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16 posts from February 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Heat destroys eighth straight opponent

Did it really matter that it was Jeremy Lin and Knicks? Absolutely not. It's all been the same outcome for the Heat in the month of February--one blowout after another.

The Heat (27-7) has won eight straight by double-digits and has the best record in the NBA entering the All-Star break. The Heat held Lin to 1 of 11 shooting for eight points on Thursday and forced him into eight turnovers. As for my opinions on Lin's game, I'm going to give Lin the benefit of the doubt because he's so young and not jump to any conclusions.

As for the Heat, they're the best team in the Eastern Conference right now and possibly the entire league. It's between the Heat and the Thunder at this truncated season's halfway point. Some notes:

--The Heat has won 16 of their last 18 and 19 of their last 22 games.

--Against the Knicks, the Heat has won nine of its last 11 games.

--This is nine straight home victories for the Heat. It's 15-2 at AmericanAirlines Arena to begin the season.

--Not only does the Heat have the best record in the NBA but its 27-7 start to the season is the best in franchise history.

--The Heat has held the Knicks to a collective shooting percentage of 37.4 in two games this season.

--Led by Joel Anthony's five blocks, the Heat had 10 overall, which field a season high.

--It's the first game this season each of the Big 3 has scored at least 20 points in a game.

--Dwyane Wade's was 10 of 22 from the floor, marking the first time in the past 12 games he has shot below 50 percent.

--LeBron James had 20 points and a game-high nine rebounds, eight assists and five steals.

--Chris Bosh led all scorers with 25 points. He had eight rebounds.

--Norris Cole can dunk. Who knew?

--Off to Orlando. Leaving tonight.

-joe

 

Heat holding Jeremy Lin in check

Excitement intensified in the second quarter and the Heat entered halftime with a 51-47 lead. 

The Heat finished the first half with seven blocks, which tied the team's high in one half for the season. Fans appreciated the effort, giving the Heat a standing ovation. The Heat forced 15 turnovers in the first half with Jeremy Lin and Amar'e Stoudemire coughing up the ball six times each. Those individual totals also tied a high for the Heat this season in a half. 

Lin checked back into the game in the second quarter and immediately turned the ball over to Norris Cole, who finished a fast-break with a driving dunk. Cole's momentum swung him sideways around the rim and he fell to the ground with a crash. Uninjured, the play provided a spark for the Heat, which trailed the Knicks 32-30.

The Heat moved ahead 39-38 with 4:22 left in the half with four straight points from Dwyane Wade. Wade finished with 12 points in the half to lead all players. LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers had eight points each. Joel Anthony had three blocks in the half.

-joe

Heat 24, Knicks 20 after 1st quarter

A furious first quarter ended with the Heat leading the Knicks 24-20 on Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat forced five turnovers in the first 12 minutes but failed to take full advantage. Knicks guard Jeremy Lin had a shaky start, allowing three turnovers in the period. Veteran point guard Baron Davis started the second quarter, a product of the Knicks' new rotation.

LeBron James led all scorers with six points. Mario Chalmers had five points. James started the Heat's scoring with a powerful alley-oop from Dwyane Wade and the Heat's intensity only grew from there.

-joe 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Heat-Knicks preview box and scouting report

KNICKS AT HEAT

WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena

TV/RADIO: TNT/WAXY 790-AM and WQBA 1140-AM (Spanish)

SERIES: Knicks lead 55-40.

SCOUTING REPORT: The Heat has won seven straight games by double-digits. During that run, Dwyane Wade is shooting .588 percent from the field (63 of 107) and averaging 23.43 points per game. Perhaps more important than those numbers are the minutes Wade has averaged during the seven-game winning streak, less than 28 per game. He should be plenty rested for Thursday’s game against the Knicks, which has found new life under the direction of point guard Jeremy Lin, who has taken the NBA by storm ever since exploding onto the scene with 25 points in 36 minutes against the Nets on Feb. 4. The Knicks entered Wednesday night’s game against the Hawks 7-2 with Lin starting at point guard. Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (left knee tendinitis) is doubtful.

-joe

Would you vote for Udonis Haslem for mayor of Miami?

Erik Spoelstra made an off-hand comment after Tuesday night's game that Udonis Haslem would one day be mayor of Miami. Naturally, I asked Haslem if he seriously would consider politics upon retirement.

Answer: Yes.

"I plan on it," Haslem said. "I hope so. I definitely know what I need to fix."

Of course, politics is nothing new for former basketball players. Abraham Lincoln practically invented the pick and roll and Jimmy Carter once dunked over a turnip truck. Udonis Haslem says he would start with the children and "work my way up."

"The youth is where it starts at -- misguided, mislead and also misunderstood," Haslem said. "I'd definitely start at the bottom."

Haslem says he wouldn't be alone in his quest. Heat sharp shooter James Jones would be a key member of the braintrust. Like Haslem, Jones is from Miami.

"Me and [James Jones] think about it," Haslem said. "If I run for mayor then somehow I've got to figure out a way to involve J.J. He's from the community as well and we both care a lot about this community, its youth and these kids."

So, would you vote for Haslem?

-joe

Monday, February 20, 2012

LeBron James on pace to win MVP Award

Family interests and obligations pulled me away from the blog for a week but I'm back and, wouldn't you know it, LeBron James was once again named Eastern Conference Player of the Week by the NBA. James has now been named P.O.W. four times this season.

The summary:

The Heat went 4-0 last week with James averaging 27.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game. James was .623 from the field, .902 from the foul line and .500 from three-point range.

The particulars:

--On Feb. 14, James scored 35 points and had eight rebounds and six assists against the Bucks.
--On Feb. 14, James had 23 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals against the Pacers.
--On Sunday, James had 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against the Magic.

At this rate, James should be the clear frontrunner to win his third MVP Award. Strong cases can be made for Clippers guard Chris Paul and Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, but James' body of work speaks for itself. The Heat is off to its best start in franchise history and James carried the team at the beginning of the season while Dwyane Wade was recovering from various injuries.

Statistically, James is enjoying the most efficient season of his NBA career. He's shooting .548 from the field compared to .482 for his career. James is ranked second in the league in scoring (27.9 points per game) behind Kobe Bryant (29.0 ppg) but Bryant has attempted 173 more shots than James. James is ranked first the NBA in field-goal percentage among non-centers and seventh overall.

-joe

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Final game of back-to-back-to-back will be most difficult

MILWAUKEE -- The Heat seems to always runs into trouble in Indianapolis but Tuesday's game against the Pacers will be doubly difficult. It's the Heat's third game of its back-to-back-to-back and the legs will be tired despite the Heat's blowout victories against the Hawks and Bucks.

The Heat wants Tuesday's game badly. Both Erik Spoelstra and LeBron James pointed out on Monday night that the only teams to have swept their back-to-back-to-backs are the Thunder and the Bulls. Miami wants to be in that exclusive club, so expect maximum effort.

LeBron James scored 15 points in the first half on Monday and then had 16 points in the third quarter to close out the game. He's shooting 54.7 percent from the field this season, which is second in the NBA among non-centers. Steve Nash is shooting 56.2 percent.

James isn't the only Heat starter ranked among league leaders in field-goal percentage. Mario Chalmers is ranked third in the league in field-goal percentage among players who have attempted a three-pointer. That's right: Steve Nash, LeBron James and Mario Chalmers. Without question this is the best season of Chalmers' career. Chalmers is shooting 47.1 percent from three-point range, which ranks sixth in the NBA.

-joe

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dexter Pittman, not Eddy Curry, the Heat's biggest loser

WASHINGTON -- Dexter Pittman has moved ahead of Eddy Curry on the Heat's depth chart. Pittman played 12 minutes against the Wizards on Friday and had two points and four rebounds.

I caught up with Pittman afterwards in the locker room and asked him about he new physique. Pittman has lost 35 pounds since the start of training camp. The second-year player added that Eddy Curry has lost 33 pounds since the start of camp.

Pittman is down to 280 pounds with a body-fat index of 14 percent. His goal is to get down to 12 or 11 percent.

-joe 

Wade, Bosh and James find right chemistry against Wizards

WASHINGTON -- The Wizards made things interesting in the third quarter but only for a few minutes. The Heat outscored Washington 32-22 in the fourth quarter for a 106-89 victory.

The biggest thing to take away from Friday's game was the combined efforts of the Heat's Big 3. They put it all together for the first time since Wade's return from ankle injury. Dwyane Wade led the team with 24 points on 11 of 18 shooting. Chris Bosh had 24 points and 11 rebounds on 10 of 18 from the field. LeBron James had 18 points and nine assists.

It was the Heat's 20th victory of the season and first time since Wade returned from injury for both Wade and Bosh to score at least 20 points in the same game. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra credited his team's ball movement for getting Bosh in rhythm.

A few notes:

--Wade has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games.

--Mario Chalmers returned to the starting lineup after missing Wednesday's loss against the Magic with a sprained left wrist. Chalmers was limited. He didn't score and had one assist in 25 minutes.

--Dexter Pittman logged 12 minutes and had two points and four rebounds.

--The Wizards were 5 of 21 from three-point range one game after the Heat allowed 17 three-pointers to the Magic.

--Shane Battier scored 15 points, his highest scoring total since joining the Heat. He was 6 of 9 from the field and 3 of 6 from three-point range. Battier credited his energy level for the improvement.

--Udonis Haslem was huge off the bench, grabbing 12 rebounds in 23 minutes.

--John Wall had 10 assists but the Heat forced him into seven turnovers. The Wizards had 18 turnovers as a team (compared to 15 by the Heat ).

--The Heat was 21 of 23 from the free-throw line. Washington was 17 of 28 (60.7 percent) from the line.

-joe

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mario Chalmers probable for Wizards

WASHINGTON -- Expect point guard Mario Chalmers to be back in the starting lineup on Friday night against the Wizards barring any major setbacks between the morning's shoot around and the Heat's pregame warmups later Friday afternoon.

Chalmers missed Wednesday's game against the Magic due to a sore left hand and the Heat's offense and defense suffered considerably. Chalmers is shooting 50.3 percent from the field, 46.4 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the free-throw line. All things considered, those are the best set of averages on the team.

-joe 


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