ASK IRA: Should McRoberts be suspended for foul on LeBron?

April 24, 2014

Q: If Josh McRoberts is suspended, do you think Charlotte will go with an ultra-small lineup for Saturday's Game 3? How would the Heat counter? -- David.

A: First, there has to be some type of sanction against McRoberts for his fourth-quarter shoulder shiver against LeBron James. That was many things, but a basketball play wasn't one of them. For all  the stoppages this postseason to review flagrant fouls or out-of-bounds calls, how could the officials not rule that a flagrant initially, if only to go to the video? And if they did review it, it is safe to assume that LeBron would have gotten his free throws and the Heat would have retained possession, reducing further stress. Was it a Flagrant 2? You certainly could consider it within the realm. At the least, expect an upgrade to a Flagrant 1 and a fine for McRoberts. But that one was awfully close to crossing the line. Without McRoberts, I can't see Charlotte do anything but go small, considering they didn't even play Bismack Biyombo in Game 2.


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Q: So for all the complaining about the Heat's lack of focus, Chris Bosh playing too far from the basket and Erik Spoelstra's coaching or lack of coaching, the Miami Heat are the only home team (1 of 8 home teams in the first round of the NBA playoffs) to win home Games 1 and 2. Even Gregg Popovich has lost. What can we complain about? -- Stuart.

A: Complain? That would be a bit much. But if the Heat were pleased with their performance Wednesday, then they're not who we thought they were. That was way, way, way too cavalier of an effort for a playoff game, no matter the round. Hopefully it was a wakeup call.

Q: I don't know why teams don't use more zone defense on the Heat, especially when they have a hobbled guy like Al Jefferson? Why not go to zone defense and hope the Heat miss the lower-percentage jump shots? -- Martin.

A: Because the Heat still are capable of throwing out lineups with 3-point specialists, although I am surprised during Wednesday's closing stages that Erik Spoelstra went to James Jones instead of Shane Battier. You have to wonder if the Heat think Battier has somewhat checked out amid this farewell tour.


April 23, 2014

Q: James Jones' performance Sunday reminded me of the game he had against the Boston Celtics in May 2011, the second round of the playoffs, Game 1. Jones' shooting helped Heat get a nice lead on the Celtics. He is fun to watch, such a smart player. -- Stuart.

A: What's crazy about that 25-point performance off the bench on May 1, 2011 was that Jones was 10 of 10 from the line, basically a season's-plus worth of free throws for him these days. To a degree, the Bobcats will decide how much plays by how aggressive their perimeter players play. If the defensive challenge becomes too great for Jones in a more aggressive pick-and-roll game by the Bobcats, then it could be Shane Battier's turn, or even more time for Rashard Lewis. The game after Jones scored his 25 against Boston in that Game 1, he went scoreless the following game and by the midpoint of the following series against the Bulls wasn't even playing.

Q: The stupidity of Dwyane Wade never developing 3-point range has caused Chris Bosh to move the outside. -- Ryan.

A: Not every player can develop every shot. It would be like asking Greg Oden to develop an off-the-dribble game. At a certain point, players are better off refining what they do best, taking it to a higher and more efficient level. What Dwyane does is operate efficiently around the rim. He was particularly proficient in that area in Game 1 against the Bobcats. The last thing the Heat need is for Dwyane to start launching from long range.

Q: Chris Bosh is in no man's land. He needs to get back to his bread-and-butter midrange shot or in the paint. -- Tim.

A: If he is matched up against Al Jefferson, I would be surprised if he doesn't try to test Jefferson's bum foot off the dribble. You're right, with Jefferson in this state, there is little need for Bosh to take his game as far outside, since Jefferson getting to the midrange area defensively will be challenge enough. Of course, the Bobcats probably are hoping for plenty of Udonis Haslem or Chris Andersen, so Jefferson can spend more time planted in the paint. It's the reason the Heat likely will go small again.


April 22, 2014

Q: I get that as Chris Bosh goes outside he helps create space for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. What worries me is that he gets lost out there and settles for 3-pointers. Why not run him inside a bit more, so he is not so predictable and can offer a more consistent offensive option. The Heat will need more from him in the next round for sure. -- Chet.

A: My question continues to be whether it is Chris or the coaching staff that has him at those spots. I do agree that it can contribute to him drifting. But he also can crash the boards, run the break, go for second-change opportunities, make himself more of an active participant. I think Chris needs to be more active. At times, it was as if he was sleepwalking during Sunday's first half, when he was outplayed by Josh McRoberts. And I agree that he needs to build momentum for what might be a second-round matchup against nemesis Kevin Garnett.