A: I think it's safe to say there is no doubt the league is now LeBron's, but championships, and not MVPs, are what ultimately will dictate his legacy. The reality is this: LeBron needs to win this season's championship, whether it's against Duncan and the Spurs or any other challenger.
MAY 8, 2013
Q: Not to completely overreact after one loss, but does the "position-less" approach not work as well against the Bulls? The main benefit of "position-less" is to space the floor and create chances at the rim or corner 3-poiners, and the Bulls do a great job of taking those away. If the advantage of having shooters on offense is neutralized, anyway, wouldn't it make sense to put better defense and rebounding on the floor? The Heat did handily beat a Bulls team with Derrick Rose two years ago, using a traditional lineup. And now you have Birdman, Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Norris Cole in the rotation instead of Joel Anthony and Mike Bibby. -- Adrian.
A: So after one loss you want to abandon what made the 2012-13 Heat one of the most successful teams in decades? At this point, that only would further embolden the Bulls. And with LeBron James on the floor, you're essentially always playing "position-less" anyway. The problem with playing Chris Andersen and Norris Cole, say, with the Big Three, is that it allows the Bulls to even further compress their defense. No, what Heat shooters need to do is hit shots.
Q: Why don't the Heat start Cole over Mario Chalmers? He is faster, plays much better defense and can shoot just as well. I would think for as many boneheaded plays as Chalmers makes he would be one of the first to get cut for salary next year. -- Tony, Fort Lauderdale.
A: When it comes to Nate Robinson, I think that actually makes plenty of sense. But, again, do you change a lineup just because of the lineup a No. 5 seed is offering? But more Norris on Nate makes sense. And there could be something to be said about the Heat picking up their third-year option on Chalmers and then dealing him, if Norris continues to progress. By dealing Chalmers, the Heat might be able to off-load one of their bad contracts (Mike Miller, Joel Anthony) as well. But getting back to your original question, Mario also is the only true 3-point threat in the starting lineup, and without him the Bulls, again, could even further compact their defense.
Q: If Chris Bosh doesn't bring it for the rest of the series, consider this team toast. -- Joseph, Hollywood.
A: More certainly is needed. But LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each certainly have another level they can reach beyond Game 1.
MAY 7, 2013
Q: After watching Game 1, it showed the Heat will lose this series. They are getting out-rebounded, can't score on them, and can't stop Nate Robinson's pick-and-roll. I mean they lost to a team that doesn't have players to play. Now that Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng will come back this series is pretty much over. What's your take? --Shawn.
A: My take to you and all the others who wrote with similar concerns is to . . . exhale. This is the fourth time in five series that the Heat trailed. It seemed to work out just fine, if not a bit stressful, last season. Yes, plenty of Heat flaws were exposed, dealing with height and handling a quick point guard, but those have been issues all season, and were all overcome. Now we'll see what this team is about, how it handles adversity, something that truly has not been in place since that Feb. 1 loss in Indiana. Now it gets real.
Q: The Heat cannot have Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers on the court in the playoffs at the end of games. They are not good defenders. I know Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley are loyal guys, but Ray Allen is not the right matchup against the Bulls. Get Shane Battier out there or play Norris Cole. Watching Nate Robinson is like watching shades of J.J. Barea from 2011. Here we go again. No one on the Heat can stop him. -- Stuart.
A: I disagree about Ray. His offense, and the way he spaces the floor, offset many of the defensive concerns. But unless Mario Chalmers can show more, he cannot be on the floor in those situations. I agree that Cole could have been an answer, but spacing the floor is essential to the Heat's offensive game, and Norris doesn't necessarily do that. As for Shane Battier, he simply didn't have it Monday.
Q: The Heat went out Monday and laid an egg , wide open shots could not be made. Have they been busy reading their press clippings and not taking the Bulls seriously? -- Ron, Pompano Beach.
A: The Heat had better hope it was just rust. Truth be told, there were plenty of open looks in the first half, shots that could have broken the game open, shots they usually make. But that's the rub with the Bulls, if you let the game turn into a grind, their defense can grind you apart. Hopefully it's a lesson learned.
MAY 6, 2013