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44 posts from April 2006

April 30, 2006

Heat-Bulls G4: Miami gored in Bullfight

     Heat lose, 93-87. Series swings back to Miami tied 2-2. Oh my. Lot of bickering shown on TV in the Heat huddle. Shaq limited again by fouls. Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams outplayed by Bulls guards. Chicago controlling offensive boards and seeming quicker.

     Oh my and uh oh. This has become a huge battle for a championship-aspiring second-seed facing a No. 7. Makes you wonder how this Bulls team managed to finish only .500. Or if season-long suspicions about Heat susceptibility are simply being exposed.

     Play the Seahawk card if you wish and blame the officiating, but doesn't Miami have the talent edge to overcome such things?

     It's on Pat Riley now. The referendum is on the players he brought in, but also on his ability to find a way to make Miami's solid edge in personnel overcome Chicago's clear advantage in youth and quickness. He's got the two most dominant players in this series. Period.

     Weigh in here with your thoughts on Game 4 and the series now as a whole. Here's a starter question, Heat fan. How worried are you? 

Dolphins draft: Day 2 and overall

     The post to weigh in specifically on top pick Jason Allen is a couple of spots below. This is for comments on Sunday's second-day Dolphin picks and, afterward, on Miami's 2006 draft as a whole -- Allen through the final round.

     Put into words your overall degree of satisfaction. What pick excites you? Were the biggest needs properly targeted? Any disappointments?

     Bottom line: Did Nick Saban do good? Heck, even assign a letter grade if it makes you happy.

Can't mock me!

     I am not tooting my own horn here, but only because I do not own a horn, or know how to play one.

     Instead let me just mention, as a matter of fact, that our Mock Draft results were pretty impressive. Twenty-seven of our 32 predicted first-round picks (84 percent) actually did go 1R, and among them were 11 bull's-eyes, meaning exact player to exact team. That's 34 percent.

     Don't know how Mel Kiper did. Not sure how you did. But that's above average for me. I'd averaged 78% overall and 24% on exactos in 14 previous Mocks.

     Our crimson embarrassment was not pegging Reggie Bush to go second, offset by this merry parade of direct hits: Mario Williams to Texans (1), Vince Young to Titans (3), A.J. Hawk to Packers (5), Vernon Davis to 49ers (6), Kamerion Wimbley to Browns (12), Haloti Ngata to Ravens (13), Chad Greenway to Vikings (17), Bobby Carpenter to Cowboys (18), Antonio Cromartie to Chargers (19), Joseph Addai to Colts (30) and Kelly Jennings to Seahawks (31). Also had Devin Hester-to-Bears, but one round too early, so it didn't count.

     The best part about having a good Mock? You can state with greater credibility (as opposed to sour grapes) that everybody doing one -- from Kiper to me to you -- is simply mating educated assumption and utter guesswork and praying the child isn't butt-ugly.

April 28, 2006

Jason Allen. Like the pick?

     Ajasonallen This blog entry began as guess-the-pick, and only one of a few dozen guesses submitted before noon got it right. Congrats, Aaron. You nailed it with Jason Allen, the Tennessee defensive back. We'll figure out some Dolphins-related prize to get to you, as promised.

     Now: What do you think of Allen as Miami's No. 16 pick in the first round? Awful, fantastic or some shade in between? And why?

     I wasn't thrilled with the choice; read why here. Then give us your take. NFL drafts, of course, defy instant analysis -- but not so much that we are deterred!

April 27, 2006

Heat-Bulls G3: Lack-a-Shaq

     Ass-kicking. Pardon my French.

     Bulls 109, Heat 90. Shaq: 8 points, 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. Zo, in his return to action, very little of 8 minutes. Dwyane Wade hit 26 points. After that, not much. Question: How can a Chicago team without a real center limit O'Neal to one of his worst games ever?

     Late in this game that halved Miami's series lead to 2-1, one of the TV guys said, "All of a sudden this series has taken on a whole different complexion." Has it?

     Does this Bulls win tonight do much to your confidence in the Heat getting past -- let alone way past -- the first round?

     Also still curious if you think the NBA is stretching these series out too long. Game 3 was on the sixth day of this one, which will take 15 days to complete if it goes the distance. That favors an older team like Miami, but would you rather see consecutive home games played without the day off?

     Weigh in with your thoughts on tonight's loss and the series so far...

April 25, 2006

Ricky Williams is suspended for entire NFL season; what's next?

     The news has broken like a dropped vase. Ricky Williams has lost the appeal of his latest drug-test failure and will be suspended for the year. Find the latest Herald story on it here, and my column on it here.

     Two questions:

     1. How are you feeling about Williams right now on the blame vs. sympathy meter.

     2. What now? I think the Dolphins must focus their first-round attention on a running back to back up Ronnie Brown. Do you?

The Jay Cutler Myth

Ajay1     A mouth on ESPN speculates that Jay Cutler's "stock is dropping" and now we're supposed to believe Paul Tagliabue could be calling his name to Miami at No. 16 on Saturday? Two thoughts:

     1. This quarterback, once speculated as a top-five pick, once argued as perhaps better than Matt Leinart or Vince Young, will not fall to the Dolphins. Bet on that.

     2. We'd size Nick Saban for a strait-jacket if he took Cutler, with so many other more pressing needs. Forget "value," Nick. If he had that much value, he wouldn't have fallen to you. A team with Daunte Culpepper and a young-but-experienced backup in -- presumably, soon -- Joey Harrington needs to erase that position from its first-round board.

     By the way, as a special bonus from the blog, we give you sports' second-most famous Jay Cutler, a bodybuilder by that same name, pictured here.Ajay2 (Note: the presentation of this photo in no way suggests that this Jay Cutler has ever used steroids, or that people so self-absorbed with their physical appearance as to transmogrify into gross, muscled freakazoids should be considered weird in any way).

April 24, 2006

Heat-Bulls G2: Hurt Wade shines

     [Updated Tuesday morning, 4-25, in the wake of Miami's 115-108 Game 2 victory over the Bulls. By the way, not to nitpick, but, whatever happened to defense?]Adwade

     The Heat would not have won last night if Dwyane Wade -- emboldened by a newly shaved head and playing hurt -- had not suited up. (Here's my game column on Wade). Some had said he ought not have played. Wrong. You play with pain. That's what athletes do. That's when great athletes rise.

     And fathom the difference right now between Miami being 2-0 in this series, and packing for Chicago at 1-1. The difference, in perception if not reality, is being in control vs. being in trouble.

     By the way, how about the debut of D-Wade's new shiny dome. Yes or no?

     I thought it was a very impressive win considering the diminished Wade, no Alonzo Mourning (again) and no Udonis Haslem due to his league suspension over that silly mouthpiece matter in which Haslem lost his cool but referee Joe Crawford's overreaction was worse.Ajoey_3 Afester

     [Quick question: Have Crawford and Uncle Fester ever been seen together...?]

     Your thoughts are invited here on Game 2 and on the series as it swings to Chicago?

Report on Willis smells fishy

Adontrelle Adavidw      The Long Island newspaper Newsday is reporting the Marlins proposed a straightup Dontrelle Willis-for-David Wright trade to the uninterested Mets "several weeks ago." Read the interesting if very curious story here.

     The deal makes no sense for Florida, which would be giving up its only grade-A starting pitcher for an excellent player -- but at a position (third base) where every-bit-as-good Miguel Cabrera is entrenched.

    The proposed deal only makes sense if you buy that the Marlins were shopping Cabrera, too, which owner Jeffrey Loria recently denied in strong terms. There has to be an end-game for the Marlins. Whether they remain here or relocate, ownership dealing Willis or Cabrera would be plain stupid. That's why I doubt the story. Then again, like the old song said, "Things that make you go hmm..."

Reggie's house on Shady Lane

Abush      Please read this excellent investigative piece by The Herald's Jason Cole if you have not already. Jason is a vintage reporter in an age of journalism fluffery. If you have done something wrong, you do not want to see him on your caller ID or your front step.

     The story is that Reggie Bush's family lived in a Abush2$750,000 home bought by a Bush booster who planned to form a marketing company with the star running back and likely overall No. 1 draft pick as its central client. This is a likely NCAA no-no now being investigated.

     Reggie will continue to be the star of Saturday's first-round, of course, because pristine ethical standards are probably just outside the top 10 in the bank of skills admired most by the NFL.