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May 14, 2014

G5: Heat 96, Brooklyn 94: Early Wade surge, late miracle rally carry Miami to East finals; plus Heat 3 Stars named, new Dolphins odds, Van Gundy & more

1aa1baby1) It is WEDNESDAY, MAY 14. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron hits 49 in Heat-Nets Game 4, Jose Fernandez injury rocks Marlins, Dolphins draft vote. 2) Join us Twitter @gregcote.

Note to Blog Family: Civility, please? Respect? If your discourse slinks into racism or hate, this is the wrong blog for you. Please don't make me play Censor/Cop and ban people. Play nice!

Click on What Champions Do for my column from the arena off tonight's series-clinching Heat win.

G5: HEAT 96, BROOKLYN 94: MIRACLE RALLY LEADS MIAMI TO EAST FINALS: Do you believe in miracles? Well you do now, dammit. The Heat rallied from eight points down with less than three minutes left, rallied with a closing 14-3 run to eliminate Brooklyn 96-94, win this playoff series 4-1, and advance to the NBA's Eastern finals for the fourth straight year. Dwyane Wade (28 points) provided the early spark and LeBron James (29) was a bulldog, struggling on 6-of-14 shooting but bulling to the rim through tough, tough defense to earn 17 free throws. Ray Allen also came up huge again, when it mattered, hitting the late go-ahead three -- after he'd been 0-for-6 on 3's before then -- and knocking the ball from Joe Johnson's hand on the Nets' last-second possession. Watch for my column from the game, posting online soon. Original post: Miami's 3-1 second-round series lead after LeBron James' 49-point show in Brooklyn Monday means the Nets must win three games in a row, 1aa1lebeyes 1aa1heatnetsg5starting tonight here, to take this series.The odds of that happening are roughly akin to those of Donald Sterling launching a successful 1aa1heatg5one-man show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The Nets are done; I think it will end tonight as Miami moves on in the NBA playoffs to await the winner of the Indiana-Washington series now led 3-2 by the Pacers. The Heat are assured more rest than their next foe by winning tonight. The guess is that LeBron will take on a much lesser role offensively tonight and that Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh (or both) will have their chances for a 20-point night. Pictured: LeBron, with eyes on the prize. The first quarter may be telling tonight. It will indicate whether Brooklyn has fight left or has come to South Beach to lay down.

LeBron/NBA boycott? Threat = pressure: NBA Players Association vice president Roger Mason Jr., a former Heat sub, tells Showtime's Jim Rome in an interview airing tonight that NBA players including LeBron James have told him there will be a player boycott if the L.A. Clippers' Donald Sterling remains an NBA owner when next season begins. It is obvious posturing intended to galvanize and hurry along owners' intentions to oust Sterling. Predictably, dutifully, like a complicit partner, Your Friend the Media has played along with its "LeBron threatens boycott!" scare-headlines. 1) The issue is likely moot because Sterling likely will be gone before next season starts. 2) Even if he isn't, a boycott is extremely unlikely. (Update: LeBron today already began distancing himself from the boycott talk. He said before tonight's game, "A long discussion needs to be held. We'll see what happens.")

Heat Postseason MVP Standings (updated): We name 'Heat 3 Stars' after every playoff game and award points on 3-2-1 basis. Tonight: 1. Dwyane Wade; 2. LeBron James; 3. Ray Allen. Updated standings through nine games, including tonight: LeBron James 22 points, Dwyane Wade 12, Chris Bosh 9, Ray Allen 7, James Jones 2, Chris Andersen 1, Norris Cole 1.

1aa1svgLE BATARD FAILS TO MATCH DETROIT OFFER FOR VAN GUNDY: Stan Van Gundy has accepted a job as Pistons coach and president of basketball ops -- despite the job requiring him to live in or around Detroit. The 5-year, $35 million deal means SVG will be leaving his regular Wednesday radio co-host role on the Dan Le Batard Show. The show failed to keep Van Gundy when he turned down Le Batard's counteroffer of a raise to $100 per week, a free lifetime ESPN The Magazine subscription, limitless 790 The Ticket bumper stickers and a Highly Questionable T-shirt.    

DOLPHINS, NFL POST-DRAFT ODDS: On winning the Super Bowl, via Bovada, it's now Seahawks 6-1, Broncos 7-1, Patriots and 49ers both 15-2 and Packers 12-1, with Miami tied for 21st at 50-1. (Guess Ja'Wuan James has not lit up the wagering public). Offensive rookie picks are Mike Evans at 3-1, Sammy Watkins 4-1 and Johnny Manziel 15-2. Defensive rookie frontrunners are Jadeveon Clowney 2-1 and Khalil Mack 4-1. Michael Sam is expected to make the Rams' opening-day roster, at 2-1.

DYLAN COVERS SINATRA: Bob Dylan on his forthcoming album covers an old and somewhat obscure Frank Sinatra song, Full Moon & Empty Arms. Maybe it is not your flavor. It really isn't mine. But Sinatra was an American original and I'm a big Dylan fan and admirer, so for me it's worth a listen. Here it is:

 

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