By Craig Kwasniewski
Just two weeks left in the season and tonight's double header features four of the top eight teams in the league. I was secretly hoping to see one of the blatantly tanking teams tonight just to hear Barkley bitch about them. Wasn't the whole concept of the draft lottery to prevent tanking? David Stern really needs to fix the lottery process, it's embarrassing to the league.
Anyway, back to tonight’s games (all times Pacific):
Miami at Cleveland (5:00 PM): D-Wade's not ready to return just yet. So instead of a dueling freethrow contest between Wade and LeBron, we'll actually get to see a basketball game tonight. Miami is rounding into playoff form and despite the predictably slow start, the Heat look like the second best team in the east. By the end of the season, Miami could lock up the three seed, clearing the way for a second round showdown with Cleveland (and David Stern's wet dream).
The talk out of Cleveland is LeBron's "injured" knee. LBJ missed Sunday's loss to Boston to rest the knee, but came back with a flourish a few days later. I don't see it as any problem tonight (but if LBJ misses a few clutch jumpers I guarantee he'll mention that he's not 100%), but with Shaq rounding into playoff form Miami wins 98-95.
Phoenix at San Antonio (7:30 PM): This is the "oh shit, San Antonio's still very good" game. As I wrote a few weeks ago:
Phoenix better watch out for San Antonio come playoff time. The Spurs are one of the few teams that won't get sucked into their run and gun style of play and their vets are getting a lot of rest this season.
(I've always wanted to blockquote myself.)
While the media's been gushing about Phoenix and Dallas all season, San Antonio's been resting their veterans and cruising to 58 wins and a three seed in the west. This would be a great time to throw out some Texas Hold 'em analogy about the Spurs waiting for the right hand to go all in, but I prefer Pai Gow Poker so I won't. Tonight, they split the four of a kind and San Antonio wins 107-102.