So, there was no Udonis Haslem. They were without Ray Allen. And Dwyane Wade barely took seven shots. Yet the Miami Heat still won by 23 points?
Normally a win like that would be the talk of every sports show — especially with LeBron James dropping 33 points in three quarters. But it was an early season victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on a night where college basketball’s elite ruled for 24 hours. So while people didn’t go too crazy they still took the chance to show Miami’s “Goof Troop” some love.
“It’s great to be wanted,” Michael Beasley told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Tuesday’s ovations, “to be genuinely loved, I hope.”
The Chris Quinn-named Goof Troop of 2008 were a group of players — Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Daequan Cook and Joel Anthony — who became infamous for their immaturity before they were given the moniker.
Beasley and Chalmers became notorious for getting fined for sneaking weed and women into their hotel room during the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program. Second-year players Cook and Anthony were less trouble, but their childishness, inside jokes and SpongeBob obsessions were bad enough that ESPN’s Michael Wallace reported that “team officials grew so tired of their antics that at one point they asked the media to stop making references to the nickname in articles.”
Then we all know how the story goes.
Chalmers and Anthony got to enjoy varying degrees of success as part of the Heat’s three NBA Finals runs. Cook had two unsuccessful back-to-back trips to the championship with Miami and the Oklahoma City Thunder. And Beasley bounced around the league in the midst of marijuana arrests and other investigations.
However, on this night, the Troop was back and responsible for getting the crowd to its loudest heights. It started with Wade tossing a nice alley-oop to a floating Beasley for the finish only to be one-upped by Chalmers’ sky-high flip over his shoulders to a soaring LeBron, who seemed to get the rim near his head.
These were great highlights courtesy of the team’s No. 2 (Beasley 19 points, three assists) and No. 3 (Chalmers 15 points, seven assists) scorers of the night. Even Anthony got a score.
Performances like this make fans wish that Erik Spoelstra would find a way to get Beasley in with the group when Haslem is healthy — or at least get him into a second half without Allen ailing. Because this team could be dangerous once the big dogs put a little trust in the young ones.
“I got Beas under my wing, man, and I want him to succeed so much,” James told postgame reporter Jason Jackson. “…the more confidence that Spo continues to give him, the more confidence that we continue to give him, he’s gonna go out and perform.”
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