Nowhere But Up

01.27.08 10 years ago 23 Comments

The worst (we think) is over for Miami. Yesterday the Heat snapped its 15-game losing streak, beating the Pacers at home behind a 35-point effort from Dwyane Wade. The Pacers were in control the entire first half, riding Mike Dunleavy‘s hot hand (25 pts) while the Heat looked like they were going through the motions. Even when Miami rallied to take the lead in the third quarter, there didn’t seem to be any fire; it was like a preseason game vibe. Nevertheless, Pat Riley‘s crew found themselves up by four with a minute left in the fourth, and when Kareem Rush knocked down a triple, Miami’s play-by-play guy deadpanned, “Doubt has re-entered the building.” D-Wade got the lead back to three when he treated Indy’s backcourt like Skills Challenge obstacles and hit a jumper in the lane, and after the Pacers hit a pair of free throws, the Heat responded with a horrid possession that ended in an airball. That gave Indiana the ball, down two with 15 seconds left. After Rush missed a three, Troy Murphy retained possession. But Wade slapped the inbounds pass into the backcourt, and Andre Owens could only toss up a prayer from halfcourt … At the final buzzer, Ricky Bucket (2 pts, 1-for-7 FGs) acted like he’d just won a quadruple-overtime playoff game. Losing can really take its toll … You could probably blame some of Miami’s initial sluggishness on their pitiful crowd. The Heat always seem to have bad attendance when you catch their home games on TV, but yesterday — an afternoon tip against the Pacers with no Shaq — there was NOBODY in the building … Speaking of weak crowds, there were a lot of empty seats at Grizzlies/Clippers. They missed Rudy Gay hanging 34 points and 12 boards on L.A. in an overtime win. Corey Maggette had 35, and Sam Cassell continues to school the young’uns, giving Kyle Lowry an easy 25 … Trying to figure out the Spurs right now is impossible. Just this week they let the Bobcats hang in there before pulling away, looked like a championship team for one half against the Lakers after playing terribly in the other half, had to stage a second-half rally and make some big crunch-time plays to beat the Heat, and then last night got cracked at home by the Hornets. Inconsistent, but if you had to pick a team to win the ‘chip this year, no one would fault you for taking San Antonio. The Spurs couldn’t stop David West (32 pts), who played like he was possessed … San Antonio color analyst Sean Elliott‘s early analysis of the Hornets: “You have four guys that don’t want to put the ball on the floor, they just want to give it to Chris Paul and have him spoon-feed them.” Paul handed out 11 assists to go with 17 points. The rest of the Hornets had six assists combined … Play of the game: CP and Tyson Chandler were going to hook up for their usual alley-oop off the pick-and-roll, but Manu got up and stuffed Tyson at the rim … Before the game, Tim Duncan presented Melvin Ely with his ’07 championship ring. Raise your hand if you remember one thing Melvin did with San Antonio last year … NCAA star freshmen watch: Derrick Rose had 19 points, 8 boards and 9 dimes in #1 Memphis’ win over Gonzaga; K-State’s Michael Beasley stuck 33 and 15 boards on Iowa State; Eric Gordon scored 14 in #7 Indiana’s loss to UConn; O.J. Mayo had 25 points and 8 boards in USC’s overtime win over Oregon; Kevin Love scored 16 in #8 UCLA’s rout over Oregon State; Patrick Patterson put up 22 points and 9 boards in Kentucky’s win over South Carolina; Jerryd Bayless went for 26 and 6 dimes in Arizona’s win over Washington; Blake Griffin had 17 points and 15 boards in Oklahoma’s win over #25 Baylor; and #24 Arizona State’s James Harden dropped 25 on #6 Washington State in a loss … ESPN’s “College GameDay” did a feature on UNC-Asheville’s behemoth Kenny George. You’ve probably already heard of the kid: 7-foot-7, 360 pounds, size-28 sneakers, 93-inch wingspan. He can dunk without jumping. The team has an inbounds play called “Automatic” where they just throw it near the rim and George gets maybe an inch off the ground to slam home the alley-oop. All of this, and George doesn’t even start. UNC-Asheville’s coach admitted that he can’t play him more than 25 minutes per game because he’s not in good enough shape. And you know what? He’s 100 percent going to get drafted by an NBA team. No question about it. True, Marvin Williams didn’t start in college and he was a Lottery pick who’s turned out to be a pretty good player (Marv dropped 33 on the Sonics on Friday), but Williams was the sixth man on a national championship squad at North Carolina. That’s a little different than coming off the bench at UNC-Asheville. So anyway, George will get drafted, he’ll play garbage minutes in the League, and guys like Von Wafer and David Noel will be lining up to dunk on him … We’re out like the skid …

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