JUNE 19, 2013
Q: This win took everything the Heat had and an act of God. What a win. -- Chet.
Q: I think the most important adjustments Spoelstra made was not playing Norris Cole on Tuesday night. As good as he can be sometimes, he couldn't be trusted at this stage. And big guts of Spo to bench Udonis Haslem. The loyalty could only go so far. -- Moshe.
A: Such has been the challenge for Spoelstra all season, with almost too many moving parts for Spoelstra to choose from. But that's what desperation does, it makes you opt for desperate measures. Getting Chris Andersen's energy, especially at home, was critical. This is when you tighten to the best eight and ride it out. It will be interesting, though, to see if Tuesday's fatigue is still evident Thursday. You did, after all, have LeBron playing 49:46 on Tuesday and Ray 40:46.
Q: Where does Tuesday's game rank for you? -- Martin.
A: I appreciate how you can get lost in the moment, but I can't recall many with more twists and meaning and moments in my 25 years than this one. I mean, I'm still not sure what happened. One more Spurs free throw, one fewer Heat 3-pointer, and there wouldn't be a season still to finish. For that matter, who knows what would have happened if LeBron put the headband back on? Wow.
JUNE 18, 2013
Q: Ira, one of the ESPN writers said the Heat are "smug" and that's the reason they're in trouble. Is this everyone jumping on again, like they did in the Dallas series? Did "smug" hit all those 3-pointers, and many were contested, by the Spurs? -- Steve.
A: First, it wasn't just any writer, it was Kevin Arnovitz, who spent two seasons in South Florida covering the Heat and is acutely aware of the mindset of this team. And he has a point, in that the Heat often make it harder on themselves than it needs to be by failing to recognize the challenge at hand. The Spurs are good, very good. And they have a coach who might be the best in the business. This is not a team you can take shortcuts against, and yet that's what several Heat players have attempted, a major reason for this 3-2 deficit. When motivated, the Heat can play with anyone. But the mere presence of the Spurs in this series should have been motivation enough. The question now, even at this late date, is whether the reality truly has hit home.
Q: Isn't this what the Heat played hard for all season? Win your games at home and win it all. Why is everyone freaking out? -- Jason.
A: Because everyone thought there should have been some sort of "Easy Button" along the way. And because the Heat have made it harder on themselves than might have been necessary, actually having the nerve to merely go through the motions at times during the playoffs. Lesson learned? We'll see Tuesday, and perhaps Thursday.
Q: The 27-game win streak may be coming back to haunt this team, especially the way they worked in some of those comebacks during the streak. -- Teddy.
A: I think what has haunted this team, and continues to haunt this team, is the burden of being the Big Three, much of it self-created. There is an ease of simplicity with the Spurs. They play. They win. They go home. They don't try to be anyone or anything. You should see the hokey commercials that Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan appear in on local San Antonio television. It's like they're produced on their backyards.
JUNE 17, 2013
Q: Mike Miller being in the starting lineup is not working at all. You can't have a guy on floor with poor defense who won't shoot, right? -- Mike.
A: Exactly. You can't space the floor with a shooter who won't shoot. The Spurs have grown wise to that. And watching the Spurs line up Mike defensively is sort of like watching the Spurs line up Ray Allen. No, Erik Spoelstra has created a monster by giving new life to Manu Ginobili. Now he has to create something of his own. Going back to Udonis Haslem isn't the answer, since there suddenly is no one for him to guard. And starting Allen would only leave the Heat at a greater defensive deficit. No, it has to be all or nothing with Shane Battier, which adds another defensive component and someone, who, unlike Miller, is now taking and making 3-pointers. The Heat won last season's title with Battier on the floor at the outset of the most important Finals games. It's time to revisit those possibilities.