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 (3:01 PM)
Greetings from Miami. Got Heat-Sixers Game 2 coming up at 7 p.m. after a great opening playoff weekend. Let's chat.
Shouldn't Lebron or Howard be the MVP based on their stats and PER? I know stats do not show everything but people's main argument for Rose consists of their biases. No one would admit it, but the media discriminates Lebron because of the way he handled his "decision" and inappropriately factors that in. I would rather stick to Hollinger's stats than take people like Wilbon's biases as facts.
Brian Windhorst (3:04 PM)
Tony I both agree and disagree with you. First, I agree that LeBron harmed some of his reputation last summer and for him to win another MVP he's going to have to prove his thought process. In other words, he's probably going to have to win a title. But I do not think the MVP should be based on the PER. Yes, stats are an important component but just a piece of it. Rose' performance this season had nothing to do with bias. He had a special year. And Saturday's Game 1 was just further proof.
Chris (San Fran)
So what do you guys think about Wade jump kicking Young during his shot, which was at a crucial point in the game, and getting to the line for his efforts? If the refs weren't so biased toward Miami, I'm not so sure they would have won the game. Why so much ref bias? Is the NBA really turning into the WWF?
Brian Windhorst (3:08 PM)
Here is my position of officiating and it is not popular with fans: Officials directly decide around 1 percent of game. As someone who watches 80+ games live and 100 or so more on TV I can tell you that usually officials do an excellent job. They miss calls every game, yes. But they do not decide games. I say this as someone watching objectively. I know fans do not feel that way and I don't expect them to. As for the play you are talking about, Wade kicked his leg after the foul was called. He was actually in a continuation. In that case if the official felt it was an offensive foul he could have waved off the basket. However, Wade would've got the two free throws, Young had already fouled him. And the Sixers didn't score on 6 of their last 7 possessions, that is why they lost.
Mike F (Bloomington IL)
How worried should the Heat be if Wade's migrains continue?
Brian Windhorst (3:09 PM)
I would doubt Wade will be 100 percent tonight but he will play. Normally, these things bother Dwyane for 3-4 days. But they don't happen often. I am sure the Heat doctors are consulting with him about trying to avoid them. For some people not drinking caffeine can help, etc. It is a concern but it is also not something anyone can predict.
Max Fischer (Rushmore Academy)
When do you anticipate Udonis Haslem returning to action? It's sounding like he's close.
Brian Windhorst (3:11 PM)
Getting close. He's still having issues with soreness after workouts. A couple weeks ago I doubted he'd play at all in the postseason. Now, I think he will at some point. But I would not expect him to be the player you're used to seeing and I would expect his minutes to be highly limited. However, any lift to the Heat bench would probably be helpful.
Did Jason Kidd turn the clock back or what??!! Imagine a Kidd in his prime with Dirk! oh what they would have done....all the people who picked the blazers probably underrated the mavs a little too much dont you think?
Brian Windhorst (3:12 PM)
Kidd has actually turned in a proficient 3-point shooter in the later stages of his career. If you leave him open, he will make you pay. But we all know that 3-point shooting can be fool's good. Do not expect Kidd to carry the load like that again. But getting a performance like that from role player in a playoff series can really swing the tide.
Does the Heat's white out campaign have anything to do with making all those early quarter empty seats less noticable? What a difference they make!
Brian Windhorst (3:14 PM)
It has to do with the local casino that is paying for it and the promotion. Yes, it does make a difference on TV. It is also a pretty cool look. They even have the palm trees outside the arena wrapped in white. Tonight, though, the stands may be ugly in the first quarter. Got a 7 p.m. start, most Heat games are at 7:30. Traffic and other issues probably will mean lots of empty seats at the start.
Whassup Brian is Wade rocking the goggles 2nite?
Brian Windhorst (3:15 PM)
That is the plan. Last time he broke them out he scored 34 points and had 16 rebounds in a game at MSG. But the Heat lost.
David (New York)
Can the Pacers upset the Bulls?...looks like their plan of making D.Rose play Defense and not only Offense while stepping in his path to try to take charges might work to slow him down.
Brian Windhorst (3:16 PM)
They maybe can take a game or two but the Bulls are just too rugged and Rose is too tough. The same issues that Darren Collison gives Rose on defense he can give right back two or three fold. That is just the reality.
Danny (Miami )
How close was the Philly game really, in the 4th quarter? The Heat always let teams hang around but they seem to pull it off. Comparing the Heat/Philly Game to the Bulls/Pacers doesn't make sense
Brian Windhorst (3:18 PM)
That is true. But Game 1 in Miami was almost a mirror image of the last regular season meeting between the two teams. Philly led big early, Miami led big in the second half and it was a game in the fourth. The way they are built -- as a defensive team with depth but no great scorers -- I think Philly stays in the game into the fourth quarter against any team in the league. But they don't have the ingredients to be a great closing team.
Zeke (New York)
Is it me or Lebron is not playing physical any more on the offensive end?
Brian Windhorst (3:21 PM)
I thought LeBron played tight on offense in Game 1. In general, I think his nerves show in the playoffs at times. He has a good playoff record (save for a few games, of course) so I expect him to wake up. Andre Iguodala had something to do with it, he's a quality defender. But because the Sixers don't have basket defenders and they are a high-foul team (this has been the case for 83 games now regardless of what ref-bashers will say), I expect LeBron to start attacking more starting tonight.
Hi Brian,Why did the ball movement essentially stop in the 4th quarter ? Was it because of the Philly defense or just a lack of aggressiveness from the players ?
Brian Windhorst (3:24 PM)
That is what happens in the playoffs. First, players get tight and tense up. Second, there are so many timeouts that coaches are able to get defenses set. Third, everyone knows all the plays and things that work usually are cut off. That is why great isolation scorers make such a difference at these moments.
What does Lebron think about CP3's performance yesterday?
Brian Windhorst (3:25 PM)
LeBron said he talked to CP3 last night to congratulate him. He said that is why Paul is still one of the best 5 point guards in the league. To which I said: "Who said he wasn't"?
Elton (Fort L)
Rose "had a better season" because of his teammates and coach. In order to remove our biases (from Lebron's decision) we have to look at the stats and all stats point to the fact that Rose is NOT the main reason CHI is winning and that Howard and Bron are better mvp candidates.
Brian Windhorst (3:26 PM)
If you don't think Derrick Rose is the main reason the Bulls aren't just winning but the best team in the regular seson then we really don't have much to talk about. Seeing a great performance is not a bias, telling a great story is not a bias. MVPs are not now, nor ever have been, decided by stat sheets.
Ben (St. Louis)
Will Mike Miller play significant minutes tonight? If not, is this due to injury or ineffectiveness?
Brian Windhorst (3:28 PM)
It is pretty clear that James Jones has moved past Miller in the rotation. Mike pretty much said he's going to probably need the same surgery on his left thumb that he had on his right thumb last fall. His season has been ruined by injuries. But my guess is he'll come through at least once for the Heat in the playoffs even with reduced minutes.
mike (New London, Conn)
Why do you think Wade has been having trouble scoring against the Celtics this year? He hasn't had a problem scoring against them in previous seasons.
Brian Windhorst (3:31 PM)
I have talked to him about this quite a bit. He dismissed that it has anything to do with chasing Ray Allen around and getting tired out. He said that it is a bigger issue that he doesn't attack as much against Boston because he's afraid to be out of position getting back on defense because Allen is so good in transition. That explains some of it but there are probably several reasons. One may be that his shot just hasn't fallen against them.
Brian, you cannot say with a straight face that officiating only has an effect on 1% of games. When one team has more than double the free throw attempts than their opponent, that has a HUGE impact. See Miami-Philly and Dallas-Rip City
Brian Windhorst (3:34 PM)
Yes, officials mess up calls. But if you watched out the game is played and you look at season-long trends, you will see that Philly doesn't get to the line much. The Heat took 437 more free throws than Philly during the regular season. That is because they have two of the greatest drivers in the league and the Sixers might not have any in the top 50. Also, the Heat were playing zone, as most teams do against Philly and you foul less in zone. Doug Collins can complain but even he knows the truth.
Jack (Fort Lauderdale)
Do you think the heat will pick up Nene, from Denver this offseason
Brian Windhorst (3:36 PM)
The Heat tried to trade for Nene during the season but didn't have much to offer. They'd love to have him but I don't see how it happens. Even with the expected changes to the free agent process in the new CBA, the Nuggets probably will be able to pay him a lot more money than anyone else. Considering the way he's play, he's probably in for another big deal.
What happened to the famous chase down blocks Lebron used to have?
Brian Windhorst (3:37 PM)
He's had a handful this season but no where near as many as he had last year in Cleveland. Some of it could be that he plays more power forward now and that sometimes leaves him out of position to recover. Or maybe he's slowing down a bit.
Why do I not see offball movement from James Jones ala Ray Allen Celtics style?
Brian Windhorst (3:40 PM)
Well, Ray Allen is one of the best conditioned athletes of all time and he's going to be a Hall of Fame. Plus the Heat aren't going to run staggered screens for him the way the Celtics do for Allen. Jones is a floor spacer, not a guy who gets plays run for him. That said, they did a run a Allen-esque play that got him a hoop in the fourth quarter the other day.
Why do I always hear people chanting warden to Joel Anthony?
Brian Windhorst (3:42 PM)
"The Warden" is Anthony's nickname because he supposedly "locks people down" on defense. I can't quite explain Anthony's popularity with fans. But he's hugely popular in Miami and always trending locally on Twitter. He is a limited player but he also can be a very effective defender.
Will Lebron attempt to come back to Cleveland?
Brian Windhorst (3:43 PM)
Yeah, he'll play there twice next year and live in Akron during the summer. Oh, you mean like to play? I absolutely would not rule it out. I think it is possible down the line. But maybe not if Dan Gilbert still owns the team. LeBron and I have talked about the fond memories, those will never go away.
Do you foresee the Trailblazers being able to still take the series? If they win tomorrow night, do you think they regain control? What's the deal with Roy being in down the stretch and shooting that technical foul anyway? Am I the only one that thought that was incredibly strange and frustrating?
Brian Windhorst (3:45 PM)
I believe Brandon had to take that free throw because it wasn't a tech, it was a foul on an inbounds play before the ball was inbounded in the final two minutes. You get one shot plus the ball. The Blazers only need one win in Dallas to get homecourt advantage. They have up to three more tries. However, I picked Dallas to win that series and still believe they will.
mike (New London, Conn)
Do you think Miami's defense is alil overrated? D-Wade and Lebron are good individually but i think there's a huge drop off after them. If the big 3 all score 20+points in a game, the game shouldn't be close at all. I think that alone shows their TEAM defense isn't as good as advertised
Brian Windhorst (3:47 PM)
I'm actually surprised they are ranked as high as they are in the statistics because I think they gamble a lot and their center position is obviously weak. That said, they do have a system that is very sound when everyone is buying in. They do an excellent job forcing jumpers but for a team that can get victimized so much in the paint I do think called them a "great" defensive team is flawed.
What happens to the Derrick Rose bandwagon when they don't win the Championship?
Brian Windhorst (3:50 PM)
I'll still be on it and praise the Bulls when they sign him to a maximum contract extension at the first moment they can. Jeez, I have never seen so much quibbling over such a great player. Hate him if you're playing against him but otherwise how can you genuinely believe he's not a superstar and will be for the next decade if he doesn't get hurt?
Do you feel the Grizz have a real chance to pull the upset or are we just hoping to be competitive once Manu returns?
Brian Windhorst (3:52 PM)
I love watching the Grizzlies play and am happy for them that they have shown so much improvement. It is a lesson for teams currently in rebuilding mode that you can do it without free agency of winning the lottery. I don't think they win this series. But I want to see how they handle this success. Can they build on it. I predict Game 3 in Memphis will be a huge moment for them.
Do you know if the Cavs have an interest in Jonas Valanciunas if they don't get Irving with their top pick? Also, will is Euro contract situations scare teams off?
Brian Windhorst (3:53 PM)
The Cavs were over in Europe scouting him within the last month. There may be a change in the CBA about how much teams can help players with Euro buyouts so that is hard to answer at the moment.
Jim (Newport News, VA)
Should LeBron be given more of an opportunity to help finish games instead of all the emphasis on Dwade?
Brian Windhorst (3:56 PM)
It didn't work earlier in the season for the Heat. And maybe this is a dirty secret but maybe LeBron doesn't mind not having that pressure. It sure looked weird to me seeing him be the decoy with Jrue Holiday guarding him at the end of Game 1. But the Heat won. I asked LeBron directly about it afterward and he said he's down for anything as long as Heat are winning. Trust me, this is a topic I'll continue to watch and write about even if Erik Spoelstra tries to keep it out of the spotlight.
Do the Heat lost tonight if one of the Big Three has an off night?
Brian Windhorst (3:57 PM)
They survived an off night from Wade and a semi-off night from LeBron in Game 1. Against a .500 team like Philly you can do that and get away with it. Against Boston or Chicago? I'd bet against it.
Something often overlooked about the Heat's struggles is the fact that their core pieces don't fit. You have two slashers that dominate the ball in Wade and James. It doesn't help that they are average jumpshooters and poor 3 point shooters. That, in addition to their terrible supporting cast, will be their downfall in my opinion.
Brian Windhorst (4:00 PM)
You could prove to be quite right. The fact that one of their two best players (currently LeBron) can be nothing be a decoy in a tight playoff game is an indication that it isn't a perfect fit. However, I think LeBron has been fantastic in the first 47 minutes of most games this season. And the Heat have some plays where they incorporate all three and have been effective in the latter stages of the season. If this season ends short of a title, I would assume they would evaluate their options.
Can you remember any playoffs of your lifetime which have been as competitive as this year's appear to be/will be?
Brian Windhorst (4:02 PM)
I'm not that old, but I'm certainly excited. I think all four series in the West will be close and there could be a couple upsets. Once we get to the next round, I think the remaining series will all be very tight and entertaining. There's a great mix of star power, veteran teams, up-and-coming teams and great coaching coming together right now.
Brian Windhorst (4:03 PM)
That's it for my allotted time. Thanks for the discussion.