Saturday morning, when Heat forward Shawne Williams was declared a game-time decision with a foot injury against the Memphis Grizzlies later that night, Dwyane Wade joked, “It’s kind of like ‘don’t go to sleep.’
“Luol [Deng] went to sleep, woke up with his wrist [injury]. [Chris Bosh] went to sleep, woke up with his [calf injury].”
Williams started warmups by taking jumps shots with two feet and landing on one foot, with his left leg lifted behind him. After about 10 minutes, Williams began landing on both feet and eventually told the Heat assistant coaches watching that he would be able to play against the Grizzlies.
So, the Heat started Wade and Mario Chalmers in the backcourt, Deng and Williams at forward, with Chris Andersen at center. With 6-9 forward Zach Randolph out, the Grizzlies started guards Mike Conley and Courtney Lee, Tony Allen and Jon Leuer at forward and Marc Gasol at center.
Humorous slice of NBA life: As Heat forward James Ennis took flight to finish a fast break started by a Wade steal, Memphis’ Vince Carter, of all people, stripped Ennis. As the ball went out of bounds, Carter’s hand shot up to claim the foul he assumed would be called.
Except none of the three officials called a foul. They called Heat ball but no foul. This upset Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra spent the timeout vociferously pointing out to referees Michael Smith and Leroy Richardson the discrepancy between what was called and Carter’s self-incrimination.
The next Heat possession, Danny Granger beat Carter to a wayward pass to the left rear of the backboard and awkwardly threw the ball toward the hoop. The foul call on Carter not only couldn’t have been a more obvious makeup but also it sparked a Flamingo Park-like argument among Heat and Grizzlies players over whether Granger was shooting or not.
TECHNICAL FOR SPO
Spoelstra went 26 games without getting a technical foul. After Saturday’s final five seconds of the first half, he has two in the past five games.
As Wade skidded across the time line in a fruitless dive to keep a loose ball from going into the backcourt, Memphis’ Quincy Poindexter jumped atop Wade’s prone form like the U.S. national soccer team joining a Landon Donovan goal celebration.
Officials said the backcourt violation killed the play before any foul by Poindexter. That prompted a Spoelstra protest that included a cuss word at the officials, but the second swear word got him a technical foul.
THIS AND THAT
▪ The NBA approved the Heat’s application for a Disabled Player Exception for forward Josh McRoberts, who sustained a season-ending meniscus injury and has undergone surgery. The $2.6million salary cap exception expires March 10.
▪ Heat forward Udonis Haslem, a staunch University of Miami football fan, sighed heavily Saturday morning when asked what he thought about the Duck Commander Independence Bowl later Saturday afternoon.
“I’m always going to support them, I’m always going to be a Canes fan,” he said. “What’s South Carolina’s record, 6-6? I want [UM] to win. I’m going to continue to cheer them on. I thought they could’ve done a little better this year. I find myself saying next year every year. So, I say it again: next year.”
The Hurricanes lost 24-21 to finish 6-7.