Story Share

(Photo Credit: YouTube)

Welcome to my first ever “Story Share,” a post that provides you with links to the latest on the Miami Heat.

Mario Chalmers “questionable” for game two against Charlotte Bobcats.

Al Jefferson will suit up for game two, says “it’ll take more than that to make me sit down.”

LeBron James calls James Jones a “freak,” expects him to play crucial role in playoffs.

Debates begin over what team in the East will be the Heat’s biggest threat.

James trying to catch up to Michael Jordan‘s playoff scoring record.

Mickey Arison says there is “an 100% chance” the Big Three will remain in Miami.

James is one of the top searched athletes in the country.

And just for laughs…

The Heat play just as hard off the court, as they do on the court.

Monday Mailbag: “Playoff Edition”

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.

Three on Two: Heat/Bobcats Series Preview

Three became one this past Friday, when the Miami Heat’s Big Three finally practiced together. LeBron James, having sat out during the final week of the season because of a sore back and ankle, joined Chris Bosh who also took a week off to recuperate, and Dwyane Wade to prepare for their upcoming post-season matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats. Although Wade was in the lineup when James and Bosh were not, he had previously missed the last nine games because of a strained hamstring.

The Big Three are not alone in their less-than-optimal states, as Udonis Haslem did not play a single game in February, Michael Beasley tweaked his ankle during the season’s closer and Greg Oden is still listed as day-to-day. This season, the Heat have used 21 different starting lineups, and have lost six out of their last eight games.

The good news is that the Heat have won 16 consecutive games against the Bobcats, 15 of which took place during the Big Three’s reign. In fact, during their last tête-à-tête, Lebron set both a personal and Heat franchise record of 61 points in a single game, bringing the final score to 124-107.

One year ago, the Big Three would be looking far past round one, their eyes on the prize, and this series would have been a clean 4-0 sweep over the Bobcats.

However, with the amount of recent injuries plaguing the Heat, leading to too many changes in the lineup and not enough team consistency, the Bobcats may have more to rejoice about than finally getting some prime-time television attention.

Charlotte may not have a self-proclaimed Big Three, but Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker have certainly proved themselves to be an unexpected, yet successful power duo. Jefferson, the 10-year NBA veteran and highest paid free agent in franchise history, relies on old-school, fake-out tactics while Walker, only three years deep into the league, dazzles on quick drives to the basket. At first glance, these two may not have much in common, but one thing is for sure: they will be keeping the Heat on their defensive toes.

The Bobcats went 20-9 after the All-Star break and have doubled their number of wins since last season. Charlotte was swept by the Orlando Magic the last time they made the playoffs, in 2010. In many ways, they have more to prove.

So will this be a straight, no brainer, four-game series for Miami? Maybe. Though I see it looking more like a grinding five-game defeat for the Heat. With the Big Three slightly out of sorts and Charlotte ready to prove themselves worthy of playing among the champions, I have to give at least one win to the underdogs.

Will this be the start of a three-peat for the Heat? I cannot wait to find out.