Tonight’s loss by the Philadelphia 76ers practically assures the Miami Heat of earning the 5th spot seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs–they are now a game ahead of Philadelphia with 4 to play and hold an edge in the conference record tiebreaker. When they defeat the Atlanta Hawks in the 1st round, they will then likely play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2nd round. The NBA’s MVP winner will be announced right around that time, it will be Lebron James. On May 15th, the 6th game of the Eastern Conference semifinals will be played.
The Heat has a 1-3 record against Cleveland this year – here’s a Heat-vision recap of the 4 games:
- Game 1 at Cleveland on 12/28 – Loss – Miami blew a double digit lead in the 4th quarter.
- Game 2 at Miami on 12/30 – Win – Miami takes early lead and hangs on.
- Game 3 at Miami on 03/02 – Loss – For the 2nd time this season, the Heat blow a double-digit lead 4th quarter lead to the Cavaliers as Mo Williams took over game.
- Game 4 at Cleveland on 03/07 – Loss – Again, Mo Williams took the game over in the 4th quarter.
I realize that most NBA games come down to the final quarter, but it is significant that the Heat has had late leads in all these games. The point is that Miami matches up well against Cleveland, despite their much better record. If Wade and James largely cancel each other out, then it might come down to how the 2nd best player performs.
- Mo Williams scoring in the series: 20 / 10 / 30 / 29
- Michael Beasley scoring in the series: 9 / 8 / 8 / 17
I might not have given Beasley the advantage early in the year or even in the middle of the year, but more and more he looks like the 2nd pick in the draft. So that’s the why of my prediction: A future MVP will help lead the Heat past the current MVP, in support of a once and future Playoffs MVP.