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What Fins are getting with Moreno; Heat-Pacers postscripts; UM impact of major court ruling

The Dolphins have upgraded at running back by agreeing with Knowshon Moreno on a one-year deal. Some tidbits about him, some of which we posted last week:

### Here is what Pro Football Focus said about him entering free agency: "The No. 1 running back [in free agency], almost by default, comes from this year’s Super Bowl runner up. Knowshon Moreno is the only back on this list without injury, workload, or age concerns. This last season Moreno proved that he can produce effectively in an every-down role over the course of the season. In terms of pure ability, there are probably six or seven free agents I’d prefer, but none are proven commodities at this point in time. At just 27years old, and with just 992 career touches to his name, Moreno is sure to have at least a few more productive seasons in his legs before the dreaded running back decline sets in.

"2013 was by far Moreno’s most accomplished as a pro," PFF went on to say. "He set career highs in snaps (724), rushing yards (1,038), receiving yards (548), touchdowns (13), and PFF grade (+9.9). His 241 carries were more the most Moreno’s had in a season since his rookie year and his 60 receptions were a career high by a wide margin. With his rushing (+4.2 grade), pass catching (+7.0 grade), and adequate pass blocking (0.0 grade) ability, Moreno provides the ability to plug and play 600+ snaps immediately."

### But ESPN's Bill Polian said: "Solid contributor but not a No. 1 back. Most of his success from 2013 was a function of the system."

### Moreno is a productive back coming off his best season (1038 yards rushing, 4.3 per carry, 10 rushing touchdowns, 3 receiving touchdowns and 548 receiving yards playing behind a good offensive line and with a Hall of Fame quarterback).

But the metrics suggest he’s not clearly better than Miami’s other backs in breaking tackles.

Last season, Moreno averaged 2.0 yards after contact, which was tied for 39th among 55 backs, according to Pro Football Focus.  Who was he tied with? Daniel Thomas, whom Moreno presumably would replace. Lamar Miller was 31st at 2.1.

### Moreno broke or avoided 21 tackles --- the same number as Thomas and one more than Miller, despite having considerably more carries than both. Those 21 were 29th most among running backs. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch, conversely, had 75 broken or avoided tackles.

### Moreno doesn’t break a lot of long runs, either. He had five carries of 20 yards or more, which tied for 17th, but needed 241 carries to do it. Miller and Thomas each had four such runs in substantially fewer carries --- 177 for Miller, 109 for Thomas.

### Moreno’s 4.3 per carry averaged tied for 21st among 55 backs. By comparison, Miller averaged 4.0, Thomas 3.7.

### PFF ranked Moreno eighth among all running backs as a pass blocker. For perspective, Miller was 33rd, Thomas 34th.

### Moreno had only one fumble in 241 rushing attempts last season. He’s young (26) and coming off his best season, albeit in an offense loaded with talent.

My conclusion? Good move to sign him. He’s a more proven, accomplished back than Thomas, has a better per carry average and is a superior pass protector. A Miller/Moreno tandem is an upgrade over a Miller/Thomas combo.

 

 

HEAT-PACERS NOTES

Hard fouls. An ejection. Playoff-type intensity. Lineup changes. Dramatic swings. This was as riveting as it gets in the regular season for two teams that will be judged solely on the playoffs.

And if these teams go seven games in the Eastern Finals, it looks increasingly likely (though not certain) that Game 7 would be in Indiana, with the Pacers now up two games in the loss column with 12 games left for Miami and 10 for Indiana, and the Heat likely to rest its starters late in the season.

Miami can tie the season series by beating Indiana on April 11, but the Pacers have the better conference record, which would be the tiebreaker if the teams split their four-game season series.

### Erik Spoelstra second-guessed himself for calling the last play for Chris Bosh, who took a pass from LeBron James and airballed a jumper to end this 84-83 loss. Spoelstra said he probably should have put the ball in the hands of James, who had 38 points, on 11 for 19 shooting, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

Bosh, the Heat’s best shooter in the clutch this season, was open on the play but had to rush the shot.

"You can't make two passes and set for the shot at the end," Bosh said. "There's not much you can do in two seconds. It was a 20-second timeout. We didn't have much time for discussions."

“Unfortunately that was what I diagrammed and it might not have been the best [call],” Spoelstra said. "It was probably a little too gunslinger."

Dwyane Wade wasn't in the game on the final possession of a cramp in his hamstring.

Asked about the last play, James said only: “It was the play drew up. And we got a look.” Asked again about the play, he said: “I just ran the play.”

James said he “was surprised” that two hard fouls against him weren’t called flagrants, and yet James was called for a flagrant against Roy Hibbert, which James questioned afterward, noting Roy Hibbert's face "happened to hit my elbow."

“Me and Blake Griffin take some hard hits, and they call it how they want to call it," James said. "It’s very frustrating, very frustrating. As a player, you play the game the right way, and it just doesn’t fall your way.”

Bosh was upset about the the fact Indiana didn't have a flagrant foul called against them: "We were getting punched in the face and clothes-lined out there. We are going to have to revisit what flagrant foul means. They had one (flagrant foul called against Miami) and we had none, even though LeBron got punched in the face and clotheslined."

### Bosh, in foul trouble, didn’t return in the fourth quarter until there were less than two minutes left. It was a forgettable night for Bosh --- 8 points on 3 for 11 shooting and four rebounds. With Bosh’s increasing reliance on his three-point game, Jeff Van Gundy noted that Bosh “has to figure out how to get closer to the basket. He’s more versatile than he’s showing.”

### Wade left with 1:59 left, finishing with 15 points. "I felt cramping," he said. "Had to get off of it. Once you get cramps, it's not going to stop right away."

### The Heat ultimately was undone by fourth quarter turnovers (seven of them), and 19 in the game, leading to 26 Pacer points. James and Wade had six turnovers apiece....

Miami tied a season low with four fourth-quarter field goals (on 13 shots) and was outscored 21-15 in the fourth. The Heat’s 83 points were a season low, and the Heat is now 0-6 when it scores fewer than 90 points. "We didn't get our guys in the right spots," Bosh said. "We had so many empty possessions where we didn't get any movement."

### The defense, at least after the first quarter, was plenty good enough. “That part was encouraging,” Spoelstra said. But “we weren’t able to get over the hump. It’s a tough one. We didn’t get the type of looks we wanted going down the stretch.”

### Who would have thought that the Heat would play key moments down the stretch with Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis? “They need to be in the rotation,” James said.

Erik Spoelstra opted for Lewis, who scored his first basket since Feb. 21, instead of Shane Battier, which Spoelstra attributed largely to Ray Allen’s absence because of the flu. Battier has struggled against David West in the past.

“I like Rashard’s minutes,” Spoelstra said. “He always keeps himself ready. He gives us something that works for us offensively. He’s a very smart player and he competes defensively.”

Like Battier, Michael Beasley was a DNP-coach’s decision.

### Haslem, stuck to the bench for weeks, has been a revelation the past two weeks, and his defense against Roy Hibbert was exceptional.

As Gundy noted, Haslem forced Hibbert into tough shots by getting good leverage --- unlike Greg Oden, who couldn’t do anything to stop Hibbert in Hibbert’s 11-point first quarter. Haslem (four rebounds in 21 minutes) replaced Oden to start the second half, and Hibbert scored just eight points after the first quarter.

“His minutes were good,” Spoelstra said. “It’s not an indictment of Greg. I’m not down on him. This isn’t making any decisions. He’ll start the next game. He’s getting there. The bottom line is still winning, and that’s my job to make those decisions, whether they’re right or wrong. Greg is getting better.”

### A second half three-pointer by Wade was disallowed because he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds. (Replays showed he didn’t.)

But Wade showed restraint by not responding to Lance Stephenson’s jawing. Stephenson, in a classic knucklehead moment, picked up his second technical foul (and automatic ejection) after yakking at Wade with 4:59 left. "I don't play the games Lance plays," Wade said. "The refs took care of it."

### Dreadful night for Mario Chalmers, who shot 2 for 10, with two assists and two turnovers and was beaten off the dribble several times.

### David West was only 3 for 12 on three-pointers last season before his key late-game three.

### Two encouraging signs: The Heat held Indiana to 37 percent shooting and played the Pacers to a 37-37 draw on the boards.

### Van Gundy said he’s “not as convinced both teams are going to get the Eastern Finals” as he was previously. He said Indiana would be more vulnerable than Miami and that Brooklyn is “very dangerous.”

UM CHATTER

### Al Golden said after practice today that Kevin Olsen is “starting to close ground” with Ryan Williams, but that “Ryan is ahead of Kevin, and Kevin is ahead of Gray Crow. Obviously Ryan has been the leader and is doing a really good job.”

### Golden can’t stop raving about Stacy Coley. “He’s raised the level of his play, and everyone is trying to catch his intensity and preparation.”

### Tight end Standish Dobard “is getting better,” Golden said. “He prepares really hard, wants to do well. Stan gives us a real physical presence on the line of scrimmage yet can get down the field and make plays because he's so long. Really excited about Stan right now."

### Freshman Darrion Owens had a sack Wednesday and UM really likes his pass rush potential.

### Please see the last post for a look at the landmark NCAA/Northwestern/union decision today and how it could affect UM.

Comments

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Paul

Typical Miami crybabies...

Dashi

Good Job. Good Effort.

Randy Shannons' Agent

Spo isnt a good coach lets be honest

Mario's

Refs killed the Heat. Lebron gets two non basketball fouls on him without getting a flagrant, yet he drives to the rim trying to score and they call one against him when Hibbery is inside he no charge zone. It wasn't even a foul it was a foul in Hibbertt.

NBA refs decide half the games.

david in los angeles

Typical Miami crybabies...

Posted by: Paul | 03/26/2014 at 11:57 PM

really? can you repeat that? i couldn't hear you over the clamor from our 3 rings, dbag..

Stu

"Our" 3 rings?

joe r

dwayne wade still has flashes but he is undependable, they need to move on after this season..this team has played alot of basketball the last few years...dont see them with enough gas in the tank to win this year...it was a good run

Ronnie B.

If anyone will listen...I have said it a million times. Spo is a TERRIBLE coach. His ability to make adjustments to his line-ups are HORRIBLE. Now, the players are starting to speak out loud concerning the same thing. Quote from Lebron James/ Who would have thought that the Heat would play key moments down the stretch with Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis? “They need to be in the rotation,” James said. That's the problem with the HEAT...He refuses to use those guys until he runs out of options. He couldn't coach his way out of a wet paper bag. A BUM....

Dashi

The refs kill the Heat!!! ANR SPO DOES NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

As a player how would you feel if YOUR COACH never stands up for you!!

You couldn't even touch MJ without getting a foul called. Why was that? Phil Jackson was working the refs pregame and during the game. And if he had to he will call it out post game!!

SPO IS A COACH WITH 2 NBA TITLES!! ACT LIKE IT!! GET YOUR F'ING RESPECT!!

IF THE HEAT DON'T WIN THE TITLE IT FALLS ON ONE PERSON AND ONE PERSON ONLY!! ERIK "M'KAY" SPOELSTRA!!

Dashi

* AND SPO DOES NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!

johnnie j

It was great physical,classic,NBA basketball last night.Didn t like seeing 12 turnovers alone between LeBron and Wade but the team played well overall and especially much better on defense.Hats off to the Pacers for holding on for the win.Heat look like they re still primed for this year s run.Wish the Big Two could have helped out offensively more and not forcing LeBron to shoulder so much of the burden.Got a good look at what s coming soon in the Playoffs.

Ronnie B.

@Dashi...Amen to that....Have you every seen Spo get thrown out of a game defending one of his STAR players..NO...sometimes you have to make a statement to the REFS and everyone else that a team is made up when everyone is putting it ALL on the line including the coach. Dashi..i see people trying to bash your comments because no disrespect to them but they really don't know the game. Keep firing away brother....

Common sense

I know the game. Spo overachieved with bad teams before Lebron, and has met expectation since. D wade credited spo for his 2006 finals performance. Spo is a great coach.

Gary

I agree with Ronnie B. Spo is like Randy Shannon-no emotion and the refs will call nothing if they aren't pressured away from home! Having said that I agree that this is who Wade is at the end of a great career. He needs to take less money next year or look elsewhere! There is no sync to the team's offense with him out so many games!

rboud

The NBA can't allow James to get hammered with intentional fouls that are not called flagrant fouls. There is absolutely no excuse for those non calls last night. Is this what the League wants. Do they want players, especially stars like James, being blasted on their way to the basket. Let one of the superstars get injured on one of these plays and you'll see new rules implemented immediately. Do it now before someone gets hurt. Otherwise, you'll see fights breaking out on the court. Shame on the officials and shame on the NBA.

c rice

That was one of the most flagrant flops I've seen
this year pulled off by Hibbert. It just makes you
wonder who is controlling the Refs. Its appears that
they have lost all of their integrity. I have never seen that many bad call in a long time. They cheated
Wade out of a three pointer that they would not review.
Our Coach was missing I think when these calls were being made. With that type of officiating the Heat have the same chance as a one legged man in a A-- kicking contest.

matt

C.rice . . . flopping? are you serious? must not have seen Hibbert's head snap back, or him change out of a blood stained jersey.

Yeah, it must be "big market" Indy controlling the refs, yeah, you are seriously on to something there . . .

Don't look now, I think I see a unicorn. . .

No so common, sense

Spo was coach in 2006? After Riley "retired" and Van Gundy took over, Riley came back with Shaq and D Wade. Stan the Man was a good coach, better than Spo.

Yes...?

Spo was most definitely a coach in 2006 and Dwyane Wade most definitely credited him hugely and personally for his Finals performance.

Yea I guess

A coach yes. Not the coach. My bad.

Dashi

All good coaches stand up for their players!!!

Agreed. Ronnie B.

Sometimes you have to get thrown out to prove a point. Even the Zen Master got thrown out from time to time.

All I hear are excuses for Spo!!

HE HAS WON TWO NBA TITLES!! ONLY COACH IN THE NBA WITH MORE TITLES!! IS POPAVITCH!!

DEMAND YOUR RESPECT!!

STAND UP FOR YOUR TEAM!!

And don't give me this he overachieved BS!! As long as you have one Real Good Superstar on your team you will make the playoffs in the NBA!!

You are just proving that Spo is Slo!!

So he has been the coach of the Heat for more than 4 years and they still can't run a half court offense!!

I have already said the many things Spo does wrong!!

I am still waiting for the ONE THING SPO DOES RIGHT!!

LeBron should be recognized as the G.O.A.T.

Any other "G.O.A.T." has had a great Coach to help him win a title. Except LeBron!!

LeBron made himself!!

SPO Sucks!!

Dashi

Only 5 NBA Coaches have ever won more than 2 Titles!!

P.Jackson
R.Auerbach
J.Kundla
P.Riley
G.Popovich

Please, explain how SPO deserves to be on that list!!

All those coaches stood up for their players!! They didn't let the refs control the outcome of the game!!

Dashi

This should have been Spo's post game press conference word for word!!

---------------------------------------------------------------------

The NBA can't allow James to get hammered with intentional fouls that are not called flagrant fouls. There is absolutely no excuse for those non calls last night. Is this what the League wants. Do they want players, especially stars like James, being blasted on their way to the basket. Let one of the superstars get injured on one of these plays and you'll see new rules implemented immediately. Do it now before someone gets hurt. Otherwise, you'll see fights breaking out on the court. Shame on the officials and shame on the NBA.

Posted by: rboud | 03/27/2014 at 12:04 PM

Great post rboud.

Dashi

Only if you would talk to the refs the way you talk to fans.

Chump.

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