Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Is Why ZO Will Always Be Part Of The Heat

With the Heat down 0-1 in the series, Alonzo hopped a flight to Atlanta to have a pep talk with Dwayne Wade about defensive intensity. That is the definition of a Heat lifer. He put his body on the line each night he played and still is contributing to the squad even after his retirment.
"I came into town because I didn't like the energy in Game 1."
Alonzo Mourning

HEAT 108 HAWKS 93 Series 1-1

On a night that the Heat needed to find some help for Dwayne Wade to tie the series up, they got it from just about everyone.
  • Before we get to anyone else, I think it is time for the fans to jump back on the Dwayne Wade for MVP train. The guy was the best player on the court last night, finishing with 33 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and an amazing 6 three pointers. The most amazing one came late in the 4th quarter with time running down and Wade somehow banks one in over Joe Johnson. Just that kind of night for Flash.
  • Daquan Cook joined Wade in the three point barrage with 6 of his own. Combined those two set an NBA record for most 3 pointers by two teammates in a playoff game. This was a sizzling performance for a guy that has been in a slump since the All Star Break.
  • I guess I was wrong about the approach that Jermaine O'Neal should be taking to these games, because we saw last night what happens when he is able to get some touches early and often. He finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks, while going 7-8 from the line. A closer look at these numbers shows that he was instrumental in the Heat controlling the tempo as he did all his work around the hoop. Attempting 8 free throws is a result of strong inside play.
  • O'Neal was not alone inside last night, as Udonis Haslem played the 4th quarter like a veteran of many playoff battles should. With Wade sitting due to foul trouble, Haslem hit back to back jumpers that took the life out of the Hawks. This is the value that he brings to this young squad, and it has often gone unnoticed this season, but not last night.
  • Michael Beasley sported some new cornrows, but still made the same amount of knucklehead plays. The frustration with Beasley is so strong because his talent is so immense. On a night when he looked lost, he was still able to 12 points and 7 boards.
  • Mario Chalmers where are you? 7 assists is nice, but don't be afraid to shoot the ball.
  • The Hawks fierce running attack was held in check last night, and like most of the season, their halfcourt offense never got going. Mike Bibby is a heck of a player, but he is not a facilitator at the point guard spot, so they often get stuck playing one on one as the shot clock is running down.
  • If the Heat are to win this series then they will have to keep the Hawks from getting out and running just like they did last night.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HEAT -vs HAWKS Game 2 Preview

Well game 1 could not have gone worse for the Heat, but no matter if you lose by 1 or by 26, a loss is just a loss. The goal for the Heat was to split the series in Atlanta at one game a piece so that they can go back to Miami with home court advantage. After such a blowout, the question remains is it still possible for this to happen, and I think so. There is no way after watching the whole season, that Atlanta is 26 points better than Miami on a nightly basis. These teams are much more evenly matched than that score would have you believe, but for this to play out Dwayne Wade is going to need a lot more help from everyone than he got the other night. With the Hawks throwing their whole team at Wade, it was no surprise that he struggled to get it going in game 1. Only one other player on the team scored in double figures, which is inexcusable. Michael Beasley, who had been playing great down the stretch, looked like a rookie all night. From his playfulness in warmups to his poor shot attempts during the game, he screamed no playoff experience. The Heat needs him to get his head on straight if they are going to have a chance in this series, cause he is the only one who can compete with the highly athletic front court of the Hawks. Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford put a punishing on the Heat's big men, even Zaza Pachulia even got in the act finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. That was exactly the stat line we got from our second best player, and they got it from their second string center.
Things can only get better from this first game, right? You have to believe Wade will find a way to make things happen tonight. For this to happen, he is going to need one of the teams shooters to start making shots, so he can get some looks of his own without 3 defenders in his face. The Heat is not nearly as athletic as the Hawks, but if they can make their jumpers, they can keep the Hawks from getting out in transition so much. Nothing gets a fastbreak kickstarted than long rebounds. Another way to keep the Hawks out of transition would be for Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O'Neal to attack the boards. They finished with 7 rebounds combined. I am tired of O'Neal complaining about lack of touches, when he is providing nothing else on the court. Hit the boards, play tough D, and I guarantee the team is going to reward you with some touches inside.
Game 1 showed us that this Heat team was not quite ready for primetime, but 2 days off should have them with their heads back on straight. A butt kicking will do that to you, and it was a thorough butt kicking they received on Sunday. Have a little faith in Dwayne Wade Heat fans, the guy is truly one of the 5 best players in the NBA, because he never goes down without fight. Expect a battle tonight!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


  • Could tonight's game have been a battle for a first team All NBA spot? Dwight Howard, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant are a lock, so there is an open spot in the frontcourt and in the backcourt. Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul are both deserving of that backcourt spot, it should be interesting to see who gets the votes. If only one of them could qualify for that frontcourt spot, cause there is nobody else in the NBA who should be talked about in the top 5 guys on the season.
  • Another first quarter deficit for the Heat, this time 12. When is enough enough? I understand Beasley is looked at as a spark off the bench, but we need an influx of life into the starting lineup.
  • Jermaine O'Neal with a great shot block in transition racing back to stop an easy layup by Antonio Daniels.
  • There is nobody on the Heat who can stay in front of Chris Paul, but that is the same way throughout the whole league. The guy is a blur with the ball in his hands and uses his body to create space as well as anyone I have ever seen.
  • The same could be said for Dwayne Wade, who had an up and down game, but seems to always fill the stat sheets. Tonight he finished with 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
  • However, the most crucial play of his night turned out to be his missed free throw that could have put the game away.
  • Instead Rasual Butler's hit a three with time running out that sucked the life out of the Heat and their fans.
  • The Hornets got their second wind in the overtime, pick and popping the Heat to death. Paul and David West really have a good thing going. Hopefully Wade and Michael Beasley can develop into a duo like that one day.
  • Speaking of Beasley, he played every minute of the second half and overtime, and had a great game. He was active on both ends of the court, and his inspired play lifted the Heat out of their first half daze. The extended minutes looks good on the young guy.
  • Jamaal Magloire and James Jones were also strong off of the bench, but there are still too many holes on the roster.
  • This was a forgettable night all around for Mario Chalmers. Maybe he was reminiscing too much about the shot he hit a year ago today to lead Kansas to the NCAA Championship. He is not Chris Paul's equal on any night, but the Heat needed better than a 1-10 night.
  • Tough loss for the Heat, when take into account that they could have gone up a game and a half on the 76ers for the 5th spot in the East. Instead they are still only up a half a game with 4 to go. Up next Boston, so it does not get any easier.
  • Paul's team got the best of Wade's tonight and maybe that will be the deciding factor in the All NBA voting. Not one game, but the two teams overall records at the end of the season.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Well this is not the kind of aggressiveness that I had in mind when talking about Mario Chalmers yesterday, but that is the kind of aggressiveness we ended up with and it lost us the game. With roughly 7 seconds left, the ball in Chalmers hands, and the whole stadium thinking that the Heat would call a timeout, Coach Spoelstra opted to go for the win on the run. This was a bold call by a rookie coach looking for a big win for his young team, but it just was not the right call at the time. When you have Dwayne Wade on your team with the time running down you need to do anything in your power to get the ball in his hands and last night that meant calling a timeout. Chalmers did the right thing by trying to get to the hoop, but he is just not used to moments as big as last night, and his enthusiasm got the best of him. Who knows what would have happened had Spoelstra called a timeout, but it was the move we had to make.

With last nights loss the Heat falls a percentage point behind the Philadelphia 76ers for 5th place with 7 games left to play. This gives the team no chance to get any rest for Wade, as each win is a must. 4 games on the road, which does not bode well for a team that has struggled all season away from home. There are no easy games down the stretch, as all but one of these teams is fighting for their own playoff lives or a better seed. The Heat have a day off before they get back to back road games at Charlotte and Washington. It would be huge if they could turn around their fortunes and get 2 wins on the road.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

HEAT -vs- MAVERICKS preview

The fans in Dallas will never forget the 2006 NBA Finals, nor will the players on that squad as the Mavs have won 9 straight regular season games. Since the finals the Heat has struggled to find their identity, automatically fading into a rebuilding mode, while the Mavs tried to keep their core together as long as they could. After 2 straight playoff collapses, that started against the Heat, the Mavs attempted to inject some veteran leadership into their squad by adding Jason Kidd. However, this move did not work as planned and the Mavs now look farther away from a championship than they have in ages.

This years Mavs team looks like a lock now for the 8th seed in the West, with the Suns fading fast, yet they have no shot getting past the first round. Their squad is still led by Dirk Nowitzki, a perenial All-NBA forward, who is 2 years removed from winning the NBA MVP award. He is a matchup nightmare for most squads with his inside outside game, but Udonis Haslem is one of the players who has a history of playing well against him. Haslem is physical enough to keep Dirk from getting comfortable at the high post, while being quick enough to keep him in front of him while he tries to put the ball on the floor. This is an important matchup in this game.

The other major matchup in the game will be in the backcourt. Everyone knows that Dwayne Wade's eyes light up when he takes on the Mavs, but how will Mario Chalmers deal with Jason Kidd? Kidd has slowed down over the years, but he is still a savvy veteran. Will this be the difference or will Chalmers be able to take advantage of his quickness? Kidd has been burned by quick guards all season long, so I expect Coach Spoelstra to have Chalmers to attack Kidd all game. When Chalmers is aggressive he provides Wade with the perfect complement, cause he does not have to carry the load all on his own.
With the Heat struggling over their last 5 games, this win is crucial to keep from having to play the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs. Wade and the squad know this, and will play accordingly.
It is fitting that the first Heat jersey to be retired was Alonzo Mourning, because nobody in Heat history to that point had truly been a fan favorite like Zo was. When Pat Riley took over in 1995-96 season he brought in Zo to be the face of the franchise, and the rest was history. Zo, the warrior, took this team to levels that they only dreamed of, with division titles and playoff battles. It was a shame that he never was able to lift his teams to the NBA Championship, but it was fitting that when the Heat finally did collect their first ring, Zo played a role. He was not the same dominant player that he had been, but it was a testament to his character that he battled off the bench nonetheless for a franchise that he loved so much. Zo gave his heart and soul to Riley and it was our joy as fans to watch him on Monday night be rewarded with his jersey lifted to the rafters. Zo will always be remembered by us as a competitor who caught a few bad breaks, but never stopped fighting for this squad. Congratulations Zo, you deserve the honor.