In My Opinion

Miami Heat sweep would challenge rosy outlook by Bobcats’ Al Jefferson

 
 
Charlotte Bobcats' Al Jefferson, left, drives past Miami Heat's Shane Battier, right, to dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.
Charlotte Bobcats' Al Jefferson, left, drives past Miami Heat's Shane Battier, right, to dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.
Chuck Burton / AP

Hot list

Today: Heat playoff records. Heat individual single-game postseason highs in major statistical categories:

Category Player (record) Opponent
Points Dwyane Wade (46)vs. Celtics (April 25, 2010)
Field goals LeBron James (19)at Celtics (June 7, 2012)
Free throws Wade (21)vs. Mavericks (June 18, 2006)
Rebounds Shaquille O’Neal (20)Rony Seikaly (20)at Bulls (May 4, 2006)vs. Hawks (May 3, 1994)
Assists Wade (15)vs. Wizards (May 10, 2005)

Note: Wade’s 21 free throws came in overtime game. Other notable club records include seven three-point baskets by Mike Miller and Damon Jones; six steals by Wade and James, and nine blocked shots by Alonzo Mourning.

What South Florida sports fans are talking about

1. HEAT

Miami launches three-peat bid as NBA playoffs begin: Unlike the NCAA, the pros cut to the chase. The NBA starts with the Sweet 16, and the first team to 16 wins is champion. The Heat has won that race twice in a row. Now, starting Sunday with Game 1 against Charlotte in the first round, LeBron James and Co. try to star in Miami Thrice.

2. MARLINS

Stanton power surge impresses amid Fish struggles: The bright side for the struggling Marlins couldn’t be brighter. Giancarlo Stanton entered Saturday batting .329 with six homers and an MLB-leading 26 RBI after a walk-off grand slam Friday. Suggested new rule: Stanton is allowed to pinch-hit for everybody else in the lineup.

3. BOSTON MARATHON

Monday’s race a symbolic triumph over tragedy: A year ago, this country’s most famous footrace was jarred by terrorist bombings, but the race goes on bigger than ever Monday. I don’t care what man and woman run the fastest times. The winner of this year’s Boston Marathon will be Boston. The winner will be the American spirit.

4. NHL PLAYOFFS

The long skate for Lord Stanley’s Cup is under way: Montreal, the only Canadian team among 16 in the playoffs, also was the last team from Canada to win the Stanley Cup, in distant 1993. But now Montreal leads its first-round series 2-0, meaning Canada has its hopes up preparatory to having those hopes crushed in the next round by America.

5. HURRICANES

Hot UM baseball rises in polls, hosts Notre Dame: Coach Jim Morris’ surging Canes had risen to No. 11 in the polls on the wing of 13 consecutive victories entering a Saturday-through-Monday home series with Notre Dame. The bad news? Raised expectations mean anything short of a trip to College World Series will now be doubly disappointing.


gcote@ MiamiHerald.com

I think that Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson, not a star in the NBA but a good player, must lead the league in seeing the bright side, in trying to find the best in a bad situation. This talent figures to come in particularly handy in the next week-plus as his hopeless underdogs try to avert being swept in four games by the two-time, defending-champion Heat.

It was Jefferson who said this after LeBron James buried the Bobcats with a personal-best scoring record this season:

“You take away his 61 points and we still had a fighting chance there at the end.”

No, he actually did say that!

Yes, and President Lincoln enjoyed the play except for the ending.

Jefferson’s uncanny knack for imagining a shattered glass half-full reminded me of the old Dolphins defensive coordinator Tom Olivadotti, who was prone to saying things like, “I thought our run defense was pretty solid other than Thurman Thomas busting those three or four runs of 40-plus yards.”

Here are three suggested possible postgame quotes for Jefferson to deploy in this series:

1. “You take away LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and a couple of other guys, and we have every bit as much talent as Miami.”

2. “You take away their one 23-0 run to start the fourth quarter and it was a six-possession game late.”

3. “Yeah, but our owner, Michael Jordan, could beat Micky Arison in a game of H-O-R-S-E.”

• Saw a headline on a Heat story that read, “Role players hold the key to title hopes.” And wondered if LeBron and Wade found that as funny as I did.

• As pot smokers consider April 20 to be National Weed Day, we note that Clippers star Blake Griffin has come out in favor of players being allowed to use medical marijuana to ease pain. New nickname: Baked Griffin.

• The Dolphins on Monday have their first official offseason OTA day, which stands for Organized Team Activities. Sounds like arts ’n crafts at summer camp. Am picturing players in a Bounce House.

• Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, whose bid for stadium funding previously lost in the legislature, this week saw his anti-bullying bill also die in Tallahassee. Ross’ latest plan: A bill that would sentence convicted bullies to build a canopy over Dolphins stadium.

• Countdown: 18 days until the NFL Draft. New Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey says the team’s draft board will go digital after years of using old-fashioned, hand-written magnets. Fans don’t care if you write the names in fine quill calligraphy, spray paint or crayons. As long as they’re the right names.

• The Panthers won the NHL lottery and will have the No. 1 pick in the June draft. I believe it is the franchise’s biggest victory since around 1996.

• The Jets signed running back Chris Johnson after previously signing quarterback Michael Vick. This would be an exciting offense if it was, like, five years ago.

• It’s fewer than 50 days now from the start of the soccer World Cup in Brazil, and officials there assure they will be getting started on stadium construction very, very soon.

• The World Cup trophy visited Miami to conclude a 90-city, nine-month, 92,000-mile promotional journey. This is the most famous sports trophy in the world. Also, the most tired.

• American gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps has unretired and plans to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, assuming Brazil can construct a swimming pool by then.

• The “Miracle On Ice” 1980 hockey gold medal won by U.S. player Mark Pavelich is up for auction. Something about a “Miracle For Sale” sign makes me sad.

• Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney is under fire for pushing his religious views on his players. I’m not sure which is weirder about Swinney: The misplaced evangelism, or the name Dabo.

• A golf course in Greensboro, Ga., had a tournament with greens that featured pizza-sized, 15-inch holes. Why stop there? Make holes the size of an above-ground pool and I’d have a shot at par.

• Kronsteiner: German beer? Or Fort Lauderdale Strikers coach?

• Casiguapo, bred at the University of Kentucky, has a chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. The horse is expected to run one race and then declare for the NBA Draft.

• The Eagles’ LeSean McCoy said his 2-year-old son is better than Tim Tebow. “That’s quite possible,” said nodding Jets fans.

•  Al Golden’s Hurricanes football roster has players named Gray Crow and Corn Elder. I don’t know how good UM will be this year. But they lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in great names.

•  Manny Pacquiao avenged his controversial 2012 loss to Timothy Bradley. That means we can resume talking up the Pacquiao- Floyd Mayweather fight that will never happen.

• A Greek soccer fan was arrested for dumping a crate of anchovies onto the opposing team’s bench, delaying the match. I’d have made the best of it, tossed in some Kalamata olives and feta cheese and called it a salad.

•  Parting thought: The NCAA ruled football players may now eat unlimited meals and snacks. In an unrelated story, the average projected weight of a college offensive lineman has inexplicably risen to 473 lbs.

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

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