In My Opinion

Greg Cote: Now we find out if waiting for Dwyane Wade was worth it

 

Hot list

Today: Heat playoff opponents. With the NBA playoffs set to begin next weekend, the opponents Miami has faced most often in the postseason:

Opponent Games (Series) Heat record
Bulls 31 (7)13-18 (3-4)
Knicks 29 (5)15-14 (2-3)
Pacers 19 (3)10-9 (2-1)
Celtics 17 (3)9-8 (2-1)
Pistons16 (3)10-6 (2-1)

Note: Miami in 17 franchise postseasons has played 184 playoff games in 35 series against 15 different opponents. Other playoff opponents have been Hawks (12 games), Mavericks (11), Hornets (10), Nets (9), Spurs (7), Magic (5), 76ers (5), Thunder (5), Bucks (4) and Wizards (4).


What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. HEAT

Miami regains No. 1 seed in huge home win over Indiana: LeBron James’ 36 points and Udonis Haslem’s defense against Roy Hibbert carried the Heat over Pacers Saturday night to put Miami in control of conference’s No. 1 playoff seed. That would mean home-court in a Game 7 Eastern finals between the teams, but Indiana getting that far now seems a huge assumption.

2. MARLINS

Fish run into quick reality check after hot start: A 5-1 homestand to start the season left Marlins fans encouraged, but then came shoddy defense, five straight losses and a back-to-Earth feel. Good news? Another six-game homestand starts Monday. Bad news? It begins against the same Washington Nationals pitching that just dominated the Fish in D.C.

3. HURRICANES

Injury to starting QB ends spring on sour note: UM’s annual football Spring Game on Saturday ended offseason work. Al Golden’s Canes move on freed from NCAA cloud but also without starting quarterback Ryan Williams, out following knee surgery. Freshman Kevin Olsen is expected to start season, backed up by the spectacularly named Gray Crow.

4. MASTERS

Golf season’s first major ends Sunday at Augusta: As Bubba Watson took a 3-shot lead into the weekend, defending champ Adam Scott’s menu for annual pre-tournament Champions Dinner included Moreton Bay bugs (a type of crustacean) he’d had flown in from Australia. “Bugs? OK, I finally have a reason to be glad I wasn’t there this year,” thought Tiger Woods.

5. PANTHERS

Disappointing hockey season for Cats quietly expires: Florida had 29 wins entering Saturday night’s season finale vs. Columbus, the Cats’ lowest full-season victory total since 2003-04. You’ll be watching on TV as the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs begin later this week Unfortunately, for the 12th time in the past 13 seasons, so will the Panthers.

gcote@ MiamiHerald.com

D wyane Wade had earned a new nickname. It wasn’t all that flattering. Heat fans hoped it was temporary, like a press-on tattoo. But, until Saturday night, it fit:

Dwyane Wait.

As the NBA season winds down toward next weekend’s start of the playoffs, Miami waited for Wade’s good health like Vladimir and Estragon waited for Godot in that famous Samuel Beckett play.

D.Wait missed a ninth consecutive game Friday night with a sore hamstring and had missed 28 games this season — more than one-third of the schedule — with various ailments, before finally returning to action Saturday night at Atlanta. His availability and fitness in the postseason loomed as the difference between a Heat three-peat and ultimate disappointment.

Will Wade prove to have been worth the wait?

Saturday offered a glimpse, but we wait to find out for sure, and it is the underlying drama to Miami’s postseason.

I must note that Vladimir and Estragon waited endlessly and in vain for Godot.

Here’s hoping LeBron and Udonis ultimately see a more satisfying end to Waiting for Dwyane.

• A golf fan bet 1,000 British pounds on Rory McIlroy to win the Masters after claiming to see his image in a chocolate Danish. Similarly, Dolphins fortunes changed — not a lot of people know this — the morning of the 1983 draft when Don Shula chanced to see Dan Marino’s face in a Wolfie’s omelet.

• Veteran Fred Couples on the Augusta leaderboard was a nice story at the Masters. Couples last won a major in 1992 but is the PGA Tour’s career leader in acrimonious divorces.

• We are now two months less a day from the start of the soccer World Cup. Brazilian officials have made a mental note to get started on stadium construction as soon as possible.

• The NBA announced the Heat would play a preseason game in Rio de Janeiro in October. (Maybe the World Cup construction will be done by then?)

• UConn wins the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball championships despite Connecticut being the third-smallest state and having a population of only 3.6 million. “Hope for us yet!” said Rhode Island.

• NFL stars Andre Johnson and Clinton Portis and the Heat’s James Jones headed latest UM Sports Hall of Fame induction class. I don’t wanna say the UM Hall inducts a lot of people, but its population now exceeds that of the state of Connecticut.

• The Hurricanes debuted new football uniforms at their spring game Saturday. If the Canes win in them, the new uniforms are fantastic. If they lose in them, they are ugly.

• The Panthers will curtain off entire upper sections and reduce the hockey capacity by about one-fifth for most games next season. Sounds like they’re planning for another disappointing year!

• The May 8 NFL Draft is less than a month away. Only time for ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay to sneak in about 45 more mock drafts.

• The Dolphins signed ex-Titans wide receiver Damian Williams. Isn’t that as good a reason as any to launch another they’re-shopping- Mike Wallace rumor?

• Congratulations to Brianne Herndon for winning a bracket-style vote as the favorite Dolphins cheerleader. Voters consisted entirely of middle-aged married men.

• Miami police are investigating 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and two others over an incident involving a woman at a local hotel. Kaepernick was previously investigated for overdosing on tattoos.

• Marlins pitcher Brad Hand enters games to Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball. In honor of Cyrus and that video, Hand also enters game in the nude.

• The Tigers were the last unbeaten baseball team before losing. And the 1972 Dolphins smiled discreetly, feeling no need to comment.

• A new MLB rule limiting walk-up songs has left Boston’s Shane Victorino upset that his, Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, has been truncated. He now steps in the batter’s box to one little bird.

• The Fort Lauderdale Strikers opened their spring NASL season against Ottawa on Saturday. You remember the original Strikers if your memory bank includes the small deposit of a “Rotten to the Cor” banner.

• Arkansas State is auctioning off a chance to coach in its spring football game, and bids opened at $2,500. The school denied it was a publicity stunt, but had a big smirk on its face while doing so.

• UMass basketball player Derrick Gordon announced he’s gay. Looking forward to the day when such announcements are seen as non-news and met with a collective yawn.

• Coral Springs’ Lexi Thompson, 19, last week became the second-youngest woman to win an LPGA major. When I was 19, I first tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube before stomping on it in frustration.

•  Parting thought: A Marlins fan lost his wallet on opening night, and whoever found it put an extra $20 in and returned it with the note, “Do something nice for someone else.” The kind and generous good samaritan was never identified. Let’s go ahead and rule out Jeffrey Loria.

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

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