Given the Bulls' recent play on the road, I share Matt's pessimism
w/r/t the upcoming 3-game swing. Ideally, you'd like to take one out of two from the Florida teams, and then get the big win in Philly, but at this point, I'd settle for 1-2, particularly since an O-fer seems a distinct possibility.
As for tonight's game, there appears to be something of a perfect storm conspiring against the Bulls. Hinrich is injured,
and though he vows he'll play and usually does a nice job guarding D-Wade, I think the tables could be drastically turned tonight.
LeBron is probably going to win the MVP, and I think that's well and good, but D-Wade is currently in the midst of the most impressive sustained stretch of basketball by an individual player this year. Over his last 8 games, Wade is averaging:
* 36.4 points
* 10.8 assists
* 6.0 rebounds
* 2.6 steals
* shooting 56% from the field (and indeed, he hasn't shot under 50% in a game, since he last played Chicago, nearly a month ago.)
* 44% from three-point land
* getting to the line nearly 9 times a night, and shooting 88% while there
* (He's also blocking a shot a night, as well, apparently just for shits and giggles.)
This torrid stretch includes scoring nights of 50, 46, 41 and 42; on the nights where he hasn't broken the 40-mark, he's atoned by getting double-digit assists in every contest. The correct adjective for this, I believe, is "Jordanesque."
That said, the Heat are only 4-4 during this run (albeit 3-1 at home). As the Bard said, "It ain't no fun if the homies can't have none," so my advice would be to not worry about Wade so much--he's going to get his--and instead make sure the Beasleys and Cooks and Haslems and Chalmerses don't get theirs. (See Marion, Shawn.)
Oh, and Vinny, if it's a close game at the end, please make sure our best player is on the court, mkthxbai!