Skip to content

Winderman: When bad teams tank, good teams get rest

Apr 18, 2012, 12:25 PM EST

Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade AP

This is where the lockout grinder of a schedule has delivered us. Picking and choosing. With opponents. And with players.

Wednesday night, when the Miami Heat host a very awful Toronto Raptors team, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be given the night off as part of coach Erik Spoelstra’s late-season “maintenance” program. No particular need to even define injuries at this stage.

Similarly, when the Chicago Bulls play at the historically bad Charlotte Bobcats, don’t expect to see Derrick Rose or Luol Deng.

To a degree, this may be nothing more than a case of rosters-by-TNT, with the cable network televising Thursday’s Heat-Bulls game.

And, yes, that is a game that still has meaning. Should the Heat win out (a possibility with a post-Bulls schedule that includes the Wizards twice, as well as the Rockets and Celtics) then one more Bulls loss (perhaps April 25 in the Pacers’ home finale) still could give the Heat the No. 1 seed in the East.

Stars on hiatus, of course, is nothing new in these closing weeks. Just ask Lakers assistant coach Kobe Bryant.

But part of it also is how awful the bottom of the league stands. This is not a case of tanking this season, this is epic tanking, tanking that practically deserves league intervention.

If the Raptors, Bobcats and other bottom-feeders weren’t so indifferent at this stage, then teams still with seeding at stake might actually have to play the players fans come out to see.

The solution would seem simple enough: David Stern should start swiping ping-pong balls, taking back some of those lottery combinations from teams that simply have quit on his sport.

That, of course, won’t be the case.

So instead we get games like Wednesday’s Bulls-Bobcats and Heat-Raptors, opening acts in advance of Thursday’s Heat-Bulls that are like an accordion player coming out to warm up the crowd for Springsteen.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

Latest Posts
  1. Andrea Bargnani out indefinitely after suffering calf strain

    Nov 23, 2014, 2:01 PM EST

    Andrea Bargnani Andrea Bargnani

    Bargnani was close to a return from his hamstring injury.

  2. Report: Free agent market for Jeff Green is as strong ‘if not stronger’ than it is for Rajon Rondo

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Jeff Green Jeff Green

    Combination of a lower price tag and a more diverse overall skill set may explain why.

  3. Andrew Wiggins drops career high 29 on Sacramento (VIDEO)

    Nov 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    When he uses his athleticism to get to the rim good things happen.

  4. LeBron James: “We’re a very fragile team right now”

    Nov 23, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    “This is not even the lowest it’s going to get for us.” —LeBron James

  5. Anthony Davis goes off for 43 points (VIDEO)

    Nov 23, 2014, 1:04 AM EST

    Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

    There was nothing the Utah Jazz could do.

  6. Damian Lillard on flagrant foul from Bulls’ Mike Dunleavy: ‘It was a cheap play’

    Nov 22, 2014, 8:30 PM EST

    Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers

    Dunleavy says he was just trying to foul to stop the clock. Watch and decide for yourself.

  7. Dwight Howard out vs. Mavericks Saturday, no timetable for his return

    Nov 22, 2014, 7:06 PM EST

    San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets

    With him and starting power forward Terrence Jones out, the Rockets are very thin up front.

  8. Brandon Jennings on reason for Pistons’ offensive woes: ‘We don’t shoot in practice’

    Nov 22, 2014, 6:30 PM EST

    Brandon Jennings AP

    Detroit is next to last in field goal percentage on the season.

  9. NBA corrects scoring error from Raptors’ win over Bucks

    Nov 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EST

    Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    Toronto won by 42 points, so this only matters if you had a certain Milwaukee player on your fantasy team.

  10. If Derrick Rose not ready to return by Monday Bulls may add point guard to roster

    Nov 22, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    US-BKN-NBA-BULLS-CLIPPERS US-BKN-NBA-BULLS-CLIPPERS

    Mike James or Will Bynum could be added to the roster for a short stint.

  11. Eric Bledsoe on flagrant foul he took from Nerlens Noel: ‘They did it on purpose’

    Nov 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Philadelphia 76ers Phoenix Suns v Philadelphia 76ers

    Bledsoe says the Sixers warned him before the game that he would be targeted for his previous comments.

Featured video

Can Rockets, Grizzlies keep up hot starts?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (8763)
  2. D. Wade (8187)
  3. K. Durant (7229)
  4. P. Gasol (6394)
  5. R. Westbrook (6026)
  1. T. Jones (5912)
  2. O. Asik (5590)
  3. D. Howard (5432)
  4. D. Lee (5272)
  5. R. Gay (5200)