If the Miami HEAT are going to complete their first playoff series sweep since 2005, when they went undefeated after the first two rounds against the New Jersey Nets and the Washington Wizards, they will likely have to do it without Dwyane Wade.
The guard was held out of yesterday's practice along with Chris Bosh, who is likely playing today, and because today's Game 4 of their NBA Playoff first round series against the Milwaukee Bucks is an early start at 3:30 PM which cuts down on recovery time. He is said to be getting treatment for his sore right forearm and knee issues and is listed as a game-time decision.
WIth or without his services, the HEAT could wrap up the series and head home knowing they will have at least a few days, if not almost a week of rest before they would face the winner of the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets series.
On one hand, the defending champs would love to have one more weapon in their arsenal to comfortably put away an overmatched opponent, one that would likely have had trouble against any Heat lineup featuring at least one member of the Big 3 let alone a pair of them and a welcome return for Mike Miller who impressed during the last weeks of the regular season.
The HEAT can also still count on key reserve Ray Allen to come off the bench and do his damage in the familiar court at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. The former Bucks All-Star led his new team with 23 points in Game 3 with an impressive 5-for-8 shooting performance from beyond the arc. Big shooting games from Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier seem to be imminent as well.
Bottom line: Should Wade want to rest, the HEAT should still be in good hands to get that sweep today.
Did I mention LeBron James yet?
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Sunday, Apr 28, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT
BMO Harris Bradley Center