Right about the time “Glee” was airing on Fox, Heat haters up and down the Eastern time zone were experiencing some unbridled glee of their own.
The Heat were riding a three-game losing streak, Dwyane Wade was “celebrating” his 30th birthday by wearing a suit and nursing a sprained ankle, and Miami was being manhandled at home by San Antonio, digging itself a 17-point first-half hole.
“Glee” ended on Fox at 9 p.m., right around the time the glee ended for the Heat haters. Yes, Lebron James’ issues in the fourth quarter have been well-documented. But he has no such problems with the third quarter.
James made every other player appear as if they were glued to the floor, rising over them, blowing past them, zipping passes through them. In a span of less than eight minutes, he scored 17 points and handed out three assists, accounting for all but three Miami points in a 28-3 explosion.
James made 7-of-8 shots, including three 3-pointers. Prior to Tuesday night, James had made three 3-pointers this season, all in Miami’s loss at Denver on Friday.
“He went wild,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who called two full timeouts and a 20-second job in a failed attempts to cool off James.
While James may not have changed the haters who harp on his fourth-quarter fold-ups, he may have changed Heat fans’ beliefs about how the team will manage without Wade, who has no timetable for his return.
On this site, Chris Perkins wrote that the Heat should consider sitting Wade for an extended period to get him entirely healthy. In addition to the sprained ankle, he also has foot and calf injuries. After Tuesday’s 120-98 demolition of the Spurs, a few folks seconded Perkins’ notion.
From Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald: Life without Dwyane continued for the Heat on Tuesday, and at first it looked pretty miserable. Then the Heat decided that ruining its homecoming with a loss to San Antonio was unacceptable, even without its injured star guard. The team decided that extending its three-game losing streak was intolerable. The Heat decided to get resourceful, get creative and get in sync. Not only did Miami jolt itself out of a funk, but it showed that life without Dwyane can be quite fulfilling. ”
And Mike Berardino of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel also chimed in: “After spending the first half hiding behind the figurative couch, the Heat jumped out with a scary-good third quarter and nearly sent the Spurs into cardiac arrest. At the very least, this 120-98 runaway should go a long way toward extending Wade’s rest period after a rough-and-tumble start to this shortened season. No timetable for Wade’s return? No problem. “Obviously, we want to be full strength and have our guys in our rotation,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier Tuesday. “I don’t think that’s realistic for many teams right now, so you look for the silver linings.”
Here’s one: The Heat are 4-0 without Wade this season. In those four games, Miami has five 30-point games – three from James and two from Chris Bosh. And that doesn’t include Mario Chalmers’ season-high 29 in the triple OT win over Atlanta.
This is not to suggest that Miami should immediately start shopping Wade. But the Heat clearly are doing more than OK when he is sporting a suit. And given Mike Miller’s sparkling season debut Tuesday – 6-of-6 from the arc – Miami might want to consider letting Wade get healthy, even with the Lakers (Thursday) and Sixers (Saturday) coming to town.
The Heat remain in second place in the Southeast Division, because Dwight Howard remains in Orlando for the time being. After a blah game in Monday’s win at New York, Howard had 25 points, 17 rebounds, four blocks and a season-high four assists in a 96-89 win over Charlotte, their fifth in a row.
The Magic have spent all of training camp and the first four weeks of the season with the specter of a
franchise-changing trade hanging over them – which site founder Chris Sheridan reported has become a bit more likely. And which, of course, Howard denied.
From the Orlando Sentinel: Magic General Manager Otis Smith said Howard’s camp has not informed him that the superstar center has expanded his list of preferred destinations beyond the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets. Smith also said the Magic also have not granted permission to Howard’s agent to speak with any teams in addition to the Mavericks, Lakers and Nets.
Second-biggest market, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as teammates, perpetual sunshine and a gateway to the entertainment industry. Nah, why would Dwight want that? Sheridan, who has been killing people on this story, explains it here.
Magic fans fear Howard will leave in the same fashion Shaquille O’Neal jilted Orlando in 1996, playing out his contract and fleeing as a free agent, with the team getting nothing in return.
The Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi implored Howard to be less like O’Neal and more like Tim Duncan: “If only Dwight wanted to be a Junior Tim instead of a Baby Shaq. If only Dwight had the personality and purpose of Duncan, there would not be this impending feeling of gloom and doom surrounding a Magic team that is playing well and leading its division. Orlando fans should be excited about the future now instead of dreading it. I know, I know, it’s not really fair to blame Dwight. It’s his life, his future, his dreams and his desires. If he wants to follow in Shaq’s footsteps, so be it. If he wants to be Superman like Shaq was and go to Hollywood and make bad movies like Shaq did then he has every right to make that decision. Dwight is simply like so many other superstars of today, blinded by the glare and the blare of the bright lights and big cities. They would rather be known than loved.”
By the way, in NBA.com’s GM poll released Tuesday, only two of 30 personnel men felt Howard was the best player to start a franchise. James and Kevin Durant tied with 11 1/2 votes, Derrick Rose had four and Wade one. The very next question asked which player forces the most adjustments by opposing coaches, and Howard topped that list with eight votes, two more than Durant and three more than James. My head hurts trying to decipher that logic.
The Heat weren’t the only team to win big Tuesday with a star on the sidelines. MVP Derrick Rose chose to sit out Chicago’s easy home victory over Phoenix and was not missed as Carlos Boozer scored 26 of his season-high 31 points in the first half and C.J. Watson – who started for Rose – added a season-high 23.
Great stat from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: Watson has averaged 24.3 points in the three games he has played for Rose over the last two seasons. In the game last week that both Rose and Watson missed, John Lucas III rung up 25.
Johnson also had a piece about Rose’s injury, which is now being described as turf toe: “On a pain scale of 1-10, Derrick Rose has said his big left toe is a “6 or 7.” Given that Rose always says he’s fine, it’s no surprise the league’s reigning most valuable player missed his second straight game Tuesday night and third overall with the injury. Rose also has a sinus infection and sources said he experienced an adverse reaction to pain medication over the weekend. “It was a collective decision,” coach Tom Thibodeau said before the Bulls beat the Suns 118-97. “We gathered the information, looked at where we are in the schedule and decided that it was in the best interest of everyone to have him sit.” Indeed, with the Bulls’ first two-day break since the season’s opening week coming Wednesday and Thursday, Friday’s game in Cleveland will mark five full days since Rose played. There’s no guarantee he will play Friday either now that the team has switched positions and reclassified the sprain as turf toe.”
After visiting Cleveland, Chicago hosts Charlotte on Saturday and equally awful New Jersey on Monday before entertaining Indiana on Wednesday in a somewhat important game. If I were the Bulls, I would roll the dice with Watson into early next week and get Rose healthy for the Pacers.
Also, I don’t want to alarm anybody, but Jack Lambert, who played linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ dynasty of the 1970s and was tougher than a railroad tie, had to retire due to aggravated turf toe. Yes, there have been medical advancements since then.
- The Clippers have had the softest schedule in the NBA thus far and looked it as they mailed in a 108-79 loss at Utah. Chris Paul sat out and probably will do the same Wednesday vs. Dallas, when the Clips complete their first back-to-back-to-back. Since losing their first two games by 42 points, the Jazz are 9-2 with losses at San Antonio and at home to the Lakers in OT. They host Dallas on Thursday.
- Nobody on the Rockets scored more than 14 points, and they still beat the Pistons by 17. Detroit coach Lawrence Frank benched 24-year-old Jonas Jerebko in favor of 37-year-old Ben Wallace, who responded with 19 scoreless minutes. Shrewd.
- The Nuggets handed the Bucks their first home loss as Corey Brewer – collecting the minutes usually given to injured guard Rudy Fernandez – scored a season-high 22 points. Denver gets a chance to do the same to Philadelphia’s home record on Wednesday, an intriguing matchup of teams using depth and teamwork to overcome their absence of a superstar.
- The Warriors won at Cleveland and have won consecutive road games for the first time since Nov. 2010. They won despite Monta Ellis taking 12 shots and making just two. Actually, Ellis really took 13 shots – if you count the stray elbow to the nose he took from Anderson Varejao. Cavs rookie Kyrie Irving had six turnovers and leads the NBA with 5.9 per 48 minutes.