The first thing to know: This Wednesday night showdown between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers is not going to be a great preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Yes, I still think they meet in the ECF (the odds of it in my mind have gone from 99.9% down to 90%, but I still think this is going to happen). By the time that late May series gets underway these will be two different teams than they are now. A couple months and a couple playoff rounds change teams.
That doesn’t mean this game doesn’t matter — both teams could use the confidence boost after stumbling into this one. More importantly, if the Heat win they are tied with the Pacers in the loss column. Getting the No. 1 seed in the East, and having that ECF Game 7 at home, will be in play.
That’s why for today’s PBT Extra Kay Adams and I preview the game and talk about Dwyane Wade being ready to play, Roy Hibbert vs. Greg Oden, and I give a lukewarm prediction.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:
Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.