Monday Hotness

  • The Portland game featured some wacky lineups from the Heat, including one that positioned LeBron James at the five. If you dig visuals, Popcorn Machine shows us the substitution patterns throughout the game. Make sure to check out the point differential graph in the center of the screen -- particularly how it swings into Miami's favor after James Jones entered the game for Joel Anthony, effectively making James the center.

  • The Heat shouldn't need the opposing defense to switch to zone before they start moving without the ball. They would be better served being proactive, not reactive. At NBA Playbook, Sebastian Pruiti walks us through how Dwyane Wade's baseline basket cut neutralized the Blazers' zone.

  • Apparently, Knicks center Timofey Mozgov has a blog and it's appropriately named "DNP" (Warning: Russian language). For the English translation, head over to Rush'n Hoops where you'll find a lovely piece about Mozgov's first impressions of LeBron James: "I missed the games vs. Celtics and Cavs. But in the game vs. Miami coach allowed me to smell the powder and face LeBron. “The King” is a real king! A superstar, one hundred percent! Physically he is very strong, fast and a great leaper. But what’s most important: he is outrageously calm. He doesn’t flare up, doesn’t hurry and manages to do everything in time. He’s playing very confident and sober-minded. I think this ability to keep his cool complements his talent perfectly. Or, even, it’s an integral part of his talent."

  • Henry Abbott doesn't like watching his team lose, but he was all smiles today as the Blazers lost a heartbreaker to the Heat.

  • Andrew Tonry at Portland Roundball Society gives us his take on LeBron James' "transcendent" play on Sunday night and what transpired after Portland's timeout after James pushed the lead to 107-100. "But instead of following his team to the huddle, James walked to the other side of the court, his arms in the air beckoning and chiding the Portland fans who booed him on every touch since introductions. 'You want to boo me?' James’ gestures seemed to say. 'Well go right ahead and kiss my ass.'"

  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus was at Sunday night's game and pointed out that Spoelstra focused their defense on LaMarcus Aldridge but still couldn't stop him. "On the whiteboard in the Heat's locker room before the game, Aldridge earned the respect of getting initials to identify him during plays, as opposed to merely his position number. The Heat surely took notice of what Aldridge has been doing lately, but he raised his game to the level of opposition."

  • I believe today marks the first time all season that the Heat sit atop both of ESPN.com's power rankings: Marc Stein's subjective and John Hollinger's objective.

  • Anyone else notice Joel Anthony's starved stat-line? 29 minutes, 4 fouls, and 1 turnover. Nothing else. All zeros. Last time someone took zero shots (either from the floor or the charity stripe) and collected zero rebounds while playing at least 29 minutes? Eric Snow back in 2005. Fascinating -- another teammate of LeBron's. Also fascinating is that it hasn't happened any other times since 1986-87, the season in which the Basketball-Reference database begins.