Tag: Heat Bulls

2010 NBA All-Star T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam

Barkley says Nike overprotective of LeBron James


In the ongoing feud between Charles Barkley and all things Miami Heat, Barkley has now drawn Nike into the fight.

Not that he’s wrong.

In the wake of fans chanting things at Barkley on the set and him responding with a finger gesture (a version of “you’re number one”), then Dwyane Wade backing the fans, the hoop legend and TNT analyst told the Miami Herald that LeBrom James has not said anything to him.

“These athletes today are all wussified,” Barkley said. “I’ve been saying LeBron’s been the best player in the league for three years. And I say one thing criticizing The Decision, and I get a phone call from Nike saying why don’t I like LeBron? It’s interesting how this [expletive] works. These groups today, if you don’t say 100 percent positive about their guy or their team, they overreact.”

Nike does tend to overreact regarding James. As evidence we remind you of the time then college player Jordan Crawford dunked on James and Nike representatives went around the gym trying to confiscate all the tapes. (No, they don’t get to ever live that one down.) They are protecting what they see as their next big cash cow.

As for Barkley and the Heat… what did you expect? Stirring the pot is what Barkley does. It’s a game folks, let’s not overreact here.

Winderman: Mike Miller gives Heat big thumbs up

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Four

What has no thumbs and yet could give the Heat a grip on the NBA title for the next few seasons?

Mike Miller.

Still recovering from preseason surgery on his right thumb and poised for offseason surgery on his left thumb, the veteran swingman stands as an example of how much a player with a mere eight digits still can benefit the right team.

No, Miller has not been the star of these Eastern Conference finals for the Heat. That would be a take-your-choice mix of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and possibly even Udonis Haslem.

And he hasn’t necessarily even been the Heat’s best reserve, with cases that could be made for Haslem and Mario Chalmers.

But because all 10 of his toes seemingly are in working order, his ability simply to make it to the court for extended minutes has been huge in the Heat’s climb to a 3-1 series lead entering Thursday’s Game 5 at the United Center.

With Miller available as an extra wing alongside James and Dwyane Wade, he has provided a two-fold boost.

Foremost, he allows the Heat to shift James onto Derrick Rose, while still leaving enough on the perimeter to defend the Bulls’ wings.

Beyond that, he allows Erik Spoelstra to play without a true point guard. And when your true point guards are Chalmers and Mike Bibby, that can be a very good thing.

Further, with Miller one of the league’s best rebounders at his position, it also affords the Heat the opportunity to go more often without a true center.

The knock on the Heat, entering these playoffs, and rightfully so, had been their shortcomings at center and point guard.

At the close of Tuesday’s Game 4 overtime thriller, neither a point guard nor a center was within view, and that makes the Heat quite the sight.

At the start of last summer’s free agency, Miller was among the first players the Heat interviewed. Pat Riley and his staff were well aware that James wanted to play alongside Miller, which also is why the Cavaliers and every other LeBron-luring suitor had contacted Miller.

Now Miller, whose son, Maverick, is named after James’ manager Maverick Carter, is providing a direct boost to James’ championship hopes, as well as allowing James to make a few points at the point.

By next season, Miller might even come with thumbs attached.

For now, in his own way, he is doing plenty when it comes to James moving closer to securing a grip on that first championship ring.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Thibodeau thinks Derrick Rose not getting the calls

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Three

Derrick Rose has averaged 6.5 free throws a game so far in the Eastern Conference Finals, which is down just slightly from the 6.9 trips to the line he averaged during the regular season.

But Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was expecting a lot more.

And he’s blaming the officials. Kind of. In an “I don’t want to get fined” kind of way, as reported at the Palm Beach Post.

“He hasn’t been able to get to the line like we thought he would,” the Bulls coach said. “There’s a lot of contact, and he hasn’t gotten calls.”

The fact is the referees have let this be a physical series for the most part — as they should in the Eastern Conference Finals. The game should get more physical and the referees should let them play at this point in the season.

Part of being a champion is being able to adjust and play through that. The Heat are dealing with it much better right now.