1) This game was a slog; King James James (with Hubie doing the game on ABC!) was grouchy. He didn't have Dwyane Wade, who was held out with the bruised knee; the series was basically over, but he still had to play this game; and, most annoyingly, he had just spent four days in Milwaukee. He basically ran the "molasses" offense and defense for three quarters, clearly intending to try to win the game with one focused fourth quarter stretch. And then the fourth quarter started...and he won the game with one focused fourth quarter stretch! 30 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists for KJ on 13-20. Sweep, take a shower, drink a crappy domestic beer, start the plane, and let's get out of here! Let those bruised knees heal! So good to be home! Let it fly!
2) So with Dwyane Wade limited a bit through the first three games, and wisely taking today off, Miami had to get a little more offense from other sources. And by "other sources," I mean "Connecticut's own Walter Ray Allen!" One of the key matchups in this series was the battle of shooters off the bench, Ray against Milwaukee's J.J. Redick. And Ray dominated him, frankly. Redick's minutes got limited all series because he couldn't stay with Ray defensively, and Miami picked on him mercilessly. Today, with Milwaukee clinging to life, at the beginning of fourth quarter Ray made a step-back jumper over Redick, then stripped him on the other end, causing a turnover. After Mario Chalmers committed back-to-back turnovers, the Heat only 3-18 on triples, and the lead down to 2, Rio snuck in on the offensive boards and ripped a rebound away from the Bucks (Emcee somehow grabbed 8 rebounds), and found KJ, who lasered a ridiculous crosscourt pass to Ray for a three. After a stop, KJ drove middle and threw one back out to Chalmers for another triple, Heat by 8, followed in rapid succession by threes from Battier, and then Ray again, then a floater-bump-and-one from KJ: 14 point lead, 5 minutes to go, ballgame, series over, week off! Walter Ray: 16 points on 10 shots, 7 rebounds. Redick: 10 points on 11 shots, one gratuitous shove on Chris "Birdman" Andersen, and one game-stoppage when he was bleeding from the elbow and screamed over at the Heat huddle, "cut those fingernails." Wow - ferocious trash talk! Ray Allen may be old, but he embarrassed J.J. Redick in this series.
3) When Miami was running its "coma" offense in the third quarter, which included Mike Mil-lar missing three wide open triples (is it windy in that building? is the court not level? are the baskets 10 feet high?), you know who saved the day? Udonis Haslem! Jumper. Was. Wet. You wanna see it rain? Let it rain! Baseline jumpers all day from UD in that quarter, just like back in the day, you know, how we used to do it! Scored 9 points in the quarter, and had 2 free throws taken away on a bizarre charging call - 13 on the day for UD on 6-9 and 5 boards in 19 minutes. He picked up Dwyane, and held the fort long enough for KJ to win it with his one fourth quarter surge. But the best part of UD's run? When Hubie Brown, really one of the least eloquent men alive (though I love him), pointed out that "UD loves the midpoint! That spot in between the basket and the sideline, the midpoint jumper!" A "midpoint jumper?" Maybe in 1940 we called that the "midpoint jumper," but since at least 1978, we've called that a midrange jumper! I was kind of tuning Hubie out, but I'm sure he probably called UD "UD Haslem" as some point. Did he get a "Bird Andersen" in there as well? I really should have been playing closer attention. I was just waiting for KJ to spurt. That's what she said...
4) Have you seen the new Hennessy ads starring Manny Pacquiao? It's basically Manny Pacquiao going around doing stuff in especially dark rooms, and then the tag line is "what's your wild rabbit? Don't stop..." What the? What's my 'wild rabbit?" What the heck does that even mean? Wait a second, wait a second. Manny Pacquiao is the super-popular Filipino boxer. And who is a huge Manny Pacquiao fan, and the only coach of Filipino heritage in the NBA? Coach Erik Spoelstra! And nobody has more vague-ish, seemingly unique, coach-speak cliches than Coach Spo! "We need to play to our identity." "That's your truth, not our truth." "Positionless." "We have to respect the process." And most famously: "Don't. Let. Go. Of. The. Rope." What if it turns out that all Coach Spo's "basketball" mantras are just bizarre, meaningless, oblique Manny Pacquiao "philosophies," the mad rantings of a man who gets punched in the head for a living? Mario Chalmers: what is your wild rabbit? Coach Spo is a fraud!
"And down goes The Jet!!!" ...If someone makes this play into a feature-length film and runs it as a twin-bill with KJ James murdering Terry on that dunk from a few weeks ago, I will bring my whole family and all my friends to see it (popcorn on me), buy the director's cut DVD (one of the DVD extras: "Paul Pierce's Most Awkward Failed Okey Dokes"), and download it off Netflix so that I can watch it on my iPhone all day, every day.
6) I never do this, I never use this blog to advance my own personal life, but just bear with me for one second here...To the sexy young thing working behind the Publix fish counter who sold me jumbo shrimp on sale for $11.99 a pound this morning, and spent several minutes pouring her heart out to me because her boyfriend lied to her about where he was last night: hey, baby, s'up? These shrimps ain't gonna eat themselves, you know? Give me a call, boo. My number's 561-BIG-SEXY. I'll be waiting, gurrllll...
Well, we are off until at least Saturday now. That's good for Miami. Maybe they will get rusty, but if Dwyane's knee, which is definitely starting to be worrisome, can get a little better, it's worth the tradeoff. By the way, no complaints on the knee thing from me - so many big-time stars are out of these playoffs, the completely unlikable Russell Westbrook the latest to go - you just have to deal with what you have to deal with. How's that for deep? Or, try this: the Heat are a "no excuses team" - another classic Spo-ism!...Miami plays the winner of the Bulls-Nets series. Bulls lead 3-1 after a triple overtime thriller yesterday. To all the people who read this blog and either tweeted at me or emailed me to curse me because I guaranteed a Nets series win, and somehow reverse-jinxed the Bulls into the series lead, I have four things to say. One, you can all go to hell. Two, I couldn't have reverse-jinxed the Bulls into the series lead because I really don't give a crud who wins that series - reverse-jinx only works for things that involve the Heat. Three, why is everyone so worried about the Bulls? They barely finished over .500, and their best player is basically playing on a broken foot and can not run or jump. Yeah, they are tough, but they are not good. If Miami can't beat them, or the Nets for that matter, what's the difference? They aren't good enough to win the title anyways in that case. Four: I STILL promise you the Nets will win that series. I GUARANTEE it - the Bulls stink, that team stinks. They've been hella lucky - that turns around starting now. Nets in 7...See you sometime next weekend. If you need me before then, I'll be whipping up my famous Shrimp Diablo, turning the new Black Eye Peas album up, the lights down lowwww, annnnnnd...