Reporting Tim Kephart
Heat Quiet Thunder, 110-100MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) - The Miami Heat entered Thursday night's contest as the hottest team in the NBA, led by the front-runner for the Most Valuable Player award, LeBron James. By the time the final horn sounded, the Heat had finished off the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-100 on national television. James finished the game with 39 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists to put an exclamation mark on the first-half of the season. He came within a minute of continuing his record-setting streak of 30+ point games and shooting better than 60 percent from the field. LeBron missed a shot from a couple of steps beyond the 3-point-line as the shot clock ran down with just over a minute left in the game. LeBron finished the game 14 of 24 from the field, or 58 percent. All that mattered to LeBron though was the Heat extended their winning streak to seven straight games and the Heat beat the Thunder for the sixth time in a row dating back to the 2012 NBA Finals. "Winning is hard to come by in professional sports. That's what it's about," James said. "Sixty percent doesn't matter. Winning is all that matters." Chris Bosh chipped in 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who won the last four games of last season's Finals after losing Game 1 in Oklahoma City and continued their dominance in the series after winning on their home court on Christmas Day. "I thought we imposed our will, playing our style of basketball," said Dwyane Wade, who had 13 points and eight assists before fouling out with 3:29 to play. "But have their number? No, we're not feeling that way. We've just won two games against them. That's it." Kevin Durant had 40 points and eight rebounds, but missed his first seven shots as Oklahoma City fell hopelessly behind. After the slow start, he wound up making half of his 24 shots — going 8 for 10 in the fourth quarter to get Oklahoma City within 108-100 after trailing by as much as 23. It wasn't enough to measure up against James, who beat him in last year's MVP race and then the Finals before the two won a gold medal together at the London Olympics. "It's fun. I take on the challenge every time we're playing," Durant said. "He had a great game. He was making some tough shots, man — one-leggers, fadeaways in corners, 3s. So, you've got to tip your hat to that. "I just wanted to keep putting pressure on him. I missed a few and then I started to hit in the fourth. I just tried to will my team back in the game, but it didn't work." Russell Westbrook had 26 points and 10 assists, with six turnovers, for the Thunder. He had 20 points in the first half to keep Oklahoma City from getting run out of its own gym. Despite playing without injured starting forward Udonis Haslem (leg) and then losing two starters to foul trouble in the first 6 minutes, the Heat took control by scoring 11 straight points midway through the first period and went up 28-13 when Ray Allen made the free throw after Durant drew his 11th technical foul of the season. "That was the game, that first quarter," said Durant, who surmised that the Thunder came out too nervous or too excited. "We just kept fighting and we kept fighting, battling uphill. That's tough to do against a championship-caliber team." Miami never trailed, held Oklahoma City to just two baskets over a 12-minute stretch and eventually widened its lead to as much as 79-56 when James put back a missed jumper by Bosh with 5:07 left in the third quarter. That matched the largest deficit of the season for the Thunder, who also were down 23 in a home loss against Brooklyn last month. Oklahoma City fell to 23-4 at home and suffered back-to-back losses for only the second time all season — with the Heat responsible for the second loss on both occasions. The defeat also dropped the Thunder (39-14) to even in the loss column with Miami (36-14) as the two potentially jockey for home-court advantage if there's a Finals rematch. San Antonio has the best record in the league, and is the only team ahead of Miami and Oklahoma City. "We always have to be sharp. We can't ever let our guard down," James said. "We can't ever come in lackadaisical. We have to come in with a great mindset." James finished the first half with a flurry, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and a pair of jumpers from the left wing on four straight possessions. He said it all started with a fan who taunted him. "He said, 'Shoot it. You can't shoot.' So, I said, 'OK,' and I shot it. I made it and then I made another one and then I made another one and then I made another one, and he stopped talking to me," James said. The first 3 came when James was left wide open, then the Thunder tried to send Durant, Thabo Sefolosha and finally Kendrick Perkins at him — all to no avail. Westbrook spent most of the second half guarding James. The only frustration for James came because of the officials, who whistled him for two fouls within two-tenths of a second — and within the final 6 seconds of the half. James tried to restrain himself but eventually let his emotions boil over enough that Dan Crawford hit him with a technical foul, too. Still, Miami bumped its lead to 63-46 when Bosh got open for a layup at the halftime buzzer off of a half-court inbound bounce pass from Shane Battier. (TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The Republican-led House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution bill that sets up a government shutdown and possibly worse in the coming weeks thanks to a plan first pushed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
The House passed a bill that will fund the government at sequestration levels but seeks to defund discretionary spending of the Affordable Care Act. The move by the House ended weeks of pushes by roughly 10 percent of the members to shut down the government if the ACA wasn’t ended.
Senator Rubio hailed the House’s action, even though his allies in recent days have admitted the bill has no chance of ever making it past the Democratically-led Senate or President Barack Obama’s desk.
“The American people support defunding ObamaCare and oppose shutting down the government,” Senator Rubio said in a statement. “The House voted today to follow the will of the American people and the Senate should now follow suit.”
Rubio’s statement on the “will of the American people” is not quite clear based on recent polling on the issue of a government shutdown and the Affordable Care Act.
According to the latest Pew Research poll on the Affordable Care Act, 53 percent disapprove of the law. However, 27 percent of that group said lawmakers should “do what they can to make the law work as well as possible.”
On the other hand, 23 percent of the 53 percent want lawmakers to do everything they can to make the law fail. Further, according to the Pew Poll, 43 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners want their representatives to make the law fail; while 37 percent said they want leaders to make the law work as well as possible.
Still, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Republican voters, especially primary voters who have driven the party farther to the right, are willing to risk the political fallout from a government shutdown and possible debt default to enforce their will over the rest of the country.
The move by the House to pass the defund Obamacare bill puts the ball squarely in the court of Senators Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee who now have to prove they have the mettle to deliver the same sort of results demanded from the House.
The problem for Rubio, Lee, and Cruz is that no matter how much they may say; there is no way the minority in the Senate can defund Obamacare.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) asked the Congressional Research Service to investigate the possibility of defunding Obamacare through a continuing resolution. What Senator Coburn’s office found was that the lapse in spending will only impact discretionary spending, while the ACA’s spending comes from mandatory spending.
In addition, the White House has the ability to shift extra funding around to meet any possible shortfalls due to a government shutdown, according to the Washington Post. The White House can use leftover money from last year, mandatory public health funding created by the law and others, according to talkingpointsmemo.com.
Part of the fear for Republicans trying to stop the Affordable Care Act isn’t that it will fail on its own, but that the law will succeed at several levels. If the law works, even partially, then millions of Americans will have better health care coverage which would make overturning the law politically perilous.
Therefore, the only way tea party legislators see left to stop the law is to force a government shutdown that won’t stop the law.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already said the House’s bill was dead on arrival in the Senate. Senator Reid has the option of taking out the defunding provision, passing the spending at sequestration levels and then sending the bill back to the House.
If Reid can do this, which would require 60 votes to overcome any filibuster, it would put House Speaker John Boehner in a politically untenable position.
Speaker Boehner would have to decide whether to proceed with a government shutdown, or turn to Congressional Democrats for help passing the continuing resolution without conservative votes. Most likely, there wouldn’t be enough votes even with Democratic help to pass the spending bill.
In addition to the shutdown, the House legislation prepared for a debt default by ordering the government to pay foreign creditors and Social Security recipients first if the U.S. hits the debt limit, according to talkingpointsmemo.com.
Breaching the debt limit, almost all economists agree, would likely be catastrophic not only to the U.S. economy, but also the global economy. It could shift borrowing costs for decades and challenge the widespread belief the U.S. dollar is the most stable currency in the world.
Many economists have said the potential for a global depression is significantly higher if the U.S. breaches the debt limit. Speaker Boehner has said multiple times in the past that he won’t allow the debt limit to be breached.
But, the first step of the plan first hatched by Senators Rubio, Lee, and Cruz is now in place. The next step in the Senate will not go in favor of the House or Rubio, Lee, and Cruz. Where things go after that is anyone’s guess.