For the Heat, honorable defeat and an ocean of uncertainty

The Miami Heat died honorably on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat pushed up the hill as long as they could. Having trailed by 17 points midway through the third quarter, they sliced their deficit to six in the early stages of the fourth quarter. They were right there, somehow […]

Heat-Raptors Game 7: the players

The words “Game 7” might not stir the soul on Sunday afternoon in Canada as much as they ordinarily would in a second-round NBA playoff series, but the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors won’t care. They shouldn’t. The reality of sports contains an always-present disclaimer: An event might not live up to the hype or […]

Flash, back home: Wade earns a Game 7 for Miami, as hero-ball works

Dwyane Wade, like former teammate LeBron James, was made for one of the most underrated crucibles in all of sports. Most sports fans and analysts pay close attention to Game 7s, those moments when a long series reaches the ultimate crescendo. Yes, Game 7s are almost always special, and they certainly reveal what exists inside […]

Overheated: Miami suffers from a feast-or-famine quality against Charlotte

The Miami Heat’s 2016 season is not over, but it seems reasonable to say — even now, before an elimination game Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets — that Miami’s presence as a threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers has been oversold. Game 5 of the Heat’s Eastern Conference first-round series on Wednesday night illustrated the […]

Courtney Lee rebounds… in more ways than one

Courtney Lee is a rebounder — and not principally in the sense of being a player who grabs missed shots. Yes, Lee’s rebounds at the end of Games 4 and 5 have put the Charlotte Hornets in position to eliminate the Miami Heat this Friday in North Carolina, but the story of Courtney Lee’s rebounding […]

After one week, the Eastern Conference remains true to itself

We’ve played at least three games in all four Eastern Conference playoff series, making our way through this spread-out first week of the postseason. Should anything we’ve seen this week truly surprise us? If we are surprised, it says more about us and our expectations than these teams and their players. Truly, nothing from any […]

Hornets over Heat: the vindication of Steve Clifford

After Game 2 of his first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornet coach Steve Clifford had a lot to say. Looking back on that statement, it’s very hard to contest the essential truths of Clifford’s points. Charlotte scored 16 more points than the ice-cold Heat, frolicking to victory on a day […]

Charlotte feels the Heat, as Miami does the improbable

The Miami Heat have been the best team in the NBA over the past five days, in which all 16 playoff teams have played two games. You saw that coming during the regular season, didn’t you? If you say yes, you are either a family member of someone in the Heat organization… or you’re a […]

A first-class second round: Giving due recognition to the second round of the 2015 draft

Not all rookies can be Karl-Anthony Towns, or Kristaps Porzingis, or Justise Winslow, or Willie Cauley-Stein… …or D’Angelo Russell, or Devon Booker, or Myles Turner (damn, this draft class rules). Despite some outstanding first-year performances this season, the reality when it comes to rookies is that they just don’t typically affect winning or improve their […]

The Heat might have lost “that game” to the Lakers

The Miami Heat — which appeared to be in danger of missing the playoffs in late January — have coped with a season of struggle and limitation better than most had a right to expect. Justise Winslow started the season brightly but ran into a winter of adjustment and difficulty. Hassan Whiteside is a dynamic […]