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Sixers at Heat open thread 02/21/09

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Enemy: Peninsula is Mightier
Prediction: 93-92.5 Sixers
3:30 PM est
Previous meetings: 106-83 L, 94-84 W
Probable starters:
Andre Miller PG Mario Chalmers
Willie Green SG Dwyane Wade
Andre Iguodala SF James Jones
Thaddeus Young PF Udonis Haslem
Sam Dalembert C Jermaine O'Neal

First of all, this is way too early for a basketball game. I'm half asleep.

That said, once the the tip is thrown, I'll be wide awake. This is a HUGE game. I can't emphasize that enough. The Sixers cannot afford to come out of the break with a three-game losing streak. A loss today would really hurt in the standings. They need to get that 'Eye of the Tiger' back.

In order to win today's game against the Heat, the Sixers are going to have to shoot better than they did in their previous two games. Check out the numbers:

63-177 from the field. 35%

6-30 from beyond the arch. 20%

42-61 from the line. 68%

Those numbers are completely unacceptable. No team is going to win ballgames shooting like that.

As for Andre Miller, we all know he sat out most of Wednesday night's game with a right calf strain. He's listed as questionable, but if I was a betting man, I'd throw a couple grand down on Miller being in the starting lineup. This guy is just way too tough to miss his 502 straight game because of a calf strain. He had two full days to rest. He'll be fine.

The Heat sit one game ahead of the Sixers in the standings, and a win today would put the Sixers in sole possession of the 5th seed. A win is also gets the Sixers that much closer to holding the tie-breaker.

The fourth seed is still my personal goal for the team. In order to surpass Miami and catch Atlanta, they're going to need to start rattling off some wins here, and get on that same role they were on before the break. Another 14-4 run would be nice.

I can't go without mentioning that this will be Miami's second game with Jermaine O'Neal. This means a couple of things. First, they're not used to playing with him yet -- awesome. Second, no more Shawn Marion to guard Andre Iguodala -- also awesome. Watch out for James Jones and 3-point champ, Daequan Cook though. We all know how the Sixers defend the three. Ironically, that's the only thing they've done well since the break, is defend the three. I'll chalk it up as luck until I see more of it.

3:30 eastern? Be here.

Put this on repeat for the next 2 and a half hours. It'll get you pumped.