Heat Plays Boston, Err, Brooklyn, Tonight: Five Keys to the Game

So our boys face off against the Celtics Nets tonight at 8 p.m.on ESPN and things are looking bleak. Firstly, Dwyane Wade sat out the last game and LeBron has been shooting like, well, not LeBron lately. Secondly, the Nets whacked the Heat twice in the preseason. Third, Nets center Brook Lopez is a klutz, but bigger and stronger than anybody on the Heat but one-legged wonder Greg Oden.

The good news. While Heat was whacked by the pathetic 76ers in the last game, the Nets lost to the friggin Cavaliers, Both teams looked horrible.

So we are hopeful that our capitalist owner Micky Arison can defeat Russian oligarch and Brooklyn kingpin Mikhail Prokhorov. Micky, whom this newspaper once termed a "big fat greedy corporate pig and pictured on the cover with pig ears and a snout (see picture at right), is actually just the right guy to put the Russkii parenenyok in his place.

Let us not forget that Nets center Kevin Garnett is 37 years old and Paul Pierce is 36. Let us also not forget that Garnett has proven to be the choker above chokers losing twice to (the now nearly departed) Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals.

Since this might just be a preview to the Eastern Conference finals, herein are the five keys to the game:

1. Will LeBron's play improve? Sure he led the team in scoring during the last game, but in the two regular season games so far, he has not been himself.

2. Will the Nets gel. The Brookly goofettes have a roster that equals or is better than the Heat's. But basketball is a team game. Watch the passing.

3. Can Paul Pierce continue to score and be a jerk now that he is old. Pierce is the one true scorer on the Nets. But his conflicts with the Heat have distracted him in the past. Can he overcome this?

4. Can the Birdman-Bosh big man team, work. The bird, Chris Anderson, has been [laying pretty well, and so Bosh has been allowed to so some of the crazy outside shooting that he is best at. The Bosh man is, as Coach Eric Spoelstra has said, the Heat's most important player. Can he continue his superb play?

5. Brook Lopez. This guy is huge. Seven feet tall and 275 pounds. If he can dominate inside, the Heat will have a hard time winning. The guy is a goofy version of the Pacers Roy Hibbert. Maybe Mario Chalmers should tickle him.

Send your story tips to the author, Chuck Strouse

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse