There have been plays or moments during games that caused candid reactions on the Miami Heat bench this season.
Most were reserved for the out of ordinary, such as Mike Miller dunking, Mario Chalmers hitting 10 3-pointers or Shane Battier blocking a shot.
None, however, came anywhere close to drawing the response when a child was shown on the big screen during last Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls. The boy was sporting a Mohawk and fake tattoos, mimicking reserve center Chris Andersen.
It drew smiles from everyone on the bench, even Andersen, who is becoming one of the team's most popular players.
"I didn't think those (tattoos) were fake," Andersen said of the boy. "I thought those were real. I need to go talk to his artist. They were pretty clean."
Andersen's fanfare is mostly because of his colorful personality but now his play is starting to factor into the rage. The Heat have gone 39-3 since he was signed in late January. What started out as an experiment has turned into an important midseason roster move. The Heat made acquisitions as such in the past _ Ronny Turiaf, Mike Bibby and Erick Dampier _ only to have them fizzle in the postseason.
Andersen has averaged 4.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 14.9 minutes but is expected to have an extended role when the Heat open their first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday at AmericanArena.
The reason is the combination of his improved conditioning and continued comfort in what could be an intimidating locker room, with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade among the inhabitants.
"I think the key thing with Chris is he's able to fit in with a complex locker room," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You have to have a personality. You have to have a confidence about you. It's not the easiest locker room to step into."
Andersen entered having only a bond with Rashard Lewis and Juwan Howard. He and Lewis are both from the Houston area while he was Howard's teammate in Denver in 2008.
"You've definitely got to be yourself and a little bit of craziness, too," Andersen said. "I think I fit in the locker room very well. I mesh with the guys. Their personalities are beyond human. It's just amazing to sit back and watch and be a part of it."
The transition was evident when Andersen earned the opening role in the Heat's "Harlem Shake" video that was filmed last month. Andersen, nicknamed Birdman, began the performance with his trademark arm flapping.
It made him an instant fan favorite. He took it to another level when he repeated the gesture after a dunk against the Bulls. It was the one moment Andersen brought his lively personality to the court. For the most part, he's been low key during games. He took exception to recently being asked about his flapping by saying, "Flap? I flapped once."
It's Andersen's way of living up to being the player Spoelstra says has a "lunch-pail mentality." He does the behind-the-scenes work while feeding off energy from the crowd.
"They (the fans) gave me a good, warm welcome and it's been that way ever since," Andersen said. "I think when you got the fans and the city behind you like that, it's all the confidence in the world to go out there and give it your all."
Allen affected by Boston bombing
Guard Ray Allen told reporters Wednesday he was directly affected by the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this week.
Allen said a friend was injured in the tragedy that left three dead and more than 170 injured.
"We have a family friend that was there that ran the marathon, and she's in intensive care now because she lost her leg,'' Allen told reporters.
Allen played the last five seasons with the Boston Celtics before signing with the Heat last summer. His mother, Flo-Allen Hopson, and wife, Shannon, have run in the marathon.
Bucks frontcourt rested
Bucks forward Ersan Ilvasova and center Larry Sanders did not play in Wednesday's regular-season finale against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Sanders missed the final four games of the season with a sore back while Ilvasova was hampered with a sore wrist. Both are probable for Sunday's series-opener at AmericanAirlines Arena.Copyright © 2015, South Florida