Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Talkin' passes

After watching that pass from Dwyane Wade to LeBron James so many times, it's tough not to want to compare it to some of the best passes in NBA history, as LeBron already called it the best.

Here's a few of the best from NBA Action... I'm partial to the Penny Hardaway no-look and the Charles Barkley behind-the-back pass, which has to be the longest successful behind-the-back in league history.

 

 

This pass from Jason Williams might have been the best ever if it a) came in a real game and not the rookie game, and b) was actually finished by Raef LaFrentz. Instead, he got fouled and sent to the line.

 

 

Then, of course, there's the Wade-to-LeBron 90-foot alley-oop. BTW, it seems like Chris Bosh can never win on this team. His coast-to-coast move with the behind-the-back dribble and the and-one finish was one of the best plays of the year. And he's not even on the Sportscenter highlights that I saw. Poor guy.

 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Point guard possibility?

It's just a thought, really, but Jason Williams just got waived from the Magic, and he only likes to play in two places (family reasons), Miami and Orlando.

Well, should the Heat even consider bringing in J-Will for another run? The Heat has already taken Carlos Arroyo out of the rotation, should they cut ties with him altogether? That would be plain cold-blooded, but it happens all the time in this business. It doesn't necessarily have to be Arroyo who's waived to make room for him. Jamaal Magloire hasn't played in a while and is, technically, the fifth center on the roster. Jwill

Williams, 35, still wants to play, according to his agent.

"This is a buyout that's been discussed for some time," Williams' agent, Dan Tobin, told the Orlando Sentinel. "It's mutually beneficial. They'll have three quality point guards instead of four and it'll give him an opportunity to play elsewhere when that opportunity presents itself. He's not retiring.

"For him, it's about playing basketball."

Want more reasons?

Well, J-Will and Mike Miller are pretty much BFFs, and I know Mike wanted badly for the Heat to sign Williams before the season started and he eventually went to the Magic. Udonis Haslem is boys with J-Will also, and Dwyane Wade already won a title with him. J-Will happens to be terrific at throwing the lob pass, knowing when to, when not to and getting it right on target. The Heat has a guy or three who enjoy the lob pass.

I'm just saying, it wouldn't be a crazy idea.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eddie's Back in the (Heat) House

Eddie's back again. No, not Eddie Jones. Been there, done that. And did it again. Eddie House (Knicks)

This time, it's Eddie House's turn for a Heat reunion. House agreed with the Heat Thursday on a two-year deal worth the veterans' minimum. The deal is worth a total of $2.8 million over two seasons, with the second season at House's option.

Agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed the deal just minutes before the start of our weekly Heat chat. As we do every week at this time, I try to answer your Heat questions. Or, at least try to provide an entertaining way to waste your time as we search for the answers.

Here's another sample of the hot questions this week...

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1187 (Page 1 of 41)

Q: Just read SI "How it all went down," it was more like "How could LBJ do it." I can't understand all this stuff over "The Decision," he made, as if he owed more to the cav's. Since when did a player owe anything to a franchise? As if he can't make up his own mind, he spent 7 yrs. W/ the Cav's getting them further than they have ever been & that's not enough for the doubters. So my question is, what will it take for all the hate to stop, 3-4-5, or 6 championships? Thanks & I love your work.

Answered 07/29/10 14:00:04 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Appreciate the love. And there's much too much being made of "how it all went down." The bottom line is simple. None of it would have gone down had Bosh not come to Miami first. My thought has always been that once Bosh and Wade were on board, LeBron had the easiest choice. The Heat were going to be fine regardless of what James decided to do.

Q: Not Larry Hughes PLEASE??? Hughes offense cost Cleveland the finals. His ORtg vs. DRtg, playoff Offensive Rating = 8 to 10 points lower. A-I, Iverson if he will take a 7th or 8th man role??? J-Will OR sign Jarvis Varnado, with Bosh, Lebron and Wade all scoring in the paint, we can't have too many shot blockers in the middle can we???

Answered 07/29/10 13:57:44 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Good, passionate plea from you. That's a real Heat fan.

Q: I agree with your points of the Heat getting a little more younger and athletic in the 'bigs'. Also agree that the last few roster spots should go to younger talent with specific criteria (hitting open jumper being the most important). I believe either Howard or Magloire will be released to make room for a younger, athletic player (maybe even a Kwame Brown or a summer league guy). Secondly, I believe either Hansbrouck or Lucas III (or both) will be on our roster AND might be better fits that either Arroyo or Chalmers in the starting lineup. YOUR THOUGHTS?

Answered 07/29/10 13:57:00 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Your logic is solid. But I'm willing to wait and see how things develop in camp before making any bold predictions. There's just too much that can happen between now and the end of training camp. I don't think the Heat would have signed these guys just to get rid of them.

Q: Hey brother! I read your forum everyday; I am serving in the US Air Force; so its good to hear good news... I just wanted to know who you think will ultimately be the last two ppl signed for the Miami Heat?... Thanks.

Answered 07/29/10 13:55:32 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Eddie House is one. The other spot remains up for grabs, which might be the case going into training camp. And thanks for following us.

Q: Hey Mr. Wallace how r things going. I wanted to ask since the Heat need a 3rd point guard, do you think Jon Scheyer could make the team he ran point at Duke and is a willing defender and a great shooter. Do you also think the hard-working De'Sean Butler could make the team. Thank You.

Answered 07/29/10 13:54:42 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I know the Heat likes Jon. It was a shame his summer league ended with the eye injury. There's a good chance he'll be invited back for training camp. Beyond that, he'd have to beat out some decent vets to earn a spot.

Q: Hey Mr. Wallace, I am not really a fan of Tracy McGrady, but I must sacrifice my personal conflict for the best interest of the Heat, I feel that Mr. McGrady would provide solid points coming off the bench. However, there are also huge questions surrounding his age and ability to stay healthy, that's obvious ever since... But I feel that He would be a tremendous benefit to Heat. As for his age, he's only 31 and can make up for any physical shortcomings with veteran experience... What is your logic behind acquiring T-Mac?? and What's his asking price? Thank you, Mr. Wallace

Answered 07/29/10 13:53:12 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Well, if his asking price is anything above the veterans' minimum at this point, it's far too rich for the Heat's taste.

Q: who could the heat possibly sign at the point guard position??

Answered 07/29/10 13:52:23 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There's a good chance Eddie House might be the guy.

Q: Hi Mike , I know the Heat is out of money this summer but ,is there any chance that they could run for Chris Paul via trade by February ?

Answered 07/29/10 13:51:44 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: So who would you give up to do that? Wade, LeBron or Bosh?

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0v61Gu1Jp

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Your Questions? Our Answers

You've got Heat questions. I've got answers. Or at least as close to them as possible. Or, maybe not.  Game5-Rio

But here's a sample of the questions and answers from our weekly Heat Q&A. From Allen Iverson to Shaq. From LeBron to Pat.

Most Recently Answered Questions

Questions 1 - 15 of 1137 (Page 1 of 39)

Q: As a former resident of Miami for thirty years, I don't understand, if LeBron James was a free agent why did he have to sign with Cleveland and then they traded him to the Heat for two first and two second round choices?? This just does not make sense to me. Unless the Denver Post got it wrong, thats where I got the information. Thank you in advance. N. Smith

Answered 07/22/10 14:13:08 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: LeBron wanted to get a sixth season on his contract, and the Cavs wanted to get something for losing him. So that trade was the compromise.

Q: My friends call me Keith, you can call me John.... MW, should we be concerned about our BIGS is looks like most are 6'9", only Z is our only one over 7' and from what I hear he's not a great rebounder? Bell was a big miss, if we lose out on Barnes who else is out there for our Artest type, should this be a concern....

Answered 07/22/10 14:11:55 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There's always Yakhouba Diawara.

Q: Wuzzzz up, Mike..... Can we all stop the, "This is Wade's team" who cares lets just kick some butt.... Why Howard over someone like Kwame, don't we already have enough 6'9" type guys?

Answered 07/22/10 14:10:50 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: It's everyone's team. But Wade has to be the ring leader. And he will probably be announced last in the starting lineup. As far as Howard over Kwame, the difference is that Juwan was fine with coming for the vets min. Kwame still believes he's worth far more.

Q: Will Tracie mcgrady and AI end up on the Heat or Stackhouse?

Answered 07/22/10 14:09:36 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: My guess is none of the above. But I could be wrong. I've been so before.

Q: Is there any truth to rumor the Heat were looking to trade Rio for Rudy Fernandez and if so is that trade still a viable option?

Answered 07/22/10 14:09:05 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The Heat had discussions with Portland on a number of levels. I think Beasley and Mario came into play. But at this point, I don't see such a trade going down unless Miami has another starting-caliber PG on the way.

Q: Hey Mike! I had to let the excitement die down before joining your forum. First I have to give good Pat his prop's for getting LBJ and Bosh. For a minute I was ready to run him out of town. But I hav a problem with bad Pat. Was bad Pat behind the decision to sign Mike Miller and sign him to a 5year deal? This sounds like the bad Pat that choose beasley over mayo. Why not resign DWright?Although i'm happy because he's playing in my area. DWright would've been the perfect compliment for the big3. I could envision a wade,bosh,wright,lbj,ilgasus or anthony lineup. That would've reminder me of the bulls lineup with jordan,pippen,harper,rodman and the other guy. In wright,wade and james they would've given you dynamic wing players that can guard multiple position and is long and athletic. With that lineup you don't need a starting point. And what's up with the suppose signing of juwan howard? The same guy who turned his back on you back in the 90's. I just hope that all this attention does'nt go to the heat especially bad pat's head. We have'nt won nothing yet. And please whatever they do. Do not bring back Shaq!!!!!!!!!!!

Answered 07/22/10 14:08:08 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The five-year deals for Miller, Joel and Udonis are the only things you can question about Pat at this point. But I think, to some degree, you had to get the deals done against competition from other teams that had more money. So the Heat compromised by offering max years.

Q: Dear Mr. Wallace, I'm a coach on the small island of Curacao and a huge Miami Heat Fan. I see these days on the news, that everybody is talking about the Heat needing someone to start at point guard. I think the Heat can start LB(Lebron James) at point, because he can handle the ball and has the ability to pass the ball. He has also been compare to Magic Johnson in the past, as he(Magic) played that position for LA. Also the Chicago Bulls played in the 90's after they send BJ Armstrong away without a true point guard. Now that they have sign Mike Miller and luring Zydrunas Ilgauskas, they can have the following starting five in my opinion: PG Lebron James, SG Dwyane Wade, SF Mike Miller, PF Chris Bosh and C Zydrunas Ilgauskas. What do you think about that?

Answered 07/22/10 14:06:27 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I think LeBron does have some point guard instincts. But I wouldn't put him on Magic's level in a PG sense just yet. My projected starting five is a bit different. I think Miller comes off the bench. I think Mario starts at PG and Joel starts at center.

Q: CAN WE PLEASE GET THE WORD OUT TO GIVE STEVE FRANCIS A TRYOUT sorry for screaming but if Penny is an option why not franchise He has gotten paid so Im sure he would take the minimum to redeem his career and hes far younger than Penny! PLEASE

Answered 07/22/10 14:04:53 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You just did. Still don't think anyone heard you, though.

Q: Looking at our bench we only have one player with possible firepower--Mike Miller. The rest is a mix of solid old and young guys all who aren't known for scoring. If a humbled Allen Iverson is serious about just wanting to be a bench player don't you have to look into it? He's still an expert at drawing fouls. Imagine having Wade, Lebron, and Bosh check into the game again with the other team already in the penalty!

Answered 07/22/10 14:03:58 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: A year ago, it would have made some sense. But after the way things went down in Memphis and Philly, I'm not sure if I'd take that gamble with Iverson. It's far greater risk than potential reward. And I'm an A-I guy. Always have been.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0uR7QyE4v

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/WallaceNBAHeat. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Answers to Thursday's Heat Q&A

Q: I think Bosh is more than likely somewhere else with a better sign and trade opportunity as opposed to the Heat. If that is the case, I personally would prefer a Boozer/Joe Johnson combination than just getting Amare or Amare with Johnson. What do you think? Also, do we have the cap space, or can we attain it through a Beasley trade, to get a Brendan Haywood, Earl Barron, or bring JO back at a discounted rate to be our center?

Answered 06/17/10 14:33:27 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I'd take Haywood, but I'd rather keep Beasley than let him walk for a reunion with either Earl Barron or Jermaine O'Neal. And I'm with you on the Boozer, Johnson pairing, although you'd then certainly need a center presence, which, I guess, would bring J.O. into the equation again.

Q: Great work Mike. Look into your crystal ball and tell me who you see Lebron, Bosh, Stoudemire, J.Johnson, and Boozer signing with?

Answered 06/17/10 14:31:32 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: Not sure I can afford crystal in this economy. But I'll look into the knockoff I got from the Opa-Locka flea market last week and tell you that ... LeBron will be back in Cleveland. Stoudemire will be in Miami or Chicago. Bosh will be in Chicago or Miami. Joe Johnson will be in New York. And Boozer will join Johnson in New York. But don't put too much stock in that ball. It was $2 bucks and doesn't have a return policy.

Q: Is Ricky Williams Smoking Ganja again? Or, just Mr. Ross? They both are predicting the Dolphins are going to the Super Bowl next season. Do you think the Dolphins are capable of playing in the Super Bowl next season?

Answered 06/17/10 14:28:24 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You've reached the wrong Q&A. Press "0" for Jeff Darlington, Dolphins beat writer.

Q: Hi Michael, if Lebron and Wade team up and say Bosh decides to go for LAL who would be a better choice Boozer, Amare (most like not since he wants max contract) and I think Scola is available? Tnx.

Answered 06/17/10 14:27:13 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: In that scenario, I'd have to go with Boozer because he'd be cheaper and plus he's a better spot-up shooter than Amare. Playing alongside attack-the-basket players such as LeBron and Wade would create plenty of open looks for kick-out, mid-range jumpers. That's Boozer's game, in addition to his rebounding.

Q: hey mike when july 1 is here how long do u think it will take before the fireworks begin and in your expert opinion what do u think is a realistic scenario for the heat also if we can't build the team with sign and trade and we have to sign free agent directly which will prevent us to go over the 56 millions cap this year isn't it better to keep beasley for one more years and see how it works around 2 stars and then go all out in the next free agency when mr arisson will be able to go over the cap and finish to build a championship team cause i don't know how much over the lakers and celtics are but it doesn't looks like u can make it to the final round with a cheap salary team by the way when was the last time that a team won the champs and stayed under salary cap rule if it ever happen ? thank you for your time

Answered 06/17/10 14:25:37 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I really wish I had the answers. But I don't. I have educated and slightly-informed opinions. But Pat Riley is better than just about anyone in the league at keeping things close to the vest, despite being in on just about every available player. My guess is that Miami will end up with either Bosh or Stoudemire, make a strong play for Gay, look for a veteran pg in a trade, use at least two of its four draft picks to fill out roster spots and convince a proven league vet or two to come on board for a shot to contend in the East and unseat Boston and a weakened Orlando/Cleveland/Atlanta for a shot at the Finals.

Q: Just read somewhere that not only is Amare here but Rudy Gay is here with him working out this summer. Can you envision the Heat signing Amare and sign-and-trading Beasley/Cook for Gay? I think Gay, Wade, and Amare would be a great core if the Heat cannot land LBJ/Bosh.

Answered 06/17/10 14:22:56 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: That certainly would be the most explosive 2, 3, 4 trio in the league in my opinion. But I'm not sure the Grizzlies will allow Gay to walk this summer. If Gay doesn't want to be there, which I'm told he doesn't and wants out, he might have to take the one-year qualifying offer and then wait for unrestricted free agency next year - or a trade at the Feb. deadline.

Q: Good day mate! At least Amare was honest that he is NOT signing any contract that is not a maximum deal. 1st question is do you think he deserves one? Because I don't think so, I'd rather have Boozer if Amare's asking for a max. 2nd question is do you believe what these max-contract deserving FA's (LbJ, Bosh, etc.) whenever they say that winning is the most important thing and getting that max isn't that important to them? Do you really believe they would sign anything under the max?

Answered 06/17/10 14:20:30 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I don't think any of the top five free agents (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Stoudemire, Dirk) is signing for anything less than the max. I think there are only about 7 max slots available throughout the league at this point. Boozer, Johnson, Gay - those guys might have to settle for less than the max, even though there might be money out there.

Q: It seems as if Bosh to Miami is gaining some steam since he and D-Wade had dinner together. At the end of free agency, do you think Wade convinces Bosh and Johnson to join the Heat? If they do, would be a be top 2 team in the east?

Answered 06/17/10 14:17:21 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I'm not sure I'd go that far just because they had dinner together. Heck, Wade attended a tennis tournament with Star Jones a couple years back, but that didn't mean they kicked off a commitment. I believe the Heat would face more competition and difficulties getting Bosh than they would Stoudemire. As far as Johnson is concerned, it's just a matter of how much he's willing to win and at what cost in terms of a less-than-max salary from Miami.

Q: So the New York Times published a article saying that Ray Allen wants to come to miami. It says that he knows Chris Bosh will sign too. So all the cap space for Ray Allen, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade? Is it really worth it to spend it on them? What would be the line up? Would dwayne wade switch to point guard?

Answered 06/17/10 14:14:31 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: It was the New York Daily News that published the rumor as part of a weekly NBA gossip column. Here's a tip. Only believe 1 percent of half of the rumors you hear about NBA free agency.

Q: will stoudemire go with the heat

Answered 06/17/10 14:12:12 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: The fact that Amare is here now working out, has established an offseason residence here and went as far as to get those MRIs at a clinic that just happened to service other Heat players certainly leads one to believe that something is in the works come July 1.

Q: trade Beasley,Jones,Cook with #1 pick to the pacers for Roy Hibbert and T J Ford. Then trade Ford to the warriors for Correy Maggette. Sign Steve Blake as the point guard. Starting 5: Blake,Wade,Maggette,Bosh,Hibbert bench: Chalmers,Raja Bell,Henry,Haslem,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Or Trade Beasley,Jones,Cook and #1 pick to the hornets for Darren Collison and Okafor. Resign Wright. Starting 5: Collison,Wade,D Wright,Bosh,Okafor bench:Chalmers,Raja Bell,Henry,Haslem,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Mike..

Answered 06/17/10 14:10:43 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: There you go. Spin again.

Q: Hi Pat-riley! i know that you have been busy to try to improve our team this summer. but my point view is : whoever at the power foward ,rudy gay at small forward,wade,whoever at the point guard or mario charmers and the center spot draft pick or O'Neil. reserve at the bench wright,haslem,patrick,draft pick at center,richardson,beasley or another draft pick.

Answered 06/17/10 14:09:45 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: You've got the wrong email if you're trying to reach Pat with another roster request. Try priley@whyinhellwouldItaketheseemailsfromfans.com

Q: Hey Mike, another question, is there any chance or way that Riley can bring Ricky Rubio here? I tend to think that he's not going to play in Minnesota and Minnesota is not going crazy for him, so can Riley work out a trade? If so, can he get him out of his European contract to get him here? I guess I'm asking if a) can this be done, and b) do you think it is a good PG option? Rubio looks like he's got good vision, can get the ball in the post and has a nice shot/range if Wade kicks out to him. What do you think?

Answered 06/17/10 14:07:22 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I won't be sold on Rubio until I see him getting it done in the NBA, against superior athleticism and quickness on a night in and night out basis. That's not to disrespect what he's doing overseas, but I need to see more than a few highlights. I believe Riley would rather go with a more proven vet at the point guard position. Even though J-Will and Payton drove Riley crazy with their attitudes and actions at times, there was a trust factor there that hasn't existed at that position since the championship team disbanded.

Q: After resigning Wade and Bosh trade Beasley,Cook,Jones to hornets for Collison and Okafor. Keep Collison and seeing as the pacers are interested in Okafor trade Okafor for Hibbert and Troy Murphy. Imagine having Murphy to backup Bosh. starting 5:Collison,Wade,D Wright,Bosh,Hibbert bench:Chalmers,Raja Bell,Gordan Hayward,Murphy,Jerome Jordan,Joel Anthony,other draft picks Mike...

Answered 06/17/10 14:04:39 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: I like. I like. But the question you have to ask is this: why would New Orleans need Beasley, Cook and Jones when they have David West, James Posey and Peja filling those exact same roles already?

Q: Hi Michael, hope u'r welle this week, as usual, under the florida sun... i have two questions for you today... first one : what choice would you do if you were in charge in the organisation, for the draft(choices which for you, would have the best sense)? second question: admitting bosh wants to come and Pat riley wants bosh to wear a heat jersey... it looks like a S&T is not so easy to do... so what is your thought about a three or four team deal to get every one happy?thanks for all...and take care. "bonjour de la france!"

Answered 06/17/10 14:03:07 by Miami Heat Beat Reporter

A: If I'm Miami, I simply take the best player available, regardless of position, with the NO. 18 pick. The Heat has needs at every position, considering only two players are under guaranteed contract right now moving forward. Depth was an issue with this team the past few seasons. Having said that, I'd go with a Big with the first-round pick, either Whiteside or solomon kid from Florida State.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/qna/forum/heat_chat/index.html#ixzz0r8XucaC1

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Postgame Breakdown: Magic 108, Heat 102 (OT)

Credit the Heat for fighting. But credit the Magic for finishing.Magic Heat Main

After four playoff-intense matchups between the teams this season, Miami and Orlando are even. After losing the first two meetings, the Magic rallied to take the last two games from the Heat, including Thursday's 108-102 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat tied the game late in the fourth after trailing by as many as 12 points midway through the period. But Orlando (49-21) made every extra shot, grabbed every loose rebound and came away with just enough blocks to reject the Heat (35-34).

After winning the first three games of the homestand, Miami is now 3-2, with the six-game stretch ending Saturday against nemesis Charlotte, which is 3-0 against the Heat this season.

Dwyane Wade, Jermaine O'Neal and Mario Chalmers did enough to put Miami in position to win down the stretch. But a couple of missed shots and late-game turnovers proved to doom the Heat's chances. These teams could very well see one another again in the postseason.

If the standings hold to form, the second-place Magic would host the seventh-place Heat in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

D. WADE'S DOINGS: If the Heat is facing the Magic, you may as well go ahead and book Wade for at least 30 points. He always gets his numbers against former coach Stan Van Gundy and Orlando. He doesn't always get the victories, however. Wade tossed in 36 points, grabbed 10 boards and dished out seven assists on the way to filling every statistical category on the stat sheet. Wade was 12 of 26 from the field, 3 of 7 on threes and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. He had a shot to win it in regulation, but found himself dwarfed by Matt Barnes and Dwight Howard with three seconds left before he launched a fall-away, twisting, one-handed heave. It wasn't close. The Magic loaded up on Wade in overtime, and didn't allow him the clean looks Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis got in the extra period. Still, Wade tied Alonzo Mourning with his 442 double-figure scoring game with the Heat.

TURNING POINT: Vince Carter's three-point play in the overtime period essentially put the Magic in control. He scored on a floater over Dorell Wright, was fouled and converted the free throw to put the Magic ahead 104-100 with 2:13 left in the extra period. You could tell that took the wind out of the Heat.

WINNING/LOSING EDGE: The Magic outrebounded the Heat 33-24 in the second half and overtime, and held a 20-14 edge in second-chance scoring. In a game decided by slim margins, this was the one that  Magic Heat Beas stuck out most, especially coming down the stretch.

HEAD-SCRATCHER: For all of the Heat fans who scream for Michael Beasley to finish games, there was one voice heard above all others late in Thursday's loss. A fan sitting a few rows back from press row yelled, "Take Beasley out" after the second-year forward committed a turnover late in the game. He had at least two blunders down the stretch, including a play when he mishandled a pass from Wade in transition that would have led to a layup. Beasley remains very much a polarizing figure with this team. At times, he appeared completely lost while trying to guard Rashard Lewis. At other times, Beasley's confidence soared. He made a key floater in the lane that put the Heat ahead 95-93 with 27.3 seconds left in regulation. He also made two free throws to give the Heat a 100-99 lead with 3:09 left in overtime. But his turnover with 1:19 left and the Heat trailing 105-100 was critical in that spot. These are the type of growing pains he probably should have been learning through throughout the season. For those who criticize Spoelstra's handling of Beasley, well, he went with the second-year forward for the duration of overtime while veteran Udonis Haslem sat the entire extra period. Not saying it was the wrong decision. Just saying the debate likely rages on. I've maintained all season Miami needs to find a way to make these guys co-exist. That hasn't been the case.

KEY CONTRIBUTION:Dwight Howard has struggled so much against Jermaine O'Neal and the Heat thisMagic Heat JO season that he even anticipated another tough night Thursday. O'Neal did his job again and forced Howard into foul trouble. Dwight was limited to 10 points and 11 rebounds on 3 of 9 shooting in 31 minutes. O'Neal finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five blocks, with at least four rejections coming against Howard in a straight-up situation. O'Neal didn't get much going on offense either, but over the last three games, he has frustrated Samuel Dalembert, Tim Duncan and Howard. The Heat is 1-2 to show for it. But still, O'Neal is giving the Heat what it expected when it traded for him last February. He's finding his comfort zone and legs at just the right time of the season.

NEXT UP: Charlotte Bobcats at Heat, 7:30 p.m. Saturday - AmericanAirlines Arena

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Magic 90, Heat 86 (Preseason)

ORLANDO - No need to beat around the bush here. The Heat just simply didn't measure up in Howard-UD Wednesday's 90-86 loss to the Magic at Amway Arena.

That much was obvious from the end of the national anthem. That notion really sank in minutes into the game, when Dwight Howard not only slammed home a thunderous dunk in the first quarter, but almost stuffed Udonis Haslem's torso through the rim right along with it.

It's only the second preseason game. Still, you could easily see Wednesday that one team in the state of Florida is locked and loaded for a shot at a repeat run to the NBA Finals this year. Meanwhile, the other hopes to do a bit better than tread water until it can make some major moves next year.

Orlando was without Rashard Lewis, who sat out as coach Stan Van Gundy looked to work in other perimeter players in preparation for Lewis' 10-game regular season suspension for a drug violation. The Heat was without Jermaine O'Neal (ankle) and Daequan Cook (thumb).

The Heat now carries an 0-2 preseason record into Sunday's home game against San Antonio - yet another championship contender using these exhibitions to fine-tune while Miami works out frustrating kinks.

D. WADE'S DOINGS: For the second time in two preseason games, Dwyane Wade flexed his season-ready muscles in limited doses. His shot was off, but he attacked the rim and made several aggressive plays around the basket. One move in particular - a crossover dribble and pull-up jumper - left J.J. Redick reevaluating his purpose in life. Wade finished with 17 points, two rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes. He was 6 of 18 from the field.

TURNING POINT: The Magic never seemed threatened. But it broke the game open midway through the third quarter with a 14-2 run fueled by Orlando's offseason additions. The run opened with a pair of Vince Carter free-throws and included a Brandon Bass dunk and a pair of 3-pointers from Ryan Anderson and Matt Barnes. As Wade said after the game, this team is loaded enough for another run at the Finals.

LOSING EDGE: When Joel Anthony is shooting a far better percentage from the field than Michael Beasley, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, you can expect a rough night offensively. And that's what was delivered as the Heat shot 33.8 percent from the field. That's after the team was 36.6 percent in Monday's 87-83 loss at Detroit. Spoelstra and Wade both said afterward that they were confident the offense would come around. The majority of camp was spent on the defense.

HEAD-SCRATCHER: The fouls piled up in a hurry for the Heat. Quentin Richardson was 3 of 3 from three-point range, but he was hardly around to sustain that hot-shooting streak. He picked up three fouls in four minutes. Haslem, who has been in foul trouble all preseason so far, had his fourth foul by the 9:15 mark of the second quarter. Both Haslem and Anthony would foul out. A total of 45 fouls were called, with players and coaches from both sides barking frequently at the replacement officials. "You're messing up a good game," Carter yelled at one ref after he was called for a foul. "Pay attention," Spoelstra shouted moments later after the officials got another call mixed up. "Just pay attention. Is that too hard?"

Joel-Block KEY CONTRIBUTION: Joel Anthony, who started at center in the absence of O'Neal, was far more active in the game than his numbers indicated. Anthony was essentially all the Heat had for interior defense. He finished with five points, five rebounds and two blocks before fouling out with two minutes left in the third quarter. He disrupted about a dozen shots at the rim. His offense and touch with the basketball is slowing coming around. Is he a savior at center? Hardly. But he does give the Heat energy and a legitimate shot-blocking threat.

DAMAGE DONE: Dwight Howard had 11 points and nine rebounds. His five blocks, however, did the most damage to the Heat. In all, the Magic had 16 blocks in the game compared to two for the Heat, both by Anthony (pictured left).

NEXT UP: San Antonio Spurs at Heat, 6 p.m. Sunday - AmericanAirlines Arena.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Is it Odom or Bust for Heat?

As the Lamar Odom sweepstakes turn, it appears that the Heat's recruitment team of president Pat Riley and star guard Dwyane Wade has taken the sales pitches to Los Angeles. Riley-Lookingup

Word is that Riley took a flight out to Southern California late last week (where he maintains a home), and Wade followed with his second trip out west in as many weeks, arriving last night.

Both men presumably have other business and personal reasons for the trip. But it's not beyond the realm of possibility that they might also squeeze in some one-on-one time with Odom. Wade created another Twitter frenzy last night when he tweeted - and joked, perhaps - that he was in L.A. to bring Odom back to Miami.

This situation appears to be coming to a head within the next 24-48 hours. But even as this episode drags on, you have to wonder what happens with the Heat if Odom stays with the Lakers. If Plan L.O. goes up in smoke, is there a Plan B?

By offering Odom the full mid-level contract, Miami has already shown that it is willing to go well above the luxury tax limit and use funds Riley had suggested earlier this summer that he wouldn't touch. He also is willing to take on a contract that cuts into the precious 2010 salary space the franchise has protected as if it were a national treasure.

Odom-Heat Without making a follow-up move to dump some salary, Odom's $5.85 million starting salary next season would equate to close to a $12 million investment for the Heat, when you consider the luxury tax penalty.

There's no question that Riley has contradicted many of his previously stated positions in this Odom pursuit. But what happens if things fall through, and Riley/Wade return to Miami w/o L.O.?

Is there a fall-back plan to salvage the offseason?

Would the Heat still be willing to use the mid-level to go after help at point guard (where the options range from a reunion with Jason Williams to a reclamation project with Jamaal Tinsley)?

Would there be a pursuit on the sign-and-trade front to secure a Carlos Boozer or Tyson Chandler or Amare Stoudemire?

Would there be any interest in making a marginal, but athletic upgrade such as a Hakim Warrick? And since they're out in L.A. anyway, why not check in with the other team regarding a Kaman or a Camby?

Or does Odom simply represent a Powerball situation - one ticket, one shot at the big stash? There's still time to make smart moves this summer.

But if Odom isn't issued a boarding pass alongside Riley and Wade on the return flight to MIA, might Riley ground all meaningful attempts at a major roster upgrade in Summer '09? 

Obviously, there's a will to get something done with Odom. But will there be a way or effort to salvage this offseason if things don't work out?

With Odom - as has been the case throughout his career - there always seem to be more questions than answers.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports)

Friday, February 20, 2009

J's Will-ing, But are They?

It comes as little surprise that Jason Williams is angling to end his seven-month retirement by seeking reinstatement to the league.

It would, however, come as a bit of a surprise if the Heat bites - assuming Miami's former starting point guard somehow gets out of the contract he signed last summer as a free agent with the Clippers.

Jwill I never believed for a second that J-Will lost his love for the game. He was one of those players that clearly seemed to have fun when he was on the court (structure and play-calling, at times, be damned). Part of the reason he walked away at 33 last year was for family reasons. Word is his wife was just about to give birth to another child.

The Heat certainly could have brought J-Will back last summer - even on a veteran minimum deal. But it chose to pass. It certainly could use his help now - if he's in shape - to fill out a roster that has only two traditional point guards at the moment.

But J-Will is as much of a link to the recent disastrous pass, defensive indifference and attitude issues that Pat Riley vowed to clear out as he was to the Heat's 2006 championship run.

J-Will certainly has an on-court connection with Dwyane Wade, one that could easily be rekindled with a couple of practices, and a few alley-oops. He also has watched Heat games this season from a section of courtside seats that are typically reserved for Wade's family and friends.

And there's no doubt that Jason would be willing to play a reserve role behind Mario Chalmers. Should Williams somehow be granted free agency, there are plenty of signs that would seem to point to a reunion with the Heat (considering Orlando, where Williams lives, has already addressed its point guard issues by trading for Rafer Alston).

I'm just not sure if the Heat is willing to go there again.

Especially when there are - or soon will be - plenty of other options.

Again, I could very well be wrong. Been before. But I've just got a hunch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Marion's Defense ...

Let me first say I have no idea how this Shawn Marion saga will end with the Miami Heat.

But here's what I do know. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone on the roster who plays harder, Marion sacrifices for the team and brings a better attitude to his job day in and day out than Marion.

That's as far as I know. I'm not privy to the behind-the-scenes goings on. Frankly, none of us who don't have a secret password and fingerprint scan at AmericanAirlines Arena knows for certain. We hear second-hand, third-hand and even fourth-hand info. Either that or first-hand spin.

I'm saying that to say that Marion could take one approach when the cameras and microphones show up when the media is allowed into the locker room and practice facility. He might be another person behind the scenes with his teammates, coaches and administration.

But I haven't heard that to be the case.

Marion is constantly involved in trade rumors because he has an expiring contract. And when the Heat loses games, he's the easiest person to point at as an ill-fit for the offense. He's also the biggest trade chip. But when Miami wins, there's very little credit offered for him being the glue guy who did majority of the stat-stuffing dirty work.

Marion is a scapegoat because he makes $17.8 million in the final year of his contract. Don't hate him because he's getting paid. Would your view of Marion differ if he earned the mid-level or veterans exception?

Yes, his numbers are down in almost all of the major categories.

Yes, he's been about as accurate with his shot recently as a shoe-throwing reporter in the Middle East.

And yes, he's better suited in a up-tempo offense where he can use his athleticism, run the wing and finish. But Steven Nash ain't walking through that door. Neither is J-Will. And unless something drastically changes within the Heat's front-office thinking, neither is Steph - as in Marbury.

But don't discount Marion's effectiveness on the defensive end. It was Marion who locked up Michael Redd in the second half against Milwaukee. It was Marion whose blocks and baseline-to-baseline effort often go unnoticed.

The Heat has bigger needs, and Marion is probably the key to landing other vital pieces to the roster.

But it's unfair to diminish his deeds just because the Heat has other needs.

Yes, the Heat will fill other voids at center or point guard if Marion is dealt. But best believe there will be another hole left behind.


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