Dwyane Wade will be in street clothes for a third straight game when the Philadelphia 76ers make the trip to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat tonight.
After consecutive convincing wins over the Spurs and Lakers, questions have quickly arose about the possibility of the Heat being better off without Wade. The notion seems absurd, but the team is 5-0 without him, and 5-4 with him. Dwayne will be in the starting lineup when he returns, so it is almost irrelevant for now, but it does make you wonder.
The Sixers, on the other hand, possess a 10-4 record and are winners of four of five, making them a nice surprise. Saturday night will be easily their biggest test on the year though, as they have played just five games against teams with winning records—going a mere 2-3 in those games.
Philadelphia’s biggest weakness is their lack of a star player. They have several players who give big contributions—seven different guys average double digits in scoring—but it is no secret that the NBA is a star-driven league, so until they either acquire someone or Jrue Holiday develops into the star that everyone in Philly expects him to be, they will not be an elite team.
For the Heat, LeBron James has been undoubtedly and unsurprisingly their best player. At 29.9 points per game he averages 10 more than anyone else on the team, and also leads the team in assists at 7.6 per game. James certainly looks like the early frontrunner for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
Both teams enter this game playing very solid basketball, but the Heat are simply the better team, and are on their home court. Miami wins, 99-90.