1) Blackjack! How fired up was I about this win? I made M.Minutos go out for a quick couple of drinks as soon as it ended! I'm drunk as a skunk! LET IT FLY!
2) Chris Bosh was as hot a human being, or a statue, can get. He drained long jumper after long jumper, and when the Bucks bigs started to run out at him, he put the ball on the floor past them and dunked. This is how he played early in the year - he dominated the opponent's bigs. In the third quarter, as Miami stretched the lead out, he made jumpers on three straight possessions, each one longer than the last, culminating in a triple from the top of the arc while getting crashed into - 4 point play. At the 7:00 mark of the third quarter, with the Heat firmly in control, he was 11-14 from the floor for 26 points. He so frustrated his defender, Larry Sanders (who is excellent defensively), that late in the game Sanders hammered KJ James on a post up, got called for a foul, bitched, got t'd up, then mockingly gave the refs a thumps up sign until they ejected him. Second time this year he's been ejeected against Miami. He's from Fort Pierce, Florida, not far from here, and he is a hothead! Oh my bosh!
3) More Sanders...he hit Dwyane Wade so hard on a first quarter drive that Wade was stretched out on the floor for several minutes, eventually had to be checked for a concussion in the locker room, and Sanders rushed over to him to make sure he was okay because he knew how hard he had hit him in the head. You know who wasn't concerned? The refs - no foul. Seemed impossible to call ANY foul after that on ANYONE - I mean if your standard is that a guy getting knocked semi-unconscious on a layup is not a foul, what possibly could be a foul? Dwyane got up off the floor and continued his 20+ streak with exactly 20, but shot only 8-17, ending his 50% plus streak (missed the last shot of the game, a late garbage-time shot clock jumper - awwww, damnnn!). The last time Miami played Milwaukee, Bucks guard Monta Ellis claimed the only difference between he and Dwyane Wade was that Dwyane Wade had two rings and had won more games. Ummm, okay. Tonight the difference was Dwyane scored 20 on 8-17 after being knocked silly, and added 9 assists and 7 rebounds, while Monta Ellis shot 3-11 for 7 points. They both are still black, though - in that way they are similar...
4) Biggest play of the game: the Bucks scrapped and got the lead down to 6 with about 9 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, as Miami's offense stagnated. With the crowd going bananas, Wade took the ball up top, dribbled it back and forth pointlessly for the third straight possession, and with the shot clock draining out, fired a pass to the left wing to Shane Battier, who drilled a triple so true that it had no chance to not go in. Nine point lead, the Bucks never made it close again: ballgame. Battier made both his triples and scored 9 points on 4 shots. As everyone has pointed out, he was also on the Rockets squad that won 22 games in a row in 2008. He can't really run, he can't jump at all, he can't dribble...but he makes huge plays over and over and over. Bringing him here was genius. Another big "thank you" to my dad, Pat Riley.
5) You know who isn't impressed with the Heat's 21 game winning streak? Boston Celtic Paul Pierce: "I don't care at all. I hope they lose every game for the rest of the season." Ha! The feeling is mutual! If Miami can beat Toronto Sunday, they roll into Boston on Monday...While Paul Pierce may not be enjoying the streak, everyone associated with the Heat is. This has been the most fun season, by far, that I ever remember. It started with signing Ray Allen in the offseason (and he instantly wins like 4 games with late triples); then KJ's super-awesome T-Mobile commercial; included a sweep of OKC over the holiday season; then a month's worth of the best basketball ever played by any player by KJ, including joyously hugging a fan at midcourt during a timeout; then Dwyane Wade started one of the best months of his career; followed by signing the Birdman; then making a silly Harlem Shake video that instantly went viral; and now, the third-longest winning streak in the history of the league. Check this out: they were 29-14. Now they are 50-14!!! I know I'm leaving out like 50 other things - I'm giddy, and I'm drunk. All the while getting every team's best shot (except Atlanta - they could care less), because we are #Champs. It's fun - the last week of this streak every game day has felt like a playoff game - heightened excitement - except that if we lose it is meaningless!!! I hope everyone is living in the moment and having fun - most seasons are not like this, this is a once-in-a-great-while kind of season. Chris Bosh and the rest of the team are definitely living in the moment. Bosh has made a cottage industry out of video bombing teammates' interviews to the point where it has become accepted as his signature across the nation: "I just Boshed someone," people will tweet out. Tonight, Bosh was the post-game interview, and KJ James video bombed him, roboting through Bosh's camera angle with a huge smile on his face! Very strong robot by KJ, as well. He's having fun, everyone is having fun (except Paul Pierce). Man, was ESPN's Bill Simmons (and other NBA writer-mopes) ever right: KJ James and Dwyane Wade HATE playing with each other! One of the most asinine, and least accurate, observations ever. I can't remember ever seeing a team have more fun. And I think all the fans are having fun, too. Thank you to Mr. Arison, and again, my dad Pat Riley, for putting this all together.
"Do you have any messages for me? The room name is 'Pope.'"
We are back Sunday in Toronto. I may still be drunk then - neighborhood block party tomorrow afternoon, and St. Paddy's Day Sunday. If you need me before then, I'll be drinking that super-zippy Due South Brewery IPA Cat 4 - I'm a beer dude now, boy! Slainte!