UFC Vegas 11: Johnathan’s Picks and Preview

With UFC Vegas 11 right around the corner, lets first take a moment to be thankful for this PPV magnitude card to be taking place. With a main event that is filled with as much bad blood and animosity as this one, as well as exiting fights up and down the card, this one is a lock to have some performance of the night contenders. Let’s take a look at these fights on this card and take a look at who we’re picking. 

 

Colby Covington vs Tyron Woodley

 

Pick: Covington by Unanimous Decision

 

Backstory: “Where you at Tyron Woodley? I’m coming for you. You can’t run you can’t hide no more!” Moments after winning the UFC Interim Welterweight championship on Jun 9, 2018, Covington immediately called out then current Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. After saying that Woodley couldn’t hang with him while training, Colby assured he would steamroll him. Fast forward two years later, both men are still in title contention, but one is in jeopardy of falling down the ranks. Both men are coming off a loss, so this fight is going to be monumental for both of them. For Tyron, his key to victory would be using that advantage in boxing and throwing that power right hand. If he’s able to stop Covington from taking him down and keeping this a stand-up fight, Woodley might have the advantage. For Covington, he’s proven that stopping him from taking you down is almost impossible. Even if he doesn’t get it on the first try, he’ll lock on you and drag until you fall. If he’s able to take Woodley down, Covington dominates the fight.

 

Donald Cerrone vs Niko Price

Pick: Price by Knockout

 

Backstory: Donald Cerrone is one of the most well-known fighters in the UFC. But now losing 8 of his last 12, he’s been on a slippery slope down the rankings. He’s lacked aggressiveness and this lack of soul from the Cowboy has been the reason for his downfall. On the other hand, Niko Price has been alternating wins and losses over his last 6. All of them have ended in knockout whether win or loss. Niko is always willing to put himself into the firefight no matter if he comes out getting a knockout or getting knocked out. With an aging less aggressive Cerrone coming in this fight vs an explosive Niko Price, this one is built for a highlight knockout. 

 

Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert

 

Pick: Chimaev by decision

 

Backstory: The hottest prospect coming out of the pandemic era Khazmat Chimaev is back in action vs the man with the most submissions in the Middleweight division, Gerald Meerchaert. This fight comes with lots of animosity between the two. The disrespect comes from Dana double booking Chimaev, insinuating that he’s going to win this fight and move on to ranked Damein Maia. Gerald took this personally and stated he’s going to leave Chimaev bloody and unable to leave the ring. Chimaev responded in the presser asking how can Gerald possibly be a blackbelt when he got choked out by a white belt. We’re going with Chimaev because his ability on the feet and we’re resting assured that the submission games will neutralize each other. 

 

Johnny Walker vs Ryan Spann

 

Pick: Ryan Spann by Submission

 

Backstory: After starting his UFC Career 4-0, Johnny Walker has lost his last 2. His near straight shot to the top of the division has now been derailed and he has to work his way back up the hard way. Ryan Spann is coming in undefeated in the UFC and is looking to make his own run to the top of the wide-open Light Heavyweight division. This is going to be a good fight for two fighters on the crossroads of making it back into the doorstep of the rankings. If Spann is able to get this fight on the ground, he’ll have a huge advantage and get the win. 

 

Mackenzie Dern vs. Randa Markos

 

Pick: Mackenzie Dern by Decision

 

Backstory: #15 Ranked Mackenzie Dern is coming in bouncing back after her first loss in the career. Losing against a higher-ranked opponent is nothing to hang your head on, so she comes back and gets a nice win with a kneebar. Bring in Randa Markos, a fighter who in 14 ufc fights has only won 6. Neither fighter comes in with any wins by knockout so we are looking to see a ground war. Mackenzie Dern is the more proficient athlete on the ground so we should see her take this win. 

 

Kevin Holland vs. Darren Stewart

 

Pick: Holland by Decision

 

Backstory. Enter Kevin Holland, the most exciting fighter to watch this year. He talks trash in the ring and with no crowd you can hear everything he says. On top of that, his striking is crisp and he plays great mind games. Darren Stewart is coming in with a good amount of UFC experience and has diverse striking skills as well. Both these fighters are young, and the winner of this fight should set up a big run towards the ranking for either man. Being able to mix it up, Holland should be able to keep Stewart at bay and dictate the pace of the fight. 

 

Marlins Split WSH Doubleheader

The Marlins started an important series of baseball versus the Washington Nationals yesterday. They ended up splitting the doubleheader, losing game 1 5-0 and winning game 2 14-3. The classic set of opposite results. In a wild day, in game 1 Sixto Sanchez faltered for the first time in a Marlins uniform but was picked up by Brian Anderson’s 3-homer 7-RBI game 2.

What’s the difference between scoring 0 and 14?

 

Mentality. In-game 2, the Marlins played like they were on the verge of their first playoff berth in 17 years. In-game 1, they didn’t. Under no circumstances should a career 5.15 ERA pitcher in Erick Fedde be shutting down the Marlins. If I would have taken off my glasses, I would have thought the man was Max Scherzer. The Marlins got 2-hit in game 1, so there is not much to talk about statistically. Game 2, however, was quite a different story. 14 runs on 12 hits? That’s what we are talking about. Brian Anderson made 3 home runs look easy, and Lewis Brinson went 3-4, upping his average to .266, showing his continued growth this season. Consistency at the plate is key to this team’s final 10 games.

What happened to Sixto?

 

Ok, so our ace having a lackluster start like this one is frightening especially when he is set to take the mound twice more, and hopefully a third time in the playoffs. What I visibly saw was that he was too reliant on his stuff. His pitches weren’t breaking as much, and since he had great success allowing teams to put the ball in play, he continued throwing strikes. He became predictable. He needs to go back to being predictably wild. I’m sure Mel Stottlemyre will be on top of it.

10 more games for the Marlins :O

 

The Marlins are only 1.5 games ahead of the 9th place Cincinnati Reds and .5 games ahead of the Phillies for 2nd in the NL East. These 10 games will be one of the most important 10-game stretches in Marlins’ history. Pablo Lopez (4-4, 4.02 ERA) takes the mound tomorrow versus Patrick Corbin (2-5, 4.10 ERA).

 

Miami Hurricanes: Tate Martell opts out of 2020 season

There is another update in the Tate Martell saga. Martell is opting out of the 2020 football season.

Just last week, he was suspended for Miami’s opener against Alabama Birmingham. All indications were that he would be suspended for only that one game.

It’s been an uneventful ride on the field for Martell as a member of the Miami Hurricanes. He has recorded one pass for seven yards and rushed once for three yards against Bethune-Cookman in 2019.

He is currently not on the quarterback depth chart anyway. D’Eriq, King, N’Kosi Perry, and Tyler van Dyke are on the depth chart currently. If this is indeed Martell’s last ride with Miami, there is no doubt that he failed to deliver on the hype.

Hype before the Miami Hurricanes

I remember watching his highlights when he played at Bishop Gorman High School. He was one of the better quarterbacks I had ever seen at that time. He would throw for 2,362 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior. He also proved his worth on the ground, running for 1,257 yards and 21 touchdowns. he looked like a Division 1 prospect in every sense of the word.

Martell was a dual-threat quarterback first and foremost. He just could not live up to the hype. What’s next for him? One can only guess. However, it would nor be a stretch to say that the Miami Hurricanes are probably not in his future plans.

Whatever the case may be, Martell’s story is all too familiar. A prominent high school prospect cannot handle the fame he has been given, and all of the duties that come with it. I’ll be interested to see where he ends up, and I’m not sure if his football career is over yet.

With the Miami quarterback room now set, it certainly brings more clarity for not only the 2020 season,  but beyond.

Marlins Lose Series VS Boston

The Marlins played the Red Sox in game 3 of a 3 game set. The Red Sox pulled away late, leading them to a 5-3 victory. Nathan Eovaldi got the win for the Sox, and Jose Urena got the loss for the Marlins. Minus the one huge mistake that Johan Quezada gave up in the 7th inning, the Marlins played a solid game of baseball; however, the real issue is that they lost a series versus a sub .500 team when they are on the verge of their first playoff berth in 17 years.

 

Jose Urena looks like a playoffs pitcher

 

Yes, technically, Jose Urena got the loss yesterday, but he pitched 5 spotless innings before he gave up 2 runs in the 5th inning. If the bullpen would have kept it scoreless, the Marlins would have pulled off a 3-2 victory. Urena is looking reminiscent of his 2017 self, the only consistent pitcher on the Marlins. Oh boy, how times have changed. The bullpen looked fine last night with the exception of Rafael Devers’ moonshot 3-run home run given up by Quezada. It happens. The pitching looks to bounce back and have a solid 5-game set at home versus the Nationals.

 

The Marlins deceptively rough hitting night

 

3 runs on 7 hits don’t seem like the worst night of hitting, especially with a pitcher like Nathan Eovaldi on the opposing bump. What sticks out to me is that the Marlins left 19 on base. 19 possible runs… gone. Especially as we draw closer to the end of the season, games like this cannot happen. The marlins need to play as if this is the playoffs. They are not locked by any stretch of the mean, and if the hitting can’t drive runners in, then they may be in trouble. 

 

Looking ahead

 

The Marlins have 12 games remaining this season. They will play the first 5 at home against the Washington Nationals. This is obviously a huge series and one that compares in importance to the 7-game series versus the Phillies. Neither team has announced a starter for either double-header game.

The Weekly Roundkick on MMA: Chandler, Baeza, More

Welcome to the Weekly Roundkick, where you can get all your MMA news in one spot. In the age of Covid, the UFC has done a great job of being the leaders of industry in making sure the show goes on. Here’s everything that you might’ve missed this week in the MMA world.

 

Biggest Free Agent Landed

 

  • Michael Chandler, Former Bellator Lightweight Champion has signed with the UFC and will be in as a replacement in the Khabib vs Gaethje fight (via Bjpenn). For Chandler, this is huge for his career. He’s been wanting to prove that he’s one of the best 155 pounder on the planet and now being in the UFC, he has the chance to prove just that. 

 

Fight Announcements

 

    • Miguel Baeza vs Jerimiah Wells is off. Wells was replacing Mickey Gall for this fight. Mickey Gall had pulled out of the fight due to an undisclosed training injury. Jerimiah Wells had put his name in and was selected as a replacement for the fight. Now, for an undisclosed reason, Wells has also pulled out (MMAJunkie). For the undefeated Baeza, this delays his potential run to a title. For now the best option is to stay ready and hope someone in his division has a fight open up.
  • Dustin Poirier vs Tony Ferguson is off… for now. Dana has claimed that Dustin has priced himself out of the fight and that that he didn’t really want the fight. Dustin replied with a tweet “I WANT THE FIGHT”. Ferguson has gone to bat for Dustin telling Dana to pay him so they can fight. It seems like there is pressure from both fighters to have this fight but it seems it’s too expensive for Dana. Dana currently has said that Ferguson is also out of UFC 254.
    • #15 Drew Dober vs #8 Diego Ferreira is on for November 7th. #15 Ranked Lightweight Dober, is set to take on another rising star in #8 Ranked Diego Ferreira (MMAJunkie). Unsure if this is the main event or not, but no matter what other fight is on this card, I’m taking this fight for Fight of The Night. 
    • Malcolm Gordon vs Su Mudaerji has been agreed upon for November 28. Two Fresh UFC prospects in Malcolm Gordon and Su Mudaerji have agreed for a fight in late November (via MMAJunkie). For these two, this is going to be important for the near future of these prospects making a run for the rankings.
    • Khadis Ibragimov vs. Danilo Marques added to UFC 253 (via MMAFighting). For Ibragimov, he’s coming in off of 3 losses in a row after starting 8-0. If he wants to continue his UFC career, this is a must-win for him.
  • Weili Zhang Vs Rose Namajunas is in the works according to Dana White. When asked about the future of this division, Dana says they’re working on making this fight happen. After a potential fight of the year candidate effort by Weili, a fight with a game Thug Rose will undoubtedly make for another great fight.
    • Thiago Santos vs Glover Texiera has been cancelled. Thiago Santos has now tested positive for Covid-19. This fight was supposed to happen this last weekend but Texiera tested positive. Now the future of this fight is in Jeopardy.
  • Ketlen Vieira vs Sijara Eubanks has been scheduled for UFC 253 (via BJpenn). Sijara Eubanks is stepping in on short notice to replace Marion Reneau after her decision win last weekend. 

 

Other MMA News

    • Bellator has signed a deal with CBS Sports. Look for more MMA to be on the national scene starting October 1st!
  • Fight Island Confirmed! UFC will start running events on Fight Island Starting on UFC 253 on Saturday, September 26th and run weekly shows up until UFC 254 on October 24th (MMAFighting)
  • Dana White Contender Series. On Season 4 Week 7 of the the Contender Series, Dana awarded 3 contracts were awarded. Jordan Williams won a contract in his third attempt. Others awarded were 3x National Boxing Champion Danyelle Wolf and Collin Anglin.
  • Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson re-enters the USADA testing pool (via MMAFighting). With this being reported, this puts Rumble about 6 months away from being able to return to the octagon. 

 

You can follow Johnathan Ramlakhan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo

Champions League betting: English teams pose threat to Bayern

The Champions League proper is set to begin in October and online betting sites have already released the outright odds for this season’s tournament.

 

Bayern Munich lifted the trophy in Lisbon after beating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final, and it is the Germans who start as co-favourites for the 2020-21 tournament.

 

Hansi Flick’s team are priced at 9/2 with most bookmakers to go back-to-back, and with Leroy Sane’s arrival strengthening their attacking options, they are likely to be just as difficult to beat in this campaign as they were during the last.

 

Manchester City, Sane’s former club, are also 9/2 even though they have never won the Champions League. Lyon knocked them out in a shock 3-1 result at the quarter-final stage, meaning that Pep Guardiola’s wait to win the European Cup at City goes on.

 

One English club that have had plenty of experience in lifting ‘Old Big Ears’ is Liverpool, who are 5/1 in places but 7/1 best price. The addition of Thiago Alcantara will be a huge boost, and confidence within the squad will be at an all-time high after they followed up their 2019 Champions League success with a maiden Premier League triumph this year.

 

Like Man City, Paris Saint-Germain are searching for their first Champions League and the Ligue 1 outfit are 9/1 with Paddy Power to finally go all the way. Having reached the final for the first time in 2020, many may be tempted by that price for them to go one better.

 

You can never keep Real Madrid away from Champions League finals for too long, so it is no surprise to see them at 9/1 with some betting sites, while they can be snapped up at a more generous 12/1 elsewhere. That price may change depending on what happens between now and the end of the transfer window. There have been plenty of departures from the Bernabeu, many of which will surely be replaced.

 

Barcelona, meanwhile, have already spent big on midfielder Miralem Pjanic from Juventus and the exciting Portuguese winger Trincao from Brago. But their biggest coup is being able to keep hold of Lionel Messi, who at one stage looked likely to be heading to Manchester City. The Catalan giants, five-time winners of the European Cup, are 16/1.

 

There are some 17/1 quotes available on Serie A champions Juventus, while Chelsea, who have bolstered their squad massively, are 22/1. Manchester United are also 22/1, but that may have something to do with their pedigree in the Champions League rather than their current squad.

 

It may be surprising to see Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, and Borussia Dortmund as big as 33/1 with some bookies, and an even bigger long shot is Atalanta at 45/1. The Italian side were highly impressive with their attacking football last season as they reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League and finished third in Serie A.

 

Sevilla have an incredible record in European competitions, having won the Europa League six times this century, but the Champions League may be a step too far from them and 70/1 is probably fair.

5 Takeaways from Heat’s Victory Over Boston in Game Two

The Miami Heat trailed early in game two once again, but came back and got the win, 106-101. It happened after they increased their intensity in the second half, led by Bam Adebayo. Here are some takeaways…

#1: Duncan Robinson comes out firing.

If there was anything positive to takeaway from this game, it’d be the hot start of Duncan Robinson. He’s been struggling throughout these playoffs, and needed a game where he could come out the gate getting shots up. I’ve mentioned previously, Boston’s defensive game-plan is not the same as Milwaukee’s or Indiana’s. Although Duncan wasn’t hitting in game one, he was getting a bunch of good looks. Duncan will hold a bit of pressure heading into game three, since Miami’s offense runs so much smoother when he’s scoring. But that pressure is nothing for Duncan, since he’s one of the most confident shooters in today’s league.

#2: Bam Adebayo struggles early, but takes over in third quarter.

Bam Adebayo struggled early, not having the same success that he usually has around the rim. But that turned around late once again, since Bam got busy in the third quarter, absolutely taking over the game. Some of Bam’s early struggle may have had something to do with having to chase Kemba Walker around on defense, while he absolutely had it going. But he seemed to have gotten his usual energy back after halftime, being the vertical spacer that he always is. The team made it a virtue to run the pick and roll and find Bam, while Bam sustained the confidence in himself that everyone else has in him.

#3: The Erik Spoelstra and Brad Stevens match-up was on full effect.

Miami had problems all season defending the perimeter, but tonight they got attacked in the paint. Even Enes Kanter came in getting busy down low, since Miami doesn’t have a true big that can eliminate post defenders. Bam is clearly a terrific defender, but since he had a lot of assignments with Kemba Walker on the perimeter, this allowed them to thrive. This seemed to be an adjustment by Brad Stevens, since Bam isn’t in the paint, that’s what they decided to attack. But Spo’s adjustments in the second half proved his coaching excellence. He implemented more of the zone defense, gave Derrick Jones Jr minutes, and increased the intensity of the team. This win goes to Erik Spoelstra.

#4: Derrick Jones Jr gives another stint of quality minutes.

Kendrick Nunn currently is the 9th man in the rotation, but it seems as if he’s slowly playing himself out of it. Not only does he continue to struggle, but Derrick Jones Jr gave some quality second half minutes on the defensive end. He matches up perfectly with this Boston team, since they’re full of perimeter wings. Not only can he defend guys one on one, but he’s such a disruptor with team defense. This is a big reason they use him at the top of the zone defense, due to his length and quickness. If he can give Miami some quality offensive minutes, he will 100% secure a spot in the rotation.

#5: When Boston’s scorers get going, they’re hard to slow down, but Miami found a way.

Kemba Walker struggled in game one scoring the ball, but their adjustments opened up the floor for him today, which led to his breakout performance. He torched Miami’s defense to start the game, which led to them getting comfortable down low. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum still seemed as confident as ever with the ball in their hands, putting on a display of their unique pull-up games. But once again, Miami utilized their unique way of gaining momentum. They intensified the game through Bam’s activeness, and overcame Boston’s first half scoring display. This team is hungry, and they’re up 2-0.

Miami Hurricanes take on Louisville Cardinals in Week Two matchup

The Miami Hurricanes (1-0) are set to take on the Louisville Cardinals (1-0) in the ACC opener. With both teams winning their first game of the season, this should be a fun game.

The last time these two teams met, Miami beat Louisville 52-27 on November 9. This game will be a lot different as Miami comes in ranked No. 18 in the country, while Louisville checks in at number 18;

Miami Hurricanes get the job done

In their opener, the Miami Hurricanes struggled with UAB through the first two quarters, as it was a 14-7 game at halftime. Come the third quarter, Miami would score 17 points and fully break away from the Blazers. D’Eriq King went 15-of-23 on the day, throwing for 141 yards, and a touchdown.

The running game was strong despite some deficiencies in playcalling. Cam’Ron Harris carried the ball 17 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns, while D’Eriq King rushed for a touchdown of his own. Brevin Jordan led Miami and receiving with three catches for 51 yards.

Defensively, Noah Wilder led the team with eight tackles.

Louisville beats Western Kentucky behind strong passing attack

For Louisville, they were able to beat Western Kentucky by a 35-21 score. Malik Cunningham had a big day under center, throwing for 343 yards three touchdowns, and an interception.

Although Louisville was able to get things going on the ground, it was the receivers who made a huge impact. Senior Dez Fitzpatrick caught four passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Braden Smith also added four receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown to his name.

Danny’s Focus: Involve the tight ends a bit more

Last Thursday, it seems like everybody was involved. From the quarterback to the running backs, to the outside wide receivers, it seemed like everybody was able to get touches on offense. Jordan was able to lead Miami and receiving. However, that position in your is extremely talented and they can be used to open the field and take some pressure off the outside receivers.

In some cases last week, this team looked like they lacked focus and were not fully engaged.  Involving all positional groups offensively is a good way to make sure everybody is engaged. This is not going to be an easy game, this is going to be a challenge that requires everybody to step up and make plays.

Prediction: Miami, 31. Louisville 27

Bam Blocks

5 Best Blocks in Miami Heat History

The Miami Heat took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night, defeating the Boston Celtics 117-114 in overtime. The headline-making play came from Heat center Bam Adebayo, a first-time All-Star this season and member of the 2019-2020 NBA All-Defense Second Team. Adebayo met Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum at the summit in the closing moments of overtime and blocked the would-be game-tying dunk attempt. It was one of the best blocks in Heat history.

Reactions spanned the gamut on social media. NBA players and celebrates alike fawned in awe. Heat legend Dwyane Wade posted a Dikembe Mutombo gif, his wife, Gabrielle Union, screamed “BAMMMMMMM!!! MONSTER BLOCK!!” Even pop-star Halsey called the Heat “spicyyyyy.”

The NBA legend Magic Johnson came thundering in with his opinion:

 

Magic’s hot take sparked plenty of debate across sports networks and social media. But the question is: Was Bam Adebayo’s Block the Greatest Block in Heat History?

No. 5: DWade Blocks Amar’e Stoudemire

Dwyane Wade is largely considered the greatest shot-blocking guard in NBA history. He’s certainly that for the Miami Heat. And while Wade sports so many highlight reel rejections on his resume, perhaps the greatest of those came 2005.

During a late March contest between the Heat and Phoenix Suns, Wade authored one of his signature plays. In the closing moments of the third quarter, Leandro Barbosa ran a pick-and-roll with Amar’e Stoudemire. Barbosa hit the rolling Amar’e with a pocket pass to the middle of the key and Stoudemire rose up for his two-point attempt.

From the weakside, though, Wade flew in and didn’t so much block Amar’e’s shot but spiked it to the court. He gathered the loose ball, took one dribble, then heaved a 60-foot shot from the opposite three-point line as the quarter buzzer sounded. He drilled the shot and the American Airlines Arena exploded.

Wade comes in at No. 5 here because, despite the spectacular nature of the play, the stakes of the game and moment were not at the level of the next four.

No. 4: LeBron Blocks Tiago Splitter

LeBron James holds arguably the greatest block in NBA history: his chase down of Andre Iguodala during Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. But he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers then, so that play doesn’t count.

For the Heat, James’ most impactful block came during Game 2 of the 2013 NBA Finals. In the fourth quarter, coming off a Game 1 loss, the Heat held a tenuous lead. Off an inbounds play, the Spurs ran a pick-and-roll with Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter. Miami’s aggressive defense backfired when Splitter slipped the screen and Parker found him with a perfect bounce pass.

Splitter thought he had an easy dunk, but James had other ideas. James erased the dunk attempt at its peak. Splitter tried the spike the ball one-handed, but James swallowed the attempt right at the front of the rim. The ensuing fast break led to a corner three from Ray Allen (on a James assist) to give Miami a 89-67 lead en route to the Game 2 victory.

James holds No. 4 here because, while the block itself was spectacular, that game was largely in hand at that point.

No. 3: Zo Blocks Jason Terry

Alonzo Mourning remains the Miami Heat’s all-time leader in blocks. He tallied 1,625 of them in 593 games over 11 seasons. In 82 career playoff games with the Heat, Zo rejected 171 shots.

Perhaps the biggest and most important of those came in Game 6 of the 2006 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. While Zo never led Miami to the championship as a centerpiece of the team, his pivotal defensive stop late in Game 6 helped the Heat hoist the franchise’s first trophy.

The Heat clung to a five-point lead in the fourth quarter in Dallas when the Mavs had a fast break. Jason Terry attacked from the wing and hoisted a runner. Zo came flying down the lane to swat Terry’s attempt into the seats. He tumbled to the court and seemed to be excited about the block. It was later revealed Zo was angry with Gary Payton.

 

Mourning’s effort on the play and in that game (eight points, six rebounds and a game-high five blocks) helped the Miami Heat win their first ever NBA Championship. He gets No. 3 on this list because, even though that was a play Heat fans saw Zo accomplish nearly 2,000 times in his career, the stakes were never higher.

No. 2: Bam Blocks Jayson Tatum

The Heat’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals remains on of the most impressive and unlikely stories in the NBA this season. One of the main reasons for Miami’s ascension up the East ladder has been the play of Bam Adebayo.

Overlooked during the draft, the Heat have modeled Bam into one of the league’s most impactful young players. He’s a prototypical neo-big, with an ability to score, handle and defend across multiple positions. Nowhere was Bam’s defensive acumen on display more than the closing moments of last night’s Game 1.

Down two, the Boston Celtics turned to their 22-year-old All-Star Jayson Tatum in hopes of tying the game. Bam had other plans. Tatum worked past Jimmy Butler and launched himself toward the rim. He cocked back the ball with one-hand as Bam rotated over and elevated to meet him.

Bam erased Tatum’s dunk attempt with his offhand, avoiding any physical contact and potential whistle. The ball remained in play, Bam secured it and was fouled. The Heat secured the Game 1 win on the back of Bam’s defensive brilliance.

No. 1: Bosh Blocks Danny Green

The Big 3 Experiment was on the line in the 2013 NBA Finals. Sure, the Heat had won in 2012, but two Finals losses in three years could have spelled the end for the Wade, James and Chris Bosh triumvirate.

Bosh played a pivotal role down the stretch of Game 6 in 2013. The famous play will always remain Bosh’s rebound and assist to Allen to tie the game near the end of regulation. But in overtime, after the Heat had taken a 3-point lead, the Spurs had a final chance to tie the contest.

With less than two seconds remaining, Tim Duncan found Danny Green racing to the opposite corner. Green had come free after a Splitter screen. Bosh sprinted to the corner and timed his block perfectly. With Green fading off the floor, Bosh met him and spiked the ball down. Spurs cried foul then, and it would most certainly be a foul now, but it wasn’t one in 2013.

It’s the greatest of all Miami Heat blocks because it capped the most unlikely comeback and saved the Big 3 Era in the process.

5 Post-Practice Comments from Spoelstra, Herro, Robinson

The Miami Heat are coming off an absolute game one thriller, but still remain as focused as ever. Erik Spoelstra, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson talked with media today following that game. Here’s what was said…

Post-Practice Comment #1:

Erik Spoelstra was asked about an overall evaluation of their game one win. He said, “We need to play better.” He also mentioned that Boston was clearly outplaying them throughout, saying “We were getting our asses kicked going into the fourth.” Miami and Boston each had good and bad stretches, Miami owning the second and fourth quarter, while Boston handled the first and third. He thinks they can be better on both sides of the floor which is indeed true. They definitely didn’t have their best game shooting the ball, and defensively there were a couple of small mistakes. Most of those issues on defense occurred with Bam on the bench, since he was flying around the court in both zone and man defense in game one.

Post-Practice Comment #2:

Tyler Herro started off his session with media speaking about missing the All-Rookie team by one vote. He said, “I felt I could have been on the first team but am happy with what I got.” It was expected that Tyler would make the second team, since this was a regular season award and he missed some time. Now, if this award carried over to the bubble and playoffs, he’d be the clear top rookie. But ultimately that’s not the case, and although he made that comment, he’s truly focused on much bigger things, as is Bam. Tyler Herro is currently on an unbelievable playoff run in his rookie year, while the other players from the All-Rookie team are watching his games from home. This just truly isn’t a big deal to him.

Post-Practice Comments #3:

Tyler Herro talked about last night’s near triple double stat line. He said, “I didn’t know I was close to a triple-double.” Its continually been talked about that Tyler is improving more and more with his play-making abilities, but most of his attributes aren’t teachable. He has a natural feel for the game, and also a high basketball IQ which rounds out his smooth overall game. Also, the other part of that triple-double with 11 rebounds proved to be essential as well. His elite rebounding abilities for his height is something that isn’t discussed much. Not only does he grab a bunch of rebounds, but he grabs them forcefully. Tyler just does so many things at an A level, which was not expected to be the case by many heading into this season.

Post-Practice Comment #4:

Duncan Robinson touched on his shooting in game one, which it definitely wasn’t what it usually was. He said, “Truthfully, I feel like I’m getting good shots. I think I’m taking good shots.” Duncan was getting absolutely blanketed against the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks, but that wasn’t the case in game one against Boston. Most of his shots were open shots, but they just weren’t going in, which is unusual for Duncan Robinson. This definitely isn’t something that should be a concern, since Duncan is one of the deadliest and most confident shooters in the league right now. He should have a huge bounce back game on Thursday.

Post-Practice Comments #5:

While Duncan Robinson was talking with media, Soloman Hill decided to join in and yell “Shoot it.” While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, this is how the entire team feels when referring to Duncan Robinson. They don’t care if he’s missed his last 20 shots, they want him shooting that next one with confidence. This is also because he is one of their main keys to winning, since he’s the start of allowing their offense to run smoothly. And once again, he has not had a back to back bad game all season, which is why he should bounce back in game two, to try and put Miami up 2-0.