Heat want a small forward, possibly Battier, and Eddy Curry if he loses 40 lbs.. Literally.

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The Miami Heat are still thinking about how to improve their team to get it over the top (one would have thought bringing in the best free agent class in history would have done it, but one would be wrong), even in a lockout. They have a number of options in mind for upgrades at their small forward spot, an all are predictably veterans who might chase a ring. The Miami Herald lays out a number options on the Heat’s list, including Shane Battier, Grant Hill, and Tayshaun Prince.

The Heat long has admired Battier and fellow free agents Tayshaun Prince and Grant Hill, but the question is if any will take less money to sign here. Hill told The Arizona Republic “it would be nice” to re-sign with Phoenix. Detroit wants to keep Prince.

Of those three, “Battier would be the best fit — when you play Dwyane Wade or LeBron James at the point, you want a three-man who can shoot,” said Kerr, who likes Jones in that role. Battier made 102 three-pointers last season (38.2 percent), compared with 45 for Hill (39.5 percent) and 34 for Prince (34.7 percent). If the Heat signs Battier, Prince or Hill, it could create playing time by having Wade or James assume more ball-handling duties when Mario Chalmers is out of the game.

via Eddy Curry, Shane Battier on Miami Heat’s radar; Finals rematch set – Sports Buzz – MiamiHerald.com.

Battier may make the most sense from a perimeter offensive weapon perspective, but he’s also an odd fit because of his inability to create offense from anywhere else. Prince or Hill, comparatively, both can create off the dribble more effectively, and while Battier’s defense is still All-Defensive-Team level (if the voting were accurate), Prince has the length and Hill the experience to work decently inside the Heat’s system. The bigger question is if Hill or Prince would be accepting of a bench role, and if Battier would be receptive to joining a team as “Hollywood” as the Heat. Battier’s a pretty down to earth guy, and doesn’t have much time for nonsense. On the other hand, he may consider joining the Heat the simple tactically superior decision, based around the decision to join the Heat so he doesn’t have to guard either Dwyane Wade or LeBron James two-to-three times a year.

Always thinking, that Battier.

The Herald also reports that the Heat are still interested in, yes, Eddy Curry, if the big man (no pun intended) loses 40 lbs.. That’s right. 40 lbs.. So if he loses a moderately sized canine from his belly, he can play for the Heat. The Heat will pay him some sum of money, probably in the millions, as long as this notoriously overweight bust loses the same amount of weight as my border collie.

In unrelated news, the lockout continues over the owners’ insistence that it is not their decision making that is at fault for their financial hardship, but instead the overall salary structure of the players.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Chicago does humor with “Beauty and the Bull” snapchat musical

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The Beauty and the Beast movie is both a hit and ripe for satire. Or just amusing spinoffs.

Enter the Chicago Bulls, with Benny the Bull mascot and Robin Lopez pitching in on a musical takeoff of the film promoting the team.

Well played Bulls.

LeBron James drives through Wizards defense, dunks on

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Even when they are getting beat — and the Cavaliers have some issues to shake out before the playoffs start — there are a couple times a game that LeBron James makes a play that is stunning.

For example, splitting defenders out high with his dribble then going in and dunking on Ian Mahinmi. LeBron did that Saturday night.

The Wizards beat the Cavaliers and Cleveland has issues that are bigger than LeBron’s goggles (Boston can tie Cleveland for the top spot in the East with a win Sunday), but never doubt LeBron’s explosiveness.

Raptors’ Patrick Patterson taunts Mavericks’ bench after three, Rick Carlisle talks back (VIDEO)

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Toronto handed Dallas its 41st loss of the season Saturday night, which means with the Mavericks’ next loss their streak of winning seasons will come to an end at 16.

Toronto was talking a lot of smack while getting that win. At least Patrick Patterson was when he was draining corner threes in front of the Mavericks’ bench. On the one above, Patterson chirps and coach Rick Carlisle goes back at him verbally. They both pick up technical fouls for their trouble.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen a little more during games, there’s a lot of talking down there

Serge Ibaka, DeMar DeRozan lead Raptors past Mavericks, 94-86

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DALLAS (AP) — DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka scored 18 points apiece, and the Toronto Raptors clinched a playoff berth after their fifth straight victory, 94-86 over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

The Raptors, who came back from 15-point deficits to win each of their last two games, made it a little easier on themselves Saturday. Toronto scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed in dealing the Mavericks’ playoff hopes a damaging blow.

Harrison Barnes scored 23 points for Dallas, which missed 18 of its first 22 3-pointers and finished just 7 of 28 from behind the arc.

Patrick Patterson added 14 points for Toronto, including a perfect 4 for 4 on 3-pointers.

The Mavericks fell four games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the West.

Toronto led by as many as 16 points in the first half and by 15 early in the fourth quarter before a 10-0 Dallas run made things more interesting.

Dorian Finney-Smith‘s free throws with 7:57 to go brought the Mavs within 79-74, the closest they had been since 7-2 early in the game. But Ibaka made consecutive jumpers to restore a nine-point lead, and Dallas got no closer than six after that.

The Raptors had their biggest lead at 42-26 in the first half. Barnes scored Dallas’ last 11 points of the half to help cut into the lead, but Toronto led 54-44 at the break.

J.J. Barea‘s long 3 at the third-quarter buzzer again brought Dallas within 10 at 74-64.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Coach Dwane Casey said he was hopeful that guard Kyle Lowry would return from wrist surgery before the end of the regular season. “I know he’s doing a lot of conditioning, a lot of work to keep his body in shape,” Casey said. “Just let him rehab, let him do his thing and trust our medical people.” Lowry has missed the last 16 games. . Toronto was also without starting forward DeMarre Carroll due to a sore lower back. P.J. Tucker started in his place.

Mavericks: Seth Curry with 11 points and Yogi Ferrell with 10 were the only other Mavs in double figures. . Nerlens Noel started his second game in a row at center for the Mavericks, who have gone to a big lineup. They’ve moved Dirk Nowitzki to power forward, Barnes to small forward and Curry to point guard.

STREAK IN JEOPARDY

The Mavericks took their 41st loss of the season. Their next loss will end the NBA’s second-longest streak of .500 or better seasons – currently at 16 seasons. Their last sub-.500 season was 1999-00, when they finished 40-42 and Mark Cuban became owner of the team in January 2000.

San Antonio has the longest streak of .500 or better seasons with 20, including this season.

ABOUT THURSDAY NIGHT

Cuban couldn’t resist giving his opinion on Barea’s ejection from the Mavericks’ victory over the Clippers on Thursday night. Barea was called for a flagrant 2 foul for pushing Blake Griffin, a player with a 10-inch height advantage over Barea.

“I just feel bad for Blake,” Cuban said. “It’s hard to come back from a knockout like that. We sent flowers to his family, condolences. I can only guess that he’s going to be drinking through a straw for a long, long time.”