Tonight is the Miami Heat's home opener against the Orlando Magic at the American Airlines Arena. The Heat are asking fans attending the game to dress in black. Boy do the Heat love doing that shit. But it'll be totally worth dressing up like some kind of religious cult if it means seeing the Three Kings rip Stan Van Gundy's mustache off his face in person and then raising it into the rafters with Michael Jordan's retired jersey for no reason whatsoever.
The Heat is also stressing that fans arrive early due to the police protests happening in downtown tonight.
But City of Miami officials shouldn't worry that these protests will blight their hopes that the home opener will show off the city to a national audience and spur tourism. First off, have you been watching television at all, City of Miami officials? This one game of eighty left to be played is getting more national TV and radio airtime than Brett Favre's cock and injured ankle combined. Nothing will be blighted. Except the traffic. Oh traffic will most definitely be blighted.
But the real story of this game (besides the Three Kings playing at home before the home court for the first time) is the sudden heated rivalry between Miami and the Magic. After Pat Riley pulled off the free-agency coup of the century this summer, the Magic were none too happy. Particularly, head coach Stan Van Gundy, who called Bosh a "lap dog" and questioned Riley's moral judgment. Orlando's president of basketball operations, Otis Smith, questioned LeBron's competitiveness when he chose to join Wade and Bosh down here. And Magic backup center Marcin Gotat also had some choice words for the Heat.
"I get every day interviews back in Poland, people calling me about Miami, Miami, what you think about Miami? What you think about Big Three? I'm going to say the same thing: they are a great team, they have three superstars, they got a couple good role players on the team. They looking good on the paper, but they got to start winning."
A backup Polish center giving us gruff? It's on now!
The Heat are off to a 1-1 start after coming out flat in Tuesday's 88-80 loss to the Celtics. They did manage to pummel the 76ers the following night, but that's a team whose best player is now playing in Turkey, so we're not sure it even counts. LeBron and Wade have a combined 24 turnovers so far in two games, but they've made up for it in points (47 and 43, respectively) and awesome commercials.
The Magic have won 14 of 17 against the Heat recently, including 9 at the Triple-A. LeBron is averaging 34 points against the Magic in his last five meetings against them when he played in Cleveland. Tonight, something will have to give. But keep in mind that James is no longer playing with Anderson Varejao or a dude who may or may not have banged his mom.
Expect the home crowd's energy to lift the Heat over the Magic tonight. And by "the crowd's energy," we mean LeBron, Bosh and D-Wade stabbing Orlando is the face with their collective awesomeness.
Tipoff is at 8. Doors will open at 6. There will be an "I. Was. There" T-shirt giveaway, because we're just not insufferable enough of a fan base just yet!
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.