Week 12 of the Association is set to be a big week on Australian TV with the best of the Eastern Conference, the Heat, Bulls and Sixers appearing on this week's slate. Like the Spurs last week, the Miami Heat and their big 3 will appear on both games to be shown on ESPN.
Game: Miami Heat (31-9) @ Chicago Bulls (35-9) Time: 12:30pm AEDT (ESPN) Both the Heat and the Bulls have been battling it out for the title of East's best team for the past couple of years, with that distinction probably going to the Heat. However, for Chicago and reigning MVP Derrick Rose, a victory will go along way in making this team believe they have what it takes to knock Miami out in the finals if it gets that far. The Heat meanwhile will be the clear Eastern Conference favourites (if they weren't already) if they get through this week 3-0. To say they have a 'tough' week is an understatement. Why? Well they get to play the East's 3rd seed Orlando, the 1st seed Chicago and the 4th seeded Sixers (see below), all on the road. A test like this both physically and mentally can't be bad with the playoffs looming around the corner. Who to Watch For Heat F LeBron James- LeBron is in the midst of one of the best statistical seasons in NBA league history. Averaging almost 28 points a game to go with 8.4rpg and 6.6apg, LeBron should be this season's MVP barring unfortunate luck. He should step up against his biggest rivals in the East, and the player who ended his streak of MVP trophies, Derrick Rose. Prediction A game which will be decided in the last minute. Will Derrick Rose, one of the game's best in the clutch win it for the Bulls or will LeBron pass it to a teammate? I think the Bulls at home will pull of a upset at home and win with a winning shot on the buzzer by the Bulls PG. Tip- Bulls by 2
Game: Miami Heat (31-9) @ Philadelphia 76ers (24-17) Time: 10am AEDT (ESPN) The Heat end their difficult week against one of the league's pleasant surprises this season. The 76ers have overachieved this year, with no real superstar on the team (sorry Andre Igodala) as their simple key to winning is to share the wealth offensively. Their highest scorer is 6th man Lou Williams who is averaging around 16ppg, with at least 5 other players averaging over 10ppg. It shows that to be among the best in the league, you don't necessarily need a superstar on the squad. Let's see how the team who lacks star power performs against the 3 superstars playing in South Beach. Who to Watch For Sixers SG Evan Turner- The second year guard out of Ohio State has been playing like a man possessed of late, finally showing some glimpses of why he was selected 2nd behind John Wall in the 2010 NBA draft. He has always shown the potential but never really had much of an opportunity to show it, until recently. Even though he is meant to a guard, he rebounds like a power forward/center. Since he forced his way into the starting SG spot on March 5th the Sixers are 3-1 and Turner has averaged a whopping 12 rebounds a game along with an also impressive 17ppg. Expect his stat sheet stuffing ways to continue in this one. Prediction This should be an entertaining game, with defence playing a major part. I think the Heat will win in a relatively low scoring affair. Tip- Heat by 5