April 19, 2014
Q: Please ask Pat Riley or Erik Spoelstra why Michael Jordan's basketball jersey is still hanging at AmericanAirlines Arena. -- Stuart.
Q: It doesn't matter that the Heat lost the two tiebreaker drawings and fell to No. 26 in the first round of the draft. They're going to trade the pick, anyway. -- K.O.
A: I'm not so sure in these times of the "repeater" luxury tax that the Heat won't come to value picks more than in the past. The locked-in draft scale provides some of the best salary value in the NBA, especially for a pick at the end of the first round.
Q: Are you sure Greg Oden isn't going to start against Charlotte? -- Ed.
A: With Erik Spoelstra's wheel of lineups, I'm not sure of anything. But if he was thinking about starting Greg on Sunday, I think he at least would have given him the start in Wednesday's season finale against the 76ers. I just can't see banishing Udonis Haslem back to the bench at this stage.
April 18, 2014
Q: What makes everyone so sure Dwyane Wade is completely re-healed and back good as new for 16 wins? -- Mike.
A: A reasonable point, considering he only returned this past Saturday and has been limited to a maximum of 24 minutes per game. And I agree that all this talk of Dwyane being "back" still has to be seen on the court. Look, he was terrific in the first half in Atlanta, when he shot 7 of 7, and was brilliant in the first quarter against the 76ers. But that's also against a pair of teams with losing records. The results were not nearly as encouraging in the loss in Washington. Figure on LeBron James and Chris Bosh trying to get Dwyane going, just as they did in Atlanta. But Dwyane also will have to work on the defensive end against Gerald Henderson, whose physicality could have an impact. But just as Erik Spoelstra says about his 3-point shooters, you have to pay attention to Dwyane at all times. No matter what percent he stands, he stands as a threat. The Bobcats recognize as much.
Q: Assuming we play Nets in the second round, do you think Brooklyn really matches up well or the Heat weren't really taking them seriously during regular season? -- Jeffrey.
A: Beyond pausing to warn that it's still a case of first things first, with the Heat opening against the Bobcats, and the Nets still having to get past the Raptors, I think this talk of Brooklyn's regular season dominance of the Heat is significantly overstated. Three of Brooklyn's victories in their 4-0 sweep were by one point, with the other game going to overtime. At best, you can argue the teams are evenly matched. And that Heat will be the ones with homecourt advantage.
Q: Hi, Ira. Is it fair to say it "seems" the Heat gambled and lost, after losing the No. 1 seed, trying to get the easiest road to the Finals? Brooklyn outmaneuvered the Heat and now it seems they may face each other in the second round. -- Giovanni.
A: The Heat didn't "gamble," they just weren't good enough or healthy enough to win the games they needed to win to secure the top seed, which remained a priority until it was out of their hands. Where the Heat "gambled" was taking teams such as Utah and Sacramento and Boston and Detroit and New York and Philadelphia too lightly. If the Heat do re-repeat with another NBA title, there are going to be a bunch of lottery teams saying, "Hey, we were good enough to beat the eventual champions." It is doubtful any quality team had as many rancid losses in 2013-14.
April 17, 2014
Q: Not only did Jason Kidd throw soda on the court to get a timeout this season, he coached his team into tanking a few games at the end of the season. I hope the Heat send the Nets packing this season. I hope The Big Three are taking note, because Kidd and the Nets (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Company) are basically sending a message that they want to play the Heat. Mason Plumlee, I think LeBron will block a few of your shots! -- Stuart.
A: Well, we'll see soon enough whether it was genius or folly. But the Heat have to get in line to be offended, with the Nets clearly seeing a first-round path of least resistance through Toronto. Wonder what the exchange rate right about now is for respect of Kidd & Co. north of the border? Look, Toronto is one of my favorite cities in the world, and a second round there in the spring would be delightful. But Jason Kidd's job is not to win friends, it's to create the best possible odds for his team to win a title. He apparently likes those odds against the Raptors and Heat. We shall see soon enough.