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Tough talk at Tuesday Heat-Celtics session; Dolphins Tuesday practice notes; mentality change at UM

WEDNEDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Heat-Celtics chatter on the eve of Game 2:

### Rajon Rondo’s comment that Heat players have “got to hit the deck” drew a succinct response from Dwyane Wade Tuesday. “We’re men just like they’re men,” Wade said. “We’re not going to let anyone come in and punk us... But that's not our mentality, go out there and make people hit the deck.”

To which Rondo responded: “I didn’t say [do] anything dirty, anything flagrant. People hit the deck every day. I don’t think anybody is going to punk anybody. There’s only so much tough guy… [stuff] you can do.”

Rondo made clear “we have 15 guys” who can commit fouls, though only 13 can be active, and “we have to make them uncomfortable.” Kevin Garnett added:  “Everything can’t be so simple and easy. You’re playing against two of the greatest to ever play the game. We’re a defensive team and we didn’t slow down anything. Everybody has to look at themselves and give more.”

Garnett expects a “physical” game but snapped when asked about hard fouls, blurting, “You’re getting into some fine [expletive].”

### Rondo was flabbergasted that he and Paul Pierce got no free throws in Game 1. “It’s crazy,” Rondo said. “I took 20 shots, three jumpers, no free throws. Joel Anthony took more free throws than me [four] and took 20 less attempts!” Actually, Anthony shot twice.

### Wade and LeBron James seem undaunted by all this talk of physical play. “I expect to be quote-unquote put on the deck,” James said. “I don’t have to prepare for something I already think is going to happen every game. Physical play has always been a part of opponents’ play against me... Just go the free throw line and make it.” (James is shooting 76.1 percent on free throws in the playoffs, Wade 68.5.)

Of the expectation of more hard fouls, Wade said, “That’s what we’ve become accustomed to. Obviously, we have to protect ourselves…. One thing about us, we feel like we can play any style. Physical game? It's the playoffs. It's fine either way.”

### Here’s what especially galled the Celtics about Game 1: Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the Heat was 21 for 27 in the paint, with 19 layups. Boston was 19 for 37. “We’ve got to protect the paint better,” Rivers said. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to start knocking people down.”

Rivers began the team’s video session Tuesday by showing his players a tape of the 19 Heat layups, on a loop. “There weren't a lot of happy guys when we started out by showing 19 straight layups. Who wants to see that?” Rivers said. “I watched it four, five times.”

### It’s difficult to envision the Celtics making this a long series if they get nothing from Ray Allen, who shot 1 for 7 on his injured ankle and is shooting 39 percent in the playoffs. Rivers considered sitting him for a game, but ruled that out. "I really do not want to go that route," Allen said Tuesday. Allen said the anle has regressed: "The last three or four days have been pretty painful."

River said: "We're going to keep rolling him out there and see what we can get. When we feel like he can't give it to us, we'll go with someone else. But I think right now, you have to give Ray a fighting chance.... “He’s not as quick in his release probably because of his feet. I don’t think Ray has his balance."

### Rivers challenged Paul Pierce, who had 12 points and two rebounds, compared with James’ 32 and 13. “Paul has to be more assertive and attack more,” Rivers said. “Paul is every bit as physical as LeBron with his body type. He just has to do it.”

### Miami shot 48 percent against zone defenses this season (compared to 38 last year) but was 1 for 7 in Game 1. “But five were wide open and I told our guys that was a horrendous zone,” Rivers said.

### Garnett accused the Heat of showboating late in Game 1. To which James responded: "I think we all know how K.G. is. He means no harm."

### There’s optimism around Chris Bosh about his chances of playing in The Finals (barring a setback), with a return before that not ruled out. Erik Spoelstra said his work remains “more rehab related than basketball related.”… Wade, on the Dolphins being chosen for HBO’s NFL reality show: “I love Hard Knocks. It makes you wish we kind of had it.”

CHATTER

Tidbits from Tuesday’s Dolphins practice, the second of six open to the media this offseason:

### Matt Moore was somewhat better than Ryan Tannehill, who was erratic. (David Garrard was back in Jacksonville attending to his storm-damaged home). Tannehill scrambled for two scores but failed to connect on several end zone throws and forced a pass to Roberto Wallace, which Reshad Jones intercepted and would have returned for a 90-yard touchdown if allowed to continue.

“Is every pass as accurate as it needs to be? No,” coach Joe Philbin said of the quarterback play. “Is timing of every play where we want it? Absolutely not. But we’re making good progress.”

Many of Tannehill's completions Tuesday were short passes over the middle or screens. His best throw of the day was a sideline dart to Marlon Moore. But Tannehill showed better touch in two earlier practices that were open to the media, so there's certainly no need to worry about him.

### Jones had three interceptions (two in seven-on-seven drills) but also gave up two touchdown passes to Davone Bess, both thrown by Moore… Moore threw one of Jones' picks (Tannehill threw the other two) and also was picked off by undrafted Maryland rookie Trenton Hughes... Moore made a terrific throw to Roberto Wallace, who beat Sean Smith for a touchdown.

### With Jonathan Martin still at Stanford, Artis Hicks replaced Lydon Murtha as first-team right tackle… Drops remain a problem for sixth-round receiver B.J. Cunningham…. Philbin said receiver Clyde Gates “has a ways to go” to make adjustments on “each particular coverage call. You’ve got minimize hesitation and play fast.”

### Linebacker Gary Guyton was very active Tuesday - including good work on blitzes - and Philbin sees him challenging starter Koa Misi, who’s getting first-team snaps… Cam Wake, who’s playing defensive end in a 4-3 base for the first time since his CFL days, made note of Olivier Vernon’s impressive motor: “That’s one thing you can’t teach.”

### Marlins executive Larry Beinfest made clear he expects more from disappointing closer Heath Bell: "Maybe change has been a little bit different for him with the new ballpark and coming to the East Coast, but it's no excuse. The quality of pitches is still there... You can see he can do the job. He just has to do it consistently."

### So why is the UM football team in so much better conditioned than last year, with 36 players bench-pressing 225 pounds 20 times, compared to 11 last year? “Last year, guys listened to Al Golden, but didn’t understand where he was coming from,” Eduardo Clements said. “Some of those guys have moved on. Some changed their” attitude.

The difference is the players who didn’t completely buy into Golden’s grueling program either left or “don’t want to go 6-6 again, so we’re more willing to do the work, instead of lagging,” Maurice Hagens said. As Brandon Linder put it: “Seeing the results last year, everyone knows what coach Golden says is real.” 

Said Golden: “When people are saying we’re getting pushed around by K-State or Boston College or Virginia, we weren’t strong enough. You can make excuses, complain about it or fix it. Hopefully, we’re fixing it.”

### College hoops tidbits: Louisville coach Rick Pitino has agreed to play his son, new FIU coach Richard Pitino, in a Dec. 19 game at Louisville.… UM’s Jim Larranaga, recuperating from hip replacement, removed his team from the Orange Bowl Classic at BankAtlantic Center in order to play in a tournament in Hawaii in December.

 

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