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31 posts from November 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Heat 105, Spurs 100


BEST OF LAST NIGHT: Ray Allen's go-ahead three-pointer with 22 seconds left in the game. The Heat trailed 98-97 when LeBron James dribbled into the a double team and nearly lost possession. After bobbling the ball and fighting for control, James spotted Allen wide open on the left wing and shot him a pass. Allen did the rest.

WORST OF THE NIGHT: Gregg Popovich's decision to rest his players. It turned the game into a farce. Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Danny Green didn't even travel with the team to Miami. Popovich sent them back to San Antonio after the Spurs victory in Orlando on Wednesday. San Antonio was also without Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson, who have been recovering from injuries. Thursday was the Spurs four game in five nights on the road and sixth in 10. Popovich thought it was more important to give his top six scorers a rest than play them in Miami.

The Heat only had five three-pointers. The season low was four at Memphis but the previous low for a home game was eight.

LINE OF THE NIGHT: Ray Allen had 20 points off the bench in 27 minutes. He was 7 of 15 from the field but his only three-pointer of the game the clutch shot with 22 seconds left.

DWYANE WADE on the Ray Allen's clutch shooting
“Am I surprised? No. I am not surprised. I am surprised that he continues to be open.  He is clutch and LeBron has done a great job of finding him at the end. That is Ray. Glad that guy is on our side.”

DAVID STERN on the Popovich's decision to rest his starters
“I apologize to all NBA fans. This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.” 

LEBRON JAMES on the David Stern's comments
“I am not going to be involved in what the Commissioner wants to do as far as his decision.  I don’t think Pop was in the wrong.  It is not in the rules to tell you that you can’t send your guys home or whatever the case may be.  The Commissioner made his decision and everybody has to deal with it.”

"It was great for all of our guys. They played a lot of minutes and I thought they performed very well under the circumstances. We made a couple of turnovers down the stretch, but a lot of that was because of the Miami HEAT defense. They (Miami Heat) get the credit for winning the game.”

—Spurs had six field goals in the fourth quarter and shot .316 from the field in the final period.

—Heat is 7-0 at home this season. Only two other teams are still undefeated at home. New York is 5-0 and Utah is 6-0.

—Thursday marked the first time in franchise history the Heat has scored at least 100 points in each of its first seven home games. The Heat is averaging 113.3 points per game at home.

—Heat is 5-3 in games when trailing entering the fourth quarter. San Antonio had a seven-point lead with 4:38 to play.

—Ray Allen leads the Heat in fourth-quarter scoring (75 points). LeBron James is second (73 points). Thursday was Allen's second 20-point game off the bench this season.

—Chris Bosh is averaging 22.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and shooting 64 percent in his last four games.

—LeBron James is tied with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant for the most field goals in the NBA (138).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LeBron leads in jersey sales

LeBron James' colossal year just keeps getting better.

James led the NBA in jersey sales from April to Nov.26, the NBA announced on Wednesday. He last led the league in sales in April of 2011. James' top-selling jersey comes after a banner year for the Heat's forward. He was named the MVP of the league last season and then won his first NBA championship. He was named MVP of The Finals. Over the summer, James led Team USA to a gold medal in the London Olympics.

Dwyane Wade was seventh in jersey sales.

The league's Top 10 leaders in jersey sales, based on transactions from the league's store in New York and NBAStore.com:

1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant
3. Kobe Bryant
4. Carmelo Anthony
5. Derrick Rose
6. Rajon Rondo
7. Dwyane Wade
8. Blake Griffin
9. Dwight Howard
10. Chris Paul 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.55.56 AM

Dwyane Wade hasn't worn his compression sleeve for two straight games. Why? I have no idea but I could guess. It probably has something to do with trying to break out of his shooting slump. I realize that makes no logical sense.


Wade had six points on 10 shots against the Clippers on Nov.14. It was the last time Wade has worn his sleeve.


Wade missed two straight games with a foot injury and returned ... sleeveless! He's averaging 23 points per game with the sleeve.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.55.33 AM

We won't know for certain until about 20 minutes before tipoff on Thursday, of course, but Erik Spoelstra has two main options here. The first is the more traditional play, moving Chris Bosh to power forward and inserting Udonis Haslem into the lineup at center. The second option is more likely: Move LeBron James to power forward and start Mike Miller at the three.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.55.27 AM

I think he still turns the ball over too much. That said, he's one of the toughest guards in the league. Love his game.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.55.02 AM
I think he'll miss the next two games. He's shooting for a return on Dec.4 at Washington. No rush.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.54.52 AM

As a lifelong Braves fan, I cannot.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.54.44 AM

I have a Harold Miner rookie card. Upper Deck.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.54.34 AM

If the Heat was meeting with President Obama on Dec.3, I would know by now. So, no.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.54.24 AM
Yes. LINK.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.54.11 AM

The additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis has, without question, made the Heat a better team. Both players are shooting over 52 percent from three-point range and Allen's late-game moxy has already accounted for two victories in the Heat's first 13 games. Beyond the offseason moves, the team is playing unselfish and confident basketball. All that pressure last season to win a title is gone. Statistically, the Heat leads the league in points per game (104.8), field-goal percentage (.494) and three-point field-goal percentage (.432). The Heat was the first Eastern Conference team to 10 wins and hasn't lost at home.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.54.02 AM

I'm going with Mike Miller. He's already started three games and inserting Miller into the starting lineup would not disrupt the Heat's second unit.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.53.26 AM

James Jones can come off the bench and knock down three-pointers after not playing for a month. There's your answer.

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 1.15.25 PM

Sad, sad, sad. But since so little is understood about mental illness, and doctors really have no idea how to properly treat it, then I'm not expecting the general public to feel very sorry for the guy. No, I don't think he'll play this season, if ever.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Battier could miss the next "few games"

Heat forward Shane Battier is expected to miss at least the next two games after spraining his knee on Saturday against the Cavaliers.

Battier said on Monday after the Heat’s practice that he injured the medial-collateral ligament of his right knee. He did not practice on Monday and he is expected to sit out practices on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. It’s unclear when he will return but the sprain was minor enough that it did not require an MRI.

“I think it could have been a lot worse than it actually was,” Battier said. “I’ve sprained my MCL before, so I knew what it felt like. I knew exactly what it was.”

While Heat coach Erik Spoelstra hasn’t ruled Battier out for Thursday’s game against the Spurs, Heat forward LeBron James is already preparing himself for possibly moving to power forward defensively against the Western Conference's top team.

“It’s unfortunate we’re not going to have him for the next few games,” James said. “But we have enough guys to step up and come in and make plays.”

If Battier sits out Thursday, it will be the first time Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has had to adjust his starting frontcourt since the 2012 playoffs. It was then that Battier emerged as a solid option at power forward despite being undersized for the position.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Battier's sprained knee could shake up rotation

Shane Battier sprained his knee after an awkward fall against the Cavaliers on Saturday. The Heat doesn't play again until Thursday, which gives Battier time to recover, but if he's not ready for a return against the Spurs then coach Erik Spoelstra would be forced to rearrange his power forward rotation for the first time since the 2012 playoffs.

Battier left Saturday's game with 4:13 left in the third quarter. After his tumble, he jogged directly to the Heat's locker room. The Heat released a statement during the game that Battier would not return and afterwards Spoelstra said Battier was feeling better.

Spoelstra could insert Udonis Haslem into the starting lineup in place of Battier and shift Bosh to power forward. Another option would be moving LeBron to power forward, keeping Bosh at center and starting Mike Miller at power forward. As for Rashard Lewis, he hasn't played since the Heat's come-from-behind victory against the Suns.

Keeping with Spoelstra's small-ball philosophy, LeBron would be the best option at power forward. Of course, we've all known that for a long time. Is LeBron ready to swallow his ego and move inside? It would be the best option until Battier is healthy.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Heat 110, Cavaliers 108


LeBron led the Heat with 30 points against his old team. It's the first time he has scored at least 30 points against Cleveland since his first game against them in a Heat uniform. LeBron leads the NBA with 129 field goals.



BEST OF LAST NIGHT: Ray Allen's fourth quarter
LeBron found Allen with 18 seconds left for the game-winning three-pointer. Allen had 15 points in the fourth quarter, shooting 5 of 6 from the field with three three-pointers.

WORST OF LAST NIGHT: Heat's effort in the first half
The Heat's perimeter defense allowed the Cavaliers 10 three-pointers in the first half. Meanwhile, Miami had nine turnovers in the first half with LeBron and Dwyane Wade committing seven.

The Heat attempted 37 free throws, making 29. Dwyane Wade brought down the Heat's average from the line, going 6 of 10. LeBron James was 8 of 9 from the line and Chris Bosh was 11 of 13.

LINE OF THE NIGHT: We're giving it to Omri Casspi, the latest player to turn in an inspired effort against the Heat. The Israeli was 4 of 4 from three-point range and 3 of 4 from the free-throw line for 15 points.

THINGS I THOUGHT I'D NEVER SEE: Two offensive charges by Mike Miller in the same game.

Chris Bosh had 23 point, shooting 6 of 11 from the field and going 11 of 13 from the free-throw line. Bosh is averaging 20.2 points per game.

“We know how to win. Good teams, great teams, find a way to win. We played well, I think. Cleveland played an unbelievable game as well. We made enough stops and we continued to execute offensively to win the game.”

DWYANE WADE, on the timeout before the Heat's two-minute comeback
“We are a very confident team. The biggest thing for us was, we had to get stops on the defensive end but offensively, let’s just run our sets. Coach drew up a play like normal to run our sets and all we needed to talk about was that we needed to get stops, the only way we can win this game is if we can stop them from scoring the basketball, if not, they would win. Nothing dramatic, just a regular go about-your-business type of huddle.”

RAY ALLEN, on LeBron
“He is a great passer. I’ve just been trying to read him and get in situations where I give him an outlet.”

“We didn’t play smart offense.  We lost the game.  Last night (against the Orlando Magic) was the same way. We’re going to have to figure out how to win games in the last two to three minutes. We’re playing well. We’re playing good defense most times.  We’re playing good offense, but we just can’t close out games right now."

The Cavaliers played nine players and eight of them scored in double figures. Considering Cleveland was without Kyrie Irving and playing the defending champs on the second night of a back-to-back, it was an impressive performance. The Cavs were one bucket away from pulling out the win but went scoreless in the final two minutes. 

—Heat is 49-39 against the Cavaliers all-time.

—During its current four-game wining streak, Miami has held opponents to a combined field-goal percentage of .429.

—Miami is the first team in the Eastern Conference to reach 10 wins this season. San Antonio has 10 wins in the West.

—With a 6-0 record at AmericanAirlines Arena to begin the season, the Heat is off to its best record at home in franchise history.

—The 13-point deficit the Heat overcame against the Cavs was the largest of the season. Previously, the largest come back was against the Suns on the road (nine points).

—LeBron has scored 20 or more points in each of the Heat's first 13 games. He leads the league 20-point games.

—LeBron leads the league in field goals (129).

—Chris Bosh became the fourth member of the 2004 draft class to scored 13,000 points with a put back in the fourth quarter. Here's the short list: LeBron James (19,372), Dwyane Wade (15,171), Carmelo Anthony (16,204) and Bosh (13,001).

—Ray Allen's 15 points in the fourth quarter was his high for a quarter this season. LeBron had 16 points in the third and fourth quarters against Houston.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

LeBron named East Player of the Week again...in highlights

LeBron James was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second week in a row. He's been named Player of the Week 39 times over his career and 13 times with the Heat.

First, the numbers STRAIGHT from the Heat's press release: 

James led the HEAT to a 3-1 record, averaging a league-high 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.25 blocks and 1.00 steals while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. He posted two double-doubles while leading the team in minutes in all four games, in scoring on three occasions, in rebounds and assists twice each and in steals and blocks one time each. James has now scored at least 20 points in each of the first 11 games of the season, a new career-best to start a season. Additionally, he has continued his streak of scoring in double-figures in a career-high 430 consecutive games, including 152 as a member of the HEAT, a new franchise record.

Now, let's rank our best highlights of the week. Rolls of the drums (like, four imaginary drums, just to make this official)...

This first highlight was early in the Heat's game against the Rockets. James had a season high in points, 38. Maybe Mario Chalmers should get Eastern Conference Most Improved Lob Passer of the Week.

Moving to later in the game. James nailed this three-pointer with 1:49 left, cutting Houston's lead to a point.

And, of course, Jeremy Lin provided the Eastern Conference's Gag of Week, or maybe the year. The Rockets TV annoucers were momentarily speechless. Collective crowd reaction: "What the?!"

Moving to Los Angeles. Not a good outcome for the Heat, although LeBron did have 30 points. We'll skip the highlights and just offer up this excellently produced preview of the game I found on YouTube.

On to Denver, where the Heat won for the first time in 10 years despite the game being a back-to-back on little sleep. James had 27 points and the highlight of the week...

And then James left this guy hanging after the game. James probably knew he had the flu at this point during the road trip, so he likely was just doing the guy a solid.

James played with flu-like symptoms in Phoenix, scoring 21 points in victory.

Who said Mike Miller can't play point guard...

And then the reverse slam. I couldn't find an individual highlight for it on YouTube, but the play stood out for two reasons: 1. It was a sick dunk. 2. LeBron was actually sick. He sprinted the entire length of the court as soon as Michael Beasley lost possession of the ball. The Suns weren't loafing on the play, conceding an easy basket. Four players tried to race back on defense but none could keep up with LeBron.

Here are the game's complete highlights...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Heat 97, Suns 88

BEST OF LAST NIGHT: LeBron James’ toughness
It wasn’t Game 5 of the NBA Finals. It wasn’t even a game against a division rival. It was just an otherwise forgettable game in November against the Phoenix Suns and the sixth game of a six-game road trip to boot. Who’s going to remember LeBron’s “flu game” a month from now? LeBron had every reason to sit this one out—he couldn’t hold food down on Friday and only had Gatorade on Saturday—yet still he played, and played well. James finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a turnover in 41 minutes. He was the game’s leader in minutes played.

Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat combined for seven points and seven rebounds.

Chris Bosh’s field-goal percentage. Bosh was 9 of 11 from the field and led the Heat with 24 points. He also had nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocked shots. With Dwyane Wade either sick or injured for most of the road trip, Bosh provided a steady presence inside and averaged 20.5 points during the six-game road trip. The Heat went 4-2 on the trip and, not coincidentally, won when Bosh score at least 20 points and lost when he did not.

The Heat finished 4-2 on its road trip, a success considering the injuries and illnesses the Heat has had to deal with over the last week. Dwyane Wade missed his second consecutive game on Saturday. The Heat is 17-3 in games without Wade in the lineup over the past two seasons. Wade is expected to return to action on Wednesday when the Heat plays the Bucks.

—Udonis Haslem needs one rebound to tie Alonzo Mourning for the Heat’s all-time rebounding record (4,807).
—Ray Allen did not attempt a three-point shot. It’s only happened nine times in his career (1,159 games).
—Bosh has scored at least 20 points in five games this season. He has led the Heat in scoring four times in 11 games. Bosh has led the Heat in scoring 20 times.
—Bosh’s next double-figure scoring game will be the 600th of his career.
—Mike Miller needs one steal for 500.
—Shane Battier was 4 of 8 from three-point range for 12 points. Saturday marked the first time he has scored in double figures in consecutive regular-season games for the Heat.
—Battier’s 10 three-pointers tied his high with the Heat during a two-game span during the regular season.
—A victory on Wednesday against the Bucks would tie the franchise record for best start to a season. The Heat is 8-3.

Friday, November 16, 2012

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Heat 98, Nuggets 93

BEST OF LAST NIGHT: Norris Cole's unlikely three-pointer, of course. Cole was 2 of 11 from the field before knocking down the game-clinching jumper with under a minute to play.

WORST OF THE NIGHT: Between Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer combined to miss more shots (14) than grand total of missed shots (12) by Heat starters Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers. (Of course, Chalmers only attempted one shot and played just seven minutes before injuring his triceps going for a rebound with Kenneth Faried.

The Heat had 11 turnovers. On Wednesday against the Clippers, Chalmers, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 12 turnovers.

The number of years between Heat victories in Denver. Before Thursday, the last time the Heat won at Pepsi Center was in 2002. Eddie Jones led the Heat with 37 points. 

LINE OF THE NIGHT: We could highlight James' line just about every night, so we're going with Shane Battier. He was 6 of 7 from three-point range for 18 points. He also had three rebounds, two blocks and a steal to go along with three fouls and two turnovers.

NIGHTLY HIGHLIGHT: It doesn't get much better than the sequence in the first half that started with an off-the-backboard block by LeBron on one end and then ended moments later with an alley-oop from Cole to LeBron.

"It's a good character win. After the week that we've had, a little bit of adversity, Dwyane being out, Mario having to come out in the first quarter and then the challenge of playing on the West Coast to here, we didn't want to come in with any excuses."

UDONIS HASLEM on winning his first game in Denver
"It took 10 years. That's ridiculous."

CHRIS BOSH on Shane Battier's offensive game
"He's reliable. He's going to knock down open shots. He doesn't do much other than that, but that's all we need him to do."

SHANE BATTIER on battling the bigs
"I look at it as an unbelievable challenge for me. I've been counted out a lot in my life in my career and I've always met the challenge. So I look at this new challenge as another chapter in my book."

LEBRON JAMES on finding the open man
"It doesn't matter who passes the ball or who shoots the ball. You find a guy that's open and we have confidence that that guy is going to step up and have confidence in himself and knock it down."

NIGHTLY ANALYSIS: The Heat won despite playing without Wade, losing Mario Chalmers to injury, losing the rebounding battle 48-29, only attempting 16 free throws, giving up 26 more points in the paint and allowing 10 more second-chance points and 13 more points off fast breaks. How did this happen? Well, it's always good to have LeBron James on your team, but, beyond the James factor, the Heat shot 48 percent from three-point range (13 of 27), limited its turnovers to 11 and played excellent perimeter defense. Denver was 6 of 20 from three-point range and shot 42 percent overall.

Tip of the hat to Kenneth Faried, who had 16 points and 20 rebounds, eleven of which came on the offensive end. Javale McGee dominated the Heat inside as well, shooting 9 of 12 from the field for 18 points in 22 minutes. And then there was Andre Miller, who "old man game" accounted for 19 points of the bench on just nine shots. He also had seven assists to two turnovers.

—The Heat is 16-3 without Wade since last season.

—Udonis Haslem tied Wade for the franchise lead in games played (604).

—The Heat has had at least 10 three-point field goals in five of its first 10 games. Last season, the Heat had 10 or more three-pointers five times total.

—LeBron had a season-high 12 assists. His sixth assist moved him past Grant Long (1,002) into 10th place on the Heat's all-time assist list.

—Battier's six three-pointers tied his high with the Heat. His career high is seven, which came on Dec.27, 2006 at New Jersey. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Injured left foot keeps Wade out of lineup

DENVER — Dwyane Wade will remain winless in Denver.

After struggling through 29 minutes of action in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dwyane Wade was held out of Thursday's game in Denver to give his sprained left foot time to heal. Given the difficult nature of the road back-to-back and Wade’s myriad minor injuries, his drop off in production made the decision to bench him an easy call for Spoelstra.

“After we looked at him after the game, we thought it would be good to give it a go but he’s not 100 percent,” Spoelstra said. “He has a bunch of little minor injuries, so we’ll continue to take this day by day.”

Wade has never defeated the Nuggets on their court. He is 0-8 in games with him in the lineup.

The Heat plays the Suns on Saturday in its final game of a six-game road trip. It has been a difficult week for Wade, who injured his thumb on Monday against Memphis and sprained his left foot stepping on Chris Bosh against Houston on Wednesday. On top of those injuries, his left knee, surgically repaired in the offseason, is still tender.

"You know the most important thing is health," Chris Bosh said. "Like I said yesterday, in the long run, and to be quite honest, we're not going to remember this game in a few months. We do have to play the game, we have to prepare and we respect it because it's a stepping-stone to where we're going to go, but we're not going to remember it. So with that said, he needs to take as much time as he needs, as it's all about being healthy."

Wade is averaging 16.7 points per game in eight games. It’s his lowest per-game scoring average since his rookie season (16.2).

“He has been through it all before,” Spoelstra said. “It says a lot that he even wanted to be out there tonight. He’s not 100 percent, but he’ll never tell you that. Hopefully he’ll be able to get healthier. Thankfully, none of his injuries are serious.”



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