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Tag: Miami Heat (page 1 of 2)

Clippers Sail into Third, Hawks Rise Eight Spots (Power Rankings: April 12, 2017 Edition)

Seemingly recovered from injury, Chris Paul is playing at a high level as he chases his first championship ring (Verse Photography/Creative Commons).

We’ve reached the final day in a historic NBA season packed with nearly unprecedented statistical seasons by some players, monstrous single-game outbursts by others and a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs for almost all of the teams in the league. On Wednesday’s final 14-game slate, six playoff seeds are still yet to be determined: 1, 2, 7 and 8 in the East and 4 and 5 in the West. Thirteen teams have already been eliminated from further contention, and the rest hope that their fortunes will be on the rise. This will be the final edition of our power rankings this season, but as a reminder, you can chart how every team has fared in our rankings over the course of the season with the interactive graph atop the Power Rankings landing page.

Biggest Jumps: Atlanta Hawks (+8), Minnesota Timberwolves (+6), Los Angeles Lakers (+6)

Biggest Falls: Philadelphia 76ers (-7), Denver Nuggets (-6), Dallas Mavericks (-5) Continue reading

Bulls, Grizzlies Slide as Minny’s Momentum Continues (Power Rankings: March 15, 2017 Edition)

Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls halted their five-game losing streak by defeating Charlotte Monday night (Jacob Gaertner/Creative Commons).

A particularly tumultuous period sees the Warriors and Cavaliers dropping to their lowest positions of the season. Meanwhile, every other team has moved up or down at least one spot except for the Clippers and Hawks, who remained at No. 8 and 12, respectively. A handful of sub-.500 squads are recognized for their strong recent play, as the Grizzlies and Bulls are punished for their sluggish performances over the past two weeks. One final fun fact: Last edition, Chicago came in at No. 15, a full 10 spots ahead of the Hornets. This time around, Chicago clings to a single-spot lead over Charlotte after edging the Hornets Monday night.

Biggest Jumps: Milwaukee Bucks (+6), Minnesota Timberwolves (+5), Washington Wizards (+4)

Biggest Falls: Chicago Bulls (-6), Memphis Grizzlies (-5), Dallas Mavericks (-4), Indiana Pacers (-4), Toronto Raptors, (-4) Continue reading

Miami Is Seriously Heating Up (Power Rankings: Feb. 6, 2017 Edition)

In his first season in Miami, Dion Waiters is playing an outsized role in the Heat’s active 10-game winning streak (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Up is down and down is up in this tumultuous edition of the power rankings, which features the most movement of any edition so far, with mighty teams struggling and lowly teams rising up. The Cleveland Cavaliers, still the consensus pick to come out of the Eastern Conference, went just 7-8 in January, giving LeBron James his first losing month since his rookie year. The Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets, both in last edition‘s top five, have lost eight of 11 and eight of their last 14, respectively. Even the seemingly unstoppable Golden State Warriors, who have occupied the No. 1 spot in our rankings every single edition except for our first, have dropped games since last edition to the Miami Heat and the Sacramento Kings.

On the other side, the Washington Wizards were just 13-16 before Christmas and have since gone 17-4, steadily climbing up the Eastern Conference standings to the third seed, and up our rankings to fourth. The Dallas Mavericks, at one point dead last in our rankings, have won six of their last seven games, their one loss coming to the Miami Heat. And finally, the twice-aforementioned Heat, unquestionably the NBA’s biggest story right now, were 11-30 and 29th in our previous power rankings, before rattling off 10 straight wins, a streak that is still active. These are some exciting times in the NBA.

Biggest Jumps: Miami Heat (+15), Washington Wizards (+8), Dallas Mavericks (+8)

Biggest Falls: Philadelphia 76ers (-8), Milwaukee Bucks (-8), Toronto Raptors (-8) Continue reading

Knicks, Pelicans, Grizzlies and Celtics Vault Up the List (Power Rankings: Nov. 25, 2016 Edition)

Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies are enjoying a six-game winning streak and a nine-slot jump in these power rankings below (Verse Photography/Creative Commons).

Our three panelists, Loren Lee Chen, Aaron Fischman and Joshua Fischman, independently ranked the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom. Their averaged rankings produced this 1-30 list and took into account all NBA regular-season games up until and including Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. There were no contests on Thursday, the 24th. 

Biggest Jumps: New York Knicks (+10), New Orleans Pelicans (+10), Memphis Grizzlies (+9), Boston Celtics (+8)

Biggest Drops: Miami Heat (-7), Brooklyn Nets (-6), Portland Trail Blazers (-6), Oklahoma City Thunder (-6)

  1. Golden State Warriors (13-2, Previous Rank: 3) – The Warriors nab our top spot from the Clippers after rattling off nine straight wins, most in blowout fashion. Golden State scored 149 points in its last game, sinking the Lakers, one of only two teams that have beaten the Warriors this season, by 43. Klay Thompson has shot the lights out and averaged 27 points over the team’s past four games, and Draymond Green again looks like Defensive Player of the Year material. Continue reading

Josh Baumgard: Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow “Is the Key to the Whole Season”

Expectations for 20-year-old forward Justise Winslow are soaring. Can he live up to them in 2016-17 (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)?

Expectations for 20-year-old forward Justise Winslow are soaring. Can he live up to them in 2016-17 (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)?

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In the first team-focused interview of the season, Slice Miami’Josh Baumgard makes On the NBA Beat history by becoming the first guest to appear three times, and the third time was certainly a charm (as were the first two). In this Miami Heat-themed episode, he gushes about the monstrous numbers Hassan Whiteside has the potential to post as the focal point of Miami’s offense. Baumgard also waxes nostalgic and practical about the ramifications of Dwyane Wade’s departure after 13 seasons as the franchise cornerstone. Plus, along with a range of other timely topics, he explains how Miami’s already stout defense can be even stronger this upcoming season. Scan some scorching excerpts below:

2:58-3:10 As the episode title suggests, second-year wing Justise Winslow will make or break Miami’s season, according to Baumgard: “I think he’s the key to the whole season. I think he’s the difference between whether they’re gonna be a 35-win team or a 45-win team. You’ve got to see some offensive improvement out of him, and I think with the increased role he’s ready for it.”

5:50-6:22 “That’s gonna be huge, because if he can develop a consistent jump shot, the defense is gonna play closer to him; that’s gonna open up driving lanes. And as we saw in the preseason, he’s a pretty good ball handler and he’s a very underrated passer. I think he can find guys in the corner for those open 3s, so, again, I think it goes back to Winslow. If he’s able to create some offense behind Goran Dragic, it’s gonna ease the burden on them scoring, because they’re likely not gonna be a great offensive team, but if they’re at least better than average, I think that bodes really well for their playoff chances.” Continue reading

Welcome Back: Season 1 Highlights, Season 2 Preview

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After 54 episodes of On the NBA Beat and an offseason hiatus, the show is back in advance of the 2016-17 campaign. In addition to briefly discussing the first three interviews of Season 2, Aaron and Loren recap the highlights of Season 1.

Among those highlights, Andy Liu’s “The Warriors Are ‘Cocky as Hell'” (Dec. 2, 2015) was the most downloaded episode of the inaugural season. Andy was one of three guests to appear multiple times last season. Lang Whitaker (Episodes 6a and 34a) and Josh Baumgard (Episodes 18a and 32a) were the others, each coming on to dispense insight during the regular season as well as the playoffs. Rounding out the podcast’s top five (determined by Podbean downloads), there was Michael Levin (31a), Frank Madden (26a), Joseph Casciaro/Ben Gibson (33a) and Holly MacKenzie (15a). When breaking it down by state, California, New York and Massachusetts led the way, while Canada, Australia and the U.K. led countries other than the United States.

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod

How Hornets Bounce Back Against Heat, Featuring Josh Baumgard & Nick Denning

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Even though his game has seen better days, both guests believe Al Jefferson’s play will be critical for Charlotte (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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Coming off a Game 1 shellacking, the Charlotte Hornets could really use a Game 2 upset against the talented Miami Heat, who are clicking on all cylinders. Nick Denning, writer for SB Nation’s At the Hive and managing editor of The Lottery Mafia, discusses, from the Hornets’ perspective, what needs to be done to make it a competitive series. But first, Josh Baumgard of Slice Miami handles the Heat side of things.

Josh Baumgard (4:15-4:34): “I think they’re really gonna come at (Hassan) Whiteside. They know he has a tendency to let his temper flare. I think you’re gonna see next game Jefferson’s gonna pound him. They might even bring (Tyler) Hansbrough in for a little longer, just to kind of be that goon, because we all know he can get under players’ skin.”

JB (5:48-6:13): “I think the Heat are a better team. I think they’ve got more firepower in the playoffs. They’ve got multiple guys who create. And as long as these guys play together, which they have. As long as Dwyane Wade doesn’t try to be the man, which he’s an unselfish guy (who) buys into the team aspect. As long as he tries to not do too much hero ball and they’re moving the ball, that’s the key with them. When they’re moving the ball and they’re playing hard defense, they can pretty much hang with anybody, at least in the Eastern Conference.” Continue reading

What’s With Whiteside and the T-Wolves Take Toronto

Kristaps Porzingis's birlliant performance in the Rising Stars game was not enough to lead the World team to victory over the United States. (PJMixer/Flickr)

Kristaps Porzingis’s brilliant performance in the Rising Stars game was not enough to lead the World team to victory over the United States (PJMixer/Flickr).

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Spend some of your All-Star break with your favorite fellas as they discuss the Miami Heat and All-Star Saturday night. The co-hosts revisit interviewee Josh Baumgard’s thoughts on Hassan Whiteside’s impact and future with the Heat, the team’s handling of Dwyane Wade’s usage and the degree to which Chris Bosh’s injury matters.

Next, Joshua and Loren guide you through the most exciting NBA All-Star Saturday night in recent memory. On a busy basketball weekend that featured Timberwolves domination, a retooled Skills Competition featuring big men and thrilling three-point and dunk contests, On the NBA Beat has you covered.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Josh Baumgard: Miami Heat “Not the Contenders They Thought They’d Be”

Chris Bosh celebrates the Heat's 2012 title with reporter Josh Baumgard on his right (Getty Images/Andrew Bernstein).

Chris Bosh celebrates the Heat’s 2012 title with reporter Josh Baumgard on his right (Getty Images/Andrew Bernstein).

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While Josh Baumgard of Slice Miami doesn’t believe the Heat are the contenders they expected to be, he does shed light on their many strengths and what’s currently holding them back. Also on the docket, the impending free agency of enigmatic big man Hassan Whiteside, as well as Justise Winslow’s rookie campaign, Chris Bosh’s value and many other fascinating Heat topics. Here are some of the highlights:

3:27-4:08: “He (Hassan Whiteside) could be gone in two weeks. That’s what’s crazy. Here is a guy who’s reminiscent of a very poor man’s David Robinson or Alonzo Mourning in that he could be a two-way force (and) he’s a shot-blocking machine. He’s a rim-protecting giant, super-athletic…when he’s not out there, it’s open season on the rim. Defensively, I know he’s got some things to learn…(he should) not necessarily go for the block all the time, but he has all the makings of a top-5, top-10 defensive player. Offensively is where he has a lot of work to do.”

7:03-7:37: “The biggest thing (defensively) is…it’s amazing because he’s only 19 but it’s Justise Winslow, just putting the clamps on the perimeter. He’s been a defensive menace from Day 1. The second game of the season, they threw him on LeBron (James), and LeBron torched him, I think he put up 30, but Winslow still played great defense. He made him take tough shots, and LeBron was just hitting them because he’s an all-time great. But Winslow has been a huge surprise early on. I don’t think anyone expected him to be this good early, this soon as far as on the defensive end.”

Continue reading

Beantown Basketball Banter and the East No Longer the Least

Avery Bradley's development has been a big part of Boston's success this season (Mark Runyon/BasketballSchedule.net)

Avery Bradley’s development has been a huge part of Boston’s success this season (Mark Runyon/BasketballSchedule.net).

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Following Loren’s interview with Red’s Army’s John Karalis earlier in the week, the boys are back together serving up Beantown basketball banter. Among the appetizing topics on the menu are Jared Sullinger’s beastly rebounding, Marcus Smart’s return from injury and the Celtics’ chances of representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Speaking of the East, what is this parity madness? Are Eastern teams really as good as the Western Conference squads all of a sudden? In the final segment of the episode, our co-hosts make sense of this surprising dynamic and discuss its importance to the league. 

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod

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