Heat gets its payback with dominance, not fisticuffs

04/27/2014 12:01 AM

04/27/2014 1:32 AM

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.

Enter Udonis.

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 …


• NFL schedules came out, and Dolphins open season at home vs. nemesis New England. ESPN spit out projected records for every team and said Patriots would win AFC East at 11-5 (again), and Dolphins would finish 8-8 (again). Oops. Guess I should have given you a “spoiler alert” on that.
• The Buffalo “Jills” have become the third NFL cheerleading unit to sue their team over low wages or working conditions. Be careful on the demands, cheerleaders. My experience is that sports fans are skilled enough at cheering as to not require being led.
•  Herschel Walker, 52, said he could still play running back in the NFL. Hey, why not! Bernard Hopkins is still in the ring at 49 and won last week. He now holds light-heavyweight titles in the WBA, IBF and AARP.
•  Meb Keflezighi, from San Diego, became the first American man since 1983 to win the Boston Marathon. The big loser? The terrorists whose bombs one year earlier made Boston and its marathon bounce back stronger than ever.
•  Dennis Rodman reportedly was tossed out of Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant for causing a scene. Is that even news? If ever Rodman would act normally and not play the fool, now that would be news!
• Montreal was the first team to advance past the NHL’s first round, but four other teams had a chance to follow Saturday or Sunday. Aside to Florida Panthers fans: You’ve probably forgotten, but we’re referring to the “Stanley Cup playoffs” in what is commonly called “the postseason.”
• The 10th annual Miami Beach Polo World Cup ends Sunday right on the beach. Make it more interesting next year: Put the horses in the ocean and call it water polo.
• Angels’ Albert Pujols rather quietly became 26th member of the 500 home run club. Media blamed diminished attention on steroids era, but it’s also simple math. Put it this way: It was huge deal when Roger Bannister became first to break four-minute mile. Can you name the 26th man to do it?
• Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was caught using pine tar. Imagine that: A guy whose surname begins with “Pine” using pine tar! “Yeah, that is weird,” teammate Alex Roidriguez said.
• Turns out Dodgers star Yasiel Puig’s journey from Cuba to America reportedly involved smugglers, human traffickers, a Mexican drug cartel and a fistfight between Fidel Castro and Tommy Lasorda. OK, I made up that last part.
• Fans of the late Joe Paterno are paying to have a statue built in front of a restaurant across from Penn State campus. It will depict Paterno reading. In other words, the statue, like the coach late in his career, will be oblivious to what’s going on directly in front of him.
• It is now six weeks from the start of the soccer World Cup, and officials in host Brazil have vowed to appoint an organizing committee at the first opportunity.
• American 100-meter record holder Tyson Gay tested positive for PEDs, verifying the old Chinese proverb: “Even fastest man cannot outrun own urine.”
• UFC parted ways with Fort Lauderdale fighter Thiago Silva after his arrest on a battery charge. Yeah, because the last thing UFC needs is to be associated with violence!
•  Parting thought: R.I.P., Earl Morrall, 79, selfless savior of the Dolphins’ 1972 Perfect Season.

About Greg Cote

Greg Cote


Greg Cote has been a Miami Herald sports columnist since 1995 and also writes the Random Evidence blog and NFL predictions along with his notorious sidekick the Upset Bird. He has covered Hurricanes football (1984-88), the Dolphins (1990-91) and major events including Super Bowls, NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup, Olympics and World Cup.

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