Time to stop making excuses about how difficult it is for a championship team to motivate itself early in a season. The Miami Heat need to get winning, and get winning now, or they won't even make the playoffs this year. Yikes. Time to bring back Stan Van Gundy? Maybe not, and maybe the absence of Shaq is to blame for all the team's ills, but we don't think that really explains Dwyane Wade's buzzer-beating air-ball for the loss against archrivals Detroit Pistons earlier this month. Wade was icy the entire game; he had two guys wide open, and still he insisted on carrying a weight too heavy for him. D., do you really wanna get bumped off the young-star throne by New Orleans's Mr. Triple-Double, Chris Paul? No? Show us tonight at 7:30. As for the rest of the Hornets, they're a fun, if not especially formidable, bunch: Bobby Jackson, David West, and the familiar Rasual Butler are on the roster of a team that likely will go .500. The Heat might be lucky to break even this year. The game is at American Airlines Arena. Tickets range from $10 to $350. Call 305-577-HEAT, or visit www.heat.com.
Mon., Dec. 18