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Game 39 Preview: Blazers vs. Heat

A Look at the Heat

Before the season started I said of Miami, "Don't underestimate the heart of a champion."  Obviously the Heat lost the heart of a champion somewhere.  They don't even have the gizzard of a champion anymore.  They do, however, have a shooting guard with the knees of an octogenarian, a center with the butt of a hippo, a coach with the ego of a French Chef, and a supporting cast with the reputation of being a circus.  Oh, and they have Udonis Haslem.  He's the janitor among all the prima donnas.  You have to feel for the guy.

The Heat have lost 11 straight games and currently sit at 8-30.  They shoot pretty well behind Shaq, Wade, and perennial LVP candidate Ricky "I Score a Bunch But My Teams Never Win" Davis.  They have trouble putting points on the board, though, because they don't get a ton of easy buckets.  They play a lot of individual ball, as you might expect.  Dwyane Wade is averaging a robust 24 points a game, much of that off of his 10 free throws awarded every contest.  However he also commits 5 turnovers per game.  The Big Slowpoke ( that what he called himself?) is scoring only 14 a game, mostly because they only let him take 10 shots.  Then again he's only playing 28 minutes a game and picking up 4 fouls in the process, so what can they do with him?  If they're going to call an offensive foul every time his man boobs swing around and knock someone to the ground he just won't be able to play much.  Everybody off the bench gets roughly 18-20 minutes per game and none of them set the world on fire.  Haslem rebounds, Davis shoots, and that's the Heat attack in a nutshell.

The Miami defense smells worse than a skunk's armpit.  They kind of cover the inside.  They never cover the outside.  They leave huge gaps and don't rotate.  They can't move their feet.  They don't block shots.  They don't rebound.  It's a disaster.  And that pretty much sums up the Heat season so far.  People thought Pat Riley was screwing over Stan Van Gundy when he supplanted him.  Turned out he liked the guy.  Or he drew the short straw...whichever.

What I'd Like to See

There's only one--count it, ONE--key to beating the Heat right now:  move around.  If you pass at all, if you cut at all, if you rebound at all, if you get in front of them at all they will let you skate on enough possessions to salt away the game.  They will outshoot you and score a little but they just will not do enough to keep up.  If they're beating you then you walked the ball up the court, made yourself very easy to defend, didn't give a crap about possessions, and were totally indifferent on the defensive end.  I would assume the Blazers won't do that.  Unless the Big Ham Chop somehow finds the fountain of youth down there in the Florida swamps this should be a victory.

--Dave (