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Thursday, April 14th, 2011 at 12:10 pm  |  31 responses

Odd Future

SLAM 148: The only thing the guys on the Miami Heat are concerned about is the postseason.

So, now what? It’s worth remembering that Miami has played nearly the entire season without Udonis Haslem, the eighth-year forward whose rebounding and toughness have been sorely missed. Haslem has been out since November with a torn ligament in his left foot, but at press time was expected back in uniform before the end of the regular season. If he’s healthy, his return could be huge.

The addition of Mike Bibby in early March gave the Heat another past-his-prime but valuable veteran, a market they seem to have cornered with guys like Magloire and Juwan Howard. Riley plugged in some similar pieces during the Heat’s run to the ’06 NBA title, and Spoelstra is counting on their experience and poise to help as this team hits the postseason.

The rest of the roster still feels like something of an afterthought, with hit-and-miss contributions from the likes of Mike Miller, Joel Anthony and Eddie House offering little to count on. Chalmers has been serviceable as the starting point man, even if that often means little more than knowing when to get out of the way, while the 70-year-old center known as Dampier and Zydrunas Ilgauskas have (when healthy) filled the middle about as well as anyone could expect.
LeBron James

All of which leaves those three young millionaires who posed and flexed last summer on the American Airlines Arena catwalk. LeBron, Dwyane and Chris aren’t actually that young anymore; each is in his eighth season, and Wade turned 29 in January. Results this season won’t determine the success or failure of the Heatles era, but it’s not like these dudes have a 10-year window, either. If it’s going to happen, it needs to be sooner rather than later.

In the midst of the losing streak, Bosh—who, for what it’s worth, generally meets the post-game press solo, while James and Wade come out together, essentially splitting their media workload—acknowledged that he wasn’t thrilled with his role in the offense. The squeaky wheel was pretty quickly greased, as the Heat seemed to make an effort to get him the ball early in possessions. He rewarded his teammates’ trust, putting 24 points on the Lakers and 30 on the Spurs.

Bosh is an All-Star and a proven scorer, and like the Lakers with Pau Gasol, the Heat may well only go as far as they allow Bosh to take them. But just as Pau was a great player on bad teams before he linked up with Kobe and Co., Bosh is rightly the third option in every way that matters. This team will win or lose with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

The noise on these two has been as loud as anything. If this is the new era Jordan and Pippen, which one is which? Can one dominate the first 47 minutes but allow the other to take the shots that decide games and championships? Their superstar tag-team act aside, are they actually even that close?

When they’re clicking, Wade and James have been a joy to watch on and off the court, finishing each other’s oops during games and finishing each other’s sentences in post-game interviews. But we still don’t know who will be taking the last shot with a Playoff series on the line. We still don’t know whose team it is, or if that even matters.

All we know is that we’ll keep talking about it until they give us a reason not to.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    This writer is clueless.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    ^ about what specifically? I think the Heats success will come down to if the bench shows up for the playoffs or not.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Wow, talk about the pot calling the kettle black there Eboy…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I was being sarcastic……that doesn’t mean Professor Jones isn’t clueless about the ability of the Miami Heat team, as currently constructed though. He knows this.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Wayno, I’d defy ANYONE that frequents this site OR writes for it to debate me on the merits, the efforts and the makeup of the Heat. They’d be stomped. Let’s move on so Ryan can respond to me in time with a snarky response.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Ryan didn’t actually draw any conclusions. That’s what’s funny.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    That was his point, wasn’t it?

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Eboy bought me a quesadilla in Miami. Love is love, people.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Fu*k you, you had your pick of delicacies from the Hooters menu….you chose that sh*t.

  • JTaylor21

    Who goes to Hooters? It damn sure isn’t for the food or the T&A.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    jtaylor, In Miami, you can get a stray 30 something male talk to you at the bar about current events in the Philadelphia area and their sports team. True story.

  • http://slamonline.com Yknot

    Good story. Whoever has the best mismatch takes the last shot. Hooters is a five star two jug dining establishment what else could you ask for?

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    And just to maybe encourage some actual basketball conversation: I couldn’t see NOT leaving it open ended considering these guys have yet to play a single playoff game together. I think, if they play like they did when I saw them last month, they can absolutely win a championship this year. I’m just not convinced they’ll be able to do it 10 or 15 times over the next two months. And they’ll need to.

  • Benn0

    EBOY – why do you think your a big time basketball pundit? – your not – get over it !!!!

  • Benn0

    DUMB YANKS!!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Who is this kid? Maybe he needs a hug or something.

  • bigchile

    all of you suck

  • Byebye

    The heat need 80+ a gm in playoffs from big 3
    Only Boston has shut the big 3 from getting 80
    Cause wade is ave 13 against them

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Dwyane averaged 33 a game last year in the Heat’s playoff series against the Celts. Wanna place some bets he averages more than 13 a game if they meet in the second round this season?

  • Jono

    I love watermelon.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I’ll use simple math….if he averaged 33 a game last playoffs and 13 this season…I’ll average it out and say he puts up 23 a game in a potential round 2 matchup.

  • LSSLAMBAM

    How does someone who writes f*ck and sh*t get to keep his comment up and not me?

  • MUBWAR

    Heatles finished the season strong, will sweep 76ers and take it in 6 against the C’s. From there we’ll see…

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    I’m excited to see this team in playoff mode. And I’m more concerned about Bosh in the playoffs than Wade. No concerns about Dwyane here.

  • hoodsnake

    Nobody goes to Hooters for wings- Chris Rock

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    Fun read. Both from Prof. Jones and you people.

  • bull22

    @benno, with time you will understand that there is no reasoning with eboy and his useless arguments..

  • bull22

    If you look ahead, you get in trouble. If you look behind, you get in trouble,” said Thibodeau. “The challenge for us is to focus on exactly what’s in front of us and take it step by step. If we’re doing the right things every day, the results will take care of themselves.”
    THIS HOW A REAL COACH THINKS… (coach of number one seeded bulls)

  • 80

    Spo is a bad coach. All he talks about is team, unity, togetherness, trust and such while his team plays the worst basketball in the world with one superstar forcing it and dominating the ball while other superstar participates standing at the sidelines watching.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I liked the OFWGKTA reference in the headline.

  • D

    Did anyone really expect them to win it all this year? They did a great job, and I think their wins/dollars spent was one of the best in the league. I don’t think it’s rational to think a team that’s at the salary cap is going to win it all. The Lakers check in at like 70 million dollars – let the heat add another 20 million dollars in roster over the next two seasons and they’ll be fine. Every other (championship) relevant team outspends them significantly except the Thunder b/c Durant’s contract hasn’t kicked in.

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