By Brian Taylor @

When I turned on my TNT last night for my “evening playoff fix”, I expected to be bored to tears watching the least fun series of all the semifinals. It was funny because I predicted Miami to bounce back from embarrassment at home and they did, beating up on Jay-Z’s boys and tying the series at one-all.

First thing’s first. Am I the only one that’s not digging this “White Hot” thing Miami has going on? It looks like a white tee shirt convention, where a basketball game breaks out! Terrible, they need to go back to the all-red, which inspired hell-fiery nightmares for the Wiz and other opponents last year. But on the actual court, and much like the last game, for the first few minutes, one team looks like it JUST stepped off a plane, while the other looks like they just ran a warmup game against the “Average Joes”. To my surprise, Richard Jefferson actually suited up for this one, after balling his ankle up in the last game. Hey, it’s the playoffs and people play hurt, so he earns his purple heart in this game.

The first quarter is “Dwyane Wade Gone Wild”, and he’s doing it efficiently with a nasty little turnaround jumper he’s developed into a reliable weapon. Have you noticed that every super elite NBA star has that move down to a T? Jordan invented it, Kobe worships it and now LeBron (yack!) and Wade are starting to burn opponents on the regular with it. He also pumped in three long-range bombs for good measure. After seeing Wade go nuts for about 5 minutes, I looked at the score and winced…



I was half expecting Vince to demand a trade before the quarter was over, but at the end of the first, it was Miami 41, the Brooklyn Nets 19. Way to get into a hole early fellas! I don’t know if it was the Wrath of Riley or Lawrence “Boy Wonder” Frank not having his team ready, but it was pretty much a wrap after that point in the game. The funny thing about it was that Jersey did exactly the same thing to Miami in Game 1, and really, nobody wants to get embarrassed on their home floor, so the Heat did what they had to do and guard their home court.

Udonis Haslem had another quiet, workman like game for Miami, posting a double-double in a game that was really never in doubt, and the Diesel, still looking like he’s on the decline gave 21 points and 6 rebounds to the effort. On the losing side, Jason Kidd was old reliable, with 22 points and Jefferson admirably gave 16 points of his own while hurt. That Vince Carter Guy was effective, with 22 of his own.

Game 3 will be in Jay-Z’s back yard, but will Miami be motivated enough to play up to their potential? They almost look bored in these early round games, as if they would rather just fast forward to their “expected rematch” with the Pistons. You saw how it took getting slapped in the mouth by Chitown to make these guys wake up and play like their preseason predictions said. I can almost see the same thing happening here with New Jeruz. If they get motivated, and Riles is pretty darn good at that, the Nets can sneak out an upset victory against a talented, but older squad.


Thu 05/11/06, 7:06 am EST




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