Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:39 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 6:04 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
All-Star guard Dwyane Wade will not play for the Miami Heat during Saturday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers as he continues to sit with a badly sprained ankle, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Wade sprained the ankle during a Jan. 14 game against the Denver Nuggets and did not play in a Tuesday win over the San Antonio Spurs and a Thursday win over the Los Angeles Lakers. CBSSports.com's Royce Young took a look at the Heat's success without Wade.
Without Wade, the Heat are expected to use a committee approach, splitting minutes between starters Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier and reservers Mike Miller, James Jones and Norris Cole to supplement the efforts of All-Star forward LeBron James.
Wade, 30, is averaging 19.6 points, 5.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 blocks in 35.1 minutes per game this season.
The Heat next play on Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:37 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 11:42 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Let me stop myself before I even start: No, the Heat are not better without Dwyane Wade. Yes, even thinking that is pretty stupid. No, the Heat should not trade him. Yes, that's a whole other level of stupid.
But you know what? The fact the Heat improved to 5-0 without him with a 98-87 win over the Lakers Thursday and are 5-4 with him this season is kind of hard to ignore. And it's impossible not to wonder what it might mean.
Here's my conclusion: It means LeBron is still the best player in basketball. And it's not really all that close.
What you see from LeBron is a player unchained from any restraints of fitting alongside someone else. A player that can completely play free, dominate the ball, handle every situation himself and control a game. When Wade isn't on the floor with LeBron, everything is focused on No. 6. It's hard to take your eyes off of LeBron because he holds the game in the palm of his hand.
Remember how with the Cavs sometimes LeBron would get hot and pull up for 3s from all over the floor? Sometimes even just a few steps in front of half court? That's how he goes at it in Miami without Wade. With Wade, LeBron had taken nine 3-pointers total, hitting three. Without him, LeBron has attempted 10 (in four games), hitting six.
In the four games LeBron has played this season without Wade (remember, LeBron sat out with Wade in a win over the Hawks), he's averaging 32.2 points, 10.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds a game. With Wade, LeBron's putting up 25.4 points, 5.6 assists and 7.4 rebounds. When LeBron plays without Wade, he becomes the Cleveland version of himself, carrying a lower class of players to a higher place, while he dominates the entire game. Except he has Chris Bosh, who plays about the same with or without Wade. But LeBron never had a guy of Bosh's caliber in Cleveland. His supporting cast in Miami without Wade is better than the one assembled with the Cavs.
Now, again, there's no question at all that the Heat are a better team with Dwyane Wade. If they are to win a championship, it will absolutely hinge on the health and inclusion of No. 3 in everything they do. But I do think that LeBron might be a better individual player without Wade. His mind is set free, his game has the shackles removed and he's allowed to roam and own a game in the way he was created to do. But that's the funny thing: LeBron might not ever have won a championship being the clear, indisputable best player in basketball.
Because in order for him to fully realize everything he's amazing at, he has to have free reign over the entire floor. He has to be able to take ownership of a game. That kind of thing can dazzle and destroy teams in the regular season, but was proven to fail in the postseason. He may have been able to win a title on his own, but it would've taken near flawless basketball from him to do it.
Instead with Wade at his side, LeBron can fall asleep in a fourth quarter, can have an off night, can fail miserably at different times and the Heat still be an amazing team. I mean, against Dallas, the Heat were not far off from winning a title despite LeBron not playing well and the fact it was their first season together in a chemistry experiment. That was the whole idea of forming that group in South Beach. LeBron was sick of trying to be perfect. The glory might've been all his had he been able to accomplish the goal and climb to the mountain top. But it would not have been easy. So he teamed with Wade and Bosh and set himself up for a better shot at it.
It really speaks to LeBron's inherent unselfishness as a player and person. Rather than soak it all in and have people drool over his god-like ability on the basketball court, he'd rather fit in alongside his buddies and win. The Heat are collectively an awesome team when fully operational. When it's LeBron and the Other Guys, they're still a really good squad that can demolish teams like the Spurs and Lakers, but not one entirely equipped to finish the objective and win a championship.
I do want to thank Wade though for taking it easy with his foot and ankle injuries because it's given us the treat of seeing just how freaking good LeBron James is when he gets to unleash his full arsenal of ability. Because every now and then, we need to be reminded of just how damn good he really is.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:06 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 3:14 pm
By Matt Moore
The Heat and Lakers are probably the most recognizable teams in the league at this moment in time. Featuring a likely six All-Stars between them, it's a marquee matchup of the season. Even with Dwyane Wade out and LeBron James a gametime decision, all eyes will be on South Beach Thursday night to see if the Lakers can get past the wall they've recently hit against LeBron's teams, and if Kobe Bryant can continue what has been an incredible month for him. The Lakers need this game to avoid another loss to a playoff team, and their second loss in three games, while the Heat need a win to stave off a disastrous four losses in five games stretch. With that, here are 5 Things to Watch or Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers 2012, Round 1.
1. A Sick Attitude: LeBron James isn't feeling well. And it's not even the Finals! (Hey-O!) James is a gametime decision against L.A. due to "flu-like symptoms" that he's been dealing with this past week. James was also not feeling great against the Spurs and missed several layups and jumpers in the first half. Then apparently he had a Hi-C juice box at the half because he came out and demolished the Spurs in the third quarter to help the Heat turn a double-digit deficit into a double-digit route. That's what he can do. The question will be if his condition has worsened and how he reacts to it. Thanks to Michael Jordan, expectations actually raise if you have the flu. So LeBron's under pressure not only to win, but to extra special while sick. With the compact schedule, there's little rest, so James could be far less than 100 percent Thursday night. Which pretty much dooms the Heat. This is not the Hawks.
2. Spreading the Wealth: Kobe Bryant has been ridiculous over the past week, Mavericks game aside. He's been on tear of scoring 40 per game which came to an end against the Mavericks, but they got the win anyway. He's also been shooting an insane amount. His usage rate, or percentage of possessions used, is at 39.7 percent. So basically 4 out of every 10 times the Lakers come down the floor, he's the one who winds up with a shot or turnover. Against Miami, he may want to get everyone else involved so the Heat's help rotation defense doesn't neutralize everyone else, leaving him to go it alone. Granted, Dwyane Wade being out opens up chances for him (Shane Battier remarked after practice today that he was going to get some Hail Mary's in before the game). But the Lakers can dominate the Heat inside. An efficient game from Bryant that uses Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum's advantage over a small Heat frontline to open up opportunities for Kobe could be the difference. That way Kobe gets the points, and the win.
3. The Inside Man: Well, I was worried about Andrew Bynum tearing the Heat apart, but Eddy Curry might play. The Heat are saved! But seriously, Bynum should be able to have his way with the smaller Joel Anthony and much smaller Chris Bosh. The Heat may even put Dexter Pittman on Bynum due to his size, but the youngster won't have the experience or muscle to hang with the wunderkind. If Bynum gets touches, the Lakers can play at their pace and rough up the Heat. Do that and you slow down the Heat's transition attack, their biggest asset.
4. Old Friends: Mike Brown knows LeBron James' tendencies as well as anyone in the league, having coached him for years in Cleveland. And setting aside whatever personal history exists between them, Brown will likely have his team prepared to combat James' effectiveness, flu or no flu. Whether it's goading him into his ineffective mid-range jumper, bringing help at the right time and position, or attacking one hand or another, Brown will have one of the best books on James you can have in this league, and he has a quality defensive roster and Metta World Peace to implement on him. Classic matchup: superstar power versus coaching stratagem.
5. Next Generation: Norris Cole and Darius Morris could have a lot to say about this game Thursday night. Cole provides a full-speed, no hesitation bucket creator for the Heat they desperately need coming off the bench. Morris provides an athletic point guard, which they haven't had in eons. Derek Fisher's savvy and Mario Chalmers' athleticism and improved shooting should cancel one another out, which means whichever guard can make the most of the attention drawn by their superstar big brothers will make a big swing in a game that features a lot of veterans in role positions. You hate for a game to come down to two rookies, but considering the matchups, whichever handles the pressure better could help their team to a monstrous win.
Your Plus-3 for the game:
- Don't be surprised to see Chris Bosh heavily involved in trying to draw out Pau Gasol, who has struggled with defense in space this season. Bosh has excelled at the pump fake and go, but if his jumper isn't falling, Gasol can pack the lane along with Bynum, keeping the Heat in mid-range jumper mode.
- The odds of a physical conflict in this game are pretty high. Between Udonis Haslem, Andrew Bynum, Bryant and Battier, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace and the rest of the Heat bench, this will likely not be a pretty game.
- Mike Miller hit his shots against the Spurs in his first game back. He better hope he hasn't used them all up. The Lakers will bring a lot of help and cheat inside on drives, which means Miller will have looks. If he knocks them down, that puts the Lakers' defense into disarray.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 2:35 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The second batch of All-Star ballot returns are out and leading the entire league again in votes is Dwight Howard with 1,161,797 votes with Kobe Bryant still second with 1,110,379. Second in the East is Derrick Rose (1,040,210), who jumped LeBron James (972,580) and second in the West Kevin Durant (973,152).
If the voting ended today, the East's starting five would be Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron, Carmelo Anthony and Howard. In the West it would be Chris Paul, Kobe, Durant, Blake Griffin and Andrew Bynum.
And looking over the vote totals, those starting lineups seem to be a bit set in stone, barring injury. Nobody is really all that close to catching anyone (Dirk was close to Griffin in the last voting, but Griffin has opened up a 300,000 vote lead).
So, are the fans getting it right so far? Kind of looks like they are, quite honestly. Can't argue with the West too much. I still take a little issue in that Kevin Love has been absolutely killing it in Minnesota so far this season averaging 26-15, but he's not part of Lob City, so it's hard to see him ever topping Griffin. Same goes for LaMarcus Aldridge, who is off to a fantastic start.
In the East, there's really nothing to change. Melo isn't really a power forward, but you can fudge the All-Star rosters a bit. Rajon Rondo isn't playing better than Rose, there's no better 2 in the East than Wade and of course LeBron and Howard are the best at their positions in the entire league. Injuries have played a role early in the season though, so you have to wonder if everyone will be healthy for the All-Star Game.
If the voting holds like this -- and it should -- we'll have a pretty accurate representation of the best in each league to start the All-Star Game. Again, I'd go with Love over Griffin, but that's not a sure thing case to make at this point. And it's not going to change anyway.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:57 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 1:20 pm
LeBron James was sent home from Heat practice Thursday morning with flu-like symptoms and Dwyane Wade will not play vs. the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night, via the AP:
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says guard Dwyane Wade's status remains day-to-day with a sprained right ankle. Wade will not play Thursday night.via James sent home from shootaround with illness, Wade day-to-day - NBA - CBSSports.com News, Rumors, Scores, Stats, Fantasy Advice.
James was suffering from the same ailment during Tuesday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs. James started off struggling in that game, missing several layups. Then the second half came and apparently someone got a fluids treatment, because James started dropping three-pointers like the bucket was a hula-hoop. He wound up scoring 33 points along with five rebounds and 10 assists, because he's a freak of nature like that.
But with him missing practice, you have to wonder if he'll be well enough to even make it to the court, and if so, how effective he'll be against the Lakers' quality wing defenders. With James not at full strength and Wade out, the Lakers have to be expected to win in Miami for a big road win, no matter the circumstances.
Expect for there to be one zillion references to "the flu game" of Michael Jordan, his Game 5 effort in the 1997 Finals, between now and tonight's game. Unfortunately, as nearly everyone is aware, LeBron James is not Michael Jordan, no one is Michael Jordan, this is not the Finals, and any effort at all on James' part will be hindered by the physical effects of his illness.
Huge break for the Lakers.
Mike Brown said Thursday at practice that he has no doubt James will play. Via the AP:
"When you talk about great players like him, those guys even though they're sick or a little injured or whatever, they find a way to perform at a high level," Lakers coach Mike Brown, one of James' former coaches with the Cleveland Cavaliers, said Thursday afternoon. "I don't think it's any different for LeBron."And Chris Bosh summed up how most people will regard the Heat's situation against the Laker:
"The show still goes on," Heat forward Chris Bosh said. "We're still going to expect to win."
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:46 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 3:46 pm
By Matt Moore
The NBA GM poll every year has a few interesting Nuggets. You get a feel for some of the underlying trends when it comes to players, coaches or teams. And in the case of LeBron James, this year's poll results are very telling.
For example, from NBA.com:
So that's a pretty sterling resume when it comes to what management thinks of LeBron James, huh? Second Most Valuable, most athletic, most dangerous in the open floor, best at his position. It's pretty clear that the GMs aren't punishing James for his decision a year and a half ago to team up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on national television. They respect him and marvel at his talents, just like so many members of the media did. When people complain about James' selection as the best player in the NBA they need to understand that if you watch this league night in an night out, there's just no way around it.
Not receiving votes: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, or any member of the Miami Heat.
Let's be clear on that. Duncan, Garnett, Kidd, Durant, Nash, Bryant, Paul, Rose. That's a list of the best players in the league, now or in the recent (within five years) past. Only Tyson Chandler, who just won a title as the starting center, and Derek Fisher remain as non-star players. Derrick Rose is 23. And yet all received votes, and LeBron James, arguably the best basketball player in the NBA, did not.
That's a pretty clear indictment. It's not a surprise. James has never been known to be in the ear of teammates telling them what they need to do or motivating them. He tends to hide from the biggest moments for some inexplicable reason, or fail in them. He's known as being too playful at times and not taking things seriously enough. And he's also discussed as the ultimate complimentary player.
But not a leader.
In a lot of ways, society, pundits, and fans would rather you be a leader than be talented. There's a more direct correlation between leadership and winning than talent and winning. James wasn't gifted with leadership abilities, nor has he sought them out. He has plenty of opportunties. He's known as a kind of guidance counselor for young players, particularly John Wall, Kyrie Irving, and Tristan Thompson. But you rarely hear teammates talking about the advice he's given. He has his own culture, his own inuslar identity.
The effect of Wade and James playing together clearly dilutes thier influence as well. How do you lead clearly when you have to check with your partner? This is the identity of James, and it speaks to what we value in sports, as well as the continuing dichotomy of James as the most valuable basketball player alive and yet not one of the truly great players in the game. It seems we're always finding something new to tell James he doesn't do. First it was carrying a team to the playoffs. Then the Finals. Then winning the Finals. Then managing his ego. Now it's delivering in the clutch and leading. And yet none of the other things matter if those final two pieces of the puzzle are solved. And we're left with the question we've faced for half a decade.
Will James ever put it all together?
Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:25 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade suffered a vicious ankle sprain last week. Bad news: it was his right ankle, and that's his accelerator foot.
TMZ.com reports that Wade, who turned 30 on Tuesday, received a 2012 McLaren worth more than $200,000 from the owner of South Florida luxury car dealership called The Collection.
Dwyane Wade got a sick $230,000 sports car at his 30th birthday party in Miami this weekend -- but the most impressive part of the gift is how it was airlifted into the hotel pool without a scratch. The car is a brand new 2012 McLaren MP4-12C -- given to him for free by the owner of a local luxury car dealership. Wade is the brand ambassador for that particular dealership.More images here.
CarAndDriver.com reports that McLaren Automotive said that less than 1,000 of these supercars would be manufactured worldwide with "between 300 and 400" coming to the United States.
As you might expect, the site posted a breathless review.
4,000 rpms can probably take the edge off turning 30 while sidelined with a bum wheel. Just a guess.
Image credit: Bob Metelus for TMZ.com.
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:06 am
Posted by Royce Young
It could be a day before you see Dwyane Wade in action again. It could be a week. It could be a month. Because at this point, we just don't know because the Heat aren't giving anyone any clues.
Wade sprained his ankle Friday against the Nuggets and called it the worst he's ever had while also dealing with a bruised foot and a calf strain. He's beat up and via the Sun Sentinel, there's no timetable on his return.
Despite sustaining what appeared to be a nasty sprained right ankle Friday against the Denver Nuggets, and despite Wade having yet to return to practice, coach Erik Spoelstra refused to put a timetable on his star guard's return.It seems that Wade would at least be missing Tuesday's game, but the question is if he could sit out extended time. The Heat are good without him, but better with him. Miami needs him in May, not January, so it's obviously wise to take it a bit slow. Still, the Heat are still working on sorting out late-game chemistry and offense issues, so every game Wade sits is less time to work some of those things out.