Should the Miami Heat tank tonight’s game against the New Jersey Nets in order to escape playing the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs? The Miami Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman seems to think so.
Should the Heat defeat the visiting Nets on Wednesday night, then the Heat would lock itself into a No. 5-vs.-No. 4 series against the Celtics. However, should the Heat lose to New Jersey, then Boston would be in position to determine its first-round opponent. Should the Heat lose to the Nets, then Boston with a home victory over Milwaukee would find itself in that No. 4-vs.-No. 5 matchup against the Heat. However, with a Heat loss, Boston could leave Milwaukee as its first-round opponent should it lose (tank?) to the Bucks. Common sense says the Heat and Celtics will not play many of their regulars Wednesday. But falling to No. 6, the Heat would not only position itself to possibly meet Atlanta in the opening round, having won that season series 3-1, but also would not be in the Cavaliers’ bracket in the second round. By making Milwaukee its first-round opponent, Boston would avoid Dwyane Wade in that first round and instead get a Bucks team lacking sidelined center Andrew Bogut. It would make little sense for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra not to sit Wade, Jermaine O’Neal and Udonis Haslem, all of whom have been banged up recently.
It seems weird, a team wanting to play the Hawks, but the Heat have had Atlanta’s number this season and pushed them to the brink in last season’s first round. Plus, there’s the whole rest thing, but just don’t tell Tim Povtak Dwyane Wade might get rest. He might go Tonya Harding on Wade’s leg.
(Rant time: For those of you who don’t know, Povtak wrote that Lebron James lost Povtak’s MVP vote by sitting out the Orlando Magic game, that sitting out is the reason Lebron will never get the respect granted Michael Jordan, and that Lebron sitting out for rest was “arrogance at the NBA’s worst.” Really, Tim, sitting out a basketball game to rest for the playoffs — when your team already has the number one seed in hand — is “arrogance at the NBA’s worst?” There’s nothing more arrogant than getting some rest, eh Tim? Shut the f*ck up and get off your high horse. Sure, it would have been nice for the fans if Lebron had played, but people who bought a ticket for one of the final games knew it would be likely Lebron would sit out. I’d hate to hear what Povtak thought about Peyton Manning. Manning probably won’t get his Hall of Fame vote. Which brings me back to the point I wanted to make about Povtak: If he really does have an MVP vote, can we take it away? Like, now?)
Anyway, back to the Celtics, they should be able to beat either Miami or Milwaukee, so none of this should really matter to them.