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25 posts from January 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

LeBron James named player of the week ... again

You've got to think that LeBron James has emerged as the frontrunner for the MVP award after earning his third Eastern Conference Player of the Week award. I mean, the season can't be but about three weeks old, right?

Actually, Sunday began the sixth week of the season. It's gone by quickly. The Heat went 4-0 from Jan.23-29 with James averaging 29 points, 7.5 rebounds, six assists and one steal per game. Of course, James will be a strong contender for player of the week once again after he did this to John Lucas on Sunday:

 

-joe

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dwyane Wade returns with bounce in his step

You knew everything was going to be OK when Dwyane Wade bounded past Landry Fields in the first half and threw down a monstrous fast-break dunk.

After two week's of rest, Wade returned from his sprained ankle on Friday against the Knicks and scored 28 points in the Heat's 99-89 victory. It wasn't a fair fight, what with the Knicks playing without Carmelo Anthony and relying on the three-point shot to make up the difference. The Knicks attempted 43 three-pointers, a record for opponents in Heat franchise history.

Thoughts:

--First, let's talk about how bad the Knicks. Man, they're bad. OK, I think that pretty much covers it.

--Wade played nearly 32 minutes and led the Heat with 19 shots. While his offensive game was impressive, his defensive work was the most encouraging sign that he is once again healthy. Wade had five steals to go along with two blocks.

--Wade and LeBron James combined for 10 dunks, the most since James joined the Heat.

--Hard to say which dunk was best, but I cast my vote for the alley-oop from Norris Cole to LeBron in the second quarter. Sick.

--Joel Anthony was a beast. He recorded five blocks and anchored the Heat's defense near the basket. The Heat outscored the Knicks 42-14 in points in the paint.

--A few thoughts on the cause and effect of Wade's return:

     --The Heat was 2 of 10 from three-point range. In game's without Wade, the Heat's three-point shooters seem to be more effective.

     --Chris Bosh clearly was off his game. After carrying the team in Wade's absence, Bosh was 4 of 18 shooting for 13 points.

--The Heat went small inside against the Knicks. Eddy Curry did not play in his first game against his old team and neither did Dexter Pittman. Udonis Haslem played more than 25 minutes and recorded six rebounds and four points.

--Mario Chalmers found himself in early foul trouble and had his worst game awhile, scoring two points on 1 of 6 shooting. Norris Cole picked up the slack despite needing to leave the game at one point to receive four stitches above his left eye. Cole had eight points in nearly 30 minutes.

DUNK OF THE NIGHT

-joe

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Will LeBron play for the Cavaliers again?

Fox Sports Ohio and then our friends at ESPN's Heat Index posed an interesting question on Tuesday: Will LeBron James ever play for the Cleveland Cavaliers again?

Not unless LeBron buys the team from Dan Gilbert before he retires. Seriously, did everyone suddenly forget the letter Cavs owner Dan Gilbert penned in the wake of LeBron leaving Cleveland for Miami? Even if you think Gilbert felt compelled to do something rash lest he be blamed for letting James get away, that still doesn't mean Gilbert is going to suddenly welcome LeBron back with open arms in two or three years.

Like last season, rumors are once again finding their ways into columns with anonymous sources saying LeBron is unhappy in Miami. Fox Sports Ohio intimated that LeBron is at odds with Pat Riley because LeBron "doesn’t particularly care for the heavy-handed and disciplined style" of Riley. 

Because, you know, LeBron is a child.

I have no reason to believe that James will remain with the Heat for the rest of his career. He can opt out of his contract as early as 2014. I can see him leaving for the Lakers. I cannot see him leaving Miami to return to his hometown.

If it happens, I clearly will have misjudged the people of Cleveland.

-joe

In the absence of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh offers another strong performance

Chris Bosh had 35 points in the Heat's 92-85 victory against the Cavaliers on Tuesday. Bosh has scored 30 or more points in three of his last five games. Of course, Dwyane Wade hasn't played during that stretch. After Tuesday's game, LeBron James said Bosh's level of confidence is the best thing to come out of the Wade's injury.

"You see a lot of good come out of some injuries," James said. "You never want any injury to our team but we seen what C.B. has done since the injury and he's back to playing like he was and getting the ball and just attacking, either with his jump shot or attacking the rim, which he did. He did pretty much everything he wanted to do in the fourth quarter tonight."

So, the obvious question is, how will Bosh adapt when Wade returns to the court? It will be an important question later this week. Wade appears to be on track to return to action for nationally televised games against the Knicks and Bulls on Friday and Sunday.

"Whatever the team needs me to do, I'm going to do," Bosh said. "We have guys on this team who need to fill specific roles and that's what makes a team.

"When Dwyane comes back I know that [shots are] going to go down quite a bit but I'm just trying to just be a good team player now and in the future."

Bosh agreed that being comfortable with his surroundings "has a lot to do with" his current hot streak. Specifically, the post play of James has helped Bosh find his place on the floor, which is 16 to 23 feet away from the basket where he can set up for an outlet pass and either drive to the basket or spot up for one of his silky smooth jump shots.

"Sometimes you can see things before they happen and sometimes the best move is that shot," Bosh said. "It's a good shot for the team and I just try to play team basketball."

Then Bosh added: "People say don't fall in love with it, but it loves me so I love it back."

The emphasis James and Wade have put on scoring near the basket has also allowed Bosh to extend his game to the three-point line, where he's shooting 30 percent this season.

"I think it's a good shot," Bosh said. "I practice it a lot and its something I can shoot with confidence, especially with Dwyane and LeBron being in the post a lot more and shooting less threes, I figure I can shoot more."

James agrees that Bosh has returned to his comfort zone in the Heat's retooled offense.

"I think it's confidence," James said. "It's who he was. I think he made the biggest adjustment with this whole situation."

REMEMBERING CLEVELAND

James was asked a somewhat leading question on Tuesday if playing Cleveland is now like playing any other team. James offered an interesting answer. He said it's still emotional to play the Cavs but not for the reasons you might think. James said he enjoys playing the Cavs because he likes sharing the court with his old teammates.

"It's always going to be some emotion to that game no matter what," James said. "Just being out there playing alongside my old teammates. We have a lot of history together. A lot of battles -- postseason, regular season, everything. When you talk about chemistry, we had a lot of chemistry. So, it's always good to see them. It's always good to play against them. It reminds me of practice."

-joe

Saturday, January 21, 2012

LeBron and Bosh combine to destroy the Sixers

Here's all you needed to know about the Heat's 113-92 victory against the Sixers on Saturday: LeBron and Bosh combined to score eight more points than the Sixers' entire starting five.

Stats and stuff:

--LeBron had 28 points and Bosh had 30.

--The Heat is 6-0 without Dwyane Wade. Is anyone out there surprised more than me about this development? 

--I'll go ahead and predict another Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award for LeBron. In his last two games he has averaged 29.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, four steals and three blocks.

--Of course, the same could be said for Bosh. Saturday was Bosh's second 30-point game in his last three games.

--Mario Chalmers quietly had an incredible game. He was all over the place defensively, clogging passing lanes and causing problems for the Sixers' guards. He had 11 points and eight assists.

--Joel Anthony played 31 minutes and scored nine points to go along with nine rebounds and three blocks. Warden!

--The Heat was 7 of 16 from three-point range.

--Mike Miller was 1 of 2 from three-point range, meaning he's 8 of 10 from three-point since his return three games ago!

--The Heat outscored the Sixers 32-23 in the fourth quarter. LeBron had 12 pts in the span of four minutes and 16 seconds to close out the game. He was 5 of 7 from the field and 2 of 2 from the free-throw line in the quarter.

--The Heat out-rebounded the Sixers 13-7 in the fourth quarter and 52-31 on the game.

--The Heat throwback uniforms honoring the 71-72 Floridians were hideous but I loved them.

-joe

Friday, January 20, 2012

Heat breaking out old Floridians uniforms for Sat. and Sun.

600_floridians_james_120119

It'll be a throwback weekend at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat is breaking out the old Floridians uniforms (circa ABA 1970-72) once again for home games on Saturday and Sunday against the Sixers and Bucks.

Obviously, the only reason to resurrect something as ugly as these jerseys is to market them and attempt to sell them for profit. On Thursday, the Heat had a special pregame music video featuring the players wearing the team's new black uniforms. If basketball was played in Tron, the players would wear those black unis.

Now I'm wondering what the pregame music video will be like for Saturday and Sunday -- a LeBron James disco inferno, I'm assuming!

From the Heat's official press release:

2012 Miami Floridians Player Introduction Sequence
The team will debut a special player introduction video amid the backdrop of the 1975 smash hit “Get Down Tonight” sung by musical icon and South Florida native Harry Wayne Casey, better known as lead singer KC from the popular 1970’s group, KC and The Sunshine Band. The lighthearted video, which will air before each of the Floridians games, features HEAT players donning afros and other props as they attempt to recreate the revelry of the era. In addition, HEAT.com and TIPOFF magazine will showcase the Floridians color scheme and content, highlighting each player’s 1970’s alter ego, his personal tastes and characteristics.

The Heat announced it will also wear the Floridians uniforms for these games: Feb.5 vs. Toronto, Feb. 7 vs. Cleveland, March 6 vs. New Jersey and March 7 vs. Atlanta.

The Heat wants everyone to dress up in their best 70s-era clothing for the games. I endorse this idea and might do the same! All these alternate uniforms got me thinking, what's your favorite NBA throwback? Found mine:

Payton_display_image
-joe

EMAILS I GET: Trade Dwyane Wade for Deron Williams

From time to time on the blog, I'll be publishing emails I receive from fans/haters/insane people. Here's the first, which comes from Ryan Gunderson in Newport Beach, Calif. (Obviously, everything written in blue font is written by the author of this blog, Joe Goodman. Everything in black font is an email.)

Hi Joseph:

I'm not from Miami, not a Heat fan, actually from LA area but had an interesting (outsiders) perspective on a possibility for the Heat - and it's realistic.

We've all heard the talk about how [LeBron] and Dwayne get along great but their games don't mesh and there's the "alpha dog" questions, etc. Miami's numbers are far more impressive when Wade is out this season.

Here's an interesting thought:

If you're NJ and Miami calls you up and says we'll give you Dwayne Wade for [Deron] Williams do you take that deal? If you're NJ, you'd have a top 10 Superstar you who you recruited two summers ago signed for another 4 plus more years alongside Brook Lopez and a bunch of cap room in your new building.

If you're Miami, Williams is perfect. He knows he's on the same field as Bosh - not Lebron, he's a top 3 guy at his position and his game and Lebron's do mesh (he can shoot well from 3 as well).

You'd have to think he would sign a contract extension in Miami and I'm guessing as a team USA guy he'd love playing with Bosh and James. Also, he's 26, not 30.  Finally, he's far more a distributor than Wade which is big for two reasons: a) when you have so many "so so" reserves you need to get them as many open shots as possible (one reason I think the Lakers could use him). He and Lebron both provide that. b) Again, he's more willing to let Lebron be to the go-to scorer, Bosh would be number 2, and he would be a very good 3rd option as far as scoring. Wade is so tremendous but this solution is a plausible way for the Heat to keep a big 3 intact but have it fit a little better, if your NJ you will never get better value in return before Williams potentially walks.

-Robert in Newport Beach
________________________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for the email, Robert. The idea of trading Dwyane Wade for anyone feels a little like blasphemy. It'll never happen. Seriously, is there any other player in the NBA more synonymous with a team than D-Wade? Wade County, hello!

While you make a strong argument, I think Dwyane Wade for Deron Williams is a bad idea. To begin with, fans would revolt. 

At this point, the Heat has an obligation to its fans to keep Wade in Miami. Earned trust and fan equity is a hard thing to come by in this town, just ask the Canes, Marlins, Panthers and even the Dolphins to a degree since Stephen Ross became the owner.

Secondly, it's simply not a good deal for the Heat. Wade is a better player than Williams. Plus, if you trade Wade, who the heck is going to shoot the ball in the fourth quarters of the NBA Finals?

Another thought: LeBron James would never "OK" the deal. Anything that big would need James' blessing.

Lastly, while Wade and James are similar, an argument could be made that James is more similar to Williams than he is to Wade. Who's the better passer between James and Wade? James, obviously. If Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole both went down with injuries, who would be the player most suited to playing point guard? Answer: James.

-joe

LeBron dominates showdown against Kobe

Heat 98, Lakers 87 was Miami's second straight home victory since losing three in a row on the road. LeBron James had a monster game despite suffering from flu-like symptoms throughout the day.

James' line: 31 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, four steals and three blocks. LeBron has scored at least 30 points in eight games this season, which leads the NBA.

Other thoughts:

--The Heat locked down Kobe Bryant for most of the game with Shane Battier getting the bulk of the credit for his perimeter defending. Bryant had 10 points entering the fourth quarter and finished with 24.

--Paul Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 41 points but the Heat outscored the Lakers 17-4 in second-chance points.

--Eddy Curry made his debut with the Heat and received a loud ovation. Fans chanted "Eddy!" when he was at the free-throw line during the fourth quarter. Curry had six points in six minutes. Not bad.

--Joel Anthony had one of his best games this season. He had seven points, seven rebounds (including four offensive rebounds!) and a block and caused problems inside for the Lakers throughout the game.

--Andrew Bynum had the game's only double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

--Heat three-point shooters were 50 percent from behind the line, making 9 of 18 three-point shots. Battier led the way with three.

--The Heat outrebounded the Lakers 44-38.

--Video of LeBron's block against Bynum:

-joe

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mike Miller's triumphant return highlights Heat 120, Spurs 98

The Heat trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half but ended up winning by 22. LeBron James had 33 points, including 17 in the third quarter but the feel-good story of the night revolved around Mike Miller, who made his season debut scoring 18 points on 6 of 6 from three-point range.

Of note:

--The Heat is 4-0 without Dwyane Wade.

--The Heat scored 39 points in the third quarter, which was the second highest scoring quarter for any team in the NBA this season.

--Seventy-one points in the second half was a season high.

--Second time this season the Heat has rallied from at least a 14-point deficit at halftime.

--The Heat shot 68.3 percent in the second half, a season high, after allowing a season-high 63 points in the first half.

--The original plan was for Miller to only play five minutes. He ended up playing more than 15.

"I'm so out of shape right now," Miller said. "That's what's tough, my conditioning. But it will come."

--Miller went down in pain late in the fourth quarter holding his side. It was a scary moment but Miller said he's fine. Miller said "a dumb defensive play" aggravated his surgically repaired hernia.

"I got caught up in the air," Miller said. "You know, it's going to hurt. Obviously, it's where I had the surgery. So, one good thing about this game is I took every shot I needed to take to see where I'm at and I'm still standing, so that's the most important thing."

--Miller said he's just going to have to fight through the pain for "four or five weeks."

"My main concern was if it was going to tear again and they said the likelihood of that was slim, so I'm going to continue to battle."

--Miller joked about his bad luck over the past year.

"Like I told them, I'm not going to tell them anymore injuries. I'm not going to do another X-ray, because anything to do with an X-ray is bad news. So, they know my stance right now and I'm just going to continue to play."

--Chris Bosh scored 30 points, showing increased aggression around the basket. Bosh's highlight was a spin move around Tiago Splitter in the lane followed by a powerful one-handed dunk.

"I should be like that every game," Bosh said. "Just another shot at it. Good things happen when you're aggressive and when I'm aggressive I don't think. I think less and that's always better. Always better not to think so much and just go out and play. If they give me the shot, I'll take the shot. If I need to drive, I'll just drive."

Game higlights from NBA.com below:

-joe

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Erik Spoelstra flips out

Watching your team go 9 of 16 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter will drive anyone crazy.

-joe


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