1) It is SUNDAY, MAY 25. Click on Random Evidence for today's latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Heat and the good noise/bad noise forever surrounding LeBron James. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat Hater poll, Mark Cuban's firestorm, Landon Donovan's exclusion, Dolphins rookie camp, illegal parking & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Instagram and Vine.
Click on The Closing Kings for my column from the arena off last night's Heat win. The start was sluggish but the ending sublime. Again.
THESE HEAT PLAYOFF TRUTHS WE MAY HOLD TO BE SELF-EVIDENT: Taking stock a dozen games into the Heat's postseason run and in the heart of the Eastern finals, with Miami up 2-1 on Indiana:
1. LeBron James (28.6 points) is the NBA's postseason MVP if Tim Duncan isn't, and the two are headed for a Finals rematch showdown. The team tends to mirror LeBron's slow starts, but also his big finishes.
2. Dwyane Wade looks as good the past four games as in any such stretch we can recall of late, a testament to the team's season-loing "maintenance" strategy. He isn't doing much on the defensive end, but offensively he is recalling his vigorous prime.
3. If anybody sees Chris Bosh, please turn him in to Lost & Found. Corner 3's have replaced the low post for him; no matter. How can a man that tall get so few rebounds? Wake up, dude.
4. Ageless Ray Allen earns every penny and every ounce of his Hall of Fame cred with bursts like last night's. What a gift for the Heat.
5. Norris Cole is more valuable to the team right now than starting point guard Mario Chalmers.
6. Not always sure why, but Miami is very good with Rashard Lewis rotated in. Last night the Heat was plus-21 in his 17 minutes even though Lewis himself had zero points.
7. Chris (Birdman) Andersen is averaging more rebounds and blocks than Bosh in barely over half the minutes. Tattoo You, as the Stones once said.
8. Michael Beasley and Greg Oden should hold daily CA meetings. Commisserators Anonymous.
9. Erik Spoelstra is really, really good.
G3: HEAT 99, INDIANA 87: BIG SECOND HALF LIFTS MIAMI: LeBron James' 26 points, Dwyane Wade's 23 -- his fourth straight big offensive game this postseason -- and Ray Allen's 16 off the bench carried Miami in its second-half rally tonight. I'd also mentiom Rashard Lewis. He had zero points, but Miami was plus-21 in his 17 minutes; him in the game sparked the team. Heat now up 2-1 and in charge entering Game 4 back here Monday night. The resolve and resourcefulness of this team continues to amaze. Miami trailed 17-4 early, never led until the third quarter, but found a way, as it usually does. Click on The Closing Kings for my column off the game. ..... Original post: Series came out of Indiana 1-1 but Miami is 5-0 at home in this postseason. Keep that record pristine and the Heat will be sitting 3-1 and in control after tonight's and Monday's bayside dates. That would put Miami in great shape to make this the NBA-record fifth series in a row they've won after losing the opener. Charles Barkley said this week that Miami's fans aren't very good in explaining why he hopes LeBron James returns to Cleveland. Hmm. Here's betting Heat fans will look and sound pretty damn good tonight inside the downtown bayside arena. Paul George, who had a mild concussion, is OK'd to play for the Pacers. That's big because Indiana without him (maybe even with him) just does not have the offensive firepower to match the Heat when Miami is playing well. LeBron James is having an MVP-caliber postseason and, after a three-day series rest, it says here he is due a breakout game offensively. Thinking mid-30s-plus. Dwyane Wade also has strung together three straight games that are vintage, all of that regular season "maintenance" paying off. It'll be interesting to see what coach Erik Spoelstra does with that fifth starting spot -- whether Udonis Haslem or Shane Battier is called. We also could see Greg Oden deployed briefly in his first playoff appearance since April 30, 2009. He back spasms have gone away; "I'm ready," he said. Not sure if that will matter much tonight. Also not sure the Pacers' impressive showing on the road in this postseason will bear fruit. Home-floor adrenaline and a big night from LeBron should carry the Heat.
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. The updated standings through 12 playoff games, including tonight: LeBron James 28 points, Dwyane Wade 21, Chris Bosh 9, Ray Allen 8, Chris Andersen 2, Norris Cole 2, James Jones 2.
Poll result: Barkley leads Anti-Heat parade: In the previous blogpost we invited you to name the biggest Anti-Heat person in the national media (you may still vote), and Charley Barkley was the choice of 50.5 percent, followed by Bill Simmons at 23.9% and Skip Bayless at 15.8%. Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and "other" split the remaining votes.
SEMINOLES DOMINATE KIPER'S FIRST '15 BIG BOARD: Mel Kiper Jr.'s first top-25 "Big Board" previewing the 2015 NFL draft is out, and No. 1 on it is Florida State quarterback Jameis "Crab Legs" Winston. Florida Gator DE Dante Fowler is 8th. Three other Noles make it: OG Tre Jackson, 15th; CB P.J. Williams, 17th; and DEMario Edwards, 23rd. Nary a Hurricane to be found.
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