NBA finals Celtics Lakers Game 1: Pau Gasol tears the Big Ticket in half

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pgasol_dunk.jpgThe spirit was willing. The body was not.

Kevin Garnett reached up with the ball to dunk and found it just.. wasn’t there.

In Game 1 of the NBA finals, there were many reasons the Celtics fell to the Lakers by 13 (at one point down 20). But it cannot be overstated the level of Pau-nage that Pau Gasol unleashed upon Kevin Garnett Thursday night. Whereas Garnett enjoyed size advantages over Udonis Haslem, Antawn Jamison, and Rashard Lewis, facing seven foot Gasol was a completely different matter.

Gasol finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 assists, with two considerable blocks on Garnett in the block. There was nothing the Celtics could do against Pau. He was a monster. 8, count ’em, 8 offensive rebounds. He had the mid-range, nailing contested shots with a hand in his face. He had the inside game going, cleaning up misses and working the pick and roll superbly.

Garnett? On the long list of red flags for the Celtics after Game 1, Garnett has to wave the brightest and most alarmingly. It wasn’t just how Gasol blocked him, dwarfing Garnett, but it was the measure of fail. The play that encapsulated his night was a fourth quarter bunnie miss where all he had to do was dunk with two hands. But the ball just came out, Garnett got almost no lift and the Lakers walked away with possession.

Garnett had made a living in the playoffs off the pick and pop 18 footer. But not only was Gasol’s length covering the shot itself, but the Lakers’ perimeter defense picked off Garnett’s passes resulting in deflected resets and a few steals. Garnett was out of his zone, and then his age did the rest of the damage. 

It was one game, something Garnett can brush off. And he recognizes he has to play better. But the question is what Garnett can do to combat the physical and talent advantages Gasol presents.

One thing’s certain. Screaming, yelling, cursing, and hitting your head on a stanchion isn’t going to get the job done.

Report: Heat not rushing to waive Chris Bosh to keep open trade possibilities

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The Heat were always going to waive Chris Bosh after March 1, assuming a doctor jointly selected by the league and union rules his blood clots are “of such severity that continuing to play professional basketball at an NBA level would subject the player to medically unacceptable risk of suffering a life-threatening or permanently disabling injury or illness.” And Miami, for good reason, seems pretty confident the doctor would make that determination.

Waiting until after March 1 ensured Bosh isn’t eligible for the 2016 playoffs, meaning his salary would be excluded from the Heat’s cap this summer. It would return to Miami’s cap if he plays 25 games (regular season plus postseason) elsewhere, so this guaranteed he wouldn’t have enough time this season.

But we’re well into March, and Bosh hasn’t been waived yet.

What gives?

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

Chris Bosh was scheduled to speak with a high-ranking Heat official this week, as the sides try to move past the rancor created by the Heat’s justified unwillingness to allow him to play after a third blood clotting episode and failed physical last September.

The Heat has no intention of using him in a game but has delayed his inevitable release and removing him from its salary cap (a process that was allowed to begin Feb. 9) for two reasons, according to multiple sources:

• Miami doesn’t need the roster spot just yet, and none of the recent available free agents held great appeal to the Heat.

• More importantly, Miami want to keep alive the not-very-likely possibility of being able to trade Bosh (after the season) to a team that might want to trade something Miami wants or a team that believes he could play or (as was the case before last month’s trade deadline) a team that needed to get to the cap floor. There were preliminary trade inquiries earlier this season.

A team that trades for Bosh couldn’t exclude his salary from its cap, because Bosh’s illness was first known while he played for Miami. He has three years and $75,868,170 remaining on his contract. It’s nearly impossible to see any team dealing for him.

A better guess at the delay: The Heat are exploring using the panels created by the next Collective Bargaining Agreement to handle issues like these. It’s unclear whether he’d be eligible for one, considering he signed and had his medical issue discovered under the current CBA, but the panel could remove his salary from Miami’s cap forever — even if Bosh defies the diagnosis and plays 25 games in a future season.

There are numerous hurdles to going that route, starting with the Heat not being able to begin that process until the next CBA takes effect July 1. That’s also the day free agency begins, so Miami probably doesn’t want have Bosh still occupying cap space as free agents agree to terms.

But the Heat have already come this far with him on the books. It’s worth examining why they’re waiting, and nobody has done that better than Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops. If you want to learn more, I highly recommend his article on the topic.

Jae Crowder calls out Devin Booker’s teammates for celebrating his 70 points after Suns loss

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Suns guard Devin Booker scored 70 points in a game — both a historic achievement and an inflated accomplishment by a player on a bad team in a loss.

Plenty of NBA players celebrated the former.

Jae Crowder, whose Celtics beat Phoenix in Booker’s 70-point game Friday, emphasized the latter in the comment section of the NBA’s Instagram. And Booker shot back.

Via CSN New England:

The Suns have given up on winning this season. Let them enjoy this fun moment.

It fascinates me how Crowder can be so tough on the court and so sensitive on social media.

Buddy Hield goes 3, steal, 3 in Kings’ incredible comeback against Clippers (video)

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When they were down 18 in the final five minutes against the Clippers yesterday, the Kings faced, by one measure, 10,000-1 odds:

How did Sacramento overcome such daunting odds? Willie Cauley-Stein hit the game-winning putback, but no sequence was bigger than Buddy Hield making a 3-pointer, stealing the inbound pass then immediately making another 3-pointer.

Anthony Davis rattles rim with dunk on Juan Hernangomez (video)

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A sweet-shooting stretch four, Juan Hernangomez has a bright future in the NBA.

It’s not because of his rim protection.