Foreshadowing at its best...
I’m sure the Heat are taking a lot of positives away from their loss to the Lakers into tonight’s battle in Minnesota. As much as we would like to, the 'Wolves cant be overlooked. They are playing their best ball of the season; after starting a miserable 4-23, they have won 5 straight and 7 of their last 9. Those 2 losses were at Dallas and against Orlando. Just sayin…
WHO TO WATCH
We know him as Al Jefferson…but in colder parts, they call him "Big Al". Mr. Grande Al is not only the exact type of player who can torch the Heat right now, but he is on fire. He is averaging 23.4 point per game in his last 10 games, shooting 50% and grabbing 10.9 boards.
|2008 - Al Jefferson||22.5||10.4||1.7|
Just another big guy who can shoot from the outside, but he mostly will post up and get into the ‘dirty work’ areas of the paint. Should we have an over/under for how long it takes for Anthony and Maglore to get into foul trouble? Say…8 minutes?
Rodney Carney has been a big part of the Wolves current surge. He has brought a lot of energy to the team, both with his quickness and his accurate outside shooting. He hit 4 three pointers in their last game, while logging a season high 30 minutes of game time. His increasing minutes have come at the expense of Rashad McCants, who is barely seeing the court.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Not only is Minnesota coming in a red-hot team, but they are also coming off of their best comeback of the year. They trailed Milwaukee by 14 in the 1st quarter and by 13 late in the third before embarking on an exciting comeback that thrilled the Timberwolves faithful. Can the Heat finally put together a 48-minute effort?
Coach Kevin McHale was ejected for the first time this season during the 1st quarter of that game.
Meanwhile, Michael Beasley has been gaining some momentum with his increasing minutes. He has had back-to-back 20-point games for the first time this season, while grabbing 15 boards. Also have to note that his defense is slowly improving, as is his ability to drive and be strong with the ball.
I know I keep preaching it, but the Heat have shown that they can play great defense on a consistent basis, which is why their last few defensive efforts have troubled me so much. Hopefully a healthy Daequan and James Jones will mend the hurting D.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Heat need to make more of an effort to get to the foul line. Obviously I don’t mean try to get fouled, but they can drive more, post up more…put themselves in a situation where more often then not, you draw a foul. Another positive to getting ‘dirty’ in the paint is the possibility of getting 'Big Al' in foul trouble.
IN THE DIVISION
(updated 1.13.2009 at 12:29 AM EST)
Sarah Rothschild thinks Michael Beasley grew up on his birthday.
Sarah also thinks the Heat’s mission is to contain Al Jefferson on Tuesday.
Patrick Danner explains why the Miami Heat are suing some seat holders.
Ira Winderman tells us about some things Phil Jackson had to say about D-Wade.
Chris Perkins explains how the Heat can overcome their rotation problems.
Unfortunately I will not be at tonight’s game thread; I’ll be DVR-ing the game and watching after I get home. Lets go Heat!