Well, the Heat visited Charlotte on Saturday night in Game 3 of their NBA first-round playoff series, and we all learned the answer to the pressing question.
“3-0 or 2-1?”
OK, that’s a good question, too, now that you mention it — Miami gunning for a safe 3-0 series lead or the Bobcats adding some drama at 2-1 entering Monday’s game there.
But the more pressing question to me entering this game was:
“Elbow or forearm?”
What body part would the Heat’s Udonis Haslem deploy as a projectile against Charlotte’s villainous Josh McRoberts? How would Haslem, Miami’s hit-man warrior, choose to avenge McRoberts’ hard forearm to LeBron James’ neck in Game 2? And when?
The safest bet wasn’t who’d win last night’s game. It was the likelihood that, at some point, Haslem would be loudly booed by the crowd while simultaneously chest-bumped by lauding teammates as McRoberts lay splayed in pain on the hardwood.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said there would be no retaliation for that play. At least that’s what I think he said. Incredulous media laughter was so loud the end of the sentence was drowned out.
James described himself as “attacked in the lane” by McRoberts and “elbowed in the throat.”
These things do not go unpunished, and McRoberts’ wrist-slap $20,000 league fine, with no suspension, was not sufficient.
The arena playlist should have included Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting. Not that Miami’s enforcer needed the pump-up music.
Of course (I am writing this Saturday morning), there is always the chance there would be no retribution Saturday night. That McRoberts would go unpunished. That the mugging of LeBron would go unavenged. That Udonis would turn pacifist …