Could 80s Flashback Fire Up Heat?


HANG TIME, Texas — So much for the notion that all of the energy and drama was sucked out of half the playoff bracket by the Heat’s 27-game win streak.

Suddenly the Eastern Conference is dripping with more subplots than a Russian novel with LeBron James complaining that the Bulls abused him, Taj Gibson cleverly telling the best player in the game that he’s too good to whine, Danny Ainge foolishly and typically wading into the middle of the war with his mouth and Pat Riley suggesting that Ainge should “shut the (expletive) up.”

Oh baby, the only way this could only get more delicious is with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Or maybe Kevin McHale taking down Kurt Rambis with a clothesline.

Just like that, we’re back in the 1980s with LA Gear, parachute pants and an urge to sing “Beat It.”

Is the manipulative genius of Riley at work here with LeBron? Has the blueprint for beating the Heat been put on display? Does anybody actually need to light a fire under an imposing team that just went nearly two full months without losing?

Do we really have to wait three more weeks for the playoffs to begin?

Miami vs. Chicago. Miami vs. Boston. And you thought Indiana was the Heat’s only minor roadblock to The Finals.

Don’t we really have to pull for the Celtics to tumble into the No. 8 seed and open up against the Heat in the first round?

Before the opening tip, Riley and Ainge could square off at center court for an MMA bout, complete with the octagon cage.

Hopefully, the winner of that first-round street fight would then face Chicago in a series presumably played with helmets and full body armor.

Look, we can’t really blame James for feeling that the Bulls used him as a tackling dummy on Wednesday night. After all, he’s been raised and cultivated and ascended to his seat on the throne in this 21st century era that has become so polite and contact-averse that any day now you can expect the NBA’s discipline czar Stu Jackson to rule from the league office that defenders must play with their pinkie fingers extended, as if they’re attending a tea party.

“Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say [what I want to say],” James said after the game. “I believe and I know that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays. First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not defensive and those are not basketball plays.”

Of course, those of us who were around in the 80s and 90s or have learned from the drawings on cave walls about the times when prehistoric figures named Oakleysaurus, Mahornasaurus and Laimbeer Rex guarded the paint with sharp elbows and pointed attitudes, know that those used to be routine basketball plays. As James is trying to climb the ladder of greatness to catch Michael Jordan, let him ask His Airness if he was ever given a bump or two at The Palace of Auburn Hills or Madison Square Garden.

All of the good will and gosh-almighty admiration for Miami and for James that was built up during the construction of the 27-game streak could go out the window if the Heat players start to believe they should be unchallenged physically and simply carried on the shoulders of tributes to a second consecutive NBA title.

“I think he’s too good of a player to do that,” Gibson zinged when asked about James’ complaints in a radio interview.

The big question is what in the world could ever have possessed Ainge to enter the fray. Then you remember that he was just being Ainge, agitator and instigator and never a finisher during his playing career.

“I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating,” Ainge said.

And that’s when the real fun started.

“Danny Ainge needs to shut the #$!* up and manage his own team,” Riley said in a statement released through a Heat spokesman. “He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him.”

Give Riley credit. The guy who copyrighted the term “three-peat” back in 1987 could have another T-shirt selling bonanza on his hands with the blunt “STFU” combined with that fireball Heat logo.

It might not only have been the first official statement in known team sport history to include the home-run word, but also the artful, Machiavellian Riley’s way of delivering a just-as-short message to LeBron ahead of the 2014 opt-out clause in his contract: I’ll always have your back.

At first, Ainge backed off a bit.

“Pat Riley’s right,” he said. “I should manage my own team. I complained a lot to the officials. And I’m right, LeBron should be embarrassed about how he complains about the calls he gets.”

But just before Friday night’s game against the Hawks, he could not resist one more shot:

“I stand by what I said. That’s all. I don’t care about Pat Riley. He can say whatever he wants.

“I don’t want to mess up his Armani suits and all that hair goop. It would be way too expensive for me.”

Can’t we start the playoffs right now?


  1. & oh, neither does anybody else in the east including heat!

  2. pacers or knicks don’t want none of the Celts @ all in playoffs :)!!! nuff said!!! yabbadabbadooo

  3. LISTEN UP says:

    Look kids, Miami wont lose in the first round even if hey play the Bucks, or Celtics. The 2nd round they might face the Bulls. But, they’re not the BIGGEST threat. They are still washed up. Miami knows that the Bulls will use the aggressiveness on them because the game where Bulls beat Miami to end the streak, they Heat had missed 4-5 FREE THROWS. Bosh and Le Bron couldn’t get fouled once and hit both free throws (only once or twice). So the Bulls know that Miami isnt the best free throw shooters. Thats why they foul them so that they’ll miss 1 or 2 and then get possession again which leads to scoring 3’s and 2’s or even getting fouled.

  4. William Sor says:

    Against a team playing as physical as Chicago did that actually has their top tier point guard, as well as the greatest power forward in NBA history Lebron would revert to his first trip to the finals. What a coincidence, his first trip to the finals he played against the Spurs, who beat him down and showed he doesn’t stand well against physical play.
    Sorry, but forget comparing him to Jordan, if he can’t stand up to hard fouls without whining about the officials then he doesn’t belong on the same level as Jordan, Kareem, Wilt, Russell, or Magic (the five greatest players of all time)

  5. tanibababa says:

    I hope the Pacers/Knicks gives Boston the same medicine in the first round..
    I can see Ainge will complain much much more.

  6. Listen-i’m Celts all day-lebron’s shoulder to boozer was definitely nothing to brag about-someone before my comment said wade was happy giving lbj props-FOR WHAT-for one boozer was barely moved an inch by it lookn @ him like “that’s nothing”-bigups to boozer! So it did nothing, in fact lbj got a lil snapped back by someone standing still & probably hurt his own shoulder & caught a flag.. cause it was on someone w/o the ball-& kirk’s & taj’s were on him w/ the ball-not called as flags justly so if i compare them to many reg fouls or no calls on my Celts that should’ve been flags-ok-yeah i hear u. Listen i don’t have time to hate, lbj is a great player & even though the Jordon comparisons need to stop, they’ll prob always be there but comon really-take into account just offense-lbj to the rack out of half court he can’t face up on any g or f & dribble past them-why when he’s supposed to be so quick, cause he doesn’t have the dribble skills to shake & bake not even 1 person alone as you notice he always has to bull back someone down. Now Jordon would shake & bake 2 people-that’s out of a double team-& dunk on the biggest guy the c or pf out of half court set & all past big men during Jordon’s era got posterized by him@ 1 time or another & when u see them whole plays u can tell his intents from gittyup was to dunk on them big men. u see he posterized all big men like Dr. J did & not g’s & f’s & standing over them like lebron as if he did something big-hardly. Has lbj ever posterized any big men in the nba? I haven’t seen any, correct me if i’m wrong-serious!

  7. Stopbeinganidiot says:

    The funny thing is the heat should be playing this good and not complaining, you have 2 of the top players and the best in a diluted league….quit being babies.

  8. can thought says:

    i’d rather watch a game with some physical plays than a finals series full of flops.

  9. Cal says:

    LeBron is already complaining on the rough physical play…it will only get worse once the playoffs start

  10. Truth says:

    I agree with what BMW said. As strong as James is, I rarely see him make hard fouls that could injure opposing players. Even Wade was happy that Lebron gave boozer that shoulder and that he was wondering why lebron haven’t done that through out his career. Wade said that lebron plays defense the right way and that is why he average 1.5 fouls a game. If you really watch him play defense you’ll see that he just stays in front of the offensive player and just use his quickness to defend. Of course there will be times that he would commit a foul and not be called for it but there also were times he was called for fouls he didn’t commit. That’s pretty much how everyone is officiated. If you say lebron is the only player who gets a lot of calls in his favor then you are just plain hating. Every “superstar” gets the benefit of the whistle every now and then, that’s how this league works.

    Now about the statement James made about the hard fouls, he was asked about a specific question. He was asked what he thinks about the fouls on him and he just simply answered what he thninks of it. James recieves this kind of fouls through out his career, and he just shrugs it off and continue to play. But people like to twist what the players say if it would support their claims. Lebron even said that his coach was getting upset on how he gets defended night in, night out but he always tells his coach (Spo) not to worry about it.

    Now, for the people who keep talking about 80’s and 90’s basketball, get over it. Seriously, people have to let that go. That era is gone. If you really like those eras, go get your selves a copy of the games from those times and knock your selves out. The NBA today is not the same as it was in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s not the players’ fault that they can’t play like those eras anymore because the league changed the rules and for good measures. The players today are bigger and stronger. If you let them play as if they were in the 80’s, there would be a lot more injuries in the league and you’ll be left with bench players. Who would want to watch that???? I’m not saying that the nba today is better, it’s just the league has to be this way because the players has evolved and the old rules would just bring more harm than good. Also, they wanted the league to be accepted world wide thats why they had to control how the players react or behave in games.

    But hey, if you Miami haters really want to get that 80’s or 90’s type of basketball, bring it on. I actually want to see lebron stop being nice on the defensive side and just lash out on teams. Then you’ll finally understand why the 80’s and 90’s type of basketball won’t work anymore. These type of players are why they have to change the rules.

    Be careful what you wish for…

  11. Deron0924 says:

    Heat not a tough team??? Remember last year Pittman elbow??… Do you want the Heat to be like that again??? Miami Heat back-to-back

  12. steppx says:

    oh pahleeze………riley acts like some freakin god. Go away. LeBron is a whiner. Great player, but a cry baby. Ainge is dead right. Live with it.

  13. BMW says:

    Seriously, Heat haters? Do you really want to anger a player you hate who is built and as strong as Oakley, Mason, and others,, but the difference being he can take over and dominate a game with his superior basketball skills? So far, he’s been playing carefree. For the past five or so years, I’ve been waiting for LeBron to get angry enough to take everything to the next level. He’s almost there, and the thing is, you haters are applauding him to go there. It’ll be scary for opposing teams if he ever gets to that place. He’s right on the cusp, at the moment.

    And keep in mind, the Heat have been coasting all year. The Heat will not go through the payoffs without a loss; however, haters, be careful for what you wish for.

    First year together, the finals. Second year together, Champs. Third year together, so far, second longest winning streak in NBA history and the best record in the NBA. And the future looks bright.

    Be careful what you wish for, haters.

    • TNCeltic says:

      And are you seriously insinuating that everyone should just step out of LeBron’s way so his cage isn’t rattled? Appease him so he doesn’t get mad? But then, that is the way some people handle a spoiled brat.

    • steppx says:

      being critical is not being a hater. I really find that such lazy thinking……..its so lame to call anyone a hater. LeBron is a cry baby. Great great player….but a cry baby. He gets all the calls, and still is complaining. To recognize that is not “hating”…….id say grow up those of you using that term.

      • Reign of James says:

        name a player who doesnt complain though?exactly every player complains after they loose a tough game should we all call kobe a cry baby for getting taking out in the air and then complaining about it in post-interviews? same situation.

  14. HonestGuy says:

    I think Isiah Thomas said it best, if LeBron keeps getting hit, I think he’ll eventually start dishing out punishment himself. 6’8”, 260 pounds of pure muscle, I’d like to see Hinrich get back up after that. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

  15. Ralph says:

    “The King that Whined”! LeBron, you SHOULD be ashamed. You get all the calls, all the time. You have been spoiled. And You’re too selfish to realize it. Grow up and realize that some will give as good as they get. When you throw that left shoulder into some, they will retaliate. And occasionally, those inconsistent NBA officials will make the call against you.

  16. John Stanley Merdelus says:

    Lebron James don’t complain to official!! If the Officials not doing a good job, as a player he need to talk to them. As big as Lebron James is, he could have done worst then what he did last Wednesday at Chicago.. This is my first time seeing Lebron stood for himself. Is a cool player

  17. Just rewatched 02 King/Laker series says:

    Wow… As a fan of the Kings it’s real hard to have any sympathy for a physical defender who averages a foul and a half per 38 minutes.

  18. wilson says:

    if the league let that play play phisical too much bad attitude will rise

  19. Pat Riley says:

    Danny Ainge is a little b****. He should put his money where his mouth is and instruct his team to lose more games so we could smack their little butts in the first round.

  20. wilson says:

    i think some people don’t understand what it is to play physical ,remember the last playoff miami vs indiana and againt oklahoma

  21. Kal says:

    Fran should be given a raise.

    and Isaiah Thomas and Rick Fox did a great job talking about the physical play. Isaiah Thomas: “This is where LeBron needs to grow.” Rick Fox: “That shoulder into Boozer came three quarters too late. If he had set that tone from the beginning…”

    And the comment to end it all: “Will other teams play this way against The Heat?” Thomas: “They’ll try. I don’t know if the league will let em.”

    ps. The cover story that Pat Riley’s comment put everything to rest… what a bunch of b.s. Heat Lovers are blind.

  22. Pokemon Master says:

    Danny Ainge needs to Shut The F UP!

  23. Pedro says:

    Does anyone still remember how the Knicks defend MJ in the playoffs in the 90’s? What was the name of NYN coach at that time?

  24. wow says:

    Pat Riley – such a hipocrite!!
    he was Knicks coach in 1992 when they used “no ley-ups” rule on bulls.
    oakley, ewing and mcdaniel tried nothing but send MJ and Pip to the floor

  25. Hello says:

    Why is lebron Foul A flagrant foul He got hit harder In the head And Neck In the last Play and they didnt call nothing

  26. Nate says:

    Lets be real people. No one can stop or defend Lebron. The only way to stop him is by fouling him hard. This does not mean that teams should start doing this. This will only create bad basketball and lots of fight. For coaches to tell there player this is what must be done is sad and show there lack of values and moral standards. I am excited for the playoffs but let pay fair basketball so everyone can enjoyed a good game.

  27. Whatever says:

    I don’t care about Ainge… Celtics will be eliminated in round 1 anyways… hmm Bulls? they are good at season against the heat but playoffs? nah they cant beat them… I’ll go for indiana to bring a complete-intense 7-game series with the heat

  28. Game Time says:

    The Heat are able to run over people and get the call. So the bulls play hard and know Lebron is anger about it. Maybe Lebron need to go back and look at how he playes to realize why the bulls played hard like that. Every team need to play like the Bulls did to be able to beat the heat.

    • Perseverance says:

      In that event how will the league be able to justify claiming there isn’t a double standard in officiating. In no other walk of life are people allowed to bend or break rules against an opponent simply because they are good.

  29. Lawddd4 says:

    So if Miami start hitting teams like that n we win what would you haters say than? This is not the 80’s n if teams wanna play hard foul bball trust us we can don’t underestimate the Champs. It’s funny wen ur on top of the world the things jealousy can do 2 ppl. Miami all the way n hard bball is what yall want than hard foul bball is what yall get. No team in the EAST can beat Miami. STAMP THAT

  30. The Big Contract says:

    I want Heat VS Celtics in the 1st Round of NBA Playoffs 2013. The winner of that round to meet the winner of Chicago Bulls vs Brooklyn Nets
    Now that’s Basketball, NBA playoff style

  31. Doesn't Matter says:

    If you look at the clip where McHale clotheslines Rambis, Rambis jumps up and runs towards him without being ejected. People get tossed so easily in the NBA that it really isn’t fair to allow a guy to get beat up when he can’t even stand over a guy after dunking on him, the way Lebron did Terry, without getting a tech.

  32. I love how Lebron melts down says:

    Uh oh heat fans.. Lebron gets rattled when you throw him to the ground. Don’t think the competition hasn’t noticed this is the most effective way to defend him within 15″. Kobe almost will always immediately punish the other team after receiving a blow. Lebron gets rattled. You can look at his stats body and skill and say Lebron’s up with the greatest, but we’ll see if keep swinging with blood in his mouth.

    See Duncan’s foul on Griffin last night. Perfect foul/ good play. You have to stop the explosive player 5′ from the basket as they coil to jump, or as in Hinrichs case, before the final foot of the 2 step evades the defender. Both great fouls.

  33. Willis says:

    That was a legit, entertaining article! Caplan should defiantly take some lessons on sports writing.

  34. wickd89 says:

    Although those type of fouls should definitely be called, Super-James has to be above the complaining. Lebron “the mack truck” James has shown he is such a dominant and strong figure, that it is time for ALL NBA teams to defend him 80’s style…I am not a fan of the lowly Celtic or Detroit style BB, but James has to be man-handled or else you can just hand him the trophies and call off the playoffs!

  35. islander says:

    The Heat does not need to play like that in this moment of the regular season. Just the Bulls did it trying to get a little piece of recognition because…” beating the heat is the only thing they can be proud of this year!!!”…The heat was playing loose, free ans enjoying the ride. No need to play like that right now. But be aware…the heat demolition squad will be ready when required…keep that in mind..Check the roster, bunch of people can hit you hard, and they will if they need to!!!!

  36. I think I like Danny Ainge…

    (and I agree bout Caplan being a moron)

  37. raul says:

    lol, i’m a die hard heat fan, but i agree lebron shouldnt have cried about the calls he didnt get.

  38. Game Time says:

    People are so stupid. They use one instance of something as evidence for a entire career. The first time Lebron says something about being continually fouled hard and people act like he has no right to say that. Keep on eating it up haters cause when Miami is in the finals again you’ll be the ones complaining…again.

    • ee says:

      man people are so stupid haters is a word people use to explain to themselves why people dont like them refusing to understand that its just they are unlikeable people. people dont hate their amazing skill they just hate their personality

  39. cesar says:

    Lebron is also human…can feel pain, and has a right to complain…he’s not a robot…

    • ee says:

      imagine if he copped what jordan copped and people want to compare him to mj what a joke

      • uoykcuf says:

        Love MJ but MJ used to complain to the ref all the time. He’s the only guy who can yak at the ref all the time without a technical.

  40. JimD54 says:

    LeBron loves to barrel down through the lane running over everybody and go to the line, but when teams are not afraid of him, he wants the refs to help him out. The Heat loves to play the refs and the refs love to get played by the heat….Danny Ainge Knows how well the Heat plays the refs, after all last year in the ECF game 2 the refs gave The Heat 47 free throws against Boston, that’s right 47, had not been for that Boston would have been in the finals last year, yes the refs do favor the Heat, Last year in their first playoff game against the Knicks the Heat shot 27 free throws in the first half, not to mention how badly they cheated OKC in the finals……Yes take away the refs help and you get the same heat team you saw in Chicago, Iand that’s because the Heat can’t win without the refs help……

  41. DAVE CAL says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Celts drop two games to the Bucks and face the Heat in the first round?? LeBron may be announcing on TBS for a month or so. He’ll need the money!!!

    • Austin says:

      LeBron james is not afraid of Boston, Boston players are washed up. The Miami Heat will walk to the finals and fly home with the giant trophy. LBJ with his 4th MVP and Wade with his 3rd ring. Boston can watch it all in June too once Miami destroys the East in Playoffs

      • Chris says:

        if you think they’ll just cruise to the title with a team coached by the best coach in the league right now you’re crazy. I guess nobody knows the Spurs exist because they are still very much contenders. I’m not saying they will win, but there’s no way Miami will just walk in and blow them out if they meet in the finals.

    • babymoney says:

      yeah sure he’ll need the money, we all know how easy it is to blow 110mil in two months…..

  42. Willy says:

    I agree about the BS Caplan is putting out there! The Heat can be intimidated, it was shown by the Bulls! Lebron was angry because he lost, only that. He hammers people every night, its like playing against Hercules! Watch the replay with his shoulder Butts into Boozer and Deng, unreal. Physical play is the way to beat the HEAT!

    • theking0522 says:

      BS!! The Heat can be intimidated my a**s….Lebron is not the same man he was 5 years ago. He retaliated against Boozer. I loved that flagrant against Boozer. James is not taking sh***t from anybody. If you want it to be physical in the playoffs, lets do it. It is you, Heat Haters, who always whine about the Heat playing physical and getting away with murder.. The Heat can be physical if that the way the rest of the teams want it. Ask Rondo and Durant!! We have Dirty Wade, the Bird Andersen, Lebron showed you how to hit a guy with the shoulder and Battier is not a piece of cake. Physical play is not going to stop the Heat..We can play physical also..Peace, haters!!

  43. Geor_l says:

    Now that’s a good read. Unlike the bs Caplan puts out there.