Mitch Perry Report 5.6.14: In Miami, no sleep for Brooklyn

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Let me begin by wishing a happy birthday to Willie Mays, who turns 83 today. I only got to see the "Say Hey Kid" in the twilight of his career, with the image sadly etched in my mind of his befuddled performance in centerfield during a 1973 World Series game in Oakland when he was with the New York Mets; he was 42, and it was one of the last games of his career. Speaking of sports, the Eastern Conference NBA Semi-Finals begin tonight in Miami, where the two-time defending champion Heat resume play against the Brooklyn Nets. It only seems like the Heat haven't played for a month, as they were the one exception to the wildly entertaining first round of playoff series that culminated over the weekend, when a record five Game 7s took place.

Never before has the first round seen such excitement, and for good reason. Usually you have a lot of haves and have-nots in the first round, but with the exception of the Heat's blowing past lowly Charlotte, you had two #8 seeds taking #1 seeds to the limit, and one legitimate upset already in Washington upending Chicago (and those upsets continued apace last night, with both the L.A. Clippers and Washington Wizards winning on the road in the first games of their new series). It should be noted that up to the mid-’70s there never was a "quarterfinals" in the respective conferences. When they began they were a best-of-3, then a best-of-5, before going to to a best-of-7 series, which the next three rounds are as well.

The Heat are trying to win their third championship in a row, something that hasn't happened since Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson and company in Chicago beat Utah back in 1998. Since then, the San Antonio Spurs — probably the best team of the modern era — have won four titles, but none back to back. What the Heat are trying to do is special. Brooklyn's getting a lot of love right now because they beat the Heat 4-0 during their regular season contests, but hold on just a second — three of those victories were by a single point. It'd be considered shocking if the Nets were to beat LeBron James and friends this time around....

In political news… Rick Scott brings what state Democrats are derisively calling his "victory tour" to Tampa today —actually to Brandon, where he'll greet the masses at a Honda dealership… A new Quinnipiac poll released yesterday shows Floridians are not up for allowing student athletes to form a union, or get paid. Those same folks do support the medical marijuana initiative on this year's ballot, big-time… And CL attended yesterday's HART meeting, where board members (again) spent time talking about what the agency should be doing that it's currently not.

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