1) The Heat came out slow for three quarters, getting down 16 on the road in New Orleans, before mounting a furious comeback to go up 1 inside of 2 minutes before succumbing. Full disclosure: for the first time all year, I lost interest in the third quarter, almost dozing, then texting for about 10 minutes. Not too sure what happened during that stretch, but I didn't think Miami was coming back. I've seen 29 straight games without a miss so far this season - could be time for a night off.
2) Including tonight, 21 of the next 29 games are on the road. That is grueling. If Miami survives that stretch still around the .500 mark, they'll make the playoffs.
3) Odd fourth quarter group finishing the game: Wade, Haslem, Jermaine O'Neal, QRich, and Daequan Cook. Coach Spo sat Arroyo down the stretch because his counterpart, Chris Paul, was leaving him to roam the paint and create havoc with strips - Arroyo doesn't shoot well enough to keep him honest. Emcee Chalmers capped (we hope) a series of subpar performances off the bench with a brutal 1-5 effort in 18 minutes, so he wasn't an option. Enter Daequan, whose inability to make shots this year has found him chained to the bench. He competed hard enough defensively, but had an open pop-out look at a three inside of a minute to go that missed true off the back iron. Now 30% on threes for the year, and a mind boggling 29% overall. Currently playing himself out of a second NBA contract.
4) Chris Paul is a great, great point guard - the league's best point guard. But, clearly, a guy with a temper problem. Infamously punched a guy in the privates during a college game, earning an ejection, a suspension, and a trip to the free clinic. Since arriving in the NBA, he can almost always be counted on for one or two dirty plays a game. Tonight's special: an unconscionable undercutting of Udonis Haslem on a rebound where Paul tried to bottom Udonis off the ball, felt him rise, and intentionally backed up through UD to flip him on to his back. Warranted at least a flagrant one foul, if not an ejection, though only a regular foul was called. In a related story: tonight's referee? Seventy year old Dick Bavetta, doing his first Heat game of the year! There are a lot of referees in this country - I see a bunch reffing O.Minutos' games every Sunday - hard to believe not one of them could beat out seventy year old Dick Bavetta at any point in the past thirty-five seasons. If you are a player, when you get to a certain age, and experience a decline in skills, they waive you. If you are a referee, for some reason we are supposed to think it's, I don't know, cute? It certainly isn't well-reasoned that Bavetta is still working for the league. You know who The Captain would blame: Unions! And, for once, he might be right!
5) A woman friend of mine wrote in to ask me what I will be doing for New Year's Eve. Not sure if she was asking me out, or just wanted to help me with ideas for the blog. Either way, first, I will be taking M.Minutos to see Avatar again. She's seen it twice, true, but she is a James Cameron freak. Second, we'll come home, lock the kids in the closet briefly a la recently deposed Texas Tech coach Mike Leach (that's right, the "I'm a man - I'm forty!" guy), and get our Tiger Woods on. I've purchased a new red Nike golf shirt that she can tear off of me for the occasion. Then, we are going to a party where there should be plenty of drunk rich white guys and gals. I'll be feeling loose since I just, you know, "worked on my golf swing," and when I get drunk enough, I'll find a reasonably attractive, hammered divorcee and try to convince her that I am Woody Harrelson, at which point I will take her out back to the host's boat and make out with her briefly, before throwing up in the cabin, beating a hasty retreat, and pretending to be shocked that someone had the audacity to puke in the boat and not clean it up when it is discovered hours later...Yes, I know it sounds just like my Thanksgiving - I don't like to mess with a winning formula.
6) Okay, this is important. Someone pointed out that a post that we made here about the Dallas game in early December was potentially insulting to Heat sideline reporter Jason Jackson. I don't want to say who, exactly, pointed this out, but his initials might have been J.J. In any case, I want to say the following: Jason Jackson is really, really good at his job. He always reaches an acceptable baseline of enthusiasm, which is a main component of his job, every single game. That's more than I can say for myself - did I mention I sent 13 text messages during an eight minute span in the third quarter tonight? Beyond his obvious passion for covering the team, Jax also has really solid basketball knowledge. It especially comes out when he interviews opposing players after losses, during halftime debates with Heat beat writer Ira Winderman, and when he fills in occasionally as a host on a Miami sports talk show. We haven't even discussed his halftime Heat game show "Hot Seconds with Jax" yet. That is upcoming in a future post - suffice it to say, it is outstanding. He also seems like a genuinely nice person. I love Jax. If we made a joke on him - which honestly wasn't funny - it is only because we love him here in the Dos Minutos community. We try to joke about ourselves, too, and we never want to hurt anyone's feelings, except maybe sometimes The Plumber's, but only when he is getting really overwhelming with the Nets talk. So if anyone with the initials J.J. is out there reading this post - and quite honestly, after the email I received, I suspect he won't be making that mistake again - I am sorry; I think you do a great job; Happy New Year; and I know an excellent party that will be taking place on the intercoastal in Boynton Beach tomorrow night, if you would like to join me.
By the way, Heat game tomorrow on New Year's Eve, in San Antonio! - I'll try to slip that in at some point in between my various planned escapades. Be safe, errybody!