This first post All-Star break edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Tonight’s game down at the Wachovia Center will be a match up of two teams with very little in common during 2009-10. The Miami Heat are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, while our 76ers are improving on defense, but statistically speaking are still one of the most defensively challenged squads in the League. This Miami team is comprised of an All-World superstar in D-Wade and some decent complimentary pieces. On the other hand, the Sixers have no real superstar and a number of complimentary pieces that don’t mesh together all that well. The Heat are directed by a solid head coach in Eric Spoelstra. The Sixers, well we have Eddie Jordan. The Heat are currently in the NBA Playoff race and expected to be a “buyer” at the trade deadline. As you know the Sixers are not currently in the playoff race and are expected to be a “seller” on Thursday.
But this preview theme for tonight’s game is not all doom and gloom for Philadunkia’s home team. In fact, we think the Sixers have a great chance to win this contest and here’s why…The 76ers were hot (5-1) heading into the All-Star break, Miami was not (2-5). The 76ers should be well rested, as none of the Sixers players participated in the NBA All-Star weekend events. Miami should be a little tired as three of their players – Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley and Daequan Cook were in Dallas over the weekend for the on-court events and the off-court festivities. Finally, with the trade deadline looming on Thursday, this could be the last game as a unit for this current 76ers roster and we think that will provide some extra motivation for the team to go out a play well. We think that extra push will enable the Sixers to overcome their deficiencies when compared to the Heat “on-paper” and win this one.
On last note…We’re very interested to watch the return of Allen Iverson tonight after 6 games away from the team. For us here at Philadunkia, we’re more interested to see whether or not Allen is immediately inserted back into the staring lineup, who’s minutes will be impacted by his return and what kind of shape Iverson is in, more so then how he actually plays. If Iverson squaks at the reduced role we’d like to see him have in his latest return to the Sixers, it could be a career defining mistake. If he accepts a reduced role, doesn’t upset the chemistry that developed while he was gone and provides a needed spark at times, he could be a valuable asset down the stretch.
For a little more insight into the Heat team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Matthew Bunch from hothothoops.com to answer two questions on Miami from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Heat squad from an insider’s perspective.