Q: Wade is resting up for the "Show Me Don't Tweet Me" game. I hope James Harden is ready. -- John.
Q: Why start Toney Douglas when Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis can't even get on the floor? -- Steve.
A: Um, because Toney is a guard, and Udonis and Rashard are not. And with the Bobcats going small, with Gary Neal starting alongside Kemba Walker with Gerald Henderson out, it wasn't as if it was a spot to spot James Jones into the starting lineup. What is clear is that Ray Allen is preferred as a sixth man and likely will be kept solely in that role going forward. It was nice to see Udonis get at least a few meaningful moments against the Bobcats.
March 3, 2014
Q: Another benefit for the Heat getting the No. 1 seed in the East is avoiding a second-round series against the Bulls again. They will be tough and will be the third seed. -- Jeffrey.
A: I've got to admit, when it comes to seedings, that is starting to become as much of an issue as getting a Game 7 at home against the Pacers, in a potential Eastern Conference finals. What Tom Thibodeau has done with a team that lost Derrick Rose and traded Luol Deng is remarkable. He should be Coach of the Year every year. Still, there's plenty of time left in the regular season, and the Raptors are right there in the battle for No. 3 in the East, with Washington still possibly a factor. But I agree, the Bulls are setting up like a tough out, and Joakim Noah sure is looking like a first-team All-NBA center.
Q: Are you getting excited for Greg Oden's match up against Roy Hibbert? -- Stuart.
A: I think Hibbert should be more concerned about having to guard Chris Bosh so far from the rim. Last season, it meant chasing Bosh to 18 feet. Now it could mean Hibbert (or David West) having to station themselves defensively 23 from the rim. The reality is that Oden could come in more handy against the Bulls, and Joakim Noah.
Q: The Heat are scoring in the paint, not settling for jumpers. -- Chet.
A: Yes, it's a function of their ball movement and patience on offense. I do, though, wonder if there will come a point when opponents begin sagging in the lane, daring Ray Allen and Shane Battier to step up their accuracy and productivity and beat them over the top.
March 2, 2014
Q: This upcoming three-game trip is as tough as any trip the Heat will have this season. I think how they fare on this trip will determine whether they have a chance to catch the Pacers, who seem to play every game at home against terrible teams. -- Jeffrey.
A: Yes, it is odd how the Pacers have 82 home games, mostly against the Bucks. But getting past that schedule quirk, I agree that the games in Houston, San Antonio and Chicago will provide the most significant extended challenge for the final seven weeks of the regular season. And after so much light fare, the Heat could use it, as well. Actually, I think what might be most interesting is how the Heat handle the back-to-back that starts Monday at home against the Bobcats and then continues Tuesday in Houston. Based on the caliber of competition, sitting Dwyane Wade on Monday might make the most sense. Or the Heat could appease the home fans and then worry more about the Rockets when they visit on March 16, in that nationally televised game.
Q: Caron Butler and Danny Granger have always been known more as offensive players, skilled with the ball in their hands. Considering Michael Beasley fits that description as well, and barely plays, wouldn't Butler/Granger have been rather redundant? Seems to me that someone who can defend wings and hit the occasional three would be more needed. Anyone out there similar to DeShawn Stevenson, minus the history and baggage? -- Adrian.
A: Well, that could be Stephen Jackson, although he might have as much luggage as anyone out there. But I do agree, it would be nice to have one more defensive wing. Keep an eye on the players coming back from China, with the season just about over there.
Q: There is no way Smush Parker would have been allowed to wear that black mask that LeBron James wore. -- David.