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Miami Heat vs Washington Wizards Best Bet

Thu, Feb 24, 5:00pm by Kevin Pitstock

The top spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference is still up for grabs and one of the key contenders, the Miami Heat play host the Washington Wizards on Friday night at 7:30 pm at the American Airlines Arena. Miami (41-15) needs every win to keep pace with Boston while Washington (15-40) is in last place in the Southeast Conference. This one has all the makings of a blowout but the Heat have a tendency of taking teams lightly and that can be a mistake with the Wizards.

Miami has all but been crowned the champion of the NBA’s Eastern Conference since the summertime signing of LeBron James. “King” James (26.4 points per game) is living up to his MVP expectations while shooting guard Dwayne Wade has been right with him. Wade is good for 25.4 points and 8.2 assists per game while power forward Chris Bosh tacks on 18.5 points and 8.1 boards a game. The other two starters for the Heat, center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mario Chalmers (who replaced Carlos Arroyo at point guard) have been up and down this season. Ilgauskas only averages 17 minutes a game and is often replaced by Eddie House or Udonis Haslam so the Heat can run the floor faster. Ilguaskas is still a big body and can play solid defense in the paint. House adds 6.9 points a game while Haslam actually leads the team with an average of 8.2 boards a contest. Three-point marksman James Jones is usually good for one of two from behind the arc every night.

The Wizards have lost two in a row and have not beaten Miami in two attempts this season. They actually held a fourth quarter lead in the home game back in December before falling 95-94 on a controversial non-call at the end of the game. Guard Kirk Hinrich was headed for a game wining lay-up when he collided with Chris Bosh and LeBron James non call and the ball went harmlessly away as time expired. Hinrich is one of the team’s bright spots this season averaging 11.1 points per game to go with 4.5 assists. Leading Washington has been Nick Young with 17.5 points a game while Andray Blatche adds 15.9 points and 8.1 boards from his power forward spot. The marquee name for the Wizards is franchise-player point guard John Wall. He is a spectacular rookie that can be the foundation for Washington to build upon in the coming seasons. Certain to be a lottery team next year, the Wizards could grab a compliment to Wall and his 15 points and nine assists and Washington could become a serious playoff team as soon as next season. Wall sees the floor like a veteran and has the speed of a youngster. He will outplay Wade Friday night like he has both times this season.

Miami is 21-5 at home while Washington is 1-26 on the road. The Wizards have beaten Boston and Utah this season so they do own quality wins. The obvious bet here is Miami but the smart bet is Washington to cover the spread. Look for a closer game than most experts predict.

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