant-slaying performance against this Heat team, at full strength. I suppose I'm still watching to see if he'll somehow snap out of this funk...they're going to need him to do so if they have any hopes of winning this game and keeping their laughable playoff hopes alive. Speaking of the playoffs, they might have had a legitimate shot had they not dropped that game in Charlotte. Forgetting the Sixers for a minute, it seems plausible if not likely the Eastern Conference will have two playoff teams under .500, and the #8 seed could finish 5 games below .500, or worse. That's a sad state of affairs. One final note on the playoffs, the dream will most likely come to an end tonight. Milwaukee is home to face the Raptors.
In terms of scouting Miami, it's not a complicated formula when Wade and LeBron don't play. Get the ball out of Bosh's hands and don't leave shooters open for threes. Beyond LBJ and Wade, Miami has no one on the perimeter capable of truly pressuring the defense. Make sure you cut off the roll portion of the pick-and-roll, if their bigs want to take 20-footers, let them. If you double Bosh, don't double off one of the shooters. Quick dig-downs from the perimeter should suffice, or send another big at him.
Turner has had solid efficiency in 4 of 5 games, and even decided to rebound in two of them. Please, please keep it up, Turner. Salvage something out of this season.
The tip is at 7:30pm. This is your game thread. I should be here throughout. Join me if you'd like to watch when the season officially ends (and the quality of play in the NCAA tournament doesn't resemble basketball to you).