Officially, no air was cleared. We all know that’s what it was — a clear the air meeting — but officially no.
Erik Spoelstra and LeBron James had a 30-minute closed door meeting before the team’s game against the Wizards Monday, talking about their relationship and the team. And probably about having fun.
“I call these ‘healthy conflicts,'” Spoelstra said. “I truly believe these are good for a team. As long as you can survive these, it’ll make you stronger. It’ll make your bond stronger.”
“I think there’s frustration from everyone,” James said. “As far as me and Spo being frustrated with each other, I don’t think there is. I have Coach Spo’s back or whatever the case may be. This is who we have.
“If I have something to say to Coach Spo, I’m going to go to Coach Spo. If he has something to say to me, which he’s done, he’s going to come to me. It is nothing I’ll take behind his back. I’ve never done that, I will not do that.”
So it’s all puppies and rainbows in Miami. No problems here.
James also said the bump was nothing and he didn’t mean to do it. Right. Bottom line Pat Riley doesn’t want to come down out of the ivory tower and take over this team so LeBron and Spoelstra need to figure out how to get along and make it work.
So best to clear the air in a meeting. However you wish to define it.
The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.
It didn’t get better afterward.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.