ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 05: LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat converse with a fan in the stands during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 5, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Tonight the Utah Jazz look to defend their home court against the star studded Miami Heat. The Jazz are 13-6 at home this season, and the Heat are 13-5 on the road. The Heat are also on the second night of a back-to-back . . . soooo . . . obvious advantage to the Jazz right? Ha ha, no. Miami is a team on a mission this season, and we're a team that hasn't even agreed upon what goals to meet in the pre-mission briefing session yet. Miami will be a challenge for the Jazz, and then tomorrow night the Jazz play the other NBA Finals team, the Dallas Mavericks. Fun weekend.
What's going on with the Heat?
The Heat are the best team in the Eastern Conference right now, and they win 80.0% of their games. Only one team is doing better, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Miami has a +9.5 point differential and hold teams to under 95 points per game. They are #1 in the league in points per game, and #1 in offensive rating as well. They are also #7 in defensive rating. They are a juggernaut, as they have a number of go-to guys and a number of 'limited but effective' guys as well. They have three guys on their team with a PER of about 20, or higher -- who have played at least 800 minutes this season. As a point of comparison, the Jazz barely have two. Three to two doesn't look bad -- but our two are in the low 20's, and two of their three are at 28.5 and 32.9 PER. They have more talent than we do. We already knew this.
The Miami Heat have won 9 games in a row, and won 12 of 13. They are straight up killing teams right now. During this 13 game stretch the Heat have averaged 104.0 ppg, while giving up just 90.5 ppg. That's a +13.5 differential. Also, it's not like they were just playing horrible teams during this span, but they were easily handling teams we've lost to this season .. and doing it with sheer brutality. They appear to be without Chris Bosh tonight, but they just means more touches for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. So, yeah, we have that to look forward to.
After the Jump -- a look at the Jazz and a prediction for the game . . .
What's going on with the Jazz?
The Jazz are having an up and down season, and to complicate a lack of general direction and focus; now we're having injuries pile up. Raja Bell is out tonight. Paul Millsap is hurt, but will give it a go. Devin Harris isn't feel so hot, but he's going to play too. And Jamaal Tinsley has had the worst luck this season with all the crazy problems he's had this year that have kept him out of games (personal trouble, skin conditions on his hands, gastric distress, and possibly also avoiding bounty hunters . . . ). Utah doesn't play very well this year, but at the least they play well enough to win games at home.
We're not out of the playoffs yet, and head coach Tyrone Corbin is banking on that by playing a vet heavy lineup where he can. Devin Harris and Josh Howard have been having a mid-season renaissance of late, and they are getting some really good numbers. We're also getting a lot of losses, but that's our problem, not theirs. (Howard is a mercenary free agent using Utah to garner interested for another one or two NBA contracts before he hangs it up -- his buddy and former team mate is out there helping him) The Jazz aren't going to roll over to the Heat, and strong games by our veterans will go a long way towards changing my black, black heart.
There will be a game played tonight. And it will last at least four quarters, each quarter being 12 minutes long; totaling at least 48 minutes. There may be an overtime period, but it is unlikely. The teams playing will be the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat. Yes, this is a Ron Swanson style prediction.