April 21, 2012 Wizards vs Heat Preview
Washington Wizards vs Miami Heat
Miami, Florida – 7:30 PM
PG: John Wall vs. Mario Chalmers
SG: Jordan Crawford vs. Dwyane Wade/Mike Miller
SF: Chris Singleton vs. LeBron James
PF: Jan Vesely vs. Chris Bosh
C: Kevin Seraphin vs. Joel Anthony
Why you should watch: LeBron James vs. the field
Gone are the days when LeBron against the Wizards was a bitterly contested matchup, dare I say an intense rivalry. LeBron was the young buck coming onto the scene attempting to overtake the Wizards led by Gilbert Arenas and Co. Who can forget the 2006 playoffs, where Gilbert went for 36 points, and LeBron almost equaled it with 32 of his own. Now, all those players are gone from their respective teams and any lingering resentment is felt only by the fans who can remember such a time. I am one of those fans, and when LeBron plays the Wizards, I hope him the absolute worst. I hope he lays a dud during this game and makes voters reconsider his almost assured MVP trophy.
For his career, LeBron beats up on everyone, and the Wizards are no different (26.3 PPG, 7 rebounds, 6.3 assists). He’s going to go off on us, and especially Chris Singleton who has the unenviable task of guarding him. Singleton has been sub par as a defender this year, and he’s going against someone who could become the best small forward ever someday (kiss the rings). LeBron has become much less of a jump shooter this year and has begun playing down low like a traditional power forward, while Bosh moves over to the stretch center position. It’s a technique that the Heat have used with a ton of success this year, and they’re likely to try it tonight. Bosh is going to make Seraphin/Vesely work on the defensive end, as he’s pretty nimble himself. But the key here will be containing LeBron; if your team can’t do that, they’re not going to win.
Underlying Story Line: The Wizards have the chance to go on a 3 game winning streak!
…but wait, there’s more! The Wizards have the chance to go on a 3-game winning streak AND become winners in five of their last seven games. I know, I know. I must be fudging the numbers, right? Wrong! Washington has been on a winning train lately, and has managed to derail Milwaukee’s playoff hopes, hurt Chicago’s chances of locking up the top seed, and now? Well, they face a Miami Heat team who’s 1 1/2 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference. With a Wizards win, Miami would need Chicago to lose twice in their final four games (with Miami winning out). Who says that games aren’t meaningful for teams like the Wizards in April. You’d better believe that Miami is going to get up for this game, because they want home court advantage. And with Dwyane Wade likely to sit out (he’s too good to play against bad teams this year), anything is possiiiiiibbbbbbbllllllleeeeeeee.
LeBron James isn’t going to lose against the Wizards, who have lost 6 straight against the Miami Heat. I just can’t see the Wizards putting together what’s required to beat Miami this time around. Next year? Maybe. But this year it’s going to be a close game through three quarters, until Miami pulls away big time.
Miami – 100
Washington – 85