Q: You indicated in one of your tweets that the Spurs will be toughest playoff matchup in Big Three era. Why will it be tougher than the OKC Finals last year? OKC beat the Spurs in six last year and obviously Heat beat OKC. I know the Spurs have championship experience, but other than Tony Parker, none of the players that they rely on for major contributions are in their prime. -- Jeffrey.
Q: So is Dwyane Wade healthy? -- Wayne.
A: Healthier. He continued to dodge postgame questions Monday about the severity of his sore right knee. But he somehow was able to put himself in two directions at the same time with his Euro-steps in Game 7 against the Pacers, so that's certainly encouraging. The most important aspect of Monday's performance is that Wade's confidence is back. And with the way he plays, that's huge.
Q: Is Shane Battier finished? -- Steve.
A: Uh, I'm pretty sure he will be on the roster and in uniform during the Finals. The matchups against the Pacers simply stopped working when it came to Battier's undersized approach against David West. Indiana went to school on that. But the matchups against the Spurs are different, and Shane Battier against Boris Diaw would make sense. But if Shane is not hitting shots, that certainly would again leave the door open for Mike Miller.
JUNE 3, 2013
Q: Ira, does Chris Bosh even want to be here? Because when I watch the games, he's not there. What's up with that dude? -- Steve.
A: I believe there are two parts of that equation. Foremost, Chris has a generally passive disposition, more of a skilled player than an aggressive player. The problem is in this series, Erik Spoelstra essentially has parked Chris on the perimeter and therefore made him even more of a passive presence. Yet, that doesn't mean he should be floating on defensive and the defensive boards, as well. But that mindset was instilled at the beginning of this series and it clearly has changed Chris' approach. This, more than ever, is when the Heat need angry-face Bosh. And when this ends, whenever it does, the Heat have to get back and reevaluate Bosh as a center, that perhaps all those minutes at the position simply left him in a diminished state.
Q: As much as I am trying not to dramatize the situation, the game on Monday night will have a significant effect on Dwyane Wade's and the Big Three's future and legacy. I don't know what it's going to take for D-Wade to impact the game, but somehow he just has to show up. That's what champions do. We know he is limited and we are not expecting a 30- or even 20-point game. But he can still be what Spo likes to call "an active participant" in the game. It kind of goes back to Michael Beasley's situation. When he could not score, he was just hurting the team. And the same unfortunate scenario is repeating itself in a less-dramatic fashion with Wade. His defensive rotations and constant complaining about every play have not helped the Heat in any way. When it comes to D-Wade, you cannot give up on him even when things look as bad as they are now. I hope he does show up despite the odds. Maybe but maybe he can still be a vintage D-Wade for couple of quarters and help his team go to the Finals. -- Baron.
A: Your points are well made. As with Bosh, just because the shots aren't dropping or he feels he isn't being put in optimal position, this is no time to float. This is the time to find a way. Yes, Dwyane already has his two championships and a ticket to Springfield punched, but this very much is a legacy moment. He needs to recognize as much.
Q: Until this Eastern Conference finals series, most of us never questioned whether this Heat team was good enough or required more than a tweak or two going toward an NBA dynasty. Of course injuries have claimed many teams this past season. Will the Heat be on that list, or can they just move past a terrific challenger? -- Chet.
A: I tend to use this word to get a rise out of readers and radio listeners, but for this franchise going forward, the moment at hand is practically apocalyptic.
JUNE 2, 2013
Q: The Pacers have outplayed the Heat for most of this series. Can Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade give us anything? -- Chet.
A: That's the question that ultimately will decide the series. The Pacers are young, cocky, arrogant and packing for a weeklong trip that takes them to San Antonio. Considering how much LeBron James has already offered, seemingly the only ones who can stop the Pacers are Wade and Bosh. And it doesn't even have to be both. Chris was distraught in the postgame locker room Saturday night. I truly believe he will play Monday with an energy heretofore unseen in this series. Whether that translates into success or fouls is another issue. Dwyane is a different story. When healthy, the game comes easy to him. Now that his right knee is a disaster, he is growing frustrated that the easy baskets aren't there. This is when LeBron, even though he is not a captain, has to take a leadership role, help carry Dwyane through this moment. A Big Two, with the homecourt advantage, could be enough Monday. But we know it has to be more than just LeBron.
Q: Erik Spoelstra should show some more disappointment and anger. The players often play as the coach's demeanor is. -- Martin.