A byproduct of the supposedly middling, uninspiring champions of the last year — the Colts, the Cardinals, the Heat — is the collapse to level soil the next season. A team that overachieves in the postseason one year is likely to return to equilibrium the next. We'll see what happens with the Colts, but you're seeing it with the Cardinals this year, and you definitely saw it with with the Heat's four-game sweep at the hands of the Bulls. It seems strange to even imagine that a defending champ could go down so meekly, let alone one with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal.
Your friend and ours Dan Le Batard piles the dirt on the Heat's grave.
Chicago had only five turnovers. The Bulls essentially got out of the way and waited for the champs to fall on their face. Rarely has a defense of a basketball championship been this weak, embarrassing and short-lived. It is an unprecedented failure on O'Neal's resume. ''One of the most miserable experiences a man will ever have,'' Riley said.
So this time, the final image wasn't of Wade joyfully tossing the basketball toward the heavens and unleashing a basketball celebration unlike any this town had ever seen. This time, Wade was pulled out early and given a grieving hug by Riley and pity applause from the crowd after getting the ball stolen from him yet again.
Meanwhile, Bruce Willis drunkenly led his Nets to a commanding 3-1, and we won't have to hear many stories about Kobe for much longer. Shame, too: We hope he goes for 100 in the elimination game, just for giggles.