miami heat


V.23 No.23 | 6/5/2014

sports

NBA Finals Rematch Set

Two-time defending champions Miami Heat play the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA finals.
V.21 No.26 | 6/28/2012
All eyes are on No. 6 tonight.

sports

King James' coronation nearly complete

Up 3-1, the Miami Heat have a commanding lead on the Oklahoma City Thunder. And the Heat are on the cusp of victory with game five kicking off tonight at 7 p.m. in Miami. In the history of the NBA, no team that has gone down 1-3 in a Finals series has ever come back to win that series.

So, with history on their side, it's time to start assuming that the Heat have won the championship, right? Well, not quite so fast. The Thunder are a more than capable team, and they won the first game in the series in a manner that most pundits termed convincing at bare minimum.

The Thunder's core of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have traded off between dominating performances, but the third member of their triumvirate, James Harden, has been lackluster—to say the least—for the duration of the Finals. His defense has been relentless, which perhaps explains the anemic performance on offense, but that doesn’t justify much, at least in the eyes of Oklahoma City fans.

Winning in Miami has not been an easy task for the Thunder, which had a significant lead in game three—nine points, on two separate occasions, but lost a wire-to-wire outing in game four. They'll have to muster the strength to not only hold a lead, but to do so at the end of the game in Miami at least once, in order to squeeze out a return home for the possibility of game six—much less force a game seven.

The statistical possibility of the Thunder mounting a comeback aside, there are serious repercussions to the idea of LeBron James winning his first championship. The laughable which critics love to throw in his face upon his yearly exit from the playoffs will stop being evidence of his supposed crimes and will start to look like eerie prescience from a phenomenal talent. The collection of superstars in South Beach will no longer look like greedy millionaires, but rather basketball players mature enough to put ego aside and play together. Most importantly, LeBron James will no longer have the strike of, "He doesn't have a ring." Most all-time greats in the NBA have championship rings, and it’s bizarre to think of the most talented player of our generation as not having one, not being capable of getting one.

That time period is almost through. Maybe the Thunder have a last gasp in them. Maybe they pull together. Maybe James Harden comes out and plays the game of his life. But even given the best possible outcome for a Thunder fan in game five, the odds and the historical record both say that the Heat will win the NBA Finals. Get ready for the reign of King James.

V.21 No.25 | 6/21/2012
Holm lands one on Mathis
Photo by Chris Cozzone

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup

Holly Holm gets revenge, Miami turns up the heat on Thunder

Boxing

Who's says revenge isn't sweet? Holly Holm got some much need retribution in a unanimous-decision victory over Anne Sophie Mathis on Saturday night at the Route 66 Casino. In December, the pair fought a back-and-forth affair that saw Mathis getting the better of Holm with a seventh-round knockout. In the rematch, Holm used a strategy to outbox Mathis instead of engaging in a brawl to avoid getting knocked out. The gameplan may have not been the most crowd pleasing but it got the job done and impressed the judges to earn the 97-93, 96-94, 99-91 victory. Now the debate begins over what move Holm will make next. Along with being an accomplished boxer, she's also had success with mixed martial arts. Despite women's MMA being relatively new, the sport has already made some popular stars and Holm could be next if she makes the full transition. But in the meantime, Mathis will most likely request a rematch away from Albuquerque and in her home country of France. For now, Holm looks to enjoy some time off, but whatever decision Holm makes, the Burque boxing fans will be watching very closely.

NBA Finals

Lebron James has been declared the best player in the world by many NBA experts. James has every basketball ability any player dreams of. But when the NBA Finals began, everyone was quick to declare Kevin Durant the new king. Because of James' past inability to perform in the Finals, it has opened the door for Durant to become the league's best player. Despite tuning the media out with antics such as reading The Hunger Games prior to a big matchup, James seems to have taken his game to the next level by averaging 30 points during the 2012 Finals. In the critical game three, James put his finals nightmares behind him, scoring 29 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. He proved the reign of King James has perhaps only begun by hitting a clutch three in the fourth quarter and outplaying Kevin Durant.

Durant did have 26 points and 6 rebounds, but was in serious foul trouble throughout the game (just like in game two). The Thunder made a run in the fourth quarter to cut the Heat lead, but Miami scored the final seven points to prevent any Oklahoma City comeback. The 85-91 loss puts the Thunder in a 2-1 hole and makes game four a must win. Luckily for the Thunder, it’s been in this situation before, being down 2-0 to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. OKC will need to correct the mistakes if they are going to get back into the series. So far Durant has performed well in his first Finals appearance, but he'll have to find a way to outplay a more determined and focused Lebron James. Game might be the beginning of the King James era, or it may end before it even gets started.

The Heat and Thunder are all knotted up.

sports

NBA Finals rundown

Thunder pushed, lose home-court advantage

The NBA Finals have begun in an emphatic manner. After the Oklahoma City Thunder roller over the San Antonio Spurs, who were looking as near-invincible as any team can, they awaited their Eastern Conference opponent. And while it took seven games, the Miami Heat eventually triumphed over the Boston Celtics. This presents, of course, a sort of dream match-up for basketball fans. Commissioner David Stern has got to be giddy over the ratings prospects of the Heat in the Finals for a second year in a row, especially against some of the NBA’s youngest, most marketable stars. Old school purists must find something delectable about the way the Thunder have taken on characteristics of the Spurs after dispatching them, passing the ball in that crisp manner, and always deflecting individual praise in deference of the team concept. Finally, the drama-seeker in all of us craves LeBron James in almost every situation. Win or lose, love him or hate him, he presents compelling viewing.

Game 1 showed the tenacity of the youngsters in Oklahoma. The Heat poured on the points in the first half, but the Thunder hung on, and changed the game in a significant manner in the second half. Eventually winning by 11, it seemed as though the Thunder had heavy momentum heading into Game 2, at home.

On Thursday night, however, the Thunder came out flat. They came out uninspired. They came out looking like a team that thought, perhaps, the road to the trophy would be a bit easier than it turned out to be. They fell into an 18-2 hole, with just over seven minutes elapsed in the first quarter, and the game almost seemed out of reach by halftime, when the Thunder trailed 43-55.

However, after tying the second quarter, the Thunder proceeded to win both the third and the fourth quarters, eventually pulling within two points in the final minute.

The aforementioned hole, however, ultimately proved to be too much. In conjunction with the five fouls that Kevin Durant was playing with—having picked up that dreaded fifth foul only a minute and a half into the fourth quarter—the Thunder simply could not get the job done. They now face the daunting task of going into Miami and playing three straight games in South Beach.

The pressure now shifts from Miami to the young Thunder. Coming into the series, they were seen as slight favorites. Of course, it'll be very difficult for Miami to win all three in a row at home, but the Thunder have got to consider their backs to be up against the wall. Coming back home for the final two games of the series, and needing to win both, is a terrible place to be. On the other hand, there are worse options, such as Miami sweeping these middle three games, and closing the series out in Florida. The Oklahoma City Thunder have responded thus far in the Playoffs every time they've needed to, and the truth is, they need to now more than ever.

V.21 No.22 | 5/31/2012

news

The Daily Word in Etan Patz, wildfires, Unabomber status update

The Daily Word

Man arrested after confessing to abduction and murder of NYC boy in infamous case dating back to 1979.

Wildfires are back.

Ted Kaczynski fills Harvard classmates in on what he’s accomplished since graduating 50 years ago.

A pilot flying the governor last night forgot to put down the landing gear.

Chinese police investigating whether arrested man is a serial killer who targeted teenage boys.

Burglars flee Las Cruces area home invasion after shooting a 10-year-old who was protecting his family

Miami Heat move on to the Conference Finals.

International Space Station successfully captures commercial SpaceX Dragon capsule.

Celeb photographer realizes he is intersex after going to hospital with a kidney stone.

Would you rather be in trouble for a) spitting blood in a cop’s face in a squad car, or b) peeing in a squad car and calling a cop stupid?

Apparently Andy Milonakis is still around and reviewing wine.

V.20 No.22 |

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup

Bosh lifts Heat, Tapia rises again, Guida upsets Pettis

NBA Finals
Miami's Chris Bosh has been the third wheel of the "Big Three" for the entire season. While LeBron James and Dwayne Wade garner much of the credit and/or blame for the team's results, Bosh is usually forgotten. But after a 16-foot jump shot to hold off the Dallas Mavericks 88-86 in game three of the NBA Finals, Bosh might be changing some minds. (Not to mention his stellar play against the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals.) The Mavericks tried to surge in the fourth quarter with the scoring of Dirk Nowitzki but didn't get any help from his key role players. Miami has the momentum, but the Heat were still out-rebounded and received little help from their bench. The Big Three have played well, but if their role players fail to step up, their title hopes could quickly disappear. Meanwhile, if you're a Dallas fan, don't panic. Dirk Nowitzki is possibly the best player on the court and the Mavericks defense is holding steady.

Boxing
Saturday night was a good night for New Mexico boxers and MMA fighters making noise on the local and national level. Boxing legend Johnny Tapia earned a unanimous decision victory over late replacement Mauricio Pastrana at the Hard Rock Casino in Albuquerque. Some experts are saying this may not be the last time fans see Tapia in the ring. Hopefully, if Tapia can string a couple of more victories together, a title fight could be the proper send-off Tapia has been searching for.

Mixed Martial Arts
Experts and fans labeled Anthony Pettis as the next break out star in MMA. Pettis has been known for throwing the most dramatic kicks in the history of the sport. Promised a title shot, Pettis decided to take another fight after both UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard fought to a draw. So when UFC President Dana White matched Pettis with Clay Guida, many thought Pettis would easily dispose of "The Carpenter." Guida, a member of Albuquerque's Jackson's MMA, used footwork and takedowns to edge Pettis in a unanimous decision during The Ultimate Fighter Finale. Pettis showed potential with tight striking and submission attempts but Guida's ground strikes were too much. Guida, who was first known as a mid-level fighter, has now placed himself in title contention.

V.20 No.21 |

sports

The Shift Has Already Occurred

NBA—and LeBron—pivot in a new direction

There are a lot of times where something only looks clear in hindsight. And when we look back, people, mainly historians and those who want to appear smart, remark, "Oh, we should have seen this coming. Look at all these signs ...". And they'll point out exhibits A, B, C, etc., as though, had they been living through the times, they would have seen with crystal-clear precision what exactly was happening and where it was leading.

This is one of those times.

The NBA Finals haven't even started yet, but the guard has already been changed. The NBA landscape seems as though it will be forever altered after this season, but especially after this post-season. All year long, the Miami Heat have been carefully watched and dissected, their every move either a cause for rejoicing or anguish. This was inevitable, of course, after LeBron James decided to hold "The Decision"—depending on your viewpoint, either a success of the modern athlete asserting their own destiny, or a callous young man stabbing his hometown in the back on national television—and join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach. They held an infamous preseason celebration for the titles they swore they would win and battle lines were drawn. There were people who couldn't wait for the spectacle of two of the best basketball players in the world (plus Chris Bosh) on one team and there were those who were so turned off by the megalomania they rooted against the Heat in a passionate manner. There weren't many people halfway in between.

When the Heat stumbled, all of the team's Big Three seemed to get punished—but none moreso than James. He was seen as the face of the unit (rightly so) and he would take the most criticism. However, when the post-season arrived, he was also the one who turned it on. The man some accuse of quitting last year against the Boston Celtics suddenly had every answer. He made shots he'd missed previously and, when it was over, he celebrated—perhaps accordingly, perhaps in an over-the-top manner.

But while the Heat were winning, the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls were serving notice that, despite the Celtics' sudden over-the-hill appearance, the Eastern Conference would be a dogfight for the next few years.

Meanwhile, when the season began with all the attention on the Heat, it apparently escaped the notice of the mainstream media that Jason Terry, one of the Dallas Mavericks had gotten a tattoo of the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy! The fact that this story is only now coming to light shows the extent to which the media wore horse-blinders in regard to the Heat. The only other team that garnered near as much attention as the Super Friends in South Beach were the two-time defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. When the Mavs dispatched of the Lakers in an unceremonious sweep, it was suddenly time for a new narrative for the season.

So here, today, it's upon us. The Dallas vs. Miami rematch. The teams met last in the 2006 Finals, and that's all that anyone can talk about now. The narrative has been building all season, but it hasn't been media-friendly until just recently. Either Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry will have their revenge on the team that psychologically damaged them, or James, Wade and Bosh will be proved right—they did the right thing, made the right decisions, and the trophies are theirs for the foreseeable future.

There may be people, in the future, who will tell you they saw this coming, that it was inevitable, that it was destiny. Those people are liars. But, that doesn't mean that this isn't going to be a great series and that we'll have plenty to talk about, not just during the matchup, but in the weeks and months (and yes, maybe even years) to follow.