1) It is FRIDAY, MAY 24. [New blogpost coming today by mid-afternoon] We're back! Blog was held hostage by technical issues yesterday but we seem to be back [Archaic Reference Alert] shining like a Mercury dime today. Thanks for the patience. 2) Pictured right: Pacers fan lends new definition to phrase, "Be Careful What You Wish For." 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 1 win, Frank Vogel's rare talent, Shula dissed in coach rank, Super Bowl shutout no big deal, Tiger-Sergio tiff, Sad-O-Meter. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote and now on Instagram at upsetbird.
LeBron tops All-NBA vote; Wade third team: Heat star LeBron James' 119 first-place votes and 595 total points -- that's unanimous, the max -- leads All-NBA first team announced today. Also on 1T: Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan. Second team: Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Marc Gasol, Tony Parker, Blake Griffin. Third team: James Harden, Dwight Howard, Heat's Dwyane Wade (145 points), David Lee, Paul George. Chris Bosh (59 points) only other Heater to get votes.
A SIX-PACK OF OBS (OBSERVATIONS) IN WAKE OF HEAT'S GAME 1 WIN: We got us a series here, children! Click on This Is More Like It for my column off last night's 103-102 Heat overtime win over Indiana in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. A few thoughts in the wake of the thriller...
1. Good coach, bad coach: Bad coach: Pacers' Frank Vogel for taking rim-defender Roy Hibbert out of the game in the crucial last minute, allowing two LeBron James drives to the hoop including the game-winner. Even Vogel second-guessed himself. Frank knows how to balance a spinning basketball on a toothbrush but did not know how to balance his defense when it mattered most last night. Start a conspiracy theory. Stand on the roof of your car and shout, VOGEL THREW THE GAME BECAUSE THE NBA WANTS HEAT TO WIN! Good coach: Miami's Erik Spoelstra, for having LeBron on his team and giving him the ball last. (Pictured: Vogel, rocking the Eddie Munster hairline, shouting back home to the folks in Indianapolis, "I MADE A REALLY, REALLY DUMB DECISION THAT REALLY COST US!")
2. Ostracized Charles Barkley: Fun, telling scene in the emptied arena near 1 a.m. as LeBron and Dwyane Wade had finished their post-game media session and were being driven away on a cart. Departing TNT analysts Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Albert stopped the cart to exchange niceties, Shaq even giving LeBron a big bear hug. Close enough to join in but conspiciously hanging back: Charles Barkley, whose criticisms in the Heat Big 3 era, and recently of Wade not being as good as he was, have estranged Chuck from the Heat's good graces.
3. Wade's quiet big game: LeBron 30 points, triple-double and game-winner rightly made the headlines, but Wade played 41 minutes, shot 9-for-15, scored 19 and chipped in six rebounds and five assists before fouling out late. If Miami can keep getting that much or close to it from Wade on a balky right knee, that'll be plenty.
4. Bird 'n the Bench: Miami's strong bench dominated Indy's weak bench in Game 1 minutes (100-48), and Pacers did not have anyone to match Chris "Birdman" Andersen's 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting. Miami really needed what it got from Bird, because key reserve Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Norris Cole were a combined 2-for-16 shooting. That won't continue. All five IND starters played 40-plus minutes. Bench play really separates these teams.
5. The board game: Indy is a great rebounding team. Miami, statistically, is not. But Heat closed an early Game 1 gap and only were out-rebounded 43-38. That's close enough to work. (How is it possible, though, that Chris Bosh only gets two rebounds? C'mon, man!)
6. Tyler Hansbrough: Cannot say I missed the Pacers' irritant of a reserve, but recalled avidly last night why he's so annoying. He'll be under somebody's skin all series, the kind of guy you want to boo (or discreetly elbow) just on general principle. Hansbrough is like a whiter Joakim Noah, but without the samurai hair-bun.
NEW HEAT SONG: "5 KINGS & A BIRDMAN": It's by local Heat fan Frank Cornelius Jr., and you might call it a sequel because during last year's playoff run he penned a rap called "Tell Mr. Stern Get Those Rings Ready." The gentleman says he is related to the old group Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose. That's good enough for us. It's too late to turn back now. And remember, fellas, treat her like a lady.
SBJ's odd choice: SportsBusiness Journal's annual award winners announced Wednesday included a curious choice for Team of the Year: Oklahoma City Thunder. Hmm. (Somebody want to inform SBJ of last year's NBA Finals result...?)
URBAN BEACH WEEKEND: Innocent visitors from Indiana in town for the Heat-Pacers series, I'd like to provide a public service by informing you that Friday through Monday in Miami Beach/South Beach is an annual Memorial Day-related extravaganza we locals like to call Utter Mayhem "Urban Beach Weekend." I would never suggest this is an area to be avoided. The weekend is expected to attract some 300,000 people. And that's just local police! No, seriously, we're talking about 300,000 visitors, many aligning themselves with the hip-hop culture and all looking to party. Other than expectations of police-involved shootings and acrid clouds of tear gas, a good time may well be had by all. The photo shown might be said to perpetuate a stereotype, except that the photo comes from a website called urbanbeachweek. Also, the people in the car are believed to be Pacers fans down from Indianapolis.
UPDATED: MARLINS SAD-O-METER: We have this new blog feature we update as long as Marlins' winning percentage is under .300 -- as long as the New York Mets' infamous 1962 record of 40-120 (.250) is within dubious reach. Well, a shutout loss last night (if that didn't go without saying) has the S-O-M back humming. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-34 (.277). Season projection, 44.81 wins, 117.19 losses.
Click back. Will be updating/adding much more to this latest blogpost...