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Sunday AM: UM closes in on DB; Heat, UM postscripts & reaction after Saturday games; Wade on adding Joe Johnson; Tallon on Panthers' three trades today; Why are the Marlins so optimistic about an offense that finished 29th in runs? Some reasons

Quick Sunday morning update: Former University of Texas defensive back Adrian Colbert, who visited with UM coaches and players on campus this weekend, announced this morning on Twitter: "So blessed for the opportunity to continue my career at THE U. We got work to do, and it will come. "

Colbert appeared in 38 games at Texas and would be eligible to play in 2016 because he's graduating from Texas in May.

Colbert made only four starts at Texas and lost his starting job to freshman Jason Hall in 2014. He appeared in 12 games as a reserve last season but wasn't credited with a single tackle. He has one career interception.

But even though Colbert wasn't an impact player for the Longhorns, UM is desperate for depth at both safety and cornerback. He would have a chance to crack Miami's top four at safety, alongside Jamal Carter, Rayshawn Jenkins and Jaquan Johnson. Robert Knowles and three freshmen summer arrivals (Cedrick Wright, Jeff James and Romeo Finley) also will be competing for playing time.

Colbert, who has one year of eligibility remaining, was rated a four-star prospect and the fifth-best safety in the 2012 class by 247sports. Rivals thought slightly less of him as a Texas prep prospect, rating him a three-star prospect and the No. 24 safety.

 

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HEAT POSTSCRIPTS

This 101-89 loss in Boston was damaging because it not only leaves the Heat two games behind the Celtics for the No. 3 seed, but clinches the season series for the Celtics. The team that finishes third would avoid Cleveland in the second round, presuming the Cavs hold off hard-charging Toronto for the top seed.

This was also discouraging: The Heat, very good late in close games for most of the season, was outplayed down the stretch for the second game in a row. The Golden State loss on Wednesday can easily be excused. This one, though, was more difficult to stomach, with Boston closing the game on a 19-7 run.

Among the late-game missteps: A Goran Dragic turnover and an Hassan Whiteside foul on a Marcus Smart three-point attempt.

### The Heat closed with 20 turnovers, including four each by Dragic and Dwyane Wade.

Whiteside, again, was a force, with 13 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks in 33 minutes off the bench. Wade had high praise for Hassan afterward:

"Hopefully one day I can look back at a Hall of Fame career and say I was there for the beginning of it," Wade said. "He has an immense amount of talent. Since the break, he's been playing a dominant big man game and we love it."

Whiteside has five games with at least eight blocks this season. The rest of the NBA has one combined (by Anthony Davis).

Dragic had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, finishing 9 for 15 from the field. Wade (19 points) shot just 7 for 19.

### Luol Deng had just one double-figure rebound game in 44 starts at small forward before the All-Star break. He has five double-figure rebound games in five games starting at power forward since the All-Star break. He had 11 points, 12 boards today.

### Erik Spoelstra's reaction on Fox Sports Sun afterward: "The turnovers were costly. More than that, the 50/50 balls, they were winning those battles. There were a lot of things we did well defensively, holding them to a low percentage."

### Wade's thoughts, courtesy of Fox Sports Sun: "We didn't make the adjustments we needed to do away from the ball. It came down to turnovers, long rebounds. We couldn't overcome that. We didn't move as much as we should have."

### Wade, on Heat addition Joe Johnson, who cleared waivers in the past hour and whose addition was confirmed on Twitter by owner Micky Arison: "To put somebody on the floor that can shoot the ball, can score in different areas of the floor and make plays, just adds to what we're trying to do. Joe is a friend of mine. I tried to do my best to paint the picture that this is a good place to be, and the decision from there is his. Make sure he sees my name in his in-box a lot. He made the decision what's best for them... Open arms in Miami for him....  Losing Chris [Bosh] right now... in games like this you really get to see you're missing your All-Star."

### The Heat shot just 41 percent and 1 for 13 on threes. Gerald Green, very likely to be replaced by Johnson in the rotation, shot 0 for 6, continuing a deep slump.  He's 0 for 11 and scoreless over his last 62 minutes over three games.

UM HOME FINALE

What an appropriate way for UM to finish its home schedule, with a stirring 75-67 comeback win against Louisville, fueled by a late 12-0 run.

Angel Rodriguez (17 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 turnover) was terrific in his final home game, especially down the stretch. Davon Reed, often underappreciated, also had 17.

UM ended up sweeping its home ACC schedule (including impressive home wins vs. Duke, Virginia and Louisville). Remarkably, UM's only home loss was to a Northeastern team that entered today 16-14 and seventh in the Colonial Athletic Conference.

"They're a really good basketball team," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said afterward. "They've had a great seed. If North Carolina loses tonight, they'll be tied for first place. They really don't have a major weakness, because they shoot it, they rebound, they play good defense, they have a strong desire to win. I'm very impressed with their basketball team. Backcourt experience, defense, unselfish, and they have the point guard at the end of the game to run things and get to the foul line." 

 Pitino reportedly had a verbal confrontation with a fan during the game. Pitino's version of what happened: "I just said, "Do you have any other vernacular here at Miami other than, 'Shut up and sit down?'" I mean, come up with some jokes or something."

### UM moved to 23-5 and 12-4 and figures to move up from No. 12 in the rankings. A top two or three NCAA Tournament seed remains very much within reach.... One negative today: Guard Ja'Quan Newton was suspended for the final three games of the regular season after violating undisclosed team rules.

PANTHERS TRADES

Great job by Panthers GM Dale Tallon supplementing a very good roster two days before the trade deadline. A quick look at Florida's acquisitions:

### Center Jiri Hudler (plucked from Calgary for a second-round in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2018). The 32-year-old has 10 goals and 25 assists in 53 games for Calgary... Had 31 goals, 45 assists last season... He's playoff tested, with 41 points in 77 postseason games... Won a Stanley Cup for Detroit in 2008... Won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2015, given to the player who most exhibits gentlemanly conduct.... He's earning $4 million in the last year of his contract; will be an unrestricted free agent this season.

Panthers Fox Sports Florida TV analyst Denis Potvin, on Hudler: "Relentless offensive player. Plays responsibly defensively."

### Defenseman Jakub Kindl (acquired from Detroit for 2017 sixth-round pick). The 29-year-old is a plus three in 25 games for Detroit, with two goals and four assists... A first-round in 2005, Kindl has played all 273 career games for the Red Wings... Gives the Panthers defensive depth, which was needed because of several recent injuries.... Has one more season on his contract after this one, at north of $3 million.

Potvin's view on Kindl: "At 29, very good pickup. Can play on the power play. Good first-pass defenseman."

### Winger Teddy Purcell (acquired from Edmonton for 2017 third-round pick). The 30-year-old forward is putting together a strong season, with 11 goals and 21 assists. His career high in goals: 24 for Tampa in 2001-12.... He's earning $4.5 million this season in the last year of his contract; will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

[UPDATE]: Here's what Tallon said on a conference call tonight:

"These are really good players," Tallon said. "Ownership gave me carte blanche to get this done. It shows their commitment. [He said at one time he wouldn't have had that flexibility]. I can't thank [owner] Vinnie [Viola] enough.

"I wanted to make our team better and more experienced. We needed a presence on the power play. This gives us three wonderful scoring lines [with Purcell and Hudler added to the mix]. We need a good puck moving defenseman [Tallon considers Kindl to be that].

"Purcell is a smart player; he makes others around him better. Good on the power player. Averaged about a point per game in the playoffs [17 points in 18 games for Tampa in 2010-11]. These guys complete our team a little more."

He said Washington is the "cream of the crop" in the East and the Panthers needed to augment their roster. "I'm pretty satisfied with the depth of our team [after the trades]," Tallon said. "We needed playmaking and depth on the wings. We're ahead of schedule."

Tallon said Purcell and Hudler have visa issues to sort through in order to be able to play Thursday in Colorado. All three newcomers are expected to play Tuesday in Winnipeg.

The NHL trade deadline is Monday. "Who says we're done?" Tallon said. "We'll see what happens the next day and a half." 

MARLINS TALK  

JUPITER --- Michael Hill, the Marlins’ president/baseball operations, said he would “put our position player talent against anybody in the National League.”

That’s not the type of comment you would expect to hear from an executive with a franchise that finished 29th in runs scored last season (ahead of only Atlanta) and added only one bat (journeyman backup Chris Johnson).

So why the optimism?

“We're going to have our right fielder for more than 74 games,” Hill said of Giancarlo Stanton. “We would have scored a lot more runs had we had a healthy Giancarlo for the majority of the season. Christian Yelich was hurt early in the season [and limited to 126 games]. That changes the complexion of your lineup almost automatically.”

Hill also expects growth from catcher J.T. Realmuto and first baseman Justin Bour and far more from center fielder Marcell Ozuna. But on the flip side, can the Marlins expect another .333 season from second baseman Dee Gordon, who hit 40 points above his career average?

Among the reasons the Marlins believe they will be better offensively:

### More from an outfield that some, a year ago, called among the best in baseball.

With Stanton, the issue is health; he missed 190 games over the past four seasons, including 88 last year with a hand injury.

When he sustained the injury in late June, he had 27 homers and 67 RBI in 74 games. Over 162, that would have projected to 59 and 147.

With Yelich, the key is avoiding another slow start; he was hitting .178 on May 22 last season.

He hit .342 after the All-Star break (sixth-best in baseball among qualifiers), helping him close at .300 after batting .288 and .284 his first two seasons.

“I think [.300] meant more because of where I started that year at,” he said.

Yelich, in his career, has hit decently in April (.265), poorly in May (.223) and well the next four months (.285, .298, .312, .320).

“You could just tell there was something off [early last season],” he said. “I wasn’t swinging at good pitches.”

Manager Don Mattingly said Yelich “profiles as a No. 3 guy [in the lineup]. Juan Pierre said, ‘This kid’s legit.’ I love his swing."

The biggest variable is Ozuna, who’s in excellent shape. The Marlins thought his poor conditioning affected his 2015 performance, which led to a 5 ½ week demotion to Triple A.

“I worked all offseason, ran a lot,” he said. “I did this [losing 20 pounds] for myself. I’ll have the same power.”

Ozuna hit .278 with six homers and 18 RBI in 162 at-bats after returning from his 5 ½ weeks in the minors, compared with .249, 4, 26 in 297 at-bats before. That was an encouraging sign that he might revert to 2014 numbers (.269, 23 homers, 85 RBI).

"We think he's a lot more in the tank," Mattingly said today. "I think we'll get that."

### The Marlins believe Bour’s breakout season (23 homers, 73 RBI in 129 games) wasn’t a fluke and consider Johnson (a career .314 hitter against lefties) the ideal “right-handed complement,” Hill said.

Bour hit just .221 with no homers in 68 at-bats and Mattingly likely will insert Johnson against some tough lefties, but Mattingly said it won’t be a platoon.

### Realmuto led all big-league catchers in triples (seven), hit .333 in September and Hill says “the sky is the limit for JT” offensively. “We know he can handle the bat to all fields, runs well.”

### The Marlins expect similar offensive production, if not more, from third baseman Martin Prado (.288, 9 home runs, 63 RBI) and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (.281, 5, 48).

### Marlins Park is now more hitter-friendly, with the walls having been moved in 11 feet in center-to-right center and lowered by three feet.

But “it's not going to go from being a huge pitcher's park to a bandbox,” Yelich said. “It’s still going to be a pitcher's park.”

### The Marlins believe new hitting coach Barry Bonds will make a tangible difference. So, apparently, do Alex Rodriguez and Dexter Fowler, who have been pupils of Bonds in his role as a personal hitting coach.

“Barry will be good for the hitters; he has a brilliant baseball mind," Rodriguez told The New York Post.

Fowler, who boosted his batting average by 13 points after his first offseason with Bonds, told The Post that Bonds is “the best in the business. The Marlins made a great hire.”

Justin Bour said Bonds initially has been observing and “like all good hitting coaches, he’s not going to change things right away.”

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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