It’s a disturbing analogy to think of Zydrunas Ilgauskas as the sexy woman at the bar everyone is trying to hit on (good luck getting that image out of your head). But it’s the truth. Teams are lining up to use their best pickup line on the veteran center after he was waived by the Wizards.
And everyone in the bar knows he’s going home with LeBron anyway.
The Mavericks have made their pitch to Big Z and his suddenly-popular agent Herb Rudoy. So have the Hawks. Also in the bidding will be Denver and the Utah Jazz (and maybe more, David Aldridge said on TNT last night seven teams may make a bid).
What do those first four teams have in common? They likely need another big man to make a serious title run (and match up with the Lakers/Celtics/Magic/Cavaliers). Denver coach George Karl keeps saying Denver is “about half a player short” of the Lakers. He and the other coaches look at the 7’3″ Big Z and see more than the half a player they need.
Doesn’t matter. Off the record everybody admits Ilgauskas is going back to Cleveland. That’s who drafted him and where he has played 13 years. That’s the city he calls home and where he is invested in the community. That’s the place the fans have an unnatural affinity for him.
That’s where Ilgauskas wants to win a title. And that’s the reason none o the other teams stand a chance.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.
J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”
Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.
Raptors media relations:
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.
Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.
The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.