The Heat are visiting Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls in the midst of one of the more awkward public team issues we have seen. Dwyane Wade made a statement to the media, summing it up basically saying that his teammates don’t care if they win or lose. Jimmy Butler echoed that statement. And now, Rajon Rondo is calling them out referencing his Boston days that those guys would never do that.
My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn't pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn't take days off. My vets didn't care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn't blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn't have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn't change the plan because it didn't work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can't win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don't deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it's the leadership.
Rondo has been on the outskirts of the rotation and has found difficulty fitting in. I can only imagine how uncomfortable that locker room is right now. Let’s just say, there may be some entertainment value watching this unfold on the court starting tonight.
Regardless, the Miami Heat are riding into Chicago on a 5-game winning streak! Dion Waiters has averaged 30 PPG the last three games and his had some late game heroics. He hit a game winner against the Warriors, and then he nailed a 3-point dagger agains the Nets in the final seconds. The Heat are finding a bit of a groove right now, and the Bulls (23-24) have lost 3 of their last 5.
This will be the final matchup of the Heat and Bulls this season, with Chicago winning the first two by 3 points and 5 points. On Thursday, both Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside were left off the NBA All-Star roster. Wade, for the first time since his rookie season, and Whiteside missed despite leading the league in rebounds.
Here’e some details.
Friday, January 27 @ the United Center in Chicago, IL
8:00 PM EST
TV: Fox Sports FL, NBALP | Radio: 790 the Ticket
Miami: Goran Dragic | Dion Waiters | Rodney McGruder | Luke Babbitt | Hassan Whiteside
Chicago: Jerian Grant | Dwyane Wade | Jimmy Butler | Taj Gibson | Robin Lopez
Clearly the matchup we are watching closely is Waiters and Wade. Waiters stood on the Miami Heat court and yelled, “This is my city!” Wade may be cool with that...or not. Either way, Waiters is playing great basketball right now, and Wade will want to perform against his former team.
Another matchup I am looking at is Whiteside and Lopez. Robin has had some success against Hassan. He knows how to pull him out of the lane, and he isn’t afraid to score when he has the ball against him. Whiteside needs to find a way to be dominant here and the Heat will have a good chance.