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Friday update: Birdman suspended; Stern upset; Wade, Bosh react to scoring dip

Here's a Friday Heat update. If you haven't seen the Friday buzz column, which was posted overnight, please check out the last blog - It has UM schedule news and Fins and Marlins notes.

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The NBA suspended Chris Andersen for Game 6 of the Heat-Pacers series, hours after NBA Commissioner David Stern told NBC Radio that he "should have been ejected" for his Flagrant foul on Tyler Hansbrough in Game 5. "I don't know what he was doing," Stern said. "A serious review of his activities is called for."

Andersen will be suspended without pay. His flagrant one foul was elevated to a flagrant two.

Losing Andersen is significant, especially with Indiana's size advantage. Besides what he offers on the boards, Andersen has shot 15 for 15 in this series.

Joel Anthony likely would fill the backup center role. Erik Spoelstra also could opt for more smaller lineups, with Udonis Haslem moving to center when Bosh is on the bench, and Shane Battier and LeBron James getting more time at power forward.

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Forty points from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? That was close to the norm in the regular season, when they combined to average 37.8 a game.

But 40 combined from Wade and Bosh over two games? That’s the entirety of their scoring output from Games 4 and 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, with just 17 in Thursday’s win that gave the Heat a 3-2 series lead.

And so, just one win away from a third consecutive berth in the NBA Finals, the Heat enters Game 6 in Indianapolis on Saturday not quite sure what it will get offensively from two thirds of the Big Three.

For Wade, it remains a question of health. He said Friday the bone bruise on his right knee continues to have “good and bad” moments.

“I know he’s hurting,” Udonis Haslem said. “He’s giving us everything he has.”

For Bosh, the offensive decline is a byproduct of Indiana’s stiff defense, combined with taking fewer shots, especially in the basket area.

“The last two years, when they’ve gotten to the NBA Finals, there was a three-man consistency with Bosh, James and Wade, but that isn’t the case anymore,” TNT’s Kenny Smith said after Game 5.

“Those guys [Bosh and Wade] don’t take the challenge that they used to take.  It might be because of injury or it might be because of matchups. Whatever it is, James is doing what he did in Cleveland… being a one-man wrecking crew on the offensive end.”

Let’s not misunderstand. Both are still contributing. In Game 5, Wade continued his stretch of outstanding defense and added six rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block. Bosh was active defensively against David West.

But offensively, neither has been close to his standards.

Bosh, who said he re-injured his ankle injury to open Game 5 but that it didn't significantly limit him, has scored only seven points each of the past two games. That marks only the third time in the past eight seasons that he has scored in single digits in consecutive games.

Wade, meanwhile, has gone a career-long 11 games in a row without scoring 20 points. His previous longest drought? Two nine-game streaks as a rookie.

Wade took only eight shots in Game 5, making three, and said Friday: “In my early years, I wouldn’t have shot eight shots. I would have forced it. But I didn’t do it.

“LeBron and U.D. had it going. I’m trying to make plays for other guys and not necessarily worry about if I can get 20 points so you [reporters] can feel good, so you guys can come in and write a good story about me…. I’ve got five more games to win. Then I can get better.”

But asked if part of him wants to erupt offensively, Wade admitted: “Every night. I would love to score 20 or 30 a night. Everyone looks at how many points I put up,… but that doesn’t really determine my success on this team. Even when I was feeling great, I did what I need to do for my team to win.

“That’s the reason I’m here. If [Saturday] is a night where I’m feeling better and I can go for more points, I will try to be aggressive. But if it’s a game where I’ve got plays for other guys to get shots, then that’s what I’ll do.”

How tough is it to push through this injury? “Very tough but I can’t sit at home,” Wade said. He spoke of  “doing the little things,… trying to make [Paul George] work as much as possible.”

Asked where he’s making his best contribution, he offers a simple answer: “Being on the floor.”

He tries to avoid hearing the undercurrent of criticism, including Reggie Miller’s comment on TNT on Thursday that Wade “at times looks so uninterested out there, like someone just going through the motions. This is not the same aggressive Dwyane Wade that we’re used to seeing.”

To that, Wade said: “I don’t respond. I can’t respond to everything someone says about me. It’s not the way I live. I’m out there doing what I can.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra insists he’s not concerned about Wade’s diminished scoring, which has left his playoff average at 13.9, down from 24.5 and 22.8 the past two postseasons.

As for Bosh, he has taken only 13 shots the past two games, making four. But asked if he’s frustrated offensively, he said: “Why would I be? We’re up 3-2. This is a defensive series. What I’m focusing on is defense and rebounding.”

His defense was solid Thursday, but he has just 18 rebounds in five games.

Offensively, he is often positioned on the perimeter, but Spoelstra was encouraged that he took four shots in the basket area Thursday. In fact, Spoelstra said “one of my favorite possessions Chris had” was Bosh “rolling to the rim and Roy Hibbert made a terrific block….

"We need to put him in a handful of those opportunities. At the same time, he’s making a big sacrifice that not everyone understands. He’s also providing space for us. It’s a fine line.”

During the regular season, 47.9 percent of Bosh’s shots were within 10 feet. It’s 33 percent in these playoffs.

Bosh said his positioning on the court “has been a little bit of everywhere. That’s why my job is difficult. They’re hugging me a little on the perimeter. Sometimes if they do that, you drive.”

          He said his responsibility in this series “is more widespread. Against other teams, it was pretty simple. They have two very good low post scorers. Sometimes the offense really isn’t the most important thing in this series.”

His approach offensively in this series? “Don’t force it, but be aggressive when I have the chance.”

 

 

 

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