A: The Nets did that somewhat out of necessity, with Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko on minutes limitations while returning from injuries. Look, this is about players playing better, not minutes distribution. It's also about Erik Spoelstra sorting through possibilities. Yes, there are questions, from what they're getting out of Udonis Haslem to opening with Chris Bosh being positioned so far from the rim, to Dwyane Wade being in, then being out, then being back in again. If you look around the league, there's been plenty of unexpected during the opening week. Adrenaline will carry some teams for a while, then a natural order will evolve. And Spoelstra likely will get to his natural order soon enough, as he sorts his way through.
A: Actually, Dwyane warned about boredom and avoiding it. The first week has been a whirlwind around the league, and I still think too much time was spent on the road during the preseason. They'll regain their legs; LeBron certainly doesn't have his yet. And there certainly are worse things than an early-season wakeup call. Friday was somewhat humbling, perhaps even more so than what happened in Philadelphia. But, remember, the Heat already have shown that regular-season slip-ups usually are reversed in the postseason.
Q: If only Ray Allen makes his foul shot or Chris Bosh misses his with the Heat down two, not the other way around! -- Martin.
A: Just an odd night. But, again, better now, in November, than during a playoff series in April or May.
November 1, 2013
Q: Isn't it too early to set rotations in stone or mimic last season's rotation? Shouldn't Spo experiment with lineups this early in the season? Test Michael Beasley or James Jones when Shane Battier or Udonis Haslem struggles offensively. -- Ryan, Naples.
A: But he did just that on Wednesday night, when he took a look at Roger Mason Jr. with the starters and with Rashard Lewis with the second unit. To a degree, I think Erik Spoelstra should get credit for those moves, instead of simply going back to James Jones as the emergency starter or, as some seem to believe, utilizing the people's choice in Michael Beasley ahead of Lewis. It is far better to fail with something creative now than to be forced to go with something unknown later. This is the perfect time to mix and match. He did that with Mason and Lewis on Wednesday night. And lessons were learned.
Q: When the Spurs rested their starters against the Heat last season, it not only allowed Tim Duncan & Co. to rest, but it also prevented Heat players from getting a good look at them until they met during the NBA Finals. I like the idea of resting Dwyane Wade and others throughout the season, but wouldn't it make more sense to rest them against the good teams (where more effort is needed) and let them play against bad teams? After all, a win against the 76ers counts as much as a win against the Spurs or Thunder during the regular season. -- David.
A: I believe the "rest" will and should come when needed, not based on opponent or the schedule. If Dwyane Wade or LeBron James or anyone else say they don't feel right, then the opponent shouldn't matter during the regular season; they should sit that night. And I believe that is the approach Spoelstra will take.
Q: I figured it out: The Heat threw the game against the 76ers because they want the 76ers' first rounder for the Arnett Moultrie deal. -- Jeremy., Hollywood.
A: I can't believe it took a full day for someone to figure that out. The 76ers making the playoffs would be an NBA Draft best-case scenario for the Heat (it also won't be happening).