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A prevailing axiom of NBA playoff basketball is that a series doesn't really start until the road team wins a game. If that's true, then neither of the two conference finals series have started yet, and the Heat really need the Eastern Conference Finals to start tonight with them winning in Chicago to avoid going down 2-0 to the Bulls. While Dwyane Wade has proven his championship mettle, questions remain about the mental toughness of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and about this Heat team overall. I doubt their ability to come back from a 2-0 deficit, making a win for them essential tonight. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that the winner of tonight's game will win this series. Feel free to mark these words and, if I'm eventually proven wrong, to point your finger at me and say, "A HA! You were wrong!"

Notes:

SB Nation's Tom Ziller breaks down how the Heat need to run more of a play with which Suns fans are well-acquainted, the pick and roll.

Taj Gibson is good and I wish he were on the Suns, but you probably already know that if you've been watching him play and participating in these threads. His value goes beyond the pretty dunks like the one seen above, and beyond his pedestrian simple stats of 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in these playoffs. If you are a believer in advanced stats such as defensive rating (an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions), he was 5th in the league for the regular season with 97.5 and is performing just as well in the playoffs with a 97 so far. Gibson isn't used much offensively but has been efficient when used, shooting .576 from the field in the playoffs with a 17.9 PER, while pulling down 9 rebounds per 36 minutes. See his full career stats here. As an explosive athlete who is a strong defender and rebounder with a limited offensive game, he's sort of a poor man's Josh Smith. The cost to the Bulls for Taj Gibson? The 26th pick in the 2009 draft and a $1.1M salary this year.

Tonight's Game: Heat at Bulls, 5:30PM PDT, TNT. Bulls lead series 1-0.


Phoenix’s 2.2 percent chance of moving into the 2011 NBA draft’s top three wasn’t enough on Tuesday as the lottery odds held true and the Suns will indeed select 13th overall come...

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The Mavs and Thunder open the Western Conference Finals tonight in Dallas but before that, the non-playoff teams of the season will participate in the draft lottery to determine their position in next month's draft. Former center Mark West will represent the Suns at the event. Our own Seth Pollack explains some of the poor luck the Suns have had in franchise history. Maybe that string will be broken tonight.

On the court, the Mavs will ask former Sun Shawn Marion to guard Kevin Durant. SB Nation's Maurice London breaks down the rest of the matchups in this series. The Mavs have had 8 days off since sweeping the Lakers, the Thunder only 1 since eliminating the Grizzlies. Will that difference in rest matter?

NBA Draft Lottery, 5:30PM PDT, ESPN

Thunder at Mavs, 6:00PM PDT, ESPN


Duke's Kyrie Irving (1) shoots over Arizona's Derrick Williams (23) during the first half of a West regional semifinal in the NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Let's play a little game. In this game the Phoenix Suns aren't blessed with 43 years of bad luck that may or may not be a curse related to building their homes on the ancient burial grounds of the original inhabitants of the Valley of the Sun. In this game the Phoenix Suns beat long, long odds (.6 %) to win the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery which will be held Tuesday evening in sunny Secaucus, NJ.

In this game the Suns now get to pick between point guard of the future, Kyrie Irving or the next stud forward, Derrick Williams.

Irving is described as a sure-thing all around point guard and could be the next in the long line of great quarterbacks that have run Suns' offenses for decades. Read this description and tell me who Kyrie sounds like (hint: he's got floppy hair and hails from Canada).

Derrick Williams we know better having watched him play for the University of Arizona. He can pretty much do it all (except defend at an elite level but when has that bothered the Suns?). Put Williams on this team and the Suns are immediately back in the mix for as long as Nash can spoon feed him open shots.

A fun game, huh. Who's your pick?

Poll
IF the Suns beat .6 percent odds and win the lottery, which do you take with the #1 pick in the draft?

  819 votes | Results


There’s a 96 percent chance the Phoenix Suns will pick 13th in the 2011 NBA Draft (that is, assuming Sarver doesn’t sell the selection). Tonight we will find out whether the Suns’...

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