Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra may tweak starting lineup. Finally.

4 Comments

Miami’s starting five has been a disaster these playoffs.

The Heat are still winning games, but they are not going to continue doing that consistently playing out of a hole. So far in these playoffs, the starting five for the Heat — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas — has been outscored by 40 points per 48 minutes. (Stats via NBA Statscube)

Finally, Erik Spoelstra is apparently going to do something about it.

He would not tell the media at shootaround Monday who would start that night, and added that he would not discuss the issue at pregame media availability, according to a tweet from John Schuhmann of NBA.com.

Before every other game, Spoelstra has announced who was starting at shootaround and he defended his starters in the past.

Sunday at practice Spoelstra was not so defensive anymore, as reported by our man Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.

“I’m looking at everything right now and I’ll continue to look at that for the next day.”

He followed up by saying of the team’s practice session at Emerson College, “We walked through quite a different amount of situations, different lineups.”

Switch Mario Chalmers for Bibby and Joel Anthony for Ilgauskas and the Heat outscore opponents by 36 points per 48 minutes.

There are more practical reasons to make the moves now. Having Ilgauskas on the bench lets you sub him in and play him just when you need to against the size of Shaquille O’Neal. And Chalmers is a much better defender than Bibby (who isn’t?), and that means someone who could put more ball pressure on an injured Rajon Rondo.

We’ll see if he actually goes through with it — Spoelstra, like most coaches, does not want to make changes mid-playoffs. But if the Heat want to advance, he may not have a choice.

Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)

Gordon Hayward (20), del Jazz de Utah, intenta un enceste ante Thon Maker (7) y Michael Beasley (9), de los Bucks de Milwaukee, en el duelo del viernes 24 de febrero de 2017, en Milwaukee. (AP Foto/Benny Sieu)
AP Foto/Benny Sieu
3 Comments

Are we obligated to call Gordon Hayward “deceptively athletic”?

The Bucks have something special in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they think they have something special in Thon Maker.

But Hayward jammed all over those two in the Jazz’s 109-95 win last night.

First, he got Antetokounmpo:

Then, he got Maker:

Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jose Calderon #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a called foul during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.

As was expected, the Lakers are now talking about buying out the Spanish national and letting him head to a playoff team for a stretch run, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….

Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.

Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.

Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.

There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.

Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)

2 Comments

Bobby Portis didn’t enjoy getting blocked by Marquese Chriss. And Portis sure didn’t appreciate how Chriss fell on him.

But it was all worth it (for me, at least) just to see the Bulls forward make a face that reminded me of this:

Dwyane Wade with dagger dunk to seal Bulls win vs. Suns (VIDEO)

1 Comment

The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.

The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.

The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.