The NBA universe has been given an early Christmas present this season in an Eastern Conference Finals preview. Wednesday night will mark the second match-up between the two beasts of the East as the Miami Heat will play host to the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers got the best of the “Big 3″ and the Heat in Indiana on December 10 when they beat the defending champs 90-84. For Miami, the game was marred by subpar performances from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. All three failed to break the 20-point barrier, and my grandma could have grabbed more rebounds than Bosh’s pathetic three board game.
Since then, the “Big 3″ have gone on a tear as all three members have scored 20 or more points in the last two games, combining for a grand total of 148 points. The Pacers are coming off a loss to the Detroit Pistons, 101-96. With home-court advantage and a two-game winning streak, Miami has some momentum. They even look rather healthy — Wait, I have some bad news.
James rolled his ankle in Monday night’s 117-94 victory over the Utah Jazz. The injury occurred toward the end of the third quarter, but he continued to play and went on for a 30-point, nine-rebound and nine-assist performance. He later classified himself as “day-to-day” and said it would be sore in the morning.
Where does this leave his status for Wednesday night? Well, sprained ankles are tough to judge in terms of severity and length of downtime. If it was just a true roll then some ice, heat and Advil will help, but if it is sprained he could miss a couple of games.
Given the history between these two teams and the type of competitor “King James” is, he will wrap up his ankle, throw a brace on it and play. Erik Spoelstra did not seem very concerned when the injury occurred so it is almost guaranteed that James will play. Sometimes it’s better to play and keep the ankle loose.
The “Big 3″ should be in full force Wednesday night, and I expect strong performances out of all three of them. Luckily the Heat do not have any back-to-back games for the next week so James will be able to get adequate rest before their four-game West coast road trip. As for Miami fans and band-wagoners everywhere, no need to worry; James will be just fine.