Greg Cote

Fins draft, Heat and Cats playoffs lead South Florida sports

1. DOLPHINS

NFL Draft begins Thursday: Miami should select Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott or Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves with No. 1 pick if it can. But Dolphins were noncommittal in an obfuscating pre-draft news conference, declining to admit there was a draft or if they would participate.

2. HEAT

Game 4 on Monday in Charlotte: Heat held a 2-0 series lead entering Game 3 on road Saturday, after beating Hornets twice in Miami with explosive offense. Heat became first Eastern team since 1996 to score 115-plus points in consecutive regulation playoff games. Showtime East?

3. PANTHERS

Cats lose heartbreaker, face elimination Sunday: Florida lost 2-1 in double overtime to the New York Islanders in Game 5 at home late Friday and now faces elimination Sunday in Brooklyn. But, as tight and taut as this series has been in every game, would you bet against a Game 7?

4. MARLINS

Fish on season-long 10-game trip: Miami completes series Sunday in San Francisco, a homecoming for Marlins hitting coach and ex-Giants great Barry Bonds. It’s 10 road games in a row for Fish, which is both daunting and — considering Miami’s 2-7 home record — probably a good thing.

5. HURRICANES

UM baseball tries to protect No. 1 national ranking: Canes end home series Sunday against No. 22 Virginia, the defending champion. What Cavaliers did last year, UM and coach Jim Morris are trying to do for first time since 2001.

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