The Miami Heat will play the Atlanta Hawks tonight, as it looks to clinch the number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks have the fifth-best record in the East, and beat the Heat in overtime earlier in the season.
The Heat will be without Mike Miller, who is listed as doubtful after spraining the thumb on his left hand. This coming after Miller suffered an injury to the thumb on his right hand back in training camp, which required surgery. Miller has also had a concussion this season.
It has been a comedy of errors for Miller, who was envisioned as the teams sixth man. He simply cannot gather momentum toward developing any kind of rhythm. Factor in that he is playing less minutes, taking less shots and handling the ball less than he ever has in his career, and its evident that this has been a very difficult go around for the former University of Florida standout.
James Jones will continue to get minutes along with Mario Chalmers in Miller’s absence. Both Jones and Chalmers will look to build on their success from Sunday’s victory against Boston. Miami’s bench must capitalize on these opportunities to gain momentum heading into the playoffs.
The Hawks look to be locked in at the number 5 spot and do not have anything to play for in tonight’s game. In the last meeting between these two teams, Lebron James was simply on fire. Shooting his best percentage from the field in his young career.
James will probably not be as aggressive with his own shot tonight, as he seems to be looking more for his teammates as of late. The Heat was very unselfish against the Celtics and it should look to do the same tonight. There is no reason why the Heat should not have an open shot on every possession if it is moving the ball around.
Keep an eye of the Boston Celtics tonight, as they travel to Washington to play the Wizards. A Celtic loss paired with a Heat victory will clinch the second seed for Miami.
As for the Heat’s fist round playoff opponent, it looks like the Philadelphia 76ers. This is good for the Heat as they do not possess nearly as much of a threat to win a few games as the New York Knicks do. Even though I’m sure there are many Heat fans disappointed because they want the old rivalry back.
Don’t be so certain that the Celtics will breeze past the Knicks. New York has played well against Boston this year and I would not be surprised if the Knicks took Boston to a sixth or seventh game. Especially with Boston’s recent struggles.
Hopefully the playoff tree can be sorted out tonight so we can finally get focused on starting the real NBA season. This post season is certainly shaping up to be very exciting.