Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat

Who’s laughing at Erik Spoelstra now?


Three weeks ago we were eating turkey, watching the Lions lose (again), and making up our own favorite “Sure, Pat Riley isn’t taking over this team and (fill in the blank)” joke. The Heat were a mini-disaster and there were rampant rumors that his job was on the line. The entire time Spoelstra stayed calm as can be and just did his job. The result? A seven game winning streak including wins over the Jazz who toppled them in November and the Warriors on the road. Not a bad turnaround.

Are there still problems for the Heat? Absolutely. They still get lost on offense, they don’t have a real viable option at either point guard or center, and Chris Bosh still looks like ice cream wrapped in a Twizzler most of the time.

But the winning has had at least something to do with Spoelstra, and it would appear his focus and intensity is starting to get through to the team. Whatever he’s doing is starting to work, and the results are coming as a result. Consider that Miami hasn’t just been winning, they’ve been winning decisively. The Heat have now regained the top spot for efficiency differential. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are playing better together, involving one another. Mario Chalmers has found a role in the offense, and Z’s pick-and-pop has found its range.

Spoelstra still has yet to lead this team to a win against an elite opponent…. okay, that’s not true. What we really mean by that is the Heat haven’t beaten the Celtics or Lakers. They’ve got their next chance in fourteen days. Getting to where they’ve got to be to compete with those teams starts with the coaching getting the players to buy in, the players executing, and beating the crap out of bad teams. They’re on their way, and that’s more than could be said a month ago.

Raptors unveil updated court design

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Several teams have updated their court designs this offseason, including the Bulls, Nuggets, Bucks and Hawks. The Raptors are the latest team to update their floor, to go along with a new logo and uniforms. Here’s what the Air Canada Centre will look like this season:

It features their new claw/basketball logo at center court and the font on their new uniforms at the baselines. The “We The North” along the sideline is a nice touch, too. Overall, the Raptors have done an excellent job with their rebrand, just in time for All-Star Weekend to be hosted in Toronto for the first time.

Former UCLA, NBA player Dave Meyers dies at 62

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Dave Meyers, the star forward who led UCLA to the 1975 NCAA basketball championship as the lone senior in coach John Wooden’s final season and later played for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, died Friday. He was 62.

Meyers died at his home in Temecula after struggling with cancer for the last year, according to UCLA, which received the news from his younger sister, Ann Meyers Drysdale.

He played four years for Milwaukee after being drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Shortly after, Meyers was part of a blockbuster trade that sent him to the Bucks in exchange for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The 6-foot-8 Meyers led UCLA in scoring at 18.3 points and rebounding at 7.9 in his final season, helping the Bruins to a 28-3 record. He had 24 points and 11 rebounds in their 92-85 victory over Kentucky in the NCAA title game played in his hometown of San Diego.

Meyers Drysdale also played at UCLA during her Hall of Fame career.

Meyers assumed the Bruins’ leadership role during the 1974-75 season after Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes had graduated. Playing with sophomores Marques Johnson and Richard Washington, Meyers earned consensus All-America honors. Meyers made the cover of Sports Illustrated after the Bruins won the NCAA title.

“One of the true warriors in (at)UCLAMBB history has gone on to glory,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Dave Meyers was our Captain in `75 and as tenacious a player ever. RIP.”

Johnson recalled in other tweets how Meyers called him `MJB’ or Marques Johnson Baby when he was a freshman, and later in the NBA, Meyers was nicknamed “Crash” because he always diving on the floor for loose balls.

As a junior, Meyers started on a front line featuring future Hall of Famers Walton and Wilkes.

Meyers was a reserve as a sophomore on the Bruins’ 1973 NCAA title team during the school’s run of 10 national titles in 12 years under Wooden. The team went 30-0 and capped the season by beating Memphis 87-66 in the championship game, when Meyers had four points and three rebounds.

In 1975, Meyers, along with Elmore Smith, Junior Bridgeman and Brian Winters, was traded to Milwaukee for Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley.

During the 1977-78 season, Meyers was reunited with Johnson on the Bucks and averaged a career-best 14.7 points. He missed the next year with a back injury. Meyers returned in 1979-80 to average 12.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in helping the Bucks win a division title.

Born David William Meyers, he was one of 11 children. His father, Bob, was a standout basketball player and team captain at Marquette in the 1940s. The younger Meyers averaged 22.7 points as a senior at Sonora High in La Habra, California.

Meyers made a surprise announcement in 1980 that he was retiring from basketball to spend more time with his family. He later earned his teaching certificate and taught sixth grade for several years in Lake Elsinore, California.

He is survived by his wife, Linda, whom he married in 1975, and daughter Crystal and son Sean.