UPDATE 7:35 pm: It’s official, LeBron is out for a second straight game due to his sprained ankle suffered against the Clippers last Wednesday night. This really shouldn’t be a surprise, Miami is expected to be cautious during the regular season when it comes to injuries with its big three.
It just puts more on the shoulders of Dwyane Wade to beat his home town team by himself. Well, Chris Bosh might help, too.
1:33 pm: LeBron James did not participate in shootaround Saturday morning and head coach Erik Spoelstra listed him as doubtful for tonight’s game against Chicago as he continues to struggle with a sprained left ankle.
The Heat were clobbered by the Nuggets Thursday night without James and against a rolling Bulls team, even without Joakim Noah, the prospects of a win look bleak. In short, the Bulls are deeper, more cohesive, and have a formidable enough 1-2 punch of star power with Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer to offset the two remaining members of the Miami Triad in order to make it a game about depth. At that point it becomes Mike Miller, James Jones, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas against Luol Deng, Kyle Korver, and Taj Gibson, which isn’t exactly a favorable matchup for the Heat and that’s before you start looking at Carlos Arroyo’s decaying corpse.
It’s only an ankle sprain and by now James is probably feeling good enough to have a chance of it loosening up enough for him to play. But with the Heat squarely in the hunt for a top seed they can afford to miss a few games and drop a few losses in order to get James healthy. No reason to exacerbate the problem, even if a matchup against Chicago seems like a good opportunity for a statement game.
Dwyane Wade actually plays below his career average against the Bulls, averaging 21 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists.
Ray Allen wrote a book that spills a lot of dirt on Rajon Rondo – how Rondo told Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Allen and other Celtics he carried them to the 2008 title, how Rondo clashed with Doc Rivers.
Rondo, via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:
“He just wants attention,” Rondo said. “I need actually some sales from [the book], only [publicity] it’s been getting is from my name. I need some percentage or something.”
“Obviously, that man is hurting,” Rondo said of Allen. “I don’t know if it’s financially, I don’t know if it’s mentally. He wants to stay relevant. I am who I am. I don’t try to be something I’m not. I can’t say the same for him. He’s looking for attention. I’m a better human being than that. I take accountability for my actions. Certain [stuff] happens in my life, I man up. But he has a whole other agenda.”
“He’s been retired for whatever years, and now he comes out with a book,” Rondo said of Allen. “People do that in that situation they need money. He should have hit me up and asked me for a loan or something. It’s no hard feelings.”
Obviously, Allen wants attention. He’s promoting a book.
But that doesn’t make the stories in the book inaccurate.
Allen and Rondo, now with the Pelicans, have feuded for a while. Neither is completely reliable about the other. Both are too colored by their dislike for each other.
I doubt Rondo knows about Allen’s financial situation. Rondo is just trying to dig at Allen, like Allen dug at Rondo in the book. Famous people write books for many reasons. Financial gain isn’t necessarily Allen’s primary motivation. Allen has a lot of time in retirement.
I’d rather hear Rondo address the book’s claims. He’s extremely forthright, even admitting he’s difficult to coach. He might corroborate the stories involving himself and Rivers. Telling Garnett, Pierce and Allen he led them to the championship? I’d like to know Rondo’s side of that story.
Gorgui Dieng pushed down Chris Paul. So, Gerald Green pushed Dieng into the stands.
And now Paul is stepping up for his Rockets teammate.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Green is such a ride-or-die guy. He didn’t have a deep history against the Clippers or with Chris Paul. Yet, just a few weeks into his Houston tenure, Green was with Trevor Ariza (a longtime Paul friend) at the forefront of the Rockets’ charge into the Clippers’ locker room.
Stars like Paul respect that, and this gesture will only strengthen the ties between him and Green.
Green hasn’t been fined yet, though I expect there will be a tab for Paul to pick up.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence.
For how long?
David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Cleveland’s upcoming schedule:
- Tonight: vs. Bucks
- Wednesday: vs. Raptors
- Friday: vs. Suns
- Sunday: at Nets
- March 27: at Heat
- March 28: at Hornets
- March 30: vs. Pelicans
I’d be a little surprised if Lue returns during a road trip, though it’s just in the East. It wouldn’t be impossible. Still, March 30 against New Orleans appears to be the most likely return date based on Aldridge’s report.
Given how serious Lue’s statement sounded, that’s a relief. Hopefully, he’s healthy that quickly.
We’re also learning more about his condition.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
The first step is Lue feeling better during this rest. But, even once that happens, there will still be the challenge of him managing these issues while dealing with the stress of coaching. That’s a different animal.
Remember when LeBron James was getting back injections and missing weeks?
Now, at age 33 and in his 15th season, LeBron might play all 82 games for the first time in his career. And that’s while playing 37 minutes per game at a superstar level.
How did LeBron reverse what appeared to be declining athleticism and durability? Brian Windhorst of ESPN has a fantastically detailed article, focusing on LeBron’s personal biomechanist, Donnie Raimon, a former Navy SEAL.
James is known to personally spend seven figures a year caring for his body, and Raimon is part of that tab. So are personal chefs and masseuses. He also gets private treatments with liquid nitrogen to help reduce inflammation. James’ home facilities rival those of professional teams. In his home in Akron, James has a fully outfitted workout gym, hot and cold tubs and a hyperbaric chamber.
LeBron views that as investment. He’s earning $33,285,709 from the Cavaliers this season, and even at his age, he can command any contract from any team next summer. The path to LeBron maximizing his earnings is playing elite basketball as long as possible. The expenses incurred are a drop in the bucket.
In this excellent article – worth reading in full – Windhorst goes on an unbelievable tangent.
And the topper: the time James gained seven pounds during an Eastern Conference finals game.
Some Miami Heat teammates saw the scale and attest to it in amazement. James himself just shrugs and calls it “weird as hell.” The truly wild part is that it was from 271 pounds to 278 pounds, though James is much lighter these days.
Was LeBron wearing different clothes for each weigh-in? Did the scale malfunction during one?
It’s hard enough to come up with plausible explanations for the reading to increase by seven pounds. It’s far more difficult to believe LeBron actually gained seven pounds during a game.
But this story still contributes to the idea of LeBron’s body as otherworldly.