Unless you’re the sort that enjoys self-inflicted pain (and hey, I’m not here to judge!), watching Miami Heat basketball is usually not recommended. They’re a slow, plodding, and guileless team. So, why am I looking forward to tonight’s matchup with the Magic? Schadenfreude, of course.
Former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy makes his triumphant return to his old stomping grounds tonight in Miami, leading a young and surging squad, and it’ll be great to see the kind of reaction the Heat faithful – the ones that still bother showing up at the arena – give him.
If this game was taking place in New York, you can bet the fans would start some kind of “Fire Riley, Hire Van Gundy” chant; alas, it is laid-back Miami, and patrons are too busy checking their tee times to bother with this derisiveness. Pity.
Even though Shaq is a shell of the player he used to be, it’s always neat when he goes up against one of the up-and-coming monsters of the paint, and there’s no one better at the center position in the League right now than Dwight Howard.
When Dwight posts Shaq at some point in the third quarter tonight, locks eyes with Jameer, spins quickly and violently into the paint, and catches a rim-rattling oop, watch and see if O’Neal doesn’t mutter to himself, “Damn, I remember when Brian Shaw and I used to that.”
Prediction: Orlando (108) – Miami (97).