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Barkley makes appeal to LeBron; Heat bashing intensifies; Spo explains questionable moves

Here's what some of the pundits were saying Wednesday about the Heat: 

### TNT’s Charles Barkley, who predicted the Heat will win the next two to take the series, delivered this message on national television Wednesday night: “LeBron James, I love watching you play. It’s time you do your thing. I’ve been telling people - they don’t believe me; they’re living in the past - it’s your team. You are the best basketball player in the world. It’s time for you to say, ‘Hey guys. Get on my back. We’re going to win Game 6. We’re going to win Game 7.’ Don’t defer to anybody. You are the best. Quit listening to all this [garbage] you hear from all these reporters. You are the man.”

### TNT’s Kenny Smith then cracked: “Is this some public service announcement? Forget about LeBron. When I look at the Heat, everyone says they’re choking. No, they are not choking. This is not choking basketball. They don’t have enough diversity in their offense. When Shaq and I said the Celtics would win in six games, there is a reason for that. What I see from the Celtics is diverse offensive and defensive schemes. LeBron and Dwyane Wade play great, but they don’t need each other. They play off of Chris Bosh better than they play off of each other.”

### ESPN’s Magic Johnson, reaching into his cliché bag, said: “My problem with Miami is they don’t have a will to win. Boston is stronger mentally, executes better and has Doc Rivers. He confused the Heat by switching defenses.”

### Shaq, on the Heat’s supporting cast: “Those other guys on Miami - you’all do know you get a paycheck, right? Feel free not to back up to the window with a blindfold on.”

### ESPN’s Jon Barry, on the Heat: “They’re front-runners. They point fingers at each other when things don’t go well. LeBron and Dwyane don’t complement one another.”

### ESPN’s Chris Broussard has been hammering Erik Spoelstra, including this rant on a Boston radio station Wednesday: “I don’t feel they’re well-coached. This team needs somebody with the credibility to kick them in the butt and make them perform and make them play with intensity – a Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, somebody of that ilk. Spoelstra is just in over his head. He never should have been put in charge of this situation. How about running a play like the Celtics do? Doc Rivers is coaching circles around Spoelstra just like Rick Carlisle did last year in the Finals.”

SPO EXPLAINS HIMSELF, SORT OF

Joel Anthony goes from starting Game 4 to not playing in Game 5. Chris Bosh plays 10 productive first-half minutes, then just four the rest of the night. James Jones, out of the rotation for much of the season, logs more than eight minutes in the Heat’s most important fourth quarter of the year.

With some of his surprising lineup decisions, coach Erik Spoelstra has provided talking points for second-guessers.

Start with Bosh, who had nine points and six rebounds in his first game back from an abdominal strain. Asked Wednesday why Bosh did not play in the fourth quarter, Spoelstra said, “I didn’t think it would necessarily be fair to him to throw him in with three minutes to go.”

Pressed Thursday about why that was even an issue, Spoelstra said, “Those are decisions you have to make as a coach, and after the fact, those can always be second-guessed. But we’re treading in new waters, and he had been out quite a while.”

Bosh said Thursday “I feel like I had more to give” but added, “We had the right guys in at the right time. I can’t win everything in my first game back. Hopefully, I’ll be able to contribute a little more.”

Bosh, who said the fan ovation “made me feel special,” closed with nine points and seven rebounds, but the Heat was outscored by 12 with Bosh on the floor – the worst plus/minus of any Heat player in Game 5.

Spoelstra said Bosh will play more in Game 6 but would not say if he would start and added, “I don’t know how many minutes Chris will actually be able to play. It will be based more on how he feels.”

The Heat is 7-2 with Bosh and Udonis Haslem starting together (including 5-1 in the playoffs), and Spoelstra said that pairing “could happen. That’s an option to go back to some things we were doing before.” But Bosh, asked about that lineup, said, “I don’t think it’s the right time to tinker with things a lot.”

Spoelstra has used mostly a small lineup in this series, but said he wouldn’t be opposed to using two power rotation players together. That would lessen the need for Shane Battier to play power forward.

Bosh said he’s 99 percent healthy, and though he felt some soreness after Game 5, it was “nothing major. My timing is off a little. I made some mistakes. For the most part, I was trying to stay alert, be in the right spots. I will improve for Game 6 and make sure I don’t give up some points like I did. I had stamina. I’m fortunate to get one game under my belt before an elimination game.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was “very surprised how good Bosh looked.”

As for Anthony not playing, Spoelstra said only, “That’s the way the game played out.” Anthony has been the most effective of the Heat’s centers defending Kevin Garnett, limiting him to 44 percent shooting. Garnett is shooting 50 percent with Anthony off the floor.

The fact Jones played 16 minutes, compared to Mike Miller’s 10, was surprising, considering Miller was ahead of Jones in the rotation when healthy this season. Miller is shooting 44.4 percent in the series (12 for 27), Jones 35.7 percent (5 for 14)

Spoelstra said Jones played the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter – rare for him – to get Battier more rest. And also, “he was giving us some good spacing, was able to take Ray Allen.”

HEAT ODDS AND ENDS

Ronny Turiaf missed Game 5 with a strained right groin and is questionable for Game 6 but seems unlikely to play regardless. 

### Spoelstra was asked about pundits saying he has been outcoached by Doc Rivers. “My focus isn’t on individual coaching matchups,” Spoelstra responded. It’s about preparing my team… Doc’s a championship coach.”

James, asked the same question, said: “We’re got a lot of respect for Spo and all the confidence he’s going to help us win.”

### Rivers dismissed the notion that the Heat faces more pressure in this series: “Our sense of urgency might at times be greater than theirs. If not greater, then the same. They’re put under pressure because of the urgency to get it right with this group. We’re put under pressure because our window is closing.”

### For my story previewing Thursday's Game 6 - with more Heat reaction from Thursday - click on our last post.

Comments

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Dashi

I get a Strain Groin hearing Sporano make no sense or just deflect questions. If he was as good a coach as he is at saying nothing. We'll be already done with this series and waiting for the finals to start.

Spo just speaks hot air. Power Rotation. I bet shane plays 30 minutes tomorrow at PF. The reason Ray respects JJ is cause he know JJ is not shane and if U leave him open JJ will make the shot. Shane Bibby should not be throwing up 10 not even 5 3's a game.

Shane is not a PF. None of his other coaches ever thought so. A great defensive SF. But U need size and Strength to Box-out and Rebounds in the NBA. If we play OKC U mean this clown will put shane on IBAKA. Boston is just exploiting a miss match. Yeah, Doc is running Circles around this clown, he's running them backwards with an Ali grace to him.

Float like a Butterfly
Sting like a BEE
A Championship Coach Spo will never be

Let's go heat. We are much better than this, but I can see where our 1 major weakness(Coaching) is hurting our chances. I just don't want them to succumb to media pressure and break-up the team. The problem isn't the players. They are just tools being Mishandled by an Amateur.

rboud

This is pretty simple. If Bosh had remained healthy there's no way Boston would win this series. They have capitalized on his absence. This is not an excuse. When you get this far along in the playoffs and you lose a great player, it tips the balance to the opponent. I know Boston is missing a key substitute, but please, it's not like missing Bosh. Injuries are part of the game and Miami is paying the price.

Jon

They are missing top notch defensive player in Bradley and lost Jeff Green for the year. Not making excuses... That's funny. Every team has injuries.

GodblessHeat

Spo never wins. I feel bad for him. He's an excellent coach! I have no problem with his line up selections. The ball bounced the C's way in game 5. I mean: it literally bounced their way. You can't coach on every bounce...that's impossible. Garnett's size and smart play has hurt Miami and unfortunately the Heat without a healthy Bosh has no consistent answer against him.

18 World Champs

All of you are right...I just hope the Celts win. I've been watching the Celts since 1971, and this current team has real Celtic pride. Miami has a lot of ego. Pride will win you a championship, ego will not.

mindrangr

There is nothing about egotistical about this team. They took less money to play together, they take responsibility for their own mistakes and they never speak ill of any player or team or each others. What they are is graceful under a media driven hate.

Phillipino Phil

If the Heat had Doc Rivers as Coach, we wouldn't even be in this predicament. Spoelstra is way over his head. Everyone in the country thinks he's the weak link. HE STINKS.

Jim Boyack

The best team on the day wins, invariably, always. So it will be in games 6 and maybe 7. These men are all consummate professionals. Give them their due, win or lose.

dan

Injuries have always been, and will remain part of the game. i.e. Walton, McHale, Oden Rose, Noah...last year Rondo and Shaq, so suck it up.

Michael

Phillipino Phil, do you remember that the Heat beat the Celts in 5 last year, and Spo out coached Doc by a large margin last year.

felix el gato

Hire what's his name - who just got fired from Orlando.

Heatfanupinthe919

This whole "the Heat has alot of ego" spiel is way past being old.

18WorldChamps, how about explaining why you think the Heat has alot of ego.

sunyday522

I"m with mindrangr on this one. They all took less money, but nobody ever talks about that. The way I see, let's play 2 more games to win the series so that Bosh can get back to his healthy self and have the entire team ready for a very athletic OKC Thunder.

Connie Smith

Pat Riley good ole boy Spo. its not working out Pat, he's to nice.

JackSparrow

"So what was it about Tannehill that turned Cleveland off and told the Browns he didn't "project as a leader" in interviews? Did the Dolphins miss something in their evaluation?

Miami is 100 percent behind Tannehill as its quarterback of the future and doesn't have concerns about lack of leadership."

http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation

pb

Man I wish we had coaching like San Antonio and Boston.

Popovich has lead the Spurs to a combined 10 wins over the last two playoffs with three all stars and the deepest bench in the NBA. And Doc has been amazing in leading the C's to wins when we dont have Bosh after getting spanked in five last season when we had him healthy.

Give me a break. Players win championships and when you're missing the perennial All Star your entire offense flows through it makes it that much harder.

Coach Shula

So where are all the Heat fans that last weekend said they were going to sweep the Celtics? Fighting for your life that's where.

Celtics are missing four players Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, and two centers Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O'Neal If the Celtics had all four of them, this series would be over already, so stop with the Bosh is hurt bull.

Celtics may as well put Heat out of their misery tonight because even if Celtic hater Barkley is right ( Charles hates the Celtics because he got his behind whipped by Bird and the boys in the 1980's)Heat will be disposed of quickly by Thunder.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Sorry, which of those four players did you want to put in the same sentence as Chris Bosh without sounding like a complete moron?

Because it didn't work.

Ed Curry wants to play

I'm a big HEAT fan and of course I hope they can win out. But being realistic, I would rather they lose in the ECF than get potentially swept in the NBA Finals. I see very little chance against OKC. The Spurs played what most said was the best half of basketball this season...and they LOST. Not even close in the second half. I thought the Heat had a chance against the Spurs, but not OKC. If they lose earlier than expected, it might facilitate a chance in coach and personnel. If they lose in the Finals, maybe not so much of a chance for grandiose changes because like last year, people will say "oh so close..."

Red's Ghost

Heatfanupinthe919:

Ego? Easy: "Not 1, not 1, not 1, not 1, not 1, not 1, not 1 championship."

Front-running frauds.

Art

Spoelstra, think outside the box. Play Wade at point guard and play all your center tight on Garnett. You have big men, use them. This tight rotation thinking is bogus, use all your tools. My starting team would be: Wade, Battier, Haslem, James and Bosh. Have Wade guard Rondo, all the time and instill on your team to hit the glass hard, if we get defensive rebounds in b unches then we can run and Boston doesn't have the legs to keep up.

Heatfanupinthe919

"So where are all the Heat fans that last weekend said they were going to sweep the Celtics?"


They are now OKC "fans," because they are are same Heat "fans" who bought a bunch of Heat gear when we signed Lebron and talked a bunch of crap, but haven't been Heat "fans" since last year's finals. And depending on who wins this year's finals, they may be "fans" of a new team next year.

Heatfanupinthe919

Red's Ghost:

Fraud because they tried to energize the fan base last year during a really exciting time in franchise history?

Yea that makes perfect sense. Thanks for clearing it up.

Georgia Cane

Too many line-up changes in the play-off's is a sign of a bad coach. I don't think Spo is ready at this level. Question, does the Heat have money to call upon a high level Coach?

Coach Shula

Lt. Lois Einhorn:

Stupid handle by the way. The only one that is a complete moron is you as week after week you show your complete lack of knowledge about sports and cover up that lack of knowledge by having a big mouth which is typical of your type. Keep talking and show how little you know.

Chris Bosh is going to be blown out of the Heat once they lose to end their season whenever that is, and Avery Bradley is on his way to being a superstar, that's alright though because you only follow the Heat and not the rest of the NBA, and probably didn't realize that Bradley schooled Wade this season which you can find on You Tube you twit, Shut-up you have no clue.

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