|Dwyane Wade’s benching one of many minor concerns for Heat||01.16.13 at 5:00 pm ET|
As Dwyane Wade sat on the bench and watched his teammates attempt a fourth-quarter comeback against the Jazz on Monday, some saw it as an example of the greater malaise that’s settled over the Heat recently (though they’re still 24-12 and in first place in the conference).
Wade’s benching — if it can be called that, given that it only lasted for one quarter — came after a recent dip in his offensive production, and hasn’t caused much of an uproar in and of itself. The same goes for the Heat’s 1-3 record so far on their Western road trip, in which they’ve beaten only the Kings and lost to the Pacers, Trail Blazers and Jazz.
However, comments and actions from Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh before and during the trip have raised some eyebrows. Despite the fact that the Heat have some of the most talented players in the game, James said after a two-point loss to Portland last Thursday, “We’re not the most talented bunch. We’re not the greatest team. So we can’t afford to just pick and choose when we want to turn it on and off.”
Meanwhile, Bosh is averaging the fewest rebounds of his career yet still campaigned this week on Twitter for fans to vote him into the All-Star Game.
Wade didn’t say anything particularly controversial about sitting out the end of the Jazz game, and neither did Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. The incident seems to be just one more facet of the Heat’s internal troubles, minor problems that only will become more detrimental if they’re allowed to drag on.
|Top Stories of 2012, No. 5: Celtics burned by Heat in Eastern Conference finals||12.29.12 at 7:55 pm ET|
Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 5: the Celtics’ loss to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination
No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from Celtics
No. 6: Tim Thomas’ political controversy and sabbatical
The Celtics were one victory away from advancing to the NBA finals. But what stood in the way, LeBron James and the Miami Heat, turned out to be more than the Big Three and the rest of the Celtics could handle.
A 101-88 defeat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals put an abrupt end to a playoff run that looked like it had legs after a comeback season from the Celtics, who were under .500 at the All-Star break of a lockout-shortened season.
The C’s battled injury issues all season. Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox had season-ending heart ailments. Jermaine O’Neal had his season end early, and Avery Bradley missed the Heat series. Even as the playoffs began, a sprained MCL slowed down Paul Pierce and bone spurs kept Ray Allen off the floor.
After finishing first in the Atlantic Division at 39-27, the Celtics took down the Hawks in six games in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. They went on to get by the 76ers in a seven-game series and line things up for a big series with the Heat.
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Heat’s Dwyane Wade suspended, denies dirty play||12.28.12 at 7:50 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Nuggets at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Providence at Brown, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Baylor at Gonzaga, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Jacksonville at Indiana, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Missouri at UCLA, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Independence Bowl, Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Russell Athletic Bowl, Rutgers vs Virginia Tech, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Meineke Car Care Bowl, Minnesota vs. Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ A couple of Boston sports antagonists were in the news Thursday, one receiving a suspension and the other escaping punishment on an apparent technicality.
The NBA suspended Heat guard Dwyane Wade one game for his kick to the groin area of Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions during Wednesday night’s game in Charlotte. Wade, who in the past has been accused of dirty play by Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, flailed his left leg upon being fouled, but he continues to insist it was an accident.
Tweeted Wade Thursday: I’m far from being a dirty player, + my intent was never 2 kick Ramon Sessions. I just reacted to the contact that I got from him. More than anything, I think of my boys watchin me be4 retaliating 2ward any player.
Sessions didn’t buy Wade’s explanation, saying after the game: “I thought he did it on purpose.”
Meanwhile, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted two words Thursday in reference to his appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy: I won.
Sherman had claimed that there were issues with the collection of his urine sample on Sept. 17 that involved a leaky cup.
“I know what the truth is and anybody else who knows anything knows what the truth is. The truth has been told today,” Sherman told reporters. “People can say what they want, there are always naysayers. I have great teammates and great coaches and great fans and that’s all I care about.”
Sherman — who famously taunted Tom Brady after Seattle’s 24-23 victory over the Patriots on Oct. 14 — received support and criticism following his announcement. Apparently, New England fans touched a nerve, as Sherman later tweeted: Pats fans enjoy ur day .
♦ Tim Tebow once again was bypassed by Jets coach Rex Ryan, as Mark Sanchez was tabbed to start Sunday’s season finale against the Bills when Greg McElroy was ruled out due to post-concussion issues.
“I’m going to start Mark Sanchez,” Ryan said Thursday. “The reason I’m starting Mark is we have two practices and one walk-through to get ready for Buffalo. Mark has had success earlier in the season against Buffalo. He’s very familiar with them. That’s the reason I’m going with Mark.”
McElroy suffered his concussion in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Chargers. He was sacked 11 times but did not acknowledge his condition to the coaches until Thursday morning. A “stunned” Ryan then called Sanchez and Tebow together to announce his plans.
“Obviously, Tim’s not happy with that as you’d expect,” Ryan said.
Said Tebow: “I understand. I told coach I definitely understand. Obviously, you’re a competitor, you want to play, but I understood his decision. I just let him know, just like always, I’ll do whatever I can to help the team.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 28, 1963, which Red Sox infielder was named Comeback Player of the Year?
|Dwyane Wade to undergo knee surgery, miss Olympics||06.28.12 at 5:53 pm ET|
Speculation that Heat guard Dwyane Wade was playing through pain during the NBA playoffs was confirmed Thursday. The two-time NBA champion will need surgery on his left knee, which will force him to miss this summer’s Olympics.
Wade called USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski to tell them the news, which Wade told the AP was very disappointing. He was the leading scorer during the Olympics in 2008, when the team won gold in Beijing and also played on the team that won bronze in Athens in 2004.
Wade is fresh off averaging 22.6 points per game in the NBA finals as he helped the Heat secure their second championship.
|Heat’s Dwyane Wade may work with a shooting coach ‘for the first time ever’ this offseason||06.27.12 at 6:26 pm ET|
In a city known for its beautiful women, sunsets, beaches and nightlife, Dwyane Wade says he may spend the summer celebrating his second championship by … getting treatment on his knee and hiring a shooting coach.
After a postseason in which the former scoring champ shot just 31 percent on mid-range jumpers (50 for 163) and 29 percent on 3-pointers (10-for-34), Wade said he might work with a shooting coach “for the first time ever.”
The goal, he said during a post-championship parade interview, “is to try to do more in the sense of my 3-point game and mid-range game, getting that back. My mechanics aren’t that bad. I don’t have an ugly shot, not one of those Shawn Marion shots. There are certain things in my shot I can change.”
Wade said a shooting coach could “give me a different look and [suggest] where I can get better.” Now 30 years old, Wade said he also wants “to continue to get better in the post.”
Wade said a decision on his knee, which slowed him considerably, particularly in the postseason, would be coming shortly.
“When everything dies down this week, I will sit down with doctors — those that I trust — and make the best decision for me and my career,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I won’t know until I sit down with [the doctors] and have an MRI and see what’s wrong with my knee and what I have to get done.”
Wade said he would not go to the Olympics if he was unable to play. He talked about the level of discomfort the knee caused him throughout the season, and the impact it had on his game.
“I had to go through a lot to play. If people knew what I had to go through just to play, it was crazy,” Wade said. “The biggest thing was I had a lot of swelling.
“My left knee is my power knee. It’s my explosion knee. When you are dealing with knee issues, you are dealing with lateral quickness [issues]. I dealt with it. At times, I did great with it. At other times, I didn’t do great with it.”
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Referees continue to make key calls for Heat in NBA finals||06.18.12 at 7:27 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves at Yankees, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
MiLB: Pawtucket at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (NESN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Heat have won the last two games in the NBA finals to take a 2-1 series lead, and both games featured controversial calls that benefited LeBron James and left the Thunder frustrated.
In the closing seconds of Thursday’s Game 2, James escaped a foul call despite clearly making contact with Kevin Durant as the Thunder star attempted a game-tying shot. In Sunday’s Game 3, James was the beneficiary of a generous foul call with 16 seconds left that allowed him to essentially put the game away with a free throw.
Durant, meanwhile, was whistled for a fourth foul that forced him to the bench in the third quarter, despite the fact that he never made contact with Dwyane Wade on the play. It was during the time when Durant was on the bench when Miami made the game-changing run and rallied from 10 points down to take the lead.
“I try not to concern myself with the officiating,” Durant said afterward. “They’re going to make their calls, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t change it. Just got to play through it. There’s going to be some calls they may miss. They’re human.”
♦ Argentine tennis player David Nalbandian, competing against Marin Cilic in the final of the Queens Club tournament in London on Sunday, vented his frustration after missing a shot by kicking a sign. Unfortunately, there was a line judge behind the sign, and the official’s knee took the brunt of the force. Nalbandian, who was winning in the second set, was disqualified.
Despite an ATP that states any violent action will result in an automatic default, the 10th-seeded Nalbandian questioned the ruling.
“Sometimes you get very frustrated on court and it’s tough to control that, and sometimes I do a mistake. So it’s very tough to end a final like that,” he said. “But sometimes we feel so much pressure from the ATP to play a lot of tournaments. They don’t do anything [for] us, and today I do a mistake and I have to pay like that.
“I agree I do a mistake but sometimes everybody do a mistake and I didn’t feel it had to end like that, especially in a final.”
♦ Russia’s soccer association was fined Sunday for the second time at the European Championship in Poland, this time a $37,800 penalty for “improper conduct” by fans during last Tuesday’s match against Poland. Russia previously was fined $150,000 after fans attacked stadium staff at the nation’s first match against the Czech Republic.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 18, 1953, the Red Sox scored 17 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 23-3 victory over the Tigers. Which Sox outfielder had three hits in the inning?
|LeBron James wishes Bulls’ Derrick Rose a fast recovery||05.30.12 at 12:10 pm ET|
LeBron James doesn’t have Derrick Rose‘s number, but that didn’t prevent the Heat forward from wishing the Chicago star the best on his path to recovery.
On Tuesday James used the media to deliver the message to Rose, who had surgery for a torn ACL he suffered on April 28 against the 76ers. James said he has never had a long conversation with Rose but enjoys the way the 23-year-old plays basketball.
“I don’t know what he’s going through,” James said. “I’ve never had that type of injury, knock on wood, so I can’t imagine what he’s going through. I just hope he comes back 100 percent, 110 percent, because I am a fan of his. I love the way he plays the game of basketball and what he brings to the game.”
James wasn’t the only Heat player who offered a wish for Rose’s speedy recover as Dwyane Wade did the same. Wade, who has dealt with his own injuries, said he wished Rose and his family well.
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Larry Bird calls Pacers ‘soft’ after Heat take liberties in rout||05.23.12 at 7:41 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA playoffs: Celtics at 76ers, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)
NHL playoffs: Devils at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 12:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Nationals at Phillies, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Cubs at Astros, 8 p.m. (WGN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Not only did the Heat rout the Pacers in Tuesday night’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, they got in a couple of vicious hacks in the process. Following a hard foul from Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough on Dwyane Wade in the second quarter, Heat forward Udonis Haslem responded moments later with a two-handed foul to Hansbrough’s face. Then, in the closing seconds, Heat sub Dexter Pittman threw an elbow to the throat of Pacers loudmouth Dwight Stephenson, and Pittman gave a little wink for good measure. All three fouls were ruled flagrant-1.
“I don’t know if that was retaliation. … I’m sure the NBA will and do what they have to do,” said Pacers forward Danny Granger, who left in the third quarter with an ankle injury.
Pacers president Larry Bird was not happy with his team’s reaction — or lack thereof.
“I can’t believe my team went soft. S-O-F-T,” Bird told The Indianapolis Star’s Mike Wells. “I’m disappointed. I never thought it would happen.”
♦ Rangers forward Mike Rupp escaped further punishment from the NHL after his shot to the face of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur in Monday night’s Game 4, and Rupp later admitted that his hit was unprovoked.
Rupp, whose team was trailing 3-0 en route to a 4-1 loss, had just been given a roughing penalty for a hit behind the net when he skated by Brodeur and caught the unsuspecting goalie with a quick jab. There had been speculation that Brodeur said something to spark Rupp’s anger.
“No, nothing was said,” Rupp acknowledged Tuesday. “It’s a hockey game. Things happen in the moment. I’m just focused on this game [Wednesday] and looking forward to the opportunity of having home ice.”
♦ Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who was arrested for driving 93 mph on a suspended license early Monday, has a more pressing issue. Chapman is being sued for $18 million by a Cuban-American man who claims the pitcher is responsible for his imprisonment in Cuba.
Danilo Curbelo Garcia was arrested in 2008 and is serving a 10-year sentence for involvement in human trafficking because he allegedly came up with a plan to help Chapman defect in exchange for a portion of Chapman’s first major league contract. Chapman testified against Curbelo Garcia at his trial, the lawsuit states, in order to earn back his spot on the Cuban national team after his suspension for a previous attempt to escape the communist island.
Chapman defected to the Netherlands in 2009 while playing for Cuba in the World Port Tournament.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 23, 1976, the Celtics beat the Suns, 98-87, in Game 1 of the NBA finals. Which Celtic led the way with 25 points and 21 rebounds?
|Heat stars tired of Danny Granger’s antics||05.22.12 at 3:03 pm ET|
LeBron James called out Pacers forward Danny Granger for his behavior in the Eastern Conference semifinal series, saying that he thought Granger was trying to bait the Heat. James even called it “stupid.”
Granger has received a technical foul in each of the last three meetings between the teams, backing up his assertion that he wasn’t going to back down from the Heat. In Games 2 and 3, the Pacers star confronted James, and then in Game 4 Granger took issue with Dwyane Wade after Wade was fouled by Roy Hibbert.
James said that if Granger was seeking some sort of altercation, he wouldn’t get a reaction from the Heat.
“Nobody is fighting on the basketball court. Come on,” James said. “I’m not going to fight because I mean too much to our team and I can’t afford to be suspended for a game or do something stupid to get thrown out of a playoff game.”
Granger said that he is playing with a chip on his shoulder, and that’s the reason behind his actions.
“There’s a line and I’m tiptoeing it. That’s a product of the chip on my shoulder and we have on our shoulder as a team of not being respected,” he said. “That goes not just for this series, but all year. We had the fourth or fifth best record in the NBA and I think we only had one televised game.”
Wade also took issue with Granger’s confrontational mentality.
“I’m all for standing up for your guys, but certain things you just can’t keep doing,” Wade said. “My message to Granger was that you just can’t keep running up into people’s faces for altercations. We’re not fighting on this basketball court, so let’s not act like we’re going to fight. We can be physical and do all that, but certain things got to stop. Are you out here to play basketball or are you out here to be a tough guy?”
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Magic’s Dwight Howard to have season-ending surgery||04.20.12 at 7:37 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Hawks, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI)
NBA: Lakers at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Flyers at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Red Wings at Predators, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 3:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Reds at Cubs, 2:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Astros, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Bruins, 3 p.m. (NBC)
NHL playoffs: Devils at Panthers, 6:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL playoffs: Senators at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Blues, 7:30 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Coyotes, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Nuggets at Suns, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Mavericks at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Magic at Jazz, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 4:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Orioles at Angels, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Bruins at Capitals, TBD
NHL playoffs: Kings at Canucks, TBD
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Flyers, TBD, if necessary
NHL playoffs: Predators at Red Wings, TBD, if necessary
NBA: Knicks at Hawks, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Thunder at Lakers, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
NBA: Rockets at Heat, 6 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Hornets at Clippers, 9:30 p.m. 9NBA TV)
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Dwight Howard will have back surgery and miss the remainder of the Magic’s season as well as this summer’s Olympics. Howard, who has missed his team’s last six games, is scheduled to have the procedure to repair a herniated disk Friday in Los Angeles.
“It hurts [emotionally],” Howard told ESPN. “That’s the first thing — it hurts. And then with people saying and thinking I’m quitting on my team. This is a real issue. I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse.”
Meanwhile, the Howard-Stan Van Gundy feud apparently is back in gear, as an Orlando television station reported that Howard called team owner Rich DeVos and said he refuses to play for the coach next season.
Earlier this month, Van Gundy accused Howard of trying to get him fired. Howard denied that accusation and the two met with general manager Otis Smith and declared a truce.
♦ Heat star Dwyane Wade‘s girlfriend, actress/model Gabrielle Union, revealed during an appearance with Conan O’Brien that Wade has banned her from sitting courtside because she’s too much of a distraction. Union, who now sits a few rows back, admitted to yelling at referee Dick Bavetta and insulting players about their weight.
♦ Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia is batting just .063, and apparently he’s a little sensitive about it. When a New York-based media member named Eric Mirlis tweeted that Arencibia ranks behind two players who have yet to play this season — and sent the tweet to the catcher — Arencibia took a shot at Mirlis’ weight. Tweeted Arencibia: please have one more donut, looks like u need it!
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 20, 1986, Michael Jordan scored an NBA playoff record 63 points at the Boston Garden, but the Celtics beat the Bulls in double overtime, 135-131. He broke the record of 61 set in 1962, also against the Celtics at the Garden, by which player?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When you shoot 45 shots on net, you would expect your team to have more than one goal, so there’s obviously some areas that we’re not happy with.” – Bruins coach Claude Julien, after Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Capitals
STAT OF THE DAY: 0-for-12 – The Bruins’ power-play numbers in their series vs. the Capitals
‘NET RESULTS: The members of the Heat apparently have been inspired by the dirty play in the Stanley Cup playoffs, as they took a couple of shots at the Bulls during Thursday night’s game.
During Thursday night’s Bruins-Capitals game, Caps forward Alex Ovechkin falls over the boards returning to the bench.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Elgin Baylor, who scored 61 points to lead the Lakers past the Celtics, 126-121, in Game 5 of the 1962 NBA finals
SOOTHING SOUNDS: The late Luther Vandross, known by college basketball fans as the singer of “One Shining Moment,” was born on this day in 1951.
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