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51 posts from April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Second round to begin on Monday; NBA gives Dwyane Wade 11 days of rest

The Heat’s second-round series will begin on Monday, the NBA announced on Tuesday evening, regardless if the first-round series between the Bulls and Nets ends Thursday night.

The Bulls have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. Chris Bosh said the long wait is a “gift and curse” and that “just staying in shape, keeping our edge and keeping our mental focus where it needs to be” will be “a huge challenge,” this week.

“So, we have our work cut out for us this week,” Bosh Bosh said.

While the Heat swept the Nets the season, Bosh said he doesn’t favor playing one team or the other. The Bulls ended the Heat’s 27-game winning streak.

“They’re going to have to play their series, they’re going to have to battle it out, but there is no such thing as an easy road to a championship—whether that’s playing Chicago and battling it out or playing a motivated Nets team, nobody wants to get beat, period,” Bosh said.

While Bosh and the Heat likely will grow tired with waiting for the second round to begin, 11 days of rest between starts should give Dwyane Wade and his balking right knee time to heal.

Monday, April 29, 2013

NBA players and others celebrate Jason Collins' decision

Inspiring stuff today as NBA player Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay athlete in major American professional sports. Players around the NBA and other celebs showered Collins with support on Twitter after Collins' story appeared on SI.com.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mike Miller starting for Dwyane Wade

Mike Miller will start Sunday's Game 4 of the Heat's first-round playoff series agaisnt the Milwaukee, the Heat announced about 45 minutes before the game.

Wade received treatment and warmed up on the court before the game but ultimately decided against playing after reinjuring his knee and aggravating his right forearm during Game 3. Wade went 1 of 12 in Game 3.

Miller has played a total of two minutes during the Heat's first three playoff games but started the final 13 games of the regular season, averaging more than 10 points per game while shooting over 48 percent from three-point range. The Heat is 15-2 this season with Miller in the starting lineup.

Ray Allen, Wade's primary backup, will continue to come off the bench with the Heat's second unit, which is averaging over 40 points per game in the series. Allen led the Heat with 23 points per game in Game 3.

Pre-Game 4/Game of Thrones Q & A

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Combining these two questions...Dwyane Wade is doubtful, based on what LeBron James said yesterday in practice. Here's a link to that story. CLICK ME! Wade was too frustrated to even speak with reporters on Saturday, which is never a good sign. Based on circumstantial evidence, I think Wade will not play today and instead we'll see Mike Miller in the starting lineup. 

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Like, say, a vegetarian option for someone who doesn't eat meat?

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LeBron and Bosh aren't under any kind of minute restrictions. If the game is close, they'll be playing.

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Great question. The Heat has failed to close out sweeps of the first round series in 2011 and 2012. But this Bucks team is neither the Sixers of 2011 nor the Knicks of 2012. If Milwaukee gets down early, then it's over. Milwaukee had the look a team ready for vacation in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

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Isn't that $1 million question? I'll counter your question with another: How much are players willing to sacrifice to keep it together financially? Let's revisit this question after the postseason.

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Yes, afraid so. But Wade has proven in the past he can play through pain.

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The next series looks like it will be in Chicago, so I wouldn't have far to go.

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Trick question. LeBron is a superhero.

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Winter is (not) Coming to Milwaukee. It has been beautiful for three straight days. I walked the Great Wall of China with the Heat during the preseason. Does that count?

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Most of the show is currently based on the third novel of the series, A Storm of Swords, but the show also is currently diverging the back story of Theon Greyjoy from the fifth novel, A Dance with Dragons. Of course, that is a bit confusing as well, since the chronology of novels four and five overlap.

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Before last week, I would say Season One, but Jaime Lannister losing his hand and Daenerys Targaryen's scene at the end of the last episode have put the current season at the top of my list. Of course, the best episode of the series, in my opinion, remains "Blackwater Bay" of Season Two. Tough question!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wade day-to-day, receiving treatment 'around the clock'

Signs are pointing to Dwyane Wade sitting out Game 4 of the Heat's first-round playoff series against the Bucks on Sunday.

Wade did not participate in the Heat's full-court practice drills on Saturday at Marquette and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade's status was day to day. The Heat plays the Bucks at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, meaning Wade will not have a full day to receive treatment on his knee before tipoff. Spoelstra said that Wade "is improving" and that the Heat's training staff will evaluate his injuries before game time and then make a decision.

Wade reinjured his knee in the first half on Thursday in Game 3 and also aggravated his right forearm during a hard fall. The Heat leads the Bucks 3-0 and can sweep the best-of-7 series with a victory on Sunday. Wade said in a statement that he was "day to day" and receiving "treatment around the clock."

Mike Miller would likely start on Sunday if Wade can't play. The Heat is 15-2 this season with Miller in the starting lineup. LeBron James indicated on Saturday after practice that rest might be the best thing for Wade at this point.

“He has to do what’s best for him and then what’s best for the team,” James said. “For him, he’s a competitor, he wants to be out there, but you don’t put injuries in front of anything and if you’re hurting, and you’re not capable of doing the things that you need to do to help the team win, then you shouldn’t risk it.”

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bench production allowing Heat's Big 3 to rest

More than anything, this first-round playoff series has been about the Heat’s depth. The Heat’s bench is averaging 40.7 points per game entering Sunday’s Game 4. For perspective, consider this: The Heat has played 165 postseason games in franchise history and two of the three highest-scoring postseason games by the bench have happened in this series.

The bench scored 43 points in Game 1 and matched that mark in Game 3. The Heat postseason record for bench points is 45. Allen is averaging 16.6 points per game in the series and Chris Andersen’s contribution in relation to his minutes on the floor has been staggering. “Birdman” has played 42 minutes and 37 seconds during the series and has scored 31 points and pulled down 19 rebounds. He went 5 of 5 shooting on Thursday and is 13 of 15 from the field in the series.

“It has been our calling card all year, the depth that we have,” Allen said. “We have so many sitting on our bench that are so productive when they get in the game, whether you played the last game, the last two or three games or you’re in there for two minutes, guys come off the bench and are ready and it’s a great testimony to this team and how we have grown from Day 1 until now."

The Heat's depth, not to mention an average margin of victory in this series of 16 points, has allowed the Heat's Big 3 to play fewer minutes compared to first rounds in 2010 and 2011. After Thursday's 104-91 victory, Danny Martinez of Heat.com noted the dip in minutes for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

LeBron on finishing second in voting for Defensive Player of the Year: 'It sucks'

MILWAUKEE — LeBron James is not happy he finished second in voting for Defensive Player of Year behind Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.

“It sucks,” James said on Thursday before Game 3 against the Bucks at Bradley Center. “It just sucks.”

James was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the first five months of the NBA’s six-month season and will likely be close to a unanimous selection for his fourth MVP Award in the last five seasons. He prides himself on defense just as much as offense, so finishing second isn’t something worth celebrating.

“It definitely sucks, finishing second,” James said. “Who wants to finish second?”

James has finished second in voting for Defensive Player of the Year twice in his career. He was runner-up for the award in 2009. James averaged 8.0 rebounds per game this season, a career high. He had 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.

When asked if this season was his best as defender, James said “probably” and then presented his case.

“I guard everybody on the floor,” James said. “I don’t if it’s one player in NBA history who guards one through five. So … it’s over with now, but that’s OK.”

There have been times this season when James has guarded opposing point guards and centers, though his primary defensive responsibility is normally guarding an opposing team’s small forward. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra calls James “One Through Five” for his ability to guard each position on the floor.

Pre-Game 3 Q & A

Let's get to it ...

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Going out on a limb and predicting no. Brandon Jennings was limited to eight points in Game 2, so he'll be getting up shots in bunches tonight.

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Two sounds about right. Factoring in coaches, I'll go with the over.

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Micky wants the Heat to clinch on its home court...But seriously, the series will be over in four in the Heat wins tonight. In the back of their minds, the Bucks know that. Expecting Milwaukee's best tonight.

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Keith Askins.

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There are odds on this, actually. Betting house Bovada set the odds of the Heat going 16-0 in the playoffs at 50-1. Those odds then went down to 25-1. Personally, I don't think it's happening. As for the second question, I don't think we've heard the last of Mike Miller.

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Very funny. I'm actually creating a photo gallery of Juwan Howard's post-season suits. Part of the reason the Heat signed Howard is because Pat Riley thinks he's the best-dressed player in the NBA. Makes that bench look good!

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Putting the over-under at 22.

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Burnie does not travel on the team plane. Burnie did, however, fly on the plane to China, and let me tell you, that Burnie can hold its own when it comes to Chinese baijiu.

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Pretty unique. Wade's Marquette jersey is retired at Bradley Center. Off the top of my head, can't think of any other player who's college jersey is retired in current NBA Arena.  

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Spoelstra likes Cole's defense in the fourth quarter of games. He was great against Jennings in Game 2 and everyone remembers that incredible steal against Kyrie Irving.

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LeBron has always been great on the road. Tonight might be the night. James attempted 14 shots in Game 2. Putting the over/under at 19 shots tonight.

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Narcissism drives all social media! It is known.

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God, I hope so.

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Yes, Burnie keeps that key in its back-left pocket.

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Very funny. Thanks for bringing this to our attention before it gets changed. 4-1 sounds about right.

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Not sure. Pretty sure only at home, though.

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Yes, I once suplexed Marc Spears.

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Without a doubt. A better question, will his statue be wearing kneepads and high socks? Answer: Yes.

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The question is, will we ever see the Ice Dragon?

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Setting the over/under at two attempts.

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Shootaround at Marquette a shrine to Dwyane Wade

Norris Cole joked today during the Heat's shootaround at Marquette that you can't go inside a room at Al McGuire Center without seeing at least three pictures or references to Dwyane Wade. For example, Wade has four different pictures or plaques hanging on the walls of Marquette's practice gym. In fact, each wall inside the gym as a reference to Wade.


In Al McGuire Center's main concourse, a shrine is dedicated to Wade.


Practice-gym plaque.


Wade is the first thing recruits see when they walk into the practice gym.


Main wall inside practice gym.


Wade pennant commemorating being drafted by the Heat. (Also in the practice gym.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

EMAILS I GET: Cole the Jennings stopper

Norris Cole performed well in the fourth quarter of Game 2, knocking down a key three-pointer during the 12-0 run. All seven of his points came in the final period and he played every minute of the final quarter.

While Cole's offense was spectacular, emailer Leonard Kreicas points out that the reserve guard's defense is actually more valuable...

By Leonard Kreicas,

Last night Norris Cole stopped Brandon Jennings, especially the overlooked play of Jennings driving and Cole stealing the ball from him, just like Cole stole the ball a few nights ago to seal a W.

Cole is a much quicker defender than Chalmers, and can shut down the opponent's top driving threat. In the second half I could see Jennings fear of Cole, because Cole was too fast for him.

Cole is too short for people like Durant, but he could shut down Westbrook and Chris Paul, thereby stopping OKC or LAC play-making routine.

I don't think Cole got enough kudos for his defense in the second half, because without Jennings the Bucks lost their confidence and seemed in disarray letting the Heat bigs do their thing.

With Cole on Jennings for the next 3 games, the Bucks do not have a chance.



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