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Saturday evening Heat report: LeBron update, Amusing conspiracy talk, Popovich musings; and a media column

### LeBron James, sidelined by cramps during much of the fourth quarter in Game 1, said before practice today: "I'm doing well, doing a lot better. The soreness is starting to get out. I'm feeling better than I did yesterday and with another day, I should feel much better."

Still, James cautioned "there is no way to test my body for what I went through. The conditions are nowhere near extreme as they were. Unless I decide to run from here to the hotel, that's the only way I would be able to test my body out."

LeBron said he has had "a lot of treatment, icing and stretching."

### Erik Spoelstra said he has been assured that the air conditioning won't be an issue Sunday. "We anticipate we will play in a very cool gym," Spoelstra said. "We will have to deal with that now."

 

### In light of Mario Chalmers’ uneven play and occasional foul trouble this postseason, the Heat could use a lift from the other half of its point guard duo. But whereas Norris Cole consistently provides energy off the bench, he usually struggles with his shot against the Spurs.

Cole had good looks on three three-pointers in Game 1 but missed all of them on a 1-for-4 night and is now 7 for 26 from the field (27 percent) in eight career Finals games against the Spurs. In his regular-season career against San Antonio, he’s shooting 35.7 percent from the field (15 for 42), including 4 for 13 this season.

“You want to give them a little bit of credit, but [I’ve] missed shots,” he said. “When I get open looks, I’m going to continue to let it fly.”

Cole shook out of a two-month post All-Star break funk by making 16 of 30 shots in his first six playoff games. But he’s just 11 for 33 since then.

### One day after Dwyane Wade said the Heat should have gone deeper into its bench in Game 1 --- when Erik Spoelstra used nine players --- LeBron James expressed similar sentiments.

“Obviously, we could have used that in Game 1,” James said. “I thought at times maybe Toney [Douglas], JJ [James Jones], UD [Udonis Haslem] could have gotten some minutes. Take the load off some of us…. Spo is going to coach the game the way he sees the game going.”

James, who called for more minutes for Jones earlier in the playoffs, said during an NBA-organized Facebook chat on Saturday that Jones is “the most underrated player on our team. He doesn’t get a lot of playing time. I wish he did get a lot more playing time. He’s such a leader. Unbelievable shooter.”

Jones has played just seven minutes since the start of the Eastern Conference Finals.

### Also on that Facebook chat, James said of Game 2: “We have to make adjustments. That’s what good teams do. You will see a different team on Sunday.”… James said on that Facebook chat that his rooting interests in football extend to the Dallas Cowboys, Ohio State Buckeyes, FloridaState and Cleveland Browns rookie Johnny Manziel.

### Asked why he told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon that he’s the easiest target in sports, James said: “Because I’ve been in front of the camera… since I was 15 years old. You guys have seen everything from me, from being an adolescent kid just playing the game because he loves it… to playing as a professional, to succeeding, to falling off the mountain,… to going up to the top again.”

###  Asked why the Heat has been able to win its last 12 playoff games after losses, James said that stems from taking accountability and “not just bypassing the mistakes we had in the previous game.”

Chris Bosh added: “Being in this situation so many times before, it brings out the best…. We’ve run out of excuses.”

### Wade said if the Heat loses Sunday, “I’m sure the series would be over from the [view of the] outside.”

### Though Michael Beasley has played sparingly in postseason and wasn’t active for Game 1, Spoelstra said Saturday: “I’ve seen him grow immensely, maturity-wise, on and off the court. It’s been cool to see.”

### One of the takeaways watching the Spurs is how crisply they move the ball in a free-flowing, aesthetically-pleasing offense.

That offense has changed significantly during Tim Duncan’s career, from a low-post oriented attack built around Duncan to one that emphasizes quick passes and finding the open man.

“You watch tape of how we played before – we are very different,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said Saturday. “Now we’re more mobile, move the ball much better, more passes. Everyone is feeling important. It’s more fun, more unpredictable.”

Coach Gregg Popovich said over the past couple of years, “we’ve changed our pace and the way we approach things at the other end of the floor to make up for what we’re going to lose defensively.”

Despite relying a lot on the three-point shot, Popovich said: “I hate it. To me, it’s not basketball, but you’ve got to use it. If you don’t use it, you’re in big trouble. But you sort of feel like it’s cheating.”

### Asked about Popovich’s dislike of the three-point shot, Heat guard Dwyane Wade said: “I’m sure [Erik Spoelstra] has things he doesn’t like. He doesn’t like it when me and LeBron [James] go one-on-one. He wants team basketball, but sometimes one-on-one is successful when you have players capable of doing that.”

### Guard Danny Green used the word “remarkable” to describe the Spurs’ ongoing streak of eight consecutive home playoff wins by margins of at least 15 points – two more than the previous record, set by the 1985 Lakers. “At home, we’re more comfortable,” he said. “It helps us make shots and shoot more confidently.”

### Popovich insisted Saturday that Duncan has inquired in the past about playing point guard, and Duncan asked a reporter to help convince Popovich to allow him to play there at times. “I’ve been arguing that point for years now,” Duncan said.

### Popovich’s Game 2 prediction: “I don’t think either one of us will turn it over as much as we did” in Game 1, when the Spurs had 23 turnovers and the Heat 18.

### Popovich monitors the minutes of his veterans during the regular season, and he admitted Saturday: “I’ve often felt guilty because their lifetime stats are going to be worse than everybody else’s, because of the way I’ve sat them over the years. But it does develop the bench.”

### Sacramento guard Jason Terry suggested on the ESPN Radio affiliate in Dallas that AT&TCenter’s malfunctioning air conditioning  during Game 1 was orchestrated by the Spurs, something the team has denied.

“Pop has done that so many times. I don’t know if it’s a conspiracy, but I’m telling you, going into San Antonio is a tough place to play,” Terry said. “And I can remember very well one time where it was cold showers, there were about a thousand flies in the locker room. This year, there was a snake in the locker room.

“So, they’re going to pull out all the stops to get into your head. When you go to San Antonio, expect something like that. And Miami fell victim to it. For an event of that magnitude, to say that the AT&T Center’s air-conditioning is not working — there’s definitely something wrong with that.”

### Duncan is trying to join John Salley as the second NBA player in history to win a Finals in three different decades.  

Please see the last post for the weekly media column, including data analyzing whether the Dolphins or Heat is more popular locallyAnd please check back later for a lot more Heat --- plus Dolphins, Marlins and Hurricanes in the Sunday buzz column.                 

Comments

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Penguin

Mr. Popovich, I'm sure that a three-pointer feels like real basketball when the other team makes the shot, or when you're down two with just a few second left. Just saying.

Tony in Miami

Conspiracy theory?... Why not. We must pay back winning 4 in arrow, but first what about to put a crocodile in their locker-room the 1st.game here in Miami at half time, then and shut down the AC in their locker-room 2nd. game, also at half time, and add some vinegar in their drinking water supply,that enough for me.

TK SWANN

I SEE I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN CLEARLY SEE THAT GAME 1 AC MALFUCTION WAS DELIBERATE!! HA HA ! FOR THOSE WHO DON'T THINK IT WAS THEN PLEASE ANSWER THIS ...WHY WAS PAPER FANS PLACED IN ALL THE SEATS PRIOR TO FANS ARRIVING TO THE GAME? C'MON MAN !! YOU DO THE MATH.. DON'T MATTER HEAT IN 6..TONIGHT'S GAME SAN ANTONIO WINS (REFEREES TONIGHT) WATCH HOW MANY FREE THROWS THE SPURS SHOOT.. THE HEAT WILL THEN WIN THE NEXT 2 AT HOME AND STEAL GAME 5 AND CLOSE OUT IN GAME 6 WITH A VERY CLOSE GAME WON BY "RAY ALLEN'S PERFORMANCE IN 4TH QT...

Charles Barkleys trophy case

If San Antone had to resort to trickery, they are afraid of us. Champions don't cheat.

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