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27 posts from May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

NBA suspends Birdman for Game 6; Spoelstra forced to adjust

Another Game 6 against Indiana; another Heat big suspended for mistaking Tyler Hansbrough for a sparing partner.

Chris "Birdman" Andersen is suspended for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Andersen and Hansbrough were both assessed flagrant fouls during Game for their scuffle but, after a review of the incident, the NBA upgraded Andersen's penalty to a flagrant foul-2 and rescinded Hansbrough's flagrant foul-1.

From the NBA's press release: 

"Andersen knocked Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough to the floor, escalated the altercation by shoving Hansbrough, and resisted efforts to bring the altercation to an end. The incident occurred with 9:02 remaining in the second quarter of Miami's 90-79 win over the Pacers at AmericanAirlines Arena."

If you recall, Udonis Haslem was suspended for Game 6 of the Heat's 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Pacers for clubbing Hansbrough in Game 5. Andersen's suspension was all but a certainty after David Stern told NBC Sports Radio on Friday afternoon that he thought Andersen should have been ejected from Game 5. The NBA made it official later in the day.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will now have to get creative with his lineup to replace Andersen, who was 15 of 15 from the field through the first five games of the series and provided defensive energy off the bench. Joel Anthony could be an option or Spoelstra could go small, using Shane Battier in Andersen's role and shifting Mike Miller in the Heat's second rotation.

Memorable moments of the Heat's most important (so far) of the postseason


Seriously, if you could step inside the mind of one Mr. Birdman, what was he thinking, seriously? He nearly pushed in Tyler Hansbrough's chest. Was Birdman thinking...

a) "We need a spark. We're playing like garbage. I better kick start our team's energy by kicking Hansbrough's butt."

b) "The hell with it. This goofy dude's been asking for it."

c) "Chris Bosh is playing really well, so the team doesn't really need me tonight or for Game 6 if I get ejected or suspended."

d) "RED RUM"

Yes, Bird could be looking at a suspension today. We'll know later on in the day.


Seconds after the altercation between Bird and Hansbrough was sorted out by the officials, Bird blocked Hansbrough layup attempt like it was all some kind of hokey movie script.

Udonis Haslem dunk early in the third quarter gave the Heat its first lead since the beginning the game. David West called Haslem a "one-trick pony" after the game. I must protest. Haslem is clearly one of those rare American mustangs you only read about, or my blog.

Roy Hibbert's block reminded of us two things: (1) Carmelo Anthony shouldn't have tried to dunk over Hibbert; and (2) Bosh has an ankle injury.

Not that an Alaskan needs any backup when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, but it's nice to know Udonis Haslem has your back.

These is very little that happened in the final seven minutes of the third quarter that didn't involve LeBron James. He did it all. He outscored the Pacers 16-13 in the quarter. Here's a video of LeBron doing things in Game 5.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

LeBron, West and Stephenson each fined for flopping in Game 4

Heat forward LeBron James, Pacers forward David West and Pacers guard Lance Stephenson each have been fined $5,000 for flopping in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, the NBA announced on Thursday.

James and West were hit with fines for their comical "double flop." Here's the NBA's link to that video. CLICK ME!

Stephenson was fined $5,000 for his pretending to be elbowed by Ray Allen. And here's that link. CLICK ME!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Heat needs more out of Bosh and bench in Game 5

Win two at home and the Heat is in The Finals. It kinda makes Thursday's game at AmericanAirlines Arena pretty important.

Game 4 in a nutshell: Roy Hibbert outplayed Chris Bosh, the Heat's bench scored just 11 points and the Pacers outrebounded the Heat by 19. In the simplest of terms, those three reasons are why the Heat is preparing for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals tied with the Pacers 2-2 instead of leading the series 3-1.

Roy Hibbert scored 23 points in Game 4 and pulled down six offensive rebounds. There's your game. In the fourth quarter on Tuesday, the Pacers outrebounded the Heat 16-4. That's what good teams do at home. The Heat, a great team, is now back at home.

From today's paper:

Dan LeBatard puts to words the importance of Game 5 for the Heat. CLICK ME!

Barry Jackson breaks down the rebounding discrepancy in Game 4. CLICK ME!

I take a look at the emergence of Lance Stephenson and how his constant pestering of LeBron James made a big impact late in Game 4. CLICK ME!

David J. Neal crystallizes the importance of home-court advantage in what is now a three-game series. CLICK ME!

Monday, May 27, 2013

And the Game 3 Oscar goes to ... Dwyane Wade

Nod to Dime Magazine for bringing this to our attention. I was seated on the opposite baseline, so I completely missed this during the game.

Of course, the Oscar for Game 2 went to Lance Stephenson, who seemed to embellish that inadvertent elbow by Wade. Wade's elbow was reviewed by the NBA and upgraded to a flagrant foul-1.

Udonis Haslem backs up words with points

Everyone loves a good pregame locker room speech. Udonis Haslem delivered an emotional one before Sunday's game and then backed up his words with one his best games offensively since injuring his foot back in 2011.

“Obviously, we've got so many guys who have won and have been successful throughout their careers at this level, so on different nights different guys speak up,” Haslem told ESPN after the game. “This time, it was me. Just coming into this game, I wanted to make sure that we came in here with a certain attitude. Something had to change.” 

Haslem's 17 points (the most since the injury) was a definite change. Before Game 3, he had three points in the entire series. His baseline jumper was wide open throughout the out game and he connected on eight field goals, which was a career postseason high for field goals made in a game. Afterwards, Pacers center Roy Hibbert acknowledged that he basically had no choice but leave Haslem wide open.

"Just him hitting those shots really made us have to think on defense. Who do we guard?" Hibbert said. "Do we guard the paint or do we have to go out to the shooters on in the corner?"

My brief interview with Sarah Palin about the NBA and other stuff

Sarah Palin was at tonight's game ... So, of course, I had to try and interivew her at halftime, because, well, when else would you get to ask Palin about the NBA? Before you ask, no I didn't bring up any former Heat players. She was seated in the front row with her husband, Todd Palin, so anyway ...

ME: “Since you’re here sitting in the front row, I figured I would be remiss if I didn’t try to interview you.”

PALIN: “You can try. It’s your job.”


ME: “So, I guess what do you think of the game so far?”

PALIN: “We love the NBA. We love Indiana. We go back to being big Hoosier fans. So, anything that has to do with Indiana, we’re going to support, so coming here and rooting for the Pacers is kind of parlaying our love of Indiana.”


ME: “Were you here for the race?”

PALIN: “For the race and we were lucky enough to get to come to this game then, too.”


ME: “So, you did the Indianapolis double today.”

PALIN: “Yeah, this a dream come true for sports nuts like Todd and me. It’s really, it’s surreal.”


ME: “What did you do at the race? I covered the Daytona 500 one year when you were there.”

PALIN: “What we got to do is hang with Parnelli Jones and do a lap with Parnelli yesterday and it’s the 50th anniversary of his win in Indy, so that was cool to get to be with him. And then just to experience the race, something so iconic and all-Americana, something we grew up watching on TV all these years to be there today was spectacular.”


ME: “So, growing up in Alaska, who were some of your favorite NBA stars?”

TODD PALIN, interjecting: “Well, back in the day, Dr. J., Larry Bird, Magic…

PALIN: “Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, I mean the crew in the 80s, growing up in the 80s, you know. But all these guys today, these athletes are amazing athletes. And Miami is so doggone stacked, but the Pacers have this tenacious, scrappy, underdog persona that everybody’s going to root for.”


ME: “But you’ve got to be pulling for Miami, too, right? Because they’ve got an Alaskan on the team.”

PALIN: “We love Chalmers. Any of the Alaskan kids who make it so big, like Trajan Langdon and Carlos Boozer, all those guys we’re always going to root for, but when it comes to team, though, I’m always going to root for the underdog. Go Pacers!”

TODD PALIN: “I always like seven games in a series, though.”

PALIN: “That’s the thing. I just texted my girlfriend that hopefully it goes seven.”


ME: “So, where do you see your political future going?”

PALIN: “That’s up to the American people. And if they want to see positive change in this country, or if they want to just kind of keep embracing the status quo of going down the wrong road. It’s up to the American people and where someone’s political future is going to go.”


ME: “You got anything planned in the near future?”

PALIN: “Near future is helping change the senate in the 2014 races, get some good common sense conservatives elected.”

Saturday, May 25, 2013

LeBron high-fived Paul George after third quarter; No, this is not OK

LeBron James slapped a high-five with Paul George after the third quarter of Game 2. No, this is not acceptable. Cute, but unacceptable.

LeBron had a nice 30-foot three-pointer at the end of the third quarter and George had that ridiculous dunk over Birdman. Great. Fine. No need to pat each other on the back. This is the playoffs, remember? Seriously, would Reggie Miller have been slapping hands with Michael Jordan during a playoff game? Heeeeeeck no!

I'm glad that LeBron respects Paul George's game and the sportsmanship is commendable and it's great and yada, yada, yada. No! Stop it! This is not OK.

I'm I completely off on this or does anybody out there agree with me here?

After carrying team in first two series, Heat's bench struggling against Pacers

The Heat's bench has gone from setting records for points in back-to-back playoff series, to struggling so impressively against the Pacers that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra summoned Joel Anthony and Mike Miller from the bench in the second quarter on Friday.

Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Norris Cole are a combined 5 of 31 from the field in the Eastern Conference finals. Battier failed to score in Game 2 and was reduced to just 14 minutes of action. Allen had six points off the bench but went 0 of 2 from three-point range and 2 of 4 from the free-throw line. The Heat's bench had 19 points in Game 2, led by Chris Andersen, who was signed mostly for his defense.

There's a growing since in the series that LeBron James is being asked to do too much. After giving the Heat a four-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 2 with a magnificent effort, James switched to David West defensively and seemed gassed by the last minute of the game. (Of course, the narrative would be much different today if James found Ray Allen for a game-winning three-pointer with eight seconds to play instead of committing a turnover.)

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who turned to Anthony and Miller in the second quarter, underscored after Friday's game that he's not prone to overreaction.

"Everybody was raving about our depth last game and that we have an incredible amount of depth," Spoelstra said. "That's one of our major strengths. And we'll continue to go to it. And we have full confidence in those guys.

"The storylines will change, but we know the deal. It's a very close series. We have to play well, we have to finish, we have to close out games. And we're hoping to do that in Game 3."

Miller is an interesting option for Game 3. He was at his best at the end of the season in a substitute role for Dwyane Wade but then returned to the back of the bench when the playoffs began. Should Spoelstra try Miller over Ray Allen in Game 3 and how exactly would that affect the team's chemistry?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Roy Hibbert calls out Shane Battier

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 10.20.49 AM
Here's something to keep an eye on tonight. Roy Hibbert posted this on his Twitter account on Thursday, basically calling Shane Battier a dirty player.
Shane Battier's Flying (Knee) Circus put Hibbert on the ground during the first half. There were other instances of Battier's questionable play. He elbowed Tyler Hansbrough in the second half while going for a rebound. Hansbrough was called for the foul.
In the first half, Battier grabbed Hansbrough's arm under the basket and the two had to be separated. Chris Andersen received a technical foul for defending Battier.
Is Battier a dirty player or just a savvy veteran?



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