Lots of hoops action over the weekend with the Miami Heat winning two big games over the Knicks and Grizzlies, which pushed the winning streak to a franchise-record 14 straight. The Hurricanes weren’t so lucky as they lost a squeaker to Duke. Meanwhile, the Panthers continued to do their best impersonation of the Miami Marlins with more losses stacking up.
Quote of the Day:
“The end of labor is to gain leisure.” – Aristotle. If only American business could understand this today!
Miami Heat: (@ Minnesota Timberwolves, 8 p.m., Sun Sports)
The Heat continued their torrid pace yesterday with a 99-93 victory over the New York Knicks.
Make no mistake, that was a statement win reminding the Knicks that the Eastern Conference goes through South Florida.
LeBron continued to play at his absurd level and Wade chipped in with a 20, 8, and 8 night as well.
Shane Battier played extremely well over the weekend, but the most perplexing stats came from Chris Bosh.
He scored 16 points and had exactly 1 rebound in the game.
1 rebound….yes…1 rebound.
I just don’t get how a guy who is 6’11” can get only 1 rebound.
Of course he is there to pull big guys out of the lane to open it up for LeBron and Wade, so that could be the cause on the offensive end.
Still, kinda odd overall.
The victory tied the team’s all-time winning streak record at 14 straight.
A victory over the woeful Timberwolves tonight will give the Heat a franchise record 15 straight.
Looking at the schedule, the Heat don’t have a serious challenger coming up until next Sunday.
The Heat will welcome in the Indiana Pacers into the AmericanAirlines Arena for a key game for both teams.
Indiana has played Miami extremely well this year and I believe is the team that can give the Heat the most problems in the Eastern Conference.
It’s going to be interesting if the Heat come into the game with a 17-game winning streak and Indiana is ready, who can walk out with a victory.
At this point, I’m not betting against the Heat.
I watched the Grizzlies game in person on Friday and Memphis was beating up Miami down low. But the Heat kept coming and eventually put together another win.
Miami Hurricanes: (off Monday, next game vs. Georgia Tech on Wednesday)
As bad as the loss at Duke hurt for the Canes, I actually saw positives in the game.
Let’s be honest, if Ryan Kelly doesn’t have his career game that night, Miami walks out of Cameron with an easy victory.
Think about it, Kelly had to give them 36 points for them to beat the Canes.
He’s not going to do that every night, especially at a neutral site.
Plus, Miami is 23-5 on the season and with one more victory claims the regular season title outright.
For a team that was unranked and coming off losses to Indiana State and Florida Gulf Coast University in the pre-conference schedule, that’s pretty darn good.
Now, looking ahead, Miami gets Georgia Tech on Wednesday night and ends the season on Saturday against Clemson.
Georgia Tech is 15-13 on the season and 5-11 in conference play. Clemson has the same conference record but is 13-15 on the season.
Plus, these two games will be in Coral Gables where the Canes have yet to lose in conference play.
Panthers: (off Monday)
Guh, yknow Florida played as well as they could last night and they still lost to the Carolina Hurricanes.
I know it’s only March, but I think it’s time to start disassembling this team and playing for next year.
Some good trades would help the team build for the future.
Plus, they should just go ahead and bring up Markstrom and give him a lengthy look at goal to see if he’s the real deal.
Florida has fallen into last place in the Eastern Conference and have just 55 goals on the season against 82 goals from opponents.
At the top of their web site, it says “Red Rising.”
Unfortunately, that’s the blood pressure of head coach Kevin Dineen each time his Cats fail, which is pretty frequent lately.
Oh yes, one other thing comes today…Monday is the deadline for franchise players to be named.
So what about the Fins?
I can’t see the Fins franchising Jake Long due to cost or Sean Smith due to talent.
That leaves one key player likely to get tagged if a deal can’t be reached today, defensive tackle Randy Starks.
It’s a good move either way for the Dolphins as Starks won’t cost too terribly bad against the cap.
It’s better to get him signed long-term for cap purposes, but considering the Fins haven’t signed ANY of their free agents, a tag shouldn’t be a surprise.
So how’s the salary cap situation moving ahead?
Well, the cap next year, which starts on March 12, will be set at $123.9 million.
Currently, the Dolphins have approximately $80.160 million against the cap.
I’m not good with math, but let’s give it a shot…that should translate to roughly $43-44 million in salary cap space this year.
Now, you don’t want to spend it all, but let’s shave $10 million off for Starks’ franchise tag.
Let’s take another say $5 million off for Brian Hartline.
Now we’re down to about say $29 million in cap space.
Shave another roughly $5 million off for rookie space.
And we’re at around $24 million.
So that’s what the Fins will have to work with most likely if they re-sign Hartline, depending of course on how his contract is structured.
That’s why I caution against signing someone like Mike Wallace for $12 million a season, I just don’t think he’s worth it.
Build through the draft and only strike in free agency once you have the other parts built.
Remember Dolphins fans, this is going to be a multi-year rebuilding project after Bill Parcells ran the franchise further into the ground.