For those of you unfamiliar with a “mailbag feature,” the basic idea is for a writer (in this case, me) to dig through their mail (or perhaps more commonly now, their emails) and extract a few questions to answer. Because I am new to the blogosphere and therefore have yet to receive any inquires, I have provided my own questions. So without further ado, let us jump into it.
Will a slow start become a habit for the Miami Heat?
It is no secret that the Heat had a rough start to game 1 against the Charlotte Bobcats. There was no rhythm, their pace was rushed, and their shots were forced. In fact, the team was almost unrecognizable. Obviously in the end they prevailed, but starting off in such a way is a gamble…no one wants to have to play catch up. With that, it is unlikely that the Heat will have this issue from here on out, and I this for three reasons. First, it was game 1 of the playoffs. Regardless of how talented a team you are, nerves are bound to run rampant. Plus it takes a minute to see what your opposition is made of. The Heat have also been subjected to 21 different starting lineups throughout the season. This would throw off any squad. Now that everyone is healthy, Miami can hopefully get back on track. And lastly, the Big Three have not practiced with one another (prior to Friday’s workout) in over a week. They are the glue that holds the team together, so when they are off, the whole team is too.
Should the Heat’s focus shift away from Al Jefferson now that he is injured?
In short, absolutely not. Al Jefferson was not at his best Sunday afternoon after being diagnosed with a strained plantar fascia, but that did not stop him from scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. The big guy will admittedly be in pain, but has already begun treatment so the Heat should in no way overlook his ability or commitment to the series.
What will a comfortable rotation for the Heat eventually feel like?
The ideal situation would be for the Big Three to once again get comfortable with one another. Although individually they had good games, together they seemed out of sync. Udonis Haslem also needs to once again find his groove after sitting out for the entire month of February. After this, it will be key to find a few bench players who are consistently solid; there will be no room for streaky play. I believe Norris Cole will be crucial during this playoff run, and James Jones also showed a flash of brilliance yesterday, which he can hopefully keep up. The ultimate goal is to find a few rotations that always work, instead of Erik Spoelstra having to tweak things game after game because of inconsistent play.