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Chris Andersen complements Heat’s Big Three so well

May 23, 2013, 2:39 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game One Getty Images

For the 145th time since they joined forces in Miami, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh finished as the Heat’s top three scorers.

For the first time in the 2013 calendar year, the fourth-leading scorer – Chris Andersen – scored more than 15 points.

It’s been much less of a concern that many expected when the Big Three era began in Miami, but the Heat sometimes have a tendency to watch LeBron, Wade and Bosh work. Some of that is smart basketball. When three superstars are playing well, it’s often best for role players to stay out of the way. It’s also natural for teammates to marvel at the greatness of those three.

But occasionally,a fourth player steps up in those situations and makes the Heat even better.

Usually, the same type of player scores well when LeBron, Wade and Bosh are leading the way – outside shooters. They use the attention the superstars attract to find space and get clean looks. Prior to tonight, a Heat player scored more than 15 points in just nine of the 144 games LeBron, Wade and Bosh led the team in scoring.

Ray Allen accounted for four of those games, shooting 2-of-3, 3-of-5, 3-of-5, and 3-of-4 on 3-pointers. Mario Chalmers had two of them, shooting 2-of-7 and and 4-of-4 on 3-pointers. Carlos Arroyo (3-of-4 on 3-pointers) and Mike Bibby (5-of-5 on 3-pointers) also added one. Udonis Haslem added another without making a 3-pointer, but he was clearly the exception.

Andersen – who scored 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting in the Heat’s 103-102 win over the Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference – certainly bucked the trend tonight. Yet, like the 3-point shooters, his points were clearly the result of the  Big Three clicking.

Six of Andersen’s shots were assisted, three by LeBron and two by Wade, and Anderson’s other basket came on a Kobe assist from LeBron in the purest sense. LeBron drove and attracted help defense near the basket, leaving a clear tip-in for Andersen.

The Heat already had the 3-point shooters – players like Allen, Shane Battier, Chalmers, Mike Miller and Rashard Lewis – to fit around the Big Three. But Andersen, an active player who finds space and elevates quickly near the rim, provides another element.

Not only did Andersen’s 16 points in 18 minutes rate as Miami’s best scoring rate tonight, he broke the franchise record for shots without a miss in a playoff game (previously held by Alonzo Mourning, who went 6-for-6).

Add plus defense – Andersen had three blocks and a steal, though David West (26 points) had a couple nice moments against him – and Andersen is making a real difference for the Heat.

Nobody will forget who Miami’s Big Three are. But Andersen is becoming a very nice fourth piece.

  1. miamatt - May 23, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    Oh, have you not heard?

  2. brokerhenry - May 23, 2013 at 3:21 AM

    This guy was god-sent. We needed him so bad. I don’t know how we made do without him, but he is a keeper for as long as he wants to stay here. We must find a way to get him to stay. Hope we get 2 more years out of the Birdman!!! Do whatever needs doing to keep this dude.

  3. rawgator06 - May 23, 2013 at 3:32 AM

    As a Heat fan, I look at it this way: Joel Anthony’s salary: 3. 75 Million
    Birdmans Salary: 491,702
    He is one of our most important players and he is being paid the least. I really hope the Heat can keep him, but after he has contributed so much with his current salary, I would not blame him in the least if he left for a big payday somewhere else.
    Lets Go Heat!

    • myeviltwinstwin - May 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Birdman is making over $4 million this year. $400K is the amount the Heat are paying. If you recall he was amnestied by the Nuggets. They are still on the hook for his full salary minus the amount the Heat pay him.

  4. lakerslegacy2432 - May 23, 2013 at 5:14 AM

    heat fans he isnt going any where he loves south beach, the core of players & opp to win 1 or 2 rings

    • biasedhomer - May 23, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      Really? So if some team offers him double or even triple what the Heat offer him, you think he would still stay in Miami?
      News flash, money is worth more than 1 or 2 rings to these role players who will never land a max contract.

      • adoombray - May 23, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        Oh okay, well since you know him personally and are keen to his motivations, I guess it doesn’t matter that he’s playing the best basketball of his career on the biggest stage and looks happier than ever.

        but since all role players who dont make max money behave and act exactly the same according to you, i guess it doesnt matter

      • biasedhomer - May 23, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Pot meet kettle…
        “Looks happier than ever”, since you know him so well that you’ve been talking to him and following him since his rookie days in Denver.

        And the comment I first replied to also is implying a personal relationship with Anderson.

        I guess it doesn’t matter since you both are good buddies with him.

  5. anhdazman - May 23, 2013 at 5:32 AM

    Birdman, Miami’s version of Dennis Rodman for MJ and the Bulls.

    • ProBasketballPundit - May 23, 2013 at 6:08 AM

      A very poor man’s version of Rodman. Birdman has a very similar skill set to Rodman, but Rodman was an elite defender at several positions and could be counted on for 30-40 minutes of energy. I think Birdman has an edge offensively, finishing around the rim and catching the pass as the roll-man in pick & rolls.

    • gepsep - May 23, 2013 at 8:27 AM

      What? Dennis Rodman was the part of the Big 3 those years. MJ, Pippen, Rodman.

      • anhdazman - May 23, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        Not necessarily meaning that Birdman is the top 3 performer like Rodman to Chicago’s big 3, but as in “off the wall” type of player, Tattoo, rebounding and defensive prescence.

  6. kvanhorn87 - May 23, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    Whatever happened to the child porn accusations?

    • Kurt Helin - May 25, 2013 at 2:37 AM

      There never were charges. Police investigated and found a blackmail scam not any wrong doing by the Birdman.

  7. iowahbr - May 23, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    After last night if the Heat don’t put a little extra in his pay envelope they are crazy.

  8. 1972sxwife - May 23, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    He’s a nice piece but you don’t want your kids around him.

    • miamatt - May 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Everybody knows you’re actually cantonbound13.

      • 1972sxwife - May 23, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        Everyone knows you’re an idiot.

      • miamatt - May 23, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        That’s exactly how cantonbound13 would have played it!

    • mogogo1 - May 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      Educate yourself. That was a total set-up job where he was the victim of an attempted extortion scheme, which explains why no charges were ever filed against him. Some chick flew to Denver to meet him (like underaged girls are always flying themselves across the country?), had ID showing she was 21, but then later tried to blackmail him. The “child porn” the original news articles talked about was actually photos she’d sent him.

    • adoombray - May 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      never charged in any crimes, and they seized his computer. everyones dirt is on their computer. if there was any kind of evidence or proof, the dude would be in prison, but nothing came of all that.

  9. kanemoney - May 23, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    He is exactly what the Heat need to compliment Bosh Spice – a tough rebounder with a high motor.

    It seems many of my favorite players are ex-Nuggets… (JR Smith, Birdman…)

  10. mz1394 - May 23, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    Joel Anthony can you say amnesty

    • canehouse - May 23, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      Mike Miller is who will get the Amnesty tag… set to make 6.2 next season.

  11. progress2011 - May 23, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    WHY, WHY, WHY is Udonis Haslem still in the NBA! This dude has been a D League level player the past few years.

    1. Broke Jumper
    2. Can’t Jump / Rebound
    3. To LITTLE to play Power Forward
    4. To SLOW to play Small Forward
    5. Not a hustle or energy guy (aka Birdman)

    Yet he is making $4.3 Million this year and scheduled to make $4.6 Million next year !

    I understand the loyalty thing since he helped them win the first chip…..make him an assistant coach or something but he shouldn’t be in an NBA uniform anymore !

  12. watermelon1 - May 23, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    BIRDMAN! Coooo cooooo

  13. chrismt79 - May 23, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I always thought B-Man would be a perfect fit for the Heat, and has proved to be just that. He’s an excellent complement to the big 3, does his job, does not require a ton of touches, and makes the offense think twice before coming into the lane. Add that with the fact he isn’t a pre-madonna and doesn’t mind doing the dirty work. I say the South Beach climate, along with a couple rings and a nice little bump in his paycheck, we should be able to convince him to stay for at least a few more of his prime years.

  14. chrismt79 - May 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    *prima donna

    • mogogo1 - May 23, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      I actually like the image of a pre-madonna! (I guess that would have been back when she was still using Louise Ciccone with her name.)

  15. cj1403 - May 23, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    They should have picked him up as soon as Anderson was amnestied. I guess teams second guessed it at first because of the child pornography case.

  16. nard100 - May 23, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    I’m just glad Bosh is finally get his due as part of the big THREE again. This series is exactly why they got him. I remember when they were playing Boston last year without him and it wasn’t pretty. When he dunked on Hibbert last night, that was awesome. And the Birdman, what can you say but AWESOME.

    • mogogo1 - May 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      That team doesn’t function without Bosh. Precious few guys have that kind of talent but would be willing to play third-fiddle and not have their ego get in the way. Seems like a heck of a nice guy off the court, too.

  17. mungman69 - May 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    I’m shocked, shocked I say, that the Birdman can play so well. Still wouldn’t want my daughter to date him.

    • badintent - May 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Sure you do. You get free home game tickets and get to hang with Chris in his South Beach condo.She gotta take one for the team , Eh ?
      NO Birdman.last night, Heat lose. Bottom line

  18. gmsalpha - May 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Andersen is really a perfect piece for the Heat. Especially at the salary he’s earning this year, and he’s earning every penny. Miami would be down 0-1 if not for Chris Andersen, and they know it. While Bosh is a finesse player, Andersen is a very tough, physical presence and I really think that’s a great combination and relieves some of the pressure on Bosh, who has never been known as a great rebounder for his size. Miami will win the series in 5, but it will be the most difficult 5-games of the season.

  19. miaheater - May 23, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    “Birdman,Birdman” – in the Shaq voice……

    • topdawg4ever - May 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      LOL I was just gonna post that! I loved the interview with Birdman and the TNT team last night after the game. When Kenny tried to say he thought Chis would be “different” and Chuck piped up “What he means is he thought you’d be a weirdo!” Love the Chuckster!

  20. yuwannano - May 24, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    He looks like an escapee from a Sanitarium. But he sure can play.

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