Heat | Chris Andersen

Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen helps Miami Heat reach mountaintop


Chris Andersen’s energy and playmaking abilities around the basket in a do-or-die Game 7 helped push the Heat past the Spurs.


Chris Andersen might have turned around Game 7 just by getting off the bench.

With the Heat listless and lost early Thursday night, Erik Spoelstra turned to the Birdman. As the feathered one strode to the scorer’s table, his burgeoning fan club went nuts — and his teammates did the same.

Andersen, the tattooed whirling dervish who goes by Birdman, spurred an 8-1 run with sheer energy, flipping an early five-point deficit into a Heat lead that would be relinquished just once the rest of the half in a 95-88 title-clinching victory.

Andersen finished with three points, four rebounds and a block, but he impacted the game in ways that aren’t reflected on the stat sheet.

Andersen, who didn't play in Games 4 or 5, was forced into full-time duty early because of Chris Bosh’s three first-half fouls. Even when he was on the floor, Bosh was all but invisible, missing all five shots he took in the game.

In Andersen’s 12 first-half minutes, meanwhile, Miami outscored San Antonio by 13 points and took a two-point lead into the half.

His first appearance in the game came at the 3:45 mark of the first quarter. His first imprint on the game came 45 seconds later, blocking Tim Duncan’s shot in the post. A short time later, he cleaned up a missed Mario Chalmers three-pointer for his only bucket of the half.

Then, in the second quarter, Andersen drew a loose-ball foul while battling for an offensive rebound, leading to a Shane Battier three-pointer. His block of Kawhi Leonard later sparked a fast break that resulted in a midrange jumper by Dwyane Wade.

Then, in crunch time, Andersen pulled in two offensive rebounds and drew a charge on Manu Ginobili with Bosh on the bench.

In short, Andersen did all the little things that endeared himself to Heat fans during his brief time in Miami.

A midseason pickup, Andersen hardly lost.

The Heat ripped off a 27-game winning streak shortly after he signed on. The team went 37-3 in regular-season games in which Andersen played, the highest personal winning streak in league history.

And, along the way, he picked up legions of fans — small and large — inspired by his head-to-toe tattoos, mile-high Mohawk and trademark hustle.

But just eight months ago, it was unknown if Andersen would ever play another NBA minute.

Andersen was out of the league when the season began, healing from knee surgery. It wasn’t his first prolonged absence from the game. He was suspended for more than entire season earlier in his career after multiple drug test failures.

But Andersen has apparently cleaned up his act and at age 34 reached the NBA Finals for the first time.

On Thursday night, he did his best to make it count.

Read more Miami Heat stories from the Miami Herald

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, then-Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng looks on against the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers' 117-109 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver. Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. Ferry apologized Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, for “repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources” about Deng.

    Miami Heat

    More comments besmirching new Miami Heat forward Luol Deng

    Days after it was revealed that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry made racially charged comments about new Heat forward Luol Deng before Deng became a free agent this summer, additional comments made by Ferry about Deng came to light Thursday.

FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2011, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owners Michael Gearon Jr., left, and Bruce Levenson talk prior to the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. The team did not provide any details of the discipline.

    Hawks discipline GM Ferry for racist comments

    The Atlanta Hawks are sticking with general manager Danny Ferry even though the team's new majority owner wants him fired for racially charged comments about Luol Deng.

Shaquille O'Neal stopped by Doral City Hall Wednesday to say hello to the city council before sitting down with the police department. O’neal applied to be a reserve officer and is undergoing a background check.


    Shaq wants to attack crime in Doral

    Former Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal applied to be a reserve police officer for the city of Doral on Wednesday.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category