1) Udonis!!! For the first time all season, really, Udonis Haslem played a hell of a game. With Chris Bosh out - more on that down in #4 - UD nailed his first three jumpers, and finished with 9 points on 4-7 in 28 minutes, the final 3 coming on a huge 'and 1' with a couple of minutes to go on a slip to the rim with a great pass by Dwyane Wade. He also battled his way to 13 rebounds, a lot of them in traffic, and Miami lost the rebounding battle only 39-38. And he drew three charges, one of them a huge one, up 3 with 18 seconds to go. Great all-around game by UD - nice to see him smiling a little out there. My Uncle Sal once told me, "when the ball goes in the hoop, life's a picnic, kid." Okay, that's a lie, I don't even have an Uncle Sal. I'm not even Italian! Still, the point is, it's good when UD makes shots. One of UD's biggest fans, Heat play-by-player Eric Reid, missed tonight's game due a death in his family (Jax filled in and was delicious). EReid, our prayers go out to you. Take care of your loved ones, and this one's for you: U-DONIS? U DID IT!!!
2) The Rockets like to go up and down, up and down, and of course, Miami doesn't mind that at all. One annoying thing: after made buckets by the opposition, a lot of times Houston doesn't take the ball all the way out of bounds - they sort of flip it ahead while fake stepping back over the baseline, and try to catch you off guard. It's fine to not go out of bounds, every team does it once in a while out of sheer laziness, but when a team is doing it intentionally to gain an advantage, that's annoying...Anyways, a lot of points on the board for both teams tonight, but ironically Miami won the game with three huge defensive plays in the final minute, each one while clinging to a small lead. First, Almario Vernard Chalmers salvaged an otherwise forgettable night by drawing a charge on the Rockets' best player James Harden by guessing right on a runout with 46 seconds to go, up 3. Even more impressive because Harden spent all night running into people and flinging the ball at the bottom of the backboard to draw fouls. How about standing up and trying to make a shot like a man, Beardy? More on this in #5...Then UD drew his huge charge on an extremely bad decision by James Anderson to try to get to the rim off the bounce from 25 feet out. Udonis saw that coming before James Anderson even woke up this morning. He saw that coming before James Harden could grow facial hair. He saw that co--okay, okay - he drew the charge pretty easily, that's what I'm saying...Finally - ahhhh-sighhhh - with 10 seconds to go, down 4, James Harden decided his best course of action was to try to take Dwyane Wade (31 points, 5 assists, 8 boards, 4 steals, 2 blocks) into space, try to okey doke him into the air, and then shoot a triple over him...Annnd, predictably he got a leather cream pie smashed back into his face: ballgame. All these years in, all these big defensive plays to close out ballgames, and people still want to go at DWade at the end of games? The dude's a long-armed, jumping-jack freak: go at anyone else! I saw that block coming before James Anderson woke up this morning!
3) Last game, KJ James took every single one of his 14 shots from the painted area, and made 13, the only miss coming on an uncalled, blatant Bismack Biyombo foul. Tonight, with Houston center Omer Asik clogging up the lane, KJ took his game outside, shooting almost exclusively jumpers, and he still lit the place up! KJ dropped 32 on 11-18 from the floor, long-distance, and 3-6 triples, all three makes in a row to start the third quarter to stretch Miami's lead out to 15, and let them cruise most of the second half. That kid can do anything. Inside, outside, pass the ball, rebound the ball, play defense, get to the bench for timeouts faster than anyone in the league. Just amazing - something different every night. He's the best basketball player I've ever seen, unless you count Michael Jordan, which I don't, because he's a total jackass.
4) Early in the day, the Heat announced that Chris Bosh was questionable for tonight's game with a cold. Like every other Heat fan on Earth, I immediately thought: "only Chris Bosh would miss a game with a cold." But, really, Miami Heat: that's how you're going to clown Chris Bosh out? Announce he's missing a game with a cold? Ha! By the time tipoff arrived, Miami claimed he was out with "the flu." Someone got to the Heat's P.R. people, probably Chis Bosh's mom. I saw that change coming before Jame--okay, okay...
5) James Harden is a great player. Still, I'm not a fan, I'd like to see him play basketball once in a while, rather than dribble as fast as he can up the court behind a slower opposing big, catch up to him, pick the ball up, shove it into the big guy's back, and then fall down to draw a foul. But, I mean, whatever works for him - I'm grateful that he stunk the joint out so bad in last year's Finals, thanks, you really helped us get over the top there...But, like, the beard-mohawk thing? Still? I mean, okay, James Harden, we got you: you're an alt two guard, we get it, we get it, you're not like the other two guards. Dwyane Wade's the Alicia Keys of two guards; you're the Janelle Monae. Got it. Stop trying so hard. M.Minutos thinks he probably has bad hygiene.
Look at what a pleasant-looking young man you were coming out of college:
Kids, man, always gotta be rebellious...
6) Speaking of beards, check out this dude's beard, his name was Peter Green, and he started Fleetwood Mac:
You know this dude had problems: classic "Troubled White Man's Beard!" I don't like Fleetwood Mac - that's for people who really don't like music, or themselves - but I watched a supercool documentary online about this guy last weekend. It's called "Peter Green: Man of the World." If your name is Snets, you should find it on youtube and watch it. This kid could go get it with his guitar a little bit. So could Ichabod Crane, right next to him, for that matter...Acid, man...Here's one of his songs:
Next game is Friday against the Clippers. Don't wear jean shorts on Friday - trust me. If need me before then, I'll be choking down echinacea. Ahhh-choooo!