1) 19. Goodness gracious. Get in, let's go: let it fly.
2) I'm gonna say it: KJ James was stinky. He played reasonably hard, but he couldn't make a shot, he kept falling down, and dropping the ball. He finished with 15 points on 3-11 from the floor, 7 assists, 7 boards, and 4 turnovers. He didn't have to play in the fourth quarter - only 30 minutes on the night for KJ. Still, this game was never even remotely competitive. Miami led by 13 at half, 57-44, but had not they not missed layups and free throws all half, they would have scored 70 and been up 25. Mario "Emcee" Chalmers started things early by making a couple of triples, and scored 14; Walter Ray Allen and Chris Bosh each also scored 14; and, oh yeah, Dwyane pounded the rim all night for 23 points, and had 5 steals - 11 steals in the last two games for Dwyane. That's also ten games in a row for him with 20 points or more. Do we have to even say it? World of Wade: WoW.
3) Turning point in the game: when the Hawks didn't trade Josh Smith at the deadline! He came out in some kind of long, contested jumpshot-induced trance, and made only 7-16. His coup de grace came late in the first half when the Hawks ran the clock all the way down to take the last shot of the half, Emcee Chalmers blocked a Jeff Teague triple (!), Chris Bosh politely caught the ball 70 feet from the basket, took one casual dribble, and Josh Smith inexplicably wrapped him up from behind with .1 to go in the half, and the Heat in the bonus: two free throws, which Bosh drained. Someday when they open the Josh Smith Library in Atlanta, they should have this play running on an endless loop because this is the sort of thing he loves to do. If he didn't, he wouldn't even be Josh Smith, he'd be a totally different person. He'd be Al Horford (Al Horford!) Smith only made it through 24 minutes before his coach, Larry Drew, yanked him for good. The Hawks' effort level fluctuated between "zero" and "nonexistent" all night. Miami got a layup whenever they wanted - if they could have made one, they would have scored 130 points. The Hawks did not have the "fire in their eyes" tonight. They committed 22 turnovers - it wouldn't be surprising to learn that they didn't have eyes, period. Before the game, Josh Smith told the Sunsports crew that now that the trade deadline has passed, he can move on and focus on "doing something in the playoffs." Launch a lot of flat-footed triples and get eliminated?
4) It was PJ Brown Night at The Trip! Collier Brown Jr! I loved to yell at that kid - in those days with Tim Hardaway and Zo Mourning (Hubie-ism) playing so visibly hard, the calm, eyebrows-raised PJ was the easiest to blame for our shortcomings. He just seemed so mellow out there...right up until the moment where he went all Bruce Banner on the Knicks, hurled point guard Charlie Ward head-over-heels into the crowd, and got suspended for the last two games of that series. Totally worth it, by the way...plus we won the series. My dog is named after him, and it was good to see PJ looking fit and doing well. Eric Reid asked him about his championship run late in his career with the Celtics in 2008, when he and Ray Allen were able to carry Boston to a title almost by themselves: "it was terrific winning a title, of course, but in the end, having to spend month after month with Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Paul Pierce was probably not worth it, it was the least enjoyable time of my life. I pride myself on being able to get along with everyone, and I work hard to see the positive qualities in people, but those guys had absolutely no redeeming qualities as human beings whatsoever. It was a bittersweet championship knowing that Ray and myself had pushed those three social reprobates to the only significant success they ever experienced in their careers." Man, well-said. I don't think I could have scripted it any better myself. #Doucheball
5) News from around the NBA: my sources say that Bulls guard Derrick Rose is absolutely ready physically to return to action, but is wary that he might get completely shut down by KJ James in a playoff series again. Depending on how the seeds appear to be lining up in these last few weeks, Rose is likely to skip the entire season if it looks likely that the Bulls would have to play the Heat in one of the first two rounds...also, another source tells me that the New Jersey Nets' deep-pocketed owner Mikhail Prokorovho (unsure of spelling -difficult to confirm since he is not American) is likely to hire away Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau this off-season with an annual salary believed to start in the neighborhood of seven million dollars. Caveat: my source for this story is great friend of the blog Plumber, who is a long-suffering Nets fan and hates current Nets coach PJ Carlesimo's rotations...
6) Little known fact about me: I co-wrote (and sang backup on) the Oran "Juice" Jones hit "The Rain" from the mid-80s. It was one of those magical things where I woke up one morning and had the whole song in my head from beginning to end - sang a bit of it into my little cassette recorder, called Juice, headed to the studio, and we pretty much knocked the whole song out that same day. I remember having a huge argument about the long talking part he does in the middle of the song - I didn't write that at all, he did. I remember telling him, "Juice, I know it seems cool now, but a few years down the line it's gonna sound super-douchey to have a long talking breakdown where you are repping your $3700 lynx coat - no one wants to hear that, dude." But he was like, "naw, B, lynx coats ain't never gonna go out of fashion, it could be 2013 and people will still be rocking that style." I guess he was right: lynx jackets are still pretty popular, you can't go anywhere without seeing one, these days. And my song is still a classic. A lot of people wonder what happened to Juice - he went to star in the television smash ER under his real name, Eriq LaSalle. I never got that mainstream television success, so the royalty checks The Rain still delivers to my mailbox every so often are welcomed. Enjoy this one, it's a classic, and I'm pretty proud of it:
We are right back at it tomorrow night in Philadelphia. A bunch of road games coming up - streak's gonna end soon, sadly. It would be nice never to lose again. If you need me before tomorrow, I'll be bringing all my lynx apparel to the dry cleaners: "be very careful with this stuff - it's lynx!"