What's more exciting than watching Miami Heat's big three finally live up the hype (rattling off six wins in a row)? The return of Ekpe Udoh, of course.
The Warriors lottery pick this past year's draft, oddly, was not as ballyhooed as their free-agent signing, Jeremy Lin. But Udoh's services or the thought of what his tall body can bring to their ineffective front line has been regarded by fans and critics alike as important as the back-up PG services Lin was supposed to be provide.
But the Warriors head into South Beach today and it doesn't look good. With Stephen Curry out sippin' egg nog on the sidelines nursing that ongoing ankle injury, the point guard position might have been the only place that the Warriors would have some kind of advantage.
Problem is, the Heat have been good. Really good. Championship contender good. New York Yankees of basketball-like good.
Their defense is number two in the league. The Warriors are a high-scoring team, but so are their opponents. The Heat's margin of victory has been over sixteen points a game during their current six game winning streak. Expect that number to possibly double against the Warriors.
Here's what Coach Keith Smart thinks is the key to tonight's game defensively (via Ron Kroichick of the SF Chronicle):
"We're going to toss it up, and we're going to play," Smart said after his team's midafternoon practice Thursday. "They have two of the best players in the game (James and Wade) as far as attacking the rim. We've got to make sure they don't get there anytime they want.
Yikes. Good luck.
Oddly, does anyone think that recently signed back-up guard Acie Law's comment about playing against the Heat was strange:
"It's a great opportunity to play against one of the most talked-about teams in the league," Law said. "It will be a lot of fun."
I understand reframing it this way shows that he doesn't have any fear in the Heat's pending domination tonight. Or it could also mean he's showing his competitive spirit and that that's why players play in the NBA: "to play against the best in the world." But is Law sounding a little starstruck at this moment?