A: To be honest, I'm not sure why Rashard Lewis got another shot in the second half but not Michael. But this wasn't about offense or pumping up the crowd, it was about getting stops when needed. It was a disgraceful performance for reasons well beyond Spoelstra's rotation.
November 9, 2013
Q: Ira, Dwyane looked great against the Clips. You could see he was enjoying that the game came to him, that LeBron was letting him shoot. Was it because LeBron had his back spasms or because of the time Dwyane has been taking off? -- Carlos.
A: I think LeBron being limited certainly was a factor, but the Heat playing just once in the previous three days helped, as well. The lack of back-to-backs to this point have made it easier for Dwyane. And it's not as if he was playing selfish, with seven assists (albeit with seven turnovers, as well). I just think Dwyane is at a stage where he can be the Dwyane Wade of old when he is feeling it, but that there still will be games when he will be old Dwyane Wade, those knees acting up on occasion. What mattered Thursday was he was there for his team when a teammate was ailing.
Q: Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were two guys that were able to change their games to accommodate for their upper age. They are two of the best of all time at doing that. It looks like Dwyane has mastered his midrange game to accommodate for his age. -- Jeremy.
A: One game does not a master make, although Dwyane certainly seemed comfortable with those shots against the Clippers. If he could consistently do that, the Heat will be perfectly spaced, with their 3-point shooters and their slashers. For years, the goal has been midrange consistency for Dwyane. Perhaps this is the year it arrives.
Q: Why is the NBA shoving the sleeved jerseys into existence? -- Alex.
A: Because, from what I've been told, the league's marketing wing believes most fans don't wear jersey-style apparel when they play basketball and that casual followers prefer not to wear jerseys. The sleeved jerseys basically are the type of T-shirts that most outsiders wear either while playing or showing off their team colors. The official jersey shirts have a built-in flexible fabric around the shoulder joint for easier freedom of movement.
November 8, 2013
Q: How worried should we be about LeBron James' back? First he said it was because of a play against the Clippers. Now it's chronic? What gives, Ira? -- Steve.
A: I wouldn't be overly concerned, partly because he played well enough Thursday and partly because there is plenty of time off built into the upcoming schedule, with Sunday and Monday off next week. In fact, if Erik Spoelstra holds LeBron out of Saturday's game against the can't-get-out-of-their-own-way tanking Celtics, it could give LeBron four days of rest. LeBron's been wearing the heating pack on the bench for a while now, and also has been playing well. It is not unusual for players to deal with back spasms through the course of a season.
Q: Hey Ira! (All questions you received about the relative merits of Michael Beasley between 2008 and 2010 go here.) -- Tom Chapel Hill, N.C.
A: Exactly. Basically, the message from Erik Spoelstra is all has to be earned anew, which is why Rashard Lewis played as 10th man, ahead of Michael, Thursday night. What came before (good or bad) doesn't matter. What matters is if (and we're still not sure) Michael can bolster this group. That will be an ongoing process. But the reality is Rashard has played well when given the opportunity, and the advantage traditionally goes to the incumbent. Beyond that, it's not like there even are substantial minutes for Rashard, just over seven on Thursday.
Q: Everybody is talking about the Heat's depth. However, one could claim that the Heat start two players that wouldn't start on most (or even any?) other NBA teams. This baffles me a bit, despite two consecutive titles. -- Sandro, Miami.
A: First, you're selling Mario Chalmers short, with another quality contribution Thursday. Second, they also start three players who are better than the top three on any other team. It is a balance of being able to navigate through the rotation, with Shane Battier, Chris Andersen, Norris Cole and Ray Allen playing with the second unit. But, again, it's early. Erik Spoelstra has altered his lineup just about every season.
November 7, 2013