In case you haven't heard, it's payback time ... or something.
The Miami Heat will be without Mario Chalmers tonight against the San Antonio Spurs. Oh yeah. They'll also be without LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who are listed on the injury report with a strained right hamstring and a sprained right ankle, respectively.
The news came down roughly two hours prior to game time on Easter Sunday, and it reeks of a "how ya like that?" sort of thing. I jest, as these guys have certainly been banged up, but one has to imagine there's at least a small element of gamesmanship here. The Heat didn't play yesterday. They don't play tomorrow. So, take it how you will.
Gregg Popovich, the czar of the rest-a-player strategy, pretended to be taken aback by the news. As Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News asked for his thoughts on the announcement, Pop put on a show as he stumbled backward and shook his head in feigned disbelief.
"What kind of shit is that?! Are you kidding? What a bunch of rummies!" he proclaimed in one of his best pre-game performances to date. "They're doing that? Who would think of something like that? That's below the belt. There's no place for that."
The sarcasm flowed freely as he stumbled around the hallway. But Pop didn't want to delve much further into the topic at hand.
"It is what it is. The motivation? Why? You guys figure it out," he continued. "They're great articles. You guys write all kinds of good stuff."
So, the starting lineup for the Miami Heat tonight is as follows. Norris Cole at point guard, Mike Miller at shooting guard, Rashard Lewis at small forward, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem at the two big man spots. Hooray!
Regardless, this is an important game for San Antonio as the Spurs' lead in the West remains at three games in the loss column. Theoretically, holding on to that just became a bit easier, but we've seen these letdowns before, haven't we?
"It happens all the time in the NBA. No matter how good a team is, no matter what the team's record is, there'll be, to some degree, a letdown, mentally," Pop said. "All coaches try to fight it, so I won't know a damn thing until we get out there on the court, see if we respond the way we should respond.
"We gave them a hell of a game in Miami and I totally expect them to give us the same kind of game here, even though their stars are not playing."
And to think I wore a salmon-colored jacket for this. SMH.