Heat Game 5 reaction, with Miami now one loss from elimination; Wednesday evening Heat news, including player return; Fins notes: On the Tannehill/Gase relationship; Gase's new offense; DeVante Parker; Jay Ajayi; Gase's unique approach and more
Reaction after this 90-88 Heat loss that leaves Miami down 3-2 in this series:
• Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, on Miami's offensive shortcomings late (a desperation 27-foot miss from Josh Richardson, a Goran Dragic three that was blocked and a Dwyane Wade layup that was blocked, after a Wade offensive rebound): "Dwyane looks like he got fouled on the offensive rebound. He got fouled. It looked like it was open and Dwyane got blocked... On [the other failed offensive possession late], that's on me. I should have called a timeout once it became a broken play. I didn't call a timeout to get us organized. That one's on me....
"They made big shots going down the stretch. Big threes, pullup threes. And Courtney Lee, two straight games, had the biggest offensive rebounds.
"It hurts, losing at home. But welcome to the playoffs. The playoffs just started. When a team beats somebody on the road, the playoffs start. As raw as this feels, we have 48 hours to regroup and get ready for a heck of a battle in Game 6."
"I like the minutes Josh [McRoberts] gave us. We had a little more speed defending the pick and roll."
• Wade: On the late play, where he appeared to be fouled: "I haven't looked at it. It's pointless now. No reason for me to look at it. It's not going to change anything. I thought it was [a foul], but it wasn't called."
His wife, Gabrielle Union, tweeted the play and it clearly was a foul.
• Wade, on passing late for two others for shots (Richardson, Dragic): "I tried to trust my teammates in that instance. Instead of [playing] hero ball, I threw it back to the guys who were open. We didn't get great shots out of it. I felt instead of forcing the shot, I felt my teammates had better opportunities. We probably should have got to the drive instead of just shooting the ball. We've been in that situation a lot of times. We've succeeded a lot of times. Just didn't happen for us."
• Wade, on the Heat's predicament: "It's very challenging to go on the road with a team that hasn't won too much on the road and figure out a way to win. Gets no tougher than that. I don't know where this team is at. This is the first time this team has gone through this situation together. We'll have to figure it out as a unit....
"Tonight, you're going to be frustrated. Everyone in the locker-room should be pissed off. But tomorrow we learn from our mistakes and get ready for Game 6. My wife has got to deal with me tonight. I will be pissed off all night until I go to sleep. But when I wake up, as a leader, I will come in with a different mindset, watch the game, see where I can help my team. We were down 3-2 going into Boston. LeBron James had an amazing game to propel us to that win. It will be tougher for this team because we've never been in [this situation] together. We'll see what we're made of individually to go and fight for this win."
• Wade, who scored 25: "My mindset was to be aggressive all night and put pressure on them.They are a good defensive team. You are not going to be able to get anything you want just in a halfcourt set.... I thought we got the shots we wanted, especially after the first quarter."
• Hassan Whiteside had a bandage and ice on his hand -- the result of contact with Charlotte players --- but said X-rays were negative. "Guys were disappointed we lost," he said. "But it's not over."
On the Heat's final two ill-fated possessions, Whiteside said: "I was told to stand under the basket, try to get the offensive rebound."
• Goran Dragic: "Every loss hurts, especially at home, if the game is so close. We were up, but we made some mistakes down the stretch. They made their shots."
Any adjustments needed? "No adjustment. Just try to come up with those plays. We had a good game plan tonight. The game was close. In those pick and rolls, we need to be more focused, especially at the end of the game."
• Richardson, on his late missed three with 43 seconds left: "I saw a shot. It was there. and I took it. There is nothing else really to it. I was setting a screen for D-Wade to get to the basket and they kind of doubled up, so he was giving it back to me. The first look was for Dwyane to get a look at it."
• Hornets coach Steve Clifford: "Their defense was terrific. We made more threes (12 for 24). We were plus eight in the fourth quarter on a playoff game on the road. We did a good job at the end... Having Nic [Batum] back helps us with size on the perimeter."
Clifford, on Courtney Lee getting a huge offensive rebound in the final minute for the second game in a row: "Look, he's made the two biggest plays of the last two games and they've both been offensive rebounds."
Clifford, on a controversial late foul call against Miami: "I don't know if Cody [Zeller] got fouled, but it works for me."
Clifford, on Marvin Williams, who shot 1 for 17 in the first two games but had 17 points (7 for 10) and 8 boards tonight: "His defense and rebounding have been out of sight. We always play better when he's out on the floor. He helps his teammates play better at both ends of the floor."
A few Heat nuggets before tip-off:
• Tyler Johnson is active tonight for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in January. But Erik Spoelstra said he would play only in an emergency.
"He's been pretty active doing all of the contact, a little bit of shooting, and for the last month we have been closely monitoring his pain," Spoelstra said. "Basically, it's been over a week and he hasn't had any pain and he's been able to do virtually everything. He's tested it as much as he can possibly test it. We feel he is ready.
"I would still like to see him in another full-contact work, but I've been watching him."
Briante Weber and Chris Bosh will be the Heat's inactives tonight.
• Speaking of Bosh, his wife Adrienne's use of "#BringBackBosh" in a tweet yesterday gained national traction today, with ESPN talking-head shows debating the meaning and whether Bosh should be allowed to play.
As Ethan and I noted Sunday in this piece, there has been disagreement between the Heat and the Bosh camp about how his medical situation has been handled.
Bosh initially sought opinions from multiple doctors about whether it was safe to come off blood thinners and resume playing this season. He wanted to play again this season.
One person with direct knowledge insists Bosh found one doctor who appeared willing to give clearance for him to play. That person said the Heat (and other doctors) disagreed with that assessment, and so he did not resume playing.
The Heat has been exceedingly cautious with Bosh, and understandably so, valuing his health far more than his ability to return and play this season.
Bosh is still intending to play next season, barring a dramatic change of heart.
• Hornets coach Steve Clifford said Nic Batum will play tonight, after sitting out with an ankle injury the past two games, but likely will come off the bench. Batum requested that so as not to disrupt the Hornets' chemistry.
• Clifford noted the Heat has been the NBA's best team offensively since the All-Star break and "when you're better than Golden State, that's saying something."
• Clifford said the two teams have basically taken each other's identity in this series, because the Heat was determined to take away Charlotte's three-point game and the Hornets wanted to take away the Heat's ability to score in the paint.
"Their game is in the paint [and] we've been better in the paint" in this series, he said. "We're saying you don't have range shooters. Shoot. And they're making them."
• Clifford marveled at the job Spoelstra has done, about how Spoelstra changed how the Heat plays on the fly and "this is without two of the three Big Three."
When Ryan Tannehill drops back to throw in practice, Dolphins defensive players haven’t been the only ones chasing him this week.
His head coach, Adam Gase, sometimes joins the fray.
“It’s cool; when I’m throwing, he’s rushing me, making a move around in the pocket, just creating those habits,” Tannehill said Wednesday after the second full practice under Gase. “He’s a hands on coach. When guys see the head guy running around breaking a sweat and doing things to make us better, it creates even more of a level of respect.”
Over the past three months, Gase and Tannehill have cultivated a very good relationship, forged on the golf course and on the field and in meeting rooms and over meals, and Tannehill said he believes he can reach new heights under Gase, who extracted more from Tim Tebow and Jay Cutler than others could.
“I think so,” Tannehill said. “I believe in myself and my preparation….. He’s easy to communicate with and relate to. We’re off to a great start.”
So what appeals to Tannehill about Gase’s offense?
“Just the mindset of coach Gase and the way he wants to attack the field,” he said. “The multitude of things we can do whether it’s on the ball, in the huddle, moving guys around, creating matchups. He focuses a lot on that and that’s what this game is – it’s a game of matchups. I’m excited for that. To be able to get on the ball, working with him, get us in a good play and create those matchups where we have an advantage.”
Still, as he enters his fifth NFL season, he admits learning his third new offense is “tough. There’s a learning curve. It’s a real thing to have a learning curve. That’s why we’re here now. We want to speed it up. They are really challenging us with what they’re throwing at us and making us learn. Guys are retaining the information.”
Tannehill also tried to help speed up the process by throwing twice a week to his receivers and tight ends the past few weeks. "Got a lot of work in and I think it’s showing now,” he said.
As early impressions go, it has been positive from the perspectives of both the new coach and the quarterback.
“I didn’t realize how live his arm is,” Gase said. “The more I watch him throw, it’s effortless. That ball travels down the field pretty good. He’s hit some big plays, just underneath having some touch, it’s been good to see things live.”
And from Tannehill’s standpoint, “I’m impressed all around with him, the way he goes about things, the way he thinks of the game, the way he’s progressive in the offense, the way he challenges us. He’s really intuned with his players and the way we need to be challenged every day.”
• Tannehill, incidentally, said wife Lauren is due to deliver their first child in July, before the start of training camp. “I’ll be around, see the birth, have some time with the baby.”
THIS AND THAT
Keep hearing this week that the Dolphins like Houston 6-1 cornerback William Jackson and Ohio State's 6-1 Eli Apple. Both loom as a real possibility at No. 13. So, naturally, would Ezekiel Elliott or Myles Jack if either surprisingly falls. And a half dozen other names will be in the discussion.
A potential trade-up for Elliott has been widely reported, but whether Miami can afford to do that is highly debatable.
• Tannehill said he isn’t upset about Ndamukong Suh not showing up for voluntary practice this week.
“I’m sure he’s working to get better doing his own thing,” he said. “No hard feelings. He’s done things a certain way his whole career, a process he goes through both mentally and physically. Sometimes you have to go through your own process to feel fully prepared in your own way.”
Everyone other than Suh has been in attendance except Koa Misi (working off the field because he’s sick), Mike Pouncey (missed Wednesday with an illness), Mario Williams (attending to a pre-approved personal matter) and Reshad Jones (unhappy about his contract).
• Though the Dolphins are expected to select a running back at some point in the draft, Jay Ajayi said he’s not concerned and Gase keeps praising him.
“He looks out there right now and he knows he’s the starter,” Gase said. “He’s showing me a lot of great things. I like his skill set. He’s impressed me more both days, from the first day to the second day.”
• Daniel Thomas, back for a third tour with the Dolphins, was with the Bears in training camp last season, playing in Gase’s offense. That knowledge of Gase’s approach is helping him, Gase said.
“He knows the terminology; he knows what we expect and he’s playing fast,” Gase said. “He’s a step ahead of everybody [in meetings]. He knows how I like calling a preseason game and I feel like I know his strengths. When he gets his opportunities in the preseason, we’ll use that to his advantage.”
• Gase on DeVante Parker: “He seems to be a quick study. I know he was well coached in college. We did a lot of homework on him in Chicago. He’s pretty sharp, picking up what we’re doing really quickly. He’s very attentive in meetings.”
• Gase explained his penchant for “talking smack” in practice and and re-routing players during drills and being generally ubiquitous:
“I kind of got a little bored standing by the defense,” he said. “I went over and bugged the quarterbacks a little bit, just my way of jumping in there, for myself to get involved in their routes.”
And as for his penchant for being talkative with players in practice, “I think it started more in Denver, when I was the wideout coach there and I had a group there between Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Stokley. Those guys, they never stopped. They rubbed off on me. Once we got Aqib Talib and Chris Harris and those guys going, it was a non stop battle. But it was fun.
“It made practice feel like it was so short because everyone was talking but everyone was working hard.”
"The guy I learned under a lot was Coach [Mike] Martz. He talked about as much trash as I’ve ever seen as far as a coach does to defensive players. Being around him, that kind of fueled my fire to know a coach can talk a little junk."
Does being young help him relate to players?
"I don't know," he said. "I've never been old yet."
For a lot more Dolphins, Heat and UM news (including UM seeking a stadium contingency plan), please click here. And check back tonight for Heat reaction after Game 5.