Heat-Lakers must-see TV, but not why you think

01/14/2013 12:01 AM

01/14/2013 12:17 AM

It happens in four days, but the idea of it alone is too delicious to wait.

Heat at Lakers.

It’ll 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 everybody’s NBA Finals dream matchup before the season started. Well, commissioner David Stern’s 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. Don’t discount Miami as a threat to repeat, but as a favorite to repeat? Well, let’s just say that bandwagon has good seats still available.

(I’d 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 week’s 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, it’s 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 week’s Heat-Lakers meeting:

A debate on who has been more maligned.

•  Mario Cristobal was hired on to Al Golden’s 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 week’s 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? Brent’s 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, AREN’T I HOT!?
• Had a poll in my blog inviting readers to grade our  3 big three team owners. Heat’s Micky Arison got 90 percent A’s and Marlins’ Jeffrey Loria 85 percent F’s, with Dolphins’ Stephen Ross in between. Marlins fans were complaining. Wanted a grade option lower than F.
• UM men’s 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!
• Brazilian prostitutes are being given English lessons in advance of hosting soccer’s 2014 World Cup. Hmm. Isn’t their profession sort of a universal language? A man pays money, then after a little while he shouts, “Gooooaaaaalllll!”
• Former Dolphins executive Bill Parcells made the cut to 15 finalists for football’s Hall of Fame induction. See. A man can survive drafting Pat White, after all!
•  Lance Armstrong’s big interview with Oprah is to air this Thursday. He is expected to acknowledge performance-enhancing drug use and admit his shame. The good news? The Oprah Winfrey Network attracts less than one-tenth the audience her old syndicated TV show used to, so it’ll be their little secret!
• The PGA Tour season got under way amid howling wind in Hawaii. Conditions were crazy. Put it this way: The flagstick on the 14th green set a world record in the javelin.
• Those Redskins fans known as “Hogettes” — men who wore dresses and pig snouts — are retiring, it was reported on their website. And I’m not sure which is more ridiculous. That they wore dresses and pig snouts, or that they have a website. (I am envisioning a very sad retirement party attended only by the Hogettes and Fireman Ed.)
• Film director Quentin Tarantino claims his mother dated Wilt Chamberlain. No one who has either seen a Tarantino movie or read Wilt’s autobiography was the least bit surprised.
• Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (one in a series): The Spurs’ Stephen Steven Jackson hurt an ankle when he ran into a waitress taking a courtside order from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
•  Phil Jackson got engaged to longtime girlfriend and Lakers executive Jeanie Buss. Wonder if he gave her one of his 11 championship rings?
•  Carmelo Anthony was suspended one game for waiting at the Celtics team bus to confront Kevin Garnett. Better he should have been made to drive the bus for a day wearing a Ralph Kramden hat.
•  Parting thought: Major League Baseball soon will begin in-season testing for human growth hormone (HGH). Players will be tested at random, or if they gain more than 30 pounds between at-bats.

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

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