Series previews: #2 Miami Heat vs. #7 Philadelphia 76ers
These are opposite cities and these are opposite franchises:
- Philadelphia got the #2 pick in the 2010 draft, and immediately decided to go with a youth movement. Miami signed Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, and decided to surround them with the oldest players in the NBA. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is old enough to be Spencer Hawes’ father. I think Juwan Howard might actually be Thaddeus Young’s father.
- Philadelphia is a city that boos opponents mercilessly - and boos its own players even more severely. Donovan McNabb, Mike Schmidt, Santa Claus, doesn’t matter. Miami is so cordial and welcoming that they retire uniform numbers of people who never played there, like Michael Jordan. The second number they retired? Dan Marino’s.
- Miami is the place that Will Smith lives as millionaire superstar. Philadelphia is the city the Fresh Prince had to flee, after getting into one single fight.
- Doug Collins is back with the 76ers after announcing games on TNT for years. At this point, you could argue that coaching an NBA team represents a hiatus from his broadcasting career, rather than the other way around. Meanwhile, Erik Spoelstra of the Heat probably *should* start taking broadcasting classes this summer, so he has something to fall back on when Pat Riley steals his job next year.
- The Heat often do a “White Out,” where they ask all of their fans to wear white clothing to create a sea of white in the stands. The Sixers informally do their own “White Out,” where local bigots intimidate minorities into not attending the game.
- Chris Bosh is an All-Star power forward who’s never won anything, yet got a max contract after some shady free agent machinations. Elton Brand is an All-Star power forward who’s never won anything, yet got a max contract as a free agent after some shady free agent machinations. Why are they opposites? Because Bosh still has two working knees, Brand’s left ACL was replaced by a cheese steak.
- Actual basketball analysis: What the 76ers have in their favor is youth, length (but not size), and Andre Iguodala, who can shut down one Miami wing. Unfortunately, the other wing will be guarded by Lou Williams or Jodie Meeks. Even if you can force LeBron to take the last shot instead of Wade, that’s not an advantage if he’s checked by Evan Turner. The Heat are going to lose some games, but unfortunately for Roy Ziegler, they’re not going to lose four of them.