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Thursday , May , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: LeBron and D-Wade embarrass Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Game two of the Eastern Conference semi-finals wasn’t good for the Boston Celtics.

First, they lost to the Miami Heat. And second, they got crossed-over, rejected, and embarrassed on several highlight reel plays by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Don’t believe me? Want proof? Check out the video clips below and get at us with your thoughts.

(Wade breaks Ray Allen’s ankles.)
  

(Wade tangles-up Garnett in the open-court.)

(James blocks Garnett’s shots.)

-Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get thoughts in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , May , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mark Cuban Weighs in on Miami’s “Three Kings”

Our big brothers at CraveOnline caught up with the always interesting Mark Cuban at SXSW recently, and naturally it didn't take long before the conversation turned to hoops. Among other topics covering the NBA and more, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks dropped his thoughts on Miami Heat's acquisition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh over the summer.

 

Mark Cuban weighs in on the Miami Heat “Three Kings” fiasco:

Mark Cuban: I’m a believer in karma. You’ve just opened yourself to a big old whack across the head like they did, you typically get it. It was a unique opportunity. There was a lot of excitement. They were smart to try to extend the excitement throughout the community, but I just think they went a little overboard. They tried to make it like a rock concert. They tried to make it like the biggest event, the Super Bowl of player signings. It becomes very anticlimactic. That’s the challenge. You don’t want to shoot your wad before you even get in business. That’s basically what they might have done. So you’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to understand, particularly in sports, at the start of the season, everybody’s undefeated, everybody’s excited about their team and you want to try to have a crescendo that builds through the season to hopefully something good at the end. It actually worked to the benefit of the league because instead of the Beatles, they were The Knack. They were the knockoff that so far hasn’t quite worked. Maybe it will but they became the villain. They were like the Oakland Raiders so that’s actually helped the league because people go watch them to boo ‘em. You always want a villain.

 

Head over to CraveOnline to read the rest of the interview.

Miami Heat making NBA playoffs look too easy. Who can stop them?
Wednesday , May , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Miami Heat making NBA playoffs look too easy. Who can stop them?

Everything is set up perfectly for the Heatles to win it all. They made quick work of the Philadelphia Sixers. The Boston Celtics are falling down all over the place trying to guard LeBron and Wade. Their opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals will probably be quick work, too. This is what LeBron, Wade, and Bosh wanted. This is reality. They are making the 2011 playoffs look like an exhibition. It’s like that?  

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Sunday , May , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Doc Rivers on Chris Bosh: He’s a ‘Key Guy’ for Heat

“LeBron and Wade are going to be LeBron and Wade,” Doc Rivers said. “They were great before the series, they’ll be great during it and they’ll be great after it and this summer when you’re talking about it you’ll say LeBron and Wade are great players. That’s not going to chance. But when Bosh plays great, then their team plays great. He’s a key guy for them.”

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Chris Bosh has taken ‘heat’ for his play this year.

As LeBron James and Dwyane Wade meshed together seamlessly for Miami, Bosh often struggled to find his way on both ends of the court.
 
At times, the Three Kings looked more like Two Kings and a Baron. Or, in an ode to Charlie Sheen, Two and a half Kings.
 
Make no mistake about it, as Bosh goes so goes the Heat. A focused, active CB4 gives the Heat a third option. He establishes an inside-outside game and punishes defenses for cheating on James and Wade.
 
While an unfocused Bosh makes the Heat a predictable, two-horse squad. And it’s too much to expect James and Wade to carry the offense come playoff time.
 
Not surprisingly, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has identified Bosh as the key. The green-and-white know they can’t stop James and Wade from ‘getting-theirs’, but the lanky left-hander is a different story.
 
The stakes are high. If Bosh plays well, the Heat likely win. If Bosh plays poorly, the Celtics likely win.
 
It’s not just about this year, though. If Bosh performs and the Heat advance, the Three Kings experiment will continue. If he does not perform and the Heat loses, he may be traded for cap space/depth.
 
The upcoming Heat-Celtics series could well define Bosh. Is he a superstar or a very good player? At least, we’ll get an answer.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Friday , Apr , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron and Heat want Celtics for lunch

Taking a metaphor right through the final bell of the first round,LeBron James was asked how his breakfast -- with NBA playoff rounds serving as meals -- went. "It was good!" said James, smiling. "Now we're preparing for lunch."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is LeBron James hungry? Did he miss a meal?

I bring this up because the Miami Heat superstar referred to his team’s first round opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, as ‘breakfast’.
 
James dropped this little metaphor at the end of the Heat-76ers series. The implication being that the heavily favored Heat was going to ‘finish their breakfast’.
 
Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of the King’s little literary devices.
 
James’ Heat is facing the Boston Celtics in round two. Facing the mighty green-and-white hasn’t stopped James from continuing to torture us with the meal metaphors. James called the Celtics ‘lunch’. This won’t get over well with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, or Rajon Rondo.
 
After all, the Celtics are reigning Eastern Conference champions. Not some also-ran. Or lower seed that stumbled into the second round. Perhaps they are deserving of greater respect. Perhaps not.
 
Providing the mediocre 76ers with bulletin board material is one thing. Providing the talented Celtics with bulletin board material is entirely different.
 
They’ll make James pay. And in a couple of weeks he could be the one getting feasted on.
 
--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Thursday , Apr , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

The good part of LeBron James’ Decision

Boys & Girls Clubs in Cleveland, Akron and Elyria report receiving a total of more than $480,000, part of about $2 million that James has distributed nationwide since the July broadcast, billed as "The Decision." In Cleveland, clubs in the Mount Pleasant and Slavic Village neighborhoods have received $130,000.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We knocked it –and with good reason.

Nine months ago, LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and signing with the Miami Heat as an unrestricted free agent.
 
If James wanted the sun of Miami instead of the snow of Cleveland, so be it. He had rights as a free agent. Who are we to judge?
 
However, the actual decision wasn’t the problem. The Decision, as in announcing where he would sign on national television, was. This made for ESPN spectacle ruined James’ image.
 
Nothing good came from it –until now. James donated all the advertising dollars to the Boys and Girls Club of America, which ended up being close to a half million dollars.
 
So The Decision wasn’t all about stroking James’ ego. Somebody else benefitted from his hour on television.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 
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Wednesday , Apr , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh ‘comfortable’ playing center for Miami

He's changed his tune thus far in the postseason. Because of Philadelphia's speed at the position, Bosh has played extended minutes at center. His role is expected to remain the same throughout the series. "It just took some time to get comfortable to it," Bosh said." At first, I was kind of frightened. I didn't really want to play the five. I know I've said that a bunch of times."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s a saying. Winning changes everything, especially if there’s a chance to win a championship.

Case in point: Chris Bosh.

At the start of the season, Bosh wasn’t into playing center for the Miami Heat. After all, he labored at the position for the Toronto Raptors, even though he fancied himself a power forward with skills and a face-up game.

When he signed with the Heat as part of The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010, he was under the impression his days at the five were over.

Permanently.

Now Bosh is open to playing center. A playoff run and the possibility of hoisting a championship will do this.

The Heat is at their best with Bosh at center. This allows them to spread the floor with two shooters, and lets LeBron James and Dwyane Wade isolate against their man or run a pick-and-roll.

Only time will tell if Bosh playing out of position will pay off with a championship, though.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Tuesday , Apr , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Heat flex defensive muscle in game-two win over 76ers

James scored 29 points, Bosh had his second straight double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Miami took a 2-0 series lead with a 94-73 victory over the abysmally shooting 76ers -- who managed their second-lowest playoff scoring total in the last 56 years -- on Monday night.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: All season, we’ve focused on what they aren’t. Perhaps we should focus on what they are: a defensive juggernaut –especially, on the perimeter.

On Monday night, the Miami Heat easily defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in game two of their first round series. They did this by playing airtight, stingy defense.

Consider the numbers:

•    The 76ers made one half-court basket in the opening quarter, and shot just 26% from the floor in the first half.

•    Only one starter reached double-figures, Jrue Holiday had 12 points.

•    Doug Collins’ squad ended up with a paltry 74 points.

The Heat’s ability to get-stops shouldn't surprise. Even when they were struggling with a 9-8 mark early on, the Heat had the makings of a fabulous defensive squad.

There are two keys to their success. First, the Heat is athletic on the perimeter. See LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Both can lock-up their checks, while playing the passing lanes.Second, Coach Erik Spoelstra rewards his players with offensive freedom -if they follow his scheme in their own end.

And this formula will be the key to the Heat advancing deep into the playoffs.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , Apr , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Thaddeus Young’s bizarre shoe malfunction against Heat

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Never say Thaddeus Young doesn’t have a zest for defense.

In a league were some players treat their own end like a contagious disease, the Philadelphia 76ers forward did an admirable job ‘D-ing’ up with one shoe.

While leading an incredible comeback in game one of the 76ers' playoff series against the Miami Heat, Young’s shoe came off on a fast break.

He carried his shoe the length of the floor and tossed it to the 76ers' bench, thinking he’d put it on during the next stoppage in play.

All that mattered was defence. And Young, with one shoe, even rotated over to help on Chris Bosh.

However, like Charlie Sheen in Major League, his throw missed the target and fell into the lap of a puzzled Heat fan, who, surprisingly, returned it.

Young quietly slipped his shoe on during the first break in play –much to the chagrin of ABC broadcaster and former coach Jeff Van Gundy, who complained that the fan should've helped his hometown Heat by not giving back the shoe.

Watch Young’s unusual shoe saga and get at HoopsVibe News with thought in the comment box below. 


--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

No excuses: Paul Pierce tells Celtics to forget Kendrick Perkins

"It was even worse last year when we went through our struggle," Pierce said. "Definitely Kendrick had his impact, but you’ve got to remember he missed a big portion of the season and, during that portion, we were able to beat a lot of the good teams also.

"I think that’s just an excuse at this point. I think that it’s time for us to move on from that. It hurts when you lose a teammate … but at the end of the day, the guys that are in this locker room are the guys you’ve got to go to war with." Pierce said a healthy Shaquille O’Neal is capable of filling the void on both ends.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Leave it to The Truth to speak The Truth -at least, as he sees it.

Paul Pierce, the captain and star swing of the Boston Celtics, feels his club is using the Kendrick Perkins trade as an excuse not to play their best. And he’s right.

Sure, Perkins, not Kevin Garnett, was their defensive anchor. And sure, Perkins was great on the defensive and offensive glass, getting points through tips and effort.

However, Perk’s contract was up at season’s end and his knees are wonky, so GM Danny Ainge swapped him for Jeff Green to better match up against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Now Pierce may be frustrated. With Perkins, he won a championship and advanced to two NBA Finals. Yet the Celtics still changed a winning formula at mid-season.

What’s done is done, though. Pierce is keeping his thoughts private and challenging teammates to play better, especially if Shaquille O’Neal gets healthy.

Perhaps O’Neal comes to the rescue. If fit and healthy –these are big ifs- the legendary five could theoretically turn back the clock and hold his own over a seven-game series.

This may be wishful thinking, as O’Neal has missed three months. His conditioning will be suspect, and he’ll struggle to defend pick-and-rolls.

Just don’t tell Pierce. He’s having none of it. No excuses.

--Oly Sandor

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

The 2011 Hoopties
Friday , Apr , 15 , 2011 J.N.

The 2011 Hoopties

It’s that time again for the regular season end awards just like any other television sports show. It is time to pass out the awards. Rather than giving awards for the usual categories such as Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year….you get the picture…..let’s focus on categories that truly need to be highlighted – categories that I make up! Who cares about those other official awards anyway? They’re already locked up.
 

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Heat still thinking of trading Chris Bosh?

Do you think Miami trades bosh next year too improve overall? Ric Bucher: I've heard it's already been discussed.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Could ‘The Three Kings’ lose a member this summer?

According to ESPN’s Rich Bucher, the Miami Heat has already held discussions about trading Chris Bosh.

Of course, Bosh signed in South Beach last July as a free agent for two reasons: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. And the trio expected to waltz its way to multiple championships.

While the early returns weren’t awful, ‘The Three Kings’ first regular season together produced mostly mixed results. At times, they were brilliant. At times, they were mediocre.

The key is that it was the regular season. All will be forgotten -if the Heat captures the NBA championship, and then there'd be no major changes.

So Bosh will stay put provided the Heat win and his salary remains manageable under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The pressure is on. What did Bosh, James, and Wade expect when they joined forces?

Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 

 

Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011

The season is almost over. It is time to look back and reflect on the positives and negatives. The hype before tip-off was through the roof. There was a lot of anticipation on new rivalries and storylines to be played out. Will the South Beach trio work out? How will Blake Griffin play? Is Steve Nash’s window closed? Are the Lakers still the team to beat? Kevin Durant got the MVP? The Chicago Bulls are 4th seeders, right?

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Thursday , Mar , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron thinks Rose is MVP

“I think Derrick Rose,” James said. “What he’s done for that team, with all the injuries they have and them being first in the Eastern Conference. They’re playing some really good basketball.” James said he was leaning toward Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki until he was injured.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: One candidate conceded defeat. Well, sort of.

The majority of hoop-heads have Miami Heat superstar LeBron James on their list of contenders for Most Valuable Player. He was hardly the front-runner, though.

Today, James threw his support behind the acknowledged front-runner Derrick Rose, who suits up for the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls.

This is interesting for two reasons. First, there were whispers James and Rose didn’t click, which supposedly influenced The King to pass on Chicago and take his 'talents to South Beach’ last summer.

There is, at a minimum, a professional respect. Many will wonder what could have been if James had signed in The Windy City.

Second, the Heat and Bulls are rivals. Both are young; both have a trio of stars; both will battle for the Eastern Conference crown and NBA championships for years to come.

Yet, James still picked Rose for MVP. There was no agenda.  There were no Phil Jackson mind games being played; just a tip of his cap -Yankee blue, of course- to Rose’s fine play.

Hopefully, this seals the award for Rose, who has been recognized by fans, media, and now his peers.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

LeBron’s Career Is A “Teachable Moment” For Today’s Youth
Thursday , Mar , 31 , 2011 Paul Eide

LeBron’s Career Is A “Teachable Moment” For Today’s Youth

 

 
When I was growing up watching the NBA it was a completely different game, played by players with a completely different set of values. The era of 80’s and 90’s NBA was defined by hard work and guys who worked to get the most out of their skills. And by and large, society mirrored that image. Political correctness hadn’t even been manufactured yet and the era as a whole operated essentially on a “Put up or shut up” level. And until you “put up”, no one cared what you said because you weren’t sitting at the “Big Boy Table” to begin with.
 
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Thursday , Mar , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: John Wall and Zydrunas Ilgauskas ejected for silly scuffle

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Boys will be boys, I guess.

Tonight’s Miami Heat-Washington Wizards game was full of piss-and-vinegar due to a second quarter skirmish between first overall pick John Wall and veteran Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Wall, who was clearly in the wrong, got ejected. Big ‘Z’ was also sent to the showers for his role in things.

This, however, wasn’t the interesting part.

JaVale McGee and Juwan Howard both rushed to defend teammates Wall and Ilgauskas. They engaged in a shoving match before being separated. Amazingly, the referees ejected Howard, but McGee escaped with only a technical foul.

How does this work? Did McGee’s mother give the zebras pecks on the cheek before the game like the recent Slam Dunk Contest?

Anyway, the rest of the game was competitive, full of testosterone, and highly entertaining. If you’re wondering, the Heat won 123-107 –much to the chagrin of a sold out Verizon Centre.

Watch the clip of Wednesday’s donnybrook and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.


--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dan Gilbert on beating LeBron and Heat: ‘Not in our garage’

Dan Gilbert after his Cavaliers beat the Heat: 'Not in our garage!!'

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Dan Gilbert would have to say something.

The owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers just couldn’t stay silent after last night’s 102-90 win over LeBron James, his former franchise face, and the Miami Heat.

Not after last summer’s shenanigans. Not after LeBron James announced he was taking his talent to South Beach with ‘The Decision’.

Of course, Gilbert did respond last July. His on-line letter to Cavalier fans attacking James is the thing of legends (and not in a good way).

This season, he’s been quiet –and with good reason. His Cavaliers have struggled mightily, flirting with the record for consecutive losses, while James’ Heat, despite some ups-and-downs, are at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Last night was Gilbert’s moment. It was Cleveland’s moment, too. His tweet, while subtle and restrained, hit the mark.

Hopefully, Gilbert and Cleveland got closure on James. Hopefully, they forget the past and focus on rebuilding. Something tells me otherwise, though.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: LeBron skips pre-game introductions in Cleveland

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: First, his entourage was denied access to a stadium they once ran. Then he skipped the pre-game warm-up and introductions to avoid the boo-birds. And finally, his new squad got routed by his old squad.

Despite posting a triple-double in a 102-90 loss, LeBron James’ second trip back to Cleveland has to be considered a bust. Cavalier-nation got revenge on their former hero for leaving them in the lurch with ‘The Decision’.

However, the real story was James going MIA during warm-up and introductions. Click the video below and watch the awkwardness at Quicken Loans Arena. 


--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Mar , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stan Van Gundy: ‘We don’t give a damn’ about New York, Miami, and ESPN

"With Miami at the beginning of the year and New York since the trade, it's like, because so many people are interested in what happens with LeBron (James), (Dwyane) Wade and (Chris) Bosh and now with Carmelo (Anthony), Amar'e (Stoudemire) and Chauncey (Billups) you guys think our overwhelming (concern) is 'what's happening with Miami and New York?' Quite honestly, we don't give a damn," Van Gundy said. "We don't. I don't care. We're just getting ready to play them.

Van Gundy clearly had an issue with the media's obsession with the Heat and Knicks. "It's not all Miami and New York," Van Gundy said. "I know to ESPN it is, but to the rest of us, we actually think some of the rest of the teams matter."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Sometimes it’s not what Coach Stan Van Gundy says, but how he says it.

Take last night’s tirade against the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and ESPN. There was no need to bluntly state he doesn’t ‘care’ or give a ‘damn’ about two of the league’s high profile clubs and television partner.

Van Gundy could have instead said there are several strong teams in the NBA, including the Heat and Knicks. We worry about all of them.

This is essentially the same message. Except there’s no controversy.

Only Van Gundy can’t help himself. He loves headlines. He loves sound bites. He loves taking shots. Most importantly, he loves being the star of the show.

After all, no other coach, player, or league employee would have the stones to compare Commissioner Stern to the tyrants in North Africa and the Middle East.

The timing of such a statement was especially poor. Currently, that entire region is unstable and NATO is involved in a mission in Libya.

Clearly, Van Gundy missed ‘Media 101’. Or he doesn’t care. Either way, his act is tiresome. The Magic’s sideline boss better continue winning because he isn’t making friends.

--Oly Sandor

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Sunday , Mar , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron and Wade developing chemistry with pick-and-roll play

Wade is controlling the ball late in games, which lets LeBron James be used in a simple pick-and-roll. James has been accustomed to playing with the ball in his hands in crunch time, but it appears Wade and Erik Spoelstra have convinced him to try something new. “I think he's starting to see that this can open up his overall game, and he's going to want to do it more," Wade said last week.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talent isn’t enough in the NBA. Teams must also have chemistry.

Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat learned this the hard way, with their up-and-down year.

So have the New York Knicks, who broke up a squad with established chemistry to acquire the talented but sometimes difficult Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

Credit the Heat for trying new things, though. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, James acted as a screener and ran several pick-and-rolls with Wade.

This is a welcome change from the Heat’s steady diet of predictable ‘iso’ plays and one-on-one attempts at the basket.

Doug Collins, the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, is right: this option will work. James as a four-man setting picks will be tough to prevent from rolling to the basket or slipping the screen.

Opposing defenses will be helpless. If defenders try to switch on the screen, James and/or Wade will have a clear mismatch, which should lead to a scoring opportunity.

If defenders try to show and adjust to the screen, James and/or Wade will have an advantage, which should also lead to a scoring opportunity.

The Heat would be wise to run more of these sets. Variety is important in basketball, and a two-man game involving their best players will upgrade their mediocre half-court offense.

After all, chemistry, not talent, is the key to winning in the NBA. It seems James and Wade are learning.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.