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Wednesday Hotness

  • Luminary journalist Gay Talese tells the Miami New Times that, if he were LeBron James, he would have pursued the same course of action this summer. Talese also takes a shot or two at the New York press corps.

  • The Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda caught Timberwolves rookie Wes Johnson's priceless "Welcome to the NBA moment": "Johnson's welcoming moment came in the third quarter, when he shimmied toward the basket and released a layup that never reached its destination. LeBron James made sure of that. His flying, out-of-nowhere, volleyball-spike of Johnson's shot made the sellout crowd roar even though the home team led by 25 points by then, and then James added the unforgettable touch. 'He winked at me out there, Johnson said afterward."

  • Ben Polk of A Wolf Among Wolves articulates what I've heard from a lot of NBA fans -- both diehard and casual -- after they've tuned into a Heat game. As loud as the cacophony was this summer, the reality of the basketball product on the floor is deafening: "What was really startling for me was simply that this team exists at all. This off-season, I got used to thinking of this Miami Heat pop-cultural phenomenon as just another high-gloss TV show, heavy on the melodrama, heavy on the pyro. This had to be just another shimmering refraction of the simulacra, right? Maybe the renegade handiwork of an undernourished, over-caffeinated video game programmer or the projected viral video of some nerdy twelve-year-old’s ultimate basketball fantasy ('wouldn’t it be awethome if…!?')? They weren’t gonna, like, actually show up at actual basketball arenas and play real NBA games against other flesh-and-blood humans were they? But sure enough, there they were: Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, all wearing the same uniform and taking the same floor ..."

  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports takes a thorough look at life after Chris Bosh from the Raptors' perspective, both on the court and in the public imagination: "Bosh’s departure not only left a sizeable hole in the lineup, it robbed the Raptors of their most marketable player. And no one’s quite sure who will become the new face of the franchise."

  • Andrew Sharp of SB Nation ranks the NBA's Mad Men.

  • Dime Magazine would like to rev up the time machine and proceed directly to June: "Just admit it: You want to see the Lakers and Heat in the NBA Finals. Nothing against your favorite team, doesn’t matter if you secretly or openly hate Kobe or LeBron, collateral damage if it means Eddie House ends up with two more championships than John Stockton or Sasha Vujacic gets three more rings than Elgin Baylor. Lakers/Heat is the matchup that generates the most interest and intrigue League-wide."

  • Justin DeFeo demonstrates pictorially just how difficult it is to defend the Heat. Here's an excerpt: "After James passed to the wing, LeBron spaced the floor by going to the help side wing. The ball got rotated to the top and Terrance Williams now got stuck in a switch and picked up the ball, James Jones. In the picture you can see Williams communicating this to Jordan Farmar, that Farmar now needs to pick up LeBron." (emphasis mine) The takeaway here is not only that Farmar is slow on the rotation, but the prospect that, over the course of the possession, Farmar will be singularly accountable for James. In some sense, the cure is worse than the disease!

  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes that if you looked around the arena on Tuesday night, the Heat's second home came was more true to form: "More of a typical Heat crowd: Plenty of open seats early in the lower bowl, but just about everything full up above."

  • Ethan Skolnik of the Palm Beach Post advises the Heat to pay no mind to any and all Kardashian-related material.