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3 posts from June 19, 2013

June 19, 2013

Wednesday 6 p.m. report: Wade's new knee issue, Bosh criticizes fleeing fans,Lots of Finals notes

Tidbits on the eve of Game 7 of the Finals:

Dwyane Wade, who has dealt with a right knee injury throughout the postseason, now has an issue with his left one after banging knees with Manu Ginobili in the first half of Game 6.

Wade said the knee was stiff and swollen on Wednesday but added he will be “fine” for Game 7. Wade had arthroscopic surgery on the left knee last summer.

“Early in the game, I took a good shot on my left knee [and] that kind of trauma to it, it just swelled up,” he said. “It was stiff. I couldn’t do as much I wanted.”

Wade, who scored 14 points, missed the first 2:28 of the second half to receive treatment.

### Chris Bosh lashed out at fans that left AmericanAirlines Arena with the Heat trailing late in the fourth quarter.

“Make sure they don’t come to Game 7,” Bosh said. “You never give up. People gave up on us and they can stay where they are and watch the game at home.”

Most fans stayed, but those who left were not permitted to re-enter the arena. “You can’t leave a game and then come back,” Bosh said. “Hell, I’ve been to games. You left! It’s not punishment. That’s protocol.”

Udonis Haslem said fans “can do what they want,” but “even if we had lost, we had the best record in the league. We would have appreciated their support and for them to stand up and clap after the season ended.”

James, conversely, apologized to the fans for creating so much angst.

### Haslem’s DNP/CD in Game 6 (did-not-play, coach’s decision) was his first all season, and Norris Cole’s was only his second, and the first since the Heat’s third game of the season.

Haslem said it was “frustrating watching when we were down 13” but he wasn’t angry about not playing, noting that several other rotation members (Cole, Shane Battier, Chris Andersen) also have had DNP/CDs in the playoffs. “At the end of the night, it was fine,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ray Allen said he was irritated that the NBA took out yellow ropes to prepare for a Spurs championship presentation. “There was a minute or so left in the game, and it was almost like San Antonio players on the bench were celebrating,” he said.

### Bosh offered this prediction Wednesday: “We’re going to play, I think, the best basketball we’ve ever played together [Thursday].” He said he has spent the playoffs either on emotional highs or lows “and for first time, I’m even today. That’s the right place to be.”

Bosh, who blocked two shots in the final 32 seconds of overtime, said: “I was trying to make it out alive. I was dehydrated, very tired. I asked friends how did it look on TV.”

### James loves the lineup featuring himself, Mike Miller, Allen, Mario Chalmers and Andersen. That group was on the floor for a 19-7 run that erased a 10-point Spurs lead to start the fourth quarter of Game 5, and also was on the court for nearly all of a 33-5 second-half spurt in Game 2.

"That lineup creates a lot of space,” James said. “I was able to find a rhythm… When you get into a rhythm, you feel like you can’t be stopped.”

Because opponents defend Miller and Allen near the three-point line, “it allows me to get to the paint.”

### James, who lost his headband in the fourth quarter, said it was the first time he played that much without one since a preseason game in his rookie season.

He said he will wear it in Game 7 because he’s a “little superstitious.” And if it gets knocked off again? “Then me and him will have a discussion if he will return.”

### Miller, who hit a three-pointer after slipping out of his sneaker and tossing it aside, said he wasn’t concerned about being stepped on, but was worried about slipping.

“I was just hoping we weren’t going to turn it over, and he was going to have to run back on defense or anything,” Bosh said.

### Wade and James had a spirited argument when the Heat was trailing in the fourth quarter, but they later apologized to each other while the game was still ongoing, according to Miami Herald columnist and 790 The Ticket host Dan Le Batard, who sat behind the bench.

### The Heat’s 81 wins this season are the fourth most in NBA history. The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls own the league record with 87… With Tuesday’s triple double, James has four all time in the Finals, second only to Magic Johnson’s eight…. Wade passed Julius Erving to move into 20th on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list.

### Game 6 drew a 12.3 national rating and 20.6 million viewers --  fourth-most for an NBA game in ABC’s history – but the series average of 9.7 trails the 10.1 rating for both the Heat-Dallas 2011 Finals and the Heat-Thunder 2012 Finals. Tuesday’s game was viewed in 47.6 percent of San Antonio homes with TV sets, compared with 35.4 percent of Miami-Dade/Broward homes.

### The Heat said only fans with valid tickets will be granted access to arena property during Thursday’s game, which will not be broadcast on the MiamiMediaMesh board in front of the arena.

### As they await Game 7 of the NBA Finals, San Antonio players said Wednesday they will not allow themselves to be dragged down emotionally by the disappointment of squandering a five-point lead with 21 seconds left in Game 6, when they had a chance to close out the series.

“We don’t get affected by big losses,” point guard Tony Parker said. “I’m not really worried about our team bouncing back.”

A night earlier, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said: “I have no clue how we’re going to be re-energized. I’m devastated.”

On Wednesday, Ginobili said: “I’m still down. A blow like that, it’s not easy to get back up. After 12 hours, I feel a little better. We are still in a good situation.”

Forward Kawhi Leonard said the Spurs did not watch any film from Game 6 and coaches didn’t broach the loss.

But Parker said that after Tuesday’s game, Spurs players dined together and discussed games in which their teams had squandered big leads, including in international competition.

He said that was therapeutic in moving past Tuesday, when the Heat became only the second team in an NBA Finals elimination game to win a game that it trailed by 10 entering the fourth quarter.

“It was a great dinner. It definitely helped, because we knew that we blew a big opportunity to win a championship,” Parker said. “It was great to just talk to everybody and make sure everybody doesn’t stay sad too long.”

Said Tim Duncan: “We know the opportunity we let slip through our fingers. And we’re not going to hang our head and dwell on that.”


### The NBA confirmed that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made an illegal substitution when he reinserted Duncan after referees reviewed Ray Allen’s game-tying three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Parker missed a fade-away jumper, sending the game to overtime.

Popovich did not answer when asked Wednesday if he thought the substitution was legal. Instead, he used the forum to vent about the game being stopped briefly for a review.

“I was upset because I wanted to take it out and go,” he said. “That’s one of the great times when you can push the basketball against another team. They don’t want to foul. The game is tied. Often times, you’ll see somebody go right to the hole. Get a foul or get a lay-up. And that was taken away with the review.”

Because of the illegal substitution, the Heat planned to protest the game if it had lost, according to our Dan Le Batard.

### Popovich defended his decision to remove Duncan from the game twice in the final 28 seconds of overtime. In both sequences, the Heat secured offensive rebounds that to led to three-pointers, include Allen’s shot off a Chris Bosh offensive board.

Popovich said “it makes sense” to use Boris Diaw instead in that situation because “he has a little more speed than Duncan. Unfortunately, we had two guys that went to LeBron and didn’t switch with Bosh, and he went right to the hole. So it has nothing to do with Duncan.”

Duncan said he wants “to be in every minute of the game” but Popovich has removed him in that situation “all year long. We’ve been successful with it.”

### ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy said on 790 The Ticket on Wednesday that Ginobili was fouled on his drive to the basket with 2.4 seconds left in overtime (he lost the ball) and that Bosh fouled Danny Green while blocking his three-pointer with 1.2 seconds to go in overtime. A foul was not called on either play.

“The only people who don’t think those two were fouls are people with a vested interest in the Heat,” Van Gundy said.

Green, asked if he was fouled on the play, said: “Seeing the replay, it didn’t look like it. The refs didn’t call it. It wasn’t a foul.”

### Green, who entered Game 6 shooting 56.6 percent overall and 65.8 percent on threes (25 for 38), said the Heat defended him more tightly in Game 6. He scored three points, shooting 1 for 5 on threes and 1 for 7 overall.

“They weren’t leaving me, but it opened up lanes for Tony and Timmy to do damage,” Green said. “But there were a couple shots I got off that I should have made.”

Asked if he could do anything to get Green better shots, Popovich said: “We don’t call any plays for Danny Green, never have.”

### Duncan said one reason he went scoreless in the fourth quarter and overtime – on 0 for 5 shooting – is that he “got lost in the mix. My goal for [Thursday] will be to sustain throughout a little longer.” Duncan scored just five of his 30 points after halftime.

Notes, quotes from Heat's Game 6 win; Tidbits from UM's NCAA hearing

Please see ther last post for tidbits from the UM/NCAA hearing.

Postscripts from the Heat’s 103-100 stomach-churning Game 6 overtime NBA Finals win against the Spurs:

### Just when the critics were sharpening their knives and ready to crucify LeBron James, he shook off a 3-for-12 start to put together a monster fourth quarter and close with a triple double (32 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds). That’s his fourth career Finals triple double --- second all time behind Magic Johnson's eight.

LeBron scored 16 in the fourth and two in overtime.

“It was by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” James said. “I’m blessed to be a part of something like this. I’m proud how we dug down. Our mental toughness to make it look like almost the game was out of our hands, and to be victorious.

“I was struggling shooting the ball, and they took a commanding 12 point lead. I told myself: Give it all I’ve got. If we go down losing, I’m going to go down with no bullets. That’s exactly what I did, tried to play both sides of the floor until I had nothing left.”

Here’s how Manu Ginobili saw it: “He started to attack. When you’re desperate, that’s what happens. He made a couple tough shots.”

Spoelstra called James’ performance “an absolute desperation and will. He had a difficult cover with Tony Parker. He gave us that life when we were down 10.”

### LeBron became only the fourth player in NBA Finals history to put together a game with at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, joining Charles Barkley, James Worthy and Jerry West.

### Chris Bosh (10 points, 11 rebounds) was victimized several times on defense for 2 ½ quarters – Tim Duncan hit his first 10 shots against him – but couldn’t have been any better defensively in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Not only did Duncan go 0 for 5 between the fourth quarter and overtime --- primarily against Bosh – but Bosh also had two enormous blocks in the final minute of overtime: one on a Tony Parker jumper with 32 seconds left, and another on Danny Green’s attempted three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left.

"I don't know how we pulled it out, but we pulled it out," Bosh said.

Bosh said it angered him that NBA people started putting out ropes in the fourth quarter to prepare for a Spurs’ championship celebration.

“I noticed it,” James said. “We saw the championship board already out there, the yellow tape. That’s why you play the game to the final buzzer. To come out with a win like that makes it greater, when you’re able to will everything you have as individuals and have a game like this.”

Said Dwyane Wade: "When they brought out that yellow rope and you know you'r enot the one that's going to celebrate, we keep fighting and believing."

### Much was made of LeBron losing his headband in the fourth quarter; LeBron downplayed the importance of that.

"I've never seen him play without his headband that long, since his rookie year," Wade said. "He got very aggressive."

### According to Elias, Ray Allen’s three-pointer to tie the game with five seconds left in regulation marked his fifth career game-tying or go-ahead three-point field goal in the final 10 seconds of fourth quarter or overtime, most in the past 15 postseasons.

Allen said there “was luck shining on our side. It wasn’t looking good for us. We never give up.”

LeBron: “Ray can be 0 for 99, and if you get an open look late in the game, it’s going down. That’s just the confidence he has in himself, the confidence we have in him. That’s the reason we wanted him, games like this.”

That was Allen’s only three pointer of the night, but the Heat finished 11 for 19 on threes, with Mario Chalmers shooting 4 for 5 and Shane Battier 3 for 4.

### Chalmers’ night can’t be underestimated: 20 points on 7 for 11 shooting. He outscored Parker, who scored 19 and missed 17 of his 23 shots.

Parker played the better floor game (eight assists, no turnovers), compared with Chalmers’ four assists and three turnovers.

“He’s a great defender,” Parker said of LeBron. “I tried to do the best I could to try to create.”

### Tim Duncan’s 25 first half points were his most in seven years, but he scored just five after that, finishing with 30 points and 17 rebounds.

“It’s disappointing,” Duncan said. “I had some opportunities. We put ourselves in position to win the game. They made plays to take it from us.”

### Ginobili (nine points) committed eight turnovers, including two lethal ones later, and the Spurs were outscored by 21 with Manu in the game.

"I was very insecure,” he said. “I had a career high in turnovers at a bad moment. Makes me feel terrible.”

### Losing a 13 point lead in the third quarter and a five-point lead with 21 seconds left was “bad, very bad,” Ginobili said. “Very tough moment. I’m devastated. I have no idea how we’re going to be re-energized.

"We were a few seconds away from winning the championship, and we let it go. It’s a very tough moment. We gave them another chance. We are going to think about what we could have done better in the last few possessions all night long. It’s terrible.”

### Wade closed with 14 points (6 for 15 shooting)… Mike Miller stayed in the starting lineup and had eight points (3 for 4 shooting) -- after going scoreless the previous two games -- and added seven rebounds.

### In the first 5:57 of the fourth quarter, the Heat turned a 10-point deficit into a two-point lead using a lineup of James, Allen, Miller, Chalmers and Andersen. That same group spearheaded the 33-5 second-half run in Game 2.

### Spoelstra tightened his rotation from nine to eight. He used Andersen for the first time in three games, and Birdman had one point, four rebounds and three steals in 14 minutes.

### Udonis Haslem had his first DNP/CD (did not play, coach’s decision) all season. Norris Cole had only his second DNP/CD of the season; the other was the third game of the season.

### Here were the overtime numbers for the Heat: Ray Allen scored four of Miami’s eight points (shot 1 for 2); James (1 for 3) and Bosh (1 for 1) scored the other two baskets. The Spurs’ five overtime points came from Kawhi Leonard (four points) and Parker (one). But Parker shot 0 for 4 in overtime.

### Thursday will mark the 18th Game 7 in NBA Finals history. The home team is 14-3 in those games, with Washington the last road team to win a Finals Game 7 on the road --- against Seattle in 1978.          

### The final word from Wade: "I've never wanted to play a Game 7 so bad. You will have two teams that won't give up until the very end." 

### Please see the last post for tidbits from the UM/NCAA hearing.     

Tidbits from UM's hearing in front of NCAA's infraction committee

A few notes from UM’s two-day hearings last week in front of the NCAA’s infractions committee, according to three sources, including one in the room:

### UM was led to believe that the infractions committee will try to render a decision on potential sanctions in six to eight weeks but made no assurances.

### UM emerged feeling optimistic, believing the infractions committee will look at the case in a fair and unbiased manner, unlike some members of the enforcement staff.

### In one exchange, when an enforcement staff member made a particular argument, an infractions member said that comment did not make sense. But the infractions committee generally did not pass judgment during the hearing.

### The process was rough, at times, for the ex-UM coaches. Clint Hurtt, especially, was grilled with tough questions, including follow-ups that put him on the spot.

### While the NCAA defended Nevin Shapiro’s credibility with regard to his claims against UM, UM worked vigorously to undermine it.

At one point, UM said that if even though the NCAA has used felons before as informants, it was important for the infractions committee to keep in mind that Shapiro in in jail for a crime that involved lying.

 ### Still, the hearings weren’t combative between the sides; the lawyers didn’t interrupt each other, and the coaches kept their cool.

### UM mentioned that it previously asked NCAA president Mark Emmert to stop commenting about the case. Emmert said in August 2011 that the “death penalty” could be play. (It is not.)

### The NCAA told UM there was no need to mention the tainted evidence against UM that was tossed from the case. So in this hearing, UM could not emphasize that in condemning how the NCAA has handled the case.

### The sources said UM president Donna Shalala delivered a compelling opening statement, pointing out how UM has self-imposed penalties, and that UM attorney Mike Glazier was also impressive.

### The committee did not make a ruling on UM’s or four of the coaches’ motions to dismiss. UM isn’t expecting it to be granted.

### FYI: Ed Griffith of the state attorney’s office told me last week that the state would not be filing charges against NCAA investigator Rich Johanningmeier because it found no evidence that he committed a crime against Dyron Dye. Dye went to the Coral Gables police, and his attorney (Darren Heitner) went to the state attorney’s office, alleging that Johanningmeier used intimidation tactics and coercion to extract testimony from Dye.