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May 12, 2014

G4: Heat 102, Brooklyn 96: Thriller! LeBron scores 49 as Miami takes 3-1 lead; plus Heat 3 Stars, Jose Fernandez, Dolphins verdict & more

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio with the Dan Le Batard Show today for my 21st national appearance. It's 3-7 p.m. on 790/104.3 The Ticket, 4-7 on ESPN Radio. Just got back from Brooklyn and tired, so hope I don't sound bleary. 

1) It is TUESDAY, MAY 13. The Dolphins cut QB Jordan Rodgers, Aaron's younger bro. So there goes THAT heartwarming story. 2) Thank you, Marc Forgione, for one of the best dishes I have ever eaten, Chicken Under a Brick, at your eponymous Tribeca restaurant last night. 3) Click on Random Evidence for our latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Heat and Dolphins going head to head. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Nets Game 3, Dolphins draft summaries and poll & more. 5) Join us Twitter @gregcote.

Donald Sterling's mea culpa interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper has to be one of the lamest and most damning "apologies" in history. --Greg Cote

G4: HEAT 102, BROOKLYN 96: KING IN FULL REIGN AS LEBRON POURS IN 49: LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron! Need I say more? LeBron! James with a career-playoff-record-tying 49 points tonight in the 102-96 win giving Miami a safe-again 3-1 series lead. Click on King James, Indeed for my early-version column from Brooklyn off the game. A later, fuller, final version will be online later. James had help late. Chris Bosh with a huge 3-pointer. Dwyane Wade with a key rebound. Ray Allen with four clutch free throws. But this was LeBronLeBronLeBron. It was simply one of the most epic performances by a Miami athlete in South Florida sports history. Original post: [Click on Rising to a Challenge for today's column by me from Brooklyn previewing tonight's Game 4]. Miami in the Big 3 era has won nine consecutive playoff games following a loss. If the team can make it a 10th straight tonight for a 3-1 series lead, an all-is-well exhale will sweep 1aa1g4 1aa1lebpierceacross Heat Nation. If not, if the Nets tie this second-round series 2-2, those same fans will anxiously gird for a return trip to Brooklyn and a long series. Coach Erik Spoelstra was asked if losing Saturday night was in any way a positive for his team in a wakeup-call vein. "We're not into reality checks or the human condition or any of that," he replied. "We just have to play better." Brooklyn hit 15 of 25 three-pointers Saturday, so perimeter defense is where the "play better" must begin. Wondering about the physicality we'll see, after a skirmish in Game 3, a result that ended with LeBron James glaring at a mouthy Paul Pierce. Miami tonight faces the first little bit of adversity it has seen in this postseason, and responding to that positively has been the team's DNA. Expect a Heat win.

Heat Postseason MVP Standings (updated): We name 'Heat 3 Stars' after every playoff game and award points on 3-2-1 basis. Tonight: 1. LeBron James, of course; 2. Chris Bosh; 3. Dwyane Wade; honorable mention, Ray Allen. Standings through eight games: LeBron James 20 points, Chris Bosh 9, Dwyane Wade 9, Ray Allen 6, James Jones 2, Chris Andersen 1, Norris Cole 1.

MARLINS' FERNANDEZ FACING SEASON-ENDING SURGERY: Our Clark Spencer broke the news that Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was undergoing an MRI in Los Angeles. The Marlins then placed Fernandez on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain, retroactive to May 10. A strain is said to be worse than a sprain, and involves a ligament, not a muscle. And Fernandez has a ligament tear. Manager Mike Redmond called the development "a big blow." Fernandez underwent a second MRI and Fox's Ken Rosenthal quotes a source as saying, "This isn't promising." Tommy John surgery reportedly is in store, ending his season.

Poll result: Like but not a whole lotta love for Dolphins draft: We asked you to instant-grade the Dolphins' draft and most, 40.9 percent, voted "C/fair," followed by 35.4% "B/good," 19.0% "D/poor" and only 4.7% "A/excellent." Guess you'd call that a passing grade for new general manager Dennis Hickey, but barely, and without much enthusiasm. Overall it was 59.9% voting fair or poor, vs. 40.1 voting excellent or good.

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