Remember when we were sure that the Bucks were a lock for the 5th seed and thus getting the 3rd seed was important because we would like to avoid catching such a hot team in the first round? Yeah, that's all different now.
For one thing, Andrew Bogut's gruesome injury changes everything. Not only does it make the Bucks much more mortal in the postseason, it also makes them much less likely to grab the 5th seed. They now trail the Heat by a half game (and it would seem reasonable to expect that trend to continue). There's also an outside chance that someone from the Charlotte, Toronto, Chicago group could move up to the 5th or 6th seed. The bottom line is that we don't yet know how this is going to play out.
But if the playoffs started tomorrow we'd be playing the Miami Heat in the first round. As Scott Souza pointed out on CSL the other day, if you thought Kevin Durant got calls like Michael ...ahem... Jordan, wait till you get a load of the Dwyane Wade show. Besides, the Heat would be entering the series with the best player on the court.
The good news, of course, is that they are as close to a one-man team as you'll see in the playoffs. Wade leads the team in points, assists, steals, free throws (327 ahead of the next highest), turnovers, T-Mobile commercials, Gold Medals, improperly spelled first names, and so on.
The next two best players on the team are a space cadet kid (Beasley) and a broken down vet (O'Neal ...or Haslem if you prefer). So they can and should be beat by a good defense. I think we still have a good defense, even they have occasional bouts of amnesia.
Still, I think I'd rather face the Bucks because the Bogut injury is such a big negative impact on their team. Don't just take my word for it. See what Brew Hoop says:
I usually don't let myself make grim predictions on par with Chicken Little, but with Bogut out for the forseeable future, the Bucks' sky has fallen. With only six games left in the season, I would be shocked if the Bucks finished any better than 2-4. And regardless of their first round opponent, Bogut's absence all but guarantees the Bucks being on the wrong side of a first-round sweep. Maybe Atlanta's poor performance on the road could allow the team to steal one at the Bradley Center, but remember: Dan Gadzuric and/or Primoz Brezec will be playing more than a handful of minutes at the 5. Almost as frightening as the injury itself.
So yeah, maybe the Bucks would be a good first round matchup. In truth though, it really shouldn't matter. We should be able to beat either the Bucks or the Heat (and if we don't, then what hope was there anyway?).
Furthermore, I'm not sure if it matters if we play the Cavs or the Magic in the 2nd round. Both would present difficult challenges and we'll have to face one of them or the Hawks in the ECFs and none of those matchups would be easy.
So let the chips fall where they may. If this team has what it takes, they'll have to prove it against the best. If we play as bad as we have at times this season, it will be another 7 game series in the first round that I'm not so sure we can get out of this time. If we play as good as we have at times this season, and keep it up for the rest of the playoffs (no easy feat with this consistently inconsistent team) then there's no limit to what they can do.