April 22, 2014
Q: I get that as Chris Bosh goes outside he helps create space for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. What worries me is that he gets lost out there and settles for 3-pointers. Why not run him inside a bit more, so he is not so predictable and can offer a more consistent offensive option. The Heat will need more from him in the next round for sure. -- Chet.
Q: Props to James Jones. But wouldn't Shane Battier also offer defense on the other end? -- Art.
A: I was thinking about that, too. But the reality is that beyond Kemba Walker, who Shane wouldn't defend, anyway, there really aren't that many perimeter athletes you have to worry about with Charlotte. The Bobcats tried to go at Jones with Chris Douglas Roberts, but I think the Heat have no issue with Chris taking all the shots he wants. The reality is that Shane wasn't hitting shots for the majority of the season and Jones is better at coming in cold and making shots. But, as Erik Spoelstra says, this could change at any moment. And knowing the way things have worked with the Heat, there likely still will be a moment of truth this postseason for Shane.
Q: With Al Jefferson hurting, I see trouble for Charlotte. Michael Jordan should play a few minutes. He'd raise ticket sales. -- Bernard.
A: And the Heat already have a jersey available for him. Besides, it would make it easier to settle those LeBron-Jordan debates.
April 21, 2014
Q: This season it seems a good part of the season was focused on going bigger. Maybe going small is the road to another championship. -- Joel.
A: Exactly. Look even at the Atlanta Hawks and how going small helped them against Indiana, when Roy Hibbert couldn't find anyone to cover. I think small ball is back, especially if Al Jefferson continues to deal with a lack of mobility due to his foot injury. By playing Chris Bosh at center, or even LeBron James there, it means the Bobcats either have to accept Jefferson's lack of defensive mobility, or remove him. It practically becomes win-win for the Heat. Then, when Jefferson is out, the Heat can utilize Chris Andersen or Udonis Haslem or their other bigs. This ultimately could be a series when Greg Oden either is a spectator or inactive.
Q: Did you know James Jones is actually capable of dribbling the ball and making layups? Seriously though, I've been wondering why they don't play him more. Isn't he the best current fit for the Mike Miller role, especially if the opponents play a wing who isn't a threatening scorer? -- Adrian.
A: He certainly could be, but Mike was a superior defender, and the Bobcats clearly were trying to get a scorer matched up against Jones, or at least involve him with pick-and-rolls that also involved Kemba Walker. You can bet the Bobcats will go to school on ways to take advantage of Jones' defensive limitations, having likely previously dismissed him as a series factor.
Q: I don't think Erik Spoelstra gets the credit that he deserves. He had to go the entire season managing minutes and having different lineups throughout. And in managing Dwayne Wade, it appears, based on Sunday's performance, that he did a really fine job. -- Martin.
A: Sure, because they won. But the challenges will continue. The playoffs are about adjusting until one team runs out of time for adjustments. Of course, in the early rounds it's easier to look like the smartest coach when you have the best players. Erik certainly pushed a lot of the right buttons Sunday.
April 20, 2014
Q: Ira, are the Heat scouting the Nets already, because that's who they're going to face? Paul Pierce might as well have been calling out LeBron James when he hit those shots Saturday. -- Michael, New York.
A: First things first. But it's safe to say the Pierce wasn't brought in to hit shots merely against the Raptors. Like everyone else in the East, the Nets reloaded with an eye on the Heat. As Brooklyn continues to build its lead against Toronto, it's safe to say there will be a keener Heat focus on what could come next. And, yes, the Heat are scouting Nets-Raptors, just as every team scouts their next potential opponent in the playoffs.