Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dwyane Wade's absence felt in Heat locker room and on the floor

For the last 13 years the Miami Heat has usually gone about it's business at home the same way: Dwyane Wade's locker has been the center of the universe for reporters before and after games, and he's always been the last player introduced to the home crowd.

Tuesday night, the first time the Heat played at home since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Toronto, was the first time in 13 years Wade wasn't around to be in his usual spots.

And it was freaking weird.

"As soon as I came back from Europe I looked around and saw Beno Udrih tag's over there -- I said, OK?" point guard Goran Dragic said when asked if it felt weird not to see Wade in the Heat locker room.

Where it really felt weird for Dragic on Tuesday was "before the game and during the game, on the floor."

While Udrih took Wade's spot in the locker room, Dragic replaced Wade in the player introductions, having his name called last.

"I don't care about that," Dragic said before breaking out into laughter. "For me they can change it and put Whitey [Hassan Whiteside] last. I can go first so I don't sit too much on the bench. Then, I would feel better."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pat Riley says his email to Dwyane Wade is in his saved drafts: "I just have to hit send."

If you are wondering if and when Pat Riley may finally be sending that long carefully crafted email to Dwyane Wade know that it looks the 12-time All-Star will be receiving it soon.

Wade-Riley"I have finished it. I really have finished it," Riley said Monday in a conversation with a handful of Heat beat reporters. "I have it in my saved drafts. I just have to hit send. That's all. I will. I love Dwyane."

Wade, who left to the Bulls this summer when the Heat didn't necessarily meet his financial demands, told us two weeks ago when he was in South Florida for his final community event before leaving for Chicago that he still hadn't received the email from Riley.

What will the letter to Wade ultimately say?

"I don't know if you can put these two words together -- metaphoric hyperbole," Riley said. "He's going to have to read through the lines. But then he'll get the point at the end."

Riley, 71, insisted Monday the story of Wade and him not seeing eye-to-eye is a bit overblown. He said he wasn't involved in any of the negotiations with Wade for the last two years and ultimately Wade was saying no to the Heat, not him.

"In 13 years being with him, I can't remember any time in any one summer where we talked or I bumped into him," Riley said. "I never bothered our players during the Big 3 era. They only had two or three months off.

"The only time I would ever get in touch with a player in my entire career was always around Aug. 1 when your biological clock gets ticking and I would give them a friendly reminder. As head coach I used to send them three letters. That's Spo's job now. But I would just remind them to start thinking about getting ready. That was the only contact I ever had with them."

Riley reiterated what he said back in July that he does ultimately regret not contacting Wade before he decided to sign with the Bulls.

"I don't think a lot of people understand I was not involved in those negotiations at all for two years," Riley said. "I was involved with [his agent] only in 2014. And we couldn't come to a deal. So, it was turned over to the boss -- as it should be.

"The kind of standing that Dwyane had, he had the right to talk to the owner. And, that's the way it went for the two years. I had talked to his agents, people that I needed to talk to. But as far as during that time, during free agency, the draft, summer league, no I did not make a call to him. That was being handled. As I said, I was floored by the decision. I wish I would have [called]."

Wade and the Bulls make their only visit to AmericanAirlines Arena on Nov. 10. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Udonis Haslem says he's going to 'damn sure try' to make sure he and Dwyane Wade finish their careers together

There was a moment Saturday morning during Dwyane Wade's final good-bye event here in Coconut Grove that you genuinely felt the love the 12-time All-Star has for Udonis Haslem.

"UD has been by my side for 13 years. Listen you know how we are. We are macho men. So we don't say a lot of stuff to each other that we say to others. But I love that man," Wade said at his first annual six-mile CommUNITY Bike Ride event in Coconut Grove.

"One of the hardest things about me leaving this city was that I wasn't going to be playing with UD anymore, that I wasn't going to be in the same locker room with him. That was the hardest decision for me.

"Like we always say 'Blood couldn't make us any closer.' I appreciate this guy for all the fines he took for sticking up for me. If I scored 20,000 points I'll give him 10,000 for the screens he set for me to get there. I did the rest. But he did the beginning part of it. This is just mutual respect. This is a brother. I made a promise to him that we were going to finish our career together. As of now, I didn't hold up my end of the bargain. So I've got to make it up to him eventually. But this is my brother man. And I love this guy."

Haslem was the only former Heat teammate at Saturday's event -- the last Wade will have in Miami before heading to Chicago to begin playing with the Bulls. While Heat fans are still heartbroken over Wade's departure, it's clear Wade hasn't completely gotten over the breakup either.

More than anything, though, he's going to miss the city, his multi-million dollar water front home and Haslem, who broke into the league with him back in 2003.

"You know that song there's level to this, there's going to be levels to this," Wade said. "It's not an overnight thing. I talked to Chicago and they understand that. I'm trying to get adjusted to it. I've been in one NBA city for 13 years in my career. It's different. But I'm a guy who is a fast learner. I am going back to familiar territory in the sense of my family is in Chicago. But it's going to be different. But I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life and it starts in a bout a week and a half. I'm excited. It's my 14th year in my career. That's one thing I always told myself: as long as I'm excited to keep playing this game and I'm excited to go in the gym and work out and keep doing all the things I need to do I'm going to keep going. I have excitement and I just want to keep going."

Wade wants to keep going for now. So does Haslem. And if there's a chance they could reunite one day they'd both love it.

"Sometimes people say that blood is thicker than water. But with me and this guy it's not about blood. It's about the blood we put in, the sacrifices we put in and everything we went through together," said Haslem, who spent a lot of time with Wade this summer, traveling to as far as China with him.

"I really can't say much. One thing is when you have a real relationship with somebody you support them through thick and thin. He's done a lot for this city, he's done a lot of me, so we appreciate him. No matter where he is and where he goes we'll continue to support him because we're family."

So is there a realistic chance Haslem and Wade could be reunited?

"I'm going to damn sure try," Haslem told me. "I mean, I don't know. I guess I've got to wait until next summer to see how that goes. But, I never give up without a fight. So there's ain't no time to start now."

Would Haslem consider leaving the Heat to do so?

"I didn't say that," Haslem said. "I was thinking more him of him coming here. I never said that. I won't ever say that. When I said play with him again, I never said leave.

"He's trying to sell his house down here. I might just buy it and hold it for him."

It's hard to imagine how Wade could end up back in a Heat uniform, though, at this point. He and Pat Riley still haven't communicated since Wade left. And that was more than two months ago.

I asked Wade if he had received that carefully, crafted email Riley said he was going to send him.

"That's the funny thing about phones -- spell check sometimes mess it up," Wade said. "I haven't received it yet. But I'm sure it's coming."

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dwyane Wade tells Chicago media he had no rift with Pat Riley and decision to return home was selfish

The saga of Dwyane Wade's departure from the Miami Heat and his relationship with team president Pat Riley gained another chapter worth of answers on Friday when he made his introductory press conference with the Chicago Bulls.

Wade, 34, said multiple times Riley had nothing to do with his decision to head home and that ultimately he wanted to be selfish. Wade said Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler played a big role in his recruitment. 

Dwyane Wade Miami HeraldHere are the full transcriptions of two Heat questions posed to Wade on Friday by Bulls reporters:

Q: Did you really want to come home to Chicago or did the perceived rift with Riley play a big role?

"I have no rift with Pat Riley. It's funny the reports come out about a lot of different things. I've never seen nobody around me and Pat when me and him was talking. I didn't see no one CC'd on the emails that we talk about. I have nothing but respect for what he's done in this game. I have so much to learn. So I have no rift in that.

"For me as a player, when you get opportunities to be a free agent you have to sit and look and see what is the best situation for you. In 2010, the best situation for me was to play with Chris [Bosh] and LeBron [James] because I wanted to be able to compete for championships and that's what I felt was best. The other two opt out seasons, last year I wanted more money -- just to be real. I got more money. This year, the direction and the focus for that organization in Miami -- which I have nothing but love and respect for -- was a little different than it has been in years past.

"With that being said, my direction and my focus was a little different than it had been in year's past. I communicated with them that 'Hey I've only done this once, but I'm going to be a free agent. I'm going to go out and see what the market is saying about me.' And, like I said, this opportunity with Chicago when first I said I was going to be a free agent, this was nothing that we all knew was going to happen. But it was things that happened along the way that made this even realer and realer. I made the decision.

"I had a contract offer in Miami that I could have took. I decided not to take it. It was my decision to be selfish and to live out a dream of mine. I've brought a lot of excitement to Miami and it's a home to me. It will always be. I want to bring a little bit here to Chicago when I have a little bit left.

"I still have a little bit left by the way. I've listened to all you guys the last couple weeks. I know what you all have been saying. But, I wanted to come here and be a part of building this organization back up to what this organization should go and should be.

"So, let's clear up the notion that Pat Riley orchestrated me getting out of Miami because he didn't offer me the money I wanted. This was not a money deal. If this was a money deal I wouldn't be sitting here. I would have taken the most money. At the end of the day this is a place I wanted to be.

"Miami and Chicago have always been the two cities I've called home. I was in Milwaukee for a brief second. I got an opportunity to be selfish and I took it. And my family is coming along with me. This was a decision solely for me and it has nothing to do with Pat Riley, Micky Arison, Nick Arison and the family. They wanted me back in Miami. I considered it. But at the end of the day this is where I wanted to be and where my heart was telling me to go and it was back home."

Q: Riley said he wasn't involved enough in your recruitment. What did he mean?

"I dealt with Micky Arison, Nick Arison when it came to my contracts the last two years. That's what he means when he said he wasn't involved, meaning he didn't sit at the table. He didn't call or email or text or nothing like that to try to sway me or try to get me back. I guess that's what he meant.

"I dealt with two people I respect in the organization. And like I said, at the end of the day it wasn't about Pat Riley, it wasn't about Micky, it wasn't about Nick. It was about me. I told that to the Arison family in our meeting. They asked me, 'What else? Is there anything else we can do? I said, 'This is a decision I'm going to have to make. And I made that decision.'

"I wasn't looking for Pat to reach out to me. That wasn't the focus of mine. My focus was making the best decision for my family. He has to make the best decision for the organization, which he has done an amazing job over his tenure there. And we all benefited from it.

"But, this decision was basically mine and I couldn't concern myself or worry about someone reaching out to me or not reaching out to me. That's [wasn't] why I made the decision. It wasn't because he didn't reach out to me. How petty is that? I sat down with the guys who pay the bills. I knew they wanted me to still be there, but ultimately I wanted to be here. And I ultimately made that decision."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

What was the message behind Pat Riley's Big 3 recruiting story on Saturday?

Pat Riley felt the need to share something Saturday beyond his feelings of regret after losing Dwyane Wade this summer.

He felt compelled to bring up a story from the Summer of 2010 on his role in bringing Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh together to form the Big 3. 

Big 3“I can tell you a funny story about -- maybe I shouldn’t -- but I can tell you a funny story about 2010," Riley said shortly after he finished answering a question regarding his approach to whale hunting in the Summer of 2017.

"When we took the three of them in, we had $49.5 million [in cap space]," Riley continued. "So we had $16.5 for each guy, which was the max deal. So, we got it all. Then they said, ‘Well, who do we have left?’ We got Mario [Chalmers] as the starting point guard and we got Joel [Anthony] as the starting center. That’s it, we have five guys. They said, ‘Well, we would like to get Mike Miller. How can we get Mike Miller?’ I said, ‘I can’t get you Mike Miller. We can’t get him. I don’t have the money.’ So we traded Michael Beasley to get the money, but they had to go down to $15 million.

"That was their choice.

"Then they wanted UD. Well, I can’t get UD even though I wanted to get UD. So, that whole concept about bringing guys in the room was on five-year deals. The interesting part is on July 9th, they all agreed to come in on five-year deals room only, so I didn’t have to give up any assets. Then at the 11th hour, they all wanted the sixth year. You know what that cost me and [general manager] Andy [Elisburg]? That cost us four picks.

"I just said to them, ‘If you want the sixth year -- because I know you’re going to opt out after the fourth anyhow -- but if you want the sixth year, I don’t want any of you to walk into my office and say, ‘Hey, can we get any young guys around here? Can we get some draft picks around here?’ Because they were gone. And, I don’t know why I told you that story.

"I always get amused by it because I watched our last draft pick that we gave [Cleveland] for LeBron, they traded it to Minnesota, ended up in Philly or somewhere, and he was playing in Cleveland and we still owed it. I told Andy when he goes to the CBA meetings, make sure that if you ever do a sign-and-trade and give up a draft pick for a player and that player leaves before the draft pick goes to that team, then it automatically is like given back to you. They don’t do that.”

Riley, of course, didn't share that story Saturday because he was amused by where that draft pick ended up or that he wished the Heat still had it. 

He shared it to show us how much power in the NBA really belongs to the players, to show us how far team presidents and general managers and owners will go in sacrificing to put a dream team together.

This summer Riley lost big. He went hunting for Kevin Durant, a piece that would not only put Riley and the Heat in contention for another championship, but one he thought Wade would fully stand behind if Durant happened to choose Miami. 

The problem for Riley was that unlike in 2010 when Wade, LeBron and Bosh came together on their own accord and were willing to sacrifice, Riley had no one in his corner this summer.

Bosh was angry with the Heat because they wouldn't let him return to the court during the playoffs and didn't participate in Durant's recruitment. And Wade was upset from the get go that he was Plan C, someone Riley was counting on to take less money to make a run at championships again with Durant.

For all the power we truly think Riley and his nine rings have in this league, he and every other team president and general manager is ultimately at the mercy of their superstar players lending support.

The stars who are willing to take less money, fewer shots and swallow some individual pride to team up and win championships are the ones that form super teams. The front offices and owners who don't have superstars willing to do that are the ones left behind. 

Riley had an ace in his corner in 2010.

Now, he's just looking for another ace. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Could Luol Deng give the Heat a discount this summer? Maybe

He's sort of become the forgotten man.

Luol DengLuol Deng, once tabbed by Pat Riley as one of the most important free agent signings in Heat history, has sort of fallen to third in the pecking order behind Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside when it comes to free agents Heat fans would like to see the team keep. 

But his value in the second half of Miami's season can't be denied. With Chris Bosh out, Deng slid over from small forward to power forward and became a big part of the Heat's 19-10 second half surge.

In Miami's fast-paced offense, which finished fifth in scoring after the All-Star break, Deng was as valuable a sparkplug as any. He averaged 15.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and led Miami in plus/minus (+144). Then, in the first round against the Hornets, he and Wade led the Heat in scoring at 19.0 points per game before struggling some against the Raptors.

With only $40 million in salary cap space, the Heat probably won't have enough money to keep Deng around and give Wade and Whiteside sizeable contracts.

The truth is, Deng turned out be a pretty good bargain at $10 million this season.

So do the Heat have any realistic shot at getting a discount from Deng to stay here? Well, maybe after hearing him talk on Tuesday. 

 "It was great. I always say I enjoyed it," Deng said of his two-year stint with the Heat. "You learn so much. You go through different paths in your life obviously. I'm really appreciative of this. Not only did I enjoy playing basketball on the court, but off the court it's an amazing city. So much to do. People have been great. People are very supportive. The fans are just unbelievable. Everywhere you go people really love the Heat and appreciate everything you do.

"Here people notice how hard you play and how hard you work. For me, it's always been who I am. Just go out there and it never really mattered to me what my numbers looked like. What always mattered to me was to be able to do what I could do out there and play as hard as I can. I felt like people kind of noticed that here. So, I really enjoyed it."

Could that influence his future? 

"Definitely," Deng said. "Like I said I enjoyed it here. I enjoyed every bit of it. So going forward obviously I would love to be here. It's something that we will sit down and discuss. I can't really say one bad thing about being here. I enjoyed my time. The one thing that I know about here is that it's an organization that wants to win and an organization that will support the players and what they do whether its on the court or off the court. My foundation got a lot of support, things I want to do in life. It's a lot more than just basketball here."

Is Deng at a point in his career philosophically where winning and staying with an organization are at least equal with financial considerations?

"Definitely," he said. "At the end of the day, I try to play the best that I can play, be the best player I can be and hear what everyone has to say and listen to teams. But for me, it's always about being comfortable, being in an organization and around people that really appreciate the things that I do. I think the financial part is what you discuss when you go into that room. There's a lot of teams out there that can offer you a lot of money, but the feel might not be the same and vice-versa. There could be teams that can't give you what the other team can, but they have a lot of other things they can support you with.

"I've been in this situation before when I came here. I remember choosing here and it wasn't really the financial [part that drew me]. It was really the fact I wanted to be comfortable and be somewhere where what I do is appreciated."

Of course, Deng says that now. But there are teams out there that would probably pay the 31-year-old veteran good coin to do what he does and to play in a system that might be better suited for him.

Remember, Deng wasn't involved in the Heat's offense when it was running through Chris Bosh and Wade in the first half of the season. All Deng pretty much did was stand in the corner and wait for the ball to find him.

If Bosh returns and plays again and Deng resigns with Miami, Deng would probably have to go back to that corner and play the small forward spot again.

In the end, Bosh's future with the Heat could ultimately be what makes Deng a real possibility of returning or not. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dwyane Wade not worried about getting booed in Canada tonight

TORONTO -- In just about every NBA arena except Boston and Dallas -- two cities the Heat have had classic playoff battles against -- Dwyane Wade usually gets cheered pretty loudly by opposing fans.

Dwyane Wade anthemIt's what comes with being a three-time NBA champion, a Finals MVP, a Gold medal winner in the Olympics and just a good overall guy. 

But everyone is expecting some loud boos tonight when the Heat face the Raptors in Game 5 at Air Canada Centre. 

Wade put himself in position to receive those boos when he kept shooting through the early parts of the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 3 in Miami. Even though he's apologized for hurting the feelings of fans in Canada, and blamed what happened on the schedule change for the antem, Wade knows what's coming tonight.

And the truth is he's not too worried about it.

"I'm a visiting player. I'm coming out here to do my job," he said after shoot around Wednesday. "I expect to come out here and for it to be an amazing crowd like they always have here at home. I have a job to do -- to play basketball and try to lead my teammates."

Does getting booed hurt your feelings? "No."

Do you feed off it? "Sometimes."

Charlotte Hornets fans remember how Purple Shirt Guy changed things in Round 1 against the Heat.

Wade went off in the fourth quarter of Game 6 and lifted the Heat to a gritty road win after Purple Shirt Guy decided to get in his face and tell him to retire.

Maybe booing Wade tonight will have the same effect.

Nine of the 12 missed calls late in Heat-Raptors series have hurt Miami

TORONTO -- Maybe Gabrielle Union is right. 

Maybe the officials really do have it out for the Miami Heat.

Dwyane WadeAlthough the NBA's Last Two Minute Reports do not provide a complete picture of all the missed calls in an NBA game, in this series between Toronto and Miami, tied 2-2 and with three of the first four games having gone to overtime, it certainly gives us a pretty good snapshot of which team has been hurt the most by bad calls during the most crucial moments of the series.

And clearly that's been the Heat.

Of the 12 incorrect calls through the first four games according to those L2M reports, nine have aided the Raptors.

In Game 1, five missed calls alone helped Toronto not only force overtime, but put the Raptors in position to tie it late in OT. If not for some late Dwyane Wade heroics, the Heat might not have pulled that victory out.

In Game 2, a missed call early in overtime kept Joe Johnson off the free throw line and another missed call midway through OT should have resulted in an offensive foul against Jonas Valanciunas. Instead, Valanciunas scored moments later to stretch a two-point lead to four points. Toronto, of course, ended up winning that game.

And most recently in Game 4, a missed traveling call on DeMar DeRozan with under a minute to play in regulation gave the Raptors new life and might have derailed the Heat's late comeback led by Wade had Cory Joseph not missed a 17-foot jumper with 20.9 seconds to play. 

Anyway, here's a look at the dozen missed calls on the NBA's Two Minute Reports in the series. 

GAME 1
1. Bismack Biyombo should have been called for an illegal screen on Luol Deng with 1:31 left in the fourth quarter.

- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: DeRozan ended up missing an 18-foot jumper and the Heat grabbed the rebound.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: If DeRozan hits the basket, Miami's lead shrinks to 83-81.

2. Justise Winslow trips Kyle Lowry with 35.7 seconds to go in regulation, but doesn't get called for the foul.
- WHO BENEFITED: Heat.
- RESULT: Lowry ends up missing the layup and the Heat grabbed the rebound.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: If the refs call the foul on Winslow, Lowry goes the free throw line for two with the Raptors down 86-81.

3. Jonas Valanciunas should have been called for an illegal screen on Dwyane Wade with 8.7 seconds left in regulation.
- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: Terrence Ross ends up hitting a corner three-pointer to trim the Heat's lead to 89-86 and make it a one possession game. Soon after, Kyle Lowry hits the tying three-point shot with a half-court heave to send the game to overtime.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: If Valanciunas is called for the illegal screen, Miami has the ball up 89-83 with less than nine seconds to play and likely wins the game in regulation with a clean inbounds pass. 

4. Jonas Valanciunas should have been called a defensive three-second violation with 3:14 left in OT.
- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: The Heat ended up scoring on the possession anyway when Dwyane Wade hit a 14-foot fadeaway with the shot clock expiring to put the Heat ahead 96-90.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: Miami would have gone to the free throw line up 94-90 for a technical free throw and then had a fresh shot clock.

5. Jonas Valanciunas set an illegal screen on Goran Dragic with 2:10 left in OT.
- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: Kyle Lowry ended up taking and missing a 25-foot three-point shot and the Heat grabbed the rebound.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: Had Lowry hit the three-point shot, the Heat's lead would have only been 96-93 with two minutes to go in OT.

6. DeMarre Carroll grabs Dwyane Wade limiting his freedom of movement and ability to catch an inbounds pass from Luol Deng with 10.6 seconds left in OT.
- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: Deng's pass goes out of bounds and the Raptors take over down 99-96 with 9.7 seconds left. Dwyane Wade ended up saving the day for the Heat seconds later when he steals the ball from DeMar DeRozan, raced up court, dunked and drew the foul to clinch the victory.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: Without Wade's steal and clinching basket, the Raptors would have had a chance to tie the score and force another overtime.

GAME 2
1. DeMarre Carroll should have been called for a shooting foul on Joe Johnson with 4:17 left in overtime.
- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: Johnson missed the shot and DeMar DeRozan grabbed the rebound for Toronto. The Raptors, however, didn't score on the other end of the floor.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: Miami was down 88-86 when Johnson should have gone to the line for free throws. If he makes both, maybe the Heat's offense runs a little more smoothly the rest of the overtime. Miami didn't score in overtime until there were 23 seconds left. The Heat was down 92-86 at that point.

2. Jonas Valanciunas should have been called for an illegal screen on Goran Dragic with 2:30 left in OT.
- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: Valanciunas ended up scoring four seconds later on a 13-foot jump shot to put Toronto up 90-86.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: That Valanciunas basket gets wiped off the board and the Heat remains down only a bucket.

GAME 3
1. Dwyane Wade should have been called for traveling with 14.7 seconds to play.
- WHO BENEFITED: Heat.
- RESULT: Wade ended up missing a three-point shot with 10 seconds left and the Raptors, leading 92-88, grabbed the rebound. The Heat immediately fouled DeMar DeRozan and he went to the free throw line and hit both shots to clinch the game.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: If Wade ends up hitting the three-point shot, Miami would have only been down 92-91 with 10 seconds to play and the Raptors would have been pretty upset.

GAME 4
1. Traveling should have been called on DeMar DeRozan with 48.1 seconds left.
- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: DeRozan missed a jumpshot a couple seconds later, but the Raptors kept the ball on a Patrick Patterson offensive rebound. Toronto, however, wasn't able to score on the extra possession and Wade ended up tying the score on a drive to the basket with 12.6 seconds left.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: Had the Raptors scored after the missed traveling call the Heat would have been down two scores and in deep trouble with less than 24 seconds to play.

2. Joe Johnson fouled Cory Joseph with 4:42 to go in overtime.
- WHO BENEFITED: Heat.
- RESULT: Joe Johnson was credit with a block, but the Heat lost possession as the ball went out of bounds. The Raptors ended up turning the ball over on a five second violation.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: Joseph should have been at the free throw line for two shots and there's no telling how the Heat would have performed in OT had the Raptors scored first.

3. DeMarre Carroll should have been called for a shooting foul on Goran Dragic's drive to the basket with 2:10 left in OT.
- WHO BENEFITED: Raptors.
- RESULT: Justise Winslow ended up grabbing the offensive rebound and passing it out to Luol Deng who missed a dunk, but was fouled by Carroll at the rim. Deng ended up hitting two free throws to put the Heat up 89-85.
- WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: The Heat was up only 87-85 when refs missed the call on the Dragic drive. Had Toronto grabbed the rebound off Dragic's miss -- and Winslow beat two Raptors to get to it -- Toronto could have tied the score or even taken the lead on the other end of the floor.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wade one of only 15 in NBA history to score at least 30 points in multiple playoff games after 34th birthday

Like a fine wine, Dwyane Wade seems to be aging gracefully doesn't he?

His 38-point performance in Game 3 and then his 30-point performance in Game 4 were just the latest examples of how the Heat's future Hall of Famer still can take over a basketball game even at the age of 34.

Which got me to thinking: how many players 34 or older have posted multiple 30-point games in the playoffs? The list, naturally, isn't very long.

Only 36 players in NBA history have done it once and only 15 have done it more than once. Wade is now one of those.

Some other notable Wade accomplishments after last night.

> Wade has now moved past LeBron James for the most 30-point games in the playoffs in franchise history with 34.

> The last time he had scored 30 or more points in consecutive playoff games was April 23-27, 2010. He did it in three straight games in a first round series loss to the Boston Celtics.

> Wade moved past Magic Johnson and into 13th place on the NBA's all-time postseason scoring list with 3,723 points. He's moved past four Hall of Famers during these playoffs: Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Scottie Pippen and now Johnson and a future Hall of Famer in Dirk Nowitzki. Wade is 32 points shy of tying Hakeem Olajiwon (3,755 points) for 12th place on the list.

> Wade's 99 field goals in the playoffs lead the NBA. Kevin Durant ranks second with 84.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Dwyane Wade says NBA's Last Two Minute reports are 'pointless'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dwyane Wade wouldn’t mind seeing the NBA’s Last Two Minute reports go away –- and it has nothing to do with the NBA saying officials were correct when they didn’t call Cody Zeller or Courtney Lee for fouls on Wade in the final seconds of the Heat’s Game 5 loss to the Hornets.

For Wade, partial transparency is not enough transparency and the 12-time All-Star said the league needs to be upfront about how games are called differently early compared to the pressure packed moments of the fourth quarter and overtime.

“Those last two minute [reports] are pointless – it does nothing for us and it does nothing for any other team,” Wade said after the Heat’s workout prior to Game 6.  “Go through the whole game and break it down, I it would help the refs and this league continue to grow. But those last two minute [reports] – that’s not a good thing. That's not a good light shining on the game.”

Former Heat teammate LeBron James agreed with Wade Friday telling reporters in Cleveland that the league’s Last Two Minute reports “change absolutely nothing” and “sends a bad message to our fans of thinking the game is only won in the last two minutes.”

Shortly after Wednesday’s 90-88 loss at home, Wade, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Wade’s wife Gabrielle Union were adamant a foul should have been called after Wade drove toward the basket and drew contact from both Zeller and Lee before losing the ball.

The NBA ruled Thursday that Zeller maintained legal guarding position because he jumped vertically to defend Wade’s shot and that Lee made contact with the ball during Wade’s upward shooting motion, which thus made his minor arm contact with Wade after that incidental.

Wade said he watched Thursday’s Game 6 between the Celtics and Hawks and saw plenty of examples early in the game when similar plays happened and fouls were called. Wade’s point is that the NBA needs to acknowledge that games are called differently late, something that he personally has no problem with.

“[There's] a lot that happens in the game that can affect even those last two minutes,” Wade said. “A player’s actions or something that happens [in the game] can affect those last two minutes or why something was or wasn't [called] right. If there's something I've done earlier in the game maybe there's a reason I didn't get that [call] late in the game. Who knows. I just don't think two minutes is a real indication. That's just my personal opinion."

The Heat voiced concerns about the officiating after Game 4 and Game 5 and center Hassan Whiteside accused the Hornets of flopping on drives to the basket after Game 4.

Still, Wade said the Heat can’t blame the officiating for their struggles in the series.

“It's easy to Monday morning quarterback. We can all do that in life with different people,” Wade said. “I mean there's a lot of times I go back and I look and say [the refs] were right. Sometimes I go back and say they were wrong. But I've never been a player who has cared to [call the league] to complain. It does nothing for us, for this team.

“At the end of the day we all get frustrated. In the moment you're frustrated… but [the refs] had nothing to do with the ball bouncing to Courtney Lee the last two games. So, there’s certain things about the game you can't put on one call. You can’t say ‘If they would have called that we would have won.’ "

Wade’s wife had suggested after Wednesday’s game that officials who make mistakes should be fined and their records of missed calls made public.

After the NBA’s two minute report from Game 5 was released late Thursday afternoon, the NBA referees official Twitter account included Union when it sent out the following message: “The referees are not always right, but on this call we were.”

Wade said the fact the officials included his wife in their statement was “pretty good.”

“She's pretty popular,” Wade said. “That means she got her point across – whatever she was trying to get across. She did good."


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