2006 Miami Heat Basketball
THE HEAT AT CENTER
The Miami Heat are headed into the Eastern Conference Finals after knocking Chicago and New Jersey out of the playoffs. Their starting lineup is impressive-- Jason Williams (point guard), Dwayne Wade (shooting guard), James Posey (small forward), and Udonis Haslem (power forward). Oh, and at center-- Shaquille O’Neal.
O’Neal has been performing well for an old guy-- he’s 34. Of course, when he tires he’s got a great back up in Alonzo Mourning. Wait a minute, Mourning is two years older than O’Neal! It’s true neither is quite ready to join AARP, but neither are they in the prime of their youth. Yet, both have contributed mightily to Miami’s success.
Although there were doubts about his health, O’Neal has played an average of 31 minutes per game (MPG) and started each of the 11 post-season contests. His contributions include 19.3 points per game (PPG) and 9.2 rebounds per game (RPG). He leads the team in blocks and turnovers and has been shooting 58.94 from the field.
When he gets winded or his legs start to feel their age in comes Mourning. Mourning has averaged 10.8 MPG in eight playoff contests. From the field he’s hitting 75%, and he’s doing the same from the foul line. Against New Jersey, he contributed 5.8 PPG and played an average of 12.2 MPG.
In the final game of the series against the Nets, which was a nail bitter, ending 105-104 in the Heats’ favor, O’Neal was 8 for 10 with 17 points, while Mourning contributed 11 points. Mourning was four for four from the court and had two steals and one block.
Are these guys old? Well some may consider them to be a bit long in the tooth and both have slowed down a bit, but the fact is together O’Neal and Mourning are important contributors on a team that is playing extremely well. Would the Heat be where they are without these two guys? Probably not. Watch for them to do more of the same in the next series.
There are still 2 rounds of playoffs for this year so it is not too late for some NBA betting during the 2006 postseason. If you are looking for betting advice or NBA picks let Maddux Sports be your expert sports handicapping team this NBA postseason.