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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...