3 p.m. report: Bosh explains aversion to post; Oden, pre-game Heat chatter; 10 notes, views from Fins camp
Lots of Heat and Dolphins items on a Saturday afternoon, as we await Game 3 of Heat-Pacers:
### The Heat’s desire for spacing, and Chris Bosh’s ability to hit threes, is the primary reason why Bosh spends less time in the post than he ever has. But Bosh admitted Saturday there’s another deterrent to playing more in the post.
“For some odd reason, I always get double-teamed still,” he said. “I don’t understand it. And that’s the reason I really stopped, because every time I go down there and get double teamed, it’s like, ‘For what?’ They won’t double-team LeBron [James], but they’ll double-team me.”
Asked when he realized that banging in the post wasn’t his strength, he cracked: “When I found out you could get one more point for shooting threes.”
But seriously… “It gets tiring, what they ask us to do,” he said of the demands on him in the Heat’s defensive system.
Bosh isn't complaining but said those responsibilities include “to blitz the screen and roll every single one. Close out and get back. I was already 20 to 30 pounds lighter than everybody else. All that stuff takes my energy.”
Bosh attempted only 67 shots on post-ups this season --- a number that has declined every season with the Heat, from 240 to 190 to 131. By contrast, James took 188 shots on post-ups this season. Bosh hit 55.9 percent of his attempts on post-ups, compared with under 42 percent shooting over the past three seasons.
### Yes, Greg Oden admits, not playing in the first two games of an Eastern Conference Finals wasn’t what he envisioned when he signed with the Heat last summer.
But Oden said he doesn’t regret signing here, despite his limited role.
“I want to help, but if they don't need my help and we win, I'm perfectly happy,” he said. “I’m happy to be on this team and have the chance to win the championship. That’s all I really think about these days. This is the furthest I’ve been in the playoffs, so I’m happy.”
Oden said he has dealt with physical issues “here and there” over the past month --- a sore back was the only one he disclosed --- but “my knees haven't had any problems recently.”
And he reiterated Friday he is healthy enough to play in this series. Erik Spoelstra was non-committal about Oden for tonight, but said he would decide during the game whether he would use him, which suggests he might be active, unlike the past two games. But Spoelstra doesn't need to decide on who's active until before the game.
“I know they brought me here to be a big body, another big opponent to help stop Roy Hibbert, but [Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen] have been doing a good job,” he said.
Hibbert hit five of six shots against Oden in the first six minutes of the Heat-Pacers game on March 26. Oden, soon after, was sidelined by the back injury and hasn't rejoined the rotation since then. But Spoelstra insisted Saturday that how Oden played in that game is not affecting his thoughts about using him.
### Indiana’s Paul George, who sustained a concussion in Game 2, said he will play tonight. “I feel great,” he said this morning…. Indiana coach Frank Vogel said today that he’s aware that Evan Turner did some of his best work against the Heat this season (as a member of the 76ers) and he will take that into account the rest of this series.
### Shane Battier, who is retiring after the season, was named the NBA’s Teammate of the Year in a vote by players throughout the league. Players could not vote for their own teammates. Spoelstra today called him “the ultimate teammate, selfless.”
Battier called it “one of the biggest honors of my life….Everything I do, I try to make that locker-room, this team, better.” He said there are “arguments or disagreements” in the Heat’s locker-room “but every last guy in the locker-room has his teammate’s back.”
### Spoelsta said Battier is the first player he has ever had who asked the coaching staff for a detailed printout of opposing player tendencies before games.
“It’s not like we don’t go to extensive lengths with our preparation,” Spoelstra said. “That goes back 19 years. Then to have a player come to us and say, ‘This isn’t enough. I need more.’ That absolutely caught our attention. Our staff absolutely loved it.”
### Game 3 is the 150th playoff games of James’ career. He entered with 97 wins in those 149 games. Michael Jordan won 99 of his first 150 playoff games.
Ten notes and observations from Friday’s first day of Dolphins rookie mini-camp, the only one of the three open to the media:
### Wise move by the Dolphins to place each of their new potential rookie starting offensive linemen alongside a veteran instead of playing them on the same side. Billy Turner, barring a change of heart by the team, will play on the left side alongside Branden Albert. Rookie tackle Ja’Wuan James will play alongside Shelley Smith on the right side.
If Turner doesn’t win the job, Nate Garner could step in. But the Dolphins are very hopeful Turner will win it.
### If Turner makes as positive an impression on the field as he does off, the Dolphins will be thrilled. Turner is bright, articulate, self-confident --- qualities all on display during a lengthy session with reporters yesterday. On the field, he has big hands, quick feet and a nastiness that intrigued the Dolphins.
### The Dolphins like Jordan Tripp’s motor, intensity and ability to diagnose plays quickly, and are eager to see what he can do at middle linebacker over the next few months. Projecting Tripp as anything more than a backup and special teams player, at this point, would be premature.
But the kid is always around the ball, filling the stat sheet at Montana last year with 100 tackles, two sacks, three picks, two pass breakups, blocked kick, forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
### Damien Williams, tossed off the Oklahoma team last year, showed good quickness on Friday and the battle for the No. 4 running back job --– with Mike Gilislee and others --– sets up as an interesting one. It’s not 100 percent certain the Dolphins will keep No. 3 running back Daniel Thomas but there’s not much of a trade market for a back who averaged 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 yards in his three seasons here. Thomas is probably good enough to stick around another year.
Tulane’s Orleans Darkwa was the other undrafted running back signed to a contract by the Dolphins.
### Quarterback Brock Jensen gave little indication Friday that he’s ready to seriously challenge Pat Devlin for the No. 3 job. Several of his throws were inaccurate, though some of that could be attributed to understandable lack of timing with a new set of receivers.
### You always pay attention to starters on Nick Saban’s Alabama teams, but free agent cornerback Deion Belue --- who started for Alabama the past two years --- was toasted by Utah State’s Travis Van Leeuwen (a tryout player) on a deep route Friday. Belue had three picks combined over the past two seasons but was slowed by turf toe last season.
“Played hurt as a senior and has desirable intangibles, [but] must shore up his tackling,” NFL.com Nolan Nawrocki said.
### I won’t be surprised if an undrafted offensive lineman or two sticks around from this group, with Utah State center Tyler Larsen and Arizona State’s Evan Finkerberg both well-regarded. Also, keep an eye on undrafted linebacker Andrew Wilson, who was highly productive at Missouri.
### The Dolphins really liked Marshall offensive lineman Garrett Scott and used one of their 30 pre-draft visits on him. Good thing Miami didn’t sign him. Seattle drafted him in the sixth round but released him Friday after discovering a rare heart condition.
### The Dolphins this year drafted no players from power five conferences except the SEC, from which they selected three. And they also signed seven undrafted players from the best conference in college football: Wilson, Belue, Georgia receiver Rantavious Wooten, Vanderbilt cornerback Steven Clarke, Arkansas offensive lineman David Hurd, Georgia defensive tackle Garrison Smith and LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson (the highest-regarded of the seven).
### Among the players brought in for tryouts this week, several will be familiar to those who followed prep football in Dade and Broward: UCF receiver Jeffrey Godfrey (Miami Central), Mississippi cornerback Charles Sawyer (Coral Reef), West Virginia receiver Ivan McCartney (Miramar), Rocky Mountain College receiver Jonathan Aiken (Piper), Vandy’s Clark (Boyd Andersen) and Rutgers linebacker Marcus Thompson (Boyd Anderson).
Please check back later for a lot more Dolphins news in the Sunday buzz column, as well as Canes, Heat, Marlins and more.