Opening Statements: Wizards at Heat, Game 25 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements: Wizards at Heat, Game 25

Updated: December 19, 2014



The Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, 86-79, on Nov. 30 to stay hovering over .500 at 9-7. Since, Miami has gone 3-7, with that first loss coming against the Wizards in Washington on Dec. 1. They are now two games under .500 at 12-14.

If the playoffs started today, the 7-seed Heat would face the 2-seed Wizards. Such could be the same when the playoffs actually begin four months from now. Only Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, and Shawne Williams have played in each of Miami’s last 10 games. Wade has led them in scoring, averaging 24.3 points over the last 10 games … but then you have Luol Deng at 13.2, Mario Chalmers at 10.2, and then Norris Cole at 6.4. Good for Washington’s defense, yuck for basketball.

The Wizards have won nine of their last 10 games; Bradley Beal, Rasual Butler, Marcin Gortat, Kris Humphries, Andre Miller, Otto Porter, Kevin Seraphin, and John Wall have played in each of them. Despite injuries to Martell Webster, Beal, and Nene, it appears that Washington has been blessed with a fair combination of health and constancy, so far. Insiders of the organization are confident that the team can sustain an injury to just about any Wizard, expect Wall. “As long as Wall is healthy…” would be a mantra, or credo, or just the finger-crossing hope.

The Heat are down but dangerous. Josh McRoberts is out for the year and Chris Bosh has missed the last three games with a calf strain; his status is said to be “out indefinitely” and he will not play tonight. But, still dangerous, the Heat, even if they shouldn’t be against the Wizards. Five Wizards have averaged double-digits in scoring over the last 10 games, and then each Nene and Rasual Butler have averaged just over nine points per game.

Miami has allowed opponents to shoot a league-high 56.6 percent eFG% over the past 10 games; Washington has allowed 45.6 percent, fourth-lowest in the NBA. The Wizard are also shooting a fifth-best 51.3 percent eFG% over the last 10 (compared to 49.3% for the Heat). It has all the classic makings of a trap game but it’s nowhere near one. Sure, the Wizards enacted revenge in Washington after losing the season opener in Miami. But that was in the now much more comfortable confines of home. The Heat have loomed over Washington, and the Southeast Division, for quite some time now. No more, and there’s still payback to be had.

Teams: Wizards at Heat
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Television: CSN
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/WNEW-FM 99.1
Spread: Wizards fav’d by 6 points.

Instead of posing questions to some Heat person today we will instead go off on a tangent.

I don’t believe in treating ‘Heat’ as a singular noun. They are a team, a single unit, but also made up of unequal parts that can’t be treated the same; a plurality, an uncollected noun.

“Team-nominal singularity,” it is called by some, and it is wrong. Wait, it sounds wrong, which I will admit, has changed over the years. Language changes and sometimes we need to change how we hear. No longer should people say the Heat or the Magic or the Jazz or the Thunder “is.”

“The Heat is going to fly to Washington to play the Wizards.”

If you simply put “Miami” in front of “Heat” in that sentence, it becomes grammatically wrong, to everyone, and sounds just as stupid. Of course, simply have “Miami” alone in that sentence and “is” is right to some, wrong to others.

I know, the English language, it will get ya.

The New York Times, in 1997, asked this very question about the Miami Heat (evidently this all started with ‘Jazz’). A former English professor from Penn State did not advocate team-nominal singularity. Tom Jolly, former sports editor and current associate managing editor of the NY Times dissented, pompously stating, “we think we’ve chosen the better alternative.”

The piece by William Safire went on to cite the fact that The Sporting News stylebook agreed with the English professor in that team names should “always take the plural verb.”  AP Style also agrees with the plural use.

Safire ultimately concluded, however, “To reach a decision, let us turn to the great guiding principle of English grammar, revered by linguistic sages, eminent lexicographers and the most useful usagists: ‘No matter how ‘correct’ it may be, if it sounds funny to the ear of the native speaker, it ain’t right.’ “

It’s 2014 and saying (or asking), “Is the Heat playing in Washington tonight or are the Wizards playing in Miami?” ain’t right, either.


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.