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Thursday, January 12th, 2012 at 8:38 am  |  96 responses

Post Up: The Champ Is Here

Dirk downs Boston late, Lob City beats the Heat and two more OT thrillers in the West.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

The hits keep coming. Matter fact, as DJ Khaled once said so poetically, “Hits, straight hits.” These 11-game nights are just craziness. As if last night’s drama weren’t enough, can I interest you in a trio of overtime games, including Kobe’s second 40-plus point night in a row and drama in Lob City against Miami? Oh, and did I mention the Finals MVP got his clutch on? I dare you to not like the NBA right now. Behold, your guide to last night’s games:

Pacers 96, Hawks 84

Danny Granger returned to the lineup after missing Monday’s tilt with the Sixers, and he scored 24 points to lead Indiana past Atlanta, improving to 7-3 on the year, and 4-0 at home. It’s the Pacers’ best start to a season since 2005-06, and it was only Indiana’s second win over the past 11 against the Hawks, who were led in scoring by Josh Smith’s 16 points, including one ferocious dunk. Atlanta was shorthanded, though, without Tracy McGrady due to lingering back spasms (surprise, surprise) and Al Horford, who appeared to injure his shoulder while battling for a rebound—he played just six minutes and did not return to the game. David West and Roy Hibbert added 12 apiece to Granger’s production and the Pacers survived 20 fast break points from ATL, dropping the Hawks to 7-4. Lance Stephenson finally had a nice game coming off the pine for Indiana, with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 18 minutes.

Kings 98, Raptors 91

Immature or not, DeMarcus Cousins can hoop. DMC put up 21 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, and with the help of Tyreke Evans’ season-high 29 points and 7 dimes, the Kings outlasted the Raptors to snap a 7-game losing streak in Toronto and get their first road win of the season (now 4-7 overall). Jimmer Fredette scored in double figures (10) but again struggled with his shooting (3-10), while the big spark for the Kings came from an unlikely source: the generously-listed 5-9 point guard from Washington, Isaiah Thomas, who scored 20 points in 24 minutes, and also had 6 assists. Thomas hit a huge three down the stretch and hustled all over the floor, playing scrappy defense against Jose Calderon and the Raps. Toronto got just 10 points and 10 boards from leading man Andrea Bargnani, as Leandro Barbosa scored a team-high 24 off the bench. The Raptors have now lost to Washington and Sacramento in back-to-back nights and dropped four of five overall.

Knicks 85, Sixers 79

New York survived a late push from the NBA’s hottest team and improved to 6-4 on the season in front of a home MSG crowd. The Knicks, shockingly, did it with defense, holding Philly to 79 points and outrebounding the Sixers 46-37. Philadelphia made only 3 of 15 three-point attempts, Lou Williams scored just 2 points on 1-of-6 shooting (season: 16+ PPG) and Spencer Hawes didn’t play, forcing ageless wonder Tony Battie into the starting lineup. As for the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony carried the offensive load as usual—27 points on 9-24 FGs, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals—and Amar’e Stoudemire turned in a 20-10 double-double. New York overcame 21 turnovers and the pesky Sixers, who were in it until Anthony drilled two free throws with under 20 seconds left to play, despite the Knicks holding the lead most of the way (up by as many as 17). And I must have missed it, but according to the popular Knicks blog Posting and Toasting, “Jorts Harrellson provided some unexpected offense in the first half and stalwart defense throughout.” Josh Jorts had 13 points off the bench, as Mike D’Antoni only played 8 guys total.

Mavericks 90, Celtics 85

Dirk Nowitzki does it again—the guy is crazy clutch and proved it once again last night, fighting off Kevin Garnett and getting to the rim for an old-fashioned three-point play with 5.1 seconds left to lift the Mavericks over the Celtics in Boston, despite coach Rick Carlisle watching from the locker room after getting ejected. Dirk’s heroics came just seconds after Paul Pierce (7 points total) nailed a three-pointer to tie things up at 85. The C’s had one last chance to send this one to OT, but Ray Allen couldn’t handle a Rajon Rondo inbounds pass, and the Mavs took over possession and took home the win. The two teams matched up almost identically in the box score, except for the Mavericks’ decided advantage in offensive boards at 12 to 2, evened out by Boston’s 15-2 edge fast break points. Dirk finished with 16 points, 7 boards and 4 assists, while Jason Terry scored 18 in his normal sixth man role and Delonte West got another start in place of the injured Jason Kidd at PG, ending his night with 12 points and 3 assists. Rondo put up 24 points to go with 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 boards, Kevin Garnett put up 16 and 10, and Mickael Pietrus scored 5 points in 18 minutes in his season debut.

Thunder 95, Hornets 85

If the compressed schedule is supposed to be affecting NBA teams, Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City didn’t get the message. The Thunder beat the Hornets to finish a five-games-in-six-nights stretch with a 5-0 record over that span, thanks to 29 points and 10 rebounds from Durant, who added 4 blocks and 3 assists in his 38 minutes en route to the win. Russell Westbrook had 22 points (15 in the second half) and 7 assists, while James Harden chipped in 14 points off the bench for OKC. New Orleans, meanwhile, shot just 1-for-16 from three-point range (word to DaJuan Summers!) and scored just 15 points in the fourth quarter. Chris Kaman and Carl Landry teamed up again, scoring 17 apiece, but no other Hornet scored more than 10 points, and the starting backcourt of Jarrett Jack and Marco Belinelli shot a combined 7-for-21 from the field. Oklahoma City gets a much-needed two-day breather before hosting New York on Saturday, while the Hornets get the Wolves in town on Friday.

Bulls 78, Wizards 64

John Lucas III is a 29-year-old career D-Leaguer type who made his first NBA start last night. John Wall is a former No. 1 draft pick with impeccable pedigree, supposedly entering his breakout season. But Lucas, starting in place of the league MVP, made Wall look like the scrub, going off for 25 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in 46 minutes and leading the Bulls to a win over the hapless Wizards. Wall shot 4-of-13, finishing with a modest 11 points, 8 assists and 5 boards, but for him to be outplayed by the physically overmatched Lucas on a night when it could have been Derrick freakin’ Rose if not for an ankle injury, is mind-boggling, at least for this Wiz fan. Although, admittedly, he got Lucas on this one, which made me jump out my seat:

Getting over the hump of a first win was great, but Washington reverted right back to the hard-to-watch losers of the first 8 games last night, shooting 31 percent (64 points, oof!) and looking lost and hopeless on the boards. The Bulls outrebounded the Wizards 62-46 and had a ridiculous 23 offensive rebounds. What! Luol Deng put up a 12/15 double-double while Omer Asik hauled in 14 rebounds of his own. The Bulls are a very good team with Derrick Rose, and a better-than-average one without him, it appears. The Wizards are not. No sense over-analyzing this game, but if you’re dying for some insight, just listen to Neil Funk, Bulls play-by-play man, who spent most of the game is disbelief at how bad the Wizards were playing. ”Washington takes some crazy, crazy shots” and ”Their recognition of what a good shot is, Stacey, is sorely lacking” were two of my personal favorites.

Spurs 101, Rockets 95 (OT)

In the night’s most underrated game, the Spurs outlasted the Rockets, who shot just 2-for-10 in overtime, and San Antonio improved to 7-4 (7-0 at home) on the season. Big shot after big shot kept this one alive for both teams, as Tim Duncan, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola and Tony Parker all had clutch buckets down the stretch in regulation and overtime. Parker scored 28 points to lead all scorers and cashed four free throws late in OT to seal the victory for the Spurs. Duncan looked like the Timmy of old last night, doing everything from dropping buckets to blocking shots—the elder statesman finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 38 minutes. On the other side, it was Lowry and Scola at work yet again for Houston, with both playing 38+ minutes and providing the bulk of the scoring for the Rockets. Lowry racked up 22 points (3 threes), 7 assists, 6 rebounds and hit a big pull-up three to keep Houston within reach late in regulation, then another in OT, while Scola put up 20. Other than Lowry, the rest of the Rockets shot 0-for-18 from beyond the three-point line.

Nuggets 123, Nets 115

The Nets made a ridiculous 20 three-pointers (on a season-high 35 attempts), but when Jordan Farmar is your leading scorer (26 points), you’re likely not winning a professional basketball game. Sorry, Jordan. Denver led by as many as 23, and entered the fourth quarter with a 100-80 lead. In typical Nuggets fashion, Denver finished with 37 assists, including 12 from Andre Miller (12 points) and 8 from Rudy Fernandez (15 points) and got 22 points from Danilo Gallinari and 19 apiece from Aaron Afflalo and Corey Brewer. In the absence of point guard Ty Lawson, sidelined with a strained right foot, the Nuggs picked up the slack thanks to their incredible depth, and hot shooting (60 percent field goals). Well, that, and playing the Nets probably helped. For once, NJ actually shot a decent percentage (52 for the game), but Deron Williams’ struggles continued, this time 6-for-14, though he did end up with 16 points and 13 assists—but DWill’s frustration boiled over to the point of an ejection late in the fourth quarter. New Jersey, we have a problem…

Lakers 90, Jazz 87 (OT)

More free basketball, gents. Kobe Bryant scored 40 points (on 31 shots), plus had 8 rebounds and 4 assists a night after dropping 48 on the Suns, and the Lakers escaped Utah with a hard-fought win against a Jazz team that was previously 5-0 at home. Kobe is averaging 36.3 points in his last six games, and L.A. is 5-1 over that stretch. Josh Howard (18 points) hit his first three-pointer of the year to tie the game at 76 with 58 seconds left, then Kobe did his thing at the other end before a Paul Millsap (29 points, 9 rebounds) tip-in sent the game to overtime. In the extra frame, with the Lakers up by one, Andrew Bynum (12 points, 9 rebounds) made a put-back after a Kobe miss with just under a minute to play, Millsap answered with a long deuce, and Kobe gave the ball back to the Jazz on a forced shot fishing for a foul call. Luckily for Los Angeles, Utah elected not to call timeout with the clock ticking under 20 seconds, instead holding for the potential game-winner. Gordon Hayward drove the lane and dished to Al Jefferson (11 points, 11 boards) for a lay-in, but the big fella was met by Bynum, who picked up his fifth blocked shot of the game to seal the deal for the Lakers. Ironic, since Utah’s home-team announcing crew at one point referred to the Jazz as “Swat Lake City.”

Magic 107, Trail Blazers 104

For a game that seemed over once the Magic took a 14-point lead after the first quarter, and one in which Portland never led, the Blazers made a furious comeback to make Orlando nervous. In the first quarter, Orlando outscored Portland 36-22. In the fourth quarter, it was the exact opposite, with the Blazers winning the frame 36-22. Clearly, Portland was not about to give up its first home loss without a fight, even if the Magic led by 23 at one point. Dwight Howard had 13 points and 13 rebounds, while making just 3-of-12 free throws. Orlando was shooting lights out, though—59 percent from the field AND 59 percent from three-point land—and seven Magic players notched double-digit scoring nights, led by 17 off the bench from JJ Redick. LaMarcus Aldridge had 23 points and 8 boards for the Blazers, Gerald Wallace had 15 points and Jamal Crawford provided a late spark off the bench with 24 of his own in place of Ray Felton, who struggled to a 2-11 shooting night.

Clippers 95, Heat 89 (OT)

What the hell, man. Honestly, what the hell! How ridiculous was this game? For starters, the atmosphere was like a Rucker Park game or something in the early going, with each team trying to top each others’ highlights in the alley-oop department. When was the last time a Clipper game had that kind of excitement for the first quarter of a regular season matchup? “Playoff feel” would be an understatement. Fast-forward to crunch time, and, well, I hope you guys watched the game, because me trying to give the full play-by-play would be a joke. You kinda had to be there. LeBron James haters, eat your heart out—LBJ fouled Chauncey Billups on a three-pointer, then LeBron missed 2 of 4 free throws (he got the second pair thanks to a ridiculous play by Dwyane Wade) sending the game to OT rather than to the showers as a Miami W. In the extra period, the Clips pulled away, as the Heat struggled to score, and tempers flared. Quite frankly, it was a blur. Chris Paul had 27 points, Blake Griffin and Caron Butler each had 20 and DeAndre Jordan had 8 points to go with 11 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. LeBron delivered another LeBron-ish night (23/13/7), Wade had 17 points and Mario Chalmers had 18 (4 threes), but Miami got almost nothing in terms of bench production and succumbed late to the CP3-led Lobsters. Basketball!

Line of the Night: Chris Paul — 45 minutes, 27 points, 11 assists, 3 steals, 1 win vs. the Heat.

Moment of the Night: Dirk back? Dirk back!

Dunk of the Night 1: Not boxing out DeMarcus Cousins will cost you, Amir Johnson.

Dunk of the Night 2: Lob City’s finest hold their nightly council meeting.

Tonight: A light night by lockout-season standards, with 5 games on tap. TNT has Knicks-Grizzlies and Magic-Warriors for its Thursday doubleheader, while the Cavs are in Phoenix and a pair of Eastern Conference matchups tip early—Bobcats-Hawks and Pistons-Bucks. We round out another week tomorrow, see you then.

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  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    A grind-it-out win against a veteran team on the road, topped by an injured Dirk taking it hard past KG to decide things?
    That’s more like it, Mavs.
    More please.

  • tom

    great night last night.

  • dumbfunded

    Can someone please explain to me how all this 3-step business is not a travel in the nba? (see Wall video)
    I remember somebody mentioning it once, but i forget

  • Heals

    Beardown C’s fans it’s gonna be rough. Dal on a B2B (without JKIdd and the 2 MotorCity Bench Boys) and the C’s with 4 days off, yet both teams looked just the opposite. Dal didn’t even play well and Bos trailed most of the game. KG, Kg, kg. C’s fans look at his demeanor after PP34′s game-tying 3 (headdown, no emotion, no congrats), just awful. I mean that’s something we saw from Davis (and why he’s gone) all year last year not Ticket. Rondo only gets 4 assists cause noone (cept Bass) can run with him. RR may be an a$$ off the court, but I actually feel bad for him right now cause the Other3 (no big anymore) dropped the ball during the offseason. Look at who they’ve beat this year and even Wash should have won the first of their B2B earlier. 6th seed at best…

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Anyone have a clue where Devin Harris game went?
    Your bigs are being matched by the Lakers frontcourt, Josh is hitting big shots from deep, yet you dont slash or try and break down DEREK FISHER?
    Where’s the speed, the jumper, the good ballhandling? Is he nursing an injury or just pouting.
    Even Raja put up a solid effort in trying to guard the yellow/purple chucker.

  • http://slamonline.com Jesse

    So John Lucas III is normally the 3rd PG on the bulls and doesn’t get any playing time but yesterday he went out and shot the ball 28 TIMES? Crazy.

  • Myung

    Hawks can’t catch a break. Horford goes down. We were already missing T-Mac and Marvin. But Indiana was impressive, and they’re probably our main competition for a 4 seed in the East so it was a big win for them. Indiana’s got a bright future with a solid young core. The Wizards could’ve been the WWizards (two W’s) last night, but they couldn’t beat a Rose-less Bulls team. Between the Hawks losing to a Bron-Wade less Heat squad last week, and the Wiz losing to a Rose-less Chicago team, maybe we’re giving these superstars a little too much credit (or not giving their teammates enough).

  • J.C.

    100+ comments containing the word ‘LeChoke’ incoming in 3.. 2… 1…

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    28 shots for 25 points, Mr. Lucas; somewhere Kobe is smiling into his cognac.

  • Myung

    The Hawks could’ve beaten Miami last Thursday had we hit our FT’s (missed 15 out of 46) so the Heat losing last night because they couldn’t hit their FT’s is kind of poetic. You win some; you lose some. That being said, they’re still the best team in the League, and LeBron’s still the best player in the game. I don’t like LeBron, and I don’t like the Heat but … just saying.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    I don’t care for the Heat but I’ll say it. Terrible officiating all around. Lots of missed/bad calls against the Heat. Quite a few against the Clips. Nights like these are when CP3 separates himself from other elite PGs today. And what’s with Wedgie Evans laying hits on everyone. Still came down to making free throws.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    LeBron flexed the mental strength of a poodle last night. That free throw shooting display was pathetic, I felt like I was watching high school.

  • Myung

    Between Reggie Evans (ask Chris Kaman) and Chris Paul (ask Julius Hodge), the Clips have the scariest defensive tandem in the League. Who in the world would feel comfortable driving into the lane against these two notorious manhood violators? Now I see why the Clips traded Kaman away. No way Kaman and Evans could co-exist on the same team after what Reggie did to him.

  • http://Slamonline.com Kap

    How can Lebron be called the best player in the league when he consistently disappears when the going gets tough??? I don’t care what his stat line says.

  • Kadavour

    i love Raja Bell’s game. he got 40 dropped on him, fouled out, but he beat Kobe the f*ck up lol. Dude took every opportunity to swat at that wrist. More of the younger guys need to take a page out of his book.

  • Kadavour

    LeBron…i dunno man. you mean to tell me you didn’t have even ONE drive and pull up in your arsenal down the stretch? D.Wade needs to stop deferring and DEMAND THE EFFING BALL down the stretch because Bron can’t be trusted. 7-8 years in the league is time enough for him to develop that willingness to ascend during these moments and a Championship bound team can’t wait for him to get it.

  • LA Huey

    Miami did not want to win that game last night. It was a team failure and Bron led the way. Oh, (gonna throw this molotov out there) one reason I’ll take CP3 over Rose is LeBron cannot guard Chris Paul in isolation.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ^ One Reason, but Cosign.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    LOL @ MYung

    Chris Paul is amazing. That is all.

  • LA Huey

    btw, ESPN3 failed me. I could not get access to that BOS-DAL game. And couldn’t get the MIA-LAC game until mid-way thru the 1st qtr

  • robb

    Lebron didn’t deliver but neither did Wade or Bosh. Is it contagious?

  • Allenp

    Chris Paul back on top.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I can’t believe you took him down so fast in the first place.

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    Gimme that, Lance. Thatta boy!!!

  • LA Huey

    DeAndre was an effing Monstar on help defense.

  • LA Huey

    And I’ll give credit to Bron for at least being aggressive down the stretch. I’ll take failing in your attempts than not even trying.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    My Knicks are winnin ugly, but still grinnin! That’s all that matters baby. Oh and have y’all been paying attention to the steal of the 2011 NBA Draft, I_Am_Iman Shumpert? Shump is an ABSOLUTE BEAST of a defender and has veteran swag for a neophyte! I sure do get a good chuckle when I think back about how some of my silly “slamily” said Cole was better than Shump! Some of y’all so blind it’s funny! Even a stat boy can’t argue with me. Keep up the good work Iman! Go Knicks and sizzle the Grizzle on TNT!

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    John Lucas played like a guy who knew there was no back-up behind him and he wouldn’t be coming out of the game. He was calling for his own iso’s. The kids not shy, that’s for sure. You could see some of his fellow players starting to get frustrated. But I’ll take the win. The Wizards are truly a horrible team with a horrible coach. You’re going up a against a team with only one ball handler…who has to play all game..and you don’t pressure the ball up the court? You just let them walk it on up all game? They have no discernable plays that I could see. If they do, the players have absolutely no regard for them. Worst disciplined team I’ve ever seen. A team of chuckers all just looking out for themselves. And John Wall was way too willing to take a back seat for me to be convinced that he will be a superstar in this league.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    “@sooperfadeaway: Knicks beat the hottest team in the league on the tail end of a back-to-back-to-back. You know what that means.” ^^

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    who said Norris Cole was better than Iman Shumpert?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Agreed on Deandre. He was scary on defense. It didn’t seem possible to cover that much ground.
    He is worth every penny with that type of defense.

  • T-Money

    i’m actually ok with how bron played last night. he was super agressive going to the basket in the 4th and ot. the free throws didn’t drop, whatever. at least they found a blueprint in close games: high pick n roll between wade and bron, then either wade attacks or dumps it to bron posting up at the free throw line. they should do that every single time down the floor in the last 2 mins.

  • T-Money

    la huey: indeed… but that block on bosh at the end was a clear goaltend. the refs missed a lot of calls on both sides. wade was the beneficiary of a lot phantom calls. i’m glad that they didn’t give free throws to blake when he tried to yam on joel though. he often uses his left hand to stiff arm the defender on dunk attempts.

  • MUBWAR

    robb Bosh had 16 and 11 and 2b. nothing else is needed from him. Now the reason why wade and bron shot 2 of 9 in the last part of the 4q and overtime is the real question? Deandre got away with 2 GT on Bosh and Battier

  • Bmack

    You might take CP3 over Rose, but I guarantee you, every GM in the league would gladly make that trade with you and then talk about how big of an idiot you were once the deal is done.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I’m not ok with how he played. Didn’t seem to be very tuned into the game. I like his approach in the 4th last night, but it was like he knew what to do, but didn’t want to actually pay attention to the level at which he did it. His release at the FT line was not consistent (a red flag to me that he wasn’t concentrating) and then he shot that contested 20 footer over Chauncey with about a minute left, he should have used that possession just like the previous 4 or 5 and drove into the key to try and finish at the rim or draw a foul. That jumper was a horrible decision.

  • T-Money

    nbk: i think you’re overstating things based on the result and not the process. i try to stay away from the “fire in his eyes” kind of arguments. that jumper was a very decent look for him and he took it with confidence. billups doesn’t really have the capacity to contest his shot and he knew it. he made similar jumpers with the game on the line vs the bulls in the playoffs. miami made good decisions on almost every possession at the end of that game but failed to execute – i can live with that this early in the season. the loss against the warriors was much worse to me because they were playing like idiots.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I thought the reffing was bad not so much for missed calls, which there were many, but the indecisiveness and lack of consistency.
    The refs would let them play rough, then call touch fouls. They completely ignored Blake’s off arm usage. They let most players get bodied up on the perimeter, but called it close on Chauncey’s man. (By the way am i missing something on Chauncey’s first step because he was just blowing by people last night?)
    Wade got like three BS foul calls. They were waiting way too late to blow the whistle, even when it was the correct call. It was just bad work. It’s a hard job, but that was a very poor showing.
    I dropped Chris Paul because he was refusing to take over games. I still don’t understand why he does that. I felt like the Heat’s play selection was troubling. They were posting bosh when I thought they should have been posting Lebron and letting Bosh be and outlet when the Clippers made their run. I was curious about the random traps at halfcourt against Paul. And I don’t know what they were doing with Butler at all. They had problems all night with stopping penetration too.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    lol @ the cp3 comments, i’ll be quiet about the fact he was like 1-6 in the 4th and overtime. Anyway, I’m not going to say lebron choked because he missed freethows, the guy has never been a good freethrow shooter, him or wade, they have always been average. now the refs were calling some bs fouls and blake is good but man he needs to stop with all the long distance jumpshot, he’s becoming like josh smith.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    T-Money, I don’t doubt the “fire in his eyes” – I was more looking at the inconsistency in his play and release (specifically at the FT line.) – And that Jumper wasn’t a “bad look” but it wasn’t the shot I would want him taking over a PG w/ potentially the game on the line. He could have calmly got that same shot over Billups 5 feet closer to the rim if he really didn’t want to get all the way to the basket.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Allen, you think maybe Chris just wasn’t comfortable enough in that Clippers system to take over? Kind of seems like he is learning where he can pick his spots. And WTF is Miami doing with Chris Bosh shooting 3′s? wtf kind of offense are they running where their PF is shooting 3′s while their wing players refuse. That’s a contradiction. Either Bosh is unaware of the monkey wrench his 3pt shooting throws into the flow of their offense, or Erik Spoelstra doesn’t have any offensive instincts as a coach.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Spoelstra told him to extend his range this offseason.
    I think that’s what happened with Chris.
    Also, which he missed shots, that’s ok. I’m ok with him missing. Just shoot it. Scare the defense. Get it up on the board. That move he put on LeBron for the game winner was beautiful too.
    I mean, if you shoot a lot, you will miss sometimes. I only care if you’re taking bad shots. If you miss good shots, that’s basketball.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    So you really think Bosh is enough of a threat from deep to make the defense extend out on him? We all criticized LeBron and Wade for shooting too many 3′s in the past, and now Chris Bosh is shooting 1.2 3pt attempts a game at a 26% clip. He shot 3 last night, the second time this season he has attempted three 3′s, the Heat are 0-2 in those games. How many shots did Bosh get in the key last night? or does anyone know where I can check?

  • feez_22

    The thing with the heat… they help off the SF too much defensively. lebron can get some of the blame 4 that obviously… he isn’t playing the SF up close. he is ALWAYS in help position. shouldn’t it be Wade in help position? he is the best help defending guard in the game right? Thats why i have to blame scheme here. 2 straight nights where im sure lebron was Ordered by the coaching staff to help deep in the paint like that leaving knock down shooters in butler and wright open for 3s. we can talk all about lebron’s “unclutchness” in the 4th q/OT (wade/lebron/bosh were something like 3/12 in the 4th/OT periods againstt the clips& the heat shot 12% in the 4th against the warriors) but 21 and 20 pts given up to the SF’s consecutively on mainly jumpers is unacceptable. Half blame on lebron and half blame on the scheme. This isn’t the nba finals anymore. there is no peja or marion to play off of here. Lebron was 2nd in defensive player of the year voting last yr yet is relegated as the help defender? makes no sense to me. let lebron lock down the SF when the SF is skilled and if the SF can’t shoot then make him roam. i mean seriously who wrote up this scouting report?

  • T-Money

    allen: butler being open all the time is the result of miami rotating and over helping like crazy. the thing with spo is he wants to be super agressive all the time with traps, it works against bad teams and can also surprise good teams but over the course of the game, teams adjust. jason terry said during the finals that the mavs knew that if they moved the ball enough on the perimeter , somebody was always going to be wide open on the wings or the corner because miami runs all over the place. it would be the two safeties in football blitzing on every down… yeah, you’ll get the quarterback some but you’ll also get burn over the top a lot. i don’t like this defense at all for miami because their perimeter guys can all stay with their man – there’s no weak link so why help all the time?

  • T-Money

    …or co-sign feez lol

  • feez_22

    @NBK actually… with the way the clippers were flopping last night lebron probably could not have gotten that shot 5 feet closer. Billups and paul both flop like nuts and did so all game. blake as well… if lebron would have posted him up to get closer or drove in billups would have flopped and lebron would then be criticised for turning it over in the clutch with a charge call. im almost positive that would have happened as they drew a charge on lebron like 3 plays before. As T-Money said… it was just lack of execution. Every player has bad stretches.this is lebron’s bad stretch. basically 7 bad quarters if you count the 4th Q and OT in golden state. If u want to count the 4th quarter v. atlanta thats 8 subpar lebron quarters in 11 games.

  • Flud

    Theatrics my a**…. These technicals for a little stare are as over the top as the posing some dudes be doin’. I’d love them all to stop it.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I agree with Feez and T_money.
    I can’t understand leaving shooters open and conceding open threes. That is suicide.
    Long twos, yes. Threes, no.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I really really really really don’t think the refs were going to call a foul on anything questionable in that situation. Regardless though, I personally would not accept that shot in that situation. I would demand he get something higher % with Billups on him. I’m not saying y’all are wrong that, that shot is one the Heat are ok with, I just wouldn’t approve of it.

  • feez_22

    @T-Money Exactly. I mean chalmers, wade and lebron are all above average defenders on the wing. thats where the heat have been beat these last 2 games. not so much inside but on outside shots. even cole is scrappy enough to go 1 on 1 some. this scheme should be used for and is used for defenses like the toronto raptors to hide a perimeter defenders flaws. the heat if granted a good scheme would be the #1 perimeter defense in the game. i mean… think about it. if they think chalmers is a bad defender (which he isnt) why would u need to help extend with lebron/wade/battier? Just play great perimeter str8 up Defense and crash the boards with the guards. thats what they should b doing. they play defense like the chicago bears its like they are running a cover 2 lol

  • Riggs

    @Feez_22: I usually hate flopping, but they saw the way the refs werent calling the fouls early in the game and had to embellish it. to reiterate, i HATE flopping.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    Myung when you say “our competition for the 4 seed” who are you penciling in for the 3 seed?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Trapping is good against bad teams not against teams like the clipps with a great PG and good perimeter shooters around him. MIA has the speed to trap and recover but it places too much stress on guys like Wade/Bron especially on a back-to-back night.
    Bron has played like a straight up bum the past 2gms, there’s no sugar coating going on around here. This is the second straight night that missed FTs cost MIA a game and Bron had a big hand in it. He came into the season shooting a good % from the line (80%) but has gone down hill ever since. Dude has changed his FT style numerous times since entering the L and that leads to a lack of consistency at the line.
    Also, what happened to his improved post-game everyone was talking about in the beginning of the season? He posts up a couple of times early in a game but as soon as the 4th qtr rolls around, he’s back to pounding the hell out of the rock like he did in CLE. Dude needs to get his a** back down to the block in the 4th because it opens up the floor (spacing) for guys like Wade/Bosh.

  • J-All-Day

    Could Lebron have gotten a better shot? Possibly.But let’s not forget that if he puts his head down to get into the lane he may get called for the charge (he was the victim of some very questionable calls last night) or get fouled in the act of shooting (he was splitting free-throws the entire night).I didn’t mind him pulling up from 15 because it was a very makeable shot over a smaller defender . . .

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Why does he have to put his head down? It’s 190LB Chauncey Billups guarding him. Not some guy who can manipulate where he’s going if he’s not running. He can turn sideways and literally walk to the basket with Chauncey on him.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    look at all these “heat fans” criticizing the Heat. Should’t “y’all” (myself included) be bashing the Lakers or Kobe? smh

  • LA Huey

    I think it’s interesting that we’ve got this discussion about whether Bron should shoot the J or attack the rim. If they’re giving him the shot, he should take it. If they’re playing up on him, he’s got to drive. But ultimately, he’s got to have confidence in his midrange shot in crunch time and he won’t get that confidence until he knows he can make them.

  • LA Huey

    I was also beside myself for those fouls he committed on Chauncey and Caron on those jump shots. Acting like he’s Mario Chalmers…

  • T-Money

    la huey: so we’re going to completely forget that he buried boston and chicago with jumpers in the playoffs?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I operate under the school of thought that you make adjustments to how you are having success in the game your in. If you jumper isn’t falling, why would you rely on it in the most crucial moment of the game? Especially if you’re in a situation where the defender is helpless against you? It’s great that he had the confidence to take that shot, but he hadn’t been hitting that shot last night. LeBron made 1 attempt last night outside the key. For the whole game. Shooting a jumper with the game on the line after that, to me, is a terrible decision.

  • T-Money

    nbk: nah… at the end of games, you just have to trust the time you put in practice and go with whatever is in your bag of tricks.. that face up midrange jumper is in bron’s bag – he wasn’t fading badly or anything.

  • LA Huey

    T-Money, no but I feel like his confidence in his jumper needs to be rebuilt after the Finals. But I agree that you have to have confidence in tools in your bag.
    On another note, this was the first Heat game I caught this year and aside from the personnel and Bosh taking shots beyond the arc, this didn’t look much different from last year’s Heat in terms of how they play. I’m assuming they reverted to old habits.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    They were getting out on the break a lot and Bron was posting up considerably earlier in the season but they have reverted back to their old ways. Walking the ball up the court like a bunch of senior citizens and Bron making love to the ball for 10 seconds before deciding on a move. Spo’s play-calling hasn’t improved one bit this season. Yeah, they added a few wrinkles here and there but at the end of the day it boils down to pure isos and PnR.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    He hasn’t trusted himself at the end of games since te conference finals. I would make the argument that he took that shot out of a lack of concentration more then as confidence in his mid-range game.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Raja cracks me up. He gets burned by Kobe year after year after year, and still comes hard at him on every play. Gotta rahhhspect cats like him that play hard no matter what. Funny thing is I think him and Kobe even consider themselves friends, but Raja loves to get in his face and try to hurt him. Interesting fellow. Kobe really should be trying to get Bynum involved more. Although Bynum struggles to get deep position without getting 3 seconds called(He must get that call as much as anyone in the game.) Kobe needs to do it for the team though. Yes Kobe can will this team to wins on allot of nights, but there’s just no reason (even if you feel ‘and look’ young again) to wear yourself down right now when it’s so early. Note to Kobe: Critics officially have been shut up, get the ball to the post.

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    One word: Kobe. Come on, who really think Lebron is better than this guy? He has some serious issues in tha clutch n i dont see him fixing it

  • T-Money

    nbk: so you mean since like 15 games? cmon now.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    F*ck I’m sick of this. It’s his 107th 40 point game. 2 in a row doesn’t change anything.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah the last 15 games, when something falls apart it starts somewhere. And mentally, the finals seem to have done something to him. Not saying he can’t get out of it or anything like that, but he seems flustered in thOse situations ever since.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    well damn… anyone else notice that they ran the same play for lebron at the end that they ran for wade in charlotte?

  • Michael

    109th

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    Al Horford is out for the season. Time for me, Myung, and Lang to go into mourning.

  • J-All_day

    @ NBK, I see what you’re saying, and he did attempt to post Billups up on multiple occasions. Although it had some success, the Clips adjusted and Blake began double-teaming. Also, Bron had the ball at the top of the key on the switch. It’s a lot tougher to turn sideways and back your man down from the top of a crowded key with 2 defenders (Billups and Blake) ready to flop and a 3rd (Jordan)ready to send your shot into the 3rd row.

    The D was daring him to drive, and his free throw shooting was off last night. Like someone said earlier, he got a clean look without having to fade or double-clutch from 15ft out. A very makeable shot that was within the flow of the offense.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    My fantasy team is weeping.

  • J-All-Day

    my comments aren’t showing up

  • Showmeyourwits

    Even though Pau and Bynum were a combined 8/27, requiring him to go off, I get the feeling Kobe is gunning for MVP with this effort. If he maintains this level of play (unlikely, I know)for the entire season, he at least is back in the conversation (with Bron and Rose)- which is something that wasn’t the case last year. I can’t overlook that terrible fade away that didn’t even hit iron to end it in regulation though. Not Clutch.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    Tim and the spurs aren’t done. That is all.

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    Lebron really choked yesterday, when he pulled up for that late jumper on Chauncey after he had just breezed by him(and got fouled i think?) the possesion before i couldnt beleive it, that just shows he doesnt have that killer instinct yet. It wasnt a bad shot but with the game on the line with 6’3 30something bilups guarding you and you dont even try and put it on the floor? Cmon son, use your strengths.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ^ what i’ve been sayin.

  • Showmeyourwits

    Let’s not forget CP3 breaking his ankles on a possible game winner.

  • T-Money

    How can you single that jumper out when he took it to the hole BEFORE and AFTER that possession?! That’s a reach to me – he was just feeling the jumper on that play. Everything doesn’t have a greater meaning.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Because of he would have done what he did BEFORE & AFTER, he would have gotten to the line, hit one free throw. And won the game by 1.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Agree with T-Money. You have to keep defenses honest by butting a J up every once in a while. You can’t just drive the lane hard every play. That’s stupid basketball. He cash’s that jumper and he’s smart and clutch… he misses it and he’s stupid and un-clutch. Gimme a break, dude made a basketball play.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    That jumper was stupid make or miss. Why would you be worried about keepin the defense honest when you just forced a switch. And it’s not like Billups was giving him a jumper, he just took it.

  • LA Huey

    Because if Flop City knows you’re driving and the refs making bad calls all game…Basically, with a jumper you’re deciding the game. Driving the lane over and over again leaves the outcome in the hands of the officials. Also, DeAndre was gobbling up shots off the weakside.

  • T-Money

    Lets agree to disagree on the most incosequential argument of all time – ever.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I gotta side with nbk on this one. You don’t at any time settle for a jumpshot with someone like Billups guarding you. Post up or attack the rim but the worst thing to do is to take a jumpshot especially in that situation. For a high basketball IQ guy, Bron sure does make stupid plays from time to time (stupid pass that led to a score vs GS, bad pass vs MIN that almost led to a loss and a lack of understanding how to attack a zone defense)

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    cosign nbk and jtaylor. Lebron James does not have to keep Chancey Billups honest.

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    Again im not saying it was a bad shot, but in that situation you wanna take the best shot you can.

  • http://sfjklf.com Jukai

    Siding with T-Money. With Lebron missing two free throws and acting like it was “whatever” as well as not closing out on two huge Butler threes and then fouling Chauncy for the three…. taking that jump shot which he usually makes kind of doesn’t annoy me.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    That’s fine with me T-Money. I just want to get this last point out there, at the end of games, imo, you take the highest % shot you can. You don’t settle for something that will affect defense later, it’s ready the end of the game. Or it SHOULD be. Regardless the argument is inconsequential, concentrate and make free throws, this never happens.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    The more i see Caron play, the more i regret having to watch VC’s corpse in a Mavs uni.
    Dude seems to have recovered nicely from the injury.
    Man.

  • Myung

    @What, I’m not sure if you’re going to read this, but I felt like #1 and #2 would be Miami and Chicago (no brainer picks)… and I felt like Boston would get #3, and I thought Atlanta and Indiana would be 4/5, with ORL, NY, and Philly battling for 6, 7, and 8. Now that our boy is possibly done for the year, we might be battling for that #8 spot by April. Groan.

  • AQWORD

    Jeez-22 & T-Money were on point.

  • Justin G.

    Cosigning nkk and jtaylor as well. And with all of the chatter about some of the bad calls in the game, it should be pointed out that games like this from a reffing standpoint will happen a lot more too. Everyone talks about what the schedule does to the players but it also affects the referees as well. While guys are playing 3 games in a row or 5 in 7, the refs are doing 4, 5, or I heard even 6 in a row. And it’s not in the same town for a couple nights either. They’re flying all over the U.S. and Toronto and it takes a toll as well.

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