Monday, May 21, 2012
A round-up from Monday's Heat practice
By Tom Haberstroh
MIAMI -- Coming off a win in Indiana in Game 4 to tie the series, the Heat were in a good mood at practice on Monday.
With topics ranging from LeBron James' reading material to James and Dwyane Wade's big 70-point night to the Lance Stephenson-Juwan Howard confrontation to Udonis Haslem's bloody eye to James Jones' valiant dunk attempt over the Pacers defense ... it's time to go bullets-style.
On LeBron and Wade's historic night
James and Wade found out about their 38 consecutive points after the game and didn't hear about the historical precedence of James' 40-18-9 performance until they got on the plane.
When asked whether James took some extra time to take in the historical aspect of his Game 4, James just shook his head.
"No, not really," James said.
Wade later elaborated.
“Last night when we heard about [the statistical feat], we were like, ‘Wow,' and then we moved on," Wade said. "We don’t have time to pat ourselves on the back with our opponent [on Tuesday]."
Wade was mired in an awful shooting slump before reeling off eleven straight buckets on Sunday. It's hard to explain a turnaround like that, but Wade gave it his best shot.
“Obviously, the rim gets bigger and bigger," Wade said. "It’s something that’s indescribable. It’s something you really want to understand because at times the rim seems so small, it looks like a Cheerio. You can’t get the ball in it at all. And then other times it opens up like the ocean.”
Wade wasn't done making analogies. He likened LeBron's night to a video-game NBA 2K. And then to Dirk Nowitzki.
"It was video-game-like. You’d get that on [the video game NBA] 2K," Wade said.
"I was watching the game last night on the plane and I turned to Ronny Turiaf who was sitting behind me and I said, ‘You know what, I’ve played in the league for nine years and I’ve seen some amazing things, but I’ve never really played with a guy that I’m amazed so often by the things he does. I’m used to kind of not being the one who is in awe of things. Sometimes he does things and I’m like, ‘How did just he do that?’"
Wade went on.
“I think there was one shot he made in the game, it was kinda like the Dirk shot where he went and drove and fired and faded back off the wrong leg and banked it in. I looked back at Shane Battier and I was like, ‘What? How did he do that?’ I’ve seen a lot, but the performance he put on last night was a typical MVP kind of performance.”
On LeBron reading "The Hunger Games"
Full disclosure: I haven’t read “The Hunger Games” yet. Having not read the book, I couldn't get into detail with LeBron about his latest read by Suzanne Collins that is out in theaters. LeBron has been a bit of a bookworm throughout the playoffs, having just finished up basketball legend Jerry West’s autobiography titled “West by West.”
You might have noticed he certainly isn’t shy about his reading hobby around the media and cameras either.
“I’ve been doing it since the playoffs started,” LeBron said Monday. “It just puts me in a different mindset. Honestly, before the game I don’t even think about what’s going to happen throughout the game. I’ve just been reading and it’s been able to calm me down. It’s been great.”
His early review of "The Hunger Games"?
“It’s good, it’s really good,” LeBron said. “I just started reading it.”
On James Jones' dunk attempt
If you're like me, you watched James Jones' dunk attempt at least 30 times. If not, here's footage in GIF form brought to you by the folks at SB Nation.
The team watched the play on the plane ride back from Indiana last night and the team got a good laugh. When asked about it at practice, Wade squealed with laughter.
“That was by far the funniest thing that happened all year," Wade said. "It showed a great deal of aggression and toughness … but he wasn’t even close. That was the funniest moment on the plane when he watched it on tape.”
Jones got a good laugh out of it, too. He also thought he might have gotten fouled.
“I saw the lane get open, so I tried to attack it. I was hoping the referee would make the right call," Jones said.
"Since I’ve been here, I’ve been predominantly a spot-up shooter, but I saw an opportunity to attack the lane, it didn’t go as I had planned, but it’s just me trying to be aggressive. In the grand scheme of things, it was something that gave some comic relief knowing we had to come in here today and prepare for a tough Game 5.”
And then Jones got serious for a moment talking about trying to prove his talents to his fellow teammates.
“You try as much as possible to remind yourself and your teammates that you’re still a player and that you can do certain things even if it’s not what the team calls for you to do on a nightly basis.”
On the Lance Stephenson-Juwan Howard scuffle
Wade insists he had no idea about Juwan Howard approaching Lance Stephenson during the pregame warmups until after the game (watch and read about it here).
Howard and Wade grew up in the Chicago area so Wade felt some hometown pride when he found out that Howard, who hasn't played more than a few seconds in the playoffs, stuck up for the team like that.
"That’s Juwan Howard from Chicago," Wade said. "He’s invested in everything that goes on with this team."
And then Wade might have gotten a little carried away, even dabbling in the third person.
"Juwan as big of a part of this team as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is," Wade said. "His voice and his leadership around here means a lot to us. He understands that and he really gets it this year. If it takes something like that, hey. I didn’t know he did it until after the game and I said, 'That’s hilarious. That’s my boy from Chicago.'"
On Udonis Haslem's cut above his eye
LeBron put up a historic line on Sunday, but in his effort to be humble about the whole thing, he sent Haslem some praise.
"He's the biggest part of how we won last night," LeBron said. "Even with the individual performance of myself and D-Wade, I think UD got the game ball."
About the gash above his right eye from Lou Amundson's inadvertent elbow?
Oddly enough, Wade enjoyed that.
“Yeah, I liked it because I know certain people when they see their own blood, they get a little crazy," Wade said. "I actually liked it when I saw the blood dripping down.”
How does Haslem look now after the nine stitches? Here's a photo I snapped.