HAWKSVILLE - If you think the college kids are doing it big these days (and they are), check out Dwyane Wade in March.
The Heat superstar has all but ruined the good vibrations from the Hawks’ four-game win-streak, one that can reach five with a win today (provided they can beat back Portland at Philips Arena).
Wade’s not only been the best player in the NBA the past few weeks, he’s been the best player on the planet (sorry LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, but D. Wade’s my pick for MVP and I don’t care what his team’s record is right now).
“I don’t want any part of D. Wade in the playoffs, man,” one of our founding members wrote in an email yesterday. “He’s playing right now the same way he did during the playoffs in 2006. And you know what happened then.”
The Heat won the title that year riding Wade’s cape tails past Dallas in the NBA Finals.
While playing at an otherworldly level in March doesn’t exactly mean your team will get out of the first round of the playoffs in March, Wade’s current tear does pose a clear and present danger to the Hawks.
With the way both the Hawks and Wade (I mean Heat) are playing right now they are setting up a first round matchup in the playoffs. That means the home court advantage fight is going to come down to the final weeks of this season. And the team that gets it almost guarantees itself a win in the series.
That’s why every game the Hawks and Heat play between now and the end of the regular season, including their April 14 tilt at Philips Arena, becomes a battle of epic proportions.
The Hawks already know how important it is to “take care of home” court at all times. They knocked off the eventual NBA champions three times on their home floor during the playoffs last year but couldn’t find a way to even stay close in Boston.
You should expect more of the same in the playoffs this year, with the home teams ruling the roost. The Hawks would best served to be one of those teams. And that means taking care of teams like the Pacers the way they did Friday. Because most of the teams the Hawks will see between now and April 15 are of a much higher caliber.
Slip up against the likes of Sacramento, Minnesota or Indiana – all visitors to Philips between now and the end of the season along with heavyweights like the Celtics, Lakers, Spurs, Mavericks (okay, light heavyweights) and Magic and – and Wade will be kicking the Hawks’ door down for that fourth spot.
Every single Hawks game between now and the end of the season is its own one-and-done tournament.
Did someone say something about March (and a little bit of April) Madness?