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Tim's Game Preview: Game 76, Miami Heat

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We know its you guys under there.  What a lame April Fools' Joke.  

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-58) vs. Miami Heat (52-23) at Target Center

When they keep statistics for the Miami Heat, do they really count 41 road games for the Heat? Let's be honest, other than games in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, L.A., and Orlando, the Heat basically play home games everywhere they go. Tonight at the Target Center, I fully expect to be surrounded by Heat "fans" wearing jerseys with James and Wade on the back (no one wears Chris Bosh jerseys except Chris Bosh).

99% of these people discovered that they were Miami Heat fans on July 9th, 2010. 75% of these people didn't know Miami had a professional basketball team until July 9th, 2010. 50% of these people didn't know Minnesota had a professional basketball team until they looked at the Heat schedule this fall.

I would be mad, but really, it will just make it that much sweeter when the Minnesota Timberwolves win. After all, if Cleveland can do it, why can't we?

This is not an April Fools' Joke. Let's break down the matchups and see how the Wolves can come away with a victory tonight.

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Erick Dampier demonstrates textbook shooting form at the foul line.

Darko Milicic vs. Erick Dampier

With Joel Anthony performing poorly, the Heat have been forced to rely on Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamaal Magloire to man the center position this season. In other words, there is at least one team in the NBA who has it worse at the center position than the Timberwolves do.

While I have to imagine this will cost them come playoff time against the Dwight Howards, Joakim Noahs and Andrew Bynums of the world, I can also see Darko destroying Ericka with his spin moves, jump hooks and intense defense.

# of Heat fans who could name a center on the team: 57

# of Heat fans who would say Shaquille O'Neal: 5,048

Winner: Darko Milicic

 

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Does Chris Bosh already have a nickname? If not, I'd like to propose, "Third Wheel".

Kevin Love vs. Chris Bosh

We all have "that friend". Like the one in high school who wasn't really that cool, but he had a car, so you called him up and let him hang out when you needed to be driven somewhere. Chris Bosh is "that guy" on the Miami Heat.

Against Cleveland on Tuesday night, Bosh went 5-of-14 for 10 points with 4 rebounds in 33 minutes of play. He's the same guy who has said:

"We all want to be healthy and that is very important. If it is by somebody's leg, don't dive for the ball, it's too close."

and

"[Coach Spoelstra] knows he has to meet us halfway. He wants to work, we wanna chill."

Does anyone think that "Third Wheel" will outwork Kevin Love tonight? Does anyone think that, if the Heat had just stuck with Beasley and used the extra money for some better role players, that they would be any worse this season?

Does anyone doubt that Chris Bosh will be the first one traded away from this trio if the Heat don't win a title this year?

Winner: Kevin Love

 

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Has LeBron become the best villain in NBA history? .

Michael Beasley vs. LeBron James

Is LeBron a villain or just someone who is misunderstood?

Is he the guy who quits in Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, or the guy who took a team with Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden and Donyell Marshall to the NBA Finals?

Is he the guy who skips player intros in Cleveland to "use the bathroom", refuses to shake hands after losses and tweets about "karma", or the guy who calls Derrick Rose the MVP and says he still loves Cavaliers fans?

I'm not sure myself. What I do know is that a guy who just won back-to-back MVPs is barely even mentioned in the MVP conversation these days. I know that a guy who could have rivaled Michael Jordan's popularity by the end of his career is one of the most disliked athletes in all of sports. I know that playing with friends was apparently more important to LeBron than winning (in Chicago or with the Clippers) or loyalty to his hometown.

I also know that Michael Beasley is definitely not a villain and will use his super powers to take down the "King" tonight.

Winner: Michael Beasley

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General manager of the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade.

Wesley Johnson vs. Dwyane Wade

From the CBA: "Tampering is when a player or team directly or indirectly entices, induces or persuades anybody who is under contract with another team to negotiate for their services."

For instance, in 1999, Will Perdue signed with Chicago and talked to the local press about the possibility that the Bulls could sign Tim Duncan the following season. Perdue was warned by the league that this was considered tampering.

Yet, when three players get together and agree to play together two years into the future, nothing happens. Of course, I wasn't privvy to those conversaions, but it doesn't take a genius to guess that they took place. They all agreed to sign extensions for the same amount of years. They all agreed to opt-out of their deals. Then LeBron made his "Decision", which Chris Broussard had claimed was made well before the July 8th special, and the Miami Heat are born.

If the Wolves lose four draft picks for Joe freakin' Smith, the Heat shouldn't have a pick until 2045.

Winner: Wesley Johnson

 

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Is Mike Bibby, game-wise, the exact opposite player of Rajon Rondo?

Luke Ridnour vs. Mike Bibby

The tradition of washed-up veterans signing with contenders to win a ring before retiring started long ago and continues with guys like Troy Murphy going to Boston and Mike Bibby going to Miami. Sometimes, it works out, like when P.J. Brown signed with tbe Celtics in 2008. Sometimes, it doesn't, like when Karl Malone and Gary Payton signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Mike Bibby turns 33 in a month and is in his 13th NBA season. The closest he has gotten to a title is a Western Conference Finals appearance with the Sacramento Kings in 2001-2002, after which he was awarded a 7 year, $80.5 million contract that just ran out.

Was Bibby really an upgrade over Carlos Arroyo? Is he really someone who will make a difference in the playoffs? Will the fact that he couldn't guard me on defense hurt him when has to guard someone like Chauncey Billups, Rajon Rondo or Luke Ridnour?

Call me a cynic, but I think Bibby is retiring without a ring on his finger or a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves in April.

Winner: Luke Ridnour

 Erik-spoelstra-2009-12-27-20-10-24_medium

Only Kim Kardashian has a seat hotter than Erik Spoelstra.

My Prediction: Timberwolves 121 - Miami Heat 109

Timberwolves' Record: 18-58

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