You still see it: Derrick Rose blows by his man as quickly as any player in the league, he is in the lane fast. The help defender is moving over just a second or two late, and Rose makes an athletic, acrobatic move to avoid the defender and spin in a bucket. You see the shot again on SportsCenter.
That’s not what Dwyane Wade would do — he’d slam into that late defender, maybe or maybe not making the shot but drawing the foul for sure. Wade also probably would go crashing to the floor in a manner as spectacular as the shot.
Last season Wade averaged 9.1 free throws per game. Tyreke Evans was 6.5. Deron Williams was 5.5.
Rose was down to 4.3. It’s long been the one thing that needed to change about his game. He needed to draw the foul. And he knows it, he told the Sun-Times.
”I’m trying to change it now where instead of avoiding the contact and hitting crazy shots, I’m trying to get fouled and go to the free-throw line,” he said. ”It’s kind of weird for me right now getting used to it, but it’s coming along.”
It’s working. So far this season — just three games, so small sample size alert — it is 7.3 free throws a game. That’s meant six points a game at the line. It puts more pressure on opposing bigs. If he can keep this, and when Carlos Boozer returns in a few weeks, the Bulls could be very hard to defend.
Now, what would really make the Bulls impossible to stop is a point guard that can shoot better than 21 percent from three… but one project at a time.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
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.