Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler out against Cavaliers on Saturday

A key member of the Miami Heat will not play tonight. Jimmy Butler is not going to be in the lineup against the Cavaliers for personal reasons. It is not injury related and it is not related to his newborn child.

Butler has been a workhorse for the Miami Heat this season. He has recorded 20.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He has also managed to be an apt playmaker. Recording 6.2 assists per contest, he had nine in Thursday night’s loss to Atlanta.

This is a tough break for a Miami Heat team that will be looking to bounce back from the loss to the Hawks. They are facing a Cavaliers team that has had a tough go of things. They are the 15th in the Eastern Conference with a 15-40 record. Most recently, they beat the Washington Wizards 113-108.

Miami Heat look to bounce back

This is a big game for Miami as they look to keep pace with the rest of the Eastern Conference. The leading scorer in Miami’s last game was Bam Adebayo. He had 28 points and 19 rebounds. The All-Star will look to continue stuffing the statsheet on Saturday night.

Saturday night is also a special evening as the Miami Heat will retire Dwayne Wade’s jersey. Wade is a Miami legend, and it is great to see him getting his due on Saturday. Saturday also marks the three-year anniversary of the trade that sent Wade from the Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami.

As you may recall, Wade’s tenure in Cleveland was an effort to get as many star possible players around Lebron James as possible. Unfortunately for both parties, it did not work out as expected.

Saturday should work out much better for Wade and the Miami Heat as it should be a fun celebration of an iconic figure in the Miami sports scene. Tipoff is set for 8 PM.

Dwyane Wade continues to add onto his HOF L3GACY! 

Athlete. Father. Social Activist. Fashion Icon. Champion. Author. Documentarian. Rapper? 

Flash leads the Miami Heat in several categories: Field goals, points, games played, minutes played, free throws, and now BARS!

This weekend, Wade County will honor the historic career of Miami’s greatest athlete, with a 3-day celebration centered around his much-deserved jersey retirement. To kick-off the festivities, Wade and UD linked up with fellow local legend and hip-hop icon, Rick Ross, to shock the world with a new single titled “Season Ticket Holder.” 

The Port of Miami rapper has built a strong relationship with Dwyane and Udonis over the years. In fact, you can often spot him sitting courtside at the AAA (is it still called that?) wearing a custom pair of Li-Nings and dapping up players as he walks towards the Hyde Lounge for refreshments. So, it’s no surprise that Ricky Rozay would find a way to get involved in what will be, one of the most fun and nostalgic weekends in HEAT history. Make no mistake, Rick Ross does the heavy lifting on this track, whereas D.Wade is more of a featured guest. But just like they alluded in the teaser video released earlier this week, this is for Miami, for the culture, for the fans, and for fun. 

So let’s take a minute to breakdown how Flash holds up in what will now be regarded as the theme song for Wade’s L3GACY weekend! 

Intro … Right off the bat, Udonis sounds like he belongs in the booth, whereas Dwyane’s voice… catches you off guard a bit. They shout out their history together and a nod to the three rings on their fingers before the beat drops.

1st Verse … D.Wade hits us with a strong opening line to get the track started. I’m the son of a saint, still considered sinner reaks of Rick Ross’ finest creative greenery, but credit to Flash for nailing the delivery. He weaves through the 1st verse like it’s a classic pick-n-roll, making nods to his stats, fashion, and overall game. Always bet on your homies, then go buy the casino highlights how uplifting of a teammate Wade was. Much better than Dion Waiter’s selfish bet on yourself and then double-down, style of play. His energy really picks up when he gets to the topic of his wife. It’s almost as if you can hear the smile on his face after he mentions her. He then closes out the verse by mentioning his Lamborghini, sneakers, private jets, and money — the basics.

Rick Ross takes over the rest of the track doing what he does best. The lush production hits another level when the hook comes in, sung by Raphel Saadiq. It’s absolutely worth the listen and a cool way to jump-start a memorable weekend for the Miami Heat fans and franchise. Make sure you stick around till the end and catch D. Wade and UD once again resurfacing for the outro to remind us of how hard they worked for 16 seasons.

Three Championship banners in the rafters, three rings on their fingers, and one new single to go with it.

Miami Heat: Trae Young too much for Miami in Heat loss

It was a tough first game back for the Miami Heat following the All Star break. Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks were able to defeat the Heat by a 129-124 score.

This was a classic trap game for the Miami Heat. It had all of the signs of a trap game: The first game back from the All-Star break against a Hawks team that has had their struggles this season. Ordinarily, this game would be no problem.

For a Miami Heat team that was looking to set the tone following the break, it was the Atlanta Hawks who made their presence known. Young showed exactly why he is one of the game’s top players. He didn’t have the most efficient night, but he was able to make things happen when he had the basketball in his hands.  He single-handedly led the Hawks to victory.

Miami Heat had trouble containing Young

Young was a pest all night. In 40 minutes of play, he scored 50 points. He was inefficient from the field, going 12-of-25. He made his money both from behind the arc and at the free-throw line. Young shot eight-of-15 from beyond the arc and 18-of-19 at the free-throw line. Getting to the line was his most effective way of scoring.

He showed on Thursday what a multi-faceted scorer he is. This was frustrating to watch for Miami fans. The amount of times he got to the line was noticeable. Even still, he was able to lead the Hawks to victory in multiple ways. It seemed like any time he got a little space or was able to get some room to move, he made something happen with the basketball. At the end of the day, Miami had no answer for him defensively. It seemed like he just would not go away.

This was the first 50-point game of  Young’s career. Perhaps the most scary part of the loss on Thursday was the realization that he is only 21 years old. He is only going to get better from here on out.

Next up for Miami is the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday at 8:00 PM. They need to rebound and get back on track to keep pace with the rest of the Eastern Conference.

Airplane Turbulence: Derrick Jones Jr. Dunk Contest Debate Rages

He promised all 50s, no matter how many it took.

And while Derrick Jones Jr. didn’t deliver that, he did give the Heat their first Slam Dunk championship since Harold Minor in 1995, beating Aaron Gordon in the final round.

 

 

Even so, it’s clear many don’t want to give him the proper respect.

Including Gordon.

Nearly 24 hours after the completion of the contest, the dunk contest — and Jones Jr’s win — was still a top trending topic on Twitter, with many pointing to former teammate Dwyane Wade’s ruling as a judge as the reason Jones reigned. And many are saying Gordon nearly taking off the head of Celtics 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall warranted more than a 47 out of 50. Wade gave Gordon a 9 for it.

Still, Jones Jr. isn’t giving the trophy back, or giving an inch.

Here are some of the tweets that tell the story:

Whatever the NBA world thinks, Miami won 2 of the 3 titles on All-Star Saturday night, with Jones’ buddy Bam Adebayo capturing the Skills Competition.

As we’ve said, it’s safe to hate the Heat again.

They appear to enjoy it….

Still, the Magic fans who can’t jump over a coach’s resignation letter are sending slander to Jones on social media, calling him a “fraud” and a “bum.”

Maybe this is the reason for that…

Bam Adebayo’s Breakout Weekend Continues with Skills Win

He’s not our big little secret anymore.

Bam Adebayo, the subject of a glowing profile by ESPN’s Zach Lowe this week, has been one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend, as media members gravitate toward his story and his sunny personality.

And now, he’s about to become even more well known.’

Adebayo was the underdog (as much as +1200) among eight participants in the Skills Challenge — because many bettors aren’t familiar with his unusual versatility. But really, the only question was whether he could make the three-pointer at the end. The dribbling? The layup? The passing? Those are easy for him.

Well, now the world knows how gifted he is.

Adebayo beat Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam and Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, converting all 3 of the passes on the first try, which gave him a sprinter’s start into the final leg. And yes, he made 3-of-6 three-pointers.

Highlights from a remarkable performance…

First, Dinwiddie…

Next, Siakam…

Finally, Sabonis…

Then he let the world know how happy he was, and how wrong they were…

With a smile, of course…

Remember that bet where Jimmy Butler has to give Bam money for threes made?…

 

Jimmy Butler takes his new Heat culture to Chicago

The media were waiting for Jimmy Butler in Chicago.

Butler, after all, make his name here — rising from 30th overall pick to Most Improved Player, All-Star, and maximum salary candidate player, even though he would have to go elsewhere to get that last reward.

Now Butler is back, as a member of the Miami Heat and of team Giannis in the 2020 All-Star Game.

He was a few minutes late getting to the podium Saturday for his scheduled availability but, once he did, he did not disappoint.

Here are a few of Butler’s more illuminating and/or amusing thoughts on his transition to the Heat and more.

First, the arrival….

Next, the deep thoughts on the changes to the All-Star Game.

He’s been, um, racking his brain about this one…

Then, on the Heat’s plan after the break…

His assimilation to the Miami culture…

What he has learned about Miami Heat president Pat Riley…

More on the Heat as they chase a home court seed…

How he feels about being a villain….

More praise for his All-Star and Heat teammate, Bam Adebayo…

And of course, the continued taunting of Philadelphia 76er fans..

Chris Bosh NOT a finalist for Hall of Fame

This felt like a given.

Chris Bosh made 11 All-Star teams.

He won two championships.

He represented the game well.

He basically invented — or at minimum, perfected — photo bombing.

He was Tall Justise.

And he would have done more if not for his career ending prematurely due to multiple bouts with blood clots, blood clots that resurfaced during this weekend four years ago in Toronto.

But Bosh was always disrespected during his career, and it continued again Friday in Chicago, when he was not named a finalist for the Hall of Fame. Eight others were, including three obviously deserving players — the late Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

Bosh was not in the same stratosphere as Bryant, Garnett and Duncan, all of whom won MVPs as well as championships. But he has better credentials than some who have been inducted on the first try — or at the very least, been finalists. But the Hall did change some rules, limiting some international and female candidates to put a spotlight on the superstars of this class. And no player other than the three above were named finalists.

Bosh figures to get in eventually, as Alonzo Mourning, whose career was also short-circuited by an ailment, did. That is more than we can say about Tim Hardaway, who was a finalist a couple of times but now seems forever on the back burner.

Still, Heat fans aren’t taking it well.

And South Florida sports fans already have a persecution complex because Zach Thomas should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame already… and isn’t.

Magic rally to defeat Pistons in overtime

This story was written by Marcos Chisholm. Follow him on Twitter @marcosgchisholm.

After losing a 22 point lead, the Orlando Magic defeated the Detroit Pistons 116-112 in overtime at the Amway Center on Wednesday.

Markelle Fultz earned his third double-double on the season, scoring 22 points and tallying 10 assists. Aaron Gordon finished the night with 25 points and nine assists in 42 minutes.

During the first half, Orlando was at its most comfortable after Evan Fournier made a three-point field goal with 6:51 left in the second quarter. The Pistons erased the 22 point deficit by converting 40 percent of team three-point attempts and outscoring Orlando 38-20 on bench points.

“It was huge. I think that’s what we all had on our minds, we know we gave a big lead, we know it was going back but we know we needed a win,” Fultz said.

Fultz’s balanced approach to Orlando’s offense helped the Magic lead both teams in assists (34-28). Magic forward Evan Fourier recognizes the young player’s progress and journey following his injuries.

“That’s really his first year playing,” Magic forward Evan Fournier said. “He’s getting more comfortable and he understand what the defense gives him, he makes the most of it and he had some huge plays for us down the stretch.”

Christian Wood had 26 points and 12 turnovers throughout 38 minutes of play. He shot 7-of-8 from the free-throw line and Tony Snell scored 16 points and earned five assists. Both players were the only Pistons starters to finish with negative net ratings for the evening. The Pistons developed a lead as large as seven points in the fourth quarter.

Heading into Wednesday, the Magic were 2-8 through their last 10 games. They head into the All-Star break in control of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Miami Heat: Recap From Pat Riley Media Conference Call

Miami Heat President Pat Riley held a conference call Friday with local media. 

Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports was on the call, here are some of his takeaways along with others from local outlets.

 

Riley spoke about Andre Iguodala and the organization’s reset:

 

 

 

On Waiters, JJ, and Winslow:

 

Riley about the one that got away (for now).

 

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Miami Heat: Tracking the biggest news from NBA trade deadline

The Miami Heat enter Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline in an interesting position. They have already made moves for a veteran in Andre Iguodala at the time this was written. It will be interesting to see how they handle the rest of the deadline. Many teams have made moves in an effort to get better, and the Miami Heat can certainly be included in the bunch.

Here are some of the best tweets from what has been a busy deadline period.