Heat forward Josh McRoberts is still an unknown quantity with his new team, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already made an impression on fans.
In his first home game since coming back from offseason toe surgery, McRoberts wasted no time cultivating his appeal when he ripped his jersey down the middle like Hulk Hogan. The video went viral on the Internet, and McRoberts said his phone was flooded with text messages “from people I thought were my friends.”
The destruction of McRoberts’ jersey looked intentional — like a baseball player breaking a bat over his knee — but on Tuesday morning the former Hornets player said that wasn’t the case.
“It looked crazy,” McRoberts said. “It looked like I was trying to rip it apart. I usually just pull on it and hold onto the top of it... When it started to go it just went and it made it look like I was ripping it even more. But it wasn’t cool.”
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So, it doesn’t sound like McRoberts is going to make the jersey-ripping thing part of the nightly show, and that’s too bad. Ripping his jersey every night might make him a cult hero, especially when teams begin putting corporate logos on the fronts of jerseys in a few years. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said such ads are inevitable.
“They make them a little bit different every year,” McRoberts said. “I’ll let you decide what different means.”
McRoberts returns to Charlotte on Wednesday for a game against his old team. He pointed out Tuesday that he “made it no secret” that he wanted to stay with the Hornets, “but things didn’t work out that way, and I’m excited to be in Miami now.”
A longtime player for the Chicago Bulls and now a Heat starter, forward Luol Deng has played for two of the best coaches in the Eastern Conference. On Tuesday, he offered some insightful commentary on the difference between the Bulls’ offensive philosophy under coach Tom Thibodeau and the offensive principles that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra uses:
“Here our guards are more pick-and-roll and trying to find the open guy, and the next guy is making a play, and it’s becoming contagious. In Chicago, we slowed the game down, we got stops, and we slowed it down and tried to get the best shot possible that we could get. We stuck to the plays. Here it’s more of reads. You read the game, and guys have a high IQ, and they’re just making plays after plays and making each other better.”
Deng has fit in well with his new team so far. He has averaging 15 points per game while shooting 57.6 percent from the floor.
“It’s a lot different than in the past with LeBron [James] here,” Deng said. “You knew it was a lot of pick-and-roll with LeBron. … We’re playing a lot off of [Chris] Bosh, who is making a lot of plays, and [Dwyane] Wade is making a lot of plays.
“I think teams will make adjustments, and we’ll make adjustments also. It’s a lot different than in the past. It was a lot of high pick-and-rolls and side pick-and-rolls with LeBron, and he was the playmaker.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Bosh, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, on his new pregame preparation: “I focus on different things. I always want to be relaxed and loose and thinking the right thoughts, thinking happy thoughts like Peter Pan. It’s more so, I need to be aggressive today, I need to get to the free-throw line, and I need to make sure I’m getting my teammates involved. It’s just focusing on a different role … so you can fly. I’ve got to sprinkle the fairy dust.”
▪ Rockets guard Pat Beverley is one of the hardest-working players in the NBA and also one of the most disliked. His reputation for toughness began in the 2010 preseason with the Heat. The Heat loved Beverley’s effort during that first training camp with James, but the team released him.
“The Heat would have won the title that year because I would have guarded him,” Beverley said on Tuesday in the visiting locker room while pointing to teammate Jason Terry. Terry starred for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Finals.
Wednesday: Heat at Hornets
When/where: 7 p.m.; Time Warne r Cable Arena.
TV/radio: Sun Sports; WAXY 104.3 FM, 790 AM and WAQI 710 AM (Spanish).
Series: Heat leads 53-35.
Noteworthy: The season’s first game for the Heat against the Hornets comes on the second night of a home-away back-to-back. For the Hornet, it’s the second night of an away-home back-to-back. The Hornets played in New Orleans on Tuesday night. Udonis Haslem (quad) and Chris Andersen (ribs) are doubtful. Danny Granger (hamstring) is questionable. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is questionable for the Hornets.