The numbers do not lie — the Miami Heat’s starting five with Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas was outscored by 39 points in the first round. By the 76ers starting five.
Every game — including Game 5 — the Heat would fall behind quickly, but in four of the games the Heat’s substitutes stabilized them, got them back in it (in Game 5 the Heat were down 11 inside of five minutes but a 14-0 run had the Heat ahead after the end of the first quarter). Four times the Heat went on to win.
Do that against the Celtics and it will cost the Heat games. And maybe the series.
The lineup with Miami’s big three with Ilgauskas and Bibby had an offensive rating of 89.9 (points per 100 possessions) and a defensive rating of 125.2 (via NBA statscube). That lineup would average 79 points per 48 minutes shooting 39.4 percent.
Swap in Chalmers and Anthony and the offensive rating becomes 128 (points per 100 possessions) and the defensive rating 86. This lineup would score 108.8 points per 48 minutes shooing 54.2 percent.
The matchups will be different with the Celtics, particularly with Jermaine and maybe Shaquille O’Neal Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will be tempted to go with the size of Big Z rather than the 6’9” Anthony in the middle. And Big Z did provide some offense.
But Spoelstra knows how much better his team is playing when Bibby and Ilgauskas sit — there’s a reason he took them out after 4:27 in Game 5 Wednesday and they never got back on the court.
He needs to make a change with the starters. Falling 10 points back of the Celtics is a much harder hole to climb out of than it is against Philly.
Nets’ Greivis Vasquez pulls out of Olympics for Venezuela
If you want to know what this means for the Venezuelan team heading into Rio, well, they shot just 23.9 percent in an 80-45 loss to Team USA Friday night in Chicago — and that was by far the USA’s worst performance in the exhibition run-up to the Rio Games.
Vasquez should be getting decent minutes off the bench behind Jeremy Lin in Brooklyn this season. They need him healthy as the team tries to move from “god awful” to just plain “not good” next season.
Report: Monty Williams to accept role on Spurs coaching staff next season
Monty Williams is one of the better assistant coaches in the NBA right now, and he was available (remember he understandably left Oklahoma City last season after the tragic death of his wife). He’s part of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff with USA Basketball this summer — watch him in practices at age 44 and he’s a better defender plenty of players in the league — and he wanted to get back on the bench.
Sources told ESPN that Williams — who left the Oklahoma City Thunder’s bench in February after the tragic death of his wife, Ingrid — has been urged by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to take as much of a role with the organization as he feels comfortable for the 2016-17 campaign.
The specifics of what role Williams would fill and how much time he could commit have not yet been determined, but sources say San Antonio has opened the door to either a coaching and player-development role or a front-office position (or a hybrid), depending on what he prefers.
One source close to Williams told ESPN that the 44-year-old “absolutely” intends to be a head coach in the league again after his expected stint with the Spurs. The source also said numerous teams, including Oklahoma City, have made similar offers to Williams for next season.
Williams will get another shot in the big chair down the line. In the short term, this is a smart move — nothing looks better on a resume than “Spurs” around the league right now.
Team USA has sing-along on plane leaving Chicago. Well, except for ‘Melo.
Like “Stillwater” in Almost Famous, Team USA’s Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving were leading a sing-along of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” on the team plane out of Chicago to Houston for the USA’s final exhibition game. Hat tip Alysha Tsuji who pulled the snapchats.
How could you hate this team 😂 TEAM USA 🏀 singing A Thousand Miles on the plane: 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
There were a lot of ugly things for Team USA in its exhibition win over Venezuela — the 4-of-25 shooting from three comes to mind. There was more, it was not a strong offensive performance from Team USA.
But like usual, we can overwhelm teams with athleticism, and that means wins and highlights. Like Kyle Lowry‘s tip-pass alley-oop to Jimmy Butler.