The Miami Heat hit the hardwood for their home opener on Thursday at 8 p.m. against Ron Artest and the fan-punching Indiana Pacers. It's a new season, and championship aspirations are high with the return of Shaq, Dwayne Wade, Alonzo Mourning, and Udonis Haslem. The team fell just short of the finals last year, but a new supporting cast including Gary Payton, Jason Williams, Antoine Walker, and James Posey has the Heat poised for a fresh run at a title.
Just like when the power comes back on after a storm, the atmosphere will be electric when the Heat storm the court for their first regular season home game. If you need more Shaq in your life after Thursday's showdown, the Heat take on the New Jersey Nets Monday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. So grab your foam finger and your polyester jersey, and go see the most recent incarnation of your Miami Heat take on the Pacers and the Nets in the first two home games of the season at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets start at $10. Call 786-777-HOOP, or visit www.miamiheat.com. Shawn McKee
The Michael Vick Experience
' Phins face Vick and the Falcons
There's no player in the NFL as exciting as Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick; there's also no player as overrated. Even with a quarterback rating among the league's lowest, all he has to do is stay healthy and he'll be eating pineapple in Hawaii come January. Almost in spite of him, the Falcons (5-2) remain one of the NFL's best and, coming off a bye-week, they roll into this week's matchup against the struggling Dolphins. Containing Vick will be the least of the 'Phins problems this weekend, if their inconsistent offense can't find a way to put points on the board. Thankfully, Atlanta's defense has been somewhat soft this year, ranking near the bottom of the league in yards allowed. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. at Dolphins Stadium, 2269 NW 199th St., Miami. Tickets start at $25. Call 1-888-FINS-TIX, or visit www.miamidolphins.com. Paul A. Leone
Crawl into the dugout
Is Dungeons & Dragons a sport? Does rolling a 20-sided die count as exercise? If not, then forgive us for putting the Worldwide D&D Game Day on this page. If so, then celebrate the 30th anniversary of the greatest roleplaying game of all time by getting thee to Dragons Lair Games (5118 S. State Rd 7, Fort Lauderdale), where you will spend the day slaying wretched monsters, meeting mysterious druids, hatching diabolical plots, and otherwise exploring the underdark. And you thought Michael Jordan had tough days at his office? This Saturday, participating "wizards" around the world unveil an adventure called the "Fane of Lolth" to be played simultaneously by peeps from Antwerp to Alaska. Call 954-587-3347, or visit www.dndgameday.com. Deirdra Funcheon
Potvin Still Sucks
Fans of the NY Rangers hated rival NY Islander Denis Potvin so intensely that they chanted "Potvin sucks!" and "Beat your wife, Potvin" (referring to his marital problems) at every game even when the Rangers were playing other teams. They still do it even though Potvin hasn't played since 1988. So you know what you're in for, when the Rangers visit Roberto Luongo (pictured) and the Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center, One Panther Pkwy., Sunrise. Visit www. floridapanthers.com. Deirdra Funcheon
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