I know this pic is in bad taste, but it is pretty well done. I got a good laugh from it.
Let me get this out of the way; Chris Bosh was different things to each of us. Whether there are boos, cheers, or folks just ignore him into oblivion like they have his manager, the atmosphere is going to be electric tonight.
The fact of matter is that Bosh gave this team his all for almost his entire time here; and most of the rage being lobbed at him was because he ran his mouth off like any 26 year does when he leaves a situation he didn’t want to be in.
Unlike LeBron’s return to Cleveland, though, this team is not going to fold like a cheap trick after getting backhanded by her daddy. Through all the losing this season, this team has played with heart, and given us something to look forward too in the future. And for that reason alone, I’ll be cheering our boys on instead of giving Bosh reason to drop 30/15 on us.
For the rest of you, do want you want. After years of crap, you’ve earned the right; f*ck him.
Reggie Evans – Out
Linas Kleiza – Out
Amir Johnson – Day to day
Mike Miller – Day to day
In both games against the Heat this season, he’s brought the goods; especially last time out where dropped 14pts 13ast 5rebs while logging 42min.
Just a gut feeling, but I’m betting there are some directives to do whats necessary to try and win this one from up above, so expect heavy minutes in an effort to have our best floor general in he game as long as possible. Seeing as we’re approaching the all-star break, there will be lots of time to rest over the next week or so.
Box: 10pts 14ast 4rebs
DeMar’s proven the Heat can’t stop him. Some of that has been a result of injuries and the lack of shot blocking, but he has done a great job of mixing his attack and keeping them off balance off the hop. With his much improved jumper, the floor will open up for him, and nothing would make me happier than to see him posterize Bosh (I said i was going to cheer our boys on didn’t I?).
Wade put up a ridiculous 41pt 12reb game last night, which DeRozan didn’t have to deal with the last time out. However, he was witness to Mike Miller’s 32/10. Hopefully the shame of that will motivate a better defensive showing.
Box: 23pts 4rebs 1blk
Sonny’s offense is only useful when he’s running in the open court, finishing on the break, or penetrating off the dribble. We can all do without his jumpers. While he is an athletic body to throw at LeBron defensively, he just can’t do it; no one can. Expect to see Wright get some burn, not that he will fair much better.
Box: 10pts 4-11FG 7rebs 3ast
This is going to be the match-up that all eyes will be on. Amir has been a wounded soldier all season, and brought the goods in spite of his injuries. Regardless, it will be match-up by committee with Ed Davis off the bench. Playing Bosh is easy, he doesn’t do as well when folks swarm him, and play him physical; think Garnett. While Amir has lots more class than KG, he can man Chris up as physically, and keep him off balance. What I really like about this match-up is that Bargnani wont be covering Chris for any significant period of time. Our best defender on public enemy # 1.
Box: 12pts 13rebs 2blk
There is no situation where it will be acceptable for Bargnani not to run the gauntlet on the Miami bigs. This game needs to be won in the paint, plain and simple. Trying to beat the Heat on the perimeter is a recipe for disaster. The Heat have a few bigs, and for the most part, they are just big bodies Riley was forced to sign to keep things respectable. Ilgauskas is too old/slow. Joel Anthony can only rebound. Dampier, for all the hype earlier in the season is almost invisible. Juwan Howard is 40.
Box: 26pts 9rebs 1blk
I’m calling big games from Barbosa and Davis. Davis was drafted with an eye towards losing Bosh in the summer, so the opportunity to put his mark on that match-up could be a passing of the guard of sorts. Wright will get the call from time to time to try and keep a LeBron on a leash, but we all know how that will end; badly.
Box: 20pts 14rebs 2stls 2blk
Keys to the Game
The Heat played a tight game against the Pacers last night; winning the 1st quarter 41-19, but losing the last 3 84-69. Bosh, Wade and LeBron played 39, 42 and 42 minutes respectively, and even though they are in their prime, that’s a lot of wear and tear. The Raptors have been off since Sunday, so they should be well rested enough to attack early and not let up. Like I said, the team has almost a week off during the all-star break to rest up. The Heat wont just lay down, so running at them every possession could wear them down.
Protect the Paint
Even though the Heat bigs aren’t a big threat in the paint, Wade, LeBron and Bosh get in there and score quite frequenty. The trio dropped 90 points (of a total of 110) last night against the Pacers, with most of the damage happening inside 15 feet:
Vegas has the Heat as 10.5 point favourites with an over/under of 203. Since this will be the first game the Heat will have the big three healthy against the Raptors, and they won the previous two games by 9 and 17 points respectively, 10.5 seems about right.
Photo Credit: Found this picture this morning, but I don’t know who created it. If you’re the person, drop me a line and I’ll give you the credit. Hope it’s ok I used it 🙂