« April 2013 | Main | June 2013 »

19 posts from May 2013

May 31, 2013

Best/worst: Miami having both LeBron James & Jeffrey Loria is our deal with the devil; plus Birdman suspended!, Prancerise, Exxxotica & more

1) It is SATURDAY, JUNE 1. Watch for our Heat-Pacers Game 6 post from Indianapolis by early-mid- afternooon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 5 win, Heat biggest-problem poll, LeBron fined, Hands-Free Whopper Holder, Armando Salguero, Sad-O-Meter.

TWITTER: @gregcote. INSTAGRAM: upsetbird. VINE: Greg Cote.

Birdman suspended by NBA from Game 6: David (Gramps) Stern did not like Chris (Birdman) Andersen shoving Indiana's Tyler (Annoying) Hansbrough last night. He "should have been ejected," the commissioner said Friday. "A serious review of his activities is called for." That suggested a possible suspension from Game 6 Saturday -- which the league handed down today. Will likely mean more minutes for Joel (Forgotten) Anthony.

Click on The Heat's Big 1 for my column off Game5.

THE BEST AND THE WORST. MIAMI HAS BOTH ON FULL DISPLAY: Mentioning Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in the same sentence as Heat superstar LeBron James is a bit like spooning a pile of dog poo onto the plate beside the filet mignon, but it occurs to me Miami has the absolute best and worst in all of sports -- the greatest of all and the most vilified of any -- and that both men are on full display right 1aa1jameslebnow, doing what they do. Last night, LeBron's 30 points and tour de force third quarter were carrying the Heat to a 3-2 Eastern Conference finals lead over Indiana and closer to a second straight NBA championship, just the freshest evidence that nobody in any American sport is greater or more dominant than LeBron right now. Around the same time, the 1aa1loriajeffMarlins team ruined by the hated owner Loria was losing a ninth consecutive game and is now on pace to lose more than even the woe-standard '62 Mets. (See our Sad-O-Meter feature below for the unfortunate quantification). Loria somehow thought he could get away with betraying the public who built him a new ballpark by decimating his team payroll again. He either thought his cheap, minor-league-quality roster would somehow win or that fans would blindly show up anyway. He's been dead wrong on both counts. Loria has made the Marlins a laughingstock and left fans no choice but to count days until he is gone. Sports' two extremes -- both ours. You know what, though? If this is our deal with the devil, we'll take it right? If I told you the new stadium had transformed Loria into a big-spending, likeable owner of a competitive ballclub but that meant LeBron never took his talents to South Beach ... would you make that trade? Joy is more powerful than heartache in the sports arena. Happiness trumps anger. Among all of the benefits and pleasures of calling LeBron James our own, there is this: The success he embodies and pride he brings to South Florida make it a little easier to stomach -- or better yet ignore -- Loria and his kingdom in ruins.

SAD-O-METER: NINE LOSSES IN ROW HAVE MARLINS HURTLING TO IGNOMINY!: We have this new blog 1aa1bbsadfeature 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, nine straight losses now have the S-O-M exploding on record pace. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-41 (.241). Season projection, 39.0 wins, 123.0 losses.

1aa1pranceMEET 'PRANCERISE': A strange-looking woman with 1970s Texas hair (pictured) has developed an exercise program called Prancercise. It is the marriage of slow jogging and fey dance steps to a little bit of an equine beat. (Or is it a cameltoe beat? OY!) Click HERE for the video but be warned: It as as creepy as it is unintentionally funny, and you may never be the same for having watched it. It would be bizarre to see a woman in a park actually doing this. The word has not yet been invented for what it would be like to see a man doing this.

1aa1teaganpEXXXOTICA EXPO: The annual festival devoted to sex (and if necessary, love) moves from South Beach this year to the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale today through Sunday. Pictured: Adult-film star Teagan Presley rocking the Birdman-like tats. Odds Teagan Presley has heard of Chris Andersen: 15-to-1.   

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

May 30, 2013

G5: Heat 90, Pacers 79: LeBron to the rescue as Miami seizes 3-2 lead; plus Heat poll, LeBron fined, hands-free Whopper, Salguero & more

1aa1cote1) It is THURSDAY, MAY 30. Have Dolphins' May practices ever seemed less important? A Heat title run will do that. 2) Thanks to ESPN SportsCenter for having us on to discuss Heat last evening. Dined at a local sports bar soon after and was jarred to see my interview replayed on a big screen. Cheap thrill, yet I found myself hiding behind a menu. Weird. My son took this pic. 3) Watched 'Behind the Candelabra' last night, the Liberace biopic with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and found it creepily interesting. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 4 loss, St. Elmo's shrimp cocktail, LeBron as QB, Marlins Sad-O-Meter. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote and now on Instagram at upsetbird.

UM's Morris out for regional baseball opener: Miami coach Jim Morris, still not cleared after a bout with pneumonia, will miss UM's Friday opener vs. Oklahoma State in the NCAA Regional in Louisville. Gino DiMare will take over. Morris hopers to be there for Miami's second game and we wish him well. 

Want to work for LeBron James?: LeBron's people are seeking college interns for jobs related to online content development and digital sports marketing. Click here for more.

G5: HEAT 90, PACERS 79: LEBRON'S 30 POINTS LIFT MIAMI: LeBron James led the way with 30 points but it was a magical third quarter of his -- 16 points and a hand in 25 of Miami's 30 overall -- that proved the difference. Udonis Haslem also came up big with 16 on 8-for-9 shooting. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for only 17 points but LeBron made sure that didn't matter on this night. Miami now with a 3-2 series lead entering Saturday's game in Indianapolis. Look for my game column online. ..... Original post: [Bulletin: Retiring soccer heartthrob David Beckham wil attend tonight's Heat game. No. No, he will not sign your underwear, sir! Now on to our G5 preview...] There really is no in-between here tonight, is there? If Miami wins for a 3-2 Eastern Conference finals lead, 1aa1heatpacersorder is restored and the Earth is back on its axis -- the Heat returns to likely repeat-champion-favorite status. But if Miami loses at home to put itself on the brink of elimination? If the Heat lose consecutive 1aa1g5games for the first time since early January? Oh my. Sky falling! Game 5 winners historically go on to win a 7-game series about 85 percent of the time, although Miami experienced it both ways in last year's playoff. The Pacers series also was 2-2 last ear, Miami won G5 and the series. But Miami then trailed 3-2 vs. Boston but still advanced. Suffice to say tonight is major-important, and that the keys for the Heat are pretty broad and simple: shoot better than that awful 39 percent in Game 4, get the rebounding differential a lot closer than 39-20, and get a lot more efficiency from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh than their combined 6-21 shooting in the last game. For the first time in this postseason I feel like there  may be more pressure on Miami than the opponent to perform tonight. This is a Heat team with great resolve and the ability to bounce back. Let's see them prove it.

FLASH POLL: 3-POI NT SHOOTING IS WHAT MOST NEEDS TO IMPROVE FOR HEAT VS. PACERS SERIES: A Flash Poll is a temporary poll meant to take a quick pulse. The question was what individual or facet of the Heat has most disappointed and/or most needs to get better in this Eastern Conference finals that continues tied 2-2 with Game 5 tonight in Miami. You may still vote, but the results are 3-point shooting 33.3 percent, rebounding 21.0%, Dwyane Wade 20.9%, Chris Bosh 18.7% and "other" 6.9%.

LEBRON, TWO PACERS FINED FOR FLOPPING: NBA today announced $5,000 fines to Heat's LeBron James and Pacers' David West and Lance Stephenson for flops during Game 4 in Indy. You flopping. It's when a player is lightly touched and theatrically falls as if gut-punched. A $5,000 fine! Isn't that cute!? You know how much 5K is to LeBron? It's about like you or I being pulled over for speeding and the ticket costs us 25 cents. Why bother.  

1aa1hfree2 1aa1hfree"SURE I LOVE TO EAT. I JUST CAN'T BE BOTHERED HOLDING MY FOOD!": Miami-born Burger King has developed a Hands-Free Whopper Holder that it is currently test-marketing in Puerto Rico. This is a blog. I couldn't say if if it weren't true. Step aside, Electric Toothbrush, this may be the new epitome in unnecessary products. I mean, how obsessed are you with multi-tasking if you can't be bothered using your hands to take a bite? The invention is pictured left, and seen right in action.

ME, ME, ME (DID I MENTION ME?): You obviously found my blog and you may know by now I'm on Twitter 1aa1insta 1aa1vine@gregcote. So I wanted to tell you about three new projects. 1) I'm now on Instagram as upsetbird sharing photos (many but not all work-related). 2) I'll very soon be on Vine as Greg Cote sharing 6-second videos. There already is a waiting list of followers; thank you! 3) Any fans out there of the old Staple Singers or of the R&B/gospel/funk of their enduring voice? If so follow on Twitter @Mavis_Staples. You are invited to follow any or all of these three new ventures.

ON THE SALGUERO CONTROVERSY: I was going to leave this alone until one too many emails or comments to me suggested my colleague Armando Salguero is un-American, should be fired or both. I'd vote neither. The controversy (click here) is that Armando and a reader got into an email back-and-forth that grew emotional and childish, and ended with him accusing the Vietnam veteran reader of "sucking as a soldier" and losing the war. The Herald's executive editor, no less, has apologized publicly, and so has Armando. None of us is perfect, and life is less about mistakes than about lessons learned. We move on.

SAD-O-METER: EIGHT LOSSES IN ROW DISMAL EVEN FOR MARLINS!: We have this new blog feature we 1aa1bbsadupdate 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, eight straight losses now have the S-O-M exploding on record pace. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-40 (.245). Season projection, 39.74 wins, 122.26 losses.

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

May 28, 2013

G4: Pacers 99, Heat 92: Miami's Big 3 must be bigger still; plus LeBron on SI cover, Spurs waiting, St. Elmo's, exploding Sad-O-Meter & more

Me on SportsCenter: Further proof TV is not just for the telegenic: I'll be on ESPN's SportsCenter talking Heat today at 6 p.m.

1aa1jamesl1) It is WEDNESDAY, MAY 29. LeBron James on the cover (right) of the new Sports Illustrated. Timing would have been better had he heroically led a win last night. Guess SI couldn't arrange it. 2) Thanks to Le Batard for the chaotic, awkward radio appearance(s) yesterday. Always fun! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 3 win, Heat how-concerned poll, Dolphins win projection, Marlins Sad-O-Meter. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote and now on Instagram at upsetbird.

Click on Big 3 Must Be Even Bigger for my column from Indianapolis on last night's Game 4 Heat loss.

Sweepin' Spurs await East winner: Impressive San Antonio completed a four-game sweep of Memphis last night in the Western Conference finals and awaits the Heat-Pacers winner. No matter how/when this East series ends, the NBA Finals will start June 6 in Miami. That means San Antonio, last in the Finals in 2007, will have 10 days' rest. (On the other hand, it means the elderly Spurs will be 10 days older).

G4: PACERS 99, HEAT 92: MIAMI SHOOTS 39%, IS DOMINATED ON BOARDS: It wasn't that LeBron James fouled out with 56 seconds left on a very questionable call. That's convenient as excuses go, but I'd sooner look to 39 percent shooting and a 49-30 rebounding differential favoring the home Pacers Tuesday. The Big 3 was not big. LeBron was below his averages for points, rebounds and assists and had little of the low-post presence and force he'd had the prvious game. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were far worse, a combined 6-for-21 shooting. I still like Miami's chances in this Eastern Conference finals now tied 2-2, with two of the next three at home and because the Big 3 have earned the faith to expect a rebound performance Thursday. It just got interesting, though. ..... Original post: Indiana coach Frank Vogel coined an interesting phrase, referring to the Heat's "big fourth." He says Miami is most dangerous, almost 1aa1heatpacersunstoppable when, in addition to the Big 3, someone else arises 1aa1g4offensively like Udonis Haslem did in Game 3. Or like Birdman Andersen has throughout this postseason. Or like Ray Allen or Shane Battier on a night when the 3's are dropping. Then, it isn't just LeBron. Who will tonight's Big Fourth be? Miami is the first team in NBA history to win five straight playoff road games by 10-or-more points. A win tonight by any margin will mean the series is effectively over. The Heat know it. A 3-1 lead with two games left in Miami would give Indy all but zero chance. "We have an opportunity to control the series," coach Erik Spoelstra admitted Monday. Now let's see if they can.

1aa1elmoDESTINATION: SHRIMP COCKTAIL: My mouth waters as I type that I'll swing by St. Elmo's on the walk to the arena today for their world-famous shrimp cocktail with fiery sauce. You talk about a pregame meal! Was disappointed to find the place closed yesterday for Memorial Day. Today, I shall not be denied! [Postscript: Had the 'tail. Sublime!].

LEBRON A QB? NO PROB, SAYS LEBRON: Former NFL quarterback and broadcaster Joe Theismann, 1aa1lebqbbored pimping for a men's bladder-control product, made media rounds this week suggesting LeBron James could be an NFL QB. LeBron, never lacking confidnece and a two-year receiver in high school, took the qauestion seriously when asked Monday. "I have the ability," he said. "I can see and read plays. I know defenses and things if that nature. So I would have been pretty good." Best things about that last sentence? The past-tense.

1aa1bbsadSAD-O-METER: MARLINS NOW OFFICIALLY ON RECORD LOSS PACE: 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, seven straight losses now have S-O-M exploding on record pace. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-39 (.250). Season projection, 40.5 wins, 121.5 losses.

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

May 25, 2013

G3: Heat 114, Pacers 96: Haslem the spark as champs strike back with balance for 2-1 lead; plus Heat poll, Dolphins projection, Sad-O-Meter & more

1) It is MONDAY, MAY 27. It is Memorial Day. Thank you to all who have served our country in the military, past and present. 2) Click on Random Evidence for my latest Sunday notes column, leading with Heat-Pacers. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat's Game 2 loss, Heath Evans' Dolphins-bashing, A-Rod's big sale. 4) I Tweeted a 36-second video of LeBron James' pregame stretch to a Drama/Ludracris tune. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote and now on Instagram at upsetbird.

"Can we the media please stop handing a soapbox and megaphone to imprisoned Nevin Shapiro!? Please?" --Greg Cote

Click on Answering Doubters, Answering Everything for my column off last night's Heat win.

G3: HEAT 114, PACERS 96: HUGE TEAM EFFORTS PUTS MIAMI BACK IN CHARGE: One-man show LeBron James needed support and Udonis Haslem raised his hand highest, with 17 points on surreal 8-for-9 shooting Sunday night in a 114-96 Heat win that gives Miami a 2-1 lead in the Eastern finals. LeBron would score 22 and again display a do-what's-needed mentality, aggressively foraying into the paint with more low-post play than we've seen from him in a while. Dwyane Wade scored an active 18. Chris Bosh hit big shots early. Birdman Andersen (4-for-4, 9 points) continued his torrid postseason. Just a huge all-round team win, with a 70-point first half reminding all how dominant Miami can be when it plays well. See link to my game column above. Original post: San Antonio is breezing 3-0 over Memphis out West, but the East is beastly in the NBA, with reigning champion Miami tied 1-1 and facing two straight in Indianapolis starting tonight. Public faith in the Heat 1aa1heatindreflected in betting lines is not yet abandoned, with Miami a 1- to 1.5- 1aa1g3point favorite tonight despite Pacers having momentum and being 6-0 at home in the playoffs. South Florida's faith in the Heat seems to have taken a hit, though, as reflected in the poll results below that indicate a plurality of more than 43 percent of respondents call themselves "very concerned" that the Heat might not advance past Pacers. Even if you factor in a sizable number of votes from Indiana skewing results somewhat, the poll still indicates real concern by Heat fans. That concern could pivot toward panic with another loss tonight. Miami simply must have two or three guys step up in a big way to help one-man-show LeBron James. Talking to you, Dwyane Wade. Talking to you, Shane Battier and Ray Allen on 3's. Talking to you, Chris Bosh (especially in rebounding). Miami's BIg 3 era was forged on skeptics and doubts and the team tends to respond when pushed. As Chris Bosh said after Game 2, "Our backs are against the wall, and I think this is what we need right now." We're about to find out if he's right.

Note: The vast majority of poll votes below were cast after the Game 1 loss and before last night's win. Amazing how the mindset has changed overnight, isn't it?

HOW CONCERNED SHOULD THE HEAT AND THEIR FANS BE RIGHT NOW?: Original post, following Game 2: I'll admit, this probably is not a question that lends itself to an honest answer. Not right now, when the loss is still raw. Not right now, when the reality of a 1-1 Eastern Conference finals heading to Indiana is still being fathomed. And maybe 1aa1heatfanespecially not here, where a poll will draw mostly Heat fans who may or may not be able to answer with total honesty. But we'll give it a shot anyway. I'll count on Heat fans to try to shed their fan's skin and answer as if they were neutral observers looking at this Heat-Pacers matchup from the outside. Me, I still like Miami's chances. I think the Heat will win one of the next two to wrest back home-court advantage. But I also think Indiana poses a grave risk of ending Miami's repeat-title dreams. The Big 3-era Heat were forged on doubt and are accustomed to outside panic after trailing in three playoff rounds a year ago. As Chris Bosh said around midnight last night, "Our backs are against the wall and I think this is what we need right now." He may be right. But mindset and will won't get it done if the Heat can't limit Roy Hibbert' s inside dominance. Mindset and will won't be enough if LeBron James doesn't start getting a lot more help from his teammates, fast. Where is your head at as a 1-1 series moves on to Indianapolis? Vote and say why.

DOLPHINS, AFC EAST WIN PROJECTIONS: Dolfans, Las Vegas says you should maybe hold off on that "Super Bowl!" chant. Bovada's win over/unders for AFC East are Patriots 11.5, Dolphins 7.5 and Bills and Jets both 6.5. Pats' projection ties Broncos and 49ers for NFL-best. Low is Jaguars at 5.

SAD-O-METER: MARLINS NOW VIRTUALLY AT RECORD-LOSS PACE: We have this new blog feature we update as 1aa1bbsadlong 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, four straight losses now have S-O-M purring ever closer to record pace. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-36 (.265). Season projection, 42.98 wins, 119.02 losses.

Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost. And I'm not just saying that...

May 24, 2013

G2: Pacers 97, Heat 93: Series tied 1-1 heading to Indy because LeBron needs more help; plus A-Rod's big sale, Heath Evans is evil & more

1aa1bobd1) It is SATURDAY, MAY 25. Happy 72nd birthday (on Friday) to Robert Allen Zimmerman, one of my musical and cultural heroes. Long live Bob Dylan! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): A 6-pack of observations on Heat Game 1 win, LeBron unanimous All-NBA, new Heat song, Urban Beach Weekend, Sad-O-Meter. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote and now on Instagram at upsetbird.

Click on LeBron: Help Wanted for my column off Miami's Game 2 loss.

G2: PACERS 97, HEAT 93: LEBRON'S 36 NOT ENOUGH AS SERIES TIED 1-1: Miami was too much a one-man show last night, with LeBron scoring 36 points but not getting enough help. James' two late turnovers were crucial mistakes, but it wouldn't have come down to frantic last possessions if more teammates had stepped up to augment James' effort. Miami made only 7 of 22 three-pointers, missed eight free throws, got out-rebounded, had more turnovers and had no answers in defending Roy Hibbert, who had 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting. Original post: Whether Miami was "lucky" to win Game 1 (103-102 in OT on a last-second LeBron layup) -- undoubtedly the cry out of Indianapolis -- is irrelevant. Whether by 30 points or one, the series is 1-0 Miami. Tonight is when the claim to series 1aa1heatpacers2 1aa1heatpacerscontrol is staked. Miami must win to keep it, because Indiana will feel like it is their's if the Pacers are 1-1 heading to two straight games up there. I like Miami to protect the home court again, mainly because the Heat 1aa1g2are unlikely to again see Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Norris Cole a combined 2-for-17. Miami needs a bench beyond Birdman Andersen, who was the team's non-LeBron MVP in Game 1. By the way, the Heat-Pacers G1 national TV rating of 8.2 nearly doubled the 4.7 average from the first two games in the Western finals. That's the power and draw of LeBron and champion Miami. Oh, and I found it funny that Indy center Roy Hibbert took to whining on Twitter about a foul committed against him by Battier, writing, "That wasn't inadvertant. Battier knew what he was doing." I would think Roy's larger complaint would be against his own coach, Frank Vogel, for illogically taking him out of the game in the final minute, a move that backfired like a 1979 pickup truck.

HEATH EVANS' DOLPHINS-BASHING A TIRED ACT: It has become apparent NFL Network analyst Heath Evans (right) has an axe to grind (left) against the Dolphins. Dolfans who didn't blink might recall Evans 1aa1heathe
1aa1axebarely played fullback for Miami in 2005, appearing as a reserve in six games, carrying once for zero yards. Apparently being cut at midseason is something he has not forgotten. Evans' latest tirade came Thursday on WINZ-940, when he ripped every decision GM Jeff Ireland has made this offseason, saying irrationally of No. 1 draft pick Dion Jordan, "Any time he's in the game, he's a liability." The trouble is some of us in the media treat what Evans says as newsworthy. It's drivel. The only thing newsworthy about what Evans said yesterday is that he said it on a Dolphins-owned radio show. It was like hearing the Pope booed at Sunday Mass. Evans' Dolphins-bashing has become unprofessionally personal and so tired. My suggestion for Heath would borrow from the immortal words of Pat Riley: "Shut the f--- up."

1aa1arodA-ROD SELLS MIAMI SHACK FOR $30 MILLION: He was neighbors with the likes of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and actor Matt Damon before closing on the sale Friday. Now, for all we know, poor Yankee Alex Rodriguez is on the street, homeless. The place he just sold is pictured. It is very similar to my own home, other than it being about 51,000-square feet bigger and including nine bedrooms, 11 baths, European white-oak flooring, and a zen garden, rooftop deck and indoor batting cage. Unfortunately for A-Rod, the mansion's amenities do not include a hip that works.

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

May 23, 2013

Bad coach, sad Chuck: A six-pack of obs on Heat's Game 1 thriller; plus new Heat song, LeBron's latest honor, Urban Beach Week, Sad-O-Meter & more

1aa1bring1) 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...

1aa1frankv1. 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. 

1aa1birdca4. 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!

1aa1hanst6. 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 1aa1urbanin 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 1aa1bbsadas 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...

May 22, 2013

G1: Heat 103, Pacers 102 (OT). LeBron does it again!; plus poll disses Shula, Super Bowl vote no big deal, Tiger v. Sergio & more

BLOG NOTE: Not sure who is seeing this and who isn't, or whether glitches are contained. My blog is among a few at MiamiHerald.com that have been wracked by technical issues all day, a problem not yet entirely resolved. My understanding is the blog may be accessed from some smart-phones and tablets (etc.), but not always from PCs or laptops. Hopefully we'll be fully back up soon. Apologies in the meantime.

1) It is WEDNESDAY, MAY 22. "Stay white, Miami!" --Micky Arison, 2006. Watch for our Heat-Pacers Game 1 post right here by around mid-afternoon. 2) Gut feeling. Newly retired Brian Urlacher is not a Hall of Famer, although it's arguable. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miami suffers Super Bowl shutout, fishing with Lauren Tannehill, Chicago pays off Heat bet, Sad-O-Meter. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

I'm now on Instagram. Follow at user name: upsetbird

Spurs up 2-0 in West: Miami's presumptive foe in the NBA Finals is looking like San Antonio now, although Memphis indicated in last night's overtime loss that it can enter next two home games with confidence.

Click on No Drama, Just Dominance for today's preview column by me on the Heat-Pacers series. I pick Miami in five games.

1aa1absG1: HEAT 103, PACERS 102 (OT): LEBRON'S 30 POINTS, BUZZER-BEATER LIFT MIAMI: Wild, ultimately thrilling night downtown, with LeBron James' 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists lifting Miami -- and his driving layup winning it as time expired. THIS is why he's the best, the NBA's MVP. Game 2 here Friday. Makes you wonder if this loss will leave Indiana dispirited, or feeling it can win this series. I suspect the latter. After two lopsided series, it feels like the playoffs have finally begun! (Watch for game column online). ..... Original post: As I count the reasons Miami will beat Indiana in five games in the Eastern Conference finals starting here tonight, I must include the reason embodied by these two 1aa1indmia 1aa1g1players as they enjoy an off  day with their families on South Beach. The Heat has superior abs. Our players' six-packs are eight-packs. It helps that the abs shown happen to be attached to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, two other reasons to favor the Heat. Miami also leads Indiana in beaches. On a more serious note, the Pacers' weakness is their bench, a Miami strength. Also think Indy's penchant for protecting the paint will open up 3-point shots for the Heat. It'll be interesting to see if Chris Bosh can draw Roy Hibbert out of his comfort zone, and also how effective LeBron will be against an unusually strong defender in Paul George, who bothered James into 14 turnovers in three regular season meetings.

1aa1vogelYEAH BUT PACERS DOMINATE HEAT IN COACHES WHO CAN SPIN A BASKETBALL WHILE BRUSHING TEETH: Indiana coach Frank Vogel did this on David Letterman's "Stupid Human Tricks" segment as an 8th-grader in 1986. Click HERE to see the video.

SHULA 5TH-GREATEST COACH: DISS, OR FAIR?: It's an ESPN poll to select the 20 greatest NFL coaches from a ballot of 50. Bearing in mind that Don Shula has won more games than anybody, I thought it odd that the initial graphic for the poll showed Tom Landry front and center, flanked on one side by Vince Lombardi and Chuck Noll, and on the other by Bill Belichick and Bill Walsh on the other. (No Shula). When last I checked the voting, Shula was running in fifth place after (in order) Lombardi, Walsh, Belichick and Noll. Rounding out the top 10, after Shula, were Landry, Paul Brown, Joe Gibbs, George Halas and Bill Parcells. Also of note, Jimmy Johnson was running in 13th place.

POLL RESULT: DEAR NFL: KEEP YOUR SUPER BOWLS. WE DON'T CARE ALL THAT MUCH: Oh, the Dolphins and South Florida businesses care that Greater San Francisco and Houston beat Miami for the 2016 and '17 Super Bowls, for sure. But the South Florida infantry of citizens and Dolphins fans? Not so much. We asked in the previous blogpost how important it is to you that SoFla host a Super Bowl. The results: "Very important," 33.4 percent. "Somewhat important," 19.0 percent. "Not important at all unless the Dolphins are in it," 47.6 percent.

HERE'S A HOLE. CRAWL IN IT, SERGIO: This Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia tiff is lowering itself to 1aa1golftsdeliciousness. Golf is rarely this much fun. Sergio escalated the unfriendliness 1aa1crowsgyesterday when he was asked kiddingly if he'd be inviting Tiger over for dinner and said, "He can come over every night . We'll serve fried chicken." (To Sergio's credit, at least he didn't include watermelon for dessert). Sergio later apologized, sort of, lamely saying, "There was no way the comment was meant in a racist manner." (Really, Serg? Seriously!?) Tiger justifiably Tweeted that the comment was "wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate." Garcia is pictured at left eating KFC (Kentucky Fried Crow). Quick scorecard: Woods, 14 career majors. Garcia, zero majors, zero class.

1aa1bbsadMARLINS SAD-O-METER BACK ON TRACK: 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. After an aberrant two-game winning streak, yesterday's loss has the S-O-M back on track. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-33 (.283). Season projection, 45.78 wins, 116.22 losses.

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

May 21, 2013

Super Bowl shutout for Miami! Do you care much? Poll. Vote!; plus fishing with Lauren T., Heat-Pacers poll result, Chicago pays for lost bet & more

1) It is WEDNESDAY, MAY 22. Condolences and thoughts to the victims and loved ones of the terrible Oklahoma tornado tragedy. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Yapping Frank Vogel, Heat-Pacers series preview, MIA-IND poll, Sad-O-Meter. 3) Apparently Reshad Jones has showed up at Dolphins camp. OH THANK GOD!! 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

Me on Instagram: User name is Upsetbird in case anyone wishes to follow. Photos will be partly personal, partly work-related, occasionally embarrassing, mostly unneccesary.

"Our players' names." -- Pacers coach Frank Vogel, when asked on 790 The Ticket what was the most unknown thing about his team.

Poll glitch: Note, more than 150 of the first votes cast in the Super Bowl poll below do not appear in the results shown below. However, we have them and they'll be included in the final results reported. The results that do not appear were 52 votes for "very important," 30 votes for "somewhat important" and 69 votes for "not important unless Dolphins are in it." Keep voting. Thanks.

SOUTH FLORIDA RESIDENTS (FANS) REALLY CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT HOSTING A SUPER BOWL?: [Miami loses to Santa Clara for SB 50 and to Houston for SB 51, as expected] Original post: Games will be awarded today at 2 p.m., live on NFL Network] Dolphins executives and South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee folks are in Boston today for the NFL league vote on awarding Super Bowls 1aa1sb5050 and 51, the 2016 and '17 games. Santa Clara, CA/49ers is a huge favorite to defeat Miami/Dolphins for the prestigious Golden Anniversary game. The loser (almost certainly us) will then face Houston/Texans for the other game. Miami is more competitive for thatone, but I'd guess Houston wins it after the Dolphins spent the past several months complaining how we'd never get another SB without stadium renovations, which were rejected. (Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy). These votes are very important to the Dolphins and to the local business and tourism communities; hotels and major restaurants have a vested interest. But how important are these votes to you? To the average citizen or fan? I wonder about about that. I think SoFla cares intensely that the Dolphins are in another Super Bowl, but not so much whether the game is played here or not. Am I right? Tell me, and the Dolphins. Vote and say why.

1aa1laurenfish 1aa1laurenfishFISHING WITH LAUREN TANNEHILL: The recent FinsWeekend annual fundraiser is a major fundraiser for the Miami Dolphins Foundation and this year raised more than $700,000 for local charities. We here at the Random Evidence blog like to support those great causes particularly when it provides an opportunity to run a photo of blog favorite Lauren Tannehil. Part of the event included a fishing tournament, and here Lauren is pictured at left holding a large fish and standing next to quarterback-husband Ryan. It is a beautiful photograph, courtesy the Dolphins. At right, that same photo is made even more beautiful by creative cropping.

1aa1jackbountyUPDATE: CHICAGO SETTLES BET WITH HEAT'S 'GOOD EFFORT KID': Told you during the Heat-Bulls series about a bet involving Chicago radio station WGN and Jack Meyer, 10, of Coral Gables. Jack came to attention in last year's playoffs for consoling players with "Good job! Good effort!" following a loss. The bet: A Chicago deep-dish pizza and 20 Chicago-style hot dogs against a Cadillac from Jack's uncle's dealership. (That's how confident Jack was). He won, of course. The station paid up. The photo is proof.

Poll results: Heat beats Pacers in 6: We asked and you said Heat in 6 games by a 45.4 percent plurality, with Miami winning in 5 games at 33.2%. Much smaller numbers see Heat sweeping in 4 games (5.4%) or winning in 7 games (4.3%). The other 11.9 percent see Indiana winning. Predictably the second-most votes after Florida have come from Indiana, and 88.3% of the overall votes for the Pacers are from that state.

TWO-GAME WIN STREAK THREATENS SAD-O-METER: We have this new blog feature we update as long 1aa1bbsadas 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, two straight wins are imperiling the S-O-M. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 13-32 (.289). Season projection, 46.8 wins, 115.2 losses.

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

May 19, 2013

Frank Vogel, professional irritant, spices Heat-Pacers series; plus predict MIA-IND winner. Poll. Vote; also, Spurs take G1, Marlins win & more


1) It is MONDAY, MAY 20. Happy birthday, Eldest Offspring. Love you! 2) R.I.P., Ray Manzarek of The Doors, player of the iconic keyboard on "Light My Fire." 3) Maybe I'm too cynical, but Dolphins safety Reshad Jones missing a May workout day in a contract tiff -- I don't give a crap! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): It's Heat-Pacers, Heat title odds, Preakness, Wade goes to prom, Chad Johnson, Sad-O-Meter. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

Heat prohibitive faves over Pacers: Bovada as of today has Miami a 2-15 favorite to win the Eastern finals over Indiana, which is 21-4. Individual series scoring-leader over/unders are Heat's LeBron James at 26.5 points and Indy's Paul George at 18.5.

Spurs take Game 1 of Western finals: Miami's presumed eventual NBA Finals opponent looks more solidly like San Antonio today after the Spurs dominated Game 1 at home vs. Memphis, 105-83. 

Marlins win! Marlins win!: Fish beat visiting Arizona yesterday 2-1 to end a seven-game losing streak, thanks to Ricky Nolasco's 11 strikeouts in eight-plus innings. See updated Sad-O-Meter below.

VOGEL YAPS AS INDIANA IS UP NEXT ON HEAT'S 2013 UPPER-MIDWEST ANNIHILATION TOUR: I'd almost forgotten what a little irritant Pacers coach Frank Vogel (pictured) is. He has the Heat's attention after 1aa1fvogelsaying of Miami, "They're the next team that's in our way, and that's how we're approaching it." Granted, the comment is fairly benign. But everything this time of year is magnified and heard as if it were shouted, and so LeBron James has found a way to take umbrage and use Vogel's remarks as fuel. "We're not just another team," said James, interpreting Vogel 's comments as a dismissive insult to Miami. History: Vogel wasa fined 15K by the NBA a year ago for calling the Heat the biggest "floppers" in the league. The latest exchange is mighty tepid as "War of Words" go, but it's enough to construct the new framework for this series: Lil' Pacers feeling saucy, big Heat intending to put them in their place. Can't wait! Original post: First, Milwaukee fell. Then, Chicago. On deck, Indiana, with Game 1 of the Eastern finals Wednesday night in Miami. Fate 1aa1ecfhas the Heat mowing through the upper Midwest to get back to the NBA Finals. Milwaukee was an easy 4-0 sweep. Chicago was a lot harder, but, bottom line, still a 4-1 breeze. Indiana figures to be a more difficult; to the point, more difficult than New York would have been. The Knicks are a one-man show (Carmelo Anthony) and below-average on the defensive end. Indiana rebounds better, defends much better and has a player (Paul George) who bothered LeBron James into 15 turnovers in three regular-season meetings. Plainly, NYK would have been an easier opponent. There were other reasons to wish the Knicks were the next opponent. From a fans' viewpoint, the Knicks presented a sexier foe as Miami's biggest rival. Oppositely, the Pacers are star-less and not an historic rival (though last year's playoff meeting was contentious). Heat fans may be feeling cheated of the opportunity to watch boorish Knicks fans and No. 1 cheerleader Spike Lee turned sad by defeat. From the vantage of Your Friend the Media, well, would you rather spend a few days in New York City or in Indianapolis? Exactly! As I mention in my Sunday notes column, New York is The City That Never Sleeps. Indianapolis is The City That Makes Me Sleepy. But it is what it is, as they say, so the 2013 Upper Midwest Annihilation Tour marches on. How do you see this series going? Vote and say why:

Poll result: We wanted Knicks, not Pacers: We asked, and seven out of 10 voters preferred the Heat face the Knicks next rather than the Pacers. When last we checked it was 69.98 percent landlside for New York, and 30.02% for Indiana.

SAD-O-METER: MARLINS NOW ON RECORD PACE FOR LOSSES: We have this new blog feature we 1aa1bbsadupdate 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, seven straight losses pushed Miami beyond that 120-loss pace, but yesterday's win worked in the reverse. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 12-32 (.273). Season projection, 44.18 wins, 117.82 losses.

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

May 16, 2013

It's Indiana! Heat-Pacers in East finals; plus Heat bigger faves than ever to repeat, D-Wade prom video, Oxbow, Sad-O-Meter & more

1aa1mando1) It is SATURDAY, MAY 18. Sesame Street is introducing a new character named Armando or "Mando," which may or may not be an homage to Herald sports writer Armando Salguero. Mando is pictured at right. (Is it me or do half of the Sesame Street characters sort of look like this?) 2) Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle dead at 71 of reported suicide. Sad story. All-time great name, Dick Trickle, but a sad story. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Game 5 win, Wade health poll, LeBron No. 2 in money, most disappointing hotel, catchers' fake fingernails, Sad-O-Meter. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote.

Another year, another horse fails to win Triple Crown: Affirmed in 1978 remains the last to do it after Kentucky Derby winner Orb finished a disappointing fourth in today's Preakness Stakes, won by Oxbow with ancient Gary Stevens aboard. Orb started on the rail and really struggled to extricate himself from traffic.

Hit Wade Strikes Back for my column off Wednesday's Heat win.

"David Beckham is retiring? What a big, big loss for the sport of underwear endorsing." --Greg Cote

UPDATED: HEAT CRAZY-BIG FAVES TO REPEATS AS CHAMPS: If you want the other side you stand to make some big bucks. Are you that daring? New from Bovada, championship odds on the five teams still alive show Heat at 1-3, Spurs 5-1, Grizzlies 6-1, Pacers 20-1 and Knicks 40-1. Miami odds to win East and get to Finals: 1-9. Man! Based on the public perception that sets the odds, let's just go ahead and plan that parade right now. I'm just sayin'.

EASTERN FINALS SET: HEAT VS. PACERS: Indiana beat visiting New York 106-99 tonight to win the series 4 games to 2. Miami will host Eastern finals Game 1 vs. Pacers on Wednesday night. The series suggests Pacers are a better team, although that is debatable. Both teams fared well against Miami this season, Indy going 2-1 against the Heat and the Knickerbockers 3-1. The other factor in answering the poll question below was the vantage point of your vote. It might have been based on which team you think would be an easier draw for the Heat. Or you might have voted for what you think the more exciting series would be. On the latter criteria the clear preference would seem to have been New York, a bigger rival with more starpower and boorish fans in constant need of shutting up. Based on results, your choice was pretty clear. Enjoys the Eastern finals anyway.

1aa1leblady 1aa1bearladyUPDATE: HEAT MIDDLE-FINGER LADY: South Florida's most famous birder is keeping sharp between playoff series. After honing her skills against the Bulls' Joakim Noah, Middle-Finger Lady now prepares for Indiana or New York in the next round. Pictured left, MFL transmogrifies into a clownishly grinning LeBron James in a final, parting-shot farewell to Noah. At right, Middle-Finger Lady inexplicably proffers the Flying Digit to an adorably dumbfounded polar bear.

1aa1dwpromDWYANE WADE: PROM DATE: What cute story. Archbishop Coleman Carroll senior Nicole Muxo posts a YouTube video asking Heat star Dwyane Wade to be her prom date. He calls her cell phone with his regrets, then moments later walks into the Friday ight event in Coral Gables, shocking her. Later Wade Tweeted, 'I had a blast at Prom. Never be 2 scared to ask.' The couple is pictured on the dance floor. This, among a million other reasons, is why South Florida loves Dwyane Wade.

Click HERE for a 3-minute video on how Wade pulled off his big prom surprise. Good stuff.

1aa1chadjLATEST TRAVAILS OF CHAD JOHNSON: Free-agent receiver Chad (nee Ochocinco) Johnson lessens his chances of ever playing again with a warrant for his arrest for failing to report to his probation officer stemming from the domestic violence issue that got him cut by the Dolphins. The latest misstep is indicative of Johnson perhaps suffering from DAS, Dumbass Athlete Syndrome. There is no known cure.

UPDATED! MARLINS' SAD-O-METER: We have this new blog feature we update as long as Marlins' 1aa1bbsadwinning percentage is under .300 -- as long as the New York Mets' infamous 1962 record of 40-120 (.250) is within dubious reach. Well, six straight losses with last night's have brought the S-O-M roaring back as the season inches past the one-quarter mark. Updated Sad-O-Meter: Current record, 11-31 (.262). Season projection, 42.43 wins, 119.57 losses.

1aa1bimboBACKSTORY: COMPANY NAMES: Took this pic on my phone camera as proof there is a baked-goods company operating in South Florida under the name Bimbo. (Primary dictionary definition: "A foolish, stupid or inept person.") I am envisioning the initial meeting of company investors. "OK, first things first," says the boss. "We need a name that represents who we are. Thoughts?"

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