This is probably the hardest prediction that is going to be held: They have probably one of the toughest runs to go through over the next 5 weeks ( playing Boston, Orlando, Lakers, Dallas & Detroit for at least for 8-9 games) and having some road heaviness against the likes of the 2nd half surging Rockets and Raptors.
The reason I feel that they are going to comeback into the 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs is: 1. Riley turns his teams around. 2. Wade and Shaq have been injured, but will either hold onto playing at a greater intensity to get them back in the race or fade. As long as these guys are playing, I am sticking to my guns. 3. They are only 7 games behind the last spot in the east. They could make it as long as they are 4 or 5 games over .500 the rest of the way. 4. Wade has been putting this team on his shoulders. This team should coalesce around what he is doing, and undoubtedly I can see a stretch of 5 or 6 straight wins to put the confidence back in place of this once great team.
We all know Wade is seriously hurt, to the point that even Riley is surprised this kid is still playing . Yet Wade has been a momentum player, and if he can find a decent playing rhythm through his injuries, this team can still be a decent threat in the East. For god sakes, they are chasing after the Nets, the Bucks, Milwakee, & the ATL-iens. If anyone can go 27-15 the rest of the way (am I doing the games left count right?), it has to be this team. They have lost a great deal of games by 6 points or less, and this team is finally playing with all their players at least 80% healthy. Give Jason Williams some time to groove without the big fella in the middle, try to find some big guy off the market ( Does the NBA like Chris Webber on the couch watching Pardon the Interruption?), and try to develop the lower end on the bench so they can at least play 7 minutes on the court. Unless you are as deep as Phoenix or Dallas, you can’t win with 7 players. The YMCA youth league are exceptions, but we have a better acronym we are analyzing right now.
I had more stats and analysis, but the last two posts have been meathead rants. Nonetheless, I am sticking to my guns; watch this team play the Celtics in the 1st round.