Miami Heat

Spoelstra makes mistake in saying Heat players cry after loss


There is no crying in basketball.

Well, there is, but we don’t really talk about it. Basketball is an emotional game. Well, it is if you care. So not for Andray Blatche most nights. But if you are invested — as any professional player should be — there will be wild emotional highs (we all remember Michael Jordan hugging the trophy in tears). The flip side of that is devastating emotional lows. For all the talk of keeping an even keel, there are times the game takes an emotional toll.

But players don’t want to be seen that way. They need a swagger. They think of themselves as invincible. They like that image.

What Erik Spoelstra told the media in Miami after the Heat suffered another difficult loss to an elite team shattered that image. They should be down, the Heat blew another big first half lead. They have lost four in a row. They lost a game a lot of people were pointing to as big for this team. They missed another shot at the end of the game.

But Spoelstra told the press — as reported by our own Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel on twitter — that some of the players were in tears after the loss.

I can understand some players were crying after a loss. Maybe it’s a little immature, but at least they are invested. At least they care. That matters.

But telling the press? Oh, that was your mistake, Spoelstra. This was a regular season game. Say they were in tears after being eliminated from the playoffs is one thing, but to spill that after a regular season loss is a mistake. You may have been trying to pass along the message that they cared, but that will not be the perception. Tweens crying over not getting Justin Bieber concert tickets will be the perception. Your heat will look soft. Which, on top of playing soft makes them look, well, soft. Like a Nerf ball soft.

And, it keeps the Heat soap opera going.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell

After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.