Heat forward LeBron James was named to his fifth consecutive All-Defensive first team Monday, capturing the second-most points in voting by NBA head coaches.
Joining James on the first team is Chicago center Joakim Noah, whose Bulls are in the midst of a physical playoff series against Miami.
James and Memphis guard Tony Allen tied for the most first-team votes (25). Allen had 53 points to James’ 52.
Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka, New York center Tyson Chandler (who tied in points with Noah) and L.A. Clippers guard Chris Paul round out the first team.
James said he is glad to be a leader of the Heat’s defense.
“We pride ourselves in playing defense, and I’m one of the catalysts as far as taking that side of the ball very seriously,” he said.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra loves the example set by James.
“You don’t typically see star players at a young age commit to both sides of the floor,” Spoelstra said. “As an organization, we pride ourselves in having two-way players.”
Memphis’ Marc Gasol, the NBA’s defensive player of the year in voting by the media, was the second-team center and 11th overall in the coaches’ voting. Gasol was joined on the second team by teammate Mike Conley, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Indiana’s Paul George and Boston’s Avery Bradley.
Heat forward Shane Battier and guard Dwyane Wade each received two votes.
In what perhaps was a result of a butterfly ballot or something similarly confusing, 37-year-old reserve point guard Mike James of Dallas got a first-place vote.
Perhaps someone confused him with LeBron James?
Looking sharp: Heat guard Norris Cole, who made an unexpected trip to the postgame podium after Game 3 — because of an 18-point performance — wore a suit to Game 4.
“I stay prepared, man,” he said, smiling.
The public speaking is not a problem. He’s been doing it since grammar school.
“My dad taught me at an early age how to speak in public,” Cole said. “Coming from a religious background, they taught me through the church.”
Heat fan still in the news: A Chicago Tribune poll asked whether Heat fan Filomena Tobias, who made an obscene gesture at the Bulls’ Noah during Game 2, should be banned from AmericanAirlines Arena. Among the 3,610 respondents, 67 percent voted yes, 29 percent voted no and 4 percent were unsure. She is expected back — after getting a warning from Heat management — for Game 5 on Wednesday night.
Heat players go 3-on-3: To stay sharp, the Heat’s reserves have continued their pregame 3-on-3 contests into the playoffs.
These days, the teams are veterans Rashard Lewis, Mike Miller and Juwan Howard against Joel Anthony, James Jones and Jarvis Varnado.
“Old heads versus the young guys,” Miller said.
Not that two of the young guys are that young — Jones is 32 and Anthony is 30.
“Yeah, but I’m younger than these clowns,” Jones said.
Next man up? Many believe the Bulls adopted a football mentality for this series. And, for Game 4 at the United Center, they adopted a football slogan.
Placards reading “Next Man Up” were placed on every fan’s seat, a reference to the team’s spate of illnesses and injuries.
No doubt some were tempted to put a sign on Derrick Rose’s seat.
NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
Selected by the 30 head coaches:
G;Tony Allen, Grizzlies;25;3;53
G;Chris Paul, Clippers;15;7;37
F;LeBron James, Heat;25;2;52
F;Serge Ibaka, Thunder;17;12;46
C;Tyson Chandler, Knicks;9;6;24
C;Joakim Noah, Bulls;8;8;24