Chris Andersen, in Second Season, Still Flying for Miami

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Chris Andersen, in Second Season, Still Flying for Miami
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DETROIT -- 70-12.

That's 39-3 last regular season, plus 15-5 in the 2013 playoffs, plus 15-4 this season.

That's the Miami Heat's record with Chris Andersen in uniform since he signed on Jan. 20. 

That's the word on the Bird.

"Why you always bringing me numbers?" Andersen snapped with his trademark sinister, slightly scary half-smile, the one that gives little hint as to whether he's being serious or silly.

Andersen, you see, isn't about this.

For someone who goes to great pains to stand out—needles included—he prefers to stay out of the media spotlight. He doesn't want reporters commenting about his contributions, let alone telling him he deserves some credit. 

"I don't want no credit, man," Andersen said.

Sorry, pal. Some is warranted at this stage.

Andersen is the Heat's best per-minute rebounder this season, and he had five more in 23 minutes in Sunday's 110-95 win against the Pistons. He also posted 10 points (4-of-5 from the field) as part of a bench that made its first 10 shots. He showed something we haven't seen much: a strong drive from the free-throw line to the rack.

And he demonstrated why he will be so important in Tuesday's marquee matchup against the strong frontline of the Indiana Pacers. Erik Spoelstra played him in tandem with Chris Bosh for the first time all season, and did so in both halves.

"I'm everywhere," Andersen said of his role. "If it's the guys finding me around the basket, and me helping guys on the defensive end."

He's doing this for the Heat on a minimum contract, one of three players—along with Rashard Lewis and Michael Beasley—who is still being paid more by another team (in Andersen's case, Denver) to contribute to the Heat.

His legs look livelier than they did even last season, largely because he wasn't dealing with knee surgery and could come to camp in somewhat better condition than when he joined the Heat on Jan. 20. He was one of the two role players that the Heat organization has long coveted.

The other was Shane Battier, who was finally within their financial grasp during the 2011 offseason. Andersen was only available deep into 2012-13 season because of a criminal investigation, of which he was eventually cleared.

In joining the Heat, he had to jump a moving train.

"I didn't jump on any moving trains," he shot back, before a pause. "Choo choo."

Well, essentially, if not literally. His first game for Miami was the team's 40th game of that season.

That isn't easy.

"No it ain't," he said. "But you just had that mindset of acting like you've done this before. You overthink it, then you can start making mistakes. Next thing you know, you're overthinking s---. At the beginning, that's what I was doing, I didn't want to make any mistakes. But once I recorrected my mindset, and said, 'Well, s---, I'm going to make mistakes, it's just a matter of correcting myself on the defensive end, or on the offensive end. And that's what happened."

We know what happened as last season progressed.

He became a fan favorite and a rotation fixture, during the 27-game winning streak and beyond.

His importance was most apparent in the Eastern Conference finals against Indiana.

Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

When he missed Game 6 due to suspension, the Pacers outrebounded the Heat, 53-33, and won, 91-77. Tuesday is the Heat's first trip back since.

Andersen will be available, and active, at age 35.

"Age has nothing to do with it," Andersen said. "No. It's how I feel. I feel good. I mean, you take care of your body, you can play a long time in the league. I mean, I got another three, four years. You said it yourself, it doesn't look like I have the legs of a 35-year-old. But obviously, I was suspended for two years. So it helped my legs. So, there you go."

Is this the most fun he's had in the NBA?

"Oh, of course," Andersen said. "I'm having a blast with this team. Like LeBron (James) said, you can't take it too serious, but you also got to take care of business when it's time to take care of business."

And sometimes, whether playfully or sternly, you got to tell people to take their silly numbers somewhere else.

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