Archive for the ‘ Miami Heat Blog ’ Category

The Sixers and Heat series has been a joy to watch. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat, who have put up a great fight but are now one game from elimination:

Two games later, and with the Heat on the brink of elimination, there is no room for fun. They need a victory Tuesday in Game 5 in Philadelphia to keep the season alive. The Sixers lead 3-1 in the best-of-7 series.

“I was just having fun with that in Game 2,” Wade said. “It’s not about him. It’s about us. It’s about these 15 guys going on the road against a team that’s looking to close us out to win their first playoff series. We got to do what most people don’t think we can do.”

Only 11 teams have rallied from a 3-1 deficit in league history. The Cleveland Cavaliers were the last team to do it when they defeated the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Heat did it in 1997, rallying against the New York Knicks in the conference semifinals.

“It’s not necessarily us against the world,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s us against the Philadelphia 76ers. We have to find a way to finish games. They’ve really nailed us in the fourth quarters in all four games — except the one we were able to pull away. We just have to do better. Through three quarters we’ve been up. It’s going to require a full 48-minute game of absolute our best effort.”

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Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow has been fined $15,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct for intentionally stepping on and attempting to damage the facemask of Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, which took place after Embiid’s facemask had fallen onto the playing court, occurred with 7:51 remaining in the second quarter of the 76ers’ 128-108 win over the Heat on Thursday, April 19 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who through three playoff games is receiving just 13.7 minutes per outing of playing time, averaging a mere 3.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

From a national perspective, Thursday night began and ended the same way for the Heat, with TNT’s Charles Barkley bashing Hassan Whiteside before and after the 76ers’ Game 3 win against the Heat that gave Philadelphia a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

What happened in between Barkley’s remarks Thursday was even more discouraging for Whiteside, who has managed just 11 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in 41 combined minutes during three games in this playoff series while committing seven turnovers and nine fouls.

And with Saturday’s Game 4 looming, Whiteside, who’s active on social media, made clear he’s tuning out the torrent of criticism: “I don’t get caught up in the guys that can’t do my job but talk about my job.”

A night after Whiteside curiously attributed his struggles to lack of involvement on offense, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday “we’re not going to change the playbook, but certainly we’ll work to get Hassan active on both ends and where you feel him in the game. Part of that is my job. We had a film session today, and we were working on that. He’s going to do his part.”

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Tyler Johnson health update

The Heat are down 2-1 in their first round playoff series against the Sixers. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Heat shooting guard Tyler Johnson:

Guard Tyler Johnson began clutching his left hand early in Thursday’s game after jamming his left thumb while colliding with Sixers center Joel Embiid on the second possession.

Johnson was evaluated after the game but no serious damage was found after X-rays. He wore a protective wrap during Friday’s practice.

“I was trying to catch myself,stumbled, put my hand down,” Johnson said. “I lost my balance when I ran into him. I tried to brace myself on the floor and jammed my thumb … Initially it was a little bit sore. We got a little tape job on it.That’s more to make it a little bit more comfortable. It’s a little sore, nothing that’s not manageable.”

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Justise Winslow willing to do whatever

The playoffs are not a time for friendship between foes. It’s about winning. Send the other guys home. And every winning team needs an enforcer or two. Or three. As for the Heat, here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

Justise Winslow is not here to win friends, not this time of year, and certainly not from the Philadelphia 76ers fans who took exception with his over-the-top defensive aggression against Ben Simmons.

“I can be the bad guy if that means winning,” the Miami Heat reserve forward said as his team prepared for Thursday’s Game 3 of the best-of-seven, opening-round series that is tied 1-1.

Winslow said maximizing his fouls and physicality against Simmons has returned him to his basketball roots.

“Growing up I played on all types of teams that would just press and defend and run around with our heads chopped off,” he said on the practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena. “But this is more organized obviously in the NBA. It’s fun sometimes you get to go back to that and just go out there and make plays defensively. It’s kind of in my nature. I was brought up in AAU, high school.”

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Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat, who recently welcomed Dwyane Wade back and currently have no plans on restricting his play in regard to back-to-backs:

After being put into a “maintenance” program with the Miami Heat during his previous tenure with the team, Dwyane Wade said no such contingencies have been discussed for this reunion tour.

That had Wade again in the rotation in Wednesday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers on the second night of a back-to-back set, after playing 21 minutes in Tuesday night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Wade had been held out of games in four of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ back-to-back sets earlier this season before his recent buyout…

The Heat have three remaining back-to-back sets, with coach Erik Spoelstra saying Wednesday a maintenance plan has not been discussed since Wade’s signing.

“Not right now,” Spoelstra said, “no.”

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Cavs trade Dwyane Wade to Heat

The Cavs have traded Dwyane Wade to the Heat in exchange for a protected 2024 second-round draft pick.

The trade also creates a traded player exception for the Cavaliers in the amount of approximately $1.5 million.

“We would like to thank Dwyane for everything he brought to this team and to the Cleveland community during his time in Northeast Ohio,” said Cavs General Manager Koby Altman. “A definite Hall of Famer when his playing career is complete, his basketball legacy is cemented by how he carries himself both on and off the floor. His work ethic and commitment to the game of basketball with such an illustrious career was greatly respected by his Cavs teammates and everyone in our front office. We wish Dwyane nothing but the best in his return to Miami, where he established himself as one the NBA’s all-time elite players.”

“We feel that Dwyane can help our team in so many ways,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “It is a beautiful moment for us, for the city and for the fans. All of us embrace it in the manner that we want to win and that’s why we brought Dwyane back home. We look forward to having a great end of season run as we fight for the playoffs.”

Wade, a three-time NBA Champion with the HEAT, played 12 seasons in Miami, appearing in 855 regular season games (845 starts) averaging 23.7 points, 5.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.65 steals and 35.7 minutes while shooting 48.8 percent from the field. The 12-time NBA All-Star is the HEAT’s all-time leader in points (20,221), field goals made (7,325), free throws made (5,185), double-figure scoring efforts (816), assists (4,944), steals (1,414), starts, games played and minutes played (30,560). He also ranks among the HEAT’s all-time leaders in blocks (2nd, 759), total rebounds (4th, 4,126), defensive rebounds (4th, 3,051), offensive rebounds (5th, 1,076), double-doubles (5th, 121), field goal percentage (7th, .488) and three-point field goals made (7th, 386). Additionally, Wade, the 2006 NBA Finals MVP, has appeared in 166 career postseason games (all starts) with the HEAT averaging 22.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.57 steals, 1.00 blocks and 38.4 minutes while shooting 47.7 percent from the field.

Hammons, who was acquired on July 7, 2017, did not appear in a game with the HEAT this season. He did appear in 25 games (14 starts) with Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, this season and averaged 8.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.96 blocks and 20.2 minutes while shooting 53.6 percent from the field.

Haslem happy to have Wade back on Heat

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on one veteran happy to have a longtime buddy back on the Heat:

Nobody might be happier about Dwyane Wade coming back to the Miami Heat than Udonis Haslem.

In fact, go ahead and mark it down. Nobody is happier about Wade, 36, heading home than his best friend.

“I bet you probably want to hear me say I knew it all the time, don’t you?” Haslem said through a grin Thursday outside the Heat’s locker room inside AmericanAirlines Arena. “No, it’s good, man. I’m happy for him. I’m happy to have the opportunity to play the game of basketball with him and compete with him, to lead with him. The guys are excited about the opportunity. Hank is still doing his job from above.”

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The Miami Heat have traded Okaro White to the Atlanta Hawks for Luke Babbitt.

Babbitt, who was originally acquired by the HEAT on July 10, 2016, has appeared in 37 games (nine starts) with the Hawks this season averaging 6.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 15.4 minutes while shooting 47.6 percent from the field, 44.1 percent from three-point range and 77.3 percent from the foul line. He led Atlanta in three-point field goal percentage (minimum 50 attempts) and shot at least 50 percent from beyond the arc in 17 games this season. In his lone season in Miami during the 2016-17 campaign, he made a single-season career-high 87 three-point field goals and hit multiple treys in a game 23 times, also a single-season career best.

Babbitt has appeared in 368 career NBA regular season games (102 starts) during his eight-year career averaging 4.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 14.1 minutes while shooting 41.3 percent from the floor, 41 percent from three-point range and 74.7 percent from the foul line. Including this season, Babbitt has shot at least 40 percent from downtown in four consecutive seasons.

White, who was originally signed by the HEAT as a free agent on July 15, 2016, has appeared in 41 career games with Miami (four starts) averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.4 minutes while shooting 38.8 percent from the field. He appeared in six games with the HEAT this season before having surgery on November 16 to repair a fifth metatarsal fracture in his left foot.

UPDATE: The Atlanta Hawks, after the above trade, requested waivers on forward Okaro White.

Talented Heat big-man Hassan Whiteside is receiving fewer-than-expected minutes per game from the Heat this season, and is often finding himself watching 4th quarter action rather than participating in it. He played 29.1 minutes per game in 2015-16, 32.6 minutes per game last season, but this season he’s at 25.5 minutes per game through Monday’s action. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

Back from a one-game absence following a stomach ailment, Whiteside again found himself as fourth-quarter spectator in Monday night’s 111-109 loss to the league-worst Orlando Magic at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“I played my average minutes, you know. I average, what, 22 minutes, 23 minutes? So that’s pretty much how it’s been,” said Whiteside, who was utilized for 22 minutes, 44 seconds, nonetheless closing with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

With the emergence of rookie center Bam Adebayo and the addition of Kelly Olynyk, Whiteside is averaging 25.3 minutes per game this season, down from his 32.6 last season, when the Heat’s primary backup big man was journeyman center Willie Reed.

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InsideHoops.com

Heat guard Goran Dragic has been selected by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Cavs forward/center Kevin Love on Team LeBron in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played in Los Angeles on February 18.

This will be Dragic’s first-time as an NBA All-Star.

Dragic is the first player from Slovenia to earn the honor.

The Southeast Division-leading Heat (29-22) have the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference through games of January 31, 2018, and Dragic, a 10-year veteran, has been a big part of their success. He’s averaging team-highs of 17.0 points and 4.8 assists per game.

Dragic joins Kyle Korver (2015), Tyson Chandler (2013) and Sam Cassell (2004) as the most recent players to be named an All-Star for the first time in their 10th season or later.

Love will miss the 2018 NBA All-Star Game due to a fracture in his left hand.

Being named to All Star weekend teams and events matters. To the players who make it, to those who don’t, and to their fans who support them. It’s great exposure, and for the bigger events, it’s a real honor. In this case, the Heat were rooting for their own, for Bam Adebayo not to make an All-Star team — he’s nowhere near that — but to be added to the Rising Stars game, which includes the rookies and sophomores worth watching. Here’s the Palm Beach Post reporting:

For the most part, the Heat brushed off the fact they won’t be represented in this year’s All-Star Game. But when rookie Bam Adebayo’s name was not on the list of players voted into the Rising Stars Challenge, the Heat were surprised.

“That’s crazy. I really didn’t see that coming,” Udonis Haslem said in advance of Thursday’s game against the Kings. “There was no doubt in my mind Bam was definitely going to have a chance to represent the Heat in the rookie game. That’s very unfortunate.

“It’s hard to understand what those things come down to. I don’t know how they pick it. I don’t know if it’s popularity. But the body of work that Bam has put in when [Hassan Whiteside] was out and even with the opportunity he gets when H is in, he’s had a heck of an impact on us and this run that we’ve made. We couldn’t have been able to do it without Bam.”

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Dion Waiters has season-ending ankle surgery

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters underwent surgery yesterday to fix instability in his left ankle. The Heat say that a preexisting navicular bone fracture was also repaired.

Waiters is done for the season.

Waiters this year played in 30 games, as a starter in all 30 games, averaging 14.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 30.6 minutes per outing.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who enjoyed an honor that probably feels truly wonderful to experience:

Hassan Whiteside enjoys high school jersey retirement

Hassan Whiteside was the guest of honor, but the Miami Heat center said it was the unexpected guests who made the retirement of his high-school jersey so special.

Whiteside’s No. 32 was retired Thursday at East Side High School in Newark, N.J., with teammates Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, James Johnson and coach Erik Spoelstra among those on hand.

“His face when he saw Coach Spo was ecstatic,” Johnson said.

The ceremony came on an off day for the team before Friday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center, the third stop on this five-game trip.

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goran_dragic

The NBA announced today that Miami HEAT guard Goran Dragić was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for week 13 (games played Monday, January 8 through Sunday, January 14). It is the fourth time Dragić has been named Player of the Week in his career, including the second time this season after also earning the honor on November 27. He has now become just the fourth player in the Eastern Conference to earn the award on multiple occasions this season and the first HEAT player to do so since LeBron James during the 2013-14 campaign. It also marks the 57th time in franchise history a HEAT player has earned the honor.

Dragić led the HEAT to a perfect 3-0 record for the week, helping to extend their current seven-game winning streak and their NBA-best 14 consecutive victories in January dating back to last season, after averaging 23.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.00 steals while shooting 50 percent from the field, including 46.2 percent from three-point range. He led the team in points in all three games, in assists and steals twice and minutes once. He scored at least 20 points in each contest, matching his season high for consecutive 20-point games. Additionally, he has led the team in assists 19 times and in scoring on 15 occasions this season, both team highs.

Dragić led off the week with a 24-point, 12-rebound double-double at Toronto on January 9, helping Miami to a 90-89 win, handing the Raptors just their second loss at home this season. He also dished out a team-high four assists in the contest while his 12 boards tied his career high. On the second night of a back-to-back set on the road, he scored a team-high 20 points while dishing out a game-high nine assists in a, 114-106, victory at Indiana, helping Miami snap a 10-game road losing streak to the Pacers. Dragić capped off the week scoring a game-high 25 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter in a, 97-79, win vs. Milwaukee on January 14.

lou williams

And, the league announced that L.A. Clippers guard Lou Williams has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for Week 13 (games played Monday, Jan. 8, through Sunday, Jan. 14). Goran Dragic of the Miami Heat was the Eastern Conference winner. This is Williams’ second Player of the Week award this season (Week 11) and the third of his career.

Williams helped the Clippers to a 4-0 week behind averages of 35.0 points, 4.8 assists and 1.50 steals, while shooting 45.7% from three-point range and 96.7% from the free-throw line in 36.5 minutes. He tallied an NBA best 140 points and scored at least 30 points in three of the team’s four games last week, highlighted by a 50-point performance at Golden State on Wednesday, Jan. 10. It was the highest scoring effort by any Clipper in a single game since Charles Smith tied a franchise record with 52 points on Dec. 1, 1990.

Now in his 13th NBA season, Williams is averaging career-highs in points (23.1), assists (4.9), three-point percentage (41.4%) and minutes (31.7) this season. He is currently the NBA’s leading bench scorer, averaging 21.8 points per game as a reserve, the highest scoring average of any bench player since Ricky Pierce averaged 23.0 points per game as a reserve in 1989-90.

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Report: Dion Waiters to undergo season-ending surgery

The Miami Heat are having a very good season. With a 24-17 record, they’re 4th in the East, which is better than most observers expected. But they’re about to lose a key dose of backcourt scoring.

According to a report by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, guard Dion Waiters, who has been out of action since December 22, “is expected to” undergo season-ending surgery on his injured left ankle.

Waiters’ stats aren’t mind-blowing: 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, shooting just 39.8% from the field and 30.6% from three-point range in 30 games played. But he’s provided heart, hustle and a confidence that’s helped the team formulate a winning culture this season.

According to the Palm Beach Post, “The Heat are 7-2 since Waiters was injured (8-2 including the Dallas game in which Waiters played 8:34 before being injured) and have picked it up offensively. In the last 10 games, Miami is averaging 104.3 points and shooting 46.4 percent as opposed to 99.9 points on 45.2 percent shooting the first 31.”

The Miami Heat said goodbye to one player and hell to another yesterday, waiving Matt Williams Jr and signing Derrick Jones Jr. to a two-way contract.

Jones Jr., a forward/guard, played for Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns this season, and in 16 games (11 starts) averaged 15.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.88 blocks, 1.8 assists, 1.19 steals and 29.1 minutes, shooting 48.5 percent from the field. He also played in six Phoenix Suns games this season, for a total of nine points, four rebounds, four blocks, three assists and a steal in 33 minutes of action.

He will wear jersey No.5 for the Heat.

Williams Jr. played in 16 games (all 16 were as a starter) in the G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season, putting up 9.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists in 30.3 minutes per outing.

The Heat are 18-16 this season, and winners of seven of their last 10 games. They’re led in scoring by Goran Dragic (16.4 ppg), Hassan Whiteside (14.4 ppg), Dion Waiters (14.3 ppg), Josh Richardson (12.2 ppg) and Tyler Johnson (11.5). The team got a boost yesterday as Whiteside made his return from injury. Here’s the Palm Beach Post reporting:

Hassan Whiteside returns to action for Heat

The Magic entered on an eight-game losing streak and Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned from injury.

It was supposed to be easy. But it wasn’t.

The Heat (18-16) rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the struggling and shorthanded Magic 107-89 on Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami closed the game on a 60-32 run to make it look easier than it was against Orlando (11-24).

Whiteside finished with seven points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes in his return after missing 13 consecutive games with a bone bruise on his left knee. He spent the final 17 minutes and eight seconds of the game on the bench.

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Former NBA All-Star Chris Bosh hasn’t played in a while, but he isn’t ready to officially call it a retirement. Here’s the Palm beach Post reporting:

Although Chris Bosh has not played in an NBA game since Feb. 9, 2016 because of blood clotting issues, he’s not ready to close the door on his NBA playing career just yet.

“That’s still there in front of me,” Bosh said on The Full 48 podcast hosted by Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. “The window is still open. Once I close the doors, it’s closed. I don’t open it back up. That’s kind of me as a human being. That’s just one of the things about me. … But yeah, for me, I don’t close anything until I’m officially done. So until that day, I will definitely let everybody know when that day comes, if it comes soon.

“I still, of course, work out and everything. I’m still doing work on the court. That’s very important to me. I’m still keeping my options open for the future. I know a lot of people don’t know that, but don’t write me off just yet.”

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Miami Heat change starting lineup

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It’s always fascinating to keep up with lineup changes in the league. One change can make or break a player’s career. Sure, superstars will always get big money and big minutes, but plenty of players who are the 4th or 5th best starter on a team are a coach’s decision away from being bumped to a 6th or 7th man role, and suddenly that huge contract they hoped for in the future is in doubt. And before you ask, no, the photo above doesn’t really have anything to do with lineup changes. It’s just an enjoyable photo. As for the Heat, here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk were back in the Miami Heat’s starting lineup for the first time since October and Justise Winslow was shuffled to the bench when the Heat faced the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center.

Without comment from coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat announced the shuffle an hour before the opening tip, a switch that also moved first-round pick Bam Adebayo back to the bench after he had been starting in the injury absence of center Hassan Whiteside.

Olynyk’s only previous start had been the season-opening Oct. 18 road loss to the Orlando Magic, when he started alongside Whiteside in the power rotation.

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