Posts Tagged ‘Ira Winderman’

Will Heat Finally Get Chance To Rest?

HANG TIME, Texas — Now that the streak is broken, it doesn’t make any sense to risk breaking down the key members of the Heat before the playoffs start.

After 27 consecutive victories and nearly eight relentless weeks of chasing history, it’s likely Miami’s key players will get a chance to recharge their batteries before what is expected to be another long playoff grind.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that they look forward to getting a chance to catch their breath and put their feet up.

Forward LeBron James said he would appreciate a break over the final two-plus weeks.

“I understand with the position that we’re in now,” he said, “I can use a game here or a game there, to kind of get my body just feeling a lot better before the playoffs start.”

Guard Dwyane Wade, who was given two games off earlier in the week to rest a balky right knee, said being right for the playoffs is the priority, but that also includes maintaining a degree of continuity.

“We’re at the point,” he said, “where we want to make sure that guys are focusing on what we need to do and not be out there just waiting for the playoffs. So we still have basketball to play and we have to play it when we’re on the court.

“But I think guys need to take the opportunity, as well, to clear minds and clear their bodies and get ready for what we’re put together for.”

All of the principals were in position for Friday night’s bounce-back win at New Orleans. James played 32 minutes, Wade 33 and Chris Bosh had the lightest load at 22. Starting point guard Mario Chalmers was held out due to a bothersome ankle.

Wouldn’t it be the most delicious of ironies — and a touch of tit-for-tat revenge — if coach Erik Spoelstra decided to start that rest in the next game on Sunday night in San Antonio? Not only would it short-circuit an NBA Finals preview against the best-in-the-West Spurs, but could be a response to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich having four of his top players — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green – fly home at the end of a road trip back on Nov. 29 rather than play at Miami.

Coincidentally, a lawsuit against the Spurs that had been filed by a Heat ticket holder for, in essence, breach of contract, was voluntarily dropped on Friday. The Spurs were fined $250,000 by commissioner David Stern for not giving proper notification of Popovich’s decision. The Heat barely beat a team of Spurs reserves 105-100.

Now four months later, would it be a fair turnabout by Miami? Is it simply time for the Big Three of the Heat to get some rest before the playoffs? And who’ll be monitoring Stern’s blood pressure before the lineups are announced?

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 109) Featuring Isiah Thomas and Ira Winderman

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – How long does is take to get over the dreaded agony of defeat, that one shining moment that goes horribly wrong for college basketball stars who have dreamed of conquering the March Madness spotlight all their lives?

For some, a lifetime. For others, namely a certain North Carolina Tar Heel alum (Rick Fox), it took nine years, to be exact. And still for the select few, they never have to worry about it because they captured that moment in college and again in the NBA, leading to a lifetime spent reliving those magical moments every time the NCAA Tournament or The NBA Finals come around.

That’s the life NBA TV’s Isiah Thomas has known, as a champion in college at Indiana and twice in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons of Bad Boys fame, and now a Hall of Famer.

He joins us on Episode 109 of the Hang Time Podcast to discuss his journey from Chicago schoolboy star to All-American college star and how he handled that transformation, and plenty more.

One thing Thomas never did in his storied career was win 23 straight games, a feat the Miami Heat have accomplished and will try to continue to build on in Cleveland later tonight. Longtime Heat beat writer Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel drops in as well to share his observations and thoughts on the Heat’s monster streak and all things Heat.

Check out all of that and more on Episode 109 f the Hang Time Podcast.

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business,  Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Boston-Miami: The Heat Stays On





HANG TIME, Texas – From Romans vs. Visigoths to Hatfields vs. McCoys to Nikki Minaj vs. Mariah Carey, there’s nothing that gets our juices flowing more than a good feud.

That’s especially true when, as the immortal Keith Jackson used to say, you have “a couple of teams that really don’t like each other.”

So here are the Heat and Celtics, still spitting like a divorcing couple across the conference table, days after Rajon Rondo took down Dwyane Wade like it was a calf-roping contest, drawing a flagrant foul and postgame charges of punkdom from D-Wade.

The fact that they only play four times a season until the playoffs doesn’t mean the venom ever stops dripping from fangs in Miami and Boston, as pointed out by our good friend Ira Winderman in the Sun Sentinel:

This time it was Celtics coach Doc Rivers getting his first opportunity to react to the flagrant foul called on Boston point guard Rajon Rondo against Heat guard Dwyane Wade late in Tuesday’s Celtics loss at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“I thought it was nondescript. I really did,” he said. “[Rondo] grabbed him around the shoulders, it wasn’t that hard. So I think it’s much ado about nothing, personally.”

Relating it to his playing days, Rivers, the former fiery point guard, said, “That would have been maybe a foul. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. But I guess it is.” (more…)

Lingering Issues For The Heat?

 

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The championship after party for the Dallas Mavericks was extended by five months courtesy of the lockout, an extension that the Mavericks would never blame for their struggles last season but one that most honest observers would no doubt finger as a factor in their early season struggles.

The Miami Heat, on the other hand, will experience no such thing. In fact, they’ll have what longtime Heat beat writer and observer Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel coined the “shortest offseason in the Heat’s 25 seasons of existence.” And with that compressed offseason comes a few lingering issues that could impact the reigning champs, in more ways that one.

The first two he mentions are enough to cause a little bit of concern for even the most optimistic of Heat fans:

1. The two remaining roster spots.

The 13 players already under contract for 2012-13 are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller,Norris Cole, Joel Anthony James Jones and Dexter Pittman.

Rounding out the regular-season roster could be as simple as bringing back two of the players who spent time with the team last season and currently are working out with the team, a pool that includes guard Terrel Harris, center Mickell Gladness and forward Juwan Howard.

The Heat also have attracted the interest of free-agent centers Chris Andersen and Darko Milicic, and could provide a landing spot for free-agent Andray Blatche, who is looking to revive his career.

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Heat Look In Mirror, Not At Mavericks





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Normally, we’d spend this time before tonight’s Mavericks-Heat game reflecting on the hand-to-hand combat the teams waged in The Finals last year and all of the tactical drama that could go on in this much-anticipated rematch.

But instead of reflecting, we’re left to examine the drama surrounding the slumping Heat and particularly wounded star LeBron James. A team loses two straight games by a combined 31 points and its catalyst is struggling with a busted finger, aching elbow and that soreness in his neck.

As crazy as it sounds, the Heat are in a position where they have to prove to their legions of doubters (haters or whatever else you want to call them) that they are tougher than it appears. They have to prove they can bounce back from adversity and from this mini-tailspin that has folks wondering if this is a momentary slip or something more significant.

Miami and Dallas are each 6-4 in its last 10 games, but the Mavericks come into tonight’s showdown in Miami (8 p.m. ET, TNT) having won two straight games and free from the over-the-top scrutiny that accompanies the Heat’s every move.

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Waiting On The Magic Words

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Faced with the latest drop-dead date to save the on-time start to the regular season, we’ve arrived here to this afternoon’s scheduled meeting between the league and players’ union in New York.

Can they beat the deadline?

Can they save the season?

Will cool heads prevail?

Can we finally get back to basketball?

Only time will tell. And based on Sunday night’s “last-ditch” meeting that lasted nearly six hours, time is a fluid term during these labor negotiations.

But there is a growing sense among most of the people observing these proceedings that it might only be a matter of time before someone utters those magic words (“we have a deal”). And the basketball loving public surely won’t haggle over where it comes from, be it NBA Commissioner David Stern or union executive director Billy Hunter.

After all, during the last lockout there was just one meeting between the two sides before regular season games were canceled. This afternoon’s session will mark the sixth meeting in the past 11 days between the two sides …

Hold That Apocalypse

Mark Heisler of Sheridanhoops.com: After two years of bellicose posturing, the last weeks of September and the first few days of October would show who was serious.

Not only was that true, Stern wound up extending his drop-dead date for opening on time to Oct. 10.

Overheated as this thing has been, with owners who sensed their last great opportunity threatening to burn their village to save it, the last three weeks saw the parties whittle their “irreconcilable” differences down to three percentage points.

(more…)

Expanding The Cast In Miami

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Who needs a reality show when the Miami Heat provide us with so much of their own original content anyway?

It’s not LeBron James this time, though, who plays the star in this drama.

Dwyane Wade gets top billing in this funny but sort of strange one-man act, courtesy of Matt Moore at ProBasketballTalk.com, with a message to the villain that hacked his Twitter account.

After watching Wade frown and scowl his way through the end of the season in The Finals, and with good reason, it is nice to see him laughing and smiling again.

As for that reality show … if it’s anything like the three minutes of hilarious energy displayed in his viral ode to the hackers of the world, we’re buying.

In addition to Wade and James, the Heat could add reality show veteran Eddy Curry to the cast as well, — he starred in the highly underrated “PREPS: Chicago Hoops” back in 2001 alongside Pistons guard Will Bynum, former Duke point guard Sean Dockery and others.

According to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, the former Bulls, Knicks and Timberwolves center has been auditioning for the Heat in recent days in hopes of joining the Big 3 for next season’s run at the title:

Heat Good, But They’re No Bad Boys

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – It’s a knee-jerk response. Every time a great defensive team rears its head, so many are quick to jump up and compare them to the Bad Boys of Detroit who ruled the Earth two decades ago.

Such is the case now with the Heat as they’ve limited the Mavericks to just 41.15 percent shooting and 88.3 points a game through the first three games of The Finals.

But seriously, when did you last see Miami’s Joel Anthony trip a player trying to drive down the lane ala Bill Laimbeer and then sneer? When have you seen Udonis Haslem pull the old rocking chair out from under his man and then chuckle like Rick Mahorn when he falls to the floor? When have you seen LeBron James or Dwayne Wade demonstrate even an ounce or two of the seething defensive defiance that Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman took out onto the court with them for every game.

Our good friend Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel caught up with a guy who’s had an up-close view of both. Ron Rothstein, now on the Heat bench, was one of the architects of the Bad Boys along with the late great Chuck Daly in Detroit.

Those Detroit defenses Rothstein helped assemble for Chuck Daly’s “Bad Boys” Pistons in the ’80s were more about brawn and bulk, players such as Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer.

This Heat defense is about athleticism, the type of closing speed that can pack the paint and still chase 3-point shooters off their spots.

“We have some athletes on this team that are just off the charts,” Rothstein said. “The amount of ground that we cover, the amount of space that we can cover, getting back in transition and running people down is remarkable.”

This is not to diminish the Heat’s prowess, merely to distinguish it from the rest and give its just due. All of those open 3-point shots that the Mavs hit against the Thunder and Lakers — especially the Lakers — in the previous two rounds of the playoffs are no longer so readily available because the Heat are simply too fast, too quick to recover on defense. That is especially true of James and Wade, who get most of their accolades for the jaw-dropping stunts they perform on offense, but can be just as overwhelming at the other end of the floor. The ball movement and slick passing that is a Dallas trademark has not been able to get enough open looks at the basket for anyone but Dirk Nowitzki and that lack of scoring from the supporting case is what has the Mavs battling uphill.

Make no mistake. The Heat defense is as good as it gets in today’s game. But they’re not the Bad Boys. Not until some bodies hit the floor and we see some sneers.

Admit it, don’t you miss the Bad Boys?