Boston and Miami: A Tale of Two Cities

KP Wee@kpwee1Senior Writer IFebruary 13, 2008

On Tuesday, the Boston Celtics became the first team to reach the 40-win plateau this season, beating the Indiana Pacers 104-97 despite missing injured superstar Kevin Garnett.

Paul Pierce had a double-double (28 points, 12 rebounds) as the Celtics won for the sixth time in seven contests even without Garnett during that stretch.

The Celtics own the NBA's best record at 40-9—three games better than the next best team, the Detroit Pistons (38-13), who won 94-90 in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, at the very bottom of the standings?

The Miami Heat, who own a dreadful 9-41 mark and are losers of eight straight. The Heat have lost 23 of their past 24 games.

Miami lost a heart-breaker at home against the Denver Nuggets (32-19), 114-113, in overtime on Tuesday.

Miami, despite scoring 32 points—and leading by 14 at one point—in the first quarter, trailed 84-78 heading into the fourth quarter before rallying to send it into extra time. The Heat still lost.

Ah, Boston and Miami.

One at the top, one at the bottom.

Too bad for fans in Southern Florida, who saw their Heat win the NBA championship just two seasons ago.

And wait. Didn't we see this in football this year too?

Just over two months ago, it was the NFL Miami Dolphins who got manhandled by the Buffalo Bills 38-17. On the same day, Boston's football team, the New England Patriots, defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-13.

So on that day, December 9, 2007, the Dolphins and Patriots had completely opposite records: Miami 0-13, New England 13-0.

Of course, the Dolphins ended 1-15, and the Pats 18-1.

And now, Boston's basketball team is dominating. Miami's is not.

And let's not forget that the Red Sox are defending World Series champions, while the Florida Marlins finished last in the NL East with a 71-91 record, the 11th time in the team's 15-year existence that they have finished with a losing record.

Oh wait. Hockey. Well, as of today, the Bruins are 28-23-5 with 61 points, and the Panthers are a game under .500 with 57 points. Both are currently on the outside looking in, though both have a shot at the Stanley Cup playoffs. Slight edge to the Bruins though.

What's next?

Wasn't there a time when the fortunes of the two sports cities' franchises were reversed?

Wasn't it in 1997 that the Florida Marlins won the World Series? Meanwhile, the Red Sox were still going through the eighth decade of the Curse of the Bambino. And the Marlins even won a second title in 2003.

In 1996, the Florida Panthers beat the Boston Bruins in the first round of the NHL playoffs and advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. And on January 17, 1999, the Panthers acquired goal-scoring sensation Pavel Bure, who responded with back-to-back 58- and 59-goal seasons. Seemed like hockey was on the rise in Southern Florida and would never die down. Boston? Last place in the entire NHL in the 1997 season.

In the 1990s, the Dolphins made the playoffs seven times. Meanwhile, the Patriots won two AFC East division titles, but never really looked like one of the dominant teams in the conference.

Since then, however, the Pats have won three Super Bowls in the last seven years, and the Dolphins have missed the playoffs for six straight seasons.

For now, we know that the Celtics are in good shape and are the favorites from the Eastern Conference to make it to the NBA Finals.

And the Dolphins are trying to salvage something with the hiring of Bill Parcells.

What else should the other Miami teams do?

The Heat's Dwyane Wade said before Tuesday's game that the fortunes of Miami's basketball team will not be this bad forever. Do you agree?

And what other "good" sports cities and "bad" ones exist or have existed in another era?



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