Use this post as your Open Game Thread
As far as measuring sticks go, tonight's game against Golden State should stand as a pretty strong one. Yeah, the Heat have lost 4 in a row...directly after winning 5 in a row...which came right after losing 5 in a row. The 5 wins showed signs of a righting of the ship, with a new rotation proving to be the difference. That all changed when Dwyane Wade went down with a calf injury. Now he's back and is ready to lead his team back into the thick of the playoff race.
Currently the Heat sit in an 8th place tie with Charlotte, 1½ games behind 7th place Milwaukee and 2 games behind 6th place Chicago. There are 22 games left in this seesaw of a season, and Dwyane Wade believes that the must-win games begin right now.
"A must-win game for us (tonight), no way around it."
"We know that it's a dogfight with teams like Chicago, Milwaukee, Charlotte and us. Right now, we know we're two games behind .500 and we've got some big games coming up at home that we have to try to take care of."
"If we don't, we won't get in the playoffs. We've got a lot of home games in this stretch coming up. If we don't take care of home, then we'll find ourselves so far out of the playoffs that we won't be able to get back."
I've got to admit, the timing is right. If there was a game to pick as the beginning of the ‘must win' times, a home game against lowly Golden State would be a good choice. The Warriors have been ravaged by injuries this year and have long been out of the playoff race. The injury troubles have recently gotten worse, as they left for their current 5-game road trip without starters Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins.
- D-Wade was 6-of-17 from the field in his return on Sunday in Orlando. He shot just 1-of-5 in the 2nd half and finished with 21 points.
- The Heat has lost 4 of their last 5 home games.
- Golden State is coming off a 3-3 homestand and is 4-4 in their last 8.
- The Warriors have a very long injured list. Other then the aforementioned Ellis and Biedrins, they are also without the services of Corey Maggette, Anthony Randolph, Brandon Wright, Kelenna Azubuike and Raja Bell. Vladimir Radmanovic is day to day so he could also be out tonight.
- History is on the Heat's side. They have won 21 of the last 28 games against Golden State.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30. If you are heading to the game, the Heat will be collecting cell phones as part of a domestic-violence initiative, exchanging ticket vouchers for donations.