Starting today we are going to have a weekly segment called "4 Quarters" where our new guest blogger, Jonathan Zaslow from South Florida’s 790 The Ticket, will give us a piece of his mind on what’s happening with the Miami Heat. Jonathan is a HUGE Heat fan and very knowledgeable when it comes to basketball. You can hear The Zaslow Show every weekday from 10am-12pm on 790 The Ticket, or if you don’t live in South Florida you can log on to www.790theticket.com and listen there. BIG thanks to Jonathan for taking the time to blog with us. For more info on Zaslow, click HERE.
This week's 4 Quarters:
1) Diawara over Beasley
For the Heat fan who has been all over Coach Spoelstra the entire season regarding his distrbution of minutes for the rookie, this is just more fuel to the fire.
Heat fans have been nuts all season long (some calling for Riley to get rid of Spoelstra) over two main points: First, Michael Beasley's minutes and secondly, the rotation or lack thereof. Heat fans can't have it both ways. With the playoffs just around the corner, you know most teams like to shorten the bench. Pat Riley is one of the original coaches who like to shorten the bench come playoff time. You know that this is probably something that Riley has gone over with Spoelstra. Every night, you can count on three guys being contributors on the bench: Beasley, Cook, and Chalmers. That's it. The rest is a mystery on any given night. So, when Coach has finally settled on players 6, 7, and 8, why break up that rotation during the stretch run and heading into the REAL season? It's not as if losing Haslem leaves a gaping whole on the offensive side in the starting lineup. If O'Neal went down, then you need Beasley's scoring punch in the lineup with Wade. For now, I'm content with Spoelstra keeping a set bench rotation leading into the playoffs. The kid will have plenty of games in the starting lineup in the near future.
2) Back in the Playoffs
You can't possibly overstate how fortunate the Heat fan is that this team is back in the postseason. Since Pat Riley got here, the Heat have made the postseason 11 of 14 years (including this year). That's not the amazing part. When eight teams make the post season in each conference, any respectable franchise should get in most of the time. The amazing part, is that not once, but twice, this team has hit rock bottom (25 wins in '03 and 15 in '08) and managed to bounce back in relatively quick fashion. Just look at some of the teams in this league who are seemingly stuck in Lottery purgatory every year. The Heat fan is pretty lucky. Teams dont usually bounce back this quick. For as much crap as you may want to give Riley, I don't think he gets nearly enough credit for his role as Team President as he should. In his tenure with the heat, he's been an infinitely more successful President than Head Coach. There is no other Coach in the history of sports who can lose four straight years ('98-'01) in the postseason to lower seeded teams and keep their job. Pat Riley the President took just two years to retool the Heat earlier this decade (which wouldn't have been necessary had Alonzo not gotten sick) and took just one year to add a few pieces to Wade and position this team for a homerun in 2010. That right there should have been the main goal for this season. The fact that they'll also be in the postseason is a bonus. That's a good job by Riley.
3) Alonzo's Retirement
I got to tell you, in my 4+ years of being involved in sports broadcasting, I'm going to let you in on a little something I have learned. The Miami Heat are FAR AND AWAY the most professional and first class organization in this town. Top to bottom, the Heat organization is a well oiled machine. It's no surprise that Alonzo's retirement ceremony was as classy as it was. Great moment for the Heat fan who has been waiting for a jersey to be retired. Championship banners and retired jerseys are the sign of a great and successful franchise. The Heat have only been around 21 years, but a handful of division championship banners, a conference title banner, a championship banner, and a retired jersey, is not too shabby. Now they just have to take down those two senseless jerseys hanging in the rafters on their own.
On a side note, very savvy and classy move by the fans in attendance, giving Patrick Ewing such a welcome ovation. After all those battles, it wouldn't have been a surprise to hear some jeers. The Heat fan gave Ewing a terrific and deserved ovation. That's a good job.
4) Potential 1st round matchup
I'm pretty torn on this one. You would assume Atlanta would be the most favorable matchup. Atlanta is just as bad on the road as the Heat are. I suppose you can say that Wade is good enough to steal one on the road on his own. I'm not sure I'd be one of those people.
I'm one of those people who wouldn't mind seeing a 3) Celtics vs. 6) Heat matchup. Just look at the Celtics right now. Kevin Garnett has never missed extended time in his long NBA career. And, coming off of his first 100 game season, you think Garnett is going to be healthy in the 1st round of the playoffs?? Plus, Rondo is pretty banged up as well, and we know how important he is to that team. A Celtic team with just Ray Allen and Paul Pierce leading the charge is not much better than the Heat (if at all). You you were to offer me a first round matchup with a bruised and battered defending champion, with a chance to shock the world, I think I'd take you up on that offer. Besides, you think the Celtics want to see any part of Dwyane Wade in the first round of their title defense?
Talk to you again next week, with another 4 Quarters.