If things go the way that I predict, the Blazers and the Heat will both be done for the season by this time next week. The teams remaining will move on, and, when people look back at this season, they won’t think much about the Blazers or the Heat. Before we get to that point, I’d like to spend a few minutes giving both teams a shoutout, because, the way I see it, they both overachieved. At least a few people affiliated with both teams deserve a bunch of credit.
Let’s start with Miami. 47-35, for that collection of talent? Really? For starters, cheers to D-Wade. 27 ppg, shooting 48%, with more than 6 apg plus a block and a steal. The dude is a superstar. If LeBron carried that “supporting cast” to a 47-35 record, people would be talking about him like he walks on water. (Hey, LeBron carried a much better supporting cast to a 61-21 record, and people talk about him like he walks on water.)
Cheers, too, to the young guy, Beasley, who is starting to find his form, and to the old guy, O’Neal, who has at least a little something left in the tank. And, while we’re at it, might as well give the obligatory shoutout to the coach, Erik Spoelstra. I can’t sit here and highlight great coaching moves that he made, but we live in a world where coaches are often graded simply by the results they get, and, well, you can’t argue with the results this dude got from one superstar and a bunch of role players.
As for the Blazers, wow. Every time I looked up, another Blazer was getting injured. Even the coach got injured and missed a bunch of games. They only had Oden for 21 games, and Przybilla for 30. These guys leaned on Juwan Howard — yes, that Juwan Howard — for 22 mpg over 73 games. Yet, they finished #6 in the West, at 50-32. LaMarcus Aldridge is developing into a star (18 ppg and 8 rpg). Brandon Roy is a bad man. Very bad. Andre Miller is one of the most underrated point guards in the league (the dude had THE SIXERS in the playoffs last year), and Marcus Camby, well… 11 boards and 2 blocks per game speak for themselves.
Unfortunately, I think time is running out on both of these squads for this season. Next year, though, look out. The Blazers get Oden and Przybilla back. And the Heat? According to my secret sources (read: the podcasts that I listen to – publicly available to anyone), Chris Bosh wants to head down there. That could give Batman Wade the Robin that he needs, and should send the Heat beyond the first round.