« Live Blog Q&A / Chat has ended; next chat April 29 | Main | Wade, Birdman lift Heat as champs seize 2-0 series lead; plus my NFL Mock Draft, your vote for Dolphins' 1st-round pick (w/ poll), new Bosh film & more »

April 22, 2013

5 reasons why Game 1 win should have Heat fans feeling cockier than ever; plus biggest threat to Heat (poll) & much more

1) It is MONDAY, APRIL 22. Thanks to all of today's live blog chatters. We do it Mondays from 1-2 p.m. Now I'm back in The Herald's Mock Draft Laboratories today birthing my annual M.D. Details to come. 2) Somewhere, Ryan Tannehill is smiling as Darrelle Revis is traded from Jets to Bucs. 3)  "Stay white, Miami!" --Micky Arison, 2006. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins schedule and forecast, NBA first-round odds and picks, Branden Albert, Brittney Griner. 5) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

FIVE REASONS HEAT FANS SHOULD BE COCKIER THAN EVER: Ebulllient joy should be raging across the area after last night's 110-87 Game 1 rout of Milwaukee in the first-round playoff series. Heat fans should be cockier than Stephen A. Smith because of these five reasons:

1. LeBron James is so good it's frightening. Last night he scored 27 points on 11 shots. Is that even possible? Bucks cach Jim Boylan: "The guy is the best player in the world, so what can you do?" Bucks guard Brandon Jennings: "You fall asleep out there because you're so worried about what LeBron's gonna do." Dwyane Wade: "LeBron is in playoff mode. We like him like that."

2. Heat is now bigger than just the Big 3: D-Wade was quiet with 16 points, Chris Bosh took only seven shots and it hardly mattered. Miami no longer is a team that needs all of the Big 3 to be 'on.' As James said, "We have so many threats on the floor now, it allows me to play without stress." That stress is transferred to the opponent, because...

3. Bench and depth make Miami better: This year's new weapons, Ray Allen and fan favorite Chris "Birdman" Andersen, combined for 30 of the team's 42 bench points. Former key reserves like James Jones and Joel Anthony are stuck to the bench now. Mike Miller didn't even play last night.

4. Confidence is at an all-time high: Winning it all last year, the record-setting regular season this year. LeBron's MVP season and last night's spar from Allen/Andersen combine to make this team, right now, feeling better about itself than it ever has.

5. Milwaukee poses no threat: Heat can ease though this series and use it to hit a stride for bigger tests ahead because the Bucks, after guards Jennings and Monta Ellis, have no real third scoring threat. I mean, the center is Larry Sanders. What the hell is HBO's Garry Shandling doing as a starting center!?

* Click Milwaukee No Match for my column off Game 1. Click The Best Got Better for my column in our Heat postseason preview section. Click Random Evidence for our Sunday notes column leading with Heat playoffs and Dolphins draft making it an exciting time for Miami fans.

Heat introduce new playoff song, "Wade in the Water": Click on Wade in the Water to hear Heat's new playoff anthem, featuring the lyric, "Wade in the water, he gonna trouble the water..." 1aa1wadewater'Trouble the water,' of course, is street slang for create havoc or, in this case, dominate the postseason. OK that's the premise here. The real story: Wade in the Water is a 1950s gospel song by the Staple Singers (pictured). To imagine this old spiritual being played in the arena as pump-up music is (at least to me) funny.

G1: HEAT 110, MILWAUKEE 87: LEBRON'S 27 LEAD PLAYOFF-OPENING WIN: LeBron James' 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists led Miami in Game 1. It was close for awhile but the champions pulled away. Heat enjoyed 43 bench points, including 20 from Ray Allen, and showed last night why it is better than last season. Allen and Chris "Bird" Andersen, the two new players, played major roles. Dwyane Wade was quiet and Chris Bosh took only seven shots, but it didn't matter. Mike Miller couldn't get off the bench Sunday night. ..... Original post: Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings promised the Bucks would win this series in six games. The number of people in the United 1aa1bucksheatStates who truly believe that could convene in the bed of a Ford F-150 pickup truck and not be particularly crowded. Miami is a prohibitive betting favorite not just to win this first-round series but to win four games in a row starting with Game 1 here tonight at 7; odds of a sweep are 4-to-5. The intrigue in this series, for me, is to see how coach Erik Spoelstra's starting lineup and rotation shake out after the Big 3 of 1aa1heatseatsLeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and steady fourth starter Mario Chalmers. Will the fifth man be Udonis Haslem? Shane Battier? What will be Mike Miller's role? Will the basic rotation be pared to nine or even eight? Might we see an April Surprise such as big minutes for Joel Anthony? The better question for the moment: Can the Bucks avoid a four-game sweep? I say no. Pictured left: What arriving fans will see at the arena tonight. Pictured right: A deer in the headlights.

WHAT TEAM IS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO A HEAT REPEAT?: Sorry, but "nobody" isn't an available 1aa1heatwhanswer. Heat fans have a right to be confident/cocky with Miami a 5-to-8 betting favorite to repeat. But somebody out there poses the biggest eventual challenge, whether it's Carmelo Anthony's Knicks in the East, perhaps the Thunder or Spurs out West ... or someone else. We might all agree the answer is most likely not Milwaukee, but after that, who? Take a dip in our poll and say why. A number of the early votes are saying "somebody else." Curious who you mean. Indiana? L.A. Clippers? Share.

Heat beyond prohibitive first-round favorites: Miami is a 1-to-250 betting favorite to advance past this first round, according to Bovada. That's insane. Next biggest favorite is Oklahoma City at 1-20. Heat individual over/unders on series averages are LeBron James 27.5 points, Dwyane Wade 21.5 and Chris Bosh 16.0. For Milwaukee it's Monta Ellis 19.5 and Brandon Jennings 16.5.

1aa1brawlTHE LIST: HEAT PLAYOFF HISTORY: This is the first time Miami has faced Milwaukee in the postseason, making Bucks the 15th different opponent Miami has met. Heat playoff opponents, ranked by total number of postseason games:

Games   Opp.   Heat W-L (Series)   Years

29      NY Knicks         15-14 (2-3)     97-98-99-00-12

26      CHI Bulls            9-17 (2-4)     92-96-97-06-07-11

17      BOS Celtics        9-8 (2-1)       10-11-12

16      DET Pistons      10-6 (2-1)      00-05-06

12      IND Pacers         6-6 (1-1)      04-12

12      DAL Mavericks   6-6 (1-1)      06-11

12      ATL Hawks        5-7 (0-2)      94-09

9        NJ Nets             8-1 (2-0)      05-06

7        NO Hornets       4-3 (1-0)      04

5        OKC Thunder     4-1 (1-0)       12

5        PHI 76ers          4-1 (1-0)       11

5        ORL Magic        3-2 (1-0)       97

4        WAS Wizards    4-0 (1-0)      05

3        CHA Hornets     0-3 (0-1)      01

NOTE: Heat's six seven-games series have been in 1997 (Won/Knicks); 2000 (Lost/Knicks); 2004 (Won/Hornets); 2005 (Lost/Pistons); 2009 (Lost/Hawks); and 2012 (Won/Celtics).

1aa1dwade46THE LIST II: HEAT PLAYOFF RECORDS: Individual Heat postseason game records in eight major statistical categories across the franchise's 25-year history:

Category       Record     Player               Set

Points             46       Dwyane Wade     2010 vs. BOS

Field goals      19       LeBron James     2012 vs. BOS

Free throws    21        Dwyane Wade    2006 vs. DAL

3-pointers        7        Damon Jones '05 v. NJ & Mike Miller '12 v. OKC

Rebounds       20       Rony Seikaly '94 v. ATL & Shaq. O'Neal '06 v. CHI

Assists          15         Dwyane Wade     2005 vs. WAS

Steals             6         LeBron James    2012 vs. IND

Blocks             9         Alonzo Mourning  2000 vs. DET

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

Comments