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Riley's grand plan for Heat on track as Miami closes in on first playoff advance since 2016; plus Greg Cote Show podcast has week off. Perfect time to catch up on episodes you've missed!; also, links to other recent columns & more


1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 22. Happy birthday to my wife, the best person I know! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 24, links to Marlins home opener and other recent columns & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: A WEEK OFF. PERFECT TIME TO CATCH UP!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and after 24 straight new episodes we're finally taking a week off. We'll celebrate our silver podiversary with Ep25 on August 24. New episodes drop Monday mornings on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 24 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest, Ep24, Greg reveals his likes and dislikes about being on Le Batard Show. Also, hear from a screenwriter with a movie on Netflix who also happens to be running for Broward County supervisor of elections. And a guy who wrote a book about baseball cards ... and a double dose of Mount Gregmore (G's)! All that and more in Ep24! 

PAT RILEY'S GRAND PLAN ON TRACK AS HEAT CLOSE IN ON 1ST PLAYOFF ADVANCE SINCE 2016: The home arena sits still off Biscayne Boulevard downtown while Miami Heat fans must watch from afar as their team competes in the NBA playoffs’ first round inside the Orlando bubble. Like them, the godfather watches from home, seeing what he has built play out. Pat Riley should
Jbutlike what he is seeing, because it must look a lot like what he envisioned. It is the look of a grand plan, by degrees, coming to fruition. On Thursday the Heat beat the Indiana Pacers, 109-100, to take 2-0 command in the best-of-7 series. Duncan Robinson led the way with 24 points on a game-changing 7-for-8 shooting from 3-point range. (Where have you gone, Mr. Robinson? Downtown!) Goran Dragic heated up late to finish with 20, Jimmy Butler (pictured) chipped in 18 and Tyler Herro had 15. Miami’s 18 3’s set a franchise playoff record and Robinson’s seven tied the individual mark — all of it having Miami feeling good about its chances to advance entering Game 3 on Saturday. The Heat is healthier than Indiana, yes. But just better, too, now 5-1 vs. the Pacers this season. It is the broader view, the panorama, that Riley had in mind and engineered. Miami on Thursday took a huge step toward winning its first playoff series since 2016, after missing the postseason altogether in 2017 and ‘19 and being ousted in the first round in ‘18. To advance would be a tangible indication of the right path — the path to recovering from the premature, acrimonious dissolving of the Big 3 championship era six years ago. The path toward a shot at the franchise’s fourth parade down Biscayne. To read our full latest column, please visit Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance.

Our most recent other columns: For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / ''Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off and Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals

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Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Other most recent columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Special Don Shula tribute columns: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me

George Floyd-related columns: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Select earlier columns from 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / and two-part series on how Dolphins' Glory Day happened: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 

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Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).