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Wednesday , Oct , 27 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Work In Progress: Bosh, James, Wade, and Heat struggle in game one loss to Celtics

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce scored 20 and 19 points, respectively, as the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics held off the new-look Miami Heat, 88-80, in arguably the most anticipated regular season opener in NBA history.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It was supposed to be perfection. It was supposed to be poetry in motion. It was supposed to be unstoppable.

It is a work in progress.

This is the only way to describe the Miami Heat’s opening night loss against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday evening at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Heat, by their own admission, had an atrocious opening half, scoring 30 points. The second half was better; however, the Three Kings couldn’t complete the 19-point comeback because they ran out of energy against the well polished Celtics.

A few observations from game one:

•    The Heat ran too many high pick-and-rolls, a set that depends on chemistry and timing. Of course, the Heat haven’t played together long enough to develop chemistry and timing.

Conversely, the Celtics are an elite defensive squad. They’ve played together for years. And they have defensive chemistry and timing –especially when guarding the pick-and-roll.

•    The Heat need to improve spacing. Too often, they crowded each other. And too often, players were colliding.

•    Dwyane Wade looked off. To be fair, he’s injured. But his on-going custody battle has, understandably, taken a toll.

•    Eddie House, James Jones, and Mike Miller (when healthy) are living The Shooter’s Dream. With James and Wade, they only need to get open, catch the ball, and sink shots.

•    James was rolling in the second half, so why did Coach Erik Spoelstra pull him in the fourth quarter? This, along with a late Ray Allen three-pointer, allowed the Celtics to seal the game.

Game one for The Three Kings is in the books. It’s too early to draw conclusions, but every game, quarter, and possession will be under the microscope.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Would Baron Davis have kept LeBron James in Cleveland?

The Cavaliers offered the Clippers guard Maurice Williams and forward Jamario Moon in exchange for guard Baron Davis earlier this offseason, according to a league source.

Cleveland, at the time, was desperate to please LeBron James, who eventually left for Miami as a free agent.


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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Desperate times, desperate measures.

This is the only way to describe reports the Cleveland Cavaliers tried to convince LeBron James to sign an extension by acquiring Baron Davis from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Davis wouldn’t have been enough. Not even close. Miami would still have won out for James' services.

After all, Davis - an overrated and overweight point guard - can’t compete with Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and the lure of South Beach.

If the Cavaliers had acquired Davis, they’d be on the hook for the remaining three years and $43 million of his contract. 

This, of course, would be problematic. James would be long gone. Davis would be bored, angry, and hibernating through the Ohio winter.

Davis is a sad story. He has such potential.

A few years ago, he was the toast of the NBA –leading his ‘We Believe’ Golden State Warriors to a playoff upset over the league-leading Dallas Mavericks.

And TNT Broadcaster Kenny Smith has gone on record saying Davis has the game to be a first team all-NBA player each year.

While this may be hyperbole, Davis should be better than he is.

Right now, he’s the problem for the Clippers -a team he picked as a free agent. And he’d have been a bigger problem for the Cavaliers, especially without James.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Oct , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Heat want Jerry Stackhouse to replace injured Mike Miller?

The Miami Heat are looking into adding another veteran to their experience-laden roster. Jerry Stackhouse, who will turn 36 years-old next month, worked out for the Heat in Atlanta on Thursday, a source close to the team said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The MIA and The Stack?

Reports indicate the Miami Heat could sign veteran Jerry Stackhouse as a fill-in for hard luck Mike Miller, who is out with a broken thumb until January.

Stackhouse, even in his mid-thirties, can play. Last year, he was an off-the-bench game changer for the upstart Milwaukee Bucks, averaging close to 9 points in 20 minutes of action.

The concern will be chemistry, not talent.

Miller is a shooter. When healthy, his stroke will punish opposing defenses for double and triple-teaming Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. 

Stackhouse is a scorer, getting points in a multitude of ways. However,  his shot, while good, probably isn’t deadly enough to deter opponents from helping on The Three Kings.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Oct , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron on Wade’s custody battle: it’s ‘way bigger than basketball’

He is in Chicago for the custody case involving his two young sons. The case will continue on Monday and it isn't known when Wade will be done testifying.

"What he's dealing with is way bigger than basketball," LeBron James said.

"So when he's ready to come back, when he's ready to return, we'll accept him with open arms, of course. We'll make sure we hold it down here. What he has going on, we're all in support, this whole organization, us as teammates, us as friends, us as a family."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Believe it or not, Flash is human.

Dwyane Wade’s play could be impacted by his on-going divorce. The split from his high school sweetheart was especially nasty; children were and still are involved.

Some games, the Miami Heat superstar will find refuge on court. Other days, he could be distracted, exhausted, and emotional. Such is life.

This would’ve been an issue in 2010. After all, past Heat squads sank or swam with Wade. The combo guard had to post triple-double type numbers for the club to win.

Things have changed, though. There are now ‘Three Kings’. Not one.

If Wade struggles, Chris Bosh and LeBron James will pick up the slack. Bosh, a left-handed post, can score in a variety ways, while James is arguably the second or third best player in the NBA.

So Wade should handle his business on the home front. He’s human and may need a little help or time off during this rough stretch.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jim Boeheim: Carmelo Anthony ‘wants a place he can win’

"He wants a place he can win," Boeheim told the Daily News Friday. "And I hope he can do that. He's in the prime of his career. He'd be a great foundation to build a franchise on."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Of course, Carmelo Anthony wants a place he can win.

He just wants to win on his terms. This means playing out east, preferably for a sexy franchise, and with a superstar pal or two.
 
If winning was the be all and end all, Anthony would give greater consideration to staying put. After all, the Denver Nuggets qualified for the 2009 Western Conference Finals.

In Denver, he’d steer clear of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, the Miami Heat, and the revamped Eastern Conference. In Denver, he has table-setter and former NBA Finals MVP in Chauncey Billups. 

Separating fact from fiction is impossible with ‘Melo. On media day, he publicly stated he never asked the Nuggets for a trade -despite well-placed and reliable sources saying otherwise.

Anthony has also told reporters this is a ‘basketball decision’. MTV reporter and semi-celebrity LaLa Vasquez, Anthony's better-half, has a different take. She'd prefer a major market like New York or Los Angeles over Denver or Houston.

One conclusion can be made: Anthony gets it. He understands this is a public relations exercise. While he hasn’t handled things perfectly, he has been better than fellow superstar LeBron James.

So expect Anthony and his people to continue talking about 'winning' and 'basketball', even if it’s one part of where he ends up.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Oct , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

How serious are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s hamstring injuries?

Heat forward LeBron James sat out practice on Friday as a precautionary measure after injuring his hamstring earlier this week. James first felt pain on Tuesday night against CSKA Moscow. He sat out Wednesday's tilt with the Hornets and the Heat didn't practice on Thursday.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade will miss the team's final three preseason games because of a hamstring injury. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier this week that Wade was virtually pain-free, but the team wants to be cautious with the issue.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is there cause for concern in South Beach?

Two of the Miami Heat’s Three Kings are sidelined: Dwyane Wade will miss the entire preseason with a hamstring injury and LeBron James skipped practice with his own hamstring pull.

The Heat is wisely taking a cautious approach. Better safe than sorry.

After all, hamstrings are tricky. They can flare up anytime. And players often struggle to return to full health.

So patience and caution will rule the day. Wade and James won’t see the court until the regular season starts in late October.

The Heat has too much hedged on these two players and the 2011 season.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Oct , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Charles Oakley ‘loves’ LeBron joining Bosh and Wade in Miami

Popular opinion may be decidedly against LeBron James and his decision to hook up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in some kind of Super Friends situation in Miami. Not Oakley.

“I love it. I think in the old days, you don’t win unless you get some right players to win with. You can say this and that about LeBron but Magic had Kareem, James Worthy, he had three or four hall of famers. Bird had three or four hall of famers. M.J. probably just had him and Scottie but when it was all said and done, you had great players around you to win.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They don’t make them like Charles Oakley anymore.

He was an original; a one of a kind tough guy at the four-spot, who handled his business on-and-off court.

No modern player would slap their ‘union brother’ to collect a gambling debt or stake out another team’s practice to confront a certain point guard about disrespecting his lady friend. (Isn’t that right Tyrone Hill and Jeff McInnis?)

That’s old school. That’s Oak’.

He also speaks the truth. For instance, LeBron James deserved criticism for how he handled free agency. The Decision was disgusting.

However, King James did not deserve criticism for leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat, especially from past greats like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.

These Hall of Famers conveniently forgot about their supporting casts. Reading their condemnation of James, you’d think Larry-Legend, Magic, and Mike won all fourteen 
NBA Titles by themselves.

As Oakley points out, they had help. Lots of it.

Bird played with three Hall of Famers: Denis Johnson, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish. He also had Danny Ainge, Cedric Maxwell, and Bill Walton made a one season cameo as sixth-man.

Johnson teamed with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the game’s all-time leading scorer. ‘Big Game’ James Worthy is in the Hall of Fame. Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott, and Mychal Thompson didn’t hurt.    

This, of course, brings us to Jordan.

Jordan’s partner in crime was only Scottie Pippen, arguably the greatest wing-man in the history of pro basketball and a top fifty player of all time.

Then there was the dude with the bad hair, tattoos, and wedding dress. Dennis Rodman - despite his run on Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab - is regarded as the most prolific rebounder to ever put on a pair of high tops.

Throughout his career, ‘His Airness’ also played with useful pieces like BJ Armstrong, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, Steve Kerr, and John Paxson.

The Celtics, Lakers, and Bulls weren’t one-man bands. Bird, Magic, and Jordan had stacked supporting cast.

Who did James have in Cleveland?

Well, there was Candace Parker’s brother. Don’t forget Daniel Gibson –better known as Keyshia Cole’s baby daddy. Jamario Moon was once a Harlem Globetrotter.

Veterans Antwan Jamison and Shaquille O’Neal were past their prime, while Mo Williams is undersized, streaky, and 'emo-tional'.

In South Beach, he has a once-in-a-generation talent in Wade. When The King and Flash get bored, they’ll toss the ball inside to CB4.   

Credit Oakley for speaking the truth: James made a smart basketball decision by signing with Miami. And he’ll likely get rewarded with championships. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Oct , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Riley wants Rivers to coach Bosh, LeBron, and Wade

Heat president Pat Riley has Celtics coach Doc Rivers at the top of his list of potential candidates to replace Erik Spoelstra should he decide to replace the young coach.

Rivers thought about leaving Boston to spend time with his family this summer and doesn't want to discuss his future.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s no surprise Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra is on shaky ground.

The Heat signed Three Kings Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade to win championships today, and can’t wait for a young coach like Spoelstra to continue developing.

If Spoelstra isn’t up to the task, he’ll be gone. No ifs, ands, or buts.

The surprising part is that Miami executive Pat Riley is considering hiring someone other than Pat Riley to coach the star-studded Heat.

After all, The Oil Slick may sit in the owner’s suite and not the sideline, but he still considers himself a star.

Like Bosh, James, and Wade, he loves the spotlight. He craves it. Always has since he, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the Showtime Lakers took over the NBA in the 1980s.

So the expectation was that Riles would ‘Stan Van Gundy’ Spoelstra by planting a knife in his back for some trivial infraction and name himself bench-boss just in time for the Heat to win an NBA Title.

Hopefully, the Doc Rivers rumor is Riley’s way of admitting he’s done coaching. His final two seasons in Miami were disastrous; the players hated the five-hour practices, which resembled life at a work camp.

Rivers would be perfect for the Heat. He’s personable, yet demanding. He clicks with superstars. He has a championship. And Miami is close to his family home in Florida.

Problem is, Rivers is with the Boston Celtics. And maybe Riley is intentionally eyeing an unattainable coach, so he can justify his little comeback.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: Miami Heat will be good defensively

Through the first few days of training camp, Dwyane Wade has been impressed with Miami's defensive potential. "I know where we're going to be good, it's going to be defensively," said Wade.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Defense wins championships. It’s a constant in the modern era of the NBA.

The great Chicago Bulls –even with all-world offensive talents like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen – won six titles in eight years because they got stops.

The San Antonio Spurs became a quasi-dynasty because Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and David Robinson took care of their own end.

The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers won the last three championships by playing air-tight ‘D’.

So Dwyane Wade is right: the Miami Heat will win with defense. Not star power.

Fortunately, the Heat has the makings of a strong defensive team: Wade is an above average defender; LeBron James took major steps towards being a lockdown guy in 2010; Chris Bosh was a surprisingly decent banger for Team USA at the Beijing Olympics.

If the Three Kings defend, others will follow. Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, two blue-collar posts, will have no trouble adjusting. Shooters Eddie House and Mike Miller will do their part. Mario Chalmers, an above average defender, and Carlos Arroyo will hold their own at the one-spot.

Forget the glamour. Forget the hype. If Miami collectively commits to playing defense, they will win. History is on their side.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Sep , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Boston expects healthy Kevin Garnett in 2011

Kevin Garnett appears to be very healthy as the Celtics begin training camp.

"I think Kevin needed some rest, some time off, and he took it, but he's ready for camp," said Danny Ainge. "He's in much better shape than he was last year in training camp. I think that KG got better as the year went on last season and we saw him moving much better in the playoffs than in the regular season."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They need more from The Big Ticket.

For the past two years, Kevin Garnett has been a shade of his former self. He’s older. He’s slower. And he’s been weighed down by wear-and-tear and injuries.
 
Last year, the results were particularly tough. Garnett’s offensive numbers were off. The Celtics’ defensive anchor spent too many minutes on the bench in foul trouble for careless infractions.

A healthy Garnett would do a few things: the O’Neals - Jermaine and Shaquille - could ease into their new surroundings; Kendrick Perkins wouldn’t have to rush back from knee surgery; and the green-and-white would continue their reign as an elite defensive club.

Remember, the Celtics take their cues from Garnett. He’s a major part of their get-stops identity. They'll have to be at their best defensively to hold off the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, and get revenge on the Los Angeles Lakers for last season's defeat in the NBA Finals. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh drops $12.5 million on Miami dream pad

Chris Bosh has purchased a 12,000-square-foot home on North Bay Road in Miami Beach. The 7-bedroom, 8-bath mansion just south of La Gorce Island sold for $12.5 million, said listing agent Lourdes Alatriste, of real estate firm Engel & Voelkers. Bosh's home was originally listed for more than $16 million.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: One of the Three Kings will be living like a king.

As reported above, Chris Bosh has closed on a palace suitable for the Sultan of Brunei, an oil Tsar abusing the Alberta Tar Sands, or an NBA superstar earning max’ money.

The power forward’s South Beach digs will comfortably house him and his entourage. Best of all, he got it 'cheap', paying $3.5 million below asking price.

So, Bosh has his dream team and pad. One thing is left: backing up the hype with an NBA championship.

--Oly Sandor.


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Tuesday , Sep , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nuggets finally realize they must trade Anthony?

The Nuggets are losing their reluctance to trade Carmelo Anthony, according to sources familiar with the thinking of the front office.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Denver Nuggets have come to their senses. They must cut their losses and trade Carmelo Anthony.

It’s inevitable. They have no other choice.

Anthony won’t sign an extension with Denver. If he doesn’t get a trade, he’ll opt-out of his contract next July, and leave as an unrestricted free agent.

The Nuggets would then suffer the same miserable fate as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, who may never recover from LeBron James and Chris Bosh signing with the Miami Heat.

Getting something is better than nothing. If the Nuggets can’t have Anthony, they might as well get back a combination of draft picks, young players, and expiring contracts.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Saturday , Sep , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Erik Spoelstra undecided on who starts with James, Wade, and Bosh

James, Wade and Chris Bosh are the only set starters. ``I do want to make a point of being open minded going into camp,'' Spoelstra said. ``LeBron and Dwyane will be handling the ball quite often. Mario and Carlos will be handling the ball quite often. Mike Miller has a great skill set to be able to handle the ball. Whether LeBron starts [at point guard] or not, is not a high priority right now. I want to get into training camp and get a better feel for this team.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Three Kings run the show. Everybody else gets in where they fit in.

This is Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra’s philosophy before training camp starts in two weeks.  Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade will star; everybody else is interchangeable.

The Heat – after their summer overhaul - is a new team. Chemistry must develop. And teammates must have a chance to forge relationships on and off court.

Why would Spoelstra box himself in by naming his other two starters now?

He, instead, stated the obvious: LeBron and Wade will serve as primary ball handlers. Both will see time at point guard, while Bosh will establish a presence down low.

There are a few other givens. Shooters Eddie House and Mike Miller will figure into the mix to prevent defences from double-teaming Bosh, James, and Wade. A platoon of bigs will man the center spot, allowing ‘CB4’ to play power forward.

Miami will go as far as their Three Kings will take them, but the role players must also perform. And those role players will have to emerge.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Stan Van Gundy on Pat Riley`s complaining: ‘I was kind of amused by it’

``I thought it was pretty typical. I was kind of amused by it, especially reading down through the interview,’’ Van Gundy said. ``He goes into Charles Barkley, me and Otis and then says he doesn’t worry about what people say. Wait, you called the press conference, you went off and everybody and you don’t care what people say? Clearly, he cares a great deal about what people say. I was laughing when I saw that.’’

Van Gundy wasn’t laughing when he read that Riley ripped him and Smith for questioning why James and Bosh would rather team together with Dwyane Wade in Miami rather than trying to win a championship on their own. Riley said the comment was ``an absolutely stupid remark,’’ but several former great players such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Barkley reaffirmed that they would have never jumped ship on their teams simply as a way to chase a championship.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s safe to say the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic don’t like each other. Not one bit.

However, Pat Riley, the Heat’s lead executive, and Stan Van Gundy, the Magic’s coach, don’t just dislike each other –they hate each other.

Passionately.

Van Gundy was once Riley’s lead assistant on Miami’s bench. Back then, these two trusted each other. These two liked each other. And these two enjoyed a student-mentor relationship. 

When Riley retired from coaching, it was Van Gundy he picked as his successor. Of course, The Oil Slick couldn’t stay away from the spotlight, so he fired his former protégé one season after trading for Shaquille O’Neal.

Riley claimed the move was about helping the Heat win an NBA Title –which they did. Van Gundy claimed Riley put a knife in his back.

Whoever’s version you believe, their split was personal.

For a few years, Van Gundy held the edge over Riley because the Magic were Eastern Conference powers, advancing to the Finals in 2009.

The Three Kings changed the balance of power. Riley’s Heat now has momentum. And this, perhaps, prompted Magic GM Otis Smith and Van Gundy to publicly slag Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Riley.

So Riley responded. And Van Gundy, who never met a microphone he didn’t like, fired back.

The players will decide the battle of Florida on-court. Expect Riley and Van Gundy’s grudge match to extend well beyond 2011.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Sep , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Heat to use Wade and/or LeBron at PG

Ira Winderman: Pat Riley says Chalmers likely ready for camp, but not Butler. Hints strongly at casting Wade or LeBron at point guard.(Twitter)

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Of course, the Miami Heat should use LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade at point guard.

After all, James and Wade are two of the NBA’s premier players, meaning the ball will mostly be in their hands to run the offense and make key decisions.

The smart money is on James actually shifting from wing to lead-guard. Now The King can score. In fact, he can score at will. However, James excels when facilitating for teammates.

James has always been more Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan. But his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, needed him to score. So he did.

In South Beach, he’ll involve others. At 6-8 and 260 pounds, he’ll have a size and strength advantage over opposing point guards, creating mismatches on both ends of the floor.  

Look for the Heat to use James and Wade at point guard. The results shouldl impress.

-Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Sep , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kendrick Perkins on Celtics adding Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal: ‘we just got older’

"Well, I mean, we didn't do nothing spectacular. We got Shaq, we got Delonte [West], we got J.O. (Jermaine O'Neal). But it ain't like we signed no young Dwight Howards or anything like that. So if anything we just got older."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: ‘Dem could be fighting words’.

Instead of embracing new teammates, instead of saying the right things, instead of playing nice, Kendrick Perkins threw Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal under the bus.

Part of this is competition. Perkins had been the Boston Celtics’ starting center, but will miss months of 2011 with injury. And he’s probably fearful Shaq and J.O. will take his position.

However, calling them old – even if it’s true - isn’t good. 

The green-and-white needs its veteran posts to play their roles if they’re to hold off the Miami Heat and return to the NBA Finals.

Perkins slamming Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal won’t get these former stars to willingly accept lesser minutes and a bench role. And it won’t help team harmony.

Perhaps Perkins – a notoriously intense competitor – would be better served focusing on his rehab and getting back on-court.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Sep , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Reggie Miller: Dwyane Wade is Derek Jeter, LeBron James is Alex Rodriguez

Wattage aside, perhaps the Miami Heat’s cast of superheros -- or villains, depending on your point of view -- will not be led by King James. TNT's Reggie Miller said the Heat’s star system is simple: " Dwyane Wade is the Derek Jeter here. LeBron James is the Alex Rodriguez. One of those guys will have to sacrifice, and it will have to be LeBron. This is still Dwyane's team."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
Sorry Reggie, but Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are different than Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

First, Wade and James are boys. They wanted to play together. They’ve been scheming on this longer than you’ve been dead weight on TNT’s broadcast staff.

Jeter and Rodriguez aren’t close. They were forced to play together. They tolerate each other. It’s a professional relationship. Nothing more.

Second, basketball is more of a team sport than baseball. In the NBA, truly great players transcend statistics and bring out the greatness in each other.

LeBron will be a Magic Johnson style distributor for the Miami Heat. His points will decrease, but his assists will skyrocket, propelling the Three Kings deep into the playoffs.

This won’t diminish LeBron’s status. It will do the opposite. In the NBA, great players make those around them better and procure championships. They don’t worry about ‘sacrificing’ regular season scoring numbers.

That’s the difference between basketball and baseball.

To be a crème de la crème talent in the NBA, a player must stack Larry O’Brien trophies. It’s the only currency of greatness. It’s the sole measuring stick. So players are willing to work together.

MLB is a numbers game. It’s more an individual sport. A player can be an all-time great if he has ‘his’ statistics. Team success takes a backseat and is less important. 

Wade and LeBron aren’t Jeter and Rodriguez. They’ll make their partnership work. They’ll win. And that’s all that should matter.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Sep , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaq on his beef with Pat Riley: ‘I wasn`t with five hour practices’

Question: While with the Miami Heat, you appeared to have a strained relationship with former Heat coach Pat Riley. What happened?

Shaquille O’Neal (answer): I wasn’t with the five-hour practices. Some people have different mentalities, but I was just coming off three out of four (NBA Finals MVP awards). With the Lakers, Phil (Jackson) treated us like men with 1 ½ -hour practices. I’m a businessman, and I don’t know how other men view me personally, nor do I care. I know what I do and what I have to do.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Once again, Shaquille O’Neal has stuffed his massive foot into his massive mouth. 

Currently, Pat Riley is the architect/lead executive for the Miami Heat. With Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade on the Heat roster, he may fire Coach Erik Spoelstra and return to the sideline.

As Stan Van Gundy can attest, Riles has `un-retired` from coaching once before.

Whatever Riley’s role with the Heat in 2011, O’Neal’s comments have provided The Oil Slick with extra motivation and incentive to defeat the Boston Celtics.

This isn’t wise. A rivalry is already brewing between the Heat and Celtics. And O’Neal is giving the green-and-white’s opponents extra clippings to put on their bulletin board.

So, why is Shaq re-hashing old wounds from his time with Riley in Miami?

If O’Neal really wants to help the Celtics, if he really wants to make an impact, he’ll button his big mouth and focus on filling-in effectively while Kendrick Perkins recovers from injury.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaquille O’Neal: Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I’m only taking four?

"I like that they play together and nobody really worries about shots, " O'Neal said. "When I was with Cleveland, guys who couldn't even play were worried about shots. Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I'm only taking four? If LeBron takes 20 shots, that's cool.

LInk

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’ll never learn.

At nearly 40, Shaquille O’Neal is still bad-mouthing former teammates and foes, expecting the NBA community to tolerate his questionable behaviour because he was once a superstar.

Well, Shaq doesn’t dominate. Not anymore. It’s been five years since The Big Diesel, The Big Aristotle, or The Most Dominant Ever co-starred for the championship winning Miami Heat.

Since 2006, he’s been injured, overweight, and a shade of his former self. This wouldn’t be an issue except O’Neal has gone on the offensive, routinely slamming his peers.

His latest victim: former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Mo Williams.

The optics of throwing Williams under the bus isn’t good, especially since O’Neal missed his usual quota of 31 games last season, with a variety of bumps, bruises, and injuries.

Of course, Williams’ Cavaliers can’t hang with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. However, the streaky gunner now has extra motivation to go off each time he faces O’Neal and the Celtics.

So what was the point in Shaq calling out Williams? Why provide him an incentive?

O’Neal must start living in the now. His mouth is talking smack that his game can no longer back-up.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Sep , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jon Barry: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade less great together

I hate to see two great, great players -- in my mind, two of the top three in the league with he and Wade -- join up. I like seeing them go against each other. We're not going to see the greatness of each player on a nightly basis like we're accustomed to seeing. That's disappointing. But I can't blame LeBron because you're ultimately judged by the number of NBA rings on your finger, and that team is going to be one of the favorites.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s stature won’t decrease because they’re together with the Miami Heat.

If anything, it’s the opposite. Their greatness will increase.

Instead of being a one-man show, instead of making-do with sub-par co-stars, instead of bowing out prematurely in the playoffs year-after-year, James and Wade will play relevant basketball in May and June.

Great players need each other. And great players should bring out the best in each other.

Consider the past. Magic Johnson had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Larry Bird had Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish. Isiah Thomas had Joe Dumars. Or vice-versa. And Tim Duncan had David Robinson.

There’s a misconception a great player is only great if he’s leading ‘His Team’. One superstar is the general with eleven other players following.

What a crock.

Even the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, had considerable help. During their championship run, Scottie Pippen was arguably the second best player in the NBA.

Pippen is a top fifty player of all-time. He’s in the Hall of Fame. He could pass, score, rebound, and finish in the open-court. His athleticism and ability to defend all five positions made him invaluable.

Expect James and Wade to excel together. They’re friends. They engineered this situation. And they’ll bring out the greatness in each other.

--Oly Sandor.

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