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Saturday report: Lance Stephenson wants to make Wade's "knee flare up"; Heat notes

It’s rare to hear a player speak openly about wanting to exacerbate another player’s health problem.

So it was somewhat surprising when Lance Stephenson today told reporters of Dwyane Wade: “I think his knee is kind of messed up, so I got to be extra aggressive and make him run and have him running around and make his knee flare up or something.” The quote was circulated on Twitter by a reporter for the team's own web site.

Wade, who met with reporters before Stephenson’s comment, has said his knees are not causing him any problems this postseason.

Stephenson said he has no personal issue with Wade. "If I see D-Wade walking down the street, I won't try to get him," he told the Indianapolis Star.

Stephenson also said today: “We’re better [than last year]. We’re smarter. We got more talented players. I think we’re ready this time. And we’ve got to show it. Not talk about it. Show it.”

Despite their struggles in postseason, including a 3-4 record at home, Pacers forward Paul George said: “We’re a better team” than a year ago. “This team ended our season early two times in a row so there’s got to be an edge to come out and take this team out.”

He attributed Indiana’s struggles in March and April to being “fatigued out mentally, emotionally, physically.”

### With Udonis Haslem expected to replace Shane Battier in the starting lineup, the Heat’s top eight players in this series seem set. The question is who will get remaining minutes among Battier, James Jones, Rashard Lewis and perhaps Greg Oden.

Toney Douglas is also available. Michael Beasley could join Justin Hamilton on the inactive list if Erik Spoelstra opts to keep Oden available because of Indiana’s size.

“This series is about the top eight,” Jones said. “We need them to perform. Players nine through 15, we complement.”

### Indiana has one fewer irritant than it did in last year’s series, because Tyler Hansbrough now plays for Toronto. But Stephenson can try to get under opponents’ skin.

“They don’t get under our skin,” Chris Bosh said. “Nobody on that team does. If they’re trying to get under ours, they’ll get under their own skin before it happens with us. There are no mind games to play in this series. We’ve been through that before. I’m sure they’ll try something different.”                   

### Turnovers have often been the Pacers’ undoing against the Heat. Indiana had 121 turnovers in last year’s seven-game Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, compared to the Heat’s 82.

This season, the Pacers had 65 in the four games; Miami had 52. The Pacers committed the 10th-most turnovers in the league this season, at 14.5 per game.       

 ### Roy Hibbert was fourth in the league in blocked shots per game (2.25), posing challenges for players when they attack the basket.

“You can’t let that really affect you,” Dwyane Wade said. “You do want to drive. You don’t want [Hibbert’s presence] to deter what you do because if you are driving, knowing he’s going to come and help, someone is going to be open.

“More so than the drive, it’s about the finish. If he’s there, you’ve got to be smart and understand you can’t just jump and catapult your body into him. Maybe LeBron can and get away with it because athleticism is his strength."

But shortly before Wade spoke, James said: “You don’t want to throw your body in there recklessly, without a thought process.”

### The Heat and Pacers have been the NBA’s best “clutch” teams in postseason, according to NBA.com’s statistical analysis. In the final five minutes of games with a margin of five or fewer, Indiana has outscored its opponents by 27 points in 20 postseason minutes. Miami is plus 12 in 11 minutes.

### Spoelstra and Heat players said they can’t take much from studying the games when Indiana struggled this postseason.

“We know what team we can expect,” Spoelstra said. “The only thing that matters is how they played against us. They played very good basketball against us.”

### One constant in the James/George matchup: James has been significantly more efficient. In the four games this season, James shot 54 percent when George was also on the floor, George 43 percent. That disparity also has been sizable in their playoff meetings.

### Mark Jackson, recently fired from his coaching job with the Golden State Warriors, returned to ABC/ESPN with a multiyear contract on Saturday and will join Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy on the call of the Heat-Pacers series as well as the NBA Finals.

Comments

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Dom

TAKE IT TO THEM HEAT_---------SEND A MESSAGE--4-0 SWEEP--SPO, Make Michael Beasley the X factor, they have no one to guard him --Scola? Coming off the bench? We need that punch and they would not expect it. .

The Boss

Congratulations to the Miami Baseball Canes in their 2-0 win this afternoon.Won the seies vs NC and clinched the ACC Title.Not a bad day s work.D Rad pitched 6 strong innings to get the win.

Ronnie b

@DOM......Spo does not have the guts to play Beasley but a great point. He's wasting away on the Heat's bench. A shame.....

u are u ... next year broken record excUse u

THE TEAM IS LOADED NOW WITH FUTURE NFL PLAYERS, just are Fresh soph and JR's, and SR's to be.......ENJOY maybe your last year of bashing miami. with this top 10 class we just added in Feb. we go 2-3 deep now with High School All Americans and have a loaded team.......by the 2015 season, 1 more year or experience and 1 more top 10 class, we will have the same talent level as FSU...... MOVE ON, NOTHING TO SEE HERE

Posted by: Dom | 05/16/2014 at 11:21 PM

same BS new year... always young and 1 year away u.

Not our rival

You copy and paste from the last blog just to post mean-spirited trolling nonsense?

No one cares about your fake internet rivalry, in real life UM beat your team last year and we're not scheduled to play again.

Get a life sir.

Maria

Your going down Indy!!!!! You have been talking garbage about this series since the season started. Guess what? It's here, reality will soon hit you right between your eyes when you lose. And you better not hurt Wade.

UMike

I hope someone knocks Stephenson' teeth down his throat. The NBA frowns on this kind of talk, going "after someone's knees" etc...etc....

We'll see what happens.......

Dom

THanks Not our RIval. Regarding the Canes, We had sanctions looming for 3 yrs and Shannon left Golden no talent(just look at NFL Draft) as thats on shannon. Goldie has been here 3 years. 2. Miami is loaded with young talents, thats a fact, adding another top 10 class on espn.com . We have a ton of young studs-we are loaded with high school all americans. Shannon had 1 good class and they turned out to be a bust.......BUT 2012,2013,2014 CLASS will put the canes back on the map......thats just a fact. We have TOO much talent to not be be better. NOW, UF, at 4-8, And they had guys drafted in 1st round and a ton of NFL TALENT ON THAT Team, THATS BAD COACHING

ON THE HEAT=------- WE are getting NOTHING FROM THAT LEWIS/BATTIER/BACK UP FORWARD ROLE--------Beasley did shoot 50% from the field and 40%(39) from 3 this year and when he played, Got compliments from lebron.

WHY NOT PLAY HIM THOSE 10-12-15 MINUTES? Rashard is shooting 15% from 3. It cant be any worse.. beasley would force them not to double team wade or lebron when 1 is on the court.

SCOLA IS THEIR BACK UP FORWARD, there is not a chance he can guard BEASLEY, and he gives us a scoring punch with Ray Allen.

Next year(HOpe they resign him), he can move into the starting PF role maybe, OR, eventually be the 6th man as Ray ALlen gets older. We need that scoring punch off the bench, and beasley can deliver that. IM HOPEFUL SPO will give him 10/12 minutes

DanDaly

So the Heat are 8-1 in the playoffs, and people are complaining about the rotation?

Roger Podacter

The basketball is enough in this series, there's no need to manufacture controversy.

Stephenson's full quote without the "..." that reporters are using to twist this quote:

"D. Wade — I think his knee is messed up, so I've got to be extra aggressive and make him run and have him running around and make his knee flare up or something"

So Stephenson is not threatening to try to injure Wade. At all.

On Beasley, yes he can create his own shot but if he's generating iso offense he's taking the ball out of LeBron James or Dwyane Wade's hands. And of course he's terrible defensively.

The bulk numbers reflect that, the Heat are worse than their opponent when he's on the court, he has a negative (+/-) on the season. Lewis, Battier, and James Jones are all positive, when they're on the court the Heat outscore opponents.

The Boss

Hardly think Beasley is the X factor in the Pacers series.Miami s committment to DEFENSE first is.Then hopefully they get turnovers that lead to offensive points.Rebounding will be huge too.Heat need to keep their turnover ratio relatively small.Pacers will force them to play more efficient.Hope Allen improves his play against Indiana.Rashard Lewis hopefully wakes up from his Playoff sleep-walking this series.If Heat plays great defense like they can....Indiana won t have a chance again in this series.

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