ASK IRA: Can James Jones repeat his Game 1 performance?
A: I'm not sure that Norris Cole is capable of losing a game on his own, because I'm not sure he ever plays that significant of a role. But he has been erratic, his high motor lately just as likely to get him in trouble as to get the Heat into a higher gear. But I think you're also overstating Toney Douglas, who largely has played off the ball, and has not shown the ability to hit the type of 3-pointers (save for the Nets game) that Cole previously has converted in big games. All of that said, I do think it's time to reevaluate Cole's role. Should Dwyane Wade make it back and Ray Allen stay healthy, it is possible those two absorb his minutes.

Q: What has Michael Beasley done to warrant this treatment from Spo? The guy scores, makes bigs come out to guard him. Spo said he was getting better on D.  I don't get how at least you didn't play him against Grizzlies. The guy is talented. It makes no sense. -- Julio.

A: I always go back to the fact that we don't see Beasley in practice, so we don't know what he is, or isn't, showing there. But I would find it difficult to believe that his blunders could be any worse than some of what Cole or even Mario Chalmers have shown lately. All of that said, Rashard Lewis is the player who has pushed Michael down the rotation, and the reality is that Lewis has played well and earned those minutes.


PHOTOS: 2013 SunFest Music Festival

Q: Is the idea to regain the continuity between Wade and the rest of the starting unit during the first round of the playoffs? -- Daniel.

A: No, but it might have to be that way. Remember, Dwyane even took time off during last season's first round against the Bucks due to his knees, sitting out Game 4, when Mike Miller started. If it's the Bobcats or Wizards in the first round, the Heat might not be able to ease into anything. They really need the Hawks if they want to lighten Wade's load.


April 10, 2014

Q: At this point, Miami needs to sit LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Let them find their rhythm during the first round of the playoffs against the Bobcats or Hawks. -- Tzaddi.

A: Or now perhaps against the Wizards, who could wind up as a No. 7 seed. But as Erik Spoelstra has continued to stress, none of his team's absences are because of "resting" players. It's either because of chronic ailments, such as Dwyane Wade's and Greg Oden's knees, or issues of the moment, such as Udonis Haslem's stomach virus and Chris Andersen's current soreness. And with a No. 1 seed still in the balance, I'm not sure LeBron or Bosh would settle for sitting. To their credit, they both play to win. To Spoelstra's credit, he has cut back dramatically on practice and shootaround time. But I also sense that LeBron also is reaching a breaking point, consistently putting up big numbers with limited payoff. At times, it's as if he's back in Cleveland, having to do it alone. I think this is a somewhat tenuous crossroads for the Heat and Spoelstra and LeBron. The Heat really need Wade to offer a reminder of what he's capable of, and sooner rather than later.

Q: Dwyane Wade has missed nearly a third of the season and the Heat still cold have the No. 1 seed in the East. It looks to me like LeBron James is still the MVP! -- Dee.

A: Of course, the counter in Oklahoma City would be that Kevin Durant has had to play similar stretches without Russell Westbrook. The difference is that the Thunder have known in advance when Westbrook was going to be out, have had a capable replacement in Reggie Jackson. By contrast, most of Wade's absences, save for the recent hamstring, have been last-minute decisions, requiring LeBron to adjust on the fly. And unlike the situation in Oklahoma City with the emerging Jackson, LeBron has had to make it work with Toney Douglas and a variety of other Wade stand-ins. To a degree, LeBron has helped compensate for both the absences of Wade and the decision to amnesty Mike Miller. Still, LeBron did all but concede the MVP race to Durant in his pregame comments Wednesday in Memphis.

Q: This is about LeBron. He is the one getting screwed because Wade is always hurt. -- Faye.

A: Actually, Spoelstra has done a decent job, by and large, with James' minutes until this recent stretch, and has cancelled a number of practices and shootarounds to keep LeBron and others fresh. But, yes, of course this is not what LeBron bargained for when he agreed to share the perimeter challenges with Dwyane.


April 9, 2014

Q: Block or foul? -- Pep.

A: A block that in the NBA tends to be called a foul in that situation. One of those 50-50 calls that isn't wrong, either way. But based Mason Plumlee on getting a piece of the ball and no other discernible contact with LeBron James beyond hand-to-hand, a call that certainly should stand up to NBA review. I highly doubt we will see an NBA memo or follow-up video saying the officials miscalled the play. The shock, as even Nets coach Jason Kidd noted, was that the NBA superstar did not get the benefit of the doubt over the NBA rookie. But the Heat also know it should not have come down to that single play.

Q: Does Jason Kidd know something about the Heat that no one else in NBA knows? He was on the Dallas team that came back and beat the Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals. Last year's Knicks beat the Heat 3-1 in the season series with Kidd on it, and this year's Nets are 6-0 against the Heat including the preseason. He should be the Zen Master. -- Stuart.

A: And none of it, at least from this season, matters. The team the Heat fielded on Tuesday night was not the team the Heat hope to field in a possible playoff series against the Brooklyn. Dwyane Wade has to be part of any championship mix. As simplistic as it sounds, any Heat lineup without Wade is not a true representation of what needs to be in place for a successful championship run. The Heat need Wade to win; Tuesday showed as much.

Q: Chris Bosh has had so many uninspiring, disappointing games this season. It's hard to believe that he couldn't out play Plumlee.  Do you lay more of this on Bosh or the Heat's offensive scheme? -- Joel.