Updates from Wednesday, May 7
The Miami Heat provide an update on Chris Andersen's injury:
Chris Andersen on his Game 2 playing status: “One thousand percent. They’re going to need a body bag to keep me from playing.”— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 7, 2014
Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen suffered a right knee contusion in the team's 107-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series, the team announced.
Chris Andersen (right knee contusion) is questionable for a return to tonight's #HEATgame. X-rays on the knee came back negative.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 7, 2014
Andersen appeared to be injured in a sequence early in the fourth quarter. After blocking Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee on defense, the Heat raced down the floor in transition, where Andersen finished a layup at the rim. Plumlee's block attempt sent Andersen sprawling to the ground, and he was taken out for Chris Bosh at the next dead ball.
Coach Erik Spoelstra provided an update after the game:
Spo on Andersen (knee): “He hit the floor 3-4 times. He’s in a bath of ice now, we’ll see how he responds over the next couple of days.”— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 7, 2014
While it was unclear whether Andersen could have come back in, he wasn't needed. The Heat dominated the Nets in the second half, as four Miami starters scored in double figures. Andersen came off the bench to add seven points, four rebounds and four blocks in his 16 minutes, combining with Ray Allen to lead a stellar night from the reserves.
Miami was playing for the first time in more than a week after sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats in Round 1. The Nets, who looked gassed at points in the second half, were only two days removed from a draining Game 7 against the Toronto Raptors. With age and rest on their side, the Heat are a prohibitive favorite to reach their fourth straight Eastern Conference Finals.
Andersen's injury, which seems minor at this juncture, could be a problem for Spoelstra if it lingers. The Heat can afford to play their preferred small ball against the undersized Nets, which allows for spacing and a more cohesive offensive flow. Andersen fits within the flow of that scheme off the bench because Brooklyn does not have the bigs to back him down and his hyperactivity can match the likes of Plumlee.
"He plays until he has zero in the tank," Spoelstra told reporters during the Charlotte series. "You wish everybody would play with that type of intensity. He saves possessions at the rim. Offensively, he absolutely gets our spacing. It's important for that timing. He just finds a way to get to the rim. That energy gets infectious."
Andersen, 35, is averaging 8.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game during the postseason. Rarely a primary option on an offensive set, he's yet to have a game where he's missed more shots than he's made.
Should his knee injury prove too cumbersome for Game 2, Udonis Haslem stands to get a lion's share of his minutes. Haslem received only two minutes of garbage-time action Tuesday night after being a starter for the Heat against the Bobcats. An Andersen absence could also force Spoelstra to activate Greg Oden, who has not made an appearance since the regular-season finale.
The Nets and Heat meet again in Miami on Thursday night.
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