In My Opinion

Greg Cote: Swords, whips ready as Miami Heat faces drama-filled week


Hot list

Today: NCAA Tournament’s Final Four. Saturday marked the seventh time a basketball team from the state of Florida has competed in the men’s Final Four. The list:

Year Team Final Four result
2014 Florida vs. ConnecticutSaturday night
*2007 Florida def. UCLA
*2006 Floridadef. George Mason
2000 Floridadef. North Carolina
1994 Floridalost to Duke
1972 Florida Statedef. North Carolina
1970 Jacksonvilledef. St. Bonaventure

*Won national championship.

Note: Schools with most Final Four appearances are North Carolina (18),

UCLA (17), Kentucky (16), Duke (15) and Kansas (14).

What South Florida sports fans are talking about:


Champs try to protect No. 1 playoff seed; Zo makes Hall: A big week awaits, but last week wasn’t bad, either. It started with Miami overtaking Indiana for the East’s top seed, and ended with former star now club exec Alonzo Mourning’s election to Basketball Hall of Fame. Zo is NBA’s career leader in scowling and angry biceps flexing.


Finally! March Madness crescendos with Monday finale: The men’s NCAA Tournament at last nears Monday’s finale in Arlington, Texas. It was Florida against UConn and Wisconsin against Kentucky in Saturday’s semifinals, and as I write this Friday I’d bet my house the Gators win it all. Unless they lost, in which case that was a typographical error.


Bats alive as team shows pop to open season: Sunday ends a seven-game, season-opening homestand. Miami scored the fewest runs in MLB last year but scored 27 in a four-game series to open the season, winning three from Colorado. Hopes must be tempered, though, as MLB rejected a Marlins request to play all 162 games against Rockies pitching.


Tiger-less, golf’s biggest prize feels diminished: The Masters begins in four days, and Tiger Woods’ withdrawal following back surgery was a blow to the event and to Tiger’s attempt to eventually overtake the career lead for major titles. “I advised Tiger his health is more important than that record,” said a smiling Dr. Jack Nicklaus.


Hockey team wheezes into last week of down season: Cats entered the weekend with the third-worst record and second fewest goals scored in the 30-team NHL, their season now mercifully six days from its end. Schedule ends with a homestand. Club favors classic rock in its arena, so here’s our farewell song to Florida’s season: “Cold As Ice.”

Finally, we get to what basketball fans have been anticipating and waiting so long to enjoy.

What? Oh. You thought I meant Monday’s men’s NCAA Tournament championship game? Nah. Not really. Although that should be pretty good, too, now that you mention it.

But I meant arguably the most drama-filled Heat regular-season week of the Big 3 Era if not ever.

As the NBA schedule winds down, Dwyane Wade endeavors to get healthy and Miami tries to secure the very important No. 1 conference playoff seed, dig this week’s menu. (Yes. Yes I am trying to bring back the hippie-era colloquialism “dig.” Who’s with me?)

Sunday: Heat hosts its once bitterest rival, New York. Phil Jackson’s Knicks are fighting for the final postseason spot out of the East, so this game could be a first-round playoff preview.

Tuesday: Heat hosts the star-filled, playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets, who are 3-0 against Miami this season. (Heat hopes to be cutting down the Nets. No ladder needed.)

Wednesday: Heat visits Memphis, with the desperate Grizzlies clawing to make the playoffs out of the West.

Then, Friday: Oh my! Heat hosts its new bitterest rival, Indiana, in what could be tantamount to a winner-take-all for that No. 1 seed. And you know the Pacers will be ready after Roy Hibbert called his teammates “some selfish dudes.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, anticipating the week’s battles, said, “We’re sharpening our swords.”

While I think of it, LeBron James recorded a rap song he calls Kingdom.

The lyrics include, “My team eating, the rest of y’all drought.” And: “Say what you will about the King. Got money, got cribs, got whips and, oh yeah … got two rings!”

Um, not sure what LeBron means by those whips, but I assume they are alongside Spo’s sharpened swords in the Heat arsenal, should they be needed this week.

• The Dolphins signed QB Jordan Rodgers, the brother of Packers star Aaron. That would only be exciting news if they were identical twins and Dolfans could hold out hope for a switcheroo.

• Miami also brought in veteran receiver Nate Burleson for a free agent visit. Burleson broke his arm last year in an auto accident caused by trying to stop a box of pizza from sliding off his passenger seat. Dear Nate: They have a thing now called “delivery.”

• The Titans cut fading, pricey RB Chris Johnson in a salary dump. In the mood for a splashy $8 million-a-year gamble, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross? (Yeah, I didn’t think so.)

• had a bracket vote for the all-time greatest quarterback and its final four were Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas and (ready?) … Donovan McNabb! Who were the voters? McNabb’s immediate family?

• Famous rich person Donald Trump said he’s considering buying the Buffalo Bills. New team name: the Buffalo Large-Denomination Bills.

• Mets second baseman David Murphy missed Opening Day on a three-day paternity leave and was criticized on New York radio. The good news? Radio listeners can’t see the hosts’ knuckles dragging on the ground.

• Dodgers hitting coach Don Baylor sustained a broken leg while catching his team’s ceremonial first pitch on its Opening Day. Maybe someone said “break a leg” to wish him luck, and he took it literally.

•  David Ortiz’s seemingly spontaneous selfie with President Barack Obama during the Red Sox’s White House visit turned out to a stunt for Samsung. It was a big opportunity. A Big Papitunity.

• As Yankee Derek Jeter begins his farewell season, David Letterman announces he’s retiring next year. Trending: The Long Goodbye.

• A Forbes list of the world’s greatest leaders ranks Jeter 11th. Either Forbes has too many lists, or the world has too few leaders.

•  Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams predictably won Key Biscayne tennis titles last week in a finish marred by forfeitures in both men’s semifinals because of minor ailments. Imagine if that happened in other sports? “The Marlins won last night by forfeit when the Padres encountered gastroenteritis.”

• Minnesota won the men’s NIT tournament and not even people in Minnesota cared.

•  David Beckham is talking about megastars such as Cristiano Ronaldo playing for Miami’s MLS soccer team. How ’bout you get a stadium built first, then a team, and then think about players.

• Constitution won the 63rd Florida Derby, a big Triple Crown-season prep race. It’d be a terrific story for horse racing if Constitution happened to be born in 1776. But I checked. He wasn’t.

• Golf Digest is defending its sexy cover photo of a barely clad Paulina Gretzky, whose only tie to golf is being the fiancée of the PGA Tour’s Dustin Johnson. Dear Golf Digest: How about you put an actual women’s golfer on your cover for the first time since 2008?

• And you thought Kobe Bryant has had it tough with injuries? Now Floyd Mayweather’s uncle is trying to trademark the “Black Mamba” nickname and steal it from Kobe. Oh, the indignity!

•  Parting thought: Still don’t have enough reasons yet to hate Johnny Manziel? Here’s another. His lawyers have filed a trademark claim on the phrase, “The House That Johnny Built.” (Lord how I wish I were kidding.)

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at and follow on Twitter @gregcote.

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