Beast of the East
Superman and Flash form dominant duo
So far, so good for the Miami Heat. Less than one month into the season, the Heaters lead the Southeast Division, have set a franchise-best mark to open the season, and the big fella is meshing well with his new cohorts. How well, you ask? Suffice it to say, there's no star-crossed feuding here like there was with Kobe in Los Angeles, and guard Dwyane Wade is more than happy to defer the spotlight. "Shaq's the best player in the world," Wade says. "There will be nights where he will dominate and I'm probably going to be invisible." Fat chance that "Flash," as Shaq has dubbed him, could ever go without notice in any basketball game. The six-foot-four dynamo was the best player in the league right out of the gates, averaging 28 points and more than seven assists per night and garnering Player of the Week honors as the Heat got off to a 4-0 start. You've got two chances to see the squad up close this week at the Triple A (American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics come to town for a 6 p.m. game Sunday. And on Tuesday, Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors bring their team in for a 7:30 p.m. tip. Call 786-777-1000. -- Russ Evans
For the 11th year in a row, the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic gathers four topnotch college programs to Miami for an evening doubleheader. First, the Florida Gators, led by Billy Donovan, face a Providence team that finished last season ranked 21st in the country. The Friars boast one of the nation's most dynamic players in senior guard Ryan Gomes. In the evening's second game, Miami takes on Xavier. The Hurricanes enter their first season under new coach Frank Haith, and they will find it tough slogging during their inaugural year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Haith will rely heavily on a talented but young backcourt, including junior Robert Hite and sophomore Guillermo Diaz. Xavier's Musketeers are also in their first season under a new coach. Sean Miller takes over a program that saw its first Elite Eight appearance last spring. Sophomore forwards Justin Cage and Justin Doellman look to lead the team. Tipoff for the first game at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) is 5 p.m. Call 305-341-4701. -- Russ Evans
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