The Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers are going to square off in a global matchup Brazil on Saturday night. It's just the preseason, but the NBA did themselves a favor by making the first meeting between LeBron and his old friends a preseason game, making it important.
But it's not important.
Anyway, here's the five questions we are all wondering heading into the game.
1. How will Wade, Bosh, Chalmers and others greet LeBron before tipoff?
For some reason we are always intrigued by this. The first time Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant played after their breakup, Ray Allen vs his Celtic big three, or Dwight Howard returning to L.A. We get a kick and draw a lot of conclusions based on how guys greet each other pre-tip in a game. And that's what we will be watching for in this game. Do Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers all give LeBron James a warm greeting? Or are they going to give a standard fist bump and move on? It likely won't be a non greeting like Shaq-Kobe, but maybe LeBron will give Chalmers a wet-willy.
2. How will the Heat defend LeBron James?
Over the past four years, the best perimeter player was always covered by LeBron himself. And the best they saw was Kevin Durant. Well, now the Heat will have to cover LeBron on their own. Obviously the job will go to Luol Deng at first, and he's a good defender. But we all know that LeBron is going to get what he wants. Will Wade take some time defensing his old teammate? Lots of questions here.
3. Are the Heat going to get destroyed on the glass?
Isaac Koppel wrote a brilliant piece HERE for Hot Hot Hoops on Chris Bosh's rebounding. But the Cavs will be bulking a Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao front court that are both scrappy and efficient rebounders. Also, LeBron is a good rebounder when he wants to be. The Heat will have to offer a complete team effort and be very intentional about boxing out if they don't want to get beat badly on the glass. Can they do that?
4. Can Chris Bosh be successful against a talented front line?
Bosh had a great game against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday in a small sample size. The Magic also aren't bolstering any serious talent above 6'10. When Bosh is guarded by Kevin Love, Varejao, Tristan Thompson or Shawn Marion -- is he going to have a good night? I really don't know how to answer this, other than let's wait and see. Bosh as the first option in Miami is new, and we are going to learn as we go.
5. Who's going to win (or try to win)?
Unfortunately, these preseason games aren't always about winning. Remember, these teams are still trying to figure out rotations, sets, and managing a roster that will eventually be cut down. Preseason is about working out the kinks, not necessarily a win. Case in point was Tuesday night when the Heat played the Magic and the game went to overtime, Spoelstra inserted guys who hadn't played the whole game in the last few minutes of a tight game. We don't know how much we will see of LeBron or Wade. In fact, Kyrie Irving isn't even going to play. But, I would suspect that the Cavs are going to have the upper hand in this game. I could be wrong.
Miss something? Tell us in the comments below what you are watching for in this game!