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34 posts from May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012


A birthday edition (my birthday) of "Stuff People Ask Me on Twitter"...

Michael Cassidy (@MichaelIVCassidy) asks, I heard @ZaslowShow say in the postgame that LeBron wasn’t right. Some sort of leg issue. Any insight? He OK?

I can’t say for sure, but LeBron didn’t seem to be hurting or injured after the game. He was walking normally and was in a good mood during postgame. He even seemed concerned for a few reporters who were looking pretty tired after the game. He did go 7 of 20 from the field, but he was 18 of 24 from the free-throw line. It’s not like he was settling for jumpers the entire game. Plus, does an injured LeBron take the final shot of the game when D-Wade is on the same team? Doubtful. He’s fine.

P.Gully (@TweetTully) asks, what happens if I let go of the rope?

Several factors to think about here:
1. What did you eat for breakfast?
2. Are you underwater? If so, what’s your drag coefficient? 
3. Were you born in the year of the horse?
4. Is your rope attached to a horse?
5. Is the rope on fire?

See, there are a lot of variable at play here — a lot of twists and turns — before we can correctly answer what happens when YOU let go of the rope. Just don’t freaking let go, man. That’s the best answer I can give you. I knew this guy who let go of the rope one time. Things didn't turn out well.

Mark Tomsic (@marcusjj19) asks, nearly impossible for the lottery to be fixed, right? Talk of it is silly.

I’ve never sat in on an NBA lottery and I can’t say I would even know what to look for even if I did. There are probably some clever ways to rig a lottery. Did David Stern throw in the top pick of the lottery to sell the Hornets? Just one example of silly talk. Look, the lottery isn't rigged. If the lottery was fixed, it could have serious implications for the NBA. As in, no more NBA.

Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) asks, comments on Wally's thoughts on KG?

To catch everyone up to speed, former NBA journeyman Wally Szczerbiak wrote this about Garnett on Twitter after Game 2: “KG is another one who lacks the #clutchgene always has?”

I’m not a genealogist per se, but I did successful map the idiot gene last night while on Twitter.

FinzUp (@eduardo1garcia) asks, has any player ever smacked you in the [butt] after a good story you've written?

No, but a coach has threatened to kick it.

Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) asks, predictions on how the team does during the two games in Boston?

I’m thinking a split. The Heat will win Game 3 but lose Game 4. I was right about Games 3 and 4 in Indianapolis, so we’ll see.

Kyddhere (@kyddhere) asks, is D-Wade the best player in the NBA after contact?

It’s an interesting question. Wade’s body control in the air is legendary, but I’m not quite sure Wade’s the best player on his team after contact. LeBron is probably better given the fact that he has the strength to shrug off body checks from Kendrick Perkins and still score buckets. Blake Griffin has to be in the conversation as well. As shooting guards go, it doesn’t get much better than Wade or Kobe Bryant after contact.

Gustavo Arocha (GArocha87) asks, what worries you most if the Heat face the Spurs?


Marlon/capt’n/mar (@MTarrell) asks, does Spoelstra get enough credit?

“Enough” credit? At this point, he doesn’t get ANY credit. I mean, Spoelstra didn’t even receive one vote for the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award. While he isn’t a media darling yet, Spoelstra has won over his team. LeBron heaped plenty of praise on Spoelstra after the Indiana series. I’ll give Spoelstra credit right now for bringing out the best in Wade. No one’s talking about it, but whatever he said to Wade in that huddle during Game 3 against Indiana did the trick.

Andrew Wadhams (@Andrew28500) asks, is Battier using a walker after playing 45 minutes last night?

Does said walker come with a cup holder for beer? If so, then yes.

Eddie (@NBABallerHoller) asks, when is Eddy Curry getting on the court?

Night Court? People’s Court? In all seriousness, I assume you’re joking.

Yohendy Almeida (@yohendyalmeida) asks, I know is early, but can the Heat make a move to obtain

Festus Ezeli on draft night like they did with Norris Cole? Heat might not have to. They’ve got a late first-round pick and Festus might still be around.

Monica Raquel (@DivasDining) asks, can Rio do the Triple Lindy?

Yes, Rio is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Heat. Does that mean he can successful complete the world’s most difficult dive, the Triple Lindy? Not necessarily. It took Dangerfield years of practice to pull off that dive. Rio, while the superior athlete, can’t just walk out on 10-meter platform and bust a Triple Lindy. Now, with a little practice, I’m sure Rio would be confident he could do it.

Jahnel Simpson (@jahnelss) asks, I'm young could you give me some info on Dangerfield?

Only the greatest comedian ever to "get no respect," who also happened to star in a golf movie filmed in South Florida. I mean, as a sports fan, I don’t care how old you are, you’ve got to know about Caddyshack. Netflix, bro. Thank me later.

Pariez Sur Moi (@SELFMADE G22) asks, 'Rio's been sensational this year, period, the team's gelling like never before. How does CB fit in the rotation now?

Same way when he left it. He starts at power forward the moment he’s ready. Bosh will play in the NBA Finals and the Heat will need him.

Daniel Mena (@THEE_CAPTAIN), asks why doesn't Spoelstra tell Wade & Chalmers to play up defensively on Rondo?

It’s a pick-your-poison thing, I suppose. Play up on Rondo and he could end up with 25 assists.

Joel Estrada (@joeljestrada) asks, what has a better chance. Us winning against the Spurs (if we make it that far) or a Great White vs. a baby seal?

Oh, man. Great question. A trick question, but a great question nonetheless. See, here’s the thing about seals. The babies stay on the land or the pack ice or whatever. For a Great White to get at a baby seal, it would have to beach itself, or run aground or whatever you call it when sharks try to get out of the ocean. In this scenario, I don’t like the shark’s chances. See, sharks have gills, which are made for pulling oxygen out of water. People and walruses and seals have lungs, which do the same thing as gills but with air. I’m going with a baby seal on this one. Now if you had said Killer Whale, I might have said the jig was up for the baby seal.

As for the Heat against the Spurs, it wouldn't be a contest between a Great White and a baby seal. It'd be like a fight to the death between two apex predators. I actually think the Heat matches up better against the Spurs than the Thunder. I don't want to look too far ahead, though. We'll get into that if the Heat take care of the Celtics.

GAME 2: Heat 115, Celtics 111 OT

Rajon Rondo did something no other player has ever done in an NBA playoff game on Wednesday. The Heat still won.

Rondo had 44 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. A few players have have gone for the 40-8-10 combination in a playoff game but 44 points is an all-time NBA postseason high for that statistical combination.

The Heat still won.

Like I wrote in the game story for the paper and the website, Wednesday's 115-111 victory for the Heat was demoralizing for the Celtics. Sure, the Heat is only up 2-0 heading to Boston, but the way Miami first rallied in third quarter, and then overcome a potentially disastrous finish in the fourth quarter, left you feeling like Miami absorbed the Celtics best punch.

Oh, and then there's this: Wednesday marked the 10th time the Heat has taken a 2-0 series lead and Miami has never lost a series after leading 2-0.

Dwyane Wade converted his three-point play with 59 seconds left in overtime. It put the Heat up by five points and Wade and James combined to make 5 of 6 from the free-throw line to hold off Boston. In other words, Wade more than made up for missing that steal near the end of regulation. You know, the one that led to Ray Allen's three-pointer. The game was tied 99-99 entering overtime.

Rondo gave a performance for the ages but the Heat also walked away with a bit of history. The Heat rallied from a 15-point deficit, a franchise record for come-from-behind victories in the playoffs.

Miami outscored Boston 35-22 in the third quarter. The Heat has outscored opponents by double digits in each of its last five third quarters. Wade led the Heat with 12 points in the period and LeBron James had 11 points. Udonis Haslem contributed seven points and six rebounds.

Wade started the game slowly, going 1 of 6 for two points in the first half. He finished the game with 23 points. After the game, Wade said the Celtics did a good job of limiting his driving lanes in the first half but he remained patient. In the third quarter, Wade got the rim for three important baskets. As a team, the Heat was 8 of 9 in the paint in the third quarter. Miami outscored the Celtics 40-30 in points in the paint and the Heat outscored the Celtics 18-8 on second-chance points.

Wednesday was Wade's 100th career postseason game, a franchise record. Haslem is second with 90.

Wade has scored at least 20 points in all 12 of his postseason games against the Celtics. He is the first player to score at least 20 points in 12 consecutive postseason games against the Celtics since Jerry West did it 18 consecutive times from 1966-69 (all NBA Finals). In his 12 postseason game against the Celtics, Wade has averaged 30.2 points per game while shooting 54.9 percent.

The Great Alaskan scored 22 points for the Heat, including 14 points in the first half. Mario Chalmers' effort in the first half, which included three three-pointers, kept the Heat in the game. Chalmers also had six assists, four rebounds and two steals. His steal to set up Wade's three-point play in overtime was the defensive stop of the game.

Chalmers' 12 points in the second quarter was his highest scoring quarter this postseason and his 14 points in the first half was also a postseason high. He has scored at least 20 points twice this postseason, equaling his career numbers for 20-point postseason games entering the playoffs.

Haslem's big third quarter was a precursor to his contributions in the fourth quarter and overtime. His 18-footer from the baseline gave the Heat a 98-94 lead with 1:08 left in regulation. In overtime, Haslem's 13-footer from the baseline tied the game at 103-103. His cutting run to the basket followed by a dunk gave the Heat a 107-105 lead with 1:28 to play. Haslem initiated the play with a defensive rebound on the other end after a missed layup by Rondo.

Haslem's 13 points and 11 rebounds was his 15th postseason double-double and his first double-double in the postseason since May 3, 2009 against Atlanta. 

LeBron led the Heat with 34 points despite going 7 of 20 from the field. He augmented his struggles from the field by going 18 of 24 from the free-throw line (both tied postseason highs for LeBron). As a team, the Celtics attempted just five more free throws than LeBron.

The Heat was 31 of 47 from the free-throw line. The Celtics were 26 of 29.

LeBron had 21 points after halftime and his 30-point was his seventh this postseason, tying Kobe Bryant. James has scored 66 points in two games against the Celtics and he has scored at least 30 points in four of his last five games. Additionally, LeBron's two 30-point performances against the Celtics are the only two 30-point games Boston has allowed this postseason.

LeBron has five 30-point, 10-rebound games this postseason, giving him six in the playoffs with the Heat. That's a franchise record. Wade has five and Alonzo Mourning and Shaq did it twice.

For me, the sequence of passes between Wade and James leading to Haslem dunk in overtime was the play of the game. Simply amazing.

Once again did not attempt a three-pointer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GAME 1: Heat 93, Celtics 79

For the Heat, the game plan was simple for Game 1: Outwork the Celtics.

Refreshed after a few days off, the Heat's players put their energy reserves to good use in the second half, outscoring Boston by 15 points in the final two quarters en route to a 93-79 victory.

"Our game plan was to use our energy and effort here at home, throughout the game," Dwyane Wade said. "We knew throughout this series there was going to be a lot of adjustments made. In Game 1, let's go out and play and use our energy and effort to get this win."

The Heat shot 50 percent from the field despite going 5 of 25 from three-point range. Wade scored 16 points in the second half and finished with 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting. LeBron James had a game-high 32 points, giving 130 points in the Heat's last four playoff games. Combined the Wade and James have scored 251 points since Game 4 against the Pacers.

The Heat dominated all the statistical categories that measure hustle. Miami had 15 more rebounds than the Celtics with Shane Battier pulling down 10 boards and James leading all players with 13 rebounds. Led by three blocks from James, the Heat had 11 blocks as a team to set a postseason high.

The Heat went up by 17 points early in the fourth quarter. An emphatic dunk by Joel Anthony gave the Heat a 76-61 lead and, after a timeout by Boston, James slashed his way to the basket for any easy layup to put the game away.

Playing in the first conference game of his career, Shane Battier recorded his first postseason double-double. He had 10 points and 10 rebounds and shut out Brandon Bass.

The Heat had 42 points in the paint compared to 34 for the Celtics. James was 10 of 11 inside the paint for 20 points.

"We have to do a better job of protecting the paint," Celtics coach Doc River said. "There's no way any team should get that many lay-ups, that many point-blank shots against our defense."

Ray Allen is playing injured, so he gets a pass for going 1 of 7 for six points, but the Heat held Paul Pierce to 5 of 18 shooting for 12 points. The Celtics shot 39.5 percent from the field and was 11 of 21 from the free-throw line. The Celtics' free-throw percentage (52.4) was the second worst in Celtics postseason history. 

Celtics guard Rajon Rondo averaged over 13 assists against the Heat during the regular season. In Game 1, he had seven and was 8 of 20 from the field for 16 points.

"We're human," Rondo said.

Expect things to get a little more physical in Game 2.

"We didn't shrink the floor," Rondo said. "We've got to make those guys (Wade and James) play outside the paint...Nothing dirty but they have to hit the deck, too."

Wade's balance in the air inside the paint was extraordinary. His left-handed, double-pump layup in traffic was the play of the night for me, but Wade's full-court pass to James in transition was a close second.

Friday, May 25, 2012


While I was flying back to Miami …

Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorre) asks, assuming Bosh isn't ready for Game 1, does Spoelstra stick with the same lineup and rotation from the last three games?

The rotation is the rotation … Seriously, you never really know what you’re going to get from Spoelstra when it comes to his rotations. I mean, this is the guy who started Dexter Pittman at center when the Heat was down 1-2 on the road. That said, I don’t foresee any tinkering for the Eastern Conference finals. Dwyane Wade scored 99 points in the Heat’s last three games against Indiana. LeBron James scored 98. Why go and potentially disrupt that?

Joel Estrada (@joeljestrada) asks, is Turiaf part werewolf? He howls at every play.

He’s fuzzy in the face, so I see where you could be confused. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Ronny Turiaf is “part” werewolf. You’re either full-on werewolf or zilch-o. Some people believe there is an international conspiracy, started by the Roman Catholic Church, to conceal the existence of werewolves. Wikipedia is a purveyor of these alleged lies. According to Wikipedia, werewolves, “also known as a lycanthrope, is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shape shift into a wolf or an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse and/or lycanthropic affliction via a bite or scratch from a werewolf, or some other means.” This is misinformation. I’m not even going to get into the whole Teen Wolf discussion.

’85 Jordan (@flightsnofeelns) asks, can the Heat beat Boston/Philadelphia without Bosh? Or do they truly need him?

The Heat has won about 4,303 straight games against the Sixers. Draw your own conclusions there. If Boston advances to the ECF, they’ll do so without Avery Bradley, who had season-ending surgery shoulder on Friday. That gives the Heat a clear advantage on the wing. Of course, the Heat already had the advantage there, but at least Bradley could keep up with Wade. Ray Allen cannot. Kevin Garnett would provide the Celtics with an advantage at power forward, but that would probably be the case whether Bosh plays or not. Here’s what I’m wondering: How does last season’s Eastern Conference finals turnout if Rondo doesn’t go down with an elbow injury? I’m sure Rajon will be highly motivated.

Arn (@tagamalangkaw) asks, will coach Spoelstra consider playing @DwyaneWade coming off the bench to improve bench production and save his legs for the fourth quarter?

His legs looked fine to me on Thursday. Come off the bench? Were you sober when you wrote this? Under no circumstances do you limit Dwyane Wade’s minutes in the playoffs by bringing him off the bench. OK, I’m kidding. It’s a fine question. Other people have asked it. Spoelstra already staggers Wade and LeBron throughout the game with their own rotations.

DJonne Jackson (@DJacK206) asks, do you believe the Heat want to play Boston or 76ers?

The players probably want Boston. The coaches probably want Philly.

James Catania (@Catania_Cutz) asks, who would be an easier match up for the finals, Spurs or Thunder?

The Heat will be the underdog in both scenarios. Given a choice, I’d take my chances with San Antonio for the simple fact that the Thunder is full of young players. The impact of the long postseason combined with the condensed regular season will likely have a greater impact on the Spurs.

Kno Name (@JayXIX) asks, what’s the likelihood of Bosh returning for the start of the ECF?

Not likely. Think about it. If he was anywhere close to being healthy he would have been with the team in Indianapolis. Probably still 10-12 days away.

Kyddhere (@kyddhere) asks, is Mike Miller going to get more playing time in this next series? He should?

Mike Miller is really hurt, guys. He’s playing as many minutes as his body will allow. During games, players have to help him off the ground. Seriously, when he falls, he can’t get up! His 12 points on four three-pointers was a heroic effort on Thursday. I just don’t know how much more pain he can take.

Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) asks, prediction if we face Boston? 76ers?

Boston in 6. Philly in 5.

Juan A. Calvo (@omertajclv22) asks, can you get me some tickets for a Conference Finals game in Miami?

Only if you magically unclog the streets in South Beach this weekend.

Josh Harris (@JoshHarris305) asks, is Danny Granger gonna unfollow LeBron James on Twitter?

Today is #UnfollowFriday.

Rolly Mendoza (@rollzter) asks, do you think D-Wade belonged on the All-Defensive Second Team?

No. He missed 17 games this season. That said, Wade’s defense is underrated. Name a better shot-blocking guard in the NBA?

Carlos J. Gimenez (@CJG1977) asks, does the Heat look for ways to keep the lanes open for LBJ and D-Wade when Bosh comes back, and let Bosh get his through kick outs?

Whatever the Heat has done over the last three games to jumpstart its offense, it shouldn’t have to change it when Bosh returns to the lineup. Udonis Haslem has found his spots nicely playing the Bosh role.

shgieb (@shgieb) asks, if you wink a @ByTimReynolds during a Spoelstra presser will the Herald suspend you for three games?

In this scenario, who did I elbow?

Dos Minutos (@DosMinutos) asks, how do you think Mario Chalmers would look with a full beard and mohawk? Better or worse than James Harden?

Better, obviously. Chalmers is an Alaskan.

Mark Tiapkov (@TiP54) asks, where did Dwyane purchase those pants?

I’m assuming his stylist purchased the pants and then had them delivered to Wade's hotel room. A better question, will podium pink extend into the Eastern Conference finals?

Gustavo Villamizar (@gusvillamizar) asks, where will the Heat players meet to watch the Game 7 in Boston?

Chuck E. Cheese’s, of course. LeBron is a big Skee-ball guy.

Spencer Dandes (@sdandes) asks, who was Pittman winking at?

Pat Riley.

h (@phinzmakesmercry) asks, what did u think about D-Wade’s pink pants and can you rock them?

Everyone knows I can rock any style but, on principle, I refuse to wear pink pants. Frat boys with Justin Bieber hair wear those things where I come from (Alabama). A general rule: if the color belongs in an Easter basket, it's not to be worn as clothing. Sunglasses and shoes are different stories, obviously.

Jean Moises (@jmoises) asks, what Heat player has the best looking shot? My opinion, Chalmers.

Great question. James Jones’ shot is the most efficient and Mike Miller’s shot is a work of art. It’s a toss up between those two players.

John Tunas (@kingdomecome03) asks, which Avengers characters do you think Wade and LeBron are?

For obvious reasons, Wade is Captain America. LeBron is like a mix between Iron Man and Hulk.

Josh @UnbiasHeatFan) asks, are the Pacers next year’s biggest threat?

They have money to add someone like Nash. The hate is there already.Considering the Bulls are going to be without Derrick Rose next season, the Pacers certainly have the potential to win the Central Division next season. The addition of Steve Nash would make them a legitimate contender if Roy Hibbert continues to develop. Hibbert kind of faded down the stretch in the playoffs. I mean, he should have been the go-to option every game against the undersized Heat and that just wasn’t the case. Granger took a lot of grief in the second round but he’s a smart player with an expanding all-around game. Of course, what if Nash comes to Miami for the minimum?

Mike Richman (@mikegrich) asks, will Joel Anthony ever make consecutive lay ups?

It happened once during a Heat practice. Spoelstra gave the team the rest of the day off.

Onward to the Eastern Conference finals

Magical night for Dwyane Wade. He scored 41 points on 17 of 25 shooting to close out the Pacers in Game 6.

Huge performances from LeBron James (28-6-7), Mike Miller (four three-pointers for 12 points) and Mario Chalmers (15 points and three three-pointers).

James scored six straight points for the Heat in the final two minutes to close out the game and series.

20 points by Wade in the second quarter. Never going to forget that. He then had nine points in the fourth quarter, including an amazing three-point play with 3:13 left. Seriously, Wade made about 10 ridiculous baskets in this game. To top it off, he was 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. No small thing considering his struggles from the line this postseason.

Mike Miller's performance can't be overstated. The guy can barely walk at this point yet he made four three-pointers. It was a postseason high for Miller.

The Pacers had 22 turnovers while the Heat only had 10. An important stat considering the Pacers out-rebounded the Heat 37-26. The Heat's 10 turnovers was its fewest of the series while Miami's 26 turnovers was the fewest for a Pacers' opponent this postseason.

LeBron James on his buddy D-Wade: "He was spectacular from the beginning to end. He got into a rhythm early and stayed in it. With his performance tonight, it helped us get this win.

Got to give him credit for staying out of Wade's way. I don't know if a younger version of King James would have stepped aside so wisely.

Wade on his outrageous post-game pants: "I know everyone in the (TNT) studio is laughing at my pants. But they're mad they can't pull it off."

The Eastern Conference finals begins Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat will play the winner of the Sixers/Celtics Eastern Conference semifinals series, which is tied three games apiece. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spoelstra fires back at NBA for perceived head hunting

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says the NBA hasn’t done enough to protect Dwyane Wade and LeBron James against overly aggressive fouls to their heads.

Countering the NBA’s decision to suspend Udonis Haslem for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday night, Spoelstra directed strong words at the NBA for allowing opponents of the Heat to take dangerous shots at Miami’s best players. After reviewing film of nine playoff games, Spoelstra said he counted “over a dozen hard fouls” to the faces of Wade and James by the Knicks and Pacers.

“The league does not have a problem with hard fouls on our two main guys,” Spoelstra said. “Some of them of the tomahawk variety, some of them have drawn blood — they don’t have a problem with it, so we don’t have a problem with it.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Larry Bird can spell

So, here's what Larry Bird had to say after Game 5:

"I can't believe my team went soft. S.O.F.T. I'm disappointed. I never thought it would happen."

Apparently, spelling the word 'soft' has a more powerful effect than just saying it. I wonder what Pat Riley would spell after Game 5. B.L.O.O.D. E.L.B.O.W. W.A.R.R.I.O.R. P.U.R.I.T.Y.

In all seriousness, there was nothing soft about the Pacers on Tuesday. They just couldn't keep up. Slowing down the Heat will obviously be a priority. Miami outscored the Pacers 22-2 in fast-break points.

The People's Elbow

The Rock would be impressed but I'm sure the NBA is not. Pretty sure Dexter Pittman has a suspension coming after this foul.


GAME 5: Heat 115, Pacers 83

It was a rockem sockem blowout.

Hard fouls and a record-setting shooting percentage for the Heat were the takeaways from Game 5, a 32-blowout for the Heat. It was Miami's third-largest margin of victory for a playoff game and the Heat's shooting percentage (61.4) set a franchise record for the postseason.

Shane Battier started the fourth quarter off with a three-pointer. It gave the Heat a 12-point lead and the Pacers, playing without Danny Granger and David West at that point, were done. The Heat shot 70.6 percent in the second half and 78.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

Udonis Haslem, Tyler Hansbrough and Dexter Pittman were each assessed with flagrant fouls. The NBA will review the fouls on Wednesday and then decide if the infractions require suspensions or fines. If both Haslem and Pittman are out for Game 6, then the Heat will be at a clear disadvantage inside.

The injury bug finally caught up to the Pacers with both Danny Granger and David West leaving the game early. Granger injured his left ankle after coming down on LeBron's foot on a three-point attempt. His status is day-to-day, according to coach Frank Vogel. West tweaked his ankle and is probable for Game 6.

LeBron is averaging over 30 points per game in the series. In the last two games, he's had 70 points, 28 rebounds and 17 assists. LeBron has scored at least 30 points in 45 playoff games.

LeBron became the 10th player in NBA history to record at least 2,800 points, 850 rebounds and 700 assists in the postseason. The list includes Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Jerry West, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen and Clyde Drexler. Kobe Bryant and James are future Hall of Famers.

Mario Chalmers had a career-high 11 rebounds.

Dwyane Wade scored 17 of his 28 points in the second half. He is averaging 22.1 points per game in the postseason. LeBron and Wade have combined to score 128 points in the last two games.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Gervais Bunker (@SELFMADE_G22) asks, any update on Chris Bosh’s rehab?

I wouldn’t exactly call it rehab. It’s more like sitting around and waiting for his stomach muscle to heal itself. Bosh told me the best “rehab” for his injury was taking vitamins. So, if that tells you anything…Also, it’s entirely likely that Bosh aggravated his abdominal strain further while jumping up and down in his living room during Game 4. Does Bosh do the “Bosh scream” when he’s watching the Heat or only when he’s playing for them? Coach Erik Spoelstra gave no hints to Bosh’s return after Monday’s practice. I’m still going with my out-of-the-blue guess of May 29 for Bosh’s return, but even that doesn’t seem promising at this point.

Phil McCoy (@PhilRealMcCoy) asks, true or false, putting a bandage over at least one eye of every member of the Heat bench would improve their shooting?

Too small of a sample size to come to any definitive conclusion. Was it the bandage or the elbow to the face that propelled Udonis Haslem to eight points in the fourth quarter? We’ll never know. Just to be sure, the Heat should repeat the chain of events on every reserve. Some players, like Shane Battier, might need elbows and bandages for each eye. Of course, there’s always the concern that elbowing both sides of one’s face would cancel out the effect of one good elbow to the face. To paraphrase Erik Spoelstra, “Warrior purity elbow identity.”

Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) asks, would you consider LeBron’s performance last night the best postseason game of his career?

I’m not going to pretend like I’ve seen every playoff game LeBron has ever played in. I have seen every playoff game LeBron has played in for the Heat and his performance in Game 4 was his best. He had two amazing series last season against the Celtics and Bulls but, as far as single games go, Tuesday was a version of James competing at a different level. His stat line was historic. Only one other player in NBA history has registered 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in a playoff game, according to Elias Sports. Elgin Baylor did it in 1961. But go beyond the stats. The Heat was in a desperate place in the first half. LeBron picked Dwyane Wade off the floor, willed the Heat to victory and salvaged the series.

Carl Arcenas (@owence27) asks, what’s the best lineup so far of the Heat vs. the Pacers?

Amazingly, only two five-man lineup combinations have remained constant through the first four games of the second round. The five-man lineup of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Joel Anthony is the most used unit, but it’s averaging only 7.4 minutes per game with a plus-minus value of plus-2.8. By comparison, the Pacers’ go-to lineup of Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill and David West is averaging a healthy 22.3 minutes per game with a plus-minus of plus-14. This tells us two things: 1. Spoelstra has had to scramble since Chris
Bosh went down with an injury. 2. We’re in the middle of the playoffs and the Heat’s rotations are anything but solid.

Kazem Ghaouche (@kazonbaaddict) asks, after [Game 4], does Haslem start on Tuesday? Spoelstra has to find a minute or three to rest LeBron. He's dead tired by the 4th quarter.

Haslem was fresh in the fourth quarter, so starting him might not be the best decision. There’s no question the Heat is in bind with Chris Bosh still out, but starting Ronny Turiaf starting at center seems like the best move at this point. Both Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem seem to play better coming off the bench. LeBron definitely over-extended himself in Game 4 but don’t expect any rest for the MVP unless by some chance the Heat blows out the Pacers on Tuesday. It should be noted that Spoelstra has tried to help LeBron conserve some energy by starting him at small forward and leaving Shane Battier to deal with David West, who outweighs Battier by about 50 pounds. Battier played superbly in Game 4 and I’m sure he was feeling it on Monday. Banging up against West all game is no picnic.

Mike Wehniainen (@mikew633) asks, can LeBron in particular and the Heat in general keep up this level of play with Bosh out?

That’s the $1 million question, Mike. LeBron had a game for the ages on Sunday. Duplicating his 40-18-9 seems impossible on days rest but, hey, we’re talking about LeBron James here. I sometimes wonder if the guy’s actually human. 

Peter Oliva (@Peter_Oliva) asks, was Spoelstra’s reply to Doyle the best you’ve heard from the coach this year?

Columnist Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports asked Spoelstra after Game 4 why Dwyane and LeBron can’t play the way they did in Game 4 every night. Spoelstra quipped, “Have you ever played this game?” It was a pretty good response but not Spoelstra’s best of the season. On a practice day in Philadelphia (I think it was Philly) earlier this season, I asked Spoelstra to explain something to me about the Heat’s offense. Spoelstra obviously wasn’t in the mood. His reply, “It’s in the stats, Joe.”

Ricardo Davila (@Ricardo23Davila) asks, how bad could be a Pacers-76ers East finals?

I shudder to think. I know I certainly wouldn’t watch it.

Scott Raab (@ScottRaab64) asks, if the Heat wins it all, does Ethan Skolnick get a ring?

Now, Scott. Be nice. Ethan Skolnick is one of the most professional journalists I know. A better question: If the Heat wins it all, does Micky Arison send Dan Gilbert a ring?



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