Unmade Marion

The only bright spot of Shawn Marion getting his groin tweaked against the Hornets, and Dorell Wright and James Jones also out with injuries, was that the Heat learned it could beat a team as good as the New Jersey Nets while starting something called a Yakhouba Diawara at small forward.

Marion, who’s been insisting he needs a bigger contract for so long, is now so old (a rickety 30) that a team would be hard-pressed to justify the dollars he’ll want. Maybe he’ll settle in and get comfortable with the Heat, but there’s an equal chance that Miami will ship him out grumbling at season’s end. Fortunately, Dwyane Wade may finally be getting his groove back — that 19-point fourth-quarter outburst against the Nets was Wade vintage ’06 — and Michael Beasley is blossoming into a Rookie of the Year candidate.

This is the Marion-free future we’re witnessing, but it could get ugly when the Pacers come to town. Out of nowhere, Danny Granger has become one of the top scorers in the league. As luck would have it, he’s at small forward, where he would have been guarded by the relentless Marion. Can a Yakhouba Diawara play D? Find out at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Nosebleed tickets run as cheap as $5. Call 786-777-4667, or visit heat.com.
Sat., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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