Thursday, March 10, 2011

South Beach Diaries: Day 5 - Heat 94, Lakers 88


I just want to say how relieving it is to get a win in the books on this vacation. On the drive back to the hotel tonight, I was just so much more relaxed, and I can really just enjoy these next two days, rather than worrying about whether or not the Heat can end a losing streak against the Grizzlies.

Of course, beating the Lakers was a nice bonus. If you'd told me before this trip that the Heat would go 3-1, but the one loss would come to the Lakers, I would have been accepting, but disappointed. If you'd told me the Heat would go 1-3, but the one win would be over L.A. ... well, to be entirely honest, I wouldn't have believed you, but I'd smirk at the thought of beating the Lakers.

Truthfully, the Lakers aren't even my least favorite team (an honor that still belongs to the Celtics), but I really dislike them as a team, and I particularly dislike Kobe Bryant. I love that LeBron James has won eight of his last 10 meetings with Kobe, so while the Celtics may still have him figured out, and Carmelo Anthony continues to dominate their rivalry, LeBron keeps winning the Kobe vs LeBron debate (well, at least until Laker fans bring up RINGZZZ!!!!11!1!!!1!!!).

It was interesting to watch the Heat do pretty much everything people had been asking them to do to end this losing streak, including Chris Bosh actually living up to his request/demand to get the ball in the post more. Bosh was agressive, and it worked. Dwyane Wade had the ball in his hands at the end of the game, and made play, after play, after play. While the game was different on the court, my perspective was also different, since I was on the opposite side of the court. I was also sitting next to a pair of Lakers fans, which made it kind of awkward when I loudly joined in the "Kobe Sucks" chant late in the fourth quarter. Interestingly, as that chant was going on, one of the people sitting behind me said, "that's a bad idea," thinking the chant would motivate Kobe. And maybe it did. But from the time that chant started through the end of the game, Kobe was 0-2 from the field with a turnover.

That chant, and the different reactions from me (joining in) and the people around me (either shaking their heads or checking their smartphones), made me realize something: I'm a 300-level fan who buys 100-level seats. It's been my m.o. for a few years now. Because I don't have a true hometown team, I can't get to a ton of games, so when I go, I splurge and buy relatively expensive seats. But because of this, I'm surrounded by the "corporate" fans, who seem almost put off by my constant screaming, cheering and excitement for the game. I've nearly completely lost my voice tonight, and when I'm at a game as a fan, that's the rule, not the exception, but the people around me generally aren't like that, and the Miami crowd has really amplified that. Hell, the guy sitting in front of my tonight had a popped collar on his polo shirt and spent most of the second half eating sushi. I was wearing a red LeBron swingman jersey and my in-game dining consisted of popcorn and soda.

I guess the one non-typical fan thing I do at these games is take a lot of photos, and sometimes some video. Hit the jump for examples of both, including video of LeBron's third-quarter buzzer beater.





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