Q: Why would the Heat want the number-one overall playoff seed when in the NBA Finals the lower seed has three home games in a row? I'd rather have that. -- Scott, Los Angeles.
Q: If the Heat are thinking about starting Shane Battier in the playoffs, then why not go to it now? -- Jon.
A: Because they're just thinking about it, with no guarantee it's how they're going to open the playoffs. More than anything, I think Erik Spoelstra likes the idea of having that in his back pocket, sort of an open-in-case-of-emergency option. As the 27-game winning streak showed, the second unit of Battier, Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Chris Andersen has been effective when utilized alongside a starter, at least when it comes to buying time.
Q: Do you think Alonzo Mourning or Tim Hardaway will get elected into the Hall of Fame? -- Jon.
A: I think Zo will, because his humanitarian work likely will factor in. He becomes eligible for induction in 2013. The fact that Golden State running partner Mitch Richmond hasn't made it, either, creates doubts with Tim. Both came up short in this most recent election.
APRIL 8, 2013
Q: It seems like there are conflicting reports out there regarding Dwyane Wade. Bottom line: Do you think Heat fans should be worried about his "injury" going into the playoffs or is it likely something another few games off can take care of? -- Kevin.
A: I think any time you're talking about a knee, especially a Dwyane Wade knee, you have to be concerned. He continues to downplay the issue, including when he spoke Sunday at the team's charity event. And Erik Spoelstra certainly is playing it safe, going without practice on both Sunday and Monday. When it was a sprained ankle for Wade, it seemed like routine maintenance. But knees never are routine. Still, Wade played well enough after initially sustaining the injury that I wouldn't be overly concerned. For now.
Q: Do you still think the Knicks don't represent a threat to the Heat? They are hungry, feel disrespected and have some additional experience. -- Stuart.
A: Threat? Sure, you can't discount what they have done. But I still believe the Heat will have a better chance to figure out a Carmelo Anthony-centric offense than the Knicks will be able to deal with the Heat's diversity of creative scoring options.
Q: It took Pat Riley too long to get a player like Birdman. It's so much easier with him. -- Nelson.
A: Better late than never. But I will be curious to see where the trust is with Chris Andersen come the playoffs, especially if he continues to size up those jumpers.
APRIL 7, 2013
Q: I saw the Hawks lineup against the Spurs. Is Atlanta trying to get to the opposite side of the bracket from the Heat? It's looking like Chicago will end up fourth or fifth, and while Miami should not fear any matchup, I still think the Bulls are one of the tougher opponents in the East, especially if Derrick Rose makes a miraculous comeback. -- Adrian.
A: Even without Rose, you'll certainly feel a series against Chicago even if you get past them. There does seem to be a bit of chicanery at play. And the one thing you know about Tom Thibodeau is he plays every game to win. It's the only way he knows. I'm somewhat resigned to the Heat facing the winner of Chicago-Brooklyn in the second round. And I agree, Chicago will be a tough out, no matter who is playing.
Q: I don't see why people question Udonis Haslem starting. His rebounding per-minute numbers are great, and he still plays good defense. Sure his scoring is down, but with the Big 3 and Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Shane Battier, we don't need five offensive players on the floor. -- Josh, Boca Raton.