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The Heat still have their secret weapon: the South Beach flu

We can’t prove the Houston Rockets, who had a Saturday night off in Miami before taking on the Heat Sunday evening, partied so hard they came into their game unprepared and quite possibly hungover. But the Rockets did get outscored, 46-14, in the first quarter of that game, and went on to lose by 29. That has all the hallmarks of the ol’ South Beach flu.

Also, the Heat are good! And it’s a bit of a miracle considering where the roster was before Jimmy Butler chose Miami in free agency. The Heat were capped out and coming off a 39-43 season. Miami had some good pieces in coach Erik Spoelstra, point forward Justise Winslow, terror wing Josh Richardson, and young, promising Bam Adebayo. Adding three more pieces — Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and, of course, Butler — at the cost of just one of those pre-existing assets turned them into a legit team this season.

Miami has no business being here after giving so many dicey contracts to so many role players in recent years. Many of those players remain on the roster (James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Dion Waiters) as does Goran Dragic, the point guard Miami gave up too many picks for a few years back. The Heat did find ways to lose the contracts of Tyler Johnson (traded last season for Ryan Anderson, who has since been waived) and Hassan Whiteside (traded basically for Meyers Leonard this summer). But the cap sheet remains a mess.

Pulling an ace in the draft in Herro, striking gold on Nunn (who had largely been out of the NBA picture after pleading guilty to assault on a woman in college), and landing Butler changed the equation. Now the Heat are 5-1, taking advantage of all South Beach has to offer to beat visiting would-be title contenders.

Scores

Friday’s scores.

Saturday’s scores.

Sunday’s scores
Bulls 95, Pacers 108
Rockets 100, Heat 129
Kings 113, Knicks 92
Lakers 103, Spurs 96
Mavericks 131, Cavaliers 111
Jazz 94, Clippers 105

Schedule

All times ET. Games on League Pass unless otherwise noted.

Pistons at Wizards, 7 p.m.
Pelicans at Nets, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Rockets at Grizzlies, 8 p.m.
Bucks at Wolves, 8 p.m.
Sixers at Suns, 9 p.m.
Blazers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m., NBA TV

Links

PAUL FLANNERY ON THE CELTICS. This is not a drill.

The most popular NBA player costume this Halloween was … Joker, of course. Here’s a ranking of the best. DeAndre Jordan by a country mile.

There were some very fun game-winners over the weekend. Jayson Tatum. Furkan Korkmaz. Harrison Barnes. Did I miss any?

Dwight Howard has been very good for the Lakers so far. The risk of saying it is he will hear it, of course. So, uh, let’s stop talking about it.

Ricky O’Donnell broke down what made an epic overtime battle between LeBron James and Luka Doncic on Friday so wonderful. Doncic is so, so good and James still has it. Let me join the chorus in hoping for a Lakers-Mavericks playoff series.

Lindsay Sarah Krasnoff on Frank Ntilikina’s time in France this summer and the hope that springs from it.

Zito Madu on Steph Curry induced sadness and lack of hope in Golden State.

Michael Pina argues that Wendell Carter needs to be more selfish for the Bulls to succeed.

In another big West battle Sunday after the Lakers beat the Spurs, the Clippers didn’t look very good and still held off the Jazz. Something’s not quite right with Utah.

Henry Abbott is doing some very interesting dot-connecting when it comes to NBA franchisees and other extremely wealthy and controversial figures, like Jeffrey Epstein. Here’s a public post in this series that touches on the Sixers, Hawks, Bucks, Celtics, Grizzlies and others. It’s all a little dizzying.

Mike Sykes on why you should take Puma seriously.

Disney+ will be doing an original movie on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s life story. So [puts on tin foil hat] assuming they film this summer, it means ABC and ESPN have a vested interest in Giannis winning the title so they can have the ultimate pay-off. (The truth is out there.)

Louisa Thomas on what the devilish team of private equity and idiots did to Deadspin and Sports Illustrated.

How the memory of Coby White’s father guides the young player.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Jon Bois and Kofie Yeboah are geniuses. This plan to save the 2008 Detroit Lions by designing one perfect Madden play and running it repeatedly for the entire season is brilliant. Four Verts!

Be excellent to each other. Humanity depends on it!

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