Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The American Airlines Arena . . . And Heat-Warriors

By Moose

And yes, that is the man, errrrrr, kid behind the keyboard. Now you can put a (beautiful) face to the incredibly writing. That's me from our seats at the game. Now stop staring and read the article.

So this week I've been in (well, I'm not there anymore, but anyways . . .) Florida visiting family, and I thought a few months ago that going to a Heat game would be a great idea because, well, Miami doesn't come close to filling the arena. I looked on eBay, and, well, great seats for a cheap price was available, so we picked them up.

This was the second NBA game that I had been to, I went to a Heat-Jazz game last year at the AA Arena, ending in a Dwyane Wade game winning buzzer-beater. But after becoming an even larger fan (I didn't post on SLAM or Hibachi or anything else then) this was an even more exciting experience. Notice how I've never been to a Celtics game. The reason for that is, everything's sold out, and if you wanna get tickets in Boston you gotta pay three times face value.

I arrive at the arena and go to the parking garage that is insanely convenient, right next to the stadium, although it is a hefty $20 for one car. We pay and all that and make our way to the arena. I looked up at the enormous building right next to the Port of Miami, and we make our way up the steps and all to the arena to be greeted by polite people at the front who take our tickets and let us go through.

The first thing that I saw was a giant wall-length portrait of Chris Quinn glaring at us in a suit and tie, next to other sane-looking people. Or at least more sane-looking. Because that Chris Quinn picture was scary as hell. OK, now it's about 6:45, about 45 minutes until the game starts. Hoping to meet players or coaches or somebody, I make my way to the lower level in hopes of getting to the court. I make it until about 25 rows from the floor before a security guard stops me and asks to see my tickets. Of course, I don't have seats there, so I'm escorted out of the section and into my own.

I go to the first balcony and to my seat, section 323, row 1, seat 6. This seat was amazing. More that I had ever dreamed of getting. It was nice stuff. We could almost see the players' names on the backs of their jerseys. These seats were a surprise, last year I was on the second balcony, eighth row or something like that. But this section made me giddy. I sat there for a few minutes almost hopping out of my seat at the awesome tickets that I still couldn't get over.

The players came out and started warming up, and lemme tell you, they are professionals, no doubt about it. Never before had I seen so many guys swish so many hoops in so little time. Of course, I kept my eye set on D-Wade, who really couldn't miss a shot in warmups. Another dude who knocked down everything? Udonis Haslem. He's got that midrange jumper down pat, in games and in warmups.

I looked up at the starting lineups and wondered why Crawford wasn't there, disappointed. There wasn't an announcement or anything for the whole game about it. So they were without their four best players, and listing them made me realize that the Warriors are better than their record shows. Maggette, Crawford, Jackson, Ellis and Biedrins is a nice starting five, even if three of them are combo guards. But the starters last night were Biedrins, Wright, Watson, Azubuike and Belinelli.

The arena is a nice one, the Jumbo-tron was good-looking and the wrap-around scoreboard toggled the players' and teams' total stats for the game, a great reference. The only thing missing was a board that had the scores from around the league, you know, I had to keep up with my Celtics making history last night (Rondo with 18, 4 and 4!). There were an awful lot of "De-Fense!" chants and other things of the sort that made you want to throw your soda at the dude playing them, there were a few too many of those. But that's what I expected, anyways, so it wasn't a problem.

DJ Irie, down pretty much right below me, began his crowd pump-up routine, in which he stands at his DJing spot and pretty much dances with two of the Heat Dancers while asking the fans if they're ready for some Heat basketball("!"). After a thoroughly impressive singing of the national anthem by a seemingly talented woman, and a few words of thanks at halfcourt from Dwyane Wade for supporting the Heat in the struggling economy, the game was upon us.

It started off ugly. There were chippy foul calls, passes to the opponent, trouble hanging on to the ball--it just wasn't working for either team. But at the end of the first quarter it was close, with the Warriors having a 24-21 advantage over Miami. Wade only had five points, although the points that he did score were in great fashion, driving to the whole or pulling up for smooth jumpers.

The second quarter is when Daequan Cook happened. He hit five three pointers while going five for seven, lifting up Miami and getting the score 47-41 Heat as they jogged to the locker room. Wade was still not extraordinary, but he was doing well. Impressing me at the half on the defensive end was Joel Anthony, stopping Andris Biedrins like nobody's business. And Biedrins is BIG. When he unfolds, it was clear he could grab past the rim while standing flat-footed. Another huge guy: Brendan Wright. The dude's got a huge wingspan, obviously, and is just enormous. But he's a bit skinny and a bit soft down low, as I noticed during the game.

Oh yeah, and just another thought: Marco Belinelli is one of the ugliest players in the league. In real life? Gotdamn. In the third quarter Wade started to come out a little bit more, dishing out the dunk assists better than most, Marion being on the recieving end of many of these. The Matrix did miss a couple of alley-oops though, and that was somewhat disappointing. For the Warriors, Randolph was impressing me (of note, he had a sick putback dunk where he just snuck in the middle. Nasty), C.J. Watson was impressing me and Kelenna Azubuike was doing what I knew he could. Who wasn't impressing me? Marco Belinelli. Dude couldn't buy a basket. He went 3-11 from the field, and I guess it just wasn't working for him that night.

In the fourth quarter with the score close, Dwyane Wade decided that the Heat were not going to lose this game. He checked back in and just took over. He scored 18 in the fourth quarter alone, all of them in style. Driving to the hole, getting fouled, and over again. There was one play where it was a three on one and he cut to the hoop and still scored, no teammates in sight. Crazy stuff. He pulled them ahead as chants of "MVP!" started to ring out from the stands, me included in them. I quickly exited the arena and went back to the car that we took, and we listened to the chorus of car horns ringing out in the slightly sketchy Miami neighborhood.

The game was a great one, even if the Warriors' better players weren't participating. Dwyane Wade had a close to superhuman night, scoring 32 well-earned points, grabbing 8 boards (and Marion stole about two from him, shoulda been 10), dishing out 8 dimes, stealing the ball three times and topping it all off with three monster blocks. Wade was on. Except for the charity stripe, which wasn't quite a great performance. Dwyane shot 6-10 from the free throw line. I guess the MVP chants got to his head a little bit. You gotta wait until after the shots to do the MVP thing.

It was nice to see my guy Anthony Morrow out there, he finished with 8 points, 1 assist and 7 boards. He's still my darkhorse ROY candidate. Great potential from Morrow, he shouldn't be slept on. C.J. Watson shot well, finishing with 18 points, nailing two from long. Anthony Randolph played with poise, finishing with 10 points, 2 blocks and 6 boards. Azubuike also did his part with 16, 9 and 3. It was also nice to see Turiaf not in a Lakers' uniform, it's easier to like him that way, because I always liked how he played.

On the Heat side, Daequan Cook finished with a season-high 20 points going 5-7 from long, adding four rebounds and an assist. Joel Anthony shined on defense, holding Biedrins to 6 points and 9 rebounds. Udonis Haslem knocked down the 15 footer all day, ending up with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 dimes and a block. Mario Chalmers looked like he was trying to do too much, trying to force tough passes through a tight defense, finishing with 5 turnovers. Beasley also had a game full of rookie mistakes, finishing with 5 points and 2 turnovers.

The game was awesome, to put it bluntly, especially for someone with barely any live professional experience. The Heat played great, the young guys impressed (on the GS side, at least) and the fans were pretty good. The place was about 2/3 full, most likely less than that, but it just wasn't that full. It was a great experience, I liked the arena, and I saw what Dwyane Wade could do. Pardon mistakes too, this isn't my best work. It was just a great game. OK, you can resume staring at the picture now.



Eboy said...

I really like your take on the AAA, and I'm glad you were pleasently surprised. Three seasons ago, the place was wall to wall every night (kind of like your Celts today) having a champion caliber team in place, so right now, the diehards make up the crowd. Nice, thorough notes, and next season, if you come back for a game, let's try to meet up at for the game. You kind of look like the lost Jonas Brother (which can't be a good thing) so take that for what you will.

Roy said...

You got a nice view of the game there. If I were to watch from there, I'd be happy as well. Great post on the game notes by the way. I would have to agree with Eboy on the Jonas Brother comment... Sorry, dude... :D

Moose said...

Jonas Brothers . . . . . ouch, that hurt.

Moose said...

But thanks for the complements on the other stuff.

Anonymous said...

Haha, depends Moose: Can you sing like the Jonas Brothers can? I guess some people (read: every teenage girl in America) likes their stuff, so that could be a plus...?

Nice post. Pity you couldn't meet any players, but I think seeing a potential MVP candidate go off makes up for it

BETCATS said...

Moose reminds me of a young Festus (to yall who dont remember your wreslers names from when you are 6 years old, click the link. )

But on the real, i dont understand why you arent watching Hannah Montanna on ice or something.

Good notes/game recolection/whatever the hell this was.

Happy Holidays,


Kid Presto said...

jonas brothers is the stuff...forget what y'all saying. their album is in my fave 5. ladies love it. good notes, young moose. wow are blog's swag is phenomanal. (spellcheck)

Moose said...

Very funny, I've never been compared to the frickin' Jonas Brothers before . . . jeez. And no, I can't sing for my life, seeing as I have a voice almost as deep as Rick Ross (no joke with that one). God, what's up with all this crap music comparisons? Man . . .

Moose said...

Guys, Jonas Brothers? I mean, really. Nobody has ever told me that I looked anything like those dudes, and I don't like that you guys think so. Anyways, I'm one of the only 5-9, 150 pound 13 year olds that you can find around. And, I got some braces too, I wasn't opening my mouth. So if you met me in real life, you definitely wouldn't think the same thing. Especially if you heard me talk. Trust me on this one.

Moose said...

Most likely there will be more pictures of me up here in the future, so you'll most likely see then. Until that time, just take my word for it.

Moose said...

Compare and contrast with the one I just put up, about five minutes before the other one. I look a tad different, no? Well, I look something like that (not that bad, don't get me wrong) usually. And remember my dimensions and voice. I'm a big 13 year old.

Anonymous said...

Better to sound like Rick Ross then Rick Astley

"Never gonna give you up..." hahahaha

Eboy said...

Fine then, not the lost Jonas Brother? Then you look like the goofy friend on Hannah Montana. Remember, I'm a daddy to a 4 year old, so Disney Channel is my fave 5 (not by choice)and I see ALL.

Justin Walsh said...

It's official: MOOSE IS ON THE LOOSE!!! Heh, anyway, nice mugshot. Me personally, I'm growing out my facial scruff as an homage to Cornel West, my favorite transcendentalist. By the way, about the Chris Quinn in the suit picture, I totally agree, he looks like he's in a room with nothing but rapists and child molesters so he's giving them the stink-eye, but who doesn't think that the Shawn Marion picture in the suit roster photo isn't just the best picture of him taken in the history of his life?

Roy said...

Co-sign @ Baconator. :D

Hursty said...

Wasnt the Heat/Jazz game winner in, like, 2005?
Moose looks different to what I expected hmm.
Still, i like your take on the place and the game notes are solid.
Merry xmas! everyone!

Hursty said...

ps- my parents are going to the knicks/suns game in Madison Square Garden in January- and i dont get to go. You have no idea how pissed off I am haha.
But January 2010 I'm going to be in atl, hou and nyc so watch out!

Money Bill Williams said...

I think Moose looks like the younger sibling to Hursty.

Good notes btw, but I had no idea you had never been to C's game. I just took it as a given that livin in Beantown and being obsessed with Celts you would have season tixs.

Damm fucked uped recession!

Hursty said...

haha money, moose might have the same sort of physical dimensions as me, but add 6 inches and 30 pounds (Moose- theres no way you're 13, 150 and 5'9. 130 more like it...) and he's getting close. still can't match my oj mayo draft night shave though-3 days growth. Consistent baby!

Moose said...

Hursty, 5-9, 150 pounds and proud of it. Would I lie? Seriously, want a full-body shot (no suggestions intended at all)? I ain't lying. 5-9, 150. And, just out of curiosity, what did you expect me to look like?

Moose said...

And Money, true that. I am killing to go to a game, but, you know, dolla dolla bill y'all . . . I'll get to a game one of these days. Hopefully. But thanks for your sympathy. I'll get to one . . . once Pierce and Garnett retire.

AR said...

I was 5'9'' 150 when I was 13.

Don't get used to growing.

Moose said...

How tall are you now, AR? Doctor says I'll be, like 6'2". It all depends on this year. I grew four inches last year, and if I do it again, the possibilities for growth are endless. If not . . . you know. Average height.

Hursty said...

5-10 is the average height for a male, 5-7 for a woman. I was 6 foot at 14 and I'm 6'3 now a few years later so meh.

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