Tag: Udonis Haslem

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh says he’d take less money to stay with Heat


LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been more reserved about their futures with the Heat than Chris Bosh, who said he and LeBron would return next season.

But it’s undeniable how much all three are enjoying their experience – playing and living – in Miami.

Bosh continues to be open about how badly he wants to keep this going.

Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post:

Bosh was asked about his upcoming opportunity to leave in free agency during an appearance on The Dan LeBatard Show this afternoon and said, “Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to go anywhere. I like it here. It’s Miami. Everybody wants to come here. Yeah.”

When asked if he would accept a below-market offer from the Heat, he answered, “If that’s what it takes.”

If LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen – the later two have player options – remain in their contracts and Miami waives Justin Hamilton at no cost, the Heat could add minimum-salary rookies to form a 13-man roster that is $3,355,568 below the projected luxury-tax line.

Obviously, instead of settling for minimum-salary rookies, Miami could use that leeway to upgrade that projected roster – re-signing Mario Chalmers, re-signing Ray Allen and/or use part of the mid-level exception ($5,305,000) on another free agent.

So, Bosh shouldn’t have to take a below-market offer – which is anything below the max. He’s already done that, and the Heat have been wildly successful these last few years. They’ve almost certainly been highly profitable, and if they haven’t, that’s their fault.

Bosh, LeBron and especially Wade have already done Micky Arison a favor. If those three want max contracts, the Heat owner should pay them – and dip into the luxury tax if necessary to surround them with a strong supporting cast.

Rashard Lewis starting for Heat in Game 4

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game 3

The small-ball favoring Heat face repeated lineup decisions in their seemingly annual playoff series against the large Pacers. Should Miami go big to match up or go small to create mismatches?

In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat opted to go smaller in their starting lineup – though their hands were forced when it came to altering their rotation.

Miami’s starting lineup – Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade LeBron James, Rashard Lewis and Chris Bosh – has played amazingly well, albeit in a small sample. In 61 regular-season minutes and three postseason minutes, that unit is +26.

The lineup would have led the NBA in both points scored and allowed per 100 possessions during the regular season.

  • Offensive rating: 116.0
  • Defensive rating: 93.0
  • Net rating: 23.1

Don’t expect the Heat to maintain that elite production in a longer stretch – especially against the Pacers’ starters. This new rotation will bring a lot of questions.

How will Bosh handle covering Roy Hibbert for longer stretches? Who guards David West? Can Miami hide Lewis somewhere and use LeBron on West? How much will the Heat miss Chris Andersen’s size and toughness? What role will Udonis Haslem off the bench?

We’ll see shortly. This could work out to Miami’s advantage, but it will be an adjustment.

Miami finally brings its defense, Pacers wilt under pressure

LeBron James

Miami had not played great defense all playoffs.

To be fair, they played good defense against the Bobcats, but that was a Bobcats team without Al Jefferson so it wasn’t exactly difficult to defend them. The Brooklyn Nets scored 3.8 points more per 100 possessions in the second round than they did in the regular season (Miami just outscored Brooklyn). Then in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals the Heat had their worst defensive showing of the playoffs, and it wasn’t great in Game 2 — through two games Indiana was scoring 9.7 points per 100 better than in the regular season.

Saturday night, Miami finally brought the defensive pressure. Well, eventually. They took the first 18 minutes of the game to float around, but for the final 30 minutes Miami cranked it up. LeBron James was up on Paul George. Dwyane Wade was making smart gambles from the weakside and stealing the ball off post entry passes. Miami contested everything.

Indiana wilted — 17 turnovers, or 21.3 percent of their possessions. After starting out hot and hitting 6-of-7 shots inside 8 feet of the basket they got there just 15 times in the final 30 minutes of the game and hit just 7.

Indiana finished scoring 97.8 points per 100 possession, 3.7 below their season average. The defensive pressure got to them.

“That’s our game, however we get into it,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said in his post game press conference, televised on NBA TV. “That’s why this series is so compelling, it’s such a contrast of styles.”

The result was a 99-87 Miami win, giving the Heat a 2-1 lead in the series.

A lot of focus after the game will understandably go to a Heat offense that carved up the vaunted Pacers defense.

But Miami’s offense has always fed off its defense and that was the case Saturday — stops become starts, become buckets in transition. Miami finally defended like the teams that won the last two NBA titles.

If Miami brings that kind of defense the rest of this series they are going to another NBA Finals.

The good news for Pacers fans: Based on what we have seen these playoffs, I wouldn’t bet on that defense returning Monday night.

Early in Game 3 the Heat were the team coughing the ball up, most of those turnovers unforced. That is why Miami only scored 14 points in the first half.

But the Heat also were casual in their defending and it showed — the Pacers were getting transition points just out hustling Miami down the court. Then there was the older, slower Luis Scola looked like his 2007 self, just backing down Chris Bosh and beating him in the post. It was ugly for Heat fans (much of Bosh’s game was ugly).

Then Miami flipped the switch. It started midway through the second half when Udonis Haslem and LeBron re-entered the game. It takes a lot of energy to defend with the pressure they want to (which is why they don’t do it consistently in the regular season) but Miami found it the rest of the way.

It was an impressive run. They can’t expect to get away with this kind of effort against San Antonio in the Finals (sorry OKC, just looks that way) — the Spurs would have throttled them in the first 18 minutes and never taken their foot off their throat.

But like everyone has been saying about the Pacers, maybe the Miami Heat are starting to find their defensive groove. We’ll find out if this was a trend or just a short streak again in Game 4.

Might Greg Oden make an appearance for Miami in Game 3?

Greg Oden, Paul George, Roy Hibbert

When the Miami Heat signed Greg Oden last summer, this was why — to match up against Roy Hibbert in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Through two games of that series — tied 1-1 with Game 3 in Miami Saturday — there has been no sign of Oden. He has been pinned to the bench by coach Eric Spoelstra, who said Oden wasn’t healthy and ready to go.

But there he was Friday, working out, as tweeted by Tom Haberstroh of ESPN in this Vine.

When asked about it, all Spoelstra would say is Oden “could” play.

The reason Spoelstra is hesitant? Oden played six minutes against Hibbert in a regular season game and got owned — Hibbert scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, basically getting where he wanted and doing what he wanted in that matchup.

With so much on the line in Game 3, is Spoelstra willing to risk a repeat performance? More likely, he sticks with what he knows and trusts in Udonis Haslem.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade need each other now more than ever

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James

When LeBron James stole the ball, three Pacers were closer to the Indiana basket than Dwyane Wade.

LeBron – arguably the greatest athlete in NBA history – took off in the open court, using his unique blend of speed and power to create space for a layup.

Wade – 32 years old and battling perpetual knee injuries that would make you think he’s 37 – ran just as hard.

It paid off. LeBron missed his shot, and Wade followed with a putback dunk.

“Usually, D Wade don’t even chase me down. He know if it’s a one-on-one matchup with me, most of the time I’m going to score,” LeBron said smiling. “But I was glad that he did.”

That was part of a decisive 10-0 run that propelled the Heat to an 87-83 win over the Pacers in Game 2 Tuesday. LeBron or Wade scored or assisted Miami’s final 33 points, including scoring the final 20 themselves.

“That’s what we want,” Wade said. “We came here, and that’s what we envisioned – having two guys that is able to be dynamic at the same time.”

Neither LeBron nor Wade are playing their best right now, which is precisely why they must lean on each other. The Heat aren’t playing their best either, making them especially reliant on their biggest stars, and there’s only one way LeBron and Wade can meet that dependence – together.

In the final 16 minutes – a full third of the game – LeBron (14 of 22 points) and Wade (10 of 23 points) absolutely dominated. They had to. Here was the production in that span of Miami’s other three starters:

  • Chris Bosh: three points,  one rebound, one block, one steal
  • Mario Chalmers: did not play
  • Udonis Haslem: did not play

Erik Spoelstra changed his starting lineup from Game 1, inserting Haslem for Shane Battier, but the the switch didn’t really pay dividends. Haslem proved ineffective against Roy Hibbert and didn’t help enough on the glass. Credit the Heat coach for having the guts to bench Haslem and Chalmers, who didn’t provide the spark Norris Cole did.

Meanwhile, Bosh is not producing while battling Indiana’s behemoths. He has just 18 points on 8-of-21 shooting and eight rebounds in the series.

Chris Andersen came off the bench to grab 12 rebounds and produce a stunning +25 plus-minus in a four-point game, but he’s just one of several Miami role players. the Heat can’t rely on a single one of them on a nightly basis.

As the Heat have aged, their talent gap over the rest of the league has shrunk. The Pacers are absolutely good enough to win this series, and there are several Western Conference teams – including both still playing – capable of beating Miami, too.

That leaves a lot on the plates of LeBron and Wade.

The four-year examination of how LeBron and Wade fit together has been overblown. Let’s get that out of the way. LeBron and Wade are both tremendously skilled and versatile players. They fit with everyone.

But LeBron and Wade aren’t a perfect fit together. There’s give and take with two players used to dominating the ball, and a surprisingly low number of Heat plays this far into their current incarnation use both in key spots simultaneously.

That said, they’re better off together than they would be separately with lesser, better-fitting teammates. Their talent outweighs fit concerns.

LeBron once again played passively early and averaged a touch just once every 44 seconds – narrowly topping a season high set yesterday. His defense was also lacking, even though Paul George shot poorly.

Enter Wade.

Wade took the ball and also guarded George late, freeing the burden from LeBron. In Game 3, nobody would be shocked to see LeBron help Wade.

LeBron and Wade pick each other up, and despite some unavoidable fit issues, they’re trying to jell even more.

“Obviously, I always know where No. 6 is on the floor,” Wade said. “And he knows where I am on the floor.”

That includes Wade’s putback slam. Wade admitted “99.9 percent of the time,” he’d hang back as LeBron surged in the open court. But Wade was perceptive to a LeBron flaw.

“I actually noticed he didn’t really get the acceleration that he needed,” Wade said. “He took a step, and he didn’t get up. So, that allowed me to just keep following. Normally, he just explodes, and there aren’t many people that can beat him at the top.”

There aren’t many teams that can beat the Heat when LeBron and Wade are at their top levels, but neither is there right now. As long as they keep boosting each other, though, they can get close – and give Miami a chance to win.