Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Heat at Magic preview

It is easy to expect the Miami Heat to blow out the Orlando Magic after what we saw in the pre-season opener. However, a much different game could emerge in game 2, the preseason finale.

I expect Orlando and its star Dwight Howard to show a little bit more pride this time around as they will be playing in front of their home crowd for the first time. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Dwight Howard gets from a fan base that has to be pretty convinced it is losing yet another NBA superstar as he hits his prime.

Emerging playmaker Norris Cole has a great opportunity to solidify his spot as an energy guy off the bench. One day he could be a starter, but if he is capable of being a role player off the bench this year, he should consider himself blessed. While Miami has struck out in the free agent point guard market (at least they kept their part time starter in Mario Chalmers), a veteran or two shakes free and the Heat is always looking to upgrade.

The same opportunity is there for the twin mountains -- Eddy Curry and Dexter Pittman -- as Riley has yet to come across a legitimate upgrade at the position he arguably values most. Pittman's chance to shine is while Eddy Curry is injured, which is now and could be a recurring issue if the past is an indicator. Neither player has a guaranteed contract, but they are both expected to make the cut and get some minutes. I expect a solid game from Pittman tonight if he is allowed to play through his fouls.

Lastly, most fans will have an eye on the hopefuls for the 15th roster spot. Some argue that shooters like Terrel Harris and Derrick Byars should be kept for their youth, but they are 24 and 27 respectively. They have the look of solid role players, but I do not think you should keep them based on the fact that they are young. They should be kept if they are knock down shooters. Today they get a chance to prove that they are fearless and not one hit wonders.

Prediction: Miami 110 - Orlando 103


  1. Hey Cyrus, what's your take on this?

    "NBA Shortened Season: Should the League Change to the 66-Game Schedule For Good?

    This recent 2011 NBA lockout was the fourth one in its history, since the league was founded back in 1946. Many of us hardly remember the last time we were deprived of a full 82 regular season games: 1998-99, with only fifty games to enjoy. By most accounts, it proved to be some of the ugliest NBA basketball we've ever seen: 64 sets of back-to-back games, plagued by sloppy and unmotivated players on fatigued legs.

    The NBA now faces a similar predicament.

    For the first time, December 25th will be the big opening day of this truncated basketball season. Huge event, with the unveiling of a Championship banner for the Dallas Mavericks, in a thrilling championship rematch with our own Miami Heat team.

    This 2011-2012 season will also be unusually and excessively compressed, with 42 sets of back-to-back games, 3 consecutive games at least once for every team. There will only be 48 contests between conference rivals and 18 out of conference meetings. In sum, a much more grueling and demanding schedule, where the quality of games is bound to suffer while ratings may not improve much, compared to classic 82 game seasons.

    Which brings us to a highly debated topic in US sports: should we shorten the NBA regular season for good? Would it make for a better product, better rested and healthier players, higher ratings, and similar revenues on a revitalized industry?

    Most fans and sports analysts across the spectrum clearly think so. The regular season is way too long. While seeding and home-court advantage do matter, they could be preserved with, say, a 70 game regular season. Only 16 teams out of 30 advance, anyway, the real and obvious contenders to begin with.Then we get 2 months worth of playoffs spectacles, what everyone really wants, after the football season is over.

    Midweek NBA games in November between mediocre
    And it will be unfair to certain teams, while benefiting others. A few examples, Cleveland get its longest homestead in history: 9 straight games. While Phily plays its first 5 games on the road, teams like Toronto also got unlucky with the schedule, while Miami gets to enjoy 16 national airings on ABC and ESPN. Also, older, aging teams like Boston, Lakers or Mavs will have to pace themselves, while younger teams are better prepared for this insane upcoming grind.

    On the bright side, this could be a great opportunity to re-evaluate the length of the season, to come up with much smarter schedules. I'd say try 70 games, or so, for starters. For a myriad of reasons, as expressed by both fans and players, and most sports analysts for decades now.

    I'm with guys like Jeff Van Gundy on this topic: long season, fewer games: 70 sounds about right as a first experiment.

  2. I had to cut out a few paragraphs,,

  3. This game is just another joke, preseason, meaningless, and Dwight Howard simply does no want to play and is demanding to get traded, on the court, very game.

    Don't read much into it, at all.

    "The same opportunity is there for the twin mountains -- Eddy Curry and Dexter Pittman "

    I thought you were writing about the Lakers or the new Knicks there for a second. 2 fat useless dudes: great name for a new movie. Send me the royalties.

  4. Interesting read on the shortened season. I personally don't want seasons shortened. If it were, I would still want there to be visits to every arena during the regular season.

  5. I disagree. I prefer shorter seasons with more meaningful and higher quality games. Look at football with how spread out their games are. It makes each game more meaningful and feel more like a big event. Whereas with basketball every game feels like "just another game". I even like Baseball more with their 3-5 game series between teams, rather than just one and then moving on. Basketball does the worst job IMO of the 3 major sports of promoting regular season games. Its hard to get up for a game unless its against a major rival. Or if the team you're playing against has a player that has a particular connection to your team, IE a rivalry with a current player or if he was a former player himself.