Dwyane Wade practices, Miami Triad returned to full power


Yes, Mike Miller is on the shelf. And yes, they are bringing in Jerry Stackhouse to fill a role on the team. But in South Beach, as Dwyane Wade said this morning, the “band is back together.”

“We’re excited about having the band back together,” Wade said after the two-hour, non-contact session. “It felt great. It was like I was dreaming about it.”

Wade practiced this morning with the Heat, the first time since a hamstring injury and subsequent custody trial. He will be available Tuesday night in Boston against the Celtics and reports no ill effects of the hamstring. I’d love to give you some sort of indication of what the Heat will look like as the team opens play with Wade, but we have no clue. We do know that it will be something to watch, even if it’s watching Boston’s incredible defense figure out how to stifle the attack.

If Paul Pierce is helping Rajon Rondo defend LeBron James at point guard, as he’s expected to do, Rondo may be called in to defend Wade. From how it sounds, the Celtics’ plan is to step back and not let the Heat get in the paint. This follows the Celtics’ traditional model of defense, with a wrinkle.

On the pick and roll, the low post strong-side defender almost always steps up to force off the ball handler, while the screen man’s defender switches back after flashing to recover off the role. Against 95% of the NBA, this is a successful approach, but with the Heat, there’s a problem. Bosh.

Even if you stick the a defender with him and tell him not to leave Bosh, then the weak-side defender is going to have to cross the line to help out if Wade and/or James manages to get past his man at the rim. So that means either Jermaine O’Neal or Shaquille O’Neal are going to have to be limber. Good luck with that. In the mean time, laying off James, Wade and Paul may be the safest option, but these are also much better shooters than the traditional second-to-third options. The Celtics should be aware of this, due to Kevin Garnett’s ability to torch defenses on the 18-foot pick-and-pop. The same principles will be in effect for the Heat Tuesday night, and Chris Bosh will torch the Celtics if they don’t close out.

What a way to start the season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.