Florida Gators Video Of The Day: Mike Miller On Fire As Miami Heat Win NBA Championiship

The Gators Video of the Day (GVOD) features, you guessed it, videos relating to the Florida Gators. They could be Gators athletes or homemade videos made by fans like ourselves. If you have any suggestions for GVOD, email me at evandagator@gmail.com or TBG at onegameback@gmail.com. We will try our best to live up to the “of the day” part of the title.

The Miami Heat have won the 2012 NBA Championship, and yet another former Gator will have a ring. Mike Miller joined the small pool of Gators players to go on to win a NBA Championship. Don’t think Miller was a bench-warmer and didn’t contribute to the Heat’s championship run. No, Miller put together one of the arguably all-time clutch performances by a player who was physically majorly struggling. He rained down seven three-pointers, and the performance was only one three-pointer away from Ray Allen’s NBA Finals record.

The amazing 7-for-8 shooting from behind the arc was likely a product of simply adrenaline, clutch, and pure heart. Was this the most clutch performance in the NBA by a former Gator? Miller has denied any talks about his retirement, but he hasn’t ruled it out. What are the chances he goes out on an amazing performance?

NBA Finals Update: Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller Win NBA Championship With Miami Heat

Former Florida Gators Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller are NBA champions. The two won a title on Thursday night – Haslem’s second and Miller’s first – as members of the Miami Heat.

Watching the last few games, it was hard to imagine either former Gator having much of an impact in game five. Their minutes were limited and neither was contributing like they had at previous points of the season or their careers. Apparently Miller didn’t get the memo that he was expected to play maybe 5-10 minutes and take only 1-2 shots.

Instead, Miller was on the court for 23 minutes and matched those minutes with 23 points. He went 7-for-11 from the field with all seven makes coming from behind the three-point line. Talk about a time to wake up. Miller’s previous scoring high during these playoffs was 11. The last time he went over 20 in a game? January 22, 2011. Yes, last season. If you’re going to win a championship, that’s a final game you dream of.

Haslem played 11 minutes off the bench, but on a high note won his second NBA Championship. Not bad for a player that wasn’t drafted and spent a year playing overseas before coming to the NBA.

Congratulations to both former Gators and, gulp, the Miami Heat.

NBA Finals Update: Miami Heat Win; Udonis Haslem And Mike Miller Continue To See Minimal Minutes

The Miami Heat are one win away from claiming their first NBA Championship since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined the team. If they are able to close out the Oklahoma City Thunder, former Florida Gators Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller will each receive championship rings as members of Miami’s roster. Unfortunately, their contributions in the final series are diminishing.

Haslem was on the court for 11 minutes on Tuesday night. He grabbed three rebounds, but did not attempt a single shot. Miller attempted one shot in three minutes. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence when it comes to the NBA Finals. As teams get closer to a possible title, their stars spend less and less time on the bench and their rotation shrinks. On Tuesday night, the Heat starters all played at least 34 minutes, while only one substitute managed more than Haslem’s 11.

Haslem is averaging 21.0 minutes in this season’s playoffs (3.8 less than his regular season average), but has only gone over 16 once during the Finals. Miller is down from 19.3 during the regular season to 15.7 during the playoffs. His high in the Finals was 10 minutes played in game one.

With the title up for the taking in game five, don’t expect much to change. Even if the Thunder jump out to a big lead, the Heat will do everything they can to win a championship at home on Thursday night. Haslem has been an important part of Miami’s roster for years and Miller can still shoot, but it’s hard to imagine either becoming the hero in any of the remaining games. Regardless, it’s extremely likely we’re about to see both win an NBA Championship.

NBA Finals Update: Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller Limited In Miami Heat Win

The Miami Heat evened their NBA Finals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. After winning 100-96, the Heat tied the series 1-1. Unfortunately for us Florida Gators’ fans, neither former orange and blue star had their best nights, but that can be attributed to limited time on the court.

Udonis Haslem grabbed four rebounds in 16 minutes; actually a fairly productive 12 if you’re looking at his per-48. It was a plus/minus of -10 that hurt. Haslem only attempted two shots on Thursday night, making one. Mike Miller saw the court briefly, tallying just one minute of playing time.

Being that the Heat won, this might be a common occurrence in further games. Both former Gators can still be valuable contributors, but will also see their roles defined if Miami can pull off more victories (and even if they can’t). With Chris Bosh able to play meaningful minutes and Shane Battier doing well, Haslem may find himself only used during certain situations. As for Miller, his minutes and shots have seemed to trail off lately.

NBA Finals Update: Former Florida Gators Struggle Offensively In Miami Heat Loss

Not all Florida Gators’ fans are Miami Heat fans, but it’s safe to say most Gators’ fans are fans of Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller.

Count me among those. It doesn’t matter much to me if the Heat win the NBA Championship or not. I’m not a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder either, but either team could win it all and my response would probably be “meh.” But I do wish success for Haslem and Miller. Unfortunately, game one didn’t go that way for either.

The Heat lost to the Thunder 105-94 in game one of the NBA Finals and both former Gators struggled offensively. To be fair, not much is expected on the offensive end from either these days, so this isn’t much of a shock.

Haslem went 2-for-6, scoring four points and grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds in 29 minutes. Miller played 10 minutes, getting off only two shots and making just one. Both stat lines are common of the two lately.

Haslem hasn’t scored more than seven points since game four against the Boston Celtics, but is expected to be a force on the defensive end, which he typically is. Miller has only reached double-digits in points three times throughout this season’s playoffs and regularly gets less than 20 minutes of court time.

Haslem is still a vital part of the Heat rotation and Miller can be an important shooter. With Miami already down 1-0 in the series, the two may need to step up their offensive games if they hope to take home the trophy.

Billy Donovan Doesn’t Try To Flip Commitments He Says

While Urban Meyer is up north teaching the Big Ten how to recruit, Billy Donovan is in Gainesville saying college basketball coaches don’t try to flip committed recruits. The Florida Gators’ head coach believes a gentlemen’s agreement exists in college basketball and it’s something he respects.

“I have the right to recruit, but I think it’s kind of an unwritten or unspoken law in basketball that once a guy is committed, that’s it.” – Billy Donovan, Florida Gators Men’s Basketball Head Coach

Donovan has been accused of pushing the limits when it came to recruiting in the past, and by some big names. Roy Williams believed something wasn’t right in the way Donovan pursued former Gators’ star Mike Miller. In the end, the NCAA found secondary violations, but other accusations uncovered nothing.

With basketball recruiting being such a different animal than football recruiting, it definitely doesn’t seem as cutthroat, but who really knows what’s going on when a coach sits down with or talks to a recruit? Donovan has had his share of high-profile recruits come to play for him at Florida, but has also missed out on many more. Whatever he’s doing is keeping the Gators competitive. I’m not saying he’s breaking the gentlemen’s agreement he himself mentions, but will say that whatever Donovan is doing, he can keep it up.

One Eyed Observations: Corey Brewer, “Other” Sports, Gator Football

One Eyed Willy. Questions. Answers. Truth.

The Bull Gator: Corey Brewer has a NCAA and NBA title now. Which former Gator is next?
One Eyed Willy: Well, just as a quick rundown for those of you who may not know, there are currently eight former Florida players in the NBA. They are as follows: Matt Bonner (Spurs), Brewer (Mavs), Udonis Haslem (Heat), Al Horford (Hawks), David Lee (Warriors), Mike Miller (Heat), Joakim Noah (Bulls), and Marreese Speights (76ers). Interestingly enough, seven of these eight players played in the postseason this year with only Lee’s Warriors missing out.
But looking back at your question, there is a little bit of a trick to it in that you ask which former Gator is the next to have both a NCAA and NBA title. That immediately eliminates Bonner, Haslem, Lee and Miller from the discussion as these guys never won a title at UF – although Bonner and Haslem already have NBA titles to their credit. Between Horford, Noah and Speights, I would have to say that Noah has the best chance on winning a NBA title. For much of the year, the Chicago Bulls were the best team in the Eastern Conference and although they sputtered against the Miami Heat in the Conference Championship, they are still very much in-line to make a deep run again next year. Especially if Noah is able to stay healthy next year and get into a better rhythm than he seemed to be in toward the later part of this last season. In my opinion, Horford and Speights have a ways to go before their respective teams can make that jump from a playoff team to a championship contender.
If you were to take the UF title part out of the equation, I would say that Haslem and Miller have the best chance of any former Gator player to win a NBA title in the near future. As much as I would like to, it’s still hard to pick against the Heat going forward, even with their collapse against the Mavericks.
TBG: Men’s outdoor track finished third, women’s tennis won a National Championship, softball was the runner-up, baseball is headed to the College World Series, and lacrosse is well on its way to being a consistent national power. Should people be paying more attention to Florida’s “other” sports?
OEW: In a word: ABSOLUTELY!!! Look, I like football as much (or actually probably a lot more) than the next guy, but there are too many great UF athletic teams out there right now to hang your hat on just watching the football and occasionally the basketball teams. For a further rundown of just how well our “other” teams did this year:
Baseball: SEC Champions, on our way to Omaha for the College World Series (for the second year in a row)
Golf (Men’s): SEC Champions, ranked number no. 1 heading into NCAA Tourney, finished no. 5 in the nation
Gymnastics:  Top 5 throughout the year, barely missed making it to the “Super Six”
Lacrosse:  ALC champs, made it to Quarterfinals of NCAA tournament in only our second year (and beat national champion Northwestern in the process)
Soccer:  SEC Champions, finished no. 12 in the nation
Softball:  Made it to finals of College World Series and in the process scored the most runs ever in one inning (11)
Swimming & Diving (Men’s, Women’s): Finished no. 5 and no. 8 in the nation
Tennis (Men’s): Finished no. 9 in the nation
Tennis (Women’s):  SEC and National Champions
Track (Outdoor, Men’s):  Finished no. 3 in the nation and had a chance to win the NCAA title on the last event
Track (Indoor, Men’s):  SEC and National Champions
Volleyball:  SEC Champions, finished no. 8 in the nation
Actually, it would probably be easier just to name the sports we didn’t excel at this year:  women’s basketball, women’s track, and football (side note from the ever optimistic TBG: hey, we won a bowl game). I think we even won the bass fishing national championship (yes, there is such a thing!) and my money is on us winning the ultimate Frisbee championship because I think we win that thing every year. Wonder if Jeremy Foley had a hand in hiring our fishing and Frisbee coaches?
So to make a short answer long, if you went to UF, then you really should support ALL of our athletic programs, not just football and basketball. Now if you are just someone who likes Florida football and never stepped foot in Gainesville, then I guess it really doesn’t matter. But do yourself a favor and watch some of these other sports the next time they pop up on your TV while channel surfing. After all, there is a good chance you may end up watching that sport’s next National Champion!
TBG: We are not as far away from the start to football season as we may think. What one thing excites you? What one thing concerns you? (And yes, I am aware there is definitely more than one of each.)
OEW: I am assuming when you ask me “what one thing excites me” you are referring back to the football team. If not, this post could get pretty weird pretty quick.
Taking that assumption into account, the thing that excites me most about the 2011 Gator football teams is the freshness of everything. Last year was a downright awful year. As I have said many times, the 8-5 record we had does not begin to illustrate just how bad last year really was. The offense was anemic, the defensive was like a sieve on many occasions, and the coaching staff seemed genuinely disinterested throughout the season. This year brings hope back to a team that had piles and piles of hope just 10 short months ago.
I am very excited to see how this new coaching staff does on the field. I think they are already proving that they can recruit with the best staffs in the country. Now we need to see what they can do between the sidelines. If I had to pinpoint one specific part of the team that I am most excited about seeing it would be the defensive side of the ball and more importantly the defensive line. I think we could have one of the sickest d-lines in the country and with Muschamp, Quinn, Young and Co. (sounds like a law firm!) back there coaching them up, I am anxious to see what kind of improvements we can make over last year’s squad.
I think the one thing that concerns is the same thing that concerns 99.99% of Gator fans out there. Will John Brantley be significantly better than he was last year? Notice, I didn’t say will he be great. Because we don’t need JB to be great. We just need a guy who can put up 20 TDs and only 7 INTs and manage the game in the crunch time without looking like he has no concept of the offense or looking like he has never seen a blitz before. Let’s face it…we aren’t winning the National Championship next year and chances are we won’t win the SEC. But we can certainly take huge steps towards improving what we saw last year. To do that, we need JB to step up, gain some confidence back, make the reads, and throw the ball to the open WR – preferably the WR that is past the first down line on a third and long. But that might be asking too much. Can Brantley be that guy? Unfortunately at this point, your guess is as good as mine.

Congrats to Former Gator and Current NBA Champion [NAME]

In a few weeks, you may read an article or two with a similar title to this one. It will not say “[NAME]” anymore, but will be filled in with one of three possibilities.

When the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96 on Wednesday night to win the Western Conference Finals 4-1, it became guaranteed a former Florida player would win the NBA Championship. Corey Brewer has already punched his ticket to the NBA Finals. Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller (and if you need yet another reason to cheer for Miller) of the Miami Heat could join him Thursday night. And there is still a chance the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah could make an appearance.
Of the four players remaining, all experienced success during their time as Gators. Haslem and Miller were part of only the second Florida team to ever make the Final Four as they ended up falling in the final to Michigan State. Brewer and Noah were teammates on the squads that took home back-to-back titles. While Haslem did not taste title glory at Florida, he is the only one of the four to already have won a NBA Championship. He could get his second in a few weeks.
Congrats to all of the former Gators for making it this far and especially to whoever ends up becoming “[NAME].”

Morning Reading: The Miami Heat, Raja Bell, an Event I Never Watch, and George Steinbrenner

As soon as the Miami Heat introduced their trio of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, the speculation of who would play with them began.  Handing out all that money to the big three meant there would be little left to go around filling out the roster.  It seemed like it would be Bosh, James, Wade, and nine guys you could find playing a pickup game at a playground court.  That may still be the case with the last few guys coming off the bench, but Miami did add two crucial pieces on Monday.  Two pieces that could help them get Wade another ring and Bosh and James their first sooner rather than later.
Udonis Haslem stayed with the only team he has ever played for by returning to the Heat and Mike Miller gave Miami the shooter they needed.  Oh yeah, and there’s that whole Florida link.  The two came close to championship glory back in their Gator days when they met Michigan State in the NCAA title game.  Unfortunately that game didn’t go exactly how Florida fans would have liked.  Haslem got his ring with the Heat in 2006 as a key part of their championship team.  Miller, on the other hand, has been on a series of not good teams (oh how I wish the Orlando Magic had kept him).  Haslem is taking less money than he was offered by other teams to return to Miami and Miller will finally get a realistic shot to win a title.  Hardly a tough decision for either to want to join the Heat.  Even less of one considering how they both fit in.
You want to play with the guy that clotheslined you in an important playoff game.  At least I guess you do.  Kobe Bryant is trying to convince Raja Bell to join the Los Angeles Lakers.  An interesting pursuit considering the perceived animosity between the two.  Then again, Bryant and Ron Artest worked out just fine in their first season together.  As Bryant put it, you want people on your team who have the testicular fortitude to stand up to you.  I have always thought of Bell as overrated, but then again isn’t most of the NBA?  The Lakers don’t have much to offer Bell, but they can offer him a very good chance to get to the finals.  That may outweigh all other options.
Tonight is the MLB all-star game.  Would it be too predictable if I said “snore?”  I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched an all-star game of any kind.  It’s been even longer since I got excited about one coming up.  When you’re younger all-star games are fun.  All the great players in one place basically showing off.  As you grow up you realize they’re a joke for the most part.
People say the NFL’s version is flawed because it’s at the end of the season and by then people have lost interest.  Playing it after the Super Bowl isn’t a good idea because people have checked out.  Playing it before the Super Bowl doesn’t work either because people are gearing up for the big game and don’t want to watch a filler.  From a viewership standpoint, they may be right.  I’d imagine more people will be watching the baseball all-star game tonight because in terms of sports, what other options do you have?  But in terms of true all-stars, the NFL is the only major sport that gets it right.  How can you accurately select all-stars at a season’s mid-point?  I’m sure a good number of baseball, basketball, and hockey all-stars would still be considered such at the end of the season, but some could just be hot for half a year.  The real all-stars are the ones at the top of the game at the beginning, middle, and end of the season.  Basically that was all a really long way of me saying I won’t be watching the game tonight.
Baseball icon George Steinbrenner passed away this morning.  The longtime owner of one of the world’s most recognizable sports franchises – the New York Yankees – was 80 years old.  There are many interesting and humorous stories about Steinbrenner from over the years.  His run-ins with Billy Martin, his clean cut policies, and of course his spending.  Like him or not, Steinbrenner had a hand in creating one of the most successful and marketable franchises in the history of sports and as an owner isn’t that the idea?  Rest in peace George.

Mike Miller Traded to Washington Wizards

A former Florida Gator and, let’s be honest, one of the NBA’s oddest looking individuals, Mike Miller, was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. Miller and Randy Foye are headed to the Wizards for a bunch of players you don’t care about and the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Miller is coming off a season in which he averaged a career low in points per game, but he was playing for the Wolves so it’s forgivable. The addition of Miller and Foye without giving up much in return instantly makes the Wizards better. (H/T: V. Money)