1) What the...? Dwight Howard is still on this team? He's been traded to one team or another seemingly two dozen times in the past 6 months before he walked for nothing as a free agent this upcoming offseason. Instead, he signed up for another year of living in Orlando? What? Who is his agent? Oh - only the guy pushing to try to get him to Los Angeles, New Jersey, Dallas, or anywhere but Orlando for the past year! Now, instead of a cake matchup against a Philadelphia or Indiana, Miami inevitably will have to play this team in the second round - and they are easily better than those two teams. The whole Dwight thing doesn't make any sense, it's totally confusing. I think Jameer Nelson said it best in his pre-game interview on Sunsports: "He's one of the biggest names in the game; anytime he is going through something, it's going to be notarized." He's right. And just because we're feeling magnanimous, we're not even going to make fun of Orlando tonight. Let's be honest: is it that much worse than Dallas or New Jersey? (shhhh, but yes). Let's go!
2) The game itself was a grind - Orlando stretches you out all over the court by surrounding Howard with three point shooters, and they compete defensively. Bosh got the Heat off to a good start with 10 first quarter points, abusing Ryan Anderson on the block (Bosh scored 23 on 9-13 overall), but Miami couldn't get two jump shots in a row to go down, and with KJ James struggling with his jumper, the fourth quarter fell to Dwyane, and he delivered: 14 points in the quarter, and 31 overall, to win fairly comfortably. Dwyane missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have won the game in Orlando at the beginning of this past week - one does wonder whether if that went in, Dwight is playing for the Lakers or the Nets tonight.
3) The real star of the game for Miami was the defense and the rebounding. Miami challenged shooters, holding Orlando to 39% from the floor, turned them over 20 times, and were able to contain Howard, who went only 7-17 for 18 points. The Heat also outrebounded the Magic 42-36. Though Miami's bigs don't rebound well - I mean, one of them has hands made out of two sticks of butter, and the other is a human statue - their wings rebound exceptionally well, and they have to make up the difference against good rebounding teams. Dwyane had 6 tonight from one wing, and KJ James outrebounded Dwight Howard 12-11. It was a rare night on which KJ shot the ball poorly (4-14 for 14 points), but he played an impressive all-around game. Besides his 12 rebounds (all on the defensive glass, helping to keep Howard in check), he also had 7 assists and 5 steals, and innumerable outstanding defensive possessions where he forced and contested difficult shots. Solid job by KJ of contributing on a night where the offense didn't come as easily as it normally does.
4) Noche Latino tonight in Miami, an annual tradition in which NBA teams around the league honor our Latino fans by placing an "El" or a "Los" in front of their team name on their jerseys. As a blog solidly committed to promoting understanding between Latins and everyone else, mostly by naming the blog "Dos Minutos," though we speak no Spanish whatsoever, we thank El Heat. But you know who we don't thank? The Orlando Magic, who apparently willfully decided not to participate in Noche Latino, and wore their normal uniforms. Racists! One more reason to leave Orlando, Dwight Howard!
5) Sometimes it's all about leaving a legacy. Very nice post game piece featuring Mario Chalmers visiting a group of local second graders recently to promote friendship. In the piece, one young girl asked him if it is fun to hang out with Dwyane Wade and KJ James, and he answered that it is, and that those two guys are his mentors, but what he was really thinking was that Dwyane never talks to him anymore, and KJ spends half of each game screaming at him when he messes up, which is fairly often. That's not how friends treat other friends (unless you live in Orlando and it is your Latin friend). I'll be visiting that school myself this week to deliver the message, "Kids, whatever Mr. Chalmers told you to do last week, in general, do anything but that." That's not even the legacy we are talking about, though. The legacy we are talking about happened Saturday afternoon, when M.Minutos and I spent about three minutes watching an NCAA tournament game and Marquette guard Todd Mayo (younger brother of OJ Mayo) charged up the left side of the court in transition with the ball, located a teammate sprinting to the rim down the right wing, unleashed a forty-foot laser beam alley-oop try that went 8 feet over his outstretched teammate's hands, landed about thirty rows up in the crowd behind the basket, and M.Minutos and I, at the exact same time, without even looking at each other, both just go, "Chalmers." Legacy.
6) From this month's issue of my- I mean, someone-who-I-don't-know-but-somehow-their-magazine-got-delivered-to-my-door - GQ:
Dear Style Guy,
Everyone I work with has started wearing ties, even though our dress code is business casual. I want to dress a little nicer, too, but while maintaining some individuality. So I was going to start wearing an ascot. But is it better paired with a belt or with suspenders?
Answer: You're talking about what the Brits call a day cravat. A proper ascot is the pinned formal tie worn with morning dress. Cravats are leisurely, and I don't think you should wear one to work unless you are of a certain profession, such as poet, critic, private librarian, paratrooper, golf pro, bookie, or godfather. And it's probably best worn with a belt, as you're in enough trouble already.
Or a television basketball host, I would imagine. #Jax
I'm on vacation for a while. I'll be missing Tuesday against Phoenix, Friday against someone else, not too sure who, and Sunday against OKC. By the way, that is more missed games in one week than I missed in the last two season combined! That's totally healthy! Snets may sub in for me for some of those games, if he feels like it. Either way, I should be back for next Monday's game against Indiana. If you need me before then, I'll guess I'll be throwing out all my ascots: "stupid basketball blog writer" was not on the accepted professions list! See you in a week!