In another installment of the Heat Index's 3-on-3 series, our writers answer some questions before Miami takes on Toronto on Tuesday.
1. Fact or Fiction: Despite playing their fourth season together, do LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have legitimate chemistry and communication issues to work through at this stage of the season?
Israel Gutierrez: Fiction. Offensively, the ball movement and player movement have been fine. Defensively, the entire team is lacking communication and effort at times, not just LeBron and Wade. Their on-court chemistry has never been ideal, but it's no more problematic at this stage than at any other.
Michael Wallace: Fiction. LeBron and Dwyane have overcome and accomplished too much together over these past three years for there to still be any lingering structural issues to address. This is what happens when a relationship grows a bit stale. You get bored with success. You take one another for granted. You grow too content and forget what it felt like to court. These guys thrive on spice, and they need to find a way to regenerate sparks. It's just a phase. It's possible that LeBron and Wade could reach the point where they want a new challenge separate of each other, with each having opt-out clauses at season's end. But they realize how good they are together.
Brian Windhorst: Fiction. Other than injuries, there are no serious issues in November. It's interesting the Heat felt like they needed to address it in a meeting, but even that is part of regular in-season dealings. There is no missing that Wade seems to play completely differently when he's on the floor without James. With him fully healthy, it is especially evident. It just shows how much he suppresses his game when they're in the game together. But that has been a long-term issue that Wade seems to have long ago come to terms with.
2. Fact or Fiction: Chris Bosh is missing Tuesday's game in Toronto following the birth of his daughter on Monday. Will it finally allow for Michael Beasley to get some playing time?
Gutierrez: Fact. Beasley can slide in as a stretch 4, with either Udonis Haslem or Chris Andersen manning the middle. The key to any extended minutes would be how well he's defending and rebounding.
Wallace: Fact. But folks who are questioning why Beasley hasn't been involved in Erik Spoelstra's fluid rotation need to be reminded of what was made clear at the start of this reunion. The Heat don't need Beasley. With Chris Andersen playing through a minor leg/foot issue, the door could be open for spot-duty minutes for Beasley. Spoelstra has options.
Windhorst: Fiction. Spoelstra has made it clear that the next big man up is Joel Anthony, and I expect that to be the case again.
3. Fact or Fiction: The Raptors have improved enough to emerge as a likely candidate to face the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs next spring.
Gutierrez: Fact. At the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, there are plenty of teams capable of poking their heads in. Talentwise, the Raptors have enough to contend for a spot. It's a matter of maximizing that talent, which we've yet to determine Dwane Casey can do.
Wallace: Fact. Rudy Gay certainly has his share of critics around the league. But he now has a full season to settle into a constant go-to role with the Raptors. They still need a reliable outside shooting presence. But they have perimeter depth and an intriguing frontcourt that could create match-up problems for smaller teams in the East. I'm not suggesting Toronto is a lock for the seventh or eighth seed. But after you set aside Miami, Chicago, Indiana and Brooklyn, the Raptors will be among about six teams with a legitimate shot to grab one of the final four seeds in the East.
Windhorst: Fiction. Rudy Gay is shooting below 33 percent, the Jonas Valanciunas from Summer League has yet to show up and it sounds like the coach is maybe the lamest duck in the league. Also, there are reports everywhere that the Raptors are making most of their roster available via trade. Doesn't look like a playoff team to me.