Tag:Miami Triad
Posted on: March 8, 2011 11:39 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 6:20 am
 

Heat fans chant 'We want Riley'

Miami crowd chants for president, former coach Pat Riley as Spoelstra's Heat struggle through loss again. 
Posted by Matt Moore

In the midst of the Heat's latest embarrassing loss, this time to the Blazers, the Miami Heat crowd turned on the home team pretty hard. While attendance wasn't stellar, lacking as it has all season, those in attendance became restless as the Blazers kept the lead by following up Heat runs with definitive performances from its whole team, especially the bench.

The result? Miami's crowd joined the throng of people nationwide claiming that the Heat would be better off with their president as coach rather than Erik Spoelstra. From ESPN's Tom Haberstroh
Yep. "We want Riley" chants at AmericanAirlines Arena. Heat down 9 with just under 7 mins left.

It's too late for Riley to step in -- way too late. He's been too far removed from the coaching decisions for most of the season and on top of it, he's made it clear his heart's not in it. This isn't 2006. While the Heat could use a coach of Riley's mold in terms of his ability to motivate superstars and manage the X's and O's, it's just past that point. They're locked into Spoelstra, for better or worse. 

But the fans do have a point. It's not just the inability of Spoelstra to make the obscene amount of talent he has mesh.  It's the lack of focus and the simple breakdowns.  Defensively, turnovers, you name it, the Heat lack a mental edge. And that falls on Spoelstra. Riley is a known quantity, he has been at that level. But the biggest reason for a Riley return is a little more complex. Riley has coached great big men. Erik Spoelstra has never coached a great big man, and his work with Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony reflect that. 

It's a bandwagon fanbase in Miami with the current pricing structure after the formation of the Triad. And those chants will keep coming as long as the Heat are losing.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 11:18 pm
 

Tampering and the price of Heat Stroke

The Miami Heat are being investigated by the Cavaliers regarding tampering charges. We look at the burden of proof and the possible fallout. Posted by Matt Moore

And boom goes the Comic Sans.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a high-powered Midwestern law firm to investigate their suspicions that the Miami Heat broke NBA tampering rules while pursuing LeBron Jamesnotes, and owner Dan Gilbert has privately vowed he won’t relent until he has a thick binder of findings to drop on the desk of the NBA commissioner, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

(via Cavaliers probing Heat's signing of James - NBA - Yahoo! Sports )

As Ken Berger elucidates , this is a sticky situation that 's going to be awfully difficult for Cleveland to prove. The burden of proof is obviously on Cleveland and you're trying to not only prove that the meetings took place but the conversations that occurred without recording or documentation and the context within which the conversations took place.

Still, if the Cavs do plop down the "binder" on Stern's desk, he's going to have to proceed with caution. He was already viewed as a willing participant in the Heat's summer shenanigans. With a thorough report on his desk he'll have to give it the consideration it requires. Not because Dan Gilbert levied it, but because word is that Gilbert wasn't the only owner concerned that something was amiss.

Fines aren't really going to be a big problem for the Heat were they to wind up guilty as charged, so to speak, since they're producing so much revenue thanks to the Big 3. Front office suspensions are hard to see as troublesome since Pat Riley is really the only one in charge, he's pretty much done his job for the year, and it's not like ownership is going to make a change away from Riley.

Which leaves draft picks. The Heat have traded or swapped the most picks they can over the next four years. Removing draft picks would mean losing high first round picks who aren't likely to get playing time on a team obviously committed to the veteran role player approach.

In other words, losing some draft picks and some dough to get LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh for six years, even if they're struggling now?

I believe the phrase is, "Worth it."

Whether it was moral or not, that's another, and possibly irrelevant question.

Boy, the owner talks about the CBA are going to loads of fun when Micky Arison and Dan Gilbert show up at the same time. Awkward.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 8:08 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 8:46 pm
 

LeBron James and his Kingdom of Ruin

As the Heat get set to visit Cleveland Thursday night, and the NBA world turns its eyes on a hurt and angry fanbase, we look at the very real dangers and complicated emotions at work as LeBron James returns to the place he once called home.  Posted by Matt Moore



"Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done..."

And lo, what a Kingdom LeBron hath made.

Thursday night, as you may have heard from a few hundred thousand places , LeBron James returns to a very different Cleveland than he left five months ago. Awaiting him tomorrow night will likely be the most hostile crowd in modern NBA history, and that includes the crowd that engaged in a fist fight with Ron Artest amid the stands in Detroit. The Malice in the Palace was a spur of the moment debacle from a heated rivalry. This is an explosive situation that's been under pressure for an entire calendar season with everything from recession stress to the very personal nature of sports fandom, and how it relates to the city of Cleveland slowly raising the temperature higher. The situation James faces tomorrow night is all together more intense and deeply rooted, and considerably more dangerous than any we've seen since free agency began.

There may have been more disgusting outbursts at games in the league's infancy, given the racist overtones that have marked our country and with basketball having been so closely tied with the African American community since its own inception into our culture. But what LeBron meant to Cleveland, and what he means now, has helped to create a powder keg which is complicated by the current economic climate, a half-century old legacy of sports failure for a town whose culture is drenched in sports revelry, and moral values inherent in the middle of our nation. "You just don't do what LeBron did, and you certainly don't do it how he did it," is the prevailing wisdom in Cleveland.

Whether you agree with what James did, or how he did it, or not, the situation remains. Cleveland fans need to vent, to express their disappointment, hurt, and feeling of betrayal. They need closure, but don't feel like they can have it while the party goes on in South Beach, even if it's turned kind of lame and no one knows why Jamiroquai showed up and is DJ'ing. They really feel like they need this. And maybe they do. The real problem here has been the NBA's compliance with making what is already a looming debacle into something altogether worse.

The league could have done their best to maintain damage control on this. They could have scheduled it for a run-of-the-mill Tuesday night early game in January, or even February. Let things go for a while longer, to defuse, and certainly not put it on TNT. As it stands, the NBA has given the world front row seats and put Cleveland on stage, leaning back and saying "So, Cleveland? What have you got?" This situation was going to be volatile no matter where or when it occurred. But it did not have to be promoted, adding more fuel to the fire.

Why is this important? Because for every plea for reasonable behavior from Ohioans, for every demand of some level of decency from a proud and decent fanbase , there is still that concern. Clevelanders aren't denying the possibility of the unspeakable occurring, because they know it is a very real possibility . It's possible that nothing unfortunate will occur, likely even, given the security measures being deployed by the Cavs and the NBA. But there are any number of other scenarios that could occur. LeBron getting pelted with beer is one of the less scary threats. From people rushing the floor to flipping the bus as it tries to leave the arena, to objects which are not soft plastic and liquid being thrown, there is a distinct possibility of something happening Thursday night which could do significant damage on the scale of The Punch or the Malice at the Palace.

Think I'm overreacting? Read the message boards, the comment threads, the Twitter pages. Realize that large groups of people are planning chants which insinuate some of the downright most disgusting rumors this side of a daytime talk show. But really, just get a sense of how much even reasonable Cleveland fans want to see James suffer. They resist their impulses because they are, after all, reasonable people. But many people in attendance will not be. Man of those people will be drinking.

For James, you have to wonder if he's really going to get anything out of this game. He can't feel good about himself in this context. He may not feel bad about himself because of his massive ego, but he almost certainly isn't happy with so many people openly hating him. James has never fed off the boos like Jordan did, like Reggie Miller did, like Kobe Bryant does. He isn't naturally dispositioned towards anger. He's drawn to laughter and clowning. Part of him may want to punish Dan Gilbert, but on the other, he's walking into a former home as the most hated man in the state.

All of this gets past the fact that at some level, LeBron James is probably a little scared to go to work tomorrow. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. No one should have to be scared for their safety to go to work, but there's also no heroism in what James is doing. He created this mess and now he has to live with it. Playing under those circumstances may prove to be more than he can handle, and the Heat aren't playing well to begin with.

As for the game itself? Miami should roll. Mo Williams is better than Carlos Arroyo, but it's not leagues. J.J. Hickson is better than Bosh in muscle but not skill. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are obviously superior to their counterparts and neither team has a legitimate center. That said, that hasn't stopped the Heat from playing terribly at times, nor from Cleveland playing better than expected. And if ever there was an opportunity for an emotional lift, the Cavs may have it. A win would endear this team to the city like no playoff appearance or All-Star birth could. This is all they want, to see the once and never King broken on their home floor, with their venom raining down upon him.

This is Dan Gilbert, fanning the flames and playing the victim while he himself is partially responsible and continues to get rich off the misery.

This is a Heat team wholly unprepared for the vitriol they have inspired the world over, and especially in a quiet Midwestern city.

This is a group of professionals for the Cavaliers who just happen to be caught in the crossfire.

This is a superstar who could have been the next great nexus of talent, fame, and popularity.

This is a fanbase torn and driven to extremes, rising up not as one, but as a stadium full of individuals venting their very personal rage to their former idol.

This is LeBron's Kingdom of Ruin. Long it may reign.

For more coverage of Thursday night's Cavaliers versus Heat game: 


Ken Berger is on the scene describing the mood as the stage is set. 

Gregg Doyel doesn't want Cleveland to give the world the satisfaction by acting out of character. 

Berger also breaks down the tampering charges being pursued by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and we try to put them into context

Zydrunas Ilguaskas is pleading for the fans to keep perspective

YouReact with tomorrow's headlines for the game. 

More links in today's Shootaround
Video of LeBron James being booed as he takes the court.
Video of LeBron James being booed during introductions.
Video of LeBron James tossing the chalk.
Posted on: November 22, 2010 10:22 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 10:25 pm
 

Erick Dampier will not solve the Heat disaster

Erick Dampier can't solve all the Heat's problems as the superstars drop another one, this time to Indiana. Posted by Matt Moore





I'm not going to waste time with "Maybe this is the one that gets their head right." You'll hear no "Maybe this is the one that gets them in gear." No more of that. The Miami Heat are a mediocre team right now. It means nothing in regards to the playoffs, which they will likely make regardless of how bad they look now because they are able to out-talent a largely unimpressive Eastern Conference. It means nothing in terms of the legacy of the Big 3 or this grand experiment. It means simply that.

The Miami Heat are an utterly mediocre team right now.

In tonight's 93-77 beatdown courtesy of the Indiana Pacers... think about that... the Indiana Pacers... the Heat showed the total array of their failures this season. The symptoms which developed in those games against Boston have turned into full-blown medical emergencies, causing hemorhages on-court and flat-lining the Heat for the second game in a row, just two days after a mediocre Grizzlies team beat them. This, in front of a Miami crowd that's been as underwhelming as the Heat. This grand experiment isn't a failure yet, but the early returns would prompt funding agencies to pull-back on their promises of renewed grants. The Pacers handled this team, despite Dwyane Wade playing. Or "playing" as I wouldn't call 3 points on 1-13 shooting with 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5 turnovers exactly "playing" in the DWade sense.

The Heat announcers talked about how the team was "blue" because they're missing their captain, Udonis Haslem, out with foot surgery. And Ken Berger reports help is on the way with Erick Dampier likely to sign a one-year deal on Tuesday to bolster their sad, depleted frontcourt. But that's not going to solve the problems. It's not going to make the Heat close out with any urgency, which they have yet to do this year with the exception of their Magic win. It's not going to make them hustle on defense, as LeBron James tonight stood and watched a streaking Pacers guard blow by him with Carlos Arroyo pointlessly trying to keep up and head to the bucket for an easy two. It's not going to make Erik Spoelstra come up with a feasible game plan instead of the pointless meandering this allegedly "elite" ballclub calls an offense. Dampier will help them rebound and foul hard, and that will help, since Chris Bosh once again looked meek and mild, this time in the face of young Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger. But he won't make this team look like it wants to be on the floor or play like a team.

It was up to Riley to get the three in the building, it was up to Spoelstra to get them to play with purpose, together. Riley did his job. And with every inexcusable loss for a team with this hype, this payroll, this talent, you have to wonder if Riley isn't going to end up doing Spoelstra's job as well.

The Heat's problems are in total. Effort, execution, focus, luck, deliberation, strategy, intensity. The entire menu of things you need in order to be an elite NBA team is missing. The only things left are neat intro videos and a bunch of players who don't seem to look at each other, talk to each other, or want to play with each other. And Monday night against a Pacers team that had none of the Heat's talent but all their missing intangibles, the inescapable truth showed itself again.

It's too early to call this a failure.

But it's surely too late to say that it's working.


Posted on: November 22, 2010 6:27 pm
 

Haslem has surgery, things look dire for Heat

Heat forward to undergo surgery, out "several months" as Heat begin to explore replacment options in frontcourt.
Posted by Matt Moore



When the 2010-2011 Miami Heat were formed from the fires of overhyped free agency, there was one core condition to the fragile thin roster they put together around the three mega-contracts. Everyone had to stay healthy.

Hey, Riley! You got a Plan B, there, champ?

Ken Berger confirms a Miami Sun-Sentinel report that Udonis Haslem will have surgery to repair his injured foot, leaving him out for "several months" which puts the Heat in a desperate situation down low. Haslem was the team's leading rebounder to this point, as well as the toughest low-post defender they had, and a competent finisher off offensive rebounds and the baseline jumper drop-off. Without him, the Heat are left with Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilguaskas, and (gulp) Juwan Howard as legitimate frontcourt minute-takers behind Chris Bosh. Those names aren't atrocious next to Haslem, but without him, the team is different. Different in makeup, different in lineup flexibility, different in skillset, and different attitude. Everything changes with Haslem out.

And with Haslem joining Mike Miller on the shelf, the next month and a half is going to be very rough for Miami, who already was struggling in trying to figure out how to play together to underwhelming results.

KB reports that the Heat will turn their attention towards Erik Dampier, who they previously said "Thanks, but no thanks" to. Dampier makes a ton of sense for this team, in need of a true center that can rebound, play defense, and not get in the way, but with injury issues of his own, you have to wonder if he's only a temporary solution until he goes down again as well. Meanwhile, Dexter Pittman continues to rot on the bench for no discernible reason behind Jamal Magloire and other members of the AARP.

The Heat will have to waive a player to make room for Dampier as their roster sits at 15, and Pittman is the most likely choice, even though he's a raw player that can bring youth, energy and a bullish attitude along with all that fat off the bench. Magloire may be in better shape but isn't physically capable at this point. But Erik Spoelstra's conservative, cautious ways mean that Pittman is the most likely last man out if the Heat elect to sign Dampier.

(HT: Miami Sun-Sentinel )

Posted on: November 14, 2010 7:35 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2010 8:46 pm
 

10 games in, Heat struggle with identity

Ten games into the Era of the Triad for the Miami Heat, big questions have arisen, even as they show flashes of brilliance.
Posted by Matt Moore






The Heat has played 480 minutes of basketball under the Triad's new era of alleged greatness. And so far? The results have been less than incredible. Miami isn't a bad team. That's important to state right off the bat. It's nearly impossible to be a bad team with the kind of talent they've assembled. But if we're looking at them honestly, game by game, there are significant weaknesses on a team that some thought would compete for 72-10. And they go way further than just "they're getting used to each other."

But to ignore the good is to fall into a very easy trap these days: overreacting to the weaknesses of a team that still has a winning record and has been within range in each of its losses of pulling it out. It's based on an emotional reaction by some to the grandiose approach the Heat gave to announcing their new superteam, most notably Lebron's little television fiasco and the whole "rising from the floor like you're some sort of wrestling superstar" bit. For others? They're simply cashing in on the easy pageviews trashing the Heat garners.

So what have we learned, ten games in? That in terms of X's and O's, this team is superb inside the rotation and weak out (as in great 2-3-4, and weak out, 1 and 5), and mentally they're superb out and weak in.

The Flames On The Floor


Watching the Heat, it's not as if you're left with nothing positive. There's a ton that you look at with this squad and marvel at. Particularly, the fast break with these kinds of athletes. There have been several times in the Heat's first ten games where LeBron James or Dwyane Wade would slip out on the break off the outlet pass, forcing the defense to overreact in abject panic as they sprinted up the floor. As the defense turned concave to guard them from getting in the paint, they gave up the backdoor to the other one sprinting, only realizing what was happening as the alley-oop sailed over their heads. Furthermore, there is not a single team in the league that possesses their kinds of players in isolation. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, man-up? Impossible to guard.

Those elements are why offensively, Synergy Sports has them pegged with shooting 62% in transition, in the top 10 teams in the league in that category, and 42% in isolation, which is in the top half of the league. The latter will almost undoubtedly rise as the season continues and 20% of their games aren't taken up by playing the best isolation defense team in the league in Boston, who constantly sends help.

Then there are the spot-ups. The Heat is the fourth best team in points per possession in spot-ups. You can probably figure out why. With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade driving and kicking to the perimeter, the defense is forced to collapse, and the Heat shooters find themselves wide open. This strategy is brilliant against teams that can't close out and don't have sound defensive principles. But against the good teams in the league, like the four teams the Heat have lost to? It's not working out so well. In wins, the Heat is shooting 45% from the arc. In losses? 31%. That's a huge difference in their games. But this element is greatly impacted by the absence of Mike Miller. Miller will have to be a better shooter than James Jones and Eddie House have been, particularly in the big games. If he's not, James and Wade will have to start taking more shots instead of jump-passing on so many plays that are contested.

But that's an element that's not clearly a disaster. What is a disaster? Their point guard play and interior defense.

Carlos Arroyo is not getting it done. Period. Arroyo is shooting fine, at 49%. His turnover ratio is low, losing the ball on less than 10% of all possessions. But he's averaging 3.3 assists per 40 minutes, 1.8 per game. The only point guard playing 20 minutes a game who's been worse at creating or teammates is... Eddie House. The idea coming into camp and that Erik Spoelstra has turned to is to let LeBron James play point guard. Which seems like a terrific idea, him being the best player in basketball.

But James too often is simply trying to bowl over opponents. Against teams like the Celtics who have the book on him, he's forced either into jump passes that go wild, off-balance leaning layups that carom off front-rim, or charges. He's not creating masterful plays like Magic Johnson. He's just running towards the rim, jumping and then throwing it in a general direction. Playing point means managing the offense, not simply lighting a fuse and hoping the charges blow.

Mario Chalmers is not the answer, that's pretty clear. But it's hard to argue that having a younger, more aggressive point guard would really be a worse option at this point. At least Chalmers will be able to give a full effort versus Arroyo, who seems largely overwhelmed by the task at hand.

Speaking of overwhelmed , how about Chris Bosh? When Bosh was taking calls from teams this summer, there were rumors that he was adamant about not playing center. Those talks simmered after he signed with the Heat, because obviously, he was expected to be the top big man on the team. The problem? This is no longer a big man's league, and even acceptable centers are hard to find. Meanwhile, Bosh looks lost on both sides of the floor. For some reason the Heat isn't using him in pick and roll situations, despite him being perfect for pick and pop scenarios. He's not rebounding, not attacking, and unable to fight like you need your primary big to .

This is nothing new; we knew this about Bosh coming in . But the team is trying to get him to be someone he's not , and in the interim, have no one to take the reins. For whatever reason, the subject of Erik Spoelstra's blame in the Heat's center problems has fallen on Joel Anthony. This despite being no worse than Zydrunas Ilgauskas and more capable of getting up and down the floor. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a pick and pop shooter. That's what he does. And he can do it against teams like the Raptors who don't close out. He cannot do it against teams like the Celtics who do, even with Shaquille O'Neal on the floor.

In wins, the Heat actually does pretty well inside. It's only against teams which challenge them that they struggle. Kevin Garnett, Paul Millsap, Emeka Okafor. These players are getting what they want and it's simply been too easy. Either Joel Anthony or Chris Bosh will have to step up, or the Heat is going to have to find another option at Center.

The Spark

The biggest problem with the Heat, however, has less to do with their ball movement and such. Their defensive numbers have been good, but fallen off against good competition. The problem has been mental. They have lacked the aggression of a team that seeks to go out and dominate. Instead, they seem meek, confused at most times, and uncertain. Their ball movement is tentative, and their offense most times seems most like a group of players trying to convince themselves to make something work they're not really sure of. That will surely improve as they learn the offense more fully. But in the interim, they need fire.

The Celtics smacked the Heat in the face. Twice. Without a home court advantage to speak of , this team of promise is going to have to look inside, to all that anger they talked so much about in regards to the haters. They have to play with passion, with desire, and most importantly, with urgency. When the Hornets came out and blitzed them, they simply went through the motions. When the Jazz stormed back on them, they acted shell-shocked. And when the Celtics blasted them from start to finish, they made their close to finish the game, but lacked the intensity to prevent the gap from being insurmountable, and the drive to finish the job. If the Heat wants to become the team they assembled to be, the team they were promoted to be, the answer is simple. They are going to have to want it more.


Posted on: November 13, 2010 2:37 am
Edited on: November 13, 2010 2:54 pm
 

Did the Miami Triad spoil Carmelo's escape plan?

LeBron James' free-agency escapades may have held up Carmelo's intent to relocate this summer.
Posted by Matt Moore




Ken Berger's post on Carmelo Anthony contains a wealth of information on the Carmelo Anthony situation. Among the information relayed is this particular nugget of note which  contains a reference to our favorite Triad currently struggling down in South Beach:

This is precisely where the Nuggets began to lose their leverage with Melo, according to a rival executive and a second person familiar with the dynamics. As teams that would've been attractive to Anthony began scrambling to use their cap space on Plans B and C after striking out on LeBron and Wade, Anthony and the Nuggets were stuck in limbo. Melo's representatives at Creative Artists Agency -- the same operation that had been preoccupied all summer orchestrating the Miami signings -- didn't begin making noise about Anthony's desire for a trade until August. By then, the Nuggets' front office had been blown up and several promising trade partners had spent their money elsewhere. It was too late.
So what to take from this? Well, most prominently, if Carmelo Anthony does in fact want out of Denver and into a more attractive market, you know, like the five that were fawning over James and his cohorts this summer? Then CAA's distracted stance with those three overshadowed the situation regarding Carmelo and in doing so, was slow to enable him to move, and subsequently landed him firmly cemented in the Mile High City.

Not that this will affect Carmelo's relationship with the Triad, those guys are thick as thieves. But there's still a level of complexity here where when you look at it. CAA was so wrapped up in "The Decision" and the formation of the rather epic PR disaster going on in Miami at the moment, it allowed Carmelo Anthony to become cemented in Denver, even while he was not signing a very available extension.

So. If following this logic we come to the conclusion that Carmelo Anthony is unlikely to win a championship this season, and if he does in fact want out (and again, Carmelo's been very clear that's not the case... maybe... probably... something), then this is kind of a lost season for him. And that's unfortunate.

Which would make the list of things damaged by LeBron James' free agency and related decisions: Cleveland, Ohio and all its residents, Cleveland Cavaliers fans worldwide, the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey Nets, Jim Gray's career, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade's public reputations, several members of the Miami Heat ticket sales office and the ability of Carmelo Anthony to expedite his relocation.

Look, you may hate the guy, but even you have to admit that's impressive.

Posted on: November 11, 2010 5:22 pm
 

5 Things to Watch: Boston at Miami

5 Things to Watch in Celtics-Heat. Posted by Matt Moore



With Boston visiting South Beach to meet the suddenly-reeling Miami Heat, it's time to look at this game and it's importance. The opening night game? Sure, you're new to one another. These things happen. Boston had a bloodthirsty home crowd, the Celtics like to set examples, and you still almost pulled it out. The Hornets loss? Hey, when you're hot, you're hot, and the Hornets are jalepeno right now. But the loss to the Jazz? After being up 20? That's a bad sign. Three losses in less than three weeks of the season and you're looking at a Heat team that looks nothing like the juggernaut it was supposed to be. And now? The Celtics come calling again. Not even the friendly confines of South Beach look so comfy after the Jazz stole one earlier this week.

So what's the story with this game? Here are five things to keep an eye on as the Heat face the Celtics for the second time this season.

1. Weapons Point Blank: Rajon Rondo. Chris Paul. Deron Williams. 38 points. 50 assists. Three wins. In the three losses the Heta have suffered, point guards have absolutely detonated them and them kicked dirt on the debris. And one of the arsonists is back in the house this eveining. Say that they're great players. They are. Say they made plays. They did. But if the Heat are going to have any shot against a Boston club that likely wants to put the foot down on the throat again, they're going to have to at least distract Rondo long enough so that he doesn't single-handedly rip them apart with his bare, headband-less head and hands. Which means that finally, maybe, it might be time for Erik Spoelstra to give Mario Chalmers some burn. Why? Because he can't do worse than Carlos Arroyo and some combination of LeBron and Wade have. Chalmers is young, hungry, and after being buried on the bench? Very angry.

Sick 'em, kiddo.

Even if Chalmers gets torched, at least you'll have your guys defending the other options on the C's while trying to make Rondo a scorer, which is in his repertoire and yet not his specialty. It's time to attempt desperate matters. And Mario Chalmers? That's pretty desperate.

2. Let The Big Dog Eat: This is going to sound nuts. But the Celtics need to allow, nay, encourage LeBron James to play point guard. Last time out, he wound up with 8 turnovers. And watching the other Heat games, instead of becoming the ultimate facililtator, against good defense, James is forced into bull-in-china-shop mode. And against the Celtics, that's preferable because they can close at the rim. Otherwise you're forcing Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels and/or Rondo to chase James off screens and deter a monster in motion. Similarly Wade at point requires more pure speed and that's dangerous in and of itself. Pressuring James off-ball to get him on and then backing in will probably help the Celtics out. Just like it did last time.

3. No Cute Puns, Just Keep The Ball Out Of The Role Players' Hands In Crunch Time: "James Jones, for the tie!" CLANG. "Eddie House, for the win!" CLANG. Over and over, the Heat have provided what I can only describe as a disgusting number of opportunities to Eddie House and James Jones to step up and deliver and in the biggest games? They've whiffed. Well, okay, not whiffed. They got a whole lot of rim. If this one goes down to crunch time, the Heat need to let the guys they pay the big Bucks to earn them. No more role players. Let the stars shine. They're great players. Let them be great and quit telling them to jump pass to guys who haven't shown their ready right now, despite their history in the clutch.

4. Big Baby Gotta Eat: Glen Davis has been the most important bench player, arguably in the NBA not just the Celtics. He tore up the Heat in Round 1 with 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting. In doing so, he hammered them while also drawing charges on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.  The Celtics need that from Davis. The works: the mid-range jumper, the inside reverse that looks like a drunken seal trying to toss a ball over his head, the offensive tip-in, all of it. He can be the difference in this game, because so far, Udonis Haslem has been unable to be what he needs to be for Miami. Big night for the Big Baby.

5. Keep Up The Pressure, Stay In The Game: Both teams have surrendered big leads. Both teams have come back from behind. Whichever team establishes itself early has to stay in constant focus to be able to convert a lead into a win. Let up, start letting go, and the game will get tight again. The Heat have been bad in the clutch. But they also have a tremendous roster of guys that can deliver (if they don't jump-pass, see No.3). Focus and consistency will be the answer for whoever comes out with the win.
 
 
 
 
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