Andersen says Heat have his back
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS – Miami Heat forward-center Chris “Birdman” Andersen answered for his unacceptable actions that will keep him out of Game 6 against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
The NBA suspended Andersen one game without pay because he “knocked Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough to the floor, escalated the altercation by shoving Hansbrough and resisted efforts to bring the altercation to an end” in the second quarter of Game 5 on Thursday.
“I have to deal with repercussions of it and I’m missing this game. I know my guys are going to go out there and they’re going to handle business,” Andersen said. “It was just the heat of the moment. The heat of the battle pushed me out of my comfort zone. I got out of my composure and I let it get the best of me. But now I’m dealing with it.”
Hansbrough said he has no idea what prompted Andersen. “I’m not sure,” Hansbrough said. “Anytime the atmosphere is like that (and) the playoff intensity is there, things can happen.”
The Heat will miss Andersen’s offense against the Pacers, who have used their size and strength to their advantage often in the series.
Andersen hasn’t missed a shot since Game 4 of the conference semifinals against the Chicago Bulls, a streak of 18 consecutive made shots. He is 15-for-15 against the Pacers.
Signed as a free agent in January, Andersen turned into one of the best non-trade, in-season acquisitions in recent years. The Heat are 49-6 with Andersen this season, playoffs included. He averaged 4.9 points and 4.1 rebounds during the regular season and is averaging 7.1 points and four rebounds in the playoffs — 7.2 and 4.6 against the Pacers in 18.4 minutes a game.
With Andersen on the court in the playoffs, Miami scores 116.6 points per 100 possessions with Andersen on the floor and just 106.2 with Andersen on the bench. There is just a negligible difference in defensive efficiency. The Heat allow 98.8 points per 100 possessions with on the court and 97.9 with Andersen on the bench in the postseason.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said reserve center Joel Anthony will … [For more on Chris Andersen says MIami Heat will have his back, click here.]