New Orleans, LA – Back in the day, you could actually pull into a service station and the attendant would fill your car up for you. His question would be, “Do you want ethyl or regular”? Ethyl, the higher grade or the regular the lower grade regular, nobody purchased regular. Everybody wanted ethyl because of the high performance muscle cars of the 60’s and 70’s. Ethyl was the fuel grade of choice. Okay, this is suppose to be a high octane post All-Star break basketball game between the Heat 25-31 and the Pelicans 30-27. The higher the octane rating, the greater the fuels resistance to knocks and pings. The knocks and pinging in your engine occurs when the air/fuel mixture detonates prematurely. Without the service of stellar small forward Anthony Davis, the Pelicans are purring along with an above 500 record in last place in the tough Southwest Division. The Grizzlies are Division leaders at 41-15. Now go figure, the Heat are in third place in the struggling Eastern Division behind Division leader Atlanta at 45-12.
It’s still a long season an both teams are seeking a lean burn with their respective octane grade. Tonight both teams appeared to be knocking and pinging along with on par offensive performance with the score at the end of the quarter, Heat 25 – Pelicans 24. The Pelicans average 99.7 per game and rank 17th in the NBA. The Heat is 28th in the League with a 93.5 game average. The half ended with an air/fuel mixture of 54-54. Like a race at Daytona the two teams seek the perfect mesh for peak outcomes. Both teams were missing key big-man-cogs for a championship run. They played a bevy of players in their strained rotation due to the injuries to Anthony Davis and Chris Bosh. With 2 minutes 15 seconds remaining in the game the Pelicans close within two, then tie at 98-98 only to see D. Wade knock down two free throws to go up by two to 100-98. The Pelicans rebound with two points to tie at 100, with 1:23 remaining. An assist from Wade to Whiteside for a dunk-a-rue, 102-100. Two points by A. Ajinca knots it back at 102 with 36 seconds remaining. Now they are hitting on all cyclinders. This is high octane running on ethyl. Seconds to go Dwayne Wade with the last shot at the buzzer, miss fire. The Heat were apparently running on “Regular” this night as the Pelicans’ high octane offense out paced the heat 104-102.
Dave Washington is a former 11 year NFL veteran and All-Pro and Pro Bowl selectee. He is a featured writer with NNPA , Sports Writers Association, Sportales.com, and SportsBlog.com