40-42 (Tom), 43-39 (Gil)
Last Year’s Record
No other NBA event in recent years bothered me as much as Miami’s championship, mainly because it meant Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton and Antoine Walker were “vindicated” for being douchebags throughout their careers.
So I laughed my bitch ass off when Miami got swept in the first round of the playoffs by Chicago. Sure, Dwyane Wade wasn’t at full strength, but Chicago’s speed and hustle made Miami look like the aging, brittle team that they are. Having made no significant changes going into this season, they’re deader than one of Khandi Alexander’s interlocutors on CSI: Miami. Baby.
UPDATE: A few days before the season, Pat Riley finally got the idea that his team’s in serious trouble, so he traded Antoine Walker for Ricky Davis, with the idea of adding “some scoring punch.” Ricky is the most talented player Not To Get It since Vernon Maxwell; the Heat will handle him because the team has no young players for him to sour on the notion of playing a team game. Antoine, meanwhile, can eat himself into oblivion in Minnesota.
Darren Heitner’s Commentary
Too long to post, so check it out on his site.
Rejoinder From Tom
Wade’s numbers were pretty mind-blowing when he returned from injury late in the year to take on the league Bad Day at Black Rock style, but mostly because no team should have so little going on so as to defer to anyone at those levels right away.
Gratuitous Comics Connection
The dean of Miami’s cartoonists is the Herald’s Jim Morin.
Gratuitous Pharma Connection
IVAX, a major generic drug companies, was founded and based in Miami until it was bought out by Teva last year.
The Bottom Line
The only player on the roster Riley can claim any credit for developing is Udonis Haslem. They’re not exactly poised to build from within, is all I’m saying. –GR