If you’re like me, you haven’t been able to look away from your TV since the NBA playoffs tipped off, which also makes you a lot like Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley. I got to sit down with Miami’s second-leading scorer to get a first-hand perspective on what it’s like going up against KG, Kobe, and the rest of the guys still gunning for a title in the playoffs.
SIKIDS.com: What did you do after your season ended?
Michael Beasley: I went to Kansas and worked out. I lifted weights in the afternoon, around 2 o clock, and then hoop at night, starting around 5 or 6. I did that with guys from K State. Guys like Jacob Pullen. They give me good runs. I also run drills with [Kansas State Associate Head Coach] Dalonte Hill.
You didn’t even take one day off when the season was over?
Nope. I went right back in the gym.
What are you focusing on working on specifically this season?
I do everything, I don’t leave one thing out. This season, I was up and down, so I need to work on staying consistent. I play every aspect of my game. I work with the Heat assistants, who put me to work on everything.
Have you been watching the playoffs every night?
Right now, I’m watching them every night. Just like a fan.
You played against Boston in the first round. Did you see anything first-hand in that series that made you think the Celtics could go on a run like this?
They’re a veteran team. They do what it takes to win. They’ve been there before. They’re one team, not one guy, like the Detroit Pistons a couple years ago.
Give us a first-person perspective. What does Orlando need to do to slow down Boston?
You have to shut down Rajon Rondo before he can get into the paint. Keep him on the outside and make him shoot jump shots. You also can’t let KG [Kevin Garnett] get going. Once he gets going, it’s a problem. He’ll pick you apart. Ray Allen? There isn’t really much you can do. You can play the best defense in the world and he’s still going to make shots. You just have to let him miss. For Paul Pierce, you have to take away his post-up game.
What’s it like trying to grab rebounds against the Boston front line?
They’re tough. [Kendrick] Perkins, Big Baby [Glen Davis], KG, ‘Sheed [Rasheed Wallace]. I don’t want to call them dirty players, but they’re physical players. [You get hit with] a lot of elbows when you play against them.
Can you see Orlando coming back in this series?
You got to fight. Boston is a hard, hard place to get a win. Guys like Rashard Lewis and J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes have got to step up.
It’s going to be tough for them to do that on the road. What was it like playing in Boston during the playoffs?
It’s like a college atmosphere. Other than Oklahoma, they have the best crowd in the NBA. As far as heckling and how the fans act, it gets loud and it’s an emotional crowd. It feels like they’re playing with you. You can tell when the crowd is hyped, because they [the Celtics] get hyped.
What’s your prediction for the Orlando-Boston series?
I want to pick against the Celtics, but I don’t see them losing.
Does Phoenix have a chance against the Lakers?
No, I think Kobe has something to prove. Everybody thinks he’s old and I think he’s out to prove them wrong. We’ve seen what happens when Kobe has something to prove…
Have you ever been stuck on a switch against Kobe one-on-one?
Yeah, and I was actually talking trash. I told him he wasn’t going to get past me.
And what happened?
He shot a three and made it. [Laughs]
What else makes the Lakers hard to beat?
You have to get their big guys off the block. And you have to deny the baseline pass. In the triangle, if you have Kobe, Pau or Bynum on the blocks, Fisher will throw it in to them off the baseline. If Fisher or Artest get it in the corner, it’s an easy pass in to the big guys. So you have to spread the floor. You have to get Bynum and Gasol away from the basket. Gasol, the further you get him away from the basket, the less damage he can do.