Chat about the Miami Heat
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, we will dip into the world of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Miami Heat, as our gang from the "Heat Index" stop by to chat.
Brian Windhorst, Mike Wallace, Tom Haberstroh and Kevin Arnovitz all contribute to ESPN.com's home for everything Miami Heat. The Heat Index is a part of the TrueHoop blog network.
Send your questions now and join the chat Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
Brian Windhorst (3:00 PM)
Hi, Brian Windhorst here from Miami right to chat
why is the heat defense so inconsistent? and is it as good as the bulls D?
Brian Windhorst (3:03 PM)
To a certain extent the Heat are boxed in my matchups. Certain teams give them problems. Because of their issues at center and point guard, sometimes they get trapped. Their defense is based on protecting the middle and some night they can't keep guards out of the middle or slow down centers. The other night, for example, Kwame Brown put up 21 & 12 on them. But they have been able to generally be one of the best defensive teams in the league
There is alot of debate in NYC over who would be a better matchup for the Knicks. Heat or C's.Let me turn that question around for Miamians. Who would you rather face? Sixers or Knickers ?
Brian Windhorst (3:06 PM)
The Heat are 3-0 against Philly this season and the Sixer who has given them the most trouble (other than Jodie Meeks, who the Heat seem unable can really shoot if left open) is Lou Williams, who may not be able to play. So if the Heat had a preference, it would be the 76ers, who right now are the No. 7 seed. The Knicks beat the Heat in the last two meetings. Though I'd consider the Heat significant favorites against either, I think there's a chance of a Knicks-Heat series going deeper and getting more interesting. Wednesday night will be very interesting. There is a chance the Celtics will be able to choose their opponent by winning or tanking against the Knicks. That should be an interesting one to watch.
Is it time for all of us to forget about Haslem returning this season?
Brian Windhorst (3:08 PM)
As soon as I saw the word "lisfranc" in the Heat's injury report on Haslem, I assumed he was done for the year. As of early March, he wasn't even running yet and the team was still holding out hope. When I saw Udonis working out in Cleveland two weeks ago I was really impressed by how far he'd come. But since then he's had a setback. I can't rule out the chance he might be able to play a few possessions in a few weeks. But as for getting Haslem back that can really contribute, I believe that will be next season.
I am a huge Magic Fan, and have been on the fence about who the MVP should be. But the more arguments I hear, the more games I watch, the more I don't understand why there are so many people that still don't believe Derrick Rose should not be the MVP of the league. It truly is a no-brainer isn't it?
Brian Windhorst (3:11 PM)
Before last season, I picked Dwight Howard to unseat LeBron as MVP. I was expecting him to take the next step in his game after the Finals loss. I didn't see it, though he had a good year, and I was disappointed. This year I have seen his offensive development and felt like this is what I was waiting for. So in some ways, I do believe Howard is the MVP. But when it comes to that vote it is more than the numbers. So much of it is intangibles. How Derrick Rose has led the Bulls to 60 wins has been wonderfully impressive. And despite on the debate, when the voting comes out I believe you will see that Rose wins it by a mile.
Scott Salem (Black Cloud Diner)
George Takei: great guest or greatest guest?
Brian Windhorst (3:12 PM)
Which team is better? Cavs of 08', Cavs of 09' or Heat of10'
Brian Windhorst (3:16 PM)
If you throw out the last four games of the last regular season when LeBron rested and go back and look, the Cavs were almost unbeatable from January on. It took crazy circumstances to beat them, such as a team shooting 57 percent or the Cavs playing the fourth game in five nights, etc. That team was great at both ends and very hard to beat. I viewed them as the clear favorite to win the title. Then the second round happened and all hell broke loose.As I look at this Heat team I don't see anywhere near the same room for error. When the Big 3 play well, they win. But when even one of them is a little off, they struggle big time. Seeing that, I would not predict that they could win three rugged series in a row (as they would have to win the title). But, as last year with the Cavs proved, what looks iron clad in the regular season isn't always so in the playoffs.The short answer is no, I think last season's Cavs team was better than this Heat team. But with the power of Wade and James this team could end up going farther because of how stars make a difference in the playoffs.
Do you agree with SVG that the Bulls should win Executive of the Year over Riley. Riley made the Wow! move, but isn't voting for the story over stats why people are down on Rose for MVP?
Brian Windhorst (3:19 PM)
It's a great question. Riley's move was actually two years in the making. As some in the business told me the other day, the Bulls tried to make the same moves the Heat did and ultimately failed so why wouldn't Riley win. Riley may have had the best week in the history of free agency. But for the year, the Bulls' moved have taken more depth, more chances, more time and more research. If I had a vote, I would probably lean towards Riley because he was the grand winner in a long race but I've thought a lot about it.
Alaa Abdelnaby (Knicks Practice Facility)
Is Rondo really sulking because his best friend on the team, Perkins, was traded away? Or is that just a media angle to explain sub-par play?
Brian Windhorst (3:23 PM)
How's the weather in Westchester, Alaa? I wish I could tell you what is going on with Rondo. I have seen the explanation that teams are playing off him and daring him to shoot and it is messing him up. Well, that has been the leading strategy for Rondo for the last two years and it worked about 20 percent of the time. Now, it is working all the time.I know that nothing and I mean nothing used to keep Rondo for getting inside on offense and them rebounding on defense to start fastbreaks. And that isn't happening much now. I don't see him as a pouter, I see him as a prover. He's had to prove himself all along. Something has him off his game and that is why people are looking for emotional answers.
Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or has LeBron really improved his mid-range jumper significantly this season?
Brian Windhorst (3:27 PM)
Yes, by a couple percentage points. Though he has also taken more jumpers over the course of the year than he did last year. Recently, he's attempted to attack the rim more as a team-wide effort to get interior scoring up.I was talking to LeBron last week and he said he thought he was having his most efficient season on offense. This is not true because his turnovers soared early in the season. I told him if he stopped taking so many 3-pointers he would be better.But ultimately, the mid-range jumper has improved a bit.
Bob (Portland, Ore.)
Brian, Who are the Cavs targeting with their two lottery picks?
Brian Windhorst (3:29 PM)
If they win the lottery, I can't believe they would pass on Kyrie Irving based on everything I've heard. But I know that several people in the organization really like Derrick Williams. They spent quite a bit of time vetting top picks during the season including days watching Perry Jones at Baylor. Ideally, they'd like a point guard and a big man. But their small forward position is a disaster so that has to be something they're looking at as well.
Bobby (Ft. Lauderdale)
When the Heat make the playoffs, do you think our fans will show up before the first quarter? Or is the postseason an excuse to arrive even later?
Brian Windhorst (3:33 PM)
I think there is a belief that Heat fans don't buy tickets. Actually, the team has sold out every game this year. And, in the fourth quarters, it does get loud in there. But, no, Heat fans are not particularly rabid and they don't put a priority on arriving at 7:30. In the playoffs the games start at 8 or later and usually on late games there are fewer empty red seats at tipoff.
Would someone please believe me when I say the Thunder will make it to the Western Conference Finals?
Brian Windhorst (3:35 PM)
The Thunder have been one of the more improved teams over the last couple of months. It has just been hard to notice because they're still in the middle of he pack in the West.If they can play defense to their ability level then, yes, I believe they can get to the conference finals. Partially this is because the Spurs are playing a style they haven't really won with in the playoffs yet. When San Antonio doesn't hit its outside shots they become a different team.But don't rule out the Thunder from getting the No. 3 seed. It could happen
Mike Miller (Miami)
Brian I was trying to get into bed last night but instead slipped and fell 30 feet down a flight of stairs, getting a concussion and breaking my thumb...surprised?
Brian Windhorst (3:38 PM)
The other night Mike had two wide open looks at the rim but didn't dunk. We asked him about it after the game. He basically admitted he's being held together right now. That was before he sprained his thumb last night.Right now he had two bad thumbs, a bad knee and has had several head injuries. He has continued to play hard and I give him credit for that. But his body is clearly breaking down and he hasn't made a big shot all season. Not sure what he'll give in the postseason.
Angel (Davenport )
Is it possible for the heat to pick up a "decent free agent" this summer.
Brian Windhorst (3:42 PM)
There are going to be some solid centers on the free agent market. I'm not sure they can get Nene or Tyson Chandler but there are other options that would be huge upgrades including a guy like Samuel Dalembert.But we don't know if there will be a hard salary cap or a mid-level exception. If it goes the way the majority of owners, though not the Heat's Micky Arison, want it, the Heat may be in a very tough spot. We'll have to wait and see on that.Meanwhile, the market for point guards is much tighter. There aren't as many obvious options there.
do you miss cleveland
Brian Windhorst (3:42 PM)
Cleveland/Akron is my home and always will be. So of course I miss it. However, let me say that the winter weather in Miami is even better than its reputation.
Eric (Miami, Fl)
Brian, D Wade and Lebron's was amazing yesterday, getting in the passing lanes and deflecting multiple passes, do you think if they play that kind of defense in the playoffs that anyone could stop them?
Brian Windhorst (3:44 PM)
In general, I think that Wade and LeBron gamble too much defensively. LeBron has regressed this season if you ask me. However, there is no question that when the Heat are able to create turnovers they morph into a dangerous team and a fantastic one to watch. Getting in transition is a big part of their game. I'm just not sure it always works. Yesterday, of course, it did.
Do you Spoelstra's constant juggling of the rotation will hurt the Heat in the postseason?
Brian Windhorst (3:48 PM)
I do find it alarming that Spoelstra changed his starting lineup (again) just a week before the playoffs by putting Zydrunas Ilgauskas in at center. Ideally you want to have everything down long ago.But this is a different sort of team with different demands. Spots 4-9 are interchangeable and they have been all season. As long as Spoelstra finds the right mix on the right nights then it isn't a concern. But by going this way he has increased the pressure on himself to do that.Overall, though, I feel like Erik has done an excellent job of getting the team to improve during the season with a adjustments and getting players to make sacrifices.
Do you think Lebron wants Spoelstra to coach this team next year?
Brian Windhorst (3:51 PM)
I have seen LeBron and Spoelstra learn each other as the season has gone along. Spo has learned that there are times when LeBron is going to play by feel at both ends and he has to live with it because James is such a dynamic player. LeBron has learned that he has to fit more into the team concept, even if it means playing out of his natural position and becoming a decoy or screen setter instead of full-time ball handler.The success or failure of this season will be defined by the playoffs. If the Heat underachieve there will be a lot of pressure on Spoelstra. But I think LeBron has come around quite a bit with him.
brian, is it safe to assume that lebron's elbow injuries have fully healed?
Brian Windhorst (3:54 PM)
I assume this is a tongue-in-cheek question. I will give a straight answer to it.LeBron was being bothered by that elbow for the last several weeks of the regular season last year. Early in this season he continued to get treatment on it. As of now, it is not an issue.If you are asking me my opinion as to whether it affected him in the playoffs last year, then my answer is yes, it did. But I do not believe it was a major injury. But it was real.
I know this seems like an odd question after a big win, but is there any behind the scenes concern how Chris Bosh will handle the playoffs as a favorite? D-Wade and LeBron have proven they can step up in the playoffs, but Bosh never has. Any thoughts?
Brian Windhorst (3:57 PM)
I think Chris Bosh would like to know as well. In all honestly, neither Bosh or Mike Miller have won a true "big" game in their careers. Neither have "clutch performer" on their resume.Bosh hasn't really had the chance. This season his play in the marquee games has been mixed. He played great the last time against the Lakers. By guess is this is what you'll see in the playoffs. He will be the difference-maker sometimes and other times disappoint.LeBron and Wade will have to do the heavy lifting. And the Heat, with their depth issues, will go as far as those two take them. They aren't my pick, Chicago is to win East. But I won't rule them out, they have too much talent at the top.
Brian Windhorst (3:58 PM)
Thanks for submitting all the questions. Very much looking forward to the start of the playoffs, the best time of the year in the NBA.