Seven months of anticipation will finally subside tonight. The NBA Finals kick off and we couldn’t be any more hyped. Well, we’re probably not as hyped as D-Wade is right now. He’s likely itching to get his game straight after playing a full practice yesterday. Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller and James Jones took part as well after sitting out over the weekend. Nevertheless, Wade’s potential impact and health going into this series will be pivotal. Flash and Haslem are the only Heat players left from the ’06 championship squad. It remains to be seen if they’ll hold those honors a few weeks from now … This series will be new ground for both teams. They have toyed with the competition so far; they haven’t yet met animals like each other. Bosh can’t guard Dirk. The German bomber hasn’t seen a defender phase him and we doubt Bosh will change that. Meanwhile, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd (as well as Soulja Boy) have tall orders staying in front of LeBron and Wade. How often will the Mavs use their zone this series? … You’d think Cuban’s boys were at a disadvantage as a jump-shooting, low board-grabbing team. However, their commitment to defense ought to match Miami’s propensity to iso LeBron and Wade or include Bosh on a pick-n-pop. Hopefully, Miami’s slashers aren’t sent to the line in droves in the game’s waning moments. No one really wants an ’06 redux … Dallas dedicated this playoff run to their injured starter Caron Butler. His absence hasn’t affected them yet, but how much of a difference could Tough Juice make? … The Blazers’ backup point guard Patty Mills isn’t pleased about Portland allegedly contemplating pushing Brandon Roy to retire. We can’t blame him. We have to keep it funky though. Roy’s future contributions probably won’t be worth nearly $70 million over the next four years. The whole thing gives us eerie flashbacks to Grant Hill. It’s wise to let the situation develop. As we said, the Blazers have eight figures on the line over the next four years if they keep him around. Meanwhile, there are rumors Portland might be interested in acquiring Devin Harris. Peace Andre Miller … On our DimeMag.com poll, the overwhelming majority believe the Lakers will be good next year with Mike Brown, but won’t get any jewelry. And in yesterday’s Smack, there were arguments over how much Kobe should’ve been included in the hiring process. Put it this way: when he makes four or five times as much as your coach will, you better at least talk to him beforehand. You don’t have to listen to him, but you better run it by him first … Dwight Howard told Orlando newspapers that staying in Orlando is his first choice. He wants to be a leader and not a follower. He wants players to come to him, preferably players not playing like Vince Carter and Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu … Our prayers go out to Mike Miller and his family. His daughter has returned from the hospital after suffering a ventricular septal defect upon birth. She will have doctor appointments all week, but at least she’s home … We’re out like Cuban staying quiet all series.
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