Playoff Teams Preview, cont.
28 game improvement over last year
KEYS: Wade- league’s leading scorer
O’Neal- aquired for inside presence
While they sport possibly the game’s best player, this Miami Heat squad is severly limited. They are missing a low post scorer, Jermaine O’Neal used to be that but his knees don’t allow it anymore. They lack consistent point guard play and outside shooters. Most of all, they lack a second option. The Heat rely solely on Wade to play defense, set up the offense, and hit every big shot.
Still, he has had such an unbelievable season that it makes up for the fact that Beasley has been a disappointment, O’Neal looks like he will never regain his former form, and the rest of the team is undersized. Look at these numbers: 30.2, 5, 7.5, 2.2, 1.3. That is just ridiculous, across the board work by Wade.
Even though I don’t have a lot of faith in Atlanta either, I think Miami’s season will end in the first round because of 2 reasons: a) home-court for the Hawks will hurt Miami’s supporting cast, and b) Atlanta has done a better job than anyone of checking Wade this year.
finished the season strong
lost the last 2 years in 1st rd.
KEYS- Josh Howard- how healthy is the ankle?
Terry- 19.6 ppg, 6th man of the year
Normally, I would have absolutely no faith in this squad to advance, given their recent struggles ever since Wade stole their rings. This team is just straight up soft, no other way to put it. The only player I’ve ever feared is the JET. The rest of this team will more than likely self-destruct before they do anything to kill someone else.
Still, they avoided what would’ve been an easy sweep for LA and instead got the matchup they wanted all along- the Spurs. As I said before, they were built for this team. In order to win this matchup, Josh Howard will have to help negate what numbers Tony Parker is going to put on Kidd. And Germany’s finest will ABSOLUTELY have to outplay Duncan. Even all that might not even do it because the rest of the Dallas squad will fold once the series goes deep.
I think they can push the Spurs unlike any other team they would’ve faced, but ultimately, a game 7 will bring about another SA series win.
five players average at least 12.8 ppg
KEYS- Iguodala- averaged 19, 5, 5
is there any depth?
A team that has been up-and-down as much as anyone this year, the Sixers find themselves in a familiar position: a 7 seed, with no one giving them a chance to do much of anything. Remember last year? This team went up 2-1 on Detroit, blowing them out in game 3 and putting a real scare into the Motor City until finally succombing.
The same scenerio could happen this year with a very young Orlando team. They can’t match up with Dwight, but everywhere else is pretty even. Making jump shots will determine the series. Similar to Atlanta, the 6ers rely on their athleticism and fast break to score points. Fortunately for them, Orlando likes to play that way too. So once again, I see them pressing their first round opponents before falling.