The view from the top of the Eastern Conference is pretty good and Miami looks to keep that particular piece of real estate, at least for one night.
The winners of three straight, the Heat (51-22) lead the Indiana Pacers (a weak 8-10 in the month of March) by percentage points atop the standings. With nine games left to play (including two back-to-back sets) a lot can happen – injuries, poor shooting and some particularly tough opponents are all potential obstacles.
Chris Bosh, as honest and open a player as there is, asserted to Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick that the Heat knows the tough challenge they’ll face to maintain the top seed:
Our work is just beginning. Cause, I mean, we can still lose it. We have to keep concentrating on what we’ve been doing, look to see how we can improve our play. We’re gonna have a shot. That’s all we need. One shot.”
Wednesday’s game against the NBA’s worst team might be the easiest break Miami gets until ending the regular season on April 16 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Miami beat the Bucks last Saturday, 88-67, in Milwaukee. That game was a sharp contrast between the best and worst teams in the East. The Bucks have a roster held together by duct tape and chewing gum, mixing an underwhelming cast of veterans and unproven young players – basically playing anyone who’s available on a nightly basis. Meanwhile, the Heat (without Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and Greg Oden) were able to play 4-out-of-5 starters for 30 minutes or less as the game was clearly decided midway through the third quarter.
Chalmers returned to action in Monday’s win over the Toronto Raptors; Wade (hamstring), Oden (back spasms) and Ray Allen (flu) have not been declared active for tonight’s game.
For Miami, as Bosh said, it’s all about continuing to improve regardless of who is on the court. While missing Wade for games had been a problem earlier in the season, it looks like the Heat have solved that (via Twitter):
Miami was 5-6 in its first 11 games w/o Wade this season. The Heat are 10-1 in their last 11 games w/o him.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 1, 2014
With that kind of dedication to winning, sweeping the season series against Milwaukee tonight is a given. An added bonus will be keeping that great view atop the East for the rest of the season.
Watch the telecast of the game beginning at 7:30 P.M. on Sun Sports from AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Check back with AllUCanHeat for a regular updates and for a full recap after the game.
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