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24 posts from December 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

BUCKS BEAT UP HEAT: Milwaukee Uses Big Fourth to Roll Miami 104-85


TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

MILWAUKEE -- Miami played a great third quarter on Saturday night. That was about it.

And Milwaukee ran away with a 104-85 win because of it.

The Heat, who only played well -- really -- in the first against Detroit, has now lost two straight games. Both of which, it should be noted, were by double digits.

"Milwaukee,'' coach Erik Spoelstra said, "kicked out butt. They were the better team tonight.''

Said LeBron James: "We played good ball in the third, put the pressure on them. But then they put it back on us. They got back into their comfort zone in the fourth.''

The Bucks were outscored 24-13 by Miami in the third and going into the fourth.

Spoelstra gave James a breather -- he usually plays through the third quarter -- and the Heat lost its edge without the reigning league MVP on the court.

Milwaukee broke out on a 23-5 run to open the fourth and led by 16 when James was called for an offensive foul with 5:22 left.

James led all scorers with 26 points -- including 14 in the third.

"I was dog tired,'' James said. "I was pushing the pace, trying to get us going in the third. Every time we got a rebound, I was getting us up the floor. I was feeling pretty good, but I went 10 straight minutes of just burning out. I would have been cheating my teammates had I stayed out there.''

"It happened so quickly. It seemed like a 20-0 run in which we couldn't gather ourselves,'' Spoelstra said.

-- Although the Pistons may not have gotten the Heat's attention after a big second quarter on Friday night, the Bucks sure did Saturday.

The Heat responded to Milwaukee's double-digit halftime lead by going on a tear with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh outscoring the Bucks by 11.

The Heat outscored Milwaukee 27-13 in the third quarter (James, Wade and Bosh got 24 of those points) as the Heat erased a 12 point hole.

-- In the fourth, Miami didn't get that kind of offensive production from its All-Star trio -- and as has been the case this weekend -- didn't get much help from anyone else.

Of Miami's starting five, the Big 3 ended with 62 points.

Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers scored a total of eight.

"It's always been tough for us to play them,'' Wade said. "It's always a battle. They did their job and used their energy in the fourth quarter. They took a lead and we couldn't come back.''

-- In the fourth, James had just two points before finding the bench for garbage time as Milwaukee was rolling.

Wade had six in the fourth, but Bosh was held scoreless and Miami offered up little else.

-- The Heat, now 4-1 in the second game of a back-to-back set, concludes its four-game road trip Monday as it plays the Magic for the first time this season.

"Over the past 48 hours, things have not gone the way we've wanted them to,'' Spoelstra said.

-- The good news for Miami was James went over the 20-point mark for the 28th time this season.

That ties Boston's Kevin McHale (1986-87) for most consecutive 20-plus games to start a season for second place behind George Gervin.

James now takes aim at Gervin's record of 45 straight 20-point games to start a season. Gervin did it to start the 1981-82 campaign.

James holds the franchise record with 33 consecutive 20-point games dating back to last season. James has scored at least 20 in 49 straight games if last season's playoffs are counted.

-- Miami was without forward Udonis Haslem after he came down hard on his left shoulder early in Friday's game.

Haslem suffered a hard fall during the opening minutes of the Heat's loss at Detroit.

Haslem appeared to crack his left shoulder by landing on a camera operator sitting underneath the basket after going up for a block.

Miami took time as Haslem clutched his shoulder and slowly walked toward the Heat bench. Haslem never left the game.

"U.D. is very sore with his shoulder,'' Spoelstra said before the game.

-- With Haslem out, Spoelstra turned to the lightly used Josh Harrellson in the second quarter.

Harrellson played 8:18 in the second quarter alone -- more than he's played in any game this season (previous high: 4:02 vs. Brooklyn) -- and almost as much as he had played the entire season.

By the end of the game, Spoelstra emptied his bench -- although he kept Rashard Lewis on it for the fifth straight game.

Miami's lineup with three minutes left: Harrellson, Norris Cole, James Jones, Joel Anthony and Terrel Harris.

-- If you were watching Friday's Heat game on television and thought Miami had things in control after a dominant first quarter, you weren't alone.

"I was feeling just like y'all were feeling early on,'' said Wade, who watched the Detroit telecast from the team's downtown hotel. "I thought it was going to be a good night.''

It wasn't. Miami led the host Pistons by 15 going into the second quarter but were flat after that as Detroit rallied for a 109-99 win.

Wade was suspended for Friday's game after kicking Charlotte's Ramon Sessions in the groin during Wednesday's win and wasn't allowed to be in the arena.

"They played good and we didn't play as well obviously,'' Wade said before Saturday's game. "Offensively we played well but we didn't defensively. They had a lot of open shots and have confidence. They got it rolling.''

Wade, a Marquette product, was warmly greeted by the Bradley Center crowd as he usually is. Marquette retired Wade's No. 3 in 2007 and his number and likeness is on a banner than hangs from the arena rafters.

-- Wade wasn't the only Heat player having a homecoming of sorts on Saturday as Ray Allen started his NBA career with the Bucks in 1996.

Allen missed Wednesday's game with a shoulder injury suffered on Christmas but returned Friday.

"It feels a lot better,'' Allen said. "When you get older you don't respond as fast as you did when you were younger.''

BUCKS BEAT UP HEAT: Milwaukee Uses Big Fourth to Roll Miami 104-85

Friday, December 28, 2012

PLAYED IN THE PALACE: Pistons 109, Heat 99



TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Miami was missing Dwyane Wade as everyone knew but that hasn't been a problem so far this season.

It was on Friday night, however, as the Pistons were on fire for the final three quarters and rolled to a 109-99 win at the Palace.

Yes, the Pistons finally beat someone other than the Washington Wizards for the first time since Dec. 8 as they held a double-digit lead for much of the second half.

The Heat shot close to 52 percent from the field; problem was, Detroit shot 58 as the Pistons became the first team to crack 100 on Miami since the Knicks did it earlier this month.

"You would think on the road if you shot 51 percent and score 99 points, you are putting yourself in position to win,'' said coach Erik Spoelstra.

"But it wasn't even really close.''

-- Miami had tied a season-high with six straight wins as it hadn't lost since
Dec. 12 against Golden State.

Detroit lost seven of nine coming in -- with both wins coming against Washington.

The Pistons' non-Wizards win came in Cleveland three weeks ago.

-- Miami looked unstoppable against this Detroit team in the first quarter.

The Heat then forgot to play D and didn't get much out of players other than those named LeBron James (35 points, six rebounds, five assists) or Chris Bosh (28, nine boards).

James and Bosh were the only two Miami players to reach double-digits in scoring.

Ray Allen ended with nine points after scoring just one in the first half.

Detroit had six players in double digits.

"We're a team that wants to be whole every night and we were missing a big piece,'' James said of Wade. "Guys have to step up and we didn't have enough defensively.''

Said Spoelstra: "Shoot, I would love to sit up here and talk about offense. But the way they were lighting us up, that wasn't an issue. We had open looks.''

-- Detroit trailed 32-17 after the first 12 minutes but scored 41 points in the second quarter.

The Pistons led Miami by six at the half.

The Heat didn't respond and missed its first five shots of the third as Detroit opened things up to 15 points.

Miami didn't get its first points of the second half until James drained a 3-pointer from 25 feet out.

-- Detroit outscored Miami 64-39 in the second and third quarters with most of the scoring coming from reserves.

While Detroit's bench scored 65 points (60 percent of the Pistons' output), Miami got just 20 points (20 percent) from its bench.

"They have guys who want to play,'' Bosh said. "Give credit to them. They played well on offense and we missed shots we usually make. That took some of our wind out as well.'

-- Miami closed to within 10 heading into the fourth after James sank a long baseline jumper on the final possession of the third after pushing Tayshawn Prince out of the way.

James and Allen -- who missed his first five from the field after missing Wednesday's game with a shoulder injury -- scored the opening six points of the fourth to quiet the full house out in the Detroit suburbs.

Well, for just a bit.

The Pistons answered the James/Allen 8-0 run with a 7-0 run of their own, one fueled by a follow-up dunk by Charlie Villanueva.

"It all dissolved in the second quarter when they got off to that great start,'' said Bosh, whose team hadn't surrendered 100 points since the Knicks got 112 on Dec. 6.

"We pretty much dug a hole we couldn't get out of. They got into a rhythm, their guys were hitting shots. .-.-. We just couldn't stop them.''

MAKING A STATEMENT: #Heat Make Official Word on Wade

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Here is the Heat's official statement on Dwyane Wade being suspended for tonight's game against the Pistons.

Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on Sun Sports -- and also on 790 (and now 104.3 FM!) The Ticket.


While we accept the decision of the NBA regarding Dwyane Wade, we do not agree with it.

In his 10 years in the league, Dwyane has never been suspended, and has been an exemplary player and positive influence to his teammates and fans and we have been honored to have him as part of the Miami Heat family.

Unfortunately, he is the type of player, along with other players on our roster, that defenses take privileges with.

We stand with Dwyane and support him in this situation and have made our feelings known to the league office.

WADE SUSPENDED, MISS PISTONS GAME: Heat Accept, Don't Agree with Suspension ... Ray Allen to Play at Palace


TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the organization accepts Dwyane Wade's one-game suspension for kneeing Charlotte's Ramon Sessions in the groin -- although Miami doesn't agree with it.

Wade attended Miami's shootaround at the Palace on Friday morning but won't be at tonight's game; he hopes to watch the game from the team hotel in Detroit before meeting the team at the airport for the flight to Milwaukee.

Wade's one game suspension was announced by the league on Thursday night.

"That's the way it works,'' Wade said. "I've told you guys; I'm not surprised by anything that happens. I wasn't surprised.''

Both Wade and LeBron James said Wade didn't mean to pop Sessions in the lower regions although by watching the tape there wasn't many other places for Wade's leg to go.

"It was a bang-bang play, one you kind of needed to be there for,'' Wade said. "It was something that was looked at over video review and can be taken any kind of way. .-.-. I'm looking forward to moving on, playing with my team [Saturday] night.''

Said James: "It was a reaction -- from my point of view -- when Ramon ran up on him. I don't think he intentionally meant to kick him in the groin. I don't think you do something like that intentionally and hit him right where you want to. It was a reaction. D-Wade was trying to protect himself.''

Spoelstra said the Heat would release a statement later Friday regarding the organization's stance on the hard fouls the Heat has received of late. Spoelstra said he didn't give the Wade-Sessions play any more thought after it happened.

"We accept it but don't agree'' with the suspension, Spoelstra said. "As an organization we have his back. My focus will be on tonight. But that was a very physical game. A lot of hard hits in that game. What we're getting tired of as an organization are the hits, in particular to Dwyane and LeBron and Chris.

"That is the game plan against us right now and those guys thrive on that kind of gameplan. They are physical players. But there is an excess of physical fouls against our guys.''

-- Mike Miller is expected to be in the starting lineup as he had been in the previous three games Wade has missed this season.

"That's the way it was in the shootaround,'' Spoelstra confirmed.

-- Ray Allen missed Wednesday's game against the Bobcats with a shoulder injury but Spoelstra said he would be back Friday.

"He's going. He went through the shootaround and is feeling better,'' Spoelstra said.

-- Chris Bosh said he is feeling better after having his right eye scratched Christmas Day against the Thunder. Bosh wore a clear contact lens -- he previously had surgery in his eye -- on Wednesday but didn't practice with it on Friday.

"He's seeing 1 1/2 baskets now instead of three,'' Spoelstra joked. "Hopefully that helps.''

Said Bosh: "You can see where my eye is red. It feels a lot better when [the contact] is in. It protects the eye a little. But we'll see how I feel.''

-- With the Heat playing back-to-back games in Detroit and Milwaukee, Wade now gets an extra day of rest with the suspension.

Said Wade: "Why not look at it as a rest day? I'm going to try and get a workout in at the hotel, do the same things I would before a game. But then we have a game tomorrow. It is back-to-back. Hopefully the guys bring a lot of energy.''

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stuff about tonight's game vs. Bobcats

TONIGHT'S GAME: Heat (19-6) at Charlotte Bobcats (7-20).

TIME: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte.

TV: Sun Sports (Eric Reid, Tony Fiorentino, Jason Jackson)

Radio: AM 790/104.3 FM & The Heat Radio Network (Mike Inglis)

Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM (José Pañeda)

SERIES: Miami leads 21-10. The Heat has won eight consecutive games against the Bobcats since March 9, 2010, and won the three meetings last season by an average of 21.0 points. Four of the Heat’s five victories during its winning streak are by double digits.

SCOUTING REPORT: Following its Christmas Day win over Oklahoma City in a rematch of last year’s Finals, the Heat opens a four-game road trip that will be played over six days. The Heat will try to sweep a set of back-to-back games for the first time this season and improve upon its 5-4 road mark that includes a 1-2 mark against Eastern Conference foes. The Heat is 3-0 on the second night of a back-to-back so far this season.

The Bobcats have lost 15 consecutive games following a 7-5 start. Charlotte has the third-worst record in the East ahead of Cleveland (6-23) and Washington (3-22). The Bobcats, however, are catching the Heat on a short turnaround and will try to pull off an upset similar to the Wizards’ 105-101 win over Miami Dec. 4 at Washington.

The Heat, which enters the game half a game ahead of the Knicks (20-8) for the conference’s top spot, is outscoring its opponents by an average of 15.6 points during its five-game winning streak. Although its three-game streak of making at least 10 three-pointers came to an end against the Thunder, the Heat still made 8 threes in 28 attempts. The Bobcats are allowing a league-worst 105.0 points this season. Charlotte was giving up 99.6 points during its first 12 games, but has allowed 109.4 since. Kemba Walker has been a bright spot averaging 18.3 points, but injuries to key players such as Ben Gordon and Gerald Henderson have been disruptive.

Following his 29-point performances against the Thunder, LeBron James has scored at least 20 points in the Heat's first 25 games of the season. James' personal streak dates back to end of last season. James has scored at least 20 points in 30 straight regular-season games. Including the playoffs, he has scored at least 20 points in 46 games. His 30th consecutive 20-plus point game set a new franchise record.

The Heat continues to play great defense during the winning streak, forcing an average of 17.4 turnovers. The Heat has held its last eight opponents under 100 points.

Dwyane Wade has been a factor on defense and efficient, shooting 59.8 percent (61 of 102) over the past seven games.


Chris Bosh returned to the lineup against the Thunder after missing the Jazz game with the flu. He's been especially good against the Bobcats during his career. Bosh is averaging 24.0 points per game against Charlotte lifetime – his best against any opponent.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Stuff about today's game


TONIGHT'S GAME: Oklahoma City Thunder (21-5) at Heat (18-6)
TIME: 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: AmericanAirlines Arena

ABC (Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Lisa Salters)

Radio: AM 790/104.3 FM & The Heat Radio Network (Mike Inglis, John Crotty)

Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)

SERIES: Oklahoma City leads 30-18. The Thunder, formerly the Seattle Supersonics, is one of the only teams in the league to hold a winning record against the Heat in Miami. The Thunder is 13-11 all-time in Miami.

SCOUTING REPORT: The Heat is 10-3 against the Western Conference, including 6-1 at home. Golden State is the only Western Conference team with a win at AmericanAirlines Arena this season. Miami is ranked atop the league in field-goal percentage (.498) and three-point field-goal percentage (.411).

Miami has won on Christmas Day three seasons in a row. The Heat is 6-2 all-time on Christmas Day. The Heat’s last loss on Christmas (2007) was to the Cavaliers. LeBron James had 25 points. Apropos of nothing today, but the Heat is 4-0 all-time against the Lakers on Christmas. I guess that's alwasy worth mentioning.

The Thunder (21-5) is 10-2 against the Eastern Conference, including 5-1 on the road. Oklahoma City has won on Christmas two seasons in a row. Oklahoma City is ranked second in the league in points per game (105.1), field-goal percentage (.481) and three-point field-goal percentage (.402).

Before its loss to the Timberwolves on Thursday, the Thunder had won 12 games in a row, including four straight road games. While the Thunder is known for its explosive offense, the team's overall defense has been impressive as well. Opponents had averaged a meager 42 percent shooting against the Thunder over its first 26 games (96.2 points per game).

The Heat has made at least 10 three-pointers in three consecutive games. No Heat team has ever had four games in a row of double-digit threes. Miami has won its last four games by double digits. During its current four-game winning streak, the Heat has outscored its opponents by an average of 18.0 points per game. The Heat is shooting .508 during the streak while averaging 10.5 three-pointers per game, 10.25 steals per game and 6.25 blocks per game.

Opponents have committed an average of 20.25 turnovers per game during the Heat's four-game winning streak.

Over his past six games, Dwyane Wade is shooting 62.4 percent (53 of 85) from the field while averaging 4.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists. 

LeBron James has scored at least 20 points in the Heat's first 24 games of the season. James' personal streak dates back to end of last season. James has scored at least 20 points in 29 straight regular-season games. Including the playoffs, he has scored at least 20 points in 45 games.

Many believed the Thunder would take a hit after the James Harden-for-Kevin Martin trade. It hasn't happened. Martin is shooting .469 from the field and .458 from three-point range for 15.7 points per game. He is ranked third on the team in scoring and is an impressive 101 of 108 from the free-throw line.

“I thought it was a good trade when it happened for both sides,” Dwyane Wade said. “Kevin Martin is a guy who brings something different to the team but he can score 20 a night. He’s proven it over the course of time.”

The Thunder hasn't change much from last season but Martin's ability has a catch-and-shoot scorer has opened things even more of the offense. Harden required the ball to produce. That's not the case with Martin, who plays well off the ball.

According to Synergy Sports, 30 percent of Martin's offense comes off of off-the-dribble jumpers. He is scoring 1.265 points per possession on those shots, which ranks in the top seven percent of the league's shooters.

"It puts the ball in [Russell] Westbrook and Durant’s hands more and that is a challenge,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The Thunder is 11-2 when Westbrook and Durant each score at least 20 points in a game.

“The most important thing is we’re being disruptive,” Wade said. “Most nights, we’re going to be out-sized but I think with our activity and our effort, we’re getting a lot of deflections and getting to a lot of loose balls. Turning teams over is what we love to do so we can get out on the open floor.”
Dwyane Wade, on the Heat's current streak of opponents recording at least 20 turnovers

"It’s the same two teams. It’s not much of a different look. They’re missing Harden but they have a nice piece in Kevin Martin and we’re the same with a different lineup but for the most part we have the same look.”
LeBron James, debunking the myths daily

“It’s not going to be one guy guarding Kevin Durant. It’s going to be five guys on a swivel when he has the ball. Some thing with Westbrook, we’ve got to contest and block his jumpers.”
Udonis Haslem

Monday, December 24, 2012

Udonis Haslem aims to 'bring a defensive tone' against OKC

When last the Heat squared off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Udonis Haslem was a reserve and recorded a rebound, an assist and a point—the rare triple-single—in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals.

On Christmas Day, Haslem will have a bigger role against the Thunder as the Heat's starting power forward. The Heat is 5-2 since Haslem moved into the starting lineup. In those games, the Heat has held opponents to 92.4 points per game.

"I’m just going to try to bring a defensive tone for the jump and give the team some energy at the beginning of the game,” Haslem said. “We’ve got to compete. They’ve got great individual players. They play great team ball. They’re fast. They’re athletic. They’re young.”

Other factors have contributed to the Heat's current run of defensive excellence—Joel Anthony and Norris Cole receiving more minutes, Dwyane Wade reestablishing himself as a top-notch defender and LeBron James playing defense so well he never even fouls people anymore—but Haslem's new role is the most tangible difference between the team that began the season with defensive indifference and the team currently playing some of the best defense in the league. All that will be put the test on Tuesday againt the Thunder, which is currently second in the league in points per game (105.1).

“I think the game is going to have another level emotion naturally,” Haslem said, “because obviously you have a rematch of the NBA Finals, so I think the intensity level and the level of play is going to go up naturally with that alone. We got to come in with the same defensive mindset to set the tone, yes, but with the understanding that we are playing the No.1 scoring team in the league, so it might take a little more.”

And the award for the funnest Christmas shoe goes to ...

LeBron's Christmas shoes are regal and Kevin Durant's are modern art but the award for the funnest Christmas shoe goes to Heat reserve Terrel Harris...


Chris Bosh calls them "upside down cupcakes."

LeBron's 2012 Christmas shoes are sure to be a hit ...


Kevin Durant's 2012 Christmas shoes ... yes, please.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Heat 105, Jazz 89


BEST OF LAST NIGHT: Another dominating performance by the Heat's defense. Miami has forced at least 20 turnovers in three of its last four games.

WORST OF THE NIGHT: Jazz mainstay Al Jefferson had a rough night offensively, scoring just six points on 2 of 8 shooting. Credit Shane Battier for leading the defensive effort that shut down the Jazz's most consistent scoring threat. Battier had three blocks.

Ray Allen attempted two three-pointers, three two-pointers and three free throws. Of those seven shots, he only missed one.

LINE OF THE NIGHT: LeBron James had 30 points, going 11 of 20 from the field, 1 of 1 from three-point range and 7 of 10 from the free-throw line. He also had nine rebounds and seven assists to go along with four turnovers.

“We’re playing good ball right now, especially defensively. That is who we are. We defend and then everything else takes care of itself.”

“It was a tough first half. There was no rhythm to the game. With this team, just one play can wake us up. We got a couple of good looks and were able to knock them down. It seemed to pick up our energy and it seemed to sap Utah’s energy.” 

“They came out with an 8-0 run in the third quarter. It was a close game until that run. Then you have to fight your way back in it.  We didn’t have a pace, and as a result, we turned the ball over. When you turn the ball over as many times (as we did) against a team like that (Miami HEAT), it is difficult.”

“This was actually the first time that I can even remember that Shane (Battier) and I even played together. We are usually on different parts of the rotation. It went well together, I knew where he was going to be, and I knew he was going to be in that corner. When I am rolling to the basket and I have guys rotating nine times out of 10 it is going to be his guy pulling, and we are all looking for him in that corner.”

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Battier starts for first time since knee injury

Wait a second. It's not, "time to go big!"

Shane Battier started for the Heat on Saturday against the Jazz for the first time since injuring his knee against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov.24.

Battier started in place of Chris Bosh, who missed the game with a cold. The Heat was 7-3 in games with Battier coming off the bench entering Saturday night.

The Heat's starting lineup featured three 6-8 frontcourt players: Battier, Udonis Haslem and LeBron James.



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