Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four

NBA Playoffs: Philly earns itself one more game this season. One.


If you believed in conspiracy theories, you could say that Miami is going to make a lot of extra money out of the extra home date for a Game 5 Tuesday.

We’re not that guy. We think Miami came out flat as a lot of teams do up 3-0 and let the Philadelphia hang around then at the end of the game the Sixers best players out executed the Heat’s best and they get the win.

It means there will be a Game 5 Tuesday night. And that will be the end of the series. Make no mistake the Heat will show up focused for that one at home and overwhelm the 76ers as they did the first couple games.

But for one game, the Sixers had their day. They played harder, they executed better at the end.

Philadelphia raced out to a 14-4 lead showing off one of the little secrets of this series — the Philly starters have outplayed the Sixers starters. It’s true (they were +25 for the series through the first quarter of this game). Plus Mike Bibby was taking more shots than Lebron James, and that is a bad sign.

But as you expect, the Heat crawled back and were up 6 with 90 seconds to go and you thought the sweep was on. But the Sixers played with pride — give them credit for not rolling over.

Kneejerk reaction everywhere is to climb all over LeBron for missing the game-tying shot late, but as Tom Haberstroh of ESPN’s Heat Index tweeted, you can lay this one at Dwyane Wade’s feet.

One minute left, Spoelstra runs the Wade-LeBron pick-and-roll. Wade had LeBron posted up on Jrue (Holiday), but couldn’t get him the pass…

On other end, Wade relaxes on defense and Jrue drills a 3-pointer on him…

Next play, Wade clears out, misses fadeaway J. Next play, Lou Williams pulls up for a 25-footer and drills another 3 on Wade…

Really though, Wade was the best of the big three today. Chris Bosh lived on the perimeter (where he is not effective). The Heat’s bigger problems was terrible point guard play from Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers, which was by-and-large awful.

Holiday took advantage of that. Lou Williams had his moments. Philly played good defense and for one day, one game that was enough.

It’s will not be Tuesday. Miami will want a few days off before taking on Boston starting the following weekend. But for one day Philly showed why they were a pretty good team that made the playoffs this season.

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PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.

Luke Walton: Warriors concerned about health, not 72 wins

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Stephen Curry acknowledges the Warriors – who are 18-0 and won four straight to end last season – talk about the NBA record of 33 consecutive wins.

But what about another major record Golden State is chasing, 72 wins in a season?

Shooting guard Klay Thompson called it possible. General manager Bob Myers deemed it impossible.

Interim coach Luke Walton would prefer everyone just keep quiet.

Walton, via CSN Bay Area:

“The 72 thing is far, far away,” Walton said. “We shouldn’t be spending any time thinking about that.

“I’ve also said before that we’re not going to coach this season trying to chase that record,” Walton said

“We’re still going to give players nights off on back-to-backs,” he added. “And we’re going to do our best to limit minutes for some of our players. Our main concern is being healthy come playoff time.”

I don’t think Golden State will win 72 games, but prioritizing health won’t necessary stop the Warriors. They’re so deep.

They outscore opponents by 5.8 points per 100 possessions when Curry sits, 5.6 when Draymond Green sits. Those marks would rank seventh among all NBA teams.

Golden State has the luxury of resting players and continuing to win. That’s what makes the chase for 72 realistic. This team is less likely than most to wear down late in a season where it’s pushing to win every game.

Health entering the playoffs is important, but a 72-win season would raise these Warriors to legendary status. If they’re in range late in the season, I think they’ll go for it – even if the top seed is already secured.

But for now, Walton is probably taking the right approach. Plenty of teams start fast (though never this fast) then drift back toward the pack. No point risking Golden State’s health yet.

Kevin Durant to media: You treated Kobe Bryant ‘like s—‘

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant once told the media, “You guys really don’t know s—.”

The Thunder star expressed regret, but if he knew how we were going to treat Kobe Bryant, he might have stuck to his guns.

Durant, via Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

I did idolize Kobe Bryant. I studied him, wanted to be like him. He was our Michael Jordan. I watched Michael towards the end of his career when he was with the Wizards, and I seen that’s what Kobe emerged as the guy for us.

I’ve been disappointed this year because you guys treated him like s—. He’s a legend, and all I hear is about how bad he’s playing, how bad he’s shooting. It’s time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like s—, and I didn’t really like it. So hopefully, now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year. It was sad the way he was getting treated, in my opinion.

But he had just an amazing career, a guy who changed the game for me as a player mentally and physically. Means so much to the game of basketball. Somebody I’m always going to look to for advice, for help, for anything. Just a brilliant, brilliant, intelligent man. And it’s sad to see him go.

Kobe is shooting 20% from the floor and 30% on 3-pointers for a 2-14 team. How else should we describe his season?

Why not bash the person most publicly critical of Kobe? Or the many people around the NBA who recognize how far Kobe has fallen? Or Byron Scott, who has repeatedly intensified discussion of Kobe’s demise?

Why is the media, which is not some monolithic entity anyway, the primary target?

There are writers who fawn over Kobe, writers who criticize him and many more who do both. We don’t all think alike.

If we did, Durant would be bound to treat Kobe like s—, too.

Hassan Whiteside thanks Hassan Whiteside in Kobe Bryant tribute


Like many players, Hassan Whiteside posted a tribute to Kobe Bryant upon the Laker star’s retirement announcement.

But Whiteside’s is a bit, um, different.

Whiteside salutes himself for making Kobe smile. (That’s not a smile.) The Heat center also tweeted a screenshot of the Instagram post with the hashtag “#koberetire,” which sounds pretty commanding.

Is Whiteside in on the joke or is he that self-centered? I’m honestly not entirely sure.