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November 12, 2010

OMG! Panic in Heatville! Really? (with poll); plus King-o-Meter, Dan Uggla, NFL picks & more

[Haven't had enough Chad-o-Rama drama yet? Weigh in and vote on Dolphins' Changing of the Chads in the blog post directly below this one].

HEAT'S EARLY-SEASON STRUGGLES: I SAY CHILL, BUT I SENSE PANIC: They are giggling in Cleveland. 1aa3musk You know that. Back to back home losses? Hey this wasn't supposed to happen! The "Dream Team" Heat was seen as a team that might challenge the record for most wins but that team finds itself an ordinary 5-4. The Big 3 of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh was supposed to make everything hunk dory -- as illustrated here in the SI Kids November cover picturing them as the heroic Three Musketeers -- but the big machine is sputtering. The preening Celtics beat Miami (again) here last night and afterward Paul Pierce took a parting shot at LeBron, Tweeting postgame: 'It's been my pleasure to bring my talents to south beach and now on to Memphis.' (Dear Paul: Not to nitpick, but we capitalize South Beach around here. Although perhaps a 5-4 records merits the lower-case). Me? I think it's still really early to have conclusions harden about a team that will be different and better in January. But I also see big challenges with deficiencies at point guard and center, and times when this supposedly stout defense looks anything but. This team needs real coaching, and that is what puts the onus on Erik Spoelstra. He needs to find solutions to make this thing work. I think he will, but I also think there will be an increasing drumbeat for Pat Riley to take over if the Heat continue to be pretty-good-but-not-quite-there in another month. Your take on the Heat at 5-4 are welcome. Take a dip in our poll and elaborate. 

1aaking KING-O-METER: LEBRON LEAPFROGS DWYANE: I know some of you have let me know you hate the idea of the blog's new King-o-Meter because it sows trouble between the two stars. I feel your pain but in this case ignore it. This is just a fun little harmless ongoing feature that uses nine statistical categories in a cumulative comparison of James and Wade. Updated through nine games, James now has 488.58 points to Wade's 464.37 (although Wade leads in games led, 5-4). James overtakes the lead with a season-best 83.43 King points vs. Boston compared to Wade's season-worst 17.01.

ODDS ON PENNINGTON, DOLPHINS: Bodog.com sets an over/under Sunday of 220.5 passing yards for Chad Pennington, and 55.5 catch-yards for Randy Moss. Latest Super Bowl odds have Giants, Ravens (before Monday's loss) and Steelers at 7-1, and Jets and Packers at 8-1.   

1aadanu ON DAN UGGLA AND MARLINS: Readers know I am constantly critical of the Marlins' history of cheapness, but it does not apply here. Florida's four-year, $48 million offer to second baseman Dan Uggla is big and fair. The per-year dollars are right but Uggla demands a five-year deal. Dan says he wants to stay? So stay! Sign. If he ends up elsewhere, this one's on him, not the club.

1aadarts NFL WEEK 10 PICKS: Not sure why but I like Dolphins over Titans Sunday. Uh oh! Also like Jets and Patriots both losing so if I'm right the AFC East gets than a [your punchline here]. Click on Week 10 Gems for all this week's picks, and on Drama Kings for my Friday Page NFL column.

1aamvick ANOTHER DOLPHINS OOPS-Y?: You know how Miami said no-thanks to an available Randy Moss last week? It occurs the team stuck in another apparent QB flux also could have had Michael Vick. That would be the same Vick who leads the NFL in passer rating. The one Philadelphia wants to re-sign.

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GREG COTE: READ columns and blog in The Miami Herald and MiamiHerald.com, including general sports columns, Friday NFL predictions page and Sunday "Random Evidence" notes. FOLLOW on Twitter. WATCH for occasional appearances on ESPN's Outside the Lines and elsewhere. LISTEN on 790 The Ticket's weekly Dolphins pregame show and Tuesdays around 4:20 p.m. JOIN in live chat every Wednesday noon to 1 p.m. CONTACT at gcote@miamiherald.com.

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