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19 posts from January 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

LeBron's shot from behind the backboard against the Spurs

Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers (15 of 18 shooting combined) had the hot hands against the Spurs on Sunday, but LeBron turned in the shot of day. Of course, the most remarkable thing about this shot is that LeBron actually practices it.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

A look back at Spoelstra's pregame comments on rotations after learning Dwyane Wade would be the team's sixth man

So, this is interesting. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra went through his pregame news conference on Sunday without mentioning that Dwyane Wade would be returning to the lineup as the team's sixth man. This is kind of important, you know, because Wade had been a starter in 495 consecutive games (including the playoffs) until Sunday.

Ray Allen started against the Spurs and Wade entered the game with 4:41 left in the first quarter. Knowing now that the plan was for Wade to come off the bench all along, let's look back at Spoelstra's answer this morning when I asked him this question:

QUESTION: Now that you have everyone available, are you looking for a rhythm now — to find a rhythm and cohesion with your different units?

 SPOELSTRA: "I’m not going to over think that. Look, I’m going into the season, I’m trying to impress that message to our players. Sure, we’ll try to get to that. We might not. Let’s embrace this year. It’s different, and that’s one of the challenges. It can be an excuse, or we can find an excuse how to win. We need to find more of those excuses, and we can win and how we can come together more under this circumstances. 

“I woke up this morning, and got the report from Jay [Sabol] that everybody could be available. That hadn’t come across my mind. I hadn’t thought about those decisions that I might have to make in terms of who’s dressing and who’s not dressing. This is the first time this year that I possibly, hopefully will have to make that decision. It might not happen for the rest of the year. Who knows?"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Difficult week for Dwyane Wade includes sobering words from USA Basketball Director Jerry Colangelo

Dwyane Wade will miss his fourth-straight game on Thursday due to soreness in his knee. The Heat plays the Lakers at 8 p.m.

Wade was ruled out on Thursday morning after the Heat's shootaround at AmericanAirlines Arena. Wade has missed 13 games this season as he recovers from offseason shockwave knee therapy. The OssaTron treatment Wade received this summer is expected to strengthen his knees and help to extend his career, but the full recovery time following the procedure is about six months. Rashard Lewis underwent the procedure last year.

Wade last played on Jan.17 against the Sixers and afterwards scratched himself from the active roster for the next night's game against the Bobcats. He hasn't played since. Wade scored eight poins in each of his last two games.

It has been a trying week for Wade, who addressed his health on Twitter on Wednesday, an off day for the Heat.

"Thanks to every[one] who has been concerned about my health this year," Wade wrote. It's mentally challenging to say the least...But you don't get results by being mentally defeated. I'm in the lab trying to get better everyday for my team."

Wade then posted a hash-tag of "my belief is stronger than doubt."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on Thursday morning said Wade's absence from the lineup isn't cause for concern, but this is the longest stretch of inactivity for Wade this season. He sat out two-straight games twice before.

Adding to Wade's sobering week, USA Basketball left Wade off of its player pool for 2014-16, meaning it's highly unlikely that Wade will represent the United States in the 2016 Rio Games. Injuries prevented Wade from competing in the 2012 London Olympics.

On a conference call on Thursday morning, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo cited Wade's "physical situation" for not naming Wade to the current U.S. player pool.

"We appreciate the service he gave us ... but it’s time for us to move on," Colangelo said.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Greg Oden officially back; blocks dunk attempt of Heat nemesis Jeff Green

Greg Oden was frustrated with his second game of the season — a 104-96 overtime loss to the Bobcats — but looked much better in his home debut on Tuesday against the Celtics. He played nearly six minutes in the first half and delivered a pair of highlights, including this block on a dunk attempt by Jeff Green. Oden then delivered a dunk of his own.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dwyane Wade misses second straight game with knee soreness

ATLANTA — Dwyane Wade was held out of his second game in a row with lingering knee soreness on Sunday, and could also miss Monday’s game against the Celtics at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Looking visibly frustrated with having to miss another game, Wade reported he was a late scratch less than an hour before tipoff at Philips Arena. Wade missed the Heat’s game against the Bobcats on Friday after scoring just eight points in consecutive games against Washington and Philadelphia.

Midway through the season, Wade is still struggling with the same problems he faced in November. His knees haven't' fully recovered from the shockwave treatement he received over the offseason.

“It’s just a little soreness in my knee,” Wade said. “So, I just want to take another day, hopefully, and it feels better [Monday]. If not, then we’ll revaluate it later.”

Wade has missed 11 games this season, which reached its midpoint on Sunday. Asked if the Heat was in an ideal position at the season’s halfway point, Wade said, “I don’t know.”

“We had a challenge that was just presented to us in winning three in a row and we’ll see how we respond to it as we go into next week with our home stand,” Wade said. “I think we’ll see then, but right now it’s hard.”

Ray Allen started for Wade for the second straight game. Allen has had his own struggles, shooting 22.2 percent from the field and 11.8 percent from three-point range in January after Friday’s game against the Bobcats, but had four three-pointers in the first half against the Hawks.

The Heat has used 12 different starting lineups this season with the most used starting lineup of Wade, Mario Chalmers, LeBron James, Shane Battier and Chris Bosh featuring in just 16 games. Twelve players have started at least one game.

“It’s always difficult when you don’t have everyone available every night, but most of the league deals with that,” Wade said. “I think our team has done a good job with the adversity that we’ve faced with the injuries and guys in and out. The best thing is we haven’t lost a guy for the year yet.

“We’ve had guys who have been out, but they’ve been able to come back. We’re blessed with that, we knock on wood, and we say if this is the worst we have to go through, then we’re fine. So, we’re going to continue to try whoever is in the lineup. We have the team and we have the personnel that can win on any given night.”

Despite the piecemeal lineups, the Heat had a chance to tie its second-best record at the midway point of a season against the Hawks. The best winning percentage at this point in a season for the Heat came in the lockout-shortened season of 2011-12 when the team began 26-7 (.788 winning percentage).

Previewing Heat at Hawks: Heat's first game against a team with a winning record since Jan.2

FROM THE PAPER: Miami Heat looking for inspiration

WHEN/WHERE: 5:30 p.m., Philips Arena, Atlanta.

TV/RADIO: Sun Sports/FM 104.3, AM 790 and WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

SERIES: Heat leads 57-40.

LINE: Heat by 5.


Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 11.39.54 AM   Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 11.40.11 AM   Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 11.40.26 AM

RECORDS/STANDINGS: Heat 29-11/Second in the East (-3.5)///Hawks 20-19/4th in East (-12.0).

TRENDS/HEAT: 13-8 on the road; 6-4 in last 10; Won two; 19-9 against East; 9-1 against Southeast Division

TRENDS/HAWKS: 14-6 at home; 4-6 in last 10; Lost two; 13-11 against East; 4-5 against Southeast Division

INJURY REPORT/HEAT: Greg Oden (knee) questionable, Shane Battier (quad) probable, Mario Chalmers (Achilles tendinitis) probable, Dwyane Wade (knee) probable, Chris Andersen (knee) questionable, LeBron James (shoulder) probable.

INJURY REPORT/HAWKS: Al Horford (right pectoral muscle surgery) out, John Jenkins (low back pain) out.

OF NOTE: The Heat can finish 3-3 on its road trip with a victory against the Hawks. This is the Heat’s first game of the regular season in Atlanta. Miami is 9-1 against teams in the Southeast Division. Dwyane Wade missed Saturday’s game against the Bobcats, but is expected to play on Monday. Chris Andersen (knee) will be a game-time decision. He was a late scratch against the Bobcats. Hawks forward Al Horford is out for the season after surgery on his right pectoral muscle. Atlanta has lost two straight, including a 127-110 losses Thursday to the Nets in London.

STAT OF THE DAY: Chris Bosh has scored 76 points in his last three games. During that stretch, his points-per-game average has jumped from 15.7 to 16.2. It's still the lowest scoring average of Bosh's career since his rookie season. Last season, he averaged 16.6 points per game during the regular season and 12.1 points per game in the playoffs.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Previewing Heat at Bobcats: Wade out, Ray struggling, Bosh surging

WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte

TV/RADIO: Sun Sports/FM 104.3, AM 790 and WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

SERIES: Heat leads 27-10.

LINE: Heat by 7.


Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 7.51.27 AM  Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 7.51.44 AMScreen Shot 2014-01-18 at 7.52.00 AM

RECORDS/STANDINGS: Heat 28-11/Second in the East///Bobcats 17-24/8th in East.

TRENDS/HEAT: 12-8 on the road; 6-4 in last 10; Won one; 18-9 against East; 8-1 against Southeast Division

TRENDS/BOBCATS: 9-11 at home; 3-7 in last 10; Won one; 14-13 against East; 1-6 against Southeast Division

INJURY REPORT/HEAT: Greg Oden (knee) probable, Shane Battier (quad) probable, Mario Chalmers (Achilles tendinitis) probable, Dwyane Wade (knee) out, Chris Andersen (knee) out, LeBron James (shoulder) probable.

INJURY REPORT/BOBCATS: Brendan Haywood (left foot) out, Jeffery Taylor (Achilles) out.

OF NOTE: The Heat snapped its three-game losing streak on Friday and then boarded a plane for Charlotte. Miami is 2-0 against the Bobcats this season and 5-2 on the second night of back-to-back. After missing four-straight games with pain in his Achilles tendon, Mario Chalmers returned to action on Friday and the Heat recorded 30 assists on 38 field goals. The Heat held the 76ers to 10 percent (2 of 20) shooting from three-point range. The Bobcats' starting lineup of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Josh McRoberts, Al Jefferson, Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker are 2-8 on the season.

STAT OF THE DAY: Ray Allen went 1 of 7 from the field and 0 of 4 from three-point range on Friday against the 76ers. Allen is 9 of 52 (17.3 percent) from the field and 3 of 29 (10.3 percent) from three-point range in the month of January.

STAT OF THE DAY II: Chris Bosh's scoring average is back up to 16.0 points per game after leading the Heat in scoring in the past two games. Bosh followed up his 26-point effort against the Wizards on Wednesday with 25 points against the 76ers.

STAT OF THE DAY III: The Heat's 101-86 victory against the Sixers marked the fifth time the Heat has had at least 30 assists in a game this season.

Friday, January 17, 2014

LeBron's birthday message to Wade stirs talk of looming offseason decision

PHILADELPHIA — LeBron James’ contract status at the end of the season is beginning to skew the narrative of just about everything involving the Heat and that includes seemingly innocuous messages on social media.

James posted a birthday message to teammate Dwyane Wade on Instagram on Friday that sent the Internet and basketball fans and writers into speculation overdrive. Wade turned 32 years old on Friday.

“Happy Bday to my running mate, homie, brother, and most of all straight up friend!” James said on Instagram. “The friendship we've created our rookie year at pre draft camp was pure and that's why we stuck together from that point on! Obviously didn't know we would eventually become teammates and do the things we've done so far.

“I came to Miami for 2 reasons. To play with [you] and to win championships and I can't thank [you] enough for the sacrifice you've made since I arrived homie! No matter what happens in the future we stuck together like brothers for life. And no matter what they say, [you] still a BAD Mutha-Shut-Yo-Mouth out there on that court!”

James then called Wade “old as dirt!”

It was a nice message between friends, but conspiracy theorists who believe James might be leaving Miami after this season zeroed in on one portion in particular: “No matter what happens in the future...”

James can opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent. He can also opt out and re-sign with the Heat for more money. James could also remain under contract. Whatever he does, James has decided not to address the offseason until the offseason and also not to worry about what people think about every little thing he puts on Twitter and Instagram.

“For one, I’m the one guy who cannot worry about my everyday comments or everyday life on what other people think,” James said. “That’s the last thing that I will do. I’ve been through this before, so I’ve got to live my life every day and I can’t worry about what people are going to say about some of the things that I do. That’s not how we live.”

James said his birthday message to Wade was “more focused on our friendship and where life can take us and that’s what it all comes down to. We’re connected at the hip no matter where our lives take us. Happy birthday to D-Wade.”

Previewing Heat vs. 76ers: Heat favored big despite skid; Opponent field-goal percentage at heart of team's problem

WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

TV/RADIO: Sun Sports/FM 104.3, AM 790 and WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

SERIES: Heat is 49-51 against the Sixers.

LINE: Heat by 10 1/2.


Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 1.22.48 PM      Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 1.23.02 PM      Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 1.23.16 PM

 Heat 27-11/Second in the East///76ers 13-25/13th in East.

TRENDS/HEAT: 11-8 on the road; 5-5 in last 10; Lost three; 17-9 against East; 3-5 against Atlantic Division

TRENDS/76ers: 8-11 at home; 5-5 in last 10; Won one; 8-14 against East; 4-4 against Southeast Division

INJURY REPORT/HEAT: Greg Oden (knee) questionable, Shane Battier (quad) probable, Mario Chalmers (Achilles tendinitis) questionable, Dwyane Wade (knee) questionable, Chris Andersen (knee) questionable.

INJURY REPORT/76ers: Lavoy Allen (right calf) is a game-time decision, Arnett Moultrie (left ankle) and Nerlens Noel (left knee) are out. 

OF NOTE: The Heat, which has lost three straight games, hasn’t lost four games in a row since a five-game losing streak during the 2010-11 season. Dwyane Wade (knee), Greg Oden (knee), Chris Andersen (knee) and Mario Chalmers (Achilles tendon) are all game-time decisions. The Sixers snapped a four-game losing streak on Wednesday against the Bobcats. Philadelphia defeated the Heat in its season opener and then started the season 3-0 before losing 21 of its next 26 games. Sixers rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams has scored 20-plus points in three of the past four games after doing so three times his previous 12 games. He is averaging 21.3 ppg on 50.0 percent shooting over the past four games after averaging 13.0 ppg on 37.1 percent shooting the five games prior. 

STAT OF THE DAY: The Heat is ranked 27th in the league in opponent field-goal percentage. From the middle of November to the middle of December, the Heat was ranked 11th in the NBA in that category.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Troubling defensive trends continue for the Heat as Wade warns of a slippery slope of losing

Let's just say it. The Heat doesn't seem to care right now.

Not even on the first night Greg Oden has played in a regular-season game in four years could the Heat muster the energy or interest to make it respectable. The Heat's 114-97 loss to the Wizards marked the first time the Heat has lost three-straight game in two years. That those three losses came against teams all with losing records tells you everything you need to know about where the Heat is at this point in what is, obviously, the most pointless of regular seasons.

Oh, but there's more proof. So much more...

The Wizards led by 34 points ... IN THE FIRST HALF.

The Wizards had 16 fast-break points ... IN THE FIRST QUARTER.

This after the Nets outscored the Heat 17-2 in second-chance points.

And after the Knicks, you know, won a game.

I wrote in my game story that it felt like the Joel Anthony Memorial Protest Game, but that might be giving too much credit to Anthony. Like LeBron James said after the game, it appears the Heat just isn't mentally engaged in the season anymore.

“It's not physical," James said. "It’s more mental than anything. Whether it’s mental fatigue, or lack of, not confidence, but lack of focus and it’s all trickling down to our play on the floor.

“We’ve got to figure this out, obviously. It’s a good test for us. We love adversity more than anything, and we’re definitely at that point. And my damn voice is gone and I got to try to find it, too.”

Dwyane Wade had eight points, going 4 of 11 from the field and afterwards tweeted that he needed to play better.

"There's nothing else we can do," Wade said. "We don't like to lose but like I said, you've got to catch it before it gets too bad, because it can. You can turn around and be in a seven-game losing streak.

"It's because you're out there, you're pressing too much, stressing too much on every play. You've just got to try to understand, get back and watch the film, learn what you did wrong from the game and try to correct it, correct your wrongs, come into the next one and try to put it behind you."

Of course, Wade doesn't need to study game film for very long to figure out what's wrong with the team.

"They had 43 points in the first quarter," Wade said. "That's remarkable."



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