[Miami, FL] You win some and you lose some – even in a time machine.
This past weekend, LeBron James and the Miami Heat wore colorful “throwback” jerseys inspired by the ABA’s Miami Floridians for their games against the Philadelphia 76ers (Saturday) and the Milwaukee Bucks (Sunday).
The Miami Floridians were South Florida’s pro basketball team from 1968-1972, spending two of those years battling away in the ABA. While successful on the court, the team could never gain a big enough following even after changing from the Miami Floridians to simply The Floridians and playing all over the state.
It was 16 years later that the Miami Heat franchise was born.
And speaking of Heat, the players even got into the throwback spirit, posing for 70s-style pictures complete with Afros, groovy mustaches and boom boxes. The whole things smack of a Semi-Promotion (you know the redunkulous ABA-basketball movie starring comedy legend Will Ferrell).
The Miami Heat previously wore the 1970-71 Floridians uniforms for seven dates in 2005-06 as part of the NBA’s “Hardwood Classics” program. The Heat dancers even wore bikinis and go-go boots back then.
So, how did the team do in their old school unis? They ended up splitting the throwback games, making the jerseys less of a good luck charm than say, the “back in black” jerseys they were sporting in their decisive win over the Lakers on Thursday at home.
They have four more chances to make right with the Floridians garb (Feb. 5 and 7, and March 6 and 7).
Udonis Haslem helped LeBron James get into the groove against the Sixers
Breaking The Spirit of 76ers
Coming off of that monumental win against the Los Angeles Lakers, The James Gang was ready to give the 76ers a big helping of the same championship caliber stuff on Friday that the team has been dishing out as of late.
The game started off slow in the first quarter for the Heat, with the game going back and forth. LeKing and Chris Bosh did most of the work throughout. Lou Williams and Nikola Vucevic kept Philly close to the Heat. At the end of the first, the Heat were up 29-28.
In the second quarter, it looked like Miami was going to run away with the game. With Miller making three-pointers, and Bosh making jump shots, the lead was gradually increasing. But, with the help of Evan Turner, the 76ers came back and cut the lead down to as low as 7 just before halftime.
Miami increased their lead in the third, going up by 12 at one point. LeBron scored and passed the ball throughout the quarter, he was in full command of the game. At the end of three, the Heat were up 81-69.
Much like last season, has again developed a trend to stop playing the game at the start of the fourth quarter. They did the same tonight. But this time they finished the job, going up by 19 with around 8 minutes left. That pretty much put and end to all that Philadelphia freedom. The final score was Heat 113, 76ers 92.
Impressively, in the past week, the Heat have beaten three divisional leaders: The Spurs, Lakers, and now the Sixers.
“We looked at this as a huge week, a huge opportunity for us to get on a roll,” said LeBron James, who scored 28 points and dished out 9 assists.
Chris Bosh also had a big game, pouring in 30 points and collected 7 rebounds.
“We believe in our offense,” Bosh said. “We feel that when we move the ball, when we get stops first and then we’re out in the open court in transition and being aggressive, we feel that we cannot be stopped.”
The Bucks Stop Miami Here
After dismantling the 76ers, the Heat were primed to demolish the Milwaukee Bucks. The team had been playing so well that many people were suggesting that the Miami was actually better off without superstar Dwyane Wade. Hopefully after this game no one will say that again.
In the first quarter, both Milwaukee and the Heat were going back and forth. Surprisingly, it was pretty much only Mario Chalmers and Bosh doing the scoring. Uh oh. At the end of the first quarter, the Heat were up 20-17.
Perhaps feeling that the Heat were tired as they were playing their third game in four nights, the Bucks controlled the second quarter, outscoring the Heat 28-20. Most of their scoring came from Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings.
For the Heat, LeBron James scored 13 points in the quarter, and 19 points in the half. During the locker room break the score was Bucks 46, Heat 41.
Both teams once again went back and forth in the third quarter. Jennings and Ilyasova were scoring at will. Although Miami outscored the Bucks 22-19 in the third, Milwaukee was still up at the end of the quarter, 65-63.
This was probably the worst offensive outing for Miami all year. The sloppy play showed late in the fourth quarter.
But they almost pulled it out – Miami got close to tying the game, being only down 83-80 with 2:15 left on a pair of free throws by Bosh, before Ilyasova rose to the challenge and restored Milwaukee’s five-point lead with just under 2 minutes left.
After that, Milwaukee went on an 8-2 run and ended up winning the game by the score of 91-82.
In the most sloppiest and worst offensive performance by the Heat this year, they shot a pathetic 37.3% from the field, 3-of-12 on 3-pointers, recorded only nine assists and committed 22 turnovers. The nine assists were one above the franchise all-time low.
The Miami Floridians would be so ashamed.
D-Wade rocking the old school look
Chris Bosh was all over the place tonight, scoring 23 points and with a career-high, 8 turnovers.
“It happens,” Bosh said of his turnovers. “I don’t like it. But there’s nothing I can do. I just have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was getting frustrated during the game, but also saw some bright spots.
“We competed at times, and were matching the physicality of the game,” Spoelstra said, “but couldn’t come up with the rebounds or the loose balls.”
By: Michael Tristani II/Sunshine Slate. Additional reporting by Mark Christopher
Images: Miami Heat