ASK IRA: Should McRoberts be suspended for foul on LeBron?
A:  I grouped these two together because Friday night in many ways was the essence of Udonis Haslem, and why you can be sure, as long as Pat Riley and Micky Arison are around to have any say about it, that U.D.'s No. 40 will never be worn by another Heat player and eventually will only be found in the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena. What he has done in recent weeks has provided exactly the type of lift the Heat have needed during these dog days. He was all over the court and all over the floor on Friday night, an integral part of what might have been Roy Hibbert's darkest hour. And when David West tried to create a moment, Haslem got in the middle of it. It's a shame he couldn't get that 1q0th rebound to complete a double-double.

Q: Hi Ira. Has there been any information about the Heat coaching staff preparing to go into the playoffs without Dwyane Wade or Wade in a diminished role? Obviously the offense can't rely on two dominant players at the wings with consistency anymore. Has Chris Bosh been told he's the number-two option now or are they still holding out hope for Wade to play the entire playoffs? -- Eric.

A: Erik Spoelstra continues to stress everything remains day-to-day with Dwyane, but there has to be concern with a player who has not seen action since March 26 in Indiana. As for Bosh, you don't tell a player he has to be the number-two option. The player has to step up and impose himself into the game, something that has been an issue with Chris in recent weeks. The reality is that the LeBron James, without Wade alongside, probably cannot carry the Heat to the Finals, even in the watered-down East. The concern meter has to be up when it comes to Dwyane. Until then, you bide your time, as the Heat did Friday.


PHOTOS: 2013 SunFest Music Festival

Q: Greg Oden, if he's not ready by now, will he ever be? -- Tony.

A: I can't fathom a player who played such minimal minutes and then missed so much time being able to develop any type of rhythm to play at a playoff level. It's one thing for Dwyane Wade to find his rhythm on the fly; he knows what playoff basketball is all about. But Greg didn't even truly get the chance to get in regular-season rhythm, let alone play on a stage when the stakes are so elevated and teams shorten their rotations. The exception could be using him for minutes against Joakim Noah, if the Heat meet the Bulls in the postseason, just to wear on Noah for a while.


April 11, 2014

Q: As a huge fan of the Heat, and not just for the winning years, I would like to know why Erik Spoelstra keeps Norris Cole in the game even though he misses layups and turns the ball over in crucial situations? He lost us the Memphis game. He turned the ball over at the end of the first half and allowed the tying basket. Toney Douglas is playing well. Why is he not playing toward the end of the game? Cole has lost us a few games recently. -- Joe.

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.

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.