Miami Heat hope to find a way to slow down Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan celebrates a 3-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Washington. The Raptors won 113-103. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan celebrates a 3-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Washington. The Raptors won 113-103. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

MIAMI — The Heat are familiar with DeMar DeRozan’s game.

Miami was eliminated by DeRozan and the Raptors in a seven-game series in the second round of last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs. DeRozan averaged 22.1 points on 38.8 percent shooting in the series as he played through a thumb injury. Continue reading “Miami Heat hope to find a way to slow down Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan”

‘Big Three’ Heat could offer Warriors reference point following loss in opener

(Getty Images/AP)
(Getty Images/AP)

Things didn’t go as planned for the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night as they kicked off the Kevin Durant era by getting blown out at home by the San Antonio Spurs. But they can take solace in the fact that a super-team stumbling out of the gates isn’t unprecedented.

When the Miami Heat constructed their “Big Three” for the 2010-11 season, the belief was that a collection of superstars in their prime would be virtually impossible to beat, much like the belief that the Warriors’ current quartet of stars will overwhelm most opponents.

In the first game of the “Big Three” era, though, the Heat suffered the same fate as the Warriors, losing to the Eastern Conference powerhouse Boston Celtics 88-80 and seeing diminished production from their previously reliable stars.

In Miami’s season-opening loss, they got 31 points from LeBron James, but he also turned the ball over eight times and posted only three assists and four rebounds. By comparison, Durant started his Warriors career by scoring 27 points to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals. In both instances the big, new star’s individual debut went smoothly despite the team’s result.

When LeBron joined Miami, Dwyane Wade was the only true holdover star from the previous year’s team. In Golden State, Durant is joining a superstar in Stephen Curry and a pair of Olympians in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, all of whom had defined roles with the Warriors last season.

In the “Big Three” debut, Wade struggled to adapt to his new teammate, scoring only 13 points and turning the ball over six times. Thompson mirrored Wade’s struggles as the normally reliable shooter shot only 5-of-13 from the field (1-6 from 3-point range) and amassed only 11 points, two assists and one rebound while picking up four fouls. Even Curry, who finished with 26 points, struggled by his astronomical standards, turning the ball over four times and making only three of his 10 3-point attempts. Green, the fourth element of the Warriors quartet, played well in the season opener, scoring 18 points and adding 12 rebounds, six assist and five steals.

Unlike Golden State, the Heat’s season-opening loss came on the road. Miami also got more production out of its bench than the Warriors, despite using only a nine-man rotation. The Warriors bench, which saw eight players get game action, scored only 16 points, while Miami’s four-man bench accounted for 23 points.

Despite their struggles, none of the Warriors stars struggled as badly as Chris Bosh in his Heat debut. Bosh, the centerpiece of the Toronto Raptors offense before leaving in free agency, was largely ineffective in his opening 37 minutes on the floor, scoring only eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.

There’s some good news for the Warriors, though. Despite their early struggles, the Heat of 2010-11 recovered and went on to win the first of four Eastern Conference crowns. So while Tuesday night’s season debut was far from ideal, there is still a long road ahead for the Warriors.

Kevin Durant’s rocky history with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh

Durant's had a few run-ins with the Heat's best players. (Getty Images)
Durant’s had a few run-ins with the Heat’s best players. (Getty Images)

Kevin Durant hasn’t always been the biggest fan of the Miami Heat. Besides the fact that they crushed him in his only NBA Finals appearance, he’s had some personal friction with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

It started in the first season of the Big Three, when he got into it with Bosh during a game and later referred to him as a “fake tough guy.” There was an on-court confrontation involving Durant, Bosh and James Harden in Oklahoma City.
Continue reading “Kevin Durant’s rocky history with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh”