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Beat the Heat With Jared Dudley

The Miami Heat are coming off a sound beatdown of the Sacramento Kings in which six different players scored in double figures. Rumors of Dwyane Wade's return from exile continue unabated, and Michael Beasley and Shawn Marion are doing the kind of dual 3-4 combo forward thing that makes sense for both.

Tonight will be another test of Larry Brown's strategic machinations. From this corner, where I'm a full blown Jared Dudley apologist, it seems to make all the sense in the world to start Felton, Richardson, Dudley, Wallace, and Okafor, playing Dudley and Wallace in a similar dual 3-4 combo as the Heat play Marion and Beasley. Even when the Heat go with Haslem and Blount at the same time, it's probably best to go smaller, since Blount is more comfortable on the outside than in the paint.

I don't think there's any way Okafor, Mohammed, or Sean May can deal with either Marion or Beasley on the perimeter. It just can't be allowed to happen. Perhaps they can give Marion the Kirilenko treatment, where he's allowed to hoist threes all he wants because he thinks he's a lot better at shooting them than he really is. That could allow the Cats to play two bigs at the same time, punishing the Heat on the offensive block. However, even though the Mohammed/Okafor frontcourt is probably their best lineup overall, this particular matchup is too tough for two natural big men to handle. Dudley is small, but rebounds. Gerald is small, but rebounds. The answer is staring Brown in the face.

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More stuff to look for at tonight's home opener:

1) Which music will the Cats use for introductions?

2) How many minutes will Felton and Augustin play together in the backcourt, destroying any chance of playing decent perimeter defense? As a corollary, how many minutes will Matt Carroll see playing the 3? Another corollary: Will Dwyane Wade simply abuse anyone who guards him and is not named Jason Richardson?

3) From the photos, I really like Kristy's new hair color, but I'll need to see it in person to be absolutely sure.

4) Over/under on actual attendance is 13,000. Do you take the over or under?

5) Can the Bobcats pick up the shooting, just a little bit? Cavs fans I spoke to the past couple days wanted to give Mo Williams credit for Raymond Felton's 1-10 shooting in the season opener, but based on the preseason, I'm more inclined to think Felton just didn't hit his shots. And neither did Augustin. And neither did May. 34% shooting isn't going to work.