Q: What was Erik Spoelstra thinking about starting Toney Douglas He barely had even played. -- Wilhelm.
Q: Dwyane Wade is to the regular season as Allen Iverson is to practice. I mean, it's practice, man. -- B.W.
A: But this was different. This wasn't the knee. This was a migraine, something that has been an issue with Wade throughout his career. What's interesting now is that if Dwyane sits out Wednesday against Golden State then league's past protocol would indicate that bypassing playing in All-Star weekend shouldn't be an issue, should Wade so choose.
Q: The Heat's lack of depth is showing. The Heat no longer can milk the excuse of coasting. -- J.K.
A: I don't know if it's lack of depth, or lack of confidence in that depth, with Spoelstra no longer playing Michael Beasley, no longer utilizing Udonis Haslem and often having James Jones and Roger Mason Jr. inactive. It was, to a degree, even a surprise that Rashard Lewis got minutes Tuesday in Phoenix, considering the way he hardly has been utilized. It would seem that the Heat have to make a decision of whether too much of their depth currently is doing nothing more than taking up space. But Norris Cole was solid off the bench against the Suns, as was Chris Andersen. As for Greg Oden, he's looking more and more like a specialist, rather than necessarily a rotation presence.
February 11, 2014
Q: I would love to see Greg Oden get an opportunity to get the ball more and try post plays. He seems to be showing fast improvement and he has a great inherent talent. -- Francisco, Royal Palm Beach.
A: Actually, what I would like to see is Greg get the opportunity to defend more post plays. The Heat likely will never go to a post-centric offense with Oden, not with all their other scorers. But what the Heat have to find out is whether Oden can defend the post without foul trouble. Spotting Greg against Roy Hibbert won't make a lot of sense if it only leads to quick fouls that put the Heat in the penalty. Spotting Oden against post centers, whenever possible, possibly later this week against Andrew Bogut, makes sense at this stage of the season.
Q: As a Heat fan since day one and a native Miamian, I have a special affinity for Udonis Haslem. Why is Erik Spoelstra refusing to play him? -- D.B.
A: Because this is about more than nostalgia or sentimentality. No matter the role, Haslem will remain a revered presence in the franchise's history, his number almost assuredly to be retired one day and hang above AmericanAirlines Arena. But with the Heat's move to an offensive game where everyone has to be live, Haslem's erratic jumper simply did not make the cut. Plus, with last season's acquisition of Chris Andersen and this season's addition of Oden, the squeeze has become severe at power forward. Unless Spoelstra moves away from Shane Battier in the power rotation, the minutes simply aren't there.
Q: I'd be fine with the Heat settling for the two seed if their road record was comparable to last season, but that's not the case. -- Boss.
A: Which is what the balance of this trip is about, with key tests remaining in Phoenix, Golden State, Dallas and Oklahoma City. The Heat were humbled by what happened in Utah, now we'll see if the road-warrior mentality remains.
February 10, 2014Q: Is the Heat's stumbling and rediscovery of chemistry running longer than the last two seasons? The start-to-date comparison of records (this season versus last) seems deceiving. -- James
A: Look, last season's 27-game winning streak was a once-in-a-franchise thing, likely not to be replicated by this group or even over the franchise's next 25 seasons. To a degree, many NBA players see the period after the All-Star break as when it's important to start getting things together. So, to a degree, the Heat might be operating on a typical NBA schedule. As it is, the loss in Utah followed three consecutive victories. And winning three of every four would seem fine, too. I think the greatest issue for the Heat is they utterly are not being pushed from behind, whether it's Toronto or Atlanta or anyone else. They look in their rearview mirror and barely can make out the objects in the distance.
Q: I guess Erik Spoelstra and the Heatles have just said, "To hell with the No. 1 seed"? -- Dee.