IN MY OPINION
Welcome back, Dwyane Wade.
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Greg Cote has been a Herald sports columnist known for his wit and sharp insight since 1995, after previously covering the Dolphins, University of Miami football and major events including Super Bowls, the World Cup and Barcelona Olympics. Greg and his infamous 'Upset Bird' present the ever-popular NFL predictions page every Friday during football season.
E-mail Greg at email@example.com.
Miami Heat players have been steadfastly neutral in claiming no preference as they waited for Indiana and New York to figure out which would play the underdog in the NBAs upcoming Eastern Conference finals. Confident champions do not deign to worry about whos next; they leave the worrying to opponents. The lion who runs the jungle does not much care if he is feasting on zebra or antelope, after all.
Welcome back, Dwyane Wade.
Most of the unusually low numbers from this game should delight Heat fans. Those numbers stunk up this city Monday night and all but required the Bulls arena to be immediately fumigated following this NBA playoff series Game 4 here. Those numbers were Chicagos meager 65 points scored on abysmal 25.7 percent shooting both owing largely to a Miami defense that is that good, yes.
Any impartial observer who has watched and heard this Heat-Bulls playoff series would have to agree that the behavior of the underdogs suggests that Chicagos famous nickname should be tweaked just a tad.
Imagine the National Guard deployed to militarize the perimeter of the basketball court in the expectation of more mayhem. Uniformed police officers with nightsticks are serving as the game’s officials. The whole spectacle plays out surrounded by an octagon cage.
It was a brutal night full of elbows and animus, but a thing of desperate beauty through the prism of downtown Miami. The basketball game was a graffiti spray of nine technical fouls, a flagrant foul and two ejections but looked like a masterpiece to Heat fans. So it figures that the one most memorable play of Heat-Bulls Game 2 here Wednesday night was not about elegance or art but about power flexing itself with an angry sneer.
OK, the playoffs just got interesting fast for the Heat fast as a punch to the gut that you dont expect.
Dont take this for granted, Erik Spoelstra was saying Saturday, pinned against a wall by a semi-circle crush of media on one end of the Heats practice court. On the far end, LeBron James, last man on the floor, was still working, shooting, reaching higher, the basketballs staccato bounce echoing through the gym.
Doesnt it seem like forever since the Heat last played a playoff game in quickly sweeping Milwaukee in the first round?
It is cute the things we do to manufacture drama in a Heat postseason that is lacking in that because, well, because Miami is so good that even pretending the NBA champions might not repeat let alone that they would be seriously threatened in the early rounds takes some real imagination.
The importance and value in what Jason Collins has done beyond his own soul-freeing catharsis showed itself swiftly and starkly as word spread across social media. America finally had its first active athlete in a major professional team sport reveal himself as gay. He wasnt a big star. No matter. Eventually, someone had to stand up. On Monday, someone stood up.
LeBron James and the champion Heat are rolling impressively through the NBA playoffs, but it was the Dolphins dominating local conversation this week the Dolphins, who once owned the Miami sports market and are acting like they mean to win it back.
Do we trust the Dolphins yet? More to the point, do we trust general manager Jeff Ireland?
There was this one particular little burst here Tuesday night for Dwyane Wade.
I have been doing my annual NFL Mock Draft in The Miami Herald for a long time. How long? When I started this, the Dolphins had recently played in a Super Bowl. THAT long! As I recall, the printing press had not quite been invented yet, so those earliest first-round selections were etched onto stone tablets that were then heaved onto front lawns with a thud.
Is this where Heat fans were supposed to modestly feign concern because their teams playoff run began Sunday night with a victory that was somewhat close for a little while? Do we now pretend this might be a competitive series, after all, because the Bucks opening loss was, for some of the night, relatively speaking, not entirely embarrassing?
Udonis Haslem, eyewitness, was talking this week about his Heat teammate, LeBron James. He was talking more broadly about the phenomenon of how an athlete, if he is great enough, rare enough, can seem to reach a mountaintop and then somehow keep climbing.
Random Evidence is back just in time after a weeks hiatus. I dont know if Miamis two most popular teams can intersect on the calendar with much more combined excitement than the defending champion Heat starting the NBA playoffs the same week the Dolphins finally seen as ascending, as imbued with some momentum partake of the NFL Draft.
The Heat finished its record-setting regular season here Wednesday night, a conga line of myriad firsts and bests in this 25th franchise year, and South Florida danced to those records, didnt we? It has been a party and a treat sweet jam spread over 82 games across 170 days.
What is it they say about no animal being more dangerous than one wounded or backed into a corner? Apparently the same is true of a staggered NCAA, which suffers from the national embarrassment of its own corruption and buffoonery but nevertheless has some desperate fight left in it.