James, Wade bracing Heat in post


James, Wade bracing Heat in post

MIAMI For all that the Miami Heat has done to bolster their roster, there still remains a gaping hole in the middle which you would think might hinder their ability to score in the paint.

But the Heat have done what the Heat tend to do when they need something -- go to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Although both have made a killing off their ability to score in transition and beat players off the dribble, each has an emerging low-post game, making them -- and the Heat -- a lot tougher to contend with.

"The way this team is built, we need (Wade) and LeBron to be a post presence for us," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. "They need to establish that game down there so that we can play inside-out and not be an exclusive pick-and-roll, penetration team."

Spoelstra added, "You can still play in and out as well as any big team when you think of teams that post their 4s (power forwards) and 5s (centers). We just do it a little inverted with our perimeter players."

The idea of James becoming more of a post threat makes sense when you consider he's 6-foot-8 with the strength of a power forward and blessed with the skills of a point guard.

But the evolution of Wade into a post player takes a little more time to wrap your arms around conceptually.

At 6-4, Wade's ability to slash into the lane has made him one of the league's most dynamic players, a former NBA Finals MVP.

But Wade understands as well as anyone the need for his game to continue to grow if the Heat are to achieve their ultimate goal which is to win another NBA title.

"It's something I've developed, something I'm comfortable with," Wade said.

But when he does go into the post, Wade's not necessarily looking to score.

Consider him akin to Kevin Garnett -- but seven inches shorter -- in terms of going into the post to be more of a facilitator to the offense either as a scorer or passer.

"Sometimes posting gets you closer to the rim, and I'm a willing passer out of the post as well," Wade said. "If I have a matchup where they feel the need to come and double, I'm able to get my shooters, cutters, other opportunities to the basket. I'm very comfortable playing in the post, mid-post area."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 


“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”