Why Miami Heat Should Play Big 3 Against Celtics & Bulls Ahead of NBA Playoffs
In fact, James, Wade and Bosh will take the court together for the first time in two weeks when they host the rival Boston Celtics April 12.
And while Boston will be without forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Celtics should be more than up to the task.
Regardless of who is playing for Boston, the game promises to be competitive and just what Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is looking for in terms of a competitive atmosphere heading into next weekend's opening-round playoff series.
That's because Boston and Chicago are system teams who hang their hats on strong, sound defense and disciplined coaching.
Much like San Antonio Spurs' head coach Gregg Popovich, Boston's Doc Rivers and Chicago's Tom Thibodeau seem able to simply plug players into their system and get positive results.
Chasing history was a deciding factor in playing through minor ailments that eventually escalated and required additional rest. Wade admitted as much this week.
From ESPN.com: "I think that winning streak played a role in me playing a little too long," Wade said.
James, on the other hand, has played nearly non-stop beginning with last season's condensed schedule, and 23 playoffs games leading right into the London Olympics before heading to training camp in preparation of the Heat's title defense this season.
Based on his performance over the course of the last 16 months or so, I'd say he's earned a bit of recovery time.
Thanks to a deep core of savvy veterans, Miami was able to rest their stars and still clinch the league's best record as the Spurs have stumbled to the finish line while some of their main pieces battle injuries themselves.
The March 31 tilt against San Antonio began a period of six games in which Miami played without at least two of their top three players.
The Heat have already fallen to Boston without Rajon Rondo Jan. 27 and the Bulls ended Miami's win streak sans Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton and, of course, Derrick Rose.
Moreover, the Celtics gave Miami all they could handle March 18 as well minus both Rondo and Garnett.
If the Heat are to repeat as champions, they will be tested many times over the course of the next two-plus months.
And while the Celtics and Bulls may not be title contenders, they are well-coached, veteran-laden squads that play Miami tough.
Ahead of next weekend's likely first round matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks, this weekend is an apt and necessary test for the champs.
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