Monday, April 1, 2013

Heat 88 Spurs 86

6 Thoughts

1) I did not watch this game.  My cable, internet, everything was out.  I thought about going somewhere to watch it, then saw on Twitter that Chalmers wasn't playing (along with Dwyane Wade and KJ James), and figured we would take a beatdown from the Spurs machine in a meaningless game.  I'd only missed one half of basketball all season so far (first half of the January loss to the Bulls), and this seemed like a good one to skip.  Oops.  I checked the score at halftime and it was close, so I threw on the radio and listened to the second half (then had to watch the highlights all night long on my phone).  I think the last time I listened to a basketball game on the radio was 1986, when Cliff Robinson hit a jumpshot at the buzzer to win a game for my beloved University of Connecticut.  Same as it ever was: let it fly!

2) Cliff Robinson isn't the only lanky 6'11" forward in the history of basketball who can step out and hit a jumper to win a game - Chris Bosh makes it, at least, two.  Dirk Nowitzki: that's three.  With 10 seconds to go down 1, Udonis Haslem forced Tim Duncan into a tough fallaway jumper, which he missed.  Walter Ray Allen grabbed the rebound, pushed it hard up the court, and Bosh screened for him at the top of the circle.  Ray came over the screen, and everyone on the Spurs seemed to rush at him - he's old, but he's still Ray Allen.  Bosh spaced out to the top of the arc, Ray flipped it back to him, Duncan tried to get out to contest, but too late...triple, ballgame!!!  He Nowitzki'd 'em!!!  Or Cliff Robinson'ed them.  Or whatever - the point is, he won the game!  Scrappy road win for the Heat backups!

3) Bosh scored 23 points, had 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and a couple of blocks against the second best team in basketball (playing against Tim Duncan).  It's amazing what he can do when he sets his mind to it - maybe he is simply happy to drift through the season letting Dwyane and KJ do the heavy lifting, and then step up only when needed.  He also made 3-5 triples, including the game winner.  It shows that he can knock that shot down, when it is available to him.  I predicted he'd hit 50 this year - after those 3, he's sitting on 19, so he only needs 31 more in the last 9 games.  Doable.  Two lessons I have learned: one, never bet on your center making 50 threes after your team signs Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in the offseason to add to Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers, KJ James, and James Jones.  He's probably not going to get enough looks at it.  Two, never bet on Chris Bosh to do anything that involves doing something.

4) Mike Miller started, played 24 minutes, and made 4-6 triples.  He's growing his hair back out, and he says it is because he is feeling youthful - his body feels young.  Coach Spo made the wise decision to essentially shelve him for the entire season, to get him to the playoffs healthy.  It will be interesting to see if he can crack the playoff rotation.  I'd like to see Battier start instead of Haslem, and soak up a bunch of extra minutes, and Miller to take most of Norris Cole's - reducing UD and Cole to spot players.  I'm guessing Spo won't start that way - he's stubborn.  Also, the team has won 29 of their last 30 games his way, so maybe he's on to something.  But at some point in the playoffs, maybe Miller gets his shot (to let it fly).

5) Interesting note on the last possession for Miami: Coach Spo said that down 1, with a 10 second differential on the shot clock and game clock, he told the team to get a stop and then push it up without calling a timeout.  If he felt that they weren't getting into something quickly, then he would call a timeout from the bench; or, also, Shane Battier had the authority to call one on the court, if he felt it was necessary.  This Battier, he's more than a coach on the floor who also knocks down threes, he's like the coach, the general manager, and the CEO all rolled up into one.  If he offered to raise my kids for me, I'd gladly step aside - I have no doubt he'd be better at it than me...After the game he said that he could sense the disappointment in the San Antonio crowd when it was announced before the game that Wade, James, and Chalmers weren't playing (especially Chalmers).  He said the crowd groaned and was like, "'we have to watch these clowns?'  But you know what?  These clowns have some fight in them - we're the Fighting Clowns!"  Along with everything else, Battier knows what is funny...

6) Down here in South Florida last week we had this minor controversy at Florida Atlantic University.  A professor asked each of his students to take a picture of Jesus, drop it on the floor, and step on it.  I'm not sure what the point of the exercise was.  Jesus sucks?  Jesus does not suck, he seemed like a supercool dude...Anyways, one kid wouldn't do it, and complained, and blah, blah, de-blah-de-blah.  Whatever.  The thing is, I probably wouldn't step on a picture of Jesus - it feels like bad juju.  You don't have to be a full-on Christian to believe in juju (I'm only half-Christian).  I  mean, if you gave me a picture of Dwyane Wade and asked me to step on it, I wouldn't do that, either.  It's dumb, and disrespectful, and you shouldn't step on any picture of any man, ever...unless it's Russell Westbrook: then stomp away!!!
Programming note: I should be here for Tuesday's game against the Knicks which is pretty much meaningless.  Miami has the East #1 seed locked up, and a four game lead for the #1 overall seed (which I don't think matters, and I almost prefer to be the road team in the Finals) - this unlikely win over San Antonio puts them up three losses on the Spurs, plus Miami swept them and owns the tiebreaker.   But I will be out of town for Friday's game against Charlotte and Saturday's game against Philly.  I'm going to Savannah for a short vacation - not going to even try to watch those games - good to recharge the batteries heading into the playoffs.  If you need me before Tuesday's game vs New York, I'll be at Kinko's printing out Russell Westbrook photos.  See you Tuesday!