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6 posts from March 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006

Need for D

Think the Heat's going to throw up 105 in every playoff game and things will end up OK? Check out the Pistons' last four games and look at how they're turning it up defensively.
Detroit's given up 84, 73 (against the Heat), 72 and 79 points in its last four games, showing they're still capable of turning up the defense that they played in the last two seasons.
Granted, the Heat had a strong defensive performance against the Pistons despite the loss, but Miami has yet to put together even four straight games of excellent defense like the PIstons are showing.
And it has to gnaw at the Heat, or at least the head coach, that the Nets went into Detroit four days after Miami did and beat the Pistons at their own game, 79-74. Don't discount the Nets in the second round of the playoffs, should the Heat meet them there.
Of course, there's a dream scenario for the Heat. Right now, the first round would pit the Nets against the Pacers, who have beaten New Jersey two out of three times this season. That, assuming the Heat gets by the first round, means the Heat could face the Pacers in the second round rather than New Jersey.
And consider that, if the Wizards get past the Cavaliers in the first round, which is a very realistic possibility, the Wizards will face the Pistons in the second round. The Wizards have beaten the Pistons twice this season. Now, it's not very realistic that the Wizards can beat the Pistons in the playoffs, but it's something a Heat fan can cheer for.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


This is from an ESPN.com writer, which makes a great numerical case for Dwyane Wade as MVP. It's about a week old, but hey, I'm slow.
It requires an ESPN Insider subcription to get to, but if someone else has one and wants to post the story in its entirety as a comment, you can get away with that. I'm pretty sure I can't.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Miami bracket

I kind of feel sorry for Shandon Anderson (Georgia), Michael Doleac (Utah) and Gary Payton (Oregon State). They're the only guys in the Heat locker room whose former college teams aren't in the NCAA tournament this year (Dorell Wright doesn't count, though he'll probably be a UCLA fan because he's from L.A.).
Not only that, but a bunch of these guys' teams are on fire. Wayne Simien's Kansas team won the Big 12 tourney title, Jason Williams and Udonis Haslem were proud of Florida winning the SEC tournament, Jason Kapono's Bruins won the Pac-10 tourney, James Posey's Xavier team came out of nowhere to win the A-10 tourney, Earl Barron's Memphis Tigers are a No. 1 seed and a lot of people are calling Alonzo Mourning's Georgetown team a sleeper as a No. 7 seed and Shaq's LSU team are a Final Four candidate as a No. 4.

Two guys who probably won't be very happy are Derek Anderson and Antoine Walker. It doesn't look like Kentucky has it this year, and I'm pretty sure both of them are tired of Tubby Smith's lack of recruiting lately. Just to throw salt in the wound, Haslem constantly gives Walker grief about Kentucky's slide lately.

Just a guess here, but I'm thinking Kapono will be the happiest when the tournament is done, because I think they got a long run in them. One thing's for sure, there'll be some serious betting going on in that locker room.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Here we go again

A lot of the same problems are cropping up that the team had supposedly improved.

The perimeter defense is suspect, no matter who is on the opposing teams best perimeter player. More specifically, the perimeter defense for the first three quarters is suspect, but somehow the fourth quarter brings out the best in the Heat defenders. But, honestly, how are people expected to defend these days? The touch fouls are ridiculous, and unless you have a reputation as a defender (and sometimes that doesn't even matter) you have no shot of defending some of the better players in the league. The league should really consider giving the officials the ability to use their judgment on that call rather than automatically calling the foul when a player puts a hand on a driving opponent.

The offense becomes stagnant at times, especially when looking for Shaquille O'Neal. Against the Cavaliers, the Heat scored early whenever it was moving the ball from side to side, no matter who was touching it. When it went in to Shaq, everything came to a halt, and it resulted in a tough shot for O'Neal. Shaq's not gonna be happy if he doesn't get involved, but early in games against committed defenses, the Heat needs to move the ball freely and not worry about who's touching the ball. That will loosen up defenses.

The shooters are missing. This problem, though, is sure to turn around because it's just one of those cyclical things. Jason Williams has been taking good threes, so they'll start falling once again. Gary Payton has still been hitting the big threes in the fourth quarter, but it wouldn't hurt to get a couple of them in the first half. Part of the problem, I think, is Gary has turned back into a spot-up three-point shooter and isn't mixing his game up like he did when Riley first took over. A couple of post-ups and mid-range jumpers will get his outside game going again.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bob Loblaw's Weblog

It's the dog days of the season as far as the Heat goes. The schedule leaves little to get excited about and there's little news to anticipate with the trade deadline having passed (that's why the title for this entry is a random Arrested Development reference... Say it out loud. It's funny).

If there are a few things that can ruffle some Heat fans' feathers, the first would probably have to be the play of James Posey, which has people wondering why he's still starting. Pat Riley really doesn't have a reason to take him out of the lineup because the team has won nine in a row despite Posey averaging 3.6 points and shooting 33 percent in his seven games during the streak.
With Derek Anderson and Antoine Walker both options at small forward, Riley has some flexibility  should he decide to make a change with Posey.
There's one off-court issue that comes up when you talk about replacing Posey in the starting lineup. If Riley takes Posey out of the starting lineup, and Riley still plays both Shandon and Derek Anderson and Antoine Walker, then Posey might be out of the rotation altogether. And if that happens, then Riley traded for a guy who's making $5.9 million this year and $6.3 million next year. Plus, you all but kill his confidence, making him useless should you need him down the road.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think the best option may be what Riley is doing right now, which is to start Posey, gauge how productive he is, then determine his minutes based on whether or not he's playing well. Posey is not playing particularly well, in part because he's not used to the role he's in. But he has been a model teammate, and the other Heat players want to see him shake his way out of this funk. He played well in January, so I'm not sure what has happened to him for the past month-plus. I know his shot has looked awkward lately, and he's not really playing off the ball very well, as opposed to, say, Shandon Anderson.

It could be the only lineup decision Riley will have to make as the playoffs approach, and it'll be interesting to see if Riley does anything if the team loses a game here or there. Posey did do a good job on Tayshaun Prince in the last meeting with the Pistons, so he should probably stay in the starting lineup at least until the Heat plays the Pistons again on March 22. The Heat could very well have a 17-game winning streak going into that contest.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Here's why I'm not a big fan of the idea of Shaq and Zo playing together: There aren't many teams out there that feature a power forward/center combination that Shaq and Zo can match up against. I think the only good team that allows for that is the Spurs with Nazr Mohammed and Tim Duncan. The Pistons combo of Ben Wallace and either Rasheed Wallace or Antonio McDyess wouldn't give the Heat a favorable matchup, either. McDyess or Rasheed are too tough a matchup for Zo because he's not used to covering power forwards

Plus, offensively, Zo can't play off Shaq. What's he going to do, stand on the baseline 15 feet from the basket and wait for a kick-out 15-foot jumper? It just doesn't really work.
Also, if the two play together for too long a period, there's the possibility of both getting in foul trouble.
As much as everyone is in love with the idea of two great centers playing on the floor together, it's just not a feasible option in today's NBA, with power forwards becoming more and more versatile and playing away from the basket.



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