National TV at last! New O gets to take on the surging Miami Heat tonight, who will be led by living legend Earl Barron. Dwyane Wade will probably also make an appearance. The Hornets look to recover from a horrendous beating they took at the hands of the Lakers on Wednesday night. To see if the Heat are hiding any tricks up their sleeves in their thus far dismal season, we asked a few questions of the guys from Crazy from the Heat.

At the Hive: Pat Riley’s taken a lot of heat (no pun intended) for possibly stepping down in the near future, or whatever it is; his off-the-court actions are definitely being scrutinized a lot right now. But on the basketball court, would you say this guy is coaching well?

Crazy from the Heat: I don’t think there’s any way you can make the arguement that he is. Obviously, Riles is one of the greatest coaches of all time — any era, any sport — but despite all the injuries and the holes on this roster, there is no way this is an 8-28 team. There have been a lot of breakdowns for long stretches in the fourth quarter where the guys seem to lose focus and confidence and end up blowing the game. I pin that on the head coach. Granted, injuries and a lack of depth (which falls on his responsibilities as team president) have caused several lineup changes and little chemistry, but even when all the guys were healthy (at the start of the season) this team was simply not performing. That’s the coaches’ fault. I agree with Riley, he gets a grade of “F” this season.

At the Hive: The Hornets had a similar situation to the Heat a few years ago- a young star (Baron Davis), an aging one (Jamal Mashburn), and a decent supporting cast. As that started to fall apart, they made the decision to start cutting their losses and rebuild. At what point do you think that will happen with this current Heat team (if at all)?

Crazy from the Heat: It can’t happen until 2010. Many people have commented on my stories, saying the Heat should rebuild right now. But not only do I not agree with that, I don’t think it’s possible. This team can not fully rebuild until 2010 — that’s when the contracts of Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal and Pat Riley expire. Until then, the Heat have to try to get better from within. I strongly think O’Neal would be willing to take a pay cut and there are several expiring contracts at the end of this season (especially Ricky Davis and Jason Williams) which should open up some cap space. I think after this season, there is a two-year window left to build a competitor until the Heat go into full rebuilding mode.

At the Hive: Miami’s defense was one of its strong suits during its championship run as well as last year (9th and 8th in terms of efficiency in the NBA). This year, they’re just at 24th. Which players could you pinpoint as most responsible for the drop-off this year?

Crazy from the Heat: The Heat have no real perimeter defenders on their team. Smush Parker was the only one who was supposed to bring that, and he’s sitting on his couch right now. The Heat used to have guys like Eddie Jones, James Posey and Gary Payton who prided themselves on defense — not anymore. But it’s not only that, Riley’s defensive system is based strongly on quick rotations, help and shading. But these guys are not familiar with the system and that’s why you see all these open lanes to the basket where guys don’t rotate over to help because they don’t know their responsibilities. I think the biggest example of that is Ricky Davis — perhaps the worst team defender I have ever seen. It takes a while to fully grasp Riles’ system (even in their championship run, the Heat didn’t become a good defensive team until late in the season and into the playoffs). But injuries, new additions, young guys and players who simply don’t care about the defensive end have made this a bad defensive team.




C. Quinn 8.7

C. Paul 21.9

D. Wade 25.0

M. Peterson 9.3

D. Wright 7.0

P. Stojakovic 14.6

U. Haslem 12.9

D. West 19.4

E. Barron 14.0

T. Chandler 12.1



10 Responses

  1. Looking forward to this one, do you think Wade’s gonna guard CP?

  2. Nah. DW’s way quicker than Nash but I don’t think Riles will tire him out.

  3. Great moves by Peja we’re seeing here tonight. For all the “bust” talk, he’s done really well this year.

  4. Sure is nice to see Melvin Ely back on the floor for us. Definitely missed him after that fractured eye scoket.

  5. Lol, I dint know Ely could hsoot.

  6. Ugh, Wade is drawing way too many fouls right now. Normally, I might complain about the officiating, but the defense hasn’t been spectacular so far.

  7. What the #@%@%!?!?!?! Hows mark blount owning us??

  8. Blargh, if Blount hadn’t scored, Miami has just 22 non-Blount points…

  9. Not the greatest of starts to the half.

  10. Wow, awesome job on Wade. I’m still pissed aobut Blount htough. Seriously, Mark Blount? Mark Blount?

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