1) Over the course of 82 games in an NBA season, sometimes you are going to catch a player's hot night. Tonight in Detroit, Miami caught four Pistons' hot nights - William Bynum, Austin Daye, Charlie Villanueva, and Andre Drummond all came off the bench smoking hot, and combined for 64 points on 26-38 shooting, including 9-11 triples! Goodness, Detroit is burning! I didn't get to start watching this game until well after 11 pm, and that's what I get - 4 scrubs shooting the Heat to a loss. All I want to do right now is sleep: I hated this game, I hate this blog, and right now, I hate you. Let's go!
2) Let's just reset things quickly so we know where we stand, so that we know what we are playing for, before the emails start rolling in that we can't defend triples anymore, that we should fire Spo, and that Dwyane Wade is finished. First of all, it's almost inconceivable that Miami won't get one of the top two seeds in the East - the only team that seems remotely talented enough to contest the top seed is New York, and they lost tonight in Sacramento, so Miami still has a two loss lead on them. Can the Knicks hang with Miami in a 7 game playoff series this spring? Probably not. Maybe Chicago, if they get Derrick Rose back at top strength, could play with them, but that seems unlikely to happen. Boston looms as an irritant, but nothing more. And, I mean, Miami would beat any of these teams without home court advantage (which won't be necessary - they'll finish ahead of them). No one else in the East has a talented enough roster to worry Miami. In addition, they just proved over the last 10 games, when they haven't allowed anyone to crack 100 points, and against OKC on Christmas, that when things need to get cranked up, their top gear is still a tad quicker than anyone else's. Barring some kind of serious injury, Miami is going to be in the Finals, and get their shot against OKC, or the Clippers, or whomever. So, if you are like, 'well, what are they playing for over these last 50 plus regular season games - it sounds like nothing," you would be exactly right: nothing! Enjoy!
3) I actually thought Miami was okay tonight. They didn't have Dwyane Wade (more on that in #5), and they played their 'regular season' style, which basically means they are going to try to out shoot the other team, and they just caught a crazy run from the Pistons, and especially backup point guard Will Bynum. Bynum made 10-16 for 25 points, and he was making long jump shots, after 20 seconds of dribbling, with a guy in his chest. At some point could they have doubled him to get the ball out of his hands? I mean, I guess they could have, but, again, it's Will Bynum. I think the percentages favor you just expecting him to miss at some point. Tip your cap to him.
4) Miami's shooters weren't as good: Chalmers, Miller, Allen, and Battier were only 6-23 on triples. Bynum's night was an aberration; Miami's off-shooting night was an aberration. Oh well. Miami did get a great night from KJ James: 35 on 15-22 (2-4 triples - do you realize he's over 43% on threes?), with 6 boards, 5 assists, 6 steals. And Bosh was pretty good, 28 on 11-17. Overall, Miami was 50% from the floor, that's good enough to win most nights. But Detroit was at 58%, and a lot of them tough, tough shots - that's crazy.
5) Well, no Dwyane Wade tonight, suspended for one game for giving Ramon Sessions a swift kick in the nuts a couple of nights ago. I guess we have to address this - everyone seems to want to make this an issue on both sides. People who hate the Heat - which is most of America (haters gon' hate) - have spent the past couple of days calling Dwyane Wade a dirty player, citing the time he threw Rondo on the ground and injured him, the time he bodyslammed into Kevin Garnett, and the time he threw Mike Bibby's shoe into the crowd. Really? In 10 seasons, that's what you've got on him? That's dirty? By the way, he's never, ever been suspended in 10 years before tonight, not even once...I mean, in the first two incidents he was doing America a favor (and the Rondo incident was instigated by Rondo); and when he threw Mike Bibby's shoe into the crowd, if you don't see the humor in that, I don't know what to tell you. And by the way, Mike Bibby with one shoe, and one sock, is still better than two-thirds of the point guards in this league right now. And on this Sessions incident, Miami was frustrated with how chippy Charlotte got with them - the Gerald Henderson cheap shot on a KJ dunk attempt was far worse than the Wade kick on Sessions, for example. And even the Sessions play was bizarre - he essentially bum rushed Wade at midcourt and wrapped him up for no reason. I honestly think he shocked Dwyane. That being said, any Heat fan who claims that Dwyane wasn't trying to kick Sessions is insane - he clearly tried to kick him. And Dwyane is mean - he doesn't like to be f'd with, as we've pointed out many times. It's part of what makes him a great player - at 6'3", he intimidates with his physicality. Dwyane was startled, and he just wanted Sessions off him, and he reacted badly. I don't think he tried to kick him in the nuts, just kicked him in general - he actually didn't kick him in the nuts, he shinned him in the nuts, which would be an odd choice, if intentional. Had he dropped the ball and shoved Sessions to the ground, I doubt he would have been suspended. As it was, the refs at the game didn't see anything wrong with it - Sessions got the foul on the play, and Dwyane didn't even get a technical - in the context of the game, it sort of made sense, Sessions was asking for it (and got it!)...Final ruling, on those calling Dwyane dirty: who cares? You think anyone gives a crud what anyone else says about Dwyane Wade? He's won two titles, he's got a legitimate shot at a third, he's probably still the second best player in the Eastern Conference, and a top ten player overall. Say whatever you want, nerds. On those saying Dwyane's kick was unintentional, that he was losing his balance: okay, you've won me over. It was unintentional! Free Dwyane Wade!
6) This game was in Motown - how about some soul music? Get it, Rick Blastley! This is smooth and creamy - I'm never gonna give you up! Let my love adorn you!
Next game is tomorrow in Milwaukee - what a fun road trip, Detroit followed by Milwaukee! We are going to review last year's New Year's resolutions in #6 tomorrow, see how I did this past year. If you need me before then, I'll be buying an athletic supporter - pimping ain't easy. See you tomorrow night!