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36 posts from February 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Steve Kerr says disdain of Big Three Heat was "insane"

It wasn't long ago that the Heat was the greatest show in the sport, and maybe even in all of sports.

Now the Warriors are.

And yet, something's significantly different.

Everyone seems to love Golden State, even as the Warriors are walloping the league -- 50-5 entering Wednesday's game in Miami -- whereas most of the country was shaking its fists at LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, during their time together.

"Yeah. It's definitely more positive," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "I was covering that Heat team with TNT, was here all the time. It seemed like the negativity came simply because LeBron left Cleveland, and people didn't like the idea that it was a superteam. And Bosh left Toronto. Like somehow they were cheating or something. Which was insane to look at it that way. Everybody was free to do what they wanted as free agents. And why wouldn't they do what they did? It was special. I think with our team, there's none of that negativity because the team was basically homegrown, with the core of the team mostly drafted or traded for, and it wasn't like this Superteam pulling together."

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli were all Warriors draft choices. Andrew Bogut was added in a trade for another drafted player, Monta Ellis.

"And also Steph, you know, he looks like he's 12 years old," Kerr said. "And every kid in America has his jersey. So he's a likable guy."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dwyane Wade on Big 3 Heat vs. current Warriors: "Would have done well."

It took Dwyane Wade a couple of seconds to consider.

How would the 2012-13 Miami Heat team, by far the best of the "Big Three" teams, the one that went 66-16, have fared against the current Golden State Warriors, who come to Miami at 50-5?

With a starting lineup of Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, LeBron James, Wade and Mario Chalmers, and the likes of Ray Allen, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, Norris Cole -- and occasionally Mike Miller -- coming off the bench?

"Um....," Wade said. "We would have done well. We would have done well. The reason is, the ability of LeBron to be able to guard Steph. It would have been a different kind of look. OK, so, I think with that, we would have been good. CB can match up with..."

Draymond Green?

"Yeah, because we were playing with CB at the five back then, right?" Wade said. "So if we did need to, 'Bron could match up with Draymond. So, I think we would have done well. I think we would have done well." 

That Heat team, unlike the current one, shot and made a lot of three-pointers -- though nothing like the Warriors do.

"I think we would have done well," Wade said. "But, I mean, they're (bleeping) good. That's one thing, they're good. Can't take away from that." 

The Warriors believe they'll win every time they play.

"Yeah, we had that," Wade said. "We're down 20, five minutes left. All right, we got it." 

Wade laughed.

"We got this," he said.

And if the Heat started the modern smallball craze, the Warriors have taken it to....

"Another level," Wade said. "Yeah, that's how it's supposed to go, right? (Every) generation." 

Luol Deng takes finger into his own hands, returns vs. Pacers

In 45 games prior to the All-Star break, Luol Deng had one double-digit rebounding game.

In the three games since?

He has three.

Monday, in a 101-93 win against the Indiana Pacers, he had 16, the third-highest total of his 12-year career, including five offensive rebounds. That gave him 11 offensive rebounds and 26 defensive rebounds in the three games, all wins, all without Chris Bosh.

"Lu has been fantastic," Erik Spoelstra said. 

He's been unleashed, playing as a speed "power" forward.

"If you see, the role is different," Deng said. "I'm definitely cutting more. I'm at the top of the key. I'm on the side. Before, early in the year, at the three spot, you're more in the corner. I'm just being more who I am. As the game goes on, even with the rebounding, I'm just moving. And I know, especially when a big is guarding me, my mindset is, I'm just going to keep on moving. I always feel like I'm in great shape."

Deng has always felt that rebounding was an underrated part of his game.

"I get a lot of putbacks," Deng said. "Even in the past, I've done that. And it's just from moving. Maybe I'm cutting when someone is taking a shot, so I'm right there. A lot of times when I'm spacing and I'm out there, the only thing I can do it get back." 

Deng didn't shoot well Monday, starting 1-for-9 before finishing 5-of-18. Still, he was needed down the stretch and in overtime, which is why he felt he needed to return after injuring his right middle finger at the end of the fourth quarter. He was reaching for a loose ball, and when the ball was pulled away, his finger slammed into the floor.

Double dislocation.

"This part was on top of this part, and this one was sideways," Deng said. "So what I tried to do was, I tried to put this one in first, and I couldn't. So I went to (trainer) Jay (Sabol), and he was like, no, you've got to be careful, because if it's broken, you can make it worse. So when I came back in the hallway, I said, I can't wait. So I grabbed it right here. And I pulled it. And when I pulled it out, both of them went in. .... I just pulled it forward. You know what it is? My mindset is, the more I wait, the more it's going to hurt."

Deng showed that he dislocated another finger before, and did the same thing.

But he's not with it now. 

He said, because the finger is loose now, he'll need to wear tape going forward. 

That, though, shouldn't bother him too much -- he had six rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime Monday, while wearing it Monday.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Dwyane Wade returns to Heat's starting lineup, discusses his fit in the offense and why no one is waiting on Chris Bosh

After missing the first two games after the All-Star Break and seeing his teammates average 114.5 points in a pair of wins over the Hawks and Wizards, Dwyane Wade is back in the Heat's starting lineup Monday against the Pacers.

Wade said he got "very good news" from the MRI on his left knee and had two good days of workouts in preparing for his return. 

What was wrong? 

"I still don't know," Wade said. "Just 13 years in the NBA I guess."

The Heat have played like a different team without Wade and teammate Chris Bosh. They've raced up and down the floor behind point guard Goran Dragic and lit up the scoreboard.

"It's been fun to watch," Wade said. "I can't forget the defense because the defense is what starts everything, allows our offense to run. If the ball is going through the basket, you can't run. With the defense those guys have been playing, getting out, it's been allowing people to be free of the mind and just play. It's been great to watch. I love to see those guys get these opportunity and really seize it when I'm sure a lot of people didn't think they could. They did a helluva a job these two games. Their confidence going forward in the second half of the season is what we're going to need to put ourselves into a [good] playoff position."

Monday's game against the Pacers is big for that reason. Indiana owns a 2-1 lead and if they beat the Heat they'll own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Wade, though, said his return had nothing to do with that.

"When I was ready to go I was going to go," he said. "I was just trying to get out there. I didn't want to miss that many games this year at all. I'm a little bit under my quota of what I said was acceptable. So, I want to get there."

There's a feeling though the Heat, the second-lowest scoring teams in the league before the break, is better equipped to play a fast-paced style. Wade, who once ran up and down the court when LeBron James was his teammate, said he has no problem playing that style again. But he says it all starts with defense.

"It's nothing out of the ordinary. It's just they're getting stops," Wade said. "You get stops, you get out and go. I don't know why [pause]. I don't walk up the court. Someone has the ball and I'm up the court, they want to throw it up, fine. If not [pause]. It's all overthought, over-processed.

"These guys are just playing the style of basketball they needed to play to win two games and we want to continue to play that way. When they don't... what I am is a safety valve on this team. You need someone to go to -- that's why they pay me the big bucks, when CB is not here. But outside of that, I want my guys to be aggressive. I want them to get out. I want them to go. I want Goran Dragic to be Goran Dragic. I love it. If that's not going, if we're not getting stops, then you've got the old safety valve."

And how have the Heat held up so well without Chris Bosh?

"I think the one thing is we're not waiting to get the word on him," Wade said. "We're approaching this going forward with who we have in this locker room, whoever is ready to go. CB's been around. I talked to him. The way his personality is, what he gives to the team, no one has to worry about him. We check up on him. That's our brother. But we know he's going to do everything possible to get back on the court with us.

"[But we] can't wait on that. Just like the last two games, they couldn't wait on me. They went out there and played. I think a lot of people forget that out of 450 odd players in the league, that's what we are -- NBA players. Guys can play basketball, especially giving them an opportunity to do something a little different, outside of what they [normally] have to do. [There's] no waiting on CB. No one can replace CB, but guys have their own strengths. You've seen it the last two games."

Josh Richardson's length, defensive versatility could help shorthanded Heat down the stretch

Everybody knows the Heat has one of the league's best rookie defenders in Justise Winslow

What some people might just be discovering now after the All-Star break is that second round pick Josh Richardson has some of that defensive DNA the Heat loves, too.

The 6-6, 200-pound, lanky 22-year-old rookie out of Tennessee played a season-high 36 minutes off the bench in Saturday's blowout win over the Wizards and made three stellar blocks at the rim his teammates and coaches took note of. 

"He played 36 minutes the other night and it was hard not to notice his four saved possessions in transition," coach Erik Spoelstra said Monday after shootaround. "Everybody knows it. The bench was talking about it. The team was talking about it this morning. That earns you more minutes. That's the type of style and DNA we want out of our guys."

Richardson, who played in only 23 games and averaged just 11.5 minutes prior to the All-Star break, has played 55 minutes combined over the Heat's last two games with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade out. He's averaged 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists and has gone plus-18 on the court.

Richardson's ability to guard point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, and on occassion power forwards (mostly on switches) is his real value to the team. His long arms make it difficult on shooters and it's ultimately the biggest reason why the Heat drafted him.

"I was like that in college all four years," Richardson said Monday of guarding the one through four positions on the floor. "It's not any different now."

Including his last two games, there's only been seven instances this season when Richardson has played 20 minutes or more. Four of those games were when Wade was sat out.

Richardson's defensive numbers are slightly below average overall. Opponents are shooting 0.4 percent better when he guards them (44 percent defensive field goal percentage) than their average (43.7 percent). 

But his length helps tremendously the further those shooters get away from the basket. He's holding opponents to 34.3 percent shooting (-3.2% differential) on shots greater than 15 feet and three-point shooters to 34.1 percent (-3.0% differential).


Dwyane Wade will be a game-time decision Monday vs. Pacers

Dwyane Wade's name was back in the Heat's projected lineup for Monday's game against the Pacers.

But the 12-time All-Star, who felt discomfort in the back of his left knee last Wednesday late in practice and has missed the Heat's last two games, will still be a game-time decision coach, Erik Spoelstra said.

"He's feeling better," Spoelstra said. "He was able to get through a workout yesterday. He was able to go through [Monday morning's shootaround]. But he still has to go through his process before the game."

Barring an unexpected setback, odds are Wade will be back in the starting lineup for the Heat. Miami is 4-1 this season when Wade hasn't played and has averaged 101.2 points offensively when he's been out. 

How much of the Heat's fast-paced offensive style in Friday and Saturday's wins still be incorporated with Wade in the lineup?

"This pace that we've been trying to develop that we think is a better fit for our aggressiveness, this started when Dwyane was here," Spoelstra said. "So he adds to that. That type of versatility he brings, we need it. But if he can't go tonight, then the guys aren't feeling sorry for themselves. We'll forge ahead."

> A Heat spokesman said Monday during shootaround the team still does not have an update on Chris Bosh. He remains out with a blood clot in his left calf and spent last week seeking further evaluation on if and when he might be able to return this season. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Dwyane Wade discusses the discomfort in his left knee and why he's being cautious

ATLANTA – The Miami Heat knew it was going to be without Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside on this quick road trip to face the Hawks.

The team wasn't expecting to be without Dwyane Wade, too.

The Heat’s 12-time All-Star and co-captain was ruled out for only the fourth time this season Friday with soreness in the back of his left knee. Wade said the injury happened toward the end of Wednesday’s practice and he was hoping rest and treatment would ease the pain and his concerns. But it didn’t.

“I feel OK… it's just a little uncomfortable,” he said about an hour before Friday’s tipoff. “I gave it a couple days to see if it would go away. It didn't. So I just want to go back [to Miami] and get another second opinion. But it's nothing that I'm like overly concerned about. It's just some soreness I haven't felt in a while. So I just want to make sure it's good.

“It's the back of my knee, not the front of my knee. I just want to make sure it's nothing. If it was the front of my knee, tendinitis, I'd be playing. But it's the back, so we’ll get back tomorrow, get with our doctors, get an MRI on it, ease my mind or go from there."

Wade said the injury “came out of nowhere.”

“I turned to run and then I felt it,” he said. “That's the part about it. It wasn't [anything] like I jumped and came down and felt it. That's why my mind is at ease from that standpoint. I didn't actually hurt it. Hopefully, it's just a little irritation and things like that. Hopefully, it will be fine."

Wade has had a history of knee issues, but his knees have been relatively healthy over the last year and a half. He lost 20 pounds, hired a new trainer in the offseason and got himself in better shape. Before being scratched from Friday night’s starting lineup, he had only missed two other games this season for injury. Both of those were because of shoulder discomfort.

Wade said his knees feel fine when he’s resting. He feels a sharp pain, he said, when he squats or tries to turn on it.

“For me when it comes to my knee area, I'm a little bit more [cautious],” he said. “I played through my first hamstring the whole game. I said I was going to be fine, play through it. But when it comes to something like this I'm going to be more cautious. I’m not overly concerned, but just want to make sure I'm doing the right things I need to. I don't want to go out here and try to push it and push myself further back or anything like that. I know there's a long season left for us and it's important for us. I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can so when I'm back on the court I'm doing everything I can."

The Heat dressed nine healthy players for Friday’s game. Center Hassan Whiteside, suspended for Friday’s game for his flagrant 2 foul against the Spurs right before the All-Star break, will be back with the team Saturday night when they host the Wizards.

Said Wade: "It's never a good time at all [to be hurt], but if you say it's a bad time -- this is a bad time."

Wade a game-time decision Friday for shorthanded Heat; Dragic ready to 'be more myself, more attack mode'

ATLANTA -- Dwyane Wade went through shoot around Friday morning at Georgia Tech's practice facility, coach Erik Spoelstra said, but remains a game-time decision for tonight's game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Wade, whom the Heat said would meet with the media pregame, said Thursday in Miami he was dealing with soreness in his knee. 

"Going through practice today, behind my knee got a little sore," Wade said Thursday. "So [Thursday's practice] has just been more precaution, not try to make it flare up even more. Do a lot of treatment today, and hopefully be fine tomorrow."

The Heat are already without leading scorer Chris Bosh (blood clot) and center Hassan Whiteside, who is serving a one-game suspension. Right before Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline, Miami shipped off newly acquired point guard Brian Roberts to Portland and forward Jarnell Stokes to New Orleans in order to get under the luxury tax threshold. Stokes was already released by the Pelicans Friday morning.

So, the Heat (29-24) are essentially down to 10 available players tonight against the Hawks. Being shorthanded, Spoelstra said, is something the Heat got used to anyway in the first half when Goran Dragic and others were out.

"We feel we have a chance regardless of CB and Hassan being out," he said. "That's what we've been dealing with anyway for the last six weeks. We've found ways to win games on the road with guys missing. It's more about your mentality of really showing a collective grit."


If Wade, Miami's second-leading scorer (18.7 points per game) doesn't play Friday, a heavy burden figures to fall on Dragic to score more than he has all season. It already was going to be that way anyway with Bosh out. 

Dragic, averaging just 12.2 points per game (down from 16.6 he averaged last year after being acquired from Phoenix), said Friday he's ready to be more aggressive on the offensive end. 

"Coach wants me to push the ball, try to score more," he said. "It's not only me. It's everybody. [Luol Deng], Gerald [Green]. Bosh gave us 20 points a game, nine rebounds and I don't know how many assists. We need to make it up and just be ourselves, play our game and play good defense like we did in the first 50 games, and now try to find open shots for other guys."

Dragic said he knew the number of his shot attempts were going to go down this season with Bosh back in the lineup (the two never played together last year after Bosh was hospitalized with clots in his lungs). But, Dragic also admitted the offensive system with Bosh, him and Wade was "different than what I expected."

"Of course, when you look my shots went down, my numbers went down. But like I said, I was not worried about that because we were winning," Dragic said. "Of course you need to make everybody happy -- especially CB, D-Wade -- everybody needs to get involved. I was expecting that. I didn't come here to average 25, 20 points a game. I came here just to be in games. Of course now when CB is out, I need to step in and try to be more myself and score."

Dragic has scored 20 points or more only three times this season: in wins over the Magic and Suns and in a loss at home to the Wizards. He's taken at least 10 shots in 32 of his 44 games, but his overall field goal attempts (10.6 per game) were down before the All-Star break compared to last year in the second half when he played with the Heat and Bosh was out (12.4 shots per game).

"Now I can be more myself, more attack mode and try to score," Dragic said of what he'll have to give the Heat with Bosh out. "Like I said, just play, be loose and try to help the team. Before it was different. We had CB. He's an All-Star, D-Wade. There were so many players who could score. We had a system so we had to play like that."

Dragic insists he can play in that system with Wade and Bosh and be effective. He also said he felt like strides were being made as the Heat was nearing the All-Star break. 

> Spoelstra offered no health updates on Bosh, who was in Boston meeting with doctors Thursday.

> What did Spoelstra think of the Heat's moves to shed salary before the trade deadline and get under the luxury tax threshold instead of adding pieces for a playoff run? 

"In terms of the business side of basketball, considering everything, the moves we made yesterday were organizationally responsible," he said. "Those absolutely were responsible to make. That doesn't mean any of those moves are easy. But, considering everything right now, flexibility is very important to us and we have that flexibility."

> With Miami shorthanded in the frontcourt is Amar'e Stoudemire ready to play 40 minutes Friday?

"Man, I haven't played 40 minutes in forever," he said. "I don't know if I've got it in me. We'll see."

Stoudemire hasn't played more than 30 minutes in a game since he was with the Knicks back on Dec. 18, 2014.

Since joining the Heat's starting lineup on Jan. 22, he's averaged 7.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 19.6 minutes in those 10 starts. He hasn't played more than 25 minutes, 36 seconds he gave the Heat in Chicago Jan. 25.


Justise Winslow ready to tackle the challenges ahead for the Heat after the All-Star break

ATLANTA -- Even if you are young and healthy and just 19 years old like Justise Winslow, the grind of an NBA season can take its toll.

And the Heat rookie, who turns 20 on March 26, was feeling that grind all over his body before the All-Star break.

"I was definitely not 100 percent going into the break," said Winslow, who missed just three games in the first half with an ankle injury and ranked fifth among all rookies in minutes played (27.8 per game).

"The break was much needed."

At 6-7, 225 pounds, the Heat ended up using Winslow a lot more at power forward than most expected -- especially down the stretch of games when Hassan Whiteside would go to the bench and Chris Bosh would slide over to center. In fact, no one has played more fourth quarter minutes this season for the Heat than Winslow (9.1 per game).

Now, with Bosh back on blood thinners and no one quite sure when the Heat's leading scorer will return, Winslow's role and overall minutes are expected to expand in the second half. Tuesday in practice, he ran with both the first and second team units and it's likely he could start a lot more games in the second half of the season if Bosh doesn't return.

Starting games, Winslow admitted, was a bit of a challenge for him earlier this season when he was pressed into that duty for three games. And the numbers prove it. He was minus-28 as a starter and plus-67 off the bench.

"Coming off the bench you can get a feel for the game and I think that's a huge advantage," Winslow said. "You know whose hot or how they're playing certain defenses. When you start, you're kind of trying to figure all that out. So when you come off the bench it kind of makes it a little easier to get into the flow of the game.

"[As a starter] I was winded at first. I was coming out too hard. By the third [game], I kind of figured it out. That's how it is every game, both teams are trying to figure the flow of the game. It took me a while to kind of figure that out."

Defensively, Winslow remains one of the best rookie defenders in the league. He's holding opponents two percent under their normal shooting percentage and 41.7 percent overall. It's the offensive side of the game he's still working to improve.

Although he averaged only 5.7 points per game in the first half (19th among rookies) and shot 41.8 percent from the field and 25.8 percent from three-point range, his shooting and offensive production improved over the Heat's final eight games before the break (7.0 points, 54.8 percent from the field) after coach Erik Spoelstra implemented some offensive changes beginning with a game in Brooklyn Jan. 26.

Winslow said Spoelstra has been urging him and others like Goran Dragic to grab the rebound "and push it" like he did last year as a freshman at Duke. Now, with Bosh out, Winslow is eager to do a little more of that to help make up for the scoring punch the Heat will be missing with their leader out.

"One person isn't going to make it all up. It's going to be a collective effort," Winslow said. "Three points here, five points there. It's not going to be one person that makes up 19 points or whatever CB averages. It's about everyone stepping up. He was kind of the voice on the floor. So, everybody has to communicate better. We just have to find ways to pick up some of the things CB did. 

"The whole game now without CB it's going to be really tough. But I'm sure we're going to figure out a way."

> Another player for the Heat who will have to see his role expand in the second half is Josh McRoberts.

Dwyane Wade said Tuesday with Bosh out the Heat are going to need more scoring from McRoberts in the second half. That's something McRoberts has never really been comfortable doing in his career as a player. He prefers to set others up.

More than anything, though, the Heat just need McRoberts to stay healthy and on the floor. He's missed 93 of a possible 135 games the Heat have played since he was signed to a four-year, $22.6 million deal in the summer of 2014. 

Asked Tuesday if he feels the need to step up his game in the second half so he's not considered a bust, McRoberts shook his head.

"No," he said. "People are going to think what they're going to think one way or another. I'm never going to be a big numbers guy. If that's all people care about, that's never going to change much.

"For me, sure you want everybody to love you. But I just want to come out here and help my team. I didn't choose to be injured. I think that's what people think. I'm more frustrated than everybody else is with being hurt, and with how things have gone. I'm just excited to get back out here and help us get some wins."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chris Andersen, by any name, made his mark in Miami

You'll likely remember the fun and the frivolity -- the preening, the flapping, the soaring, the slamming, the razzing (of reporters like his one), and the rather scary staring. 

And, sure, you'll remember his unique appearance too -- the mohawk he was always changing, the beard he was always pruning, the tattoos he was always adding.

But, on the day that Chris Andersen was sent to Memphis in a three-team trade that saved luxury tax and netted point guard Brian Roberts, you might want to remember the winning most.

That's what Chris "Birdman" -- or "Birdzilla" or "Zilla" for short -- Andersen did, from the moment he arrived in Miami.

He won.

And he played a major part in it. 

I'll always remember the practice in Portland on January 9, 2012. The Heat had looked lifeless of late, losing two of three, getting bullied by East rivals Chicago and Indiana. A sweaty, shirtless LeBron James, yelling at his teammates to run sprints with him after practice at the Rose Garden. And later, when asked about getting help, especially up front, James didn't want to hear it. 

"This is who we have," James said. "Ain’t nobody outside. … As a collective group, we’ve got to figure it out."

As it turned out, there was someone outside who could help -- a player the Heat had been investigating for months, because of some alleged off-the-court issues. Comfortable that charges against Chris Andersen were completely unfounded, Miami brought him in on a 10-day contract, and then another. And then the Heat couldn't afford to let him go, because he'd become so essential, to the team's spirit and success.

And Andersen, as it turned out, was the player Miami needed, someone who could catch and finish at the rim, especially on lob passes from James and Dwyane Wade. That gave Miami the vertical spacing they required. He changed the defensive look too, patrolling the paint and protecting the rim. Mostly, though, he  changed the atmosphere. Not long after he signed, the Heat, which has been dragging, was suddenly Harlem Shaking. He brought life to the locker room, which was full of straight-laced guys, all of whom seemed to geniunely love him. He brought a buzz to the arena, and the fans loved him even more. 

The true testament to Andersen's impact, though, can be measured this way:

Miami was 39-3 in the 42 games in which he played during the 2012-13 season. That included a 27-game winning streak, in which he was one of the core four off the bench, with Shane Battier, Norris Cole and Ray Allen. And, in 2013-14, I had him third on my Sixth Man Award ballot. 

He became an inspiration to many, something even he recognized.

This is what he told me after contributing to a Game 2 win in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals against Indiana, from a story that originally posted on Bleacher Report:

"Oh yeah," Andersen said. "One hundred percent. People always tell me. Everybody ends up going through some tough times in their life. And, you know, to use mine as a pedigree to get back to a positive lifestyle..."

He paused.

"It's an honor that people, what do you say, they look up to me, and my story, and my past, and my path, and they use it in their lives to get ahead and be positive," Andersen said.

And they're seeing him continue to do it, on the highest level, as he did again Tuesday.

"One hundred percent," Andersen said. "I don't really think about it too much. But, like I said, it's just humbling to know that people out there who have had the same kind of issues, the same problems, have used my story to help them get through their life." 

And while he wasn't as impactful either of the past couple of seasons, he remained a positive teammate until the end. He knew the Heat was looking to move him -- which is why he was rushing to finish painting his condo -- but he was supportive of those who had supplanted him on the floor. Even though, before he became just a "contract," he was a major contributor. 

The Grizzlies don't play again in Miami this season. 

But if Andersen plays anywhere next season, he'll have earned the cheers he receives whenever he returns to American Airlines Arena.



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