Birdman, Allen Help Heat Bench Soar



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MIAMI – Chris “Birdman” Andersen and Ray Allen watched the Miami Heat roll to a championship last season from afar, Birdman from the basketball abyss and Allen technically still a member of the Boston Celtics, the team the Heat vanquished in the Eastern Conference finals.

Neither one of them had a clue at that time of the role they’d play in the Heat’s initial step at repeating that feat. And yet there they were Sunday night in the midst of all of the madness at AmericanAirlines Arena as the Heat kicked off the encore tour with a 110-87 blowout win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their first round series.

Birdman provided the energy and effort, as he has routinely since the Heat signed him off the street in January to a 10-day contract that turned into the remainder of the season once they realized what they were getting in the 34-year-old big man with the energy of a guy half his age. Allen provided the constant threat against his former team, he was a Milwaukee Buck before he played in Seattle or Boston, that he always provides. There is no court Ray Allen plays on in the NBA where the opposition doesn’t view him as a threat.

They combined for 30 of the 43 bench points the Heat used as fuel to beat down the Bucks; their reserves outscored their Bucks counterparts by 18 points in a game where the starters’ offensive production was basically a wash (67-62 in the Heat’s favor).

Anderson finished with 10 points (on 4-for-4 shooting with three dunks) and seven rebounds in 16 supercharged minutes, while Allen finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three assists. And he didn’t even shoot the ball particularly well from deep (2-for-8), not that it mattered for the Heat’s new super subs.

“They are impact players,” said Heat star LeBron James, who was spectacular and efficient in his first playoff game since the Heat’s title-clinching Game 5 win over Oklahoma City in The Finals last year. “Ray is a threat out on the floor at all times, no matter if he is making shots or not, you have to account for him. Bird raises energy every single night rebounding, setting screens, put-back dunks and blocking shots. He brings that effort.”

The Heat needed to get it from somewhere. They knew exactly what they were getting from Allen, arguably the greatest pure shooter the league has ever seen — I said arguably — and still plenty dangerous some 17 years into what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career.

Andersen was a wild card, though, a gamble the Heat made to help shore up an inside game that served as the long-glaring weakness for the defending champs.

“You don’t normally see an opportunity to pick up an impact player in the playoffs on a championship-level team,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team is 40-3 in the games Andersen has played in since joining the Heat. “To come right into your rotation in March, you don’t see that very often unless it’s a trade. He’s had a great impact on our team on both ends … and he does it in short bursts.”

His work Sunday night serves as a 16-minute infomercial for “Energy by Birdman,” complete with Heat fans and teammates clad in white flapping their wings.

That’s a pretty good playoff start for a guy who admitted to being a bit skittish in his return to the playoff spotlight.

“At first I started off a little bit nervous,” Andersen said, “But once I got that out of my system I came back in the second half and pushed myself a little bit harder to go after offensive boards, play a little bit harder on defense. We made a couple of changes on [Brandon] Jennings and [Monta] Ellis and that paid off.”

Just like that gamble the Heat made on a couple of new faces, one early and one late, to solidify their reserves.

28 Comments

  1. truballer says:

    WHEN THE BIRDMAN PLAYS LIKE THAT I GO CRAZY!!..MAD RESPECT TO THE BIRD!!SAME GOES FOR MR. ALLEN GREAT GAME..!

  2. truballer says:

    YES BIRD MAN! BIG 3 and the EXPENDABLES GO HEATLES REPEAT!!…..

  3. jack says:

    Birdman a solid contributor and a fan’s choice for his solid work. I just wish he will get his RING. He deserves it. His unbelievable energy and his TEAMWORK skills. MIAMI will repeat. They deserve it. GO MIAMI!!!! GO BIRDMAN. Can I buy WINGS or HAIRSTYLE at the NBA STORE?

  4. Freida says:

    The Heat are great. I see them win in 4 games against the Bucks and see OKC beat the Rockets in 4 games. Everyone else is up in the air.

  5. thisguy says:

    @prepusio
    Naw I’m not feelin that whole “Celtics in 5″ thing, Rondo is a big part of the Celtics defensively and OFFENSIVELY. Yeah they came close to beating NYK in game 1 but when it comes down to it the 4th quarter is a big deal,and the only true 4th quarter players are Jeff Green, and Avery Bradley, and they didn’t even perform in the 4th..Pierce and KG are also 4th quarter guys but they are mismatched in their positions by either size, power, age or athleticism. Another big thing is that there are too many mismatches

    PG: BOS
    SG: NYK (Boston couldve won this spot easily if it wasnt for Bradley playing PG because of Rondo’s absence, Smith and Shumpert are just too much for Terry and Pierce who is costantly sliding over to play the 2)
    SF: NYK
    PF: BOS
    C: NYK
    I see NYK winning in 5 or 6. And this is coming from a guy who HATES…HATES…HATES…the NYK.

  6. thisguy says:

    my predictions are

    MIA
    NYK
    BKN
    IND

    OKC
    SAS
    LAC
    DEN

  7. bu says:

    Birdman is a great pickup by the Heat…… not that the other teams didn’t try. Prob tried but without success. The good goes to the best (easier wins, lower maintenance) ….. that’s life.

    I love watching hustle plays but not stack up teams kill the others (or with aids fm refs.)

  8. Faruque Khan says:

    I see Heat winning it in a sweep. Bucks are not winning games, if they do win one game Heat did something really stupid. The difference in level is huge. Heat doesn’t even need to be at 80% to beat the Bucks. Its just too easy. Heat can sweep the Bucks even if Lebron does not play the series. They should just bench Lebron the whole series just so the series won’t be too one sided. I look at the game and I am like its watching a match between a NBA team vs. a college team. Its just such a huge difference in level. Anyone has a chance to win a game but for Bucks its like close to 0%. At max I feel like they have like 5% chance of winning one game over the Heat.
    Pacers 4-1 over the Hawks makes sense to me. With the Bulls I have no idea what the hell would happen. They are too unpredictable. I have no clue what would happen in that series. I think Nets would win but it can honestly go either way. Knicks would beat Celtics. Most likely 4-1 or even a sweep. Celtics are way too injured. No Rondo, they can’t overcome that. Celtics offense is just too weak. Knicks actually did not have that great of a game 1 and still won pretty easily against the Celtics, I do not see Celtics winning it at all unless injury plays in.
    West teams don’t know enough to judge them and they are too close in level with each other and too unpredictable. Your prediction is good enough.

    • DJ3 says:

      I see the Heat sweeping the Bucks, because like you said, the levels of play are just too different. For the Nets-Bulls series, I think the Nets win 4-2 unless Nate Robinson goes off like he did in the streak stopping win. Knicks-Celtics should, and probably will go only 5 games with the Knicks winning. Same for the Pacers, they might even sweep the Hawks but I think the Hawks will win 1. For the west, OKC demolished the Rockets, so the Thunder should win 4-1. Spurs I think will beat the Lakers 4-2. The Clippers and Grizz hopefully will go 7 games, but I think the Clippers will pull it out in 6. And DEN-GSW, if all the games are going to be won/lost in the final seconds, who knows who will win, but it’s definitely going 7 games.

    • Heat 2peat says:

      I feel the Celtics got a little chance because of how good their defense was in the game. what costed them the win were all those turnovers in crunch time. When the knicks 3’s don’t fall they typically lose games. JR alone will take like 15 3’s and only hit 3 on an off night. even though melo scores so much, he’s very inconsistent. he takes many shots n that’s why he scores so much. at one point yesterday he was 8-23..but then he did turn up in the 4th.

  9. jesse53 says:

    Best game by the Birdman in a Heat uniform.. hope he has more of those type of games, as they advance.

  10. Heat 2peat says:

    MY PREDICTIONS, EAST: Nets Beat Bulls 4-2. Heat Beat Bucks 4-1. Pacers Beat Hawks 4-1. Knicks Beat Celtics..this is kinda hard.. seeing that the Celtics defense was pretty good and that they could’ve won game 1 if they didn’t stop executing in crunch time. but I think they’ll give the Knicks a run for their money.. Knicks win in 7

    WEST: Spurs Beat Lakers 4-2. Thunder Beat Rockets 4-0. Nuggets Beat Golden state in 6 or 7. Clippers Beat grizzlies 4-2

    • PREPUSIO says:

      I don’t know what games are you watching but you are way OFF. Net and Miami will take it in 4 and the Celtics will take it in 5

      • DJ3 says:

        Boston fanboy… No way C’s win in 5. Their only chance at winning this series it to take it to 7 games.

      • Heat 2peat says:

        @PREPUSIO are you nuts? as I said you simply cant write off the Celtics, but there’s no way they can grab the series in 5 games. if they win the series they’ll win they better take home court advantage from the knicks by winning next game . and how am I way off by saying the bucks will win at least ONE game? What was absent in the lose against the nets was the bulls interior defense. they just didn’t play their usual defense for what ever reason. but I beat they can win 2 games or series though. because even though the nets is a talented team, they still play weak ball. the bulls play with more spirit and urgency

  11. Desmodeus says:

    I was a little crushed when i saw first Birdman sign for the Heat then K-Mart sign for the Knicks. Either of those guys would have gone a long way towards solving the Celtic’s lack of depth at the 4 and 5 problems. Always been a big fan of the Birdman. Wish him well but wish he was playing for the Cs

  12. gerald29 says:

    we will see another 3 similar games coming….smelling that ….

  13. Topher says:

    As a Nuggets fan I couldn’t be happier for Birdman. After the sad way he was exited from Denver I was first happy to hear he came out out on top of those bogus charges and and than to see him not only get signed but making a impact on a team. If my Nuggets can’t make a run at the title I would take joy in seeing Bird get a ring

  14. Sam says:

    Birdman the ultimate blue collar worker no-one works as hard as this man

  15. ol man Ray Ray says:

    I honestly think that shuttlesworth has got a new lease in life going to the Heat. Im glad a genuinely good personality of the game is still excelling and running the court freely at that age. Esp after how THE C’s treated him when he left.
    As for Birdman, so many people waste the opportunity theyre given, which he hasnt… i think with the big stars in the heat team, its curbed his disruptive habits, which is a help to him…. these two players ( Birdman especially with the bigs in the west ) are the key for the heat getting back to backs.

  16. LBJ says:

    Heat is the greatest! LBY reigning MVP

  17. theholyspectator says:

    heat were sloppy with the ball and still crushed the bucks…too easy man