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22 posts from March 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Here's that ridiculous no-look alley-oop from Wade to LeBron

LeBron's six three-pointers in the first half against the Hornets was a sequence you'll likely never forget but it didn't include the best highlight of the game.

The no-look alley-oop from Dwyane Wade to LeBron James was one of the best highlights of the season, but it happened so early in the game that many people missed it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

PAT RILEY: 'Danny Ainge needs to STFU'

The career-long beef between Pat Riley and the Celtics rages onward.

On Friday, Riley delivered a message through the media to Celtics general manager Danny Ainge that needs no interpreting.

"Danny Ainge needs to 'STFU' and manage his own team," said Heat spokesman Tim Donovan, who passed along Riley's message to Heat beat writers before Friday's game against the Hornets. "He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him."

On Thursday, Ainge criticized Heat star LeBron James for complaining about several hard fouls he received on Wednesday against the Bulls. Ainge didn't wait long to respond to Riley's statement. Mere minutes after Riley's words went viral on Twitter, the Boston Globe reported Ainge's retort.

"We're both right," Ainge said. "LeBron should stop complaining and I should manage my own team."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had a funny take on the back and forth between the warring basketball executives.

"I love direct GM-to-GM communication," Spoelstra said. "That's awesome."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had fun with the drama as well.

“I think it’s cool," Rivers said. "I think they should duke it out.”

Rivers was asked if the GM bickering would impact an already intense rivalry.

“Not unless they are playing,” he said.

LEBRON: 'Nothing that comes out of Boston surprises me'

LeBron James spoke up passionately about what he perceived as unnecessarily hard fouls against him in Wednesday's game against the Bulls. For Boston GM Danny Ainge, LeBron's complaining was "almost embarrassing."

"I don’t think either one of those were flagrants, and I think the one — LeBron against Boozer — was flagrant, yes. I think the officials had it right…," Ainge said during a weekly radio-show appearance in Boston. "I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating.”

Why the heck is Ainge calling out LeBron? Who the heck knows, other than Ainge just wanted to take an easy shot at LeBron on a pro-Celtics radio show.

"Nothing that comes out of Boston surprises me," James said on Friday morning after the Heat's shootaround at New Orleans Arena.

We do know for a certainty that Ainge is no stranger to complaining himself.

As a player, Ainge was recognized as one of the league's biggest whiners. During last season's postseason matchup of the Heat and Celtics, Ainge raised a stink with the president of referee operations after LeBron James attempted 24 foul shots in Game 2. (OK, he might have had a point there.)

It seems unlikely at this point that the Celtics will match up with the Heat in the first round, but just in case things shake out for another Heat-Celtics postseason matchup, it appears Ainge is already prepping the officials.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Streak over, LeBron upset about hard fouls

Kirk Hinrich wrapped both arms around him and pulled LeBron James to the ground. Taj Gibson clubbed James in the head. Later Gibson grabbed James by the neck to prevent a layup.

It seemed the only way to stop James on Wednesday in Chicago was with a little violence. For James, that's unwanted news as the playoffs approach. The reigning and most likely future MVP will be on the receiving end of a lot more abuse when the postseason begins.

"Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say it," James said. "I believe, and I know, that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays.

"First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground and the last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around the shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not basketball plays and it has been happening all year and I've been able to keep my cool and tell Spo let's not worry about it too much but it is getting to me a little bit," James said.

After being fouled multiple times at United Center with what he called non-basketball plays, James boiled over and took his frustration out on Carlos Boozer. James extended his elbow and shoulder against Boozer during a screen—clearly a non-basketball play—and was whistled for a technical foul. Boozer made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Bulls a nine-point lead.

After the game, James vented about the hard fouls.

"Every time I try to defend myself, I got to face the consequences of a flagrant or a technical," James said. "So, it's tough. It's very tough. And I'm not sitting here crying about anything. I play the game at a high level and with a lot of aggression and I understand that a lot of plays are on the borderline of a basketball play or not, but sometimes you just got to ... I don't know. It's frustrating."

Dwyane Wade said after the Heat's loss—its first since the beginning of February—that he's surprised James doesn't receive more technical fouls for retaliation. Wade went as far as to suggest that maybe James should dole out some of his own punishment from time to time.

"I big guy like that, I don't think they really want to see him start trying to inflict pain on other people," Wade said. "He plays the right way and he gets reffed like a guy who was in this Miami Heat jersey before, Shaquille O'Neal.

"It's tough, but that's why he is who he is. You've got to deal with it. It's unfortunate but tonight he decided to get back a little bit. I don't think it was that bad but he got called for it."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

With streak on line, Dwyane Wade back against Bulls

Dwyane Wade couldn't miss an opportunity to make history against the Bulls, his hometown team.

After missing a pair of games with a sore right knee, Wade is back in the starting lineup for tonight's game at Chicago's United Center. The Heat is gunning for its 28th victory in a row. The streak is the second longest in NBA history behind the Lakers' 33 straight.

“I think I’m ready to give it a go,” Wade said after Wednesday morning's shootaround against at United Center. “I had two situations I’ve been dealing with. One of them is gone and the other I’ll have to deal with. I just want to get back out there and see how it feels.” 

Wade has rested his knee for five days since last Friday's victory against the Pistons. He scored 19 points in the win but aggravated an existing injury in the process. The Heat rolled through a home-road back-to-back despite Wade watching from the bench but the Bulls are a few cuts above the Bobcats and Magic, and the Heat will need its full cast to extend the winning streak past Chicago.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Notes from Sunday night's Heat win

A few notes from Sunday's 109-77 win against Charlotte:

### This was Miami's largest margin of victory of the season, and it came without Dwyane Wade, who missed the game with soreness in his right knee. Win No. 26 in a row featured another double digit deficit (Charlotte went ahead by 11 in the first quarter), but the Heat erased that lead by late in the quarter.

### Spoelstra said Wade would be re-evaluated Monday before determining if he will play Monday night in Orlando.

### Especially impressive: Since LeBron James joined Miami, the Heat is 22-6 without Wade.

### LeBron is now shooting 23 for 29 over the past two games after going 11 for 14 on Sunday. Equally impressive Sunday was his defense (three blocks, three steals) and floor game (10 assists). By the way, he has made 24 of 28 shots in his two home games against the Bobcats this season.

### Mike Miller had played just 48 minutes over the previous 25 games but started in Wade's absence and had six points (2 for 7 shooting) and four assists in 21 minutes. Miller said afterward he was pleased he "didn't screw up the streak."

### Mario Chalmers' stretch of good games ended with an 0 for 4 night.

### Even Juwan Howard made it into a game for the first time since re-joining the Heat.

### Chris Bosh celebrated his 29th birthday with another win. "We are having a blast," he said. "Best team I've ever been on. Everyone likes each other and we always have fun. We work hard and we play hard too."

### Miami won its 17th in a row at home, one short of the franchise record.

### So what needs to happen for a team to knock off the Heat? "It will take a game where they will have to miss shots, and the other team needs to play really well the WHOLE game," Charlotte's Gerald Henderson said. "They've gotten down, obviously, but they'll come back."

### Charlotte shot 33.7 percent, lowest by a Heat opponent this season. And the Bobcats' nine assists tied an NBA low this season.

### The Heat shot 50 percent and is 33-2 this seasonwhen making at least half its shots.

### The Heat's most improved player during this streak might by Norris Cole, who had 15 points, six assists and no turnovers Sunday.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Heat notes

Jeff Van Gundy quipped on ABC last weekend that setting the NBA's all-time win streak record would be a bigger accomplishment than winning a championship, before clarifying that he meant to say that breaking the record would be a more difficult feat, but that he would rather win a title.

Heat center Chris Bosh, whose team is now within eight of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ record 33-game streak, also had that discussion when a friend recently asked him which is the superior achievement.

"I'm going to take the championship every time," Bosh said. "You don't get a plaque or a ring or nothing for 34 in a row. You get a record that will probably be broken one day. Records are meant to be broken. But championships last forever.

"Someone was telling me it's way cooler to win 34 [in a row]. I'm like, ‘Man, please! Get out of here with that. They won't be throwing confetti for that. I'll guaran-damn-tee you that.’"

### Dwyane Wade said fans have been telling him, on Twitter, to "stop giving them a heart attack" with all the close games and double-figure deficits.

Bosh said he also is hearing those types of comments from friends visiting his home. And after Miami rallied from 27 down against Cleveland Wednesday, LeBron James said he “got texts from a lot of family saying, ‘This is too much for us to handle. So please stop.’"

### The Heat has trailed by double digits in three consecutive games. And though players aren’t happy about it, they don’t seem quite as concerned as Erik Spoelstra is.

“We just find ways to win games, and that’s all that matters this time of year,” Wade said, adding that suspenseful games are “good for sports.”

James said: “We would love to have a better start. But we’re a team that wears teams down over 48 minutes.”

### Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole combined for 21 points, eight steals and seven assists Friday against Detroit, and their steady play hasn’t gone overlooked by teammates.

"They’ve come back and gotten better at their job,” Bosh said. “They’re giving us great minutes, not only getting us organized on offense, but taking the challenge on defense.”

Spoelstra said he played Cole in key fourth quarter minutes Friday because he “was creating some havoc defensively. We’re playing more point guard basketball this year than we have in the past.”

### Though Chris Andersen had only one rebound and one block in 15 minutes on Friday, Spoelstra said, “It seems as if he was altering probably six or seven or eight shots at the rim.”

And unlike other Heat backup centers in recent years, Andersen is frequently dunking off lobs in the halfcourt offense. “He’s really big once he gets off the ground,” Spoelstra said.

### By going 12 for 15 from the field on Friday, James has shot at least 80 percent in three games during this streak. Before this week, he had done that only twice in 732 regular-season career games, according to Elias.

### Ray Allen sustained a laceration on his lip as a result of a collision with Andersen during Friday’s game…. Spoelstra gave his team Saturday off. Heat non-game-day practices have been infrequent during this streak.

### NBA TV picked up Sunday's Charlotte game, and ESPN added Monday's game at Orlando, but only Sun Sports will be permitted to televise both games in South Florida. Expect national TV for most or every game as long as the Heat continues this streak.

### Couple final notes heading into Sunday's 6 p.m. home game against Charlotte: The Heat won the two previous meetings this season: 105-92 on Dec. 26 in Charlotte (behind 29 points from Dwyane Wade) and 99-94 Feb. 4 in Miami --- a game in which the Heat trailed during the second half before rallying behind 31 points from James and 12 rebounds from Wade… Besides standing eight short of equaling the Lakers’ all-time win record, the Heat is within two games of its franchise record for consecutive home victories (18)…. The Heat has at least 20 assists in 20 consecutive games for the first time since 1999-2000…. Miami has rallied to win 11 games this season in which it trailed by double digits.



Friday, March 22, 2013

Postgame notes from Heat's 25th win in a row

A few tidbits from the Heat's 25th win in a row, against Detroit:

### Miami has won its last nine games in which it trailed at halftime -- including the last three.

### Eleven times this season, the Heat has overcome a double digit deficit to win. And it has happened three times this week alone. Talk about living dangerously.

### The Heat's 16 wins in a row at home stands two short of the franchise record, and also two short of the longest in the league this year --- San Antonio's 18 straight.

### This is the first time since 2005-06 when the Heat has won 31 games at home.

### With 21 assists Friday, the Heat has recorded at least 20 assists in 20 consecutive games for the first time since 1999-2000.

### Dwyane Wade, asked about the 1971-72 Lakers pulling for them to break their 33-in-a-row win streak record: "I don't believe it."

### James on beating the Lakers' streak: "It is not a goal and it has never been a goal of mine." But "I am not going to sit here and downplay and act like I don't know what the record is. I know it is 33. We don't get caught up and say, 'okay, eight games until we get it.' We just play our next game and see what happens."

### Please check Barry Jackson's sports buzz blog for more postgame Heat notes, including a message from LeBron James' family, funny stuff from Chris Bosh, and Jason Terry's shot at LeBron.

24-game winning streak returns home but first a look back at that crazy game

First, here's an excellent video I found on YouTube reviewing the Heat's come-from-behind victory against the Cavaliers. Sure, the Cavs were grossly undermanned, but considering the circumstances and the size of the deficit (27 points), it has to rank up there with on of the most memorable regular-season games of since 2010.

And now we have this: A picture of James shaking hands with the fan who rushed the court. It was a surreal moment. First, a person runs onto the court and all hell is breaks loose, and then James is shaking the kid's hands and patting him on the head as he is hauled off.

The person wrote a nice message for James on his shirt — "We Miss You" on the front and "Come Back 2014" on the back — but did anyone find it a little odd that James was so understanding of the fan's actions? After the game, James sounded almost regretful that he didn't have a chance to speak with the fan.


The Heat returns home to AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday for 7:30 p.m. game against the Pistons. While the Heat has won four games in a row against the Pistons and will be a heavy favorite, anything seems possible after the last two games. Miami is 30-3 at home.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Listen to the audio of LeBron call out Jason Terry

So, here's the raw audio clip of LeBron telling reporters he was "glad" it was Jason Terry who was on the receiving end of a nasty dunk "because I think we all know what J.T. talks and he talks too much sometimes."

At the end of the sound bite, you can hear ESPN.com reporter Brian Windhorst audibly exhale with shock. So hysterical.
(Right click and open in new window if you click on the audio file and can't hear it.)







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