Monta v. Dwyane Wade? That’s what I’m talking about! There are consolations in losing seasons, and this matchup is one of them. Wade likes playing up-tempo. He torched JRich in a road win against Phoenix three games ago. But Monta Ellis is not JRich. It’s going to be quick on quick.
It will be interesting to see what sort of defensive game plan Nellie devises for Wade. Will he single-cover Wade and dare him to shoot, the way he played Nash and Lebron? (The Suns and the Cavs were loaded with 3 pt. shooters.) Or will he double-team him to get the ball out of his hands,the way he played Tyreke Evans? (Leaving the 27% shooter Udoka open.) Miami doesn’t have great players around Wade. Richardson is the only serious 3 pt. threat, at 40%. Alston is around 33%, and Beasley 26%. Their man in the middle, Jermaine O’Neal, is nothing like the finisher he used to be. I expect Nellie to double team Wade frequently.
As for the rest of the game plan, that shouldn’t be difficult to figure out. This Heat team, outside Wade and Beasley, is old and slow. Neither O’Neal nor his backup Haslem can run the court. Richardson and Alston are shadows of their former selves. Nellie is going to try to run this team off the court.
Turiaf is questionable for this game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get the night off. I’m guessing Nellie will want to play small for much of the game, with Vlad Rad at center, and Maggette pointed like a sharp spear at the soft underbelly of Michael Beasley.
The Warriors are -2 home favorites. The Heat are in the fourth game of a six game West coast road swing. I like the way the Warriors match up. Monta Ellis is mad.