I’ve never been on an NBA floor playing basketball and then having to walk to the bench for a timeout. Maybe it’s a really easy process and in order to bump into someone you have to deliberately aim or deliberately avoid avoiding people. It doesn’t seem like that when you watch it in person or on television, but apparently that’s the thinking this morning. The video above surfaced late last night which shows LeBron James walking to the bench after a timeout is called and bumping Erik Spoelstra on his way. The slow-motion capture of the bump is being analyzed this morning like the Zapruder film (“Note that Spoelstra’s tie goes back… and to the left.”), in an effort to see some level of disdain from James towards his head coach.
Now, don’t get me wrong, James deserves more criticism than anyone for their failures as of late, but I can’t help but feel we’re freaking out over something fairly common. A timeout consists of a bunch of tired and sweaty guys walking one direction while a bunch of aggravated and distracted people (coaches) walk the other. Some bumping is to be expected. And when LeBron James is the size of a moving house, getting blown back a bit by the contact doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. The Heat deserve every ounce of criticism they’re receiving right now. But maybe we shouldn’t be throwing random allegations at them for the fun of it. Unless you’re from Cleveland. In which case, toss away. But decide for yourself.
Update: Brian Windhorst from ESPN notes this isn’t the first time LeBron’s bumped a coach.
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Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.