Wednesday, May 17, 2006

THE HEAT ARE IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS … A Journal By A Hung-Over & Happy Miami Sports Dude

You’ll pardon me if this report is late … after the Heat’s 106-105 win over the Nets, ensuring entrance into the Eastern Conference Finals, Tek, Gordo and I went out to celebrate at Tobacco Road. What follows is a journal of the game, which is all true. The bottom line here is that, at the end of the night, the Heat won and a girl gave me her number. Life is good.

The Dude’s Heat-Nets Game 5 Journal:

7:00 PM: We arrive and realize our seats are in the 400 section. With the help of two sherpas and a mountain goat, we find our seats. They are actually up against the wall. We decide this is no good so we – and I do not advocate or condone this behavior – decide to find some empty seats in the lower level. We wait for the game to start before heading out.

8:45 PM: We slowly begin to realize that Dwayne Wade is struggling. He’s missed his first 4 shots miserably. The Nets are up by ten. The arena is eerily silent. We decide to make our move. The First Quarter is about to end.

9:15 PM: We find ourselves in new, very awesome, seats. The trick with sneaking into better seats at the arena – and again, we do not advocate or condone this – is to walk into the tunnel without making eye contact with the security. It’s helpful if you put the cell phone to your head and pretend to be involved in an important conversation. Also, make sure you act as if this is your section. Don’t waddle. The slightest hesitation will get you sent back to your 400 Level Nose-Bleeding Purgatory. Also, it helps to have a sense of humor about it. If you do get busted or if the actual owners of the seats show up, grin and walk out with a shrug. It’s embarrassing, but you don’t have to make it so. Try to muster some dignity, even if most of it has been sucked out of you while 200 onlookers stare at you with laughter and mockery. And don’t sweat the security. More often than not, it’s a high school kid working a minimum wage job wearing a jacket that says STAFF or SECURITY on it. Every now and then you’ll get a jack ass who thinks he’s Walker Texas Ranger. But, for the most part, they’re sort of like animals in the wild. A bit daunting but, really, more scared of you than you are of them.

9:20 PM: Antoine hits his first three off a nice assist from Wade. The game seems to be turning a bit. Alonzo Mourning comes in for a foul troubled Shaq and makes a nice mini hook shot. The fans are getting into it again. Shades of Game 1 are beginning to disappear. You see, changing seats actually gave the Heat some new life. If the real owners show up and kick us out, the Heat are doomed to lose this game. And who knows? They might just free fall into a four game losing streak and lose the series all because they didn’t let us sit here as the basketball gods deemed that we should! But no one kicked us out … and we all know how the game ended. (However, I do have one complaint. There was this woman sitting directly behind us who obviously knew very little about basketball but kept screaming – and I mean at the very top of her annoying little lungs – “WE’RE GONNA WIN!!! WE’RE GONNA WIN!!!” She did this regardless of what was happening on the court and she did it all the way to final buzzer. This led to Tek shouting “Shut up!!” But it didn’t faze her. In fact, I don’t even think she noticed. It then led him to saying, “Why do they allow women into basketball games? They just take up seats!” He was mad. Please don’t send me angry e-mails. You know I love you, ladies.)

1:55 left in the half … one of the best parts of the night: The jumbo screen shows Daunte Culpepper and Ronnie Brown sitting in the front row. The fans go absolutely batty. Ronnie points Culpepper to the screen; he looks up and smiles, making the crowd even crazier. Culpepper acknowledges the cheers and now you can feel the walls and floors vibrate. It was awesome. Proof positive that this is a Dolphins town first and foremost – a Dolphins player who has yet to play a single down gets the loudest ovation of the night. Let’s Go Fins!!!

Now … mmmmmmmback to the Heat …

A word on Antoine Walker: I have had my share of Toine Bashing on this blog throughout the course of the season and, yes, I’m still waiting for the real Toine to show up and chuck 25 bricks into the air … but for now, I give the man his props. He’s truly been Employee Number 8 again these last four games and he bailed us out more times than Marcus Vick’s lawyers. He bailed us out when Wade and Shaq dealt with their struggles and bailed us out with his 3 pointer with 2:00 left in regulation to ice the game (so to speak).

So here’s to you, Antoine Walker. You brick laying, Young Frankenstein dribbling sonofabitch … we love you man! (At least until your next 2-23 performance).

FAST FORWARD … 4th Quarter

1:08 Left in Regulation: The Heat has made a furious comeback. And while the crowd is getting upset that Shaquille O’Neal, the most dominant force in the history of the National Basketball Association cannot, for the life of him, hit a goddam free throw to save his life, we’re still feeling a little confident.

1:03 Left: After a timeout, Vince Carter makes another uncontested lay up. Again. This is what happens when you feed the dog people food!! Or, when you fail to guard the paint. It's times like these that you actually miss Eddie Jones ...

.44 Left: Antoine misses a three point attempt. Damn you Toine!!! I take back everything I just said!!! The Nets grab the rebound and score quickly. 106-105, Heat. On the outset, this looks bad. But what led to that lay up has been overlooked. Every pass made after that TO was to a Nets player standing outside the three point line. Richard Jefferson, who had been killing us all night, was standing all alone at the tre spot. When he received the pass, James Posey leapt over to defend the shot, leaving Vince open for the lay up. In essence, they gave up 2 points for a wide open-sure-fire-Jefferson-three that would’ve tied the game and sent it into overtime with Shaq and Wade both in foul trouble.

.2 Left: After a FULL time out, this is the play that we went with: Gary Oldman Payton taking the craziest, most off balance jump shot you ever did see. And, of course, he misses. SIGH … We just have to accept that Gary thinks he’s still living in the early 90’s, we’re in Seattle and Pearl Jam’s TEN is playing on the speaker as apposed to 2006, in Miami with Reggeaton playing on the speaker … come to think of it, I wish I had Gary Payton’s dementia …

Nets take a full time out. There’s a wave of nervous energy in the arena. Tek has his hands over his eyes. Gordo is standing and clapping. I am leaning against my seat wondering what Coach Riley is saying to his guys. Lungs is yelling, “WE’RE GONNA WIN!!! WE’RE GONNA WIN!!!” behind us. NBA basketball. It’s faaaaantastic.

.2 Left: New Jersey makes the inbound pass. And, wouldn’t you know it? It had to be … it had to be FLASH who saves the day. He jumps in front of Vince and steals the ball, runs up court and launches it into the stands, right in front of Culpepper.

The arena erupts. Media storms the court. Tek hugs me and yells into my ear “WE’RE GONNA WIN!!!” He’s such a jack ass. Gordo screams, “We’re going to the Eastern Conference Finals baby!” And I just lift my arms in the air and yell, “Yes!” I even managed to high five Lungs. She smiles as if she knows her yelling gave the team good karma. It gave Tek a headache, that’s for sure. Hey, whatever works.

On the way out, we discuss the details of how much rest the Heat will get now that Detroit has to play at least two more games. We agree it will at least be 5 days. We hope the Cavs-Pistons go to 7 games. We hope even harder that the Cavs can pull off the upset against Detroit.

We head off to Tobacco Road and celebrate with other locals. The bar is full but not packed. We have grilled chicken nachos and watch the Suns-Clippers game and wonder how the hell the Clippers made it this far. We see Jack Nicholson in the stands and we all boo (What a bandwagoner! Great actor. Terrible sports fan. He’s also a Yankee fan. Wouldn’t surprise me if he was a Notre Dame fan.)

We get a little buzzed and, at the end of the night, head off. Tek gives his number to one of our pretty waitresses. I head off to take a piss. When I come out, the boys are in the car waiting for me. The waitress walks up to me and says “Have a great night,” and stuffs something into my front pocket. I get into the car and check the pocket. It’s her name and number. Tek, who’s driving, tells me he gave her his number. I show him the napkin. “She gave me hers.” I say. Gordo begins to crack up in the back seat. The rest of the way home, Tek tries to convince me she gave it to me to give to him. Despite the Heat winning, it’s been a rough night for my boy, Tek.

This morning, I awake with a headache but I’m happy.

The Heat are in the Eastern Conference Finals.



That was a great game! We're the first team to clinch for a conference final so far... good stuff. Bring on Detroit!!!

Great blog journal, Dude.

Congrats on getting the number :)
Awesome recap dude! Glad you had a great time and congrats on the number grab. Here is a nice pic of Daunte and Ronnie...
I appreciate you giving props to Antoine. You have been rough on him all year ... although I will admit he has deserved it at times. Still, this is why Riles got him -- to be that 3rd scorer Eddie Jones could not be. Toine's come up huge lately, playing like he's with the Celtics again ... I hope he keeps it up.

funny as always dude.

your friends have funny names.

Glad to hear that Culpepper got the ovation he did. I'm not much of a Heat fan but am a HUGE Fins fan. Still, I'll shamelessly jump on the home town Heat bandwagon.

Let's Go Heat
that shit was funny, dude. i myself have done the sneak to better seats bit. it's what's great about living in a blase' sports town... people sometimes don't show up. although it's tough to do at dolphins games.

anyway, i'll be cheering bron-bron on tonight. go cavs!

let's go HEAT!
Thanks for the pic, JD!

And Tailor, yes my friends have funny names, but that's only to hide their real identeties and protect the innocent ... so to speak.

Fucking hilarious.

You should make that a T-Shirt like Deadspin did with Berman's "Leather" comment.
good seats at a heat game, getting drunk and getting chicks numbers ... damn my friends suck. I wanna hang with you guys next time.


p.s. did anyone else notice how Wade started off terribly and then just lit it up in the 4th. pardon me, but isn't that the anti-Kobe right there?

Wade also gets him teammates involved so that also makes him the anti Kobe. And he doesn't just do it b/c the media is giving him shit :)
I too wish I had Gary Payton's dementia ... Pearl Jam and the 90's beats reagaton and the 2000's any day. Thanks also for the sneaking into better seats thing. Good advice.

I'm happy the Cavs are giving the Pistons a hand full and are now up 3 games to 2. At best, this thing goes 7 games. At worst, the Pistons win BUT the good thing is they look beatable and not so dominant. Gotta feel good about that. Still, a LeBron-Wade ECF would be sweet ... with the Heat winning it, of course, even sweeter.

Great stuff, Dude. And remember what Vince said in Swingers: Wait 2 Days before you call the beautiful baby.
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