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Tony Answers

Week of April 11, 2011

Question: With players such as LeBron, Chris, Eric, why don't we play more of a post-up offense?

Wendell, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Wendell. I think Coach Spoelstra would like to get to posting up more often but off movement in the offensive flow. LeBron does it from time to time but arguably the HEAT's best post-up player is D-Wade when he has a matchup advantage. Erick Dampier is not really proficient with post-up moves and Chris Bosh likes the ball a little off the low post so he can face his defender and drive by him either way or shoot over him.

Question: What's up Tony, I follow every Heat game on Sun Sports. But I just realize that whenever the HEAT play on ESPN, its also on Sun Sports. But when they play on TNT or ABC, its never televised on Sun Sports. How come?

Shiloh, Cutler Bay, Fl

Tony: HI Shiloh. See if you can follow this: The HEAT play 82 games and televise 70 games on Sun Sports. ABC this season televises 5 games & TNT televises 12 games exclusively. That means the HEAT cannot televise those designated games. Any games that ESPN televises and any games TNT televises (other that their 12 exclusive games) the HEAT televises.

Question: Tony, Do you think we should see occasional defensive alignments in which Spo plays Dampier and Anthony together?

Edwin, Orlando, FL

Tony: Hi Edwin. The problem with Damp & Joel playing together is the HEAT is really lacking offensively. What works well for the HEAT at times is when Joel is in with Chris Bosh, Joel may guard the opponent's power forward with Chris guarding the opposing center. You may see that when the opponent's power forward, such as Amare Stottimire, is big and mobile and who is quick taking his man off the dribble to the rim.

Question: How will Coach Spo decide which point guard to start during playoffs?

Dan, Phillipines

Tony: Hi Dan. Coach Spo usually adjusts according to the scouting report and how the team is playing at the time. In reality, I'm not sure if it's that important who starts at point guard but who finishes. Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers bring their own unique qualities to the table and Coach Spo has done a good job utilizing their skills.

Question: Hi Tony

Who do you think is the best small forward in NBA history?

: 06_LebrOn_23Dan, Phillipines

Tony: Hi. That is a very good question. Up until now I think it was unquestionably the great Larry Bird. He won the league's Most Valuable Player award 3 years in a row (1984-86) and won 3 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. I think LeBron James is giving people pause right now on the subject of the best ever at that position. What it may ultimately come down to is how many NBA championships LeBron wins before his career is over. He won the MVP award the past 2 years and the only thing missing on his resume' is an NBA championship. Stay tuned!!

Week of April 4, 2011

Question: Tony, are there any last minute roster moves that you think Spo and Riley will make for the playoffs? Do you think that Magloire can play some more or maybe Dexter Pittman when healthy can come on in and add some extra bulk?

Len, Coral Springs, FL

Tony: Hi Len. There are not a lot of moves a team can make this time of year. In order for a player to be available for the playoffs he would have to have been a free agent by March 1st. Any player waived or released after Feb. 28th is not eligible for the playoffs.

Also, teams are not allowed to make trades now so the team you have now is what you go with for the playoffs.

There's more of a possibility Jamal could be on the active roster (which can change with each game) than Dexter. Dex is a rookie and has only played in one game this season ( the other night in Minnesota) so don't expect him to be on the active roster in the playoffs.

Question: Hey Tony! First of all I want to thank you for being a great commentator alongside Eric Reid. You two have great chemistry. But how would you rate the HEAT's team chemistry compared to the top teams in the NBA considering this is the first season many of the players on the roster even play together? And how much would you say it has improved since the beginning of the season?

Katherine A. Martinez, Sweetwater- Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Katherine. Thanks you for the compliment, Eric and I appreciate it.

The HEAT are playing more as a cohesive unit than they were earlier in the season. Players have learned their roles and the chemistry looks pretty good going into the playoffs. With many new players, the coaching staff has learned the nuisances of this team (every team and year is different) and everyone seems to be on the same page now.

Some of the top teams, as you know, have had some of the same players for years so it will make for a very interesting playoffs.

Question: I thought that the HEATís defense got better when Magloire played (Lakers,Spurs). Why is he not getting more playing time? He does a good job rebounding and blocking shots.

Donovan, Davie

Tony: Hi Donovan. To his credit, Jamal keeps himself ready when the team needs him. He is good for short spurts when he plays. As you know, he is a physical type player who likes to miix it up and picks up fouls quickly. The centers who play ahead of him have unique skills that blend in with what the HEAT are trying to accomplish at particular times in the game. i.e. match-ups, perimeter shooting,athleticism, scoring in general. In the playoffs, the play becomes more physical so we may see more of him in the post season.

Question: Hey Tony, it's me Ephraim, again. I understand that the playoffs are coming. My question is: Did the HEAT choose the color white for playoffs because of the 2006 Championship? And how do they choose the colors? PS Wade's the best.

Ephraim, Cutler Bay, Fl

Tony: Hi Ephraim. I think the HEAT did choose White Hot in part due to the success of 2006. You have to love the idea - getting the fans more involved in the playoffs wearing white in unison to support the team. It was so popular in 2006 that other teams in the NBA copied the HEAT and they do something similar to White Hot.

It was the idea of the marketing department led by Michael McCullough. White Hot has really caught on.

Question: I feel that Coach Spoelstra plays Joel Anthony very inconsistently. How does Spoelstra choose when to play him?

Diandra, Ellicott City, MD

Tony: Hi Diandra. At 6'9 Joel Anthony is undersized for an NBA center. With his quick feet and speed, he is most useful guarding opposing centers who like to play on the perimeter like Amare Stoudemire. He is an outstanding shot blocker as you know and I think Coach Spo and his staff have done a great job helping to develop Joel into a contributing NBA player. He is limited offensively which has to be a consideration at certain junctures in the game and with certain match-ups.

Week of March 28, 2011

Question: Which of the HEAT's lineups do you think are the most efficient?

Mike W., Virginia

Tony: Hi Mike.. The HEAT's "small" lineup of late has been very effective for them. Bibby,Wade,James Jones(Mike Miller).LeBron & Bosh. Lebron at the power forward position creates match-up problems for opposing coaches. There are certain teams that are too big for the HEAT to use this lineup (Lakers for example with their big front line) but it's a lineup Coach Spo has gotten a lot of mileage with lately.

Question: When Mario is coming back?

Alejandro, Miami

Tony: Hi Aljandro. Mario Chalmers is rehabbing his leg as you know. He is travelling with the team, getting treatment and work outs in on the road. Rio got hurt in the Denver game on March 19th, almost 2 weeks ago. The HEAT never try to rush a player back too soon so I'm sure when Rio does return, he'll be ready to contribute.

Question: Hey Tony,

Is shot blocking an attribute than can be taught or are you born with that ability?

Greg Dimina, New Rochelle/Tamarac

Tony: Hi Greg. Good question. Anticipation, athleticism, pursuit and timing are important qualities to be a good shot blocker. I think great shot blockers, like Alonzo Mourning & Hall of Famer Bill Russell, are born with the instincts to block shots. I also think you can teach techniques to improve one's shot blocking ability. Joel Anthony is one of the best shot blockers in the NBA for minutes played and has excellent technique in blocking shots. Like Mourning and Russell, when Joel blocks a shot, he often keeps the ball in bounds which gives his teammates a chance to gain possession and start a fast break.

Question: Hey Tony!

What are your thoughts of Mike Bibbyís playing as a starter?

Samr, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Sam. Mike Bibby has been a starter for most of his 13 years in the NBA. He brings experience and savvy to the position. He not only is a career 38% 3 point shooter but can run an offense and knows all the nuiances of setting up teammates to get good shots. He also has started 80 playoff games averaging over 15 points and almost 5 assists per game.

Question: Hey coach

How much do you think bench points will affect the HEAT in the playoffs?

Rawi, Nazareth - Israel

Tony: Hi Rawi. Great hearing from you all the way from Israel.

The HEAT bench, as you may know, is the lowest scoring bench in the NBA for a few reasons: HEAT co-captain Udonis Haslem has played in only 13 games so far this season after surgery on his foot , Mike Miller missed significant time with hand surgery and the HEAT's 3 all-stars, D-Wade, Lebron and Chris Bosh take a majority of the shots. In the playoffs, when every play has heightened significance, a team's success usually hinges on the production of its stars. That being said, I think the HEAT bench can play an important roll in the playoffs augmenting the 3 all-stars. If UD returns to near 100% (and that's a big if) the bench would be much stronger. I think guys like James Jones, Mike Miller and Eddie House can catch fire as 3 point shooters off the bench which would further enhance the HEAT's chances of winning a championship.

Week of March 21, 2011

Question: Hey Tony,

Is there any chance that James Jones and Eddie House will be back on the game plan of the HEAT? Though, I trust Coach Spoelstra, I am just a little bit worried that they might be out of synch once Coach Spoelstra use them.

Coleen Cordero, Las Pinas,Philippines

Tony: Hi Colleen. As Coach Spoelstra reminds everyone, all his players are rotation players. They have to stay ready to play when he calls on them. The reality is you can't play everyone on your active roster in a game unless players get into serious foul trouble. James Jones and Eddie House are seasoned vets who have performed well at times during the season. They work very hard in practice and before games to be ready when Coach Spo needs them.

Question: Do you think that the league should shorten the season to like say around 62 games?

Jon, Ohio

Tony: Hi Jon. It is irrelevent what anyone thinks about shortening the NBA season - it's not going to happen. The owners make revenue with every home game and would not be willing to shorten the season. It is a long season as you know, but I kind of like all the games. I think the league has to be smarter with how they schedule games to get the maximum effort out of every player in the NBA.

Question: Hey Tony, I'm not just the HEAT's biggest fan, but Dwyane Wade's. So with that said, here's my question: I understand that next year's All- Star game would be held in Orlando, but I wonder, can there be ever an All-Star weekend in Miami, including the All-Star game in 2013? I would love to see all of the NBA's best in South Beach. I am looking forward to go to The HEAT camp hosted by you this summer. PS. LET'S GO HEAT!

Ephraim James(Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade's biggest fan), Cutler Bay, Fl

Tony: Hi Ephraim. The HEAT hosted the 1990 NBA All-Star game in the old Miami Arena. The late Chuck Daly coached the East squad and Pat Riley coached the West squad - two Hall of Fame coaches. The East won the game but Magic Johnson of the West squad was the MVP.

I agree with you Ephraim, I would like to see the all-star game back in Miami. The reason it is difficult to host an all-star game is the league only gives the host team a certain amount of tickets for their fans. While the American Airlines Arena can hold @20,000 people, the league may only allow the HEAT to have maybe 50 - 60% of that for their fans. That means many season ticket holders wouldn't even be able to purchase a ticket to the game. That being said, lets see if the HEAT does host the all-star game again in the future. It would be exciting especially with the real possibility the HEAT would have three all-stars playing in it.

I look forward to seeing you at HEAT camp this summer. You will have fun while learning how to play basketball

Question: Mario Chalmers is ready to become the next Gary Payton. I've been saying this since I saw him as a rookie and Bibby has somehow brought it out of him. Am I wrong? Please talk about their differences and similarities.

Stephen N., Miami, Florida

Tony: Hi Stephen. Mario Chalmers, in his 3rd year with the HEAT, has played well of late. He would like to be more consistent with his jump shot but has done a better job lately defensively.

I think you are reaching to compare him to a future Hall of Famer Gary Payton. Payton was perennially an all-star and arguably the best defensive point guard of his generation. Mario has a ways to go to reach those lofty heights. He has to be more consistent with his on-the- ball defense and continue to learn how to run an offense.

Question: Hi Tony.. Why is Wade so flexible when he moves on the court? And how does he make amazing crossovers and amazing shots?

Ej Sarmiento, Philippines

Tony: Hi Ej. Dwyane Wade has great inate ability - ability he was born with. Not only that but he is a very smart player as well. Very often when he drives to the basket, he reacts to the defense and uses whatever he can to get to the rim and finish. He has great agility and dexterity combined with a very creative mind and those qualities usually are lethal to an opponent. We are very fortunate to have him play in a Miami HEAT uniform - we get to watch and enjoy him play every game. Life is good if you are a HEAT fan and get the opportunity to watch one of the most exciting basketball players in the world perform every game.

Week of March 14, 2011

Question: How effective is the pick and rolls between LeBron and Wade? And why donít they do it more?

Victor M., Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Victor. The pick & roll with Dwyane and LeBron is more effective when LeBron is playing the power forward position. An opposing coach has a dilemma on how to play it. If the defenders switch the pick and roll, D-Wade will have a bigger defender on him and LeBron will have Dwyane's original defender guarding him which usually means LeBron has a height and strength advantage. LeBron could then go into the low post and use his advantage over the smaller defender or Dwyane could take the bigger defender off the dribble.

The pick and roll with LeBron at small forward can still be affective but a switch by the defenders doesn't create as much a mismatch.

Question: Hi Tony, Every time I go to a game I see the Dan Marino jersey hanging next the Michael Jordan jersey. If number 10, 33, and 23 are retired, why not 13?

Intern Donnie, La Quinta, CA

Tony: Hi Donnie. You are observant. # 10 is Tim Hardaway's, # 33 is Alonzo Mourning's and #23 is Michael Jordan's. Having Tim and Zo's #s retired is obvious - they are the best point guard and center in the 23 year history of the Miami HEAT. Pat Riley is honoring Michael Jordan for his greatness and all that he did for the game of basketball. Riley is honoring Dan Marino (#13) for his greatness with the Miami Dolphins as arguably the greatest passer in the history of the NFL. Since Dan was not a basketball player, I believe #13 is available for a HEAT player to wear.

Question: Hi Tony, just want to ask what is the preparation of Coach Spo for practice? I'm a die-hard HEAT Fan. Thanks!

Browinn, Philippines

Tony: Hi Browinn. Your fellow Fillopino, Coach Spoelstra, discusses with his assistants the areas the HEAT need to improve upon & combines that information with info he gets on watching game tapes to see where the HEAT needs to improve. He then formulates a practice plan keeping in mind how long and how hard he wants to go with practice. At this time of year (with the HEAT having played 66 games), the practices may be kept to an hour or so to preserve the players legs for the 16 games that are left in the regular season.

Question: Why does Wade always wear that long sleeve? Does the sleeve affect his shot?

Gabriel Alviola, Philippines

Tony: Hi Gabriel. Dwyane feels comfortable wearing it - it doesn't affect his shot in a negative way. When a player is comfortable with what he wears on the court, he tends to perform better so the sleeve D-Wade wears may be helping his shot in an indirect way.

Question: Why does Coach Spoelstra use LeBron James as a point guard in big match ups?

Stervens Etienne, Miami, Florida

Tony: Hi Stervens. Lets put you in the role of the opposing coach. When LeBron is playing the power forward position, who do you assign to guard him if he is bringing the ball up? Do you have your power forward guard him out on the top of the key where LeBron has a huge advantage with his excellent balll handling skills? Or do you assign a smaller player to guard him out there where Lebron, with his 6'8 - 260lb body can back him down with his dribble or take him down into the low post? You see what a dilemma an opposing coach has.

Week of March 7, 2011

Question: Hi Tony! Good day to you. I am Filipino and a solid fan of Miami HEAT. Just want to ask about why LeBron James sometimes is the one bringing down the ball and creating the offense instead of the point guard like Bibby?

Jun ESC, brunei darussalam

Tony: Hi Jun ESC. Cosch Spoelstra, who is Flilpino as you know, likes to have LeBron or Dwyane Wade bring the ball up if he likes the matchup. They have very good ball handling skills and can create problems for defenders. He especially likes it if LeBron is playing the power forward position. Both Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers are good 3 point shooters so it's hard for defenders to leave them to help on LeBron or D-Wade.

Question:Hello Tony. What can coach Spo do to make this team a better closeout team at the end of games?

John, Miami

Tony: Hi John. It is something Coach Spo and his coaching staff continue to work on. LeBron is getting pretty good looks at the basket at the end of games but hasn't been able to convert yet. I have confidence either he or Dwyane Wade will come through when the HEAT need it at the end of future games.

Question: Hi Tony! I just want to ask how's Haslem now? Can he make it before the playoffs? How helpful will he be?

Marlon, Philippines

Tony: Hi Marlon. UD is rehabbing his surgically repaired foot. He is hopeful that he can get back into action in April so that he can get a few games under his belt before the playoffs later in April. We are all rooting for him to get healthy.

Question: What is Mike Bibby's main role as a new addition to the Miami HEAT?

James, Philippines

Tony: Hi James. Mike Bibby is a savvy veteran of 13 years in the NBA. He can set up and run an offense, he can shoot the 3 pointer (38% for his career) and is a good ball handler. It gives the HEAT another solid weapon at point guard.

Week of February 28, 2011

Question: Hi Tony.. I'd Like to Ask about Lebron James' Chalk toss, where did that ritual come from?

Many Thanks hope you answer back.

Ej Sarmiento, Philippines

Tony:Hi Ej from the Philippines.Great to hear from you.

I remember reading an article a while back I believe out of a Cleveland newspaper where LeBron stated he started tossing the rosin chalk in the air @ 2007. He got a postive response from the crowd and thus a new ritual was born.

It was cool to see the other Eastern Conference All-Star game starters join LeBron and toss the chalk together before the game in L.A.

Question: Hi Tony! In the play LeBron did at Indiana, did the off the backboard dunk count as a rebound or an assist to himself?

Evens, Lauderdale Lakes, FL

Tony: Hi Evens. The innovative play of LeBron tossing the ball at the backboard and then rebounding it and dunking has to be considered a missed shot, an offensive rebouund and 2 points for LeBron. You can't have an assist to yourself.

Question: Yo Coach Tony! James here from the Philippines. I met Coach Spoelstra when he came to the country last year and we talked a little about the team. He said defense will be the calling card. What are your thoughts about the team's defensive schemes right now?

James, Philippines

Tony: Hi James. Coach Spoelstra told me he really enjoyed his visit to the Philippines and connecting with his fellow countrymen.

The HEAT is currently ranked #1 in defensive FG%, #2 to Chi in defensive 3 point FG% and #6 in opponents scoring average. Coach Spo doesn't just talk defense, he constantly teaches it and, as you can see from the rankings, they are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. The numbers speak for themselves!

Question: What happens to the trophy James Jones won at All-Star Weekend? And do you think Coach will give Jones a bigger role after winning such a contest?

Tony De, Kendall

Tony: Hi Tony De. James gets to keep the 3 point shooting champion trophy he won all-star weekend. He is in the HEAT's 9 man rotation and depending on the situation, can play less or more minutes on a given night. Winning the contest will have no affect on his minutes.

Question: Hi Tony, I want to know why does Bosh and Ilgauskas settle for jumpers often rather than attacking the basket?

Marlon, Philippines

Tony: Hi Marlon. Chris Bosh has the ability to take his man off the dribble right or left and finish the play either way. He also has a feathery perimeter touch out to 22 feet. I'm not sure what you've been watching but Chris has been very good all year getting to the rim.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a very good shooter to the 3 point line. His career average is a gaudy 31% from downtown. He is 7'3 and his forte is not taking people off the dribble. His long range shooting ability stretches the defense as the opposing center has to leave the lane area and go out on the perimeter to guard Big Z. It opens up lane for D-Wade & LeBron drives.

Week of February 14, 2011

Question: Hi Tony, do you think the HEAT should use Jamal Magloire more?

John, Miami, FL 33142

Tony: Hi John. With the HEAT's three headed centers in 7'3 Zydrunas Ilgauskaus, 6'll Erick Dampier and 6'9 Joel Anthony, Coach Spoelstra has a lot of versalility at that position. We've seen him use each of them wisely depending what is needed against a particular opponent. 6'11 Jamal Magliore is an insurance policy for the HEAT in case one of their bigs get injured. To his credit, he has maintained a positive attitude. He helps some of the young players off the court with his experience and stays in very good shape if Coach Spo calls his number.

Question: Tony, do u think that LeBron will beat as many HEAT records as Dwyane Wade?

Abraham, New York

Tony: Hi Abraham. I don't know who will have more HEAT records when everything is said and done but I know all HEAT fans will enjoy watching and cheering for 2 of the best players in basketball as they continue with their careers.

Question: What is the future of Carlos Arroyo with the Miami HEAT?

GJMV, Puerto Rico

Tony: Hi GJMV. The Miami HEAT organization very much respects Carlos Arroyo, on and off the court. He started 47 games this season and although he hasn't played much lately, it is a long season and he may get back into the rotation. As for the future, no one can tell right now what next year will bring. We'll have to wait and see.

Question: Hi, Tony.

We are the luckiest fans in the world to have a basketball team like the HEAT as well as such professionals as yourself, Eric, and Jackson!

Lately the HEAT has been wearing the white uniform on the road (Orlando and Charlotte games). I thought the home team always wore the light color uniform with the team name. Are there any rules, and have they changed?

Ed Soares, Aventura, FL

Tony: Hi Ed. Thank you for the compliment. Eric, Jax and I very much enjoy announcing the games on Sun Sports and look forward to many more games and years with this special experience for us all.

You are right, usually the home team wears the lighter color uniform (unlike in football where the visiting team usually wears the white unis's). Sometimes the home team requests wearing the darker uniform. They may want to promote sales to the home crowd or there is a special occasion they want to celebrate.

Question: Hi Tony, do you think it's bad for the team to play like Coach Doc Rivers says hero basketball? I think they should run more plays instead of having Wade or LeBron make something happen.

John, Miami, FL 33142

Tony: Hi John. The HEAT are not playing hero basketball. In fact they are doing just the opposite. No one on the HEAT team cares who scores the most points or who gets the most rebounds. The only thing that matters to them is the W - the win. When you see D-Wade or LeBron create for themselves and teammates that is good, solid basketball. Together, Dwyane & LeBron average nearly 12 assists a game. Taking advantage of their superior skills is smart basketball.

Week of February 6, 2011

Question: Hi Tony, I'd like to ask you what HEAT game has been your favorite so far and why?

Carlos F., Miami

Tony: Hi Carlos. I have a few favorite games this year: One was the HEAT beating the Lakers 96-80 in Los Angeles on Christmas day. They took a poll on TV before the game and 49 states thought the Lakers would win. That win was sweet and quieted many HEAT critics; The HEAT's first visit to Madison Square Garden this season back in Dec as the HEAT beat the Knicks 113-91 was a treat. New Yorkers think they are entitled to win as they thought they were entitled to LeBron; And of course, the HEAT's big win in Cleveland. The team bonded around LeBron & that lopsided win along with the comradrie catapulted the HEAT to a 13 game road winning streak

Question: What do you think about seeing more pick and roll between Lebron and D-Wade at crunch time? This will give us better options to score and both of our best players will also get their chances.

James, Tamarac, FL

Tony: Hi James. It's depends who is guarding each guy. Most teams would just switch and there may not be much of an advantage. The HEAT have used Eddie House in a pick & pop with LeBron because either Eddie gets a 3 point shot after setting the screen or LeBron has a mismatch with a smaller player if the defenders switch. In the NBA, it is mostly about matchups and how to exploit them offensively.

Question: Hey Tony,

We all know Joel Anthony is a very strong rebounder and shot blocker also a good scorer. What is the difference between his and Chris Bosh's game?

Randy, Kansas

Tony: Hi Randy. I'm going to guess you are a Jayhawk and root for Mario Chalmers.

6'9 Joel Anthony is a unique player. He doesn't shoot much and has a limited offensive game but he is a relentless rebounder, a tough 1 on 1 defender and one of the best shot blockers in the NBA per minutes played. Chris Bosh is also a good 1 on 1 defender & rebounder but is different from Joel on offense, Chris at 6'11 has a feathery jump shot out to 20' and can take his man off the dribble with either hand and finish strong at the rim. Chris is an all-star for the sixth time while Joel is an important role player in the HEAT system. As you know, they are both left handed!

Question: I'm a great HEAT fan... even was when they won 15 out of 82. Been to the AAArena 2 times to cheer for the HEAT.

Regarding all the injuries that have happened so far, what in your opinion is a better strategy: To compete 100% and play hard every 82 seasonal game to secure a home court advantage in the playoffs or to compete just enough to secure a playoff spot and try stay away from injuries till the end of the season and then in the playoffs compete to the max? Or is this never a discussion in the league because injuries can always happen, even if you're playing at a lower gear?

Vincent, Netherlands

Tony: Hi Vincent. It's great hearing from a loyal HEAT fan all the way from the Netherlands!

You always want players to play hard in the NBA and let the chips fall where they may. Trying to avoid injuries can lead to them as you suggest. The question of whether you want to be healthy as a team entering the playoffs or get the home court advantage with injured players is a no brainer - you want to be healthy. Especially for a HEAT team that is currently 18-9 on the road (67%) and have defeated the Lakers, Magic, Jazz & Thunder on the road!

Question: Tony,

Do you believe Dwayne Wade and Lebron James could combine for 100 points in a game?

Jordan Singer, Fort Lauderdale

Tony:Hi Jordan. You like to see a lot of scoring! Anything is possible with 2 great players like D-Wade & LeBron playing togehter but I don't think they will score 100 points between them in a game. Perhaps if the game is 3 or 4 overtimes there is a chance. What I think will happen is they will each get a triple-double in a game. It has only happened 3 times in the last 25 years in the NBA, most recently with Jason Kidd and Vince Carter when they played for the NETS.

Week of January 31, 2011

Question: Why doesn't Spoelstra Play Mike Miller with Wade and LeBron more often and then utilize a zone defense? And instead uses a small quick point guard?

Mash, Boynton Beach

Tony: Hi Mash. First of all, the HEAT have one of the best man to man defensive teams in the 30 team NBA. They may utilize a zone defense from time to time to benefit a situation but man to man defense is their strength. Coach Spo has played Wade, LeBron and Miller together of late and depending on matchups we may see more of that. Either D-Wade will be at point with Miller in the backcourt with him or Miller will be at small forward with Lebron at the power forward position.

Question: Do you think Udonis Haslem will be back in time for the playoffs? And how is he doing?

Lamar James, West Palm Beach, Florida

Tony: Hi Lamar. As all HEAT fans know, UD is a warrior. He had foot surgery back in November and was on crutches for a while. He progressed to wearing a "boot" to walk around in. His next step is to start rehabbing his foot and legs. He is hoping to be back by April so he can get back into the rhythm of games before the playoffs. Anyone who knows Udonis knows if it's possible for him to be back by then - it will happen. The HEAT would welcome their blue collar co-captain back as soon as he can make it especially for the playoffs!

Question: Hey Tony, are you happy with the east all star team starters or do think there can be an improvement?

Moshe Sapharti, Miami

Tony: HI Moshe. I think the fans got it right this year re: the Eastern Conf All-Star starters. Derrick Rose & D-Wade in the back court, LeBron & Amare Stoudamire up front with Dwight Howard.

The 15 Eastern Conference Head coaches will vote for the remaining 7 players to fill the squad of 12 players. They have to vote for 2 guards and 2 forwards and a center for the second team and then vote for 2 other players, who can come from any position. My 2nd team would consist of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh & Al Horford. My 2 other players would be Joe Johnson & Kevin Garnett.

Question: Do you think that passing the ball more often would help us win? It seems we win more when we swing the ball around.

ResQ Reggie, Georgia

Tony: I agree with you. Body movement, setting screens, passing the ball through more than a few teammates hands from one side of the court to the other is the best way for the HEAT to score if they are not scoring in transition. All of the movement and sharing the ball distorts defenses and leads to better offensive execution. When the ball "sticks" and 1 player is dribbling the shot clock down, the HEAT are less effective. Coach Spoelstra call is "players trying to self will a win". It's all a learning situation for the HEAT and I think the HEAT will be functioning on all levels come playoff time in April.

Question: Tony,

Do you think that the Heat do not have the strength on the bench to close out games if the Big Three are not at 100%?

Phil Luis, Coconut Creek, FL

Tony: Hi Phil. I think the HEAT have the bench depth to compliment the three all-stars when it is all full strength. Mike Miller missed a big chunk of the early season due to thumb surgery on his shooting hand and Udonis Haslem played in only 13 games so far this season with foot surgery. They were to be the 2 top reserves on this team. Miller has worked his way into the rotation with UD starting to rehab his foot. James Jones, Eddie House and Joel Anthony have made major contributions off the bench. When all 5 reserves are at full strength, the HEAT will be that much more formidable.

Week of January 24, 2011

Question: Tony,

I was hoping you could help me out with this question. Joel Anthony finshed Tuesday's home game against the Hawks with 16 boards, but never attempted a single field goal! I have looked all over and cannot find any info if this is the record for most rebounds without a field goal attempted. I know this would be kind of a random record, but i was wondering if you would able to find if this is the record and if he doesn't hold the record who does with how many rebounds? Thanks!

Keil, Davenport, IA

Tony: Hi Keil. I emailed Stats. Inc, and asked them can you tell me the most rebounds an NBA player had in a game without attempting a FG. Below is their response:

We can go back to 1986-87 on this kind of in-game info. Since then, the most is Dennis Rodman, who had 20 for San Antonio vs. Sacramento on January 25, 1994. Rodman has four of the top five such games since then. . .

Question: Tony,

You do a great job. Watch you every game up here for the past several years. I was wondering how you think Orlando's new team matches up with the HEAT?

Andrew Duncan, Brooklyn, NY

Tony: Hi Andrew. Thanks for the kudos from Brooklyn.

I think the Magic added more offense to surround Dwight Howard but it remains to be seen how they'll fare at the defensive end. The HEAT & the Magic have 2 games left against each other, each with a home game. The HEAT has 3 out of best 4 players in the matchup so I would give the edge to the HEAT.

Question: Hi Tony! I'm a big HEAT fan from Italy, and I was in Miami on january 1st for HEAT vs Golden State game were I saw a great comeback win from our players!! But, my question is.. Why in some games does the HEAT's defense seem to rest on some posessions? I saw it some times in HEAT games this year, especially the one I saw live at the AAA with Golden State!

Luca, Italy

Tony: Hi Luca. Great to hear from a HEAT fan from the native country of my grandparents.

It is very difficult to play 48 minutes in an NBA with great intensity. The HEAT do a good job of doing it most of the time and don't consciencely take plays off. Fans have to remember that the HEAT are playing other professional basketball players who are also trying to play well and win the game. What also happens is that sometimes the HEAT may be playing their 4th game in 5 nights or may have had to travel to the game and got to bed very late at night and have less energy to play that game.

Question: Do you think Wade, Bosh and James settle for the 3 point shot too often?

Ricky, Hollywood

Tony: Hi Ricky. I do believe there are times when D-Wade & LeBron settle for 3 pointers but probably not as often as you may think. Sometimes you have to give the opponent credit for clogging up the lane and not allowing penetration to the basket. It is true though that when Dwyane and LeBron are hitting their 3s, they are unguardable.

Question: Hello Tony

Do you think LeBron and Bosh will be 100% for the Boston Celtics game on February 13 and do you think the Miami HEAT can Beat the Boston Celtics after losing 2 times this season??


Sidate Diarra, Japan

Tony: Hi Sidate. I always enjoy hearing from HEAT fans from the Far East.

One would hope that all players on both teams are healthy when the Celtics & the HEAT play two more times in the regular season. The Eastern Conference Playoffs might very well come down to one of them advancing to the NBA Finals.

Week of January 17, 2011

Question: My flatmate is a huge Miami HEAT fan and subsequently has got our whole apartment watching all the HEAT games. I love the broadcast from you, Eric and Jason and was wondering what is the craziest pre-game routine one of the players has?

JD, University of Birmingham, England

Tony: Hi JD. Thank you for the compliments from all the way across the pond. We appreciate it!

They're not crazy but the routines of Dwyane Wade & LeBron James are ones that stick out. Dwyane likes to do 3 pull-ups on the rim before every game symbolizing for him his #3 and the Trinity. He also likes to greet the fans on each side of the court before home games by looking into the crowd and raising his hands up acknowledging them.

LeBron, as you probably know, likes to throw rosin into the air before all games.

Question: Coach Spoelstra went with a small line up late in the game against Portland, and it worked out well. How often will he go with smaller lineups in the future?

Ormani Gonzalez, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Omani. Coach Spoelstra adjusts to the tenor of the game. Against Portland, he wanted Chris Bosh, with his length, size and defensive ability, to guard 6'11 Lemarcus Aldridge down the stretch of the 4th Q & overtime. He also wanted James Jones in the game to stretch the defense (make the defender guard him out on the 3 pt line) so it would open up the middle for Lebron & D-Wade to drive. The best way to accomplish all of those startegies was to put Lebron at the power forward position. It was exactly what the HEAT needed to pull out a hard fought, OT victory on the road against a very good opponent.

Coach Spo will use that strategy when he feels he needs that type of lineup on the court.

Question:You, Eric, And Jason are doing a great job and keep up the good work! My question is, What is your favorite HEAT/Knicks rivalry moment? GO HEAT!

Cedric Leeks, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Tony: Hi Cedric. Thank you for the compliment - we appreciate it.

I have 2 favorite HEAT Knicks moments. The first one was in the 6th game of the 1997 Eastern Conf. semi-finals in Madison Sq. Garden. The Knicks were up 3-2 in the series and could close out the series with a win. They were winning the game midway through the 4th quarter, had momentum with the crowd going wild over their success so far. They had a break away layup that would have lengthened their lead and further fueled the crowd. Out of nowhere, HEAT big man Ike Austin blocked the shot from behind and prevented a sure 2 points. The HEAT went on to win the game and game 7 in Miami to advance to the E.C. Finals against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

The second moment was in March 2005. The HEAT was in a hotly contested game right to the end when D-Wade made a jumper at the buzzer to give the HEAT a 2 point win. He quieted 20,000 NY fans with one shot. That was a sweet moment!

Question: Why does Arroyo start games and Mario finishes them? Is it something specific about the way they play?

Don, Pompano

Tony: Hi Don. Coach Spoelstra uses what works and right now the HEAT are playing well with Carlos Arroyo starting at point guard and most of the time, Mario Chalmers playing much of the 4th quarter. Arroyo helps get the HEAT into a good flow offensively to start the game and in the 4th quarter, Chalmers does a pretty good job defending the opponent's point guard as well as presenting a 3 point threat. Nothing is etched in stone which means the pattern could change but Coach Spoelstra goes with the flow when a system is working.

Question: Hey Coach, Chris Bosh has been playing great defense but do you think Chris Bosh still has room to improve defensively in one on one situations?

Mike, Athens, Greece

Tony: Hi Mike. Great to hear from a HEAT fan from the beautiful country of Greece.

Chris Bosh has shown he is a pretty good defender on and off the ball. Most of the time he has to defend power forwards who weigh more than he does and he holds his own strength wise in the low post area. He has very good techniques defensively which allows him to be effective. All NBA players are looking to improve their game as guys like Chris strive for perfection.

Question: Juwan Howard gets a lot of playing time for the HEAT. What is his role on the court?

Tony De, Miami Kendall, FL

Tony: Hi Tony De. Juwan Howard is averaging 11 minutes a game for the HEAT. He comes off the bench to play the power forward position usually giving Chris Bosh a rest. Juwan is a good, smart defensive player who is also a good position rebounder. He brings 16 yrs of experience to the mix and is a great person to have in the locker room - well respected by his teammates.

Question: What do u think about winning 10 plus in a row road games? Do you think the HEAT really play better on the road?

Joel, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Joel. The HEAT have made it an art winning on the road. Currently they have 11 straight wins away from home and have the HEAT record of 14 in a row on the road in its sights. The HEAT bond togehter when they play in front of hostile crowds on the road. It seems like it's the HEAT players and coaches against the basketball world and the team flourishes when the situation is toughest.

Question: Hey Tony,

I just wanted to know why Dwyane Wade sometimes changes his shoes during games. Is it because he is superstitious?

Danny, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Danny. I think D-Wade changes his shoes during games because he may feel more comfortable wearing a differsnt pair. There may be some superstition involved as well. He may feel he plays better in a certain pair in the 2nd half.

Question: Hi Tony. How do you think Mike Miller is fitting in the rotation? And is he still having problems with his injury?

Humberto, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Humberto. Mike Miller is getting some minutes in games from Coach Spoelstra as he works to his way back into game shape. As you may know, he had thumb surgery on his right hand, his shootin hand, and missed about 7 weeks of court time. It will take him a little longer to get fully into the swing of things. We all are looking forward to seeing him play at 100% in a HEAT uniform!

Question: What do you think about LeBron being the one of the top passers on the team?

Robert Lores, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Robert. My partner Eric Reid and I both agree and have said on the air that LeBron James is the best passing forward of all time. When you combine his size, his ball handling ability, his vision of where his teammates are and his ability to create and deliver assists to open teammates - there have been none better at the forward position, ever!

Question: Coach, Can you give an update on Pittman? How;s he progressing in D-League? Anyt timetable for his return? Thanks

Mark W., Port St Lucie, FL

Tony: Hi Mark. Dexter plays for the Sious Falls Skyforce. He has played 6 games and is averaging 14 pts & 8.8 rebounds per game, shooting 56% from the floor, Dexter is getting invaluable game minutes on the pro level which will further his development. To my knowledge, there is no time table for his return.

Question: Hello Coach,

Will Mike Miller get significant minutes upon his return in Jan? How would he change the HEAT offense?

Muhannad Alkhurafi, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Tony: Hi Muhannad. Great to hear from you all the way from Kuwait. Mike Miller has started shooting jump shots with the HEAT coaching staff and continues to look at Jan. as a return date. He will probably be eased into the game when he returns playing limited minutes until he gets into game playing shape. You can always use a very good 3 point shooter who can also rebound and handle the ball at 6'8. He will probably play 2 positions for the HEAT - shooting guard and small forward and he can do nothing but give the HEAT another veteran weapon.

Question: Hey Tony

Who do you think individually has made most progress on the HEAT this season so far?

Chris, Hollywood, FL

Tony: Hi Chris. Thank you for the compliment - Eric and I appreciate it.

I'm not sure I want to give you tips - you may try to take my job! :) If you are serious about broadcasting, go to a college that has a broadcasting program. While enrolled in the program try to do an internship at a radio station and see if you can help announce your college basketball games even if it is just into a tape and for your own use. Any experience in the field will be helpful.

I announced some high school games on radio when I was a high school coach in New York and subbed for Jack Ramsey and Mike Fratello for TV games over the years with the HEAT. When Coach Fratello left to coach the Memphis Grizzlies, I moved into his spot on TV. I have been very fortunate to be able to do what I love doing with the only team I have ever been with in the NBA. My partner Eric Reid and I take a lot of pride in the fact that we are the only announcing duo in the 30 team NBA who have been with its team since its inception -23 years now.

Question: Hi Tony i am a very big fan of you and Eric , I hope to one day have a privilege to do HEAT games as you guys do. What did you do to get to where you are at now in this business? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Luka, Sweden

Tony: Hi Luka. Nice to hear from you from Sweden. The 2 players who have made the most progress for the HEAT are point guard Carlos Arroyo and forward James Jones. Carlos is currently ranked 3rd best 3 point shooter in the NBA at 51% and has provided very heady play running the HEAT offense. James is among league leaders in threes made and leads the team with haven drawn 11 charges. Both have done an outstanding job so far for the HEAT this season.

Question: Do you think it would be best for the shooters of HEAT to settle for open mid-range jumpers rather than pushing for the 3's?

Brian, Philippines

Tony: Hi Brian. Part of the effectiveness of 3pt shooters is they spread the floor. When teams choose to double team any of the the HEAT's Big 3, they have to leave someone or two open for the HEAT It is best if James Jones,Eddie House and Mario Chalmers (and lately Carlos Arroyo) plant themselves beyond the 3 point line because they can make that shot and rotating defenses have to go further to contest their shot. At this juncture in the HEAT season, 20 games in, the HEAT are 6-0 when James Jones makes 3 or more threes in a game.

Question: How is UD holding up post surgery? We are praying for his speedy recovery.

RD, Pembroke Pines, FL

Tony: Hi RD. Udonis Haslem is a warrior as everyone in the NBA knows. It is difficult for him to sit and watch his team play without him but he is doing everything the doctors want him doing at this time in his recovery from foot surgery. I'm sure he is spreading his wisdom to teammates at home games (he hasn't been going on the road, being on crutches and all.) He is well respected by his peers and any advice he can give his teammates I'm sure is well received.

Question: Wade and LeBron both have been players who require the ball in their hands for the last 7 seasons. What do you see as an effective solution to help them co-exist in our offense, aside from Dwyane's suggestion of more isolation plays?

Leo, Hong Kong, China

Tony: Hi Leo. I love the HEAT having fans in Hong Kong. One way to help Dwyane and LeBron co-exist on offense is to play a more uptempo game and score in transition. They are two of the best scorers in the league attacking on the run in the open court. The HEAT has been doing a better job scoring in transition of late because they are playing better defense. Forcing opponents into tougher shots, with trapping opponents point guard at times as he brings the ball over half-court and forcing turnovers and the HEAT doing a better job on the defensive boards, the HEAT is disrupting opponents offense and allowing itself to get out in the open court and attack.

Question: Why were all of the banners taken down from the raptors inside the AmericanAirlines Arena?

Stephanie, Sunniland Park, FL

Tony: Hi Stephanie. Good observation young lady. There was some kind of defect in some of the banners so they decided to take them down get them repaired and now they are back up again. The HEAT have significant banners hanging in the rafters of American Airlines Arena, none more prestigious that the NBA Championship banner of 2006!!

Question: HI Tony, I am a great fan of the Miami HEAT. How do you think signing a center like Erick Dampier will make a difference?

Archie, Philippines

Tony: Hi Archie. Erick Dampier is a 14 yr veteran in the NBA and brings a load of experience to the HEAT (including playing in the NBA Finals for Dallas when the HEAT won the championship in 2006). He's a career 50% shooter and a good rebounder. He will help the HEAT in the lane area both in defending it and scoring close to the rim.

Question: Hi Tony

How do you think Udonis Haslem's injury will effect our team?

Kenneth, Hialeah

Tony: Hi Kenneth. Co-captain Udonis Haslem is the heart and soul of the Miami HEAT. He was leading the HEAT in rebounding and the NBA in rebounds off the bench. His leadership and strong play off the bench is irreplaceable. He is Mr. Intangible, a player who does all the little things to help a team win. The HEAT will have to rebound collectively as a team to make up for UD's absence and others will have to step up off the bench to help out offensively and on defense.

Question: Hi there Coach Tony!

I would like to ask how Miami HEAT could improve their ability to score in the paint?

Clint, Philippines

Tony: Hi Clint. The HEAT need to play better defense which will fuel more fast break points which usually occur close to the basket. In the HEAT's half-court offense, opposing teams are packing in the lane defensively so when D-Wade and LeBron penetrate to the basket, they can't get to the rim at times. They have to pass to open teammates which usually results in a perimeter shot so transition points become more of a premium.

Question:Will Mario Chalmers playing time increase this season?

Brian Thomas, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Brian. Mario is being worked back into the rotation by Coach Spoelstra and his staff. Mario had a high ankle sprain back in training camp in Oct. which takes a long time to heal. The HEAT can use his long range shooting when teams double up defensively on Dwyane, Lebron and Chris Bosh.

Question:Hello Tony. Does this group of talented guys have a play book specially tailored just for them and for the team just like the triangle was for the Bulls?

Ivan M., Florida

Tony: Hi Ivan. The triangle offense wasn't specifically designed for the Chicago Bulls. Evidence of that is the fact that Phil Jackson is now using it in Los Angeles with Kobe and the Lakers. In any good offense, you have to have spacing, players willing to sacrifice for teammates by making the extra pass and players who ideally can take their man off the dribble and create good shots. The HEAT has those components as well as specific plays designed for Dwyane, LeBron and Chris.

Question: Hey Tony, I know that Dexter Pittman is a rookie but why isn't he getting any minutes on the court, especially since he has the size?

Patrick, Orlando, FL

Tony: Hi Patrick. Dexter Pittman has done a great job getting his weight and body fat down. As you may know, he once weighed over 400 lbs in college at Texas. The HEAT's plan is to get his body fat down to around 10% and weight to 270. He has quick feet for a player his size, runs the floor very well and has good skills around the basket. As the season progresses you may see Dexter on the active list for each game and contributing. Right now, he is working very hard on and off the court with the coaches and Strength and Conditioning Coach Bill Foran to get into the best shape he can.

Question: Hello, Tony!

How do you evaluate Miami's record so far?

Kou, Japan

Tony: Hi Kou. Great to hear from you all the way from Japan!

To be honest Kou, too much has been written regarding the HEAT's record right now. With many new players on the team, with 6'8 sharp shooter Mike Miller out with thumb surgery on his shooting hand until at least January and all the hype the big three have brought to the team, everyone has to be patient with the record. The HEAT will be a formidable team to beat come March and April as they head into the playoffs. That's all that matters.

Question: Do you think LeBron will get his third MVP this season?

Topi and Jet, Laoag City, Philippines

Tony: Hi Topi and Jet. HEAT fans from the Philippines - I love it!

LeBron James, with his plethora of incredible skills, will always be in MVP contention. He is the best passing forward the game has ever seen and can dominate the game in many different ways - at both ends of the floor. We'll have to see how the season pans out but you have to have respect for LeBron, coming to Dwyane Wade's team and sharing the spotlight with him and Chris Bosh and taking less money to do it. It's all about pursuing a championship for LeBron, not individual statistics and accolades. People should be applauding his unselfishness!

Question: Greetings from Philippines,

Do you think the Miami HEAT will make a move this season to acquire an elite Center???

JM, Philippines

Tony: Hi JM. Another cool fan from the Philippines whose native son is Erik Spoelstra!

The HEAT have a number of players on the roster who can play center starting with 7'3 Zydrunas Ilgauskas. They will go through the season to see how this works out for the team. HEAT president Pat Riley is always evaluating the roster and other players in the league and will do what's best for the team. There aren't many elite centers in the league and even fewer available for a trade.

Question: Hello, Tony Fiorentino

What roles will Zadrunas Illgauskas, Eddie House, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Jamaal Magloire and James Jones play for the Heat during the 2010-11 NBA season, including playoffs if necessary?

Anthony, Hialeah, FL

Tony: Hi Anthony. All of the players you list above with the exception of Jamaal Magliore are in the HEAT's rotation right now. The number of minutes they play each game depends on the flow of the game, matchups with opponents, the HEAT's individual foul situation and their contributions in a particular game and recent games. Jamaal is a short minute, situation type player who is really insurance on the HEAT's front line if there are injuries. He is an enforcer in the lane and a very good person to have in the HEAT locker room. A veteran who uses his experience to help the younger players on the team.

Question: Why not just make LeBron the official point gaurd?

Dave, Miami Beach, FL

Tony: Hi Dave. Although LeBron has point guard skills at 6'8, 260 lbs he is a small forward by trade. He guards the opposing team's small forwards. If he started at point guard that would probably mean Dwyane Wade would have to guard the opposing point guard. Both LeBron and Dwyane would exert a lot of energy early in the game which could affect their production at crunch time in the 4th quarter.

Question: Greetings from Greece. When is Miller going to be back from the injury and how will that affect the lineup? (:

Michalis, Cyprus,Greece

Tony:Hi Michalis. How are the Greek Isles? We love hearing from HEAT fans in Europe.

Mike Miller is expected back in January from his thumb surgery. It remains to be seen how long it will take him to be effective since the surgery was on his shooting hand.

Question:Tony, what do you think about James Jones shooting most of the HEAT three-point shots? Do you think he could become a starter and can have the most threes in the league?

Andrew, Tamiami, FL

Tony: Hi Andrew. James Jones has gotten off to a great start shooting 3s for the HEAT so far this season. He is one of the hardest working players on the team and all the hard work is paying off. After 9 games he is shooting 49% from downtown (25-51). I like his role off the bench for the HEAT. He has found a comfort zone playing 26 minutes as a sub and hopefully he will continue to bring scoring off the bench with the second unit.

Question: Hey there Coach Tony! I wanted to know why our HEAT have problems against teams with a premier PG (Boston, New Orleans, Utah)?

Buboy, Legazpi City, Philippines

Tony: Hi Buboy. Have you noticed that every team in the league has problems guarding the elite point guards in the NBA? So far, the HEAT has faced the 3 best point guards in the league in my opinion - Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo - and will soon face future Hall of Famer Steve Nash with Phoenix. All of these point guards have a great handle, possess outstanding passing skills, can score in a variety of ways and get up playing against the HEAT. This era in the NBA seems to be one of very talented point guards when you also consider future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd is still going strong and young players Derrick Rose, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings are making their mark in the league

Question: Do you think Dwyane Wade's off game was the missing piece in the HEAT's loss against the Celtics?

Lance, Philippines

Tony: Hi Lance. The Miami HEAT loves having fans in the Philippines!

Dwyane Wade, as you know, had not played in an NBA game for 3 weeks going into the season opener in Boston. He was rehabbing his injured hamstring. He was rusty in that game and despite the HEAT as a team not playing that well, it was a 3 point game with 1:10 left in the 4th quarter. It was encouraging for the HEAT to not play its best game yet be that close against a very good Boston team.

I'm looking forward to the HEAT's next matchup with the Celtics at home on Nov. 11th!! (and D-Wade will not be rusty for that one!!)

Question: How come Coach Spo is not playing Ilgauskas in the starting line-up?

Emanuel, Miami, FL

Tony: Hi Emanuel. Big Z is 35 years old and cannot play starters minutes anymore. Zydrunas is averaging 14 minutes a game and is making big contributions off the bench. I believe that if he attempts to play many more minutes, he could break down. Remember, earlier in his career he had a lot of problems with his feet and missed a substantional amount of games in Cleveland. Besides, he brings some scoring punch to the second unit that isn't really needed with the starters.

Question: Hello, Tony Fiorentino,

What role will Miami HEAT veteran, Jerry Stackhouse play this season after he was signed by the HEAT just recently?

Anthony, Hialeah, FL

Tony: Hi Anthony. Jerry Stackhouse is another veteran the HEAT signed to add depth to the bench and also to have another player who is respected and well liked by his peers. Jerry has never won a championship and is willing to sacrifice steady playing time in his 16th year in the league to be ready when Coach Spo calls on him to play. He will contribute in spots when his number is called and is added insurance at the big guard & small forward positions in case of injuries to teammates during the long NBA season.

Question: Have you reconsidered becoming a coach again? Which team besides the HEAT would you coach if you had the chance?

Solomon, Hialeah, FL

Tony: Hi Solomon. I had a long run as a high school, college, NBA & WNBA coach and am really happy to be working with Eric Reid and Jason Jackson on HEAT broadcasts on Sun Sports. To me it's an ideal job for an ex-coach especially working for the team I have been with since its inception in 1988. I wouldn't want to work for any other NBA team!