It happens in four days, but the idea of it alone is too delicious to wait.
Heat at Lakers.
Itll be must-see Thursday night when these two teams meet for the first time this season, just not for the right reasons. Not for how you imagined.
Heat-Lakers was most everybodys NBA Finals dream matchup before the season started. Well, commissioner David Sterns anyway. And the TV executives already picturing those LeBron vs. Kobe T-shirts and envisioning the subsequent ratings bonanza.
The minute Los Angeles added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the defending champion Heat appeared to have its greatest challenge.
And then reality.
The Heat has struggled, relatively speaking, especially in rebounding and on the road. Two or three teams in the West seem better, and even the No. 1 East seed is no gimmie. Dont discount Miami as a threat to repeat, but as a favorite to repeat? Well, lets just say that bandwagon has good seats still available.
(Id say there is no panic from the Heat, but then I saw they worked out Chris Birdman Andersen, a big man most known for tattoos and creative hair. Then I read of interest in Greg Oden, who has had more knee surgeries than points the past few years.)
Fittingly, during one of this weeks road losses, LeBron James streak of 20-point games ended at 33. That was the same night he referred to rebounding as Miami Kryptonite. Damn you, Lex Luthor!
With the Lakers, its far worse. Team Kobe is under .500 and might not even get to the playoffs, let alone breeze through them to the Finals.
The Lakers are under a ton of pressure and criticism, but James was moved this week to say the L.A. firestorm is nowhere near what we went through in 2010.
An oddly fitting prelude to this weeks Heat-Lakers meeting:
A debate on who has been more maligned.
• Mario Cristobal was hired on to Al Goldens UM Hurricanes football staff just weeks after being fired by the team across town. I think Golden owes a thank-you to FIU athletic director Pete Garcia. I wonder if Hallmark makes a card that reads, So Glad I Could Capitalize On Your Dumb Mistake!
• Interesting MVP vote at last weeks BCS National Championship Game here. I heard 33 voters picked Tide running back Eddie Lacy, 26 chose quarterback A.J. McCarron, and Brent Musberger voted for Miss Alabama Katherine Webb.
• Sure, Musberger got a little lecherous when Miss Alabama was shown on TV, but was an ESPN apology really warranted? Brents crime was to remark favorably on the appearance of a woman who enters beauty pageants and all but parades through life wearing a sash that reads, ARENT I HOT!?
• Had a poll in my blog inviting readers to grade our 3 big three team owners. Heats Micky Arison got 90 percent As and Marlins Jeffrey Loria 85 percent Fs, with Dolphins Stephen Ross in between. Marlins fans were complaining. Wanted a grade option lower than F.
• UM mens basketball is 11-3, 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time in nine years after winning at North Carolina and close to being ranked with No. 1 Duke here in 10 days. And the Canes women are ranked No.24. It is (relatively speaking) JANUARY MADNESS!