The Miami Heat are the first team to advance in the NBA playoffs.
The Heat finished off the sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night, winning 109-98. Now the Heat have at least five days off prior to the start of the second round against the Toronto Raptors or Brooklyn Nets. I know one thing for sure- Miami won’t have such a cakewalk in their next series.
In the regular season against the veteran-led Nets, the Heat have an 0-4 record. The Nets seem to play their best basketball against the Heat. The rivalry between LeBron James and Paul Pierce is renewed and both bring out the best in each other.
If the Heat and Nets were to meet in the next round, what an exciting series that would be. The Heat will have to find a way to deal with the Nets’ small lineup and defend Deron Williams, who’s playing a lot better in the playoffs than he did in the regular season. For the Heat, Dwyane Wade will have to pick up his offensive game. Against the Bobcats, Wade could get away with having an off game, but against the Nets, the Heat will need him to be that consistent second scorer. The matchup with the Nets will be a lot of fun to watch for fans of the NBA.
In the regular against the youthful Raptors, the Heat were 4-0. Just like the Bobcats, the Raptors are too inexperienced in the playoffs to compete with the two-time defending champions. The Raptors have good young players that can cause problems for the Heat like Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, but on the defensive side of the ball, the Raptors won’t be able to stop the Heat from scoring. I still say the Heat and Raptors will be a good series, but just not as good as a Heat versus Nets series would be.
In the next series, whether against the Raptors or Nets, Wade is the X-factor. So far this postseason, James has played very well, but in the next round he is going to need Wade to be Robin to his Batman.
Wade played decent against the Bobcats, but he will need to do more in the next series. Like I always say, when Wade plays like an All-Star, the Heat look like a totally different team. Against the Nets, Wade will need to average close to 20 points per game and be able to facilitate the offense whether James is on the court or not. Against the Raptors, Wade probably could get away with having one bad game, but in order for that to be another quick series, the Heat need Wade to be playing at his best.
So whether the Heat play the Nets or Raptors in the next round, I expect to see a great series.
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