Heat : Wizards :: Mike Miller's Monkey : Great Dane

The post's title pays homage to a bizarre must-read on True Hoop--and the SAT's verbal analogies section--but just as Sonny rode a dog around the neighborhood, the Wiz cannot get the Heat off their backs.

Washington's losing streak is no secret around D.C.; what's less well-known are the pitiful details.

Counting their 2005 playoff sweep, the Heat are 19-1 against Washington in the teams' last 20 games; while the Wiz flipped the script during the two-year MJ era, going 5-3 against South Beach, the Heat also were 11-0 in the three years beforehand. That's basically a nine-season stranglehold on the series; the last time the Wizards were competitive without MJ, Miami's Ike Austin was battling Washington starting center Terry Davis in the post.

In fact, Washington's only swept the series once: When the teams played just twice in 1989-90, Miami's first season. Not surprisingly, the Heat have an unreal .705 lifetime winning percentage against the Wizards.

Looking at the 27 teams that existed pre-1995, a few other head-to-head matchups are similarly lopsided--and none are pretty, with traditional powers like the Lakers and the Spurs owning the historically weak Clippers and T-Wolves, respectively. It's progressively easier to forget after three straight playoff trips, but the Bullets were East patsies for decades. Ever since Riley arrived in 1996, the Heat haven't been.

So what to expect tonight, as the 11-10 Wizards face the 6-15 Heat? Unclear. Minus Agent Zero, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison have rallied D.C. to a pretty good place, tempting some fans to use tonight's game as a measuring stick. However, since neither good nor bad Wizards teams could beat the Heat, it's tough to place any stock in yet another loss. Which is expected, after all: the Heat are somehow favored by 5.5 points.

Rather, tonight better forecasts the Heat's prospects: If they win, they'll probably claw back into the playoffs. Since 1998, the only two seasons that Miami didn't win the season series with Washington were the only two years the Heat fell into the lottery. There's no better example than last year, when the Heat made the playoffs partly on the strength of beating the Wizards three times down the stretch.

In fact, until someone takes the crown from them, the Heat remain Southeast kings-for-life; no one else has ever won the three-year-old division, and a stumbling Orlando and muddling Atlanta aren't cinches.

But like Shawn Kemp's career, reigns don't last forever. If the Wiz can win tonight...and Dec. 29, March 23, or April 4...history says that the 2006 champs will be 2008 playoff chumps. Although, that's still better than being Miller's chimp.

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posted by Doctor Dribbles @ 18:59,


At December 14, 2007 at 12:03 AM, Blogger TheHype said...

It's official, DeShawn killed the monkey. When Chris Quinn is your savior, I guess it's goodbye to SE Div Chip.

At December 14, 2007 at 3:41 AM, Blogger Doctor Dribbles said...

Chris Quinn : Savior :: Doctor Dribbles: The Pope?

They get one more W in the series and things look pretty bad on South Beach. They already sound bad. From the Wiz Insider:

Pat Riley felt a lot worse: "I'm beyond disappointed in our team. I'm really disgusted with the effort, the mental focus. I'm been talking about this since last year. We went through a whole year last year with it. It seems like we are back in it at home. I don't have any other explanation for it."

Meanwhile, Wiz beat writer Ivan Carter is along for the ride. The team's famously happy, but it's like they're on a whole new level. Check out these words:

I can't quite describe what is going on with this team so I'll just try to put you in my shoes as a beat writer. Here's how it works....[usually] I rolled into the lockeroom knowing I had about 20 minutes before deadline.

Now, in the past, I had to hit Gilbert because A) he usually was the leading scorer or had a big impact on the game and B) you never know what he's going to say so you have to be there. After that, I would hit Antawn, then Caron, who takes longer to get ready, and then whoever else.

Now, things are different. On a given night, I may be looking for Caron first, or Antawn, or DeShawn (like tonight), or Roger Mason Jr. or whoever. That's how this team is playing right now. It's a bunch of guys playing at a high level, the ball is moving and the chemistry is really, really good. If you're counting, that's four straight games where five different guys scored in double figures, they outrebounded Miami and they only had nine turnovers.


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