Q: Ira, Bam Adebayo sits out and the offense takes off. Coincidence? Cody Zeller had 20 and Kevin Love had 18, so don’t tell it wasn’t because they didn’t go inside. – Bill.
A: Actually, coincidence had a lot to do with it. Dallas’ defense is trash, with shockingly minimal effort on that end. This was a night that anyone and everyone could have had big numbers. But there is something to the reality that Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler often work from the same real estate. With Kevin Love as the backup center, the Heat were playing more five out, freeing Jimmy Butler to have the freedom to probe the lane. And Cody Zeller essentially was working off Jimmy’s cues, rather than trying to create his own actions. But what worked Saturday against the Mavericks won’t necessarily work Thursday against the 76ers.
Q: That play-in to the Finals path is gonna hit different – John.
A: And likely is going to hit hard. The other three teams in the East play-in bracket – the Raptors, Hawks and Bulls – all have defeated the Heat this season, with Chicago having closed 3-0 against the Heat and Toronto at 3-1. There is no favorable draw, which is why the No. 7 seed is so critical, to get as many as two homecourt chances to advance to the best-of-seven first round. Or you can look at it as the Heat playing for the No. 1 seed in the play-in bracket (if that makes you feel any better).
Q: So happy for Dwyane Wade. Unlike baseball, the NBA got it right with him being first ballot and unanimous. Who doesn’t love Dwyane? – Elliott.
A: First, it’s not an NBA decision, with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame a shrine for those who excelled on all levels, in all genders, in all leagues. But yes, none of the snippyness of the voting for other Halls, where some don’t get votes because being unanimous or first-ballot is viewed as something reserved for the all-time best of the best. Then again, Dwyane arguably stands right there.