New Jersey Nets v Miami Heat

Miami ready to push back on physical play


The first edition of the “how to beat Miami” book is out around the league — and there is a whole chapter on “pushing them around.” Being physical.

Miami is ready to push back, they told ESPN.

“You have to anticipate that teams are going to be physical with us … are going to try to make the game ugly,” (Chris) Bosh said. “We have to be ready for that. Sometimes you get hard fouls. I’m not saying play dirty and get flagrant fouls and lose your money. But you can foul hard. You can have a no-layup mentality sometimes. Nothing wrong with that. We can look for more opportunities to get that done.”

“Teams are being a little chippy with us,” (LeBron) James said. “We have to see how the game is being played and maybe do the same. We know what our identity is. Mentally prepared is how we are.”

“I think we get the message,” (Coach Erik) Spoelstra said. “They’re aware of that right now. That’s the way we’re being played and we welcome that. We’re a physical team as well. Our guys understand what it takes.”

Smart money has Udonis Haslem leading the Heat’s newfound physical focus. He is their enforcer and emotional leader.

There are “books” on how to beat every team, a sort of consensus of scouts and coaches around the league that have watched to see what works against a team. Against the Heat thus far the losses have come to teams that banged inside and had a very good point guard (Boston brings that mix into tonight’s game). Not every team has the requisite personnel to pull off these game plans.

But the physical play part — every team thinks it can do that. Every team will put in its big guys and push and bang. That’s why Terrance Williams of he Nets is trying to knock LeBron James around.

Until Miami proves that doesn’t work. Then the chapter will be rewritten. But for now the Heat will have to prove they can stand up to the play.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.