Last time the end of the game had all the suspense of a North Korean election. It was over before it started. Back on March 4, the Spurs walked out of the locker room draining threes while the Heat had just 12 first quarter points. Miami was down more than 20 less than 12 minutes in and never seriously changed after that.
Ten days later, the Heat seek redemption. After beating the Lakers last week by out executing the defending champions at the end of the game, the Heat get another shot at this season’s end-of-game execution champions in the Spurs.
But the Heat need to be in at the end for that to matter.
And that’s why you need to tune in early Monday — the teams that have beaten the Spurs or had a shot to at the end usually grab big leads early. The Spurs, in the regular season, will fold up the tents pretty early and rest guys if they think there is no point in mounting a comeback.
Getting out to a fast start means the Heat have to do a better job defending the three-point line. Which is easier said than done — the Spurs run a lot of high pick-and-rolls with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili slashing into the defense, forcing rotations, then they make you pay with good spot up shooters. The Lakers defended this by having Andrew Bynum lay back and protect the paint from slashing guards. While the Heat do not have a guy who can defend the rim like Bynum look for them to take something out of playbook.
The Heat also need to get some points in transition — they are beasts when they steal the ball or get out and run off long rebounds. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are otherworldly forces of nature in the open court. Last meeting it was the Spurs — and Parker in particular — that was controlling the open court and getting the transition points (a lot on secondary break stuff). The Heat need to get back better in transition defense while getting out more and running themselves.
The Heat also need to get another big game from Chris Bosh, making Tim Duncan really work on the defensive end of the floor. The Heat need to get inside the Spurs defense.
Do all that… and the Heat still better hope they are up comfortably at the end of the game. Because if it comes down to end-of-game execution it is the Spurs that have to be the favorites.
But if the Heat come out and play with the desperation they showed against the Lakers, maybe once again it will not come down to the end of the game. And the Heat will get the win this time.
The Los Angeles Lakers are having a pretty good January.
The team has a losing record overall but is 6-5 in 2018, despite the noise from the Ball family and the need for public confidence for Luke Walton as coach.
Still, I’m not sure they’re having as good a time as the guy who won $100,000 by banking in a halfcourt shot on Sunday.
The fan’s name is apparently Suni Strong, and he’s from Palmdale. He played high school basketball, works at Space-X, and was on a canceled A&E show about bounty hunting.
Via OC Register:
“When I first walked in I said have my check ready,” he said. “I knew I was going to make it. I had to.”
Asked if he called “bank,” Strong replied, “Why would I do that? I called money.”
That’s some serious scratch.
Spencer Dinwiddie was once a member of the Detroit Pistons. They traded him to the Chicago Bulls back in 2016 for Cameron Bairstow, and the Bulls promptly waived him less than a month later. That same day, Bairstow was waived by the Pistons.
On Sunday, Dinwiddie got his revenge on Detroit by ending their matinee matchup with a step-through jumper that two Pistons failed to defend.
The play came with 4.7 seconds left and the Brooklyn Nets trailing, 100-99. Dinwiddie ran across the far side of the floor to receive the ball from the sideline, then to the near elbow before putting on a series of moves to get his shot off.
The play gave Detroit just 0.09 seconds left, and they couldn’t get an attempt off.
Brooklyn beat the Pistons, 101-100.
Meanwhile, Dinwiddie continues to have the best season of his career. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per-game, all career-highs. He’s also boosted his VORP to 1.1, another personal best.
Enes Kanter likes to inject himself in situations he doesn’t belong in.
The New York Knicks forward likes to take aim at the biggest star in the game, LeBron James, and has said in the past that he would fight LeBron if he had to.
Some previous comments from LeBron riled up members of the Knicks organization, and there’s been animosity between the two sides ever since.
So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Kanter had something to say on Twitter about his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, dropping 148 points during a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Heck, even former Cavaliers coach David Blatt jumped in on that one, albeit immediately before his own team got 151 scored on them.
Kanter took to Twitter, using LeBron’s own catchphrase against him:
Of course, that’s probably not the best idea. Kanter is a role player and LeBron is one of the best who ever played. Even if the Cavaliers are stinking it up lately, you can’t go after the King like that. You just might miss.
“One texted [teammate] me just to say — I’m not going to say who — but he texted me ‘You’re about to get 50 dropped on you, boy.'” Kanter said before Sunday’s matinee against the Los Angeles Lakers. “I responded something back, but I’m not going to say what it is.”
Kanter added that he’s just “having fun” and wanting to put “a smile on people’s face” with his constant prodding.
We’ll see if he ends up smiling the next time Cleveland and New York meet on April 9 at MSG.
David Blatt, perhaps sensing his time to pounce as rumors swirl around Tyronn Lue’s departure, decided to troll the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. It did not go so well.
Blatt, who was fired from the head coaching spot in Cleveland in 2015, now heads Darüşşafaka S.K. in the Turkish Super League.
Blatt was also coaching Team Europe vs. Team Asia in the Turkish BSL All-Star Game on Sunday. During the game Blatt joked during a TV interview that he was just hoping his team didn’t give up as many points as the Cavaliers did to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. That game ended with a score of 148-124.
So what happened to Blatt’s Team Europe in the All-Star Game?
According to Erik Gundersen over at LeBron Wire, Team Europe promptly got rolled on with a tally of … 151 points.
The final total in the Turkish All-Star matchup was 151-142 in favor of Team Asia.