Through four games, the Miami Heat have exposed and exploited so many advantages against the Boston Celtics that it’s hard to logically pick the Celtics in Game 5 Wednesday night in Miami. A win and the Heat close out the series, and a Miami win seems as inevitable as David Caruso taking off his sunglasses and uttering a terrible one liner in a CSI:Miami episode.
It’s just hard to write off these Celtics. They are prideful and no doubt they will not go quietly. They will battle. They have players — Paul Pierce, Ray Allen — capable of getting hot and basically winning a game single handedly.
But if they are going to win, they have got to fix a lot of things fast.
It starts with taking back the paint. Whether using dribble penetration (Game 4) or player movement on the weakside with good ball movement (Games 1, 2) the Heat have got their baskets in close. If you are going to beat the Heat you must make them jumpshooters (and in Game 1 Wade hit those anyway).
Also, the Celtics have not made the Heat pay for relatively small lineups (with Joel Anthony) at center. They have to find a way, and without Shaq.
As he did in Game 3, Kevin Garnett must dominate his matchup with Chris Bosh. He cannot play him to a standstill, he must win it and win it big.
They have to dominate the point guard battle. Which will be hard with the one-armed Rajon Rondo, but Mike Bibby is not good and Mario Chalmers is still someone Rondo should dominate. Well, healthy Rondo would. Theoretically (he didn’t earlier in the series before his left elbow injury). This was the Celtic’s clear matchup advantage coming in and they have not exploited it.
Boston needs to keep Miami out of transition. There are a lot of things that can be added to the list but this is enough for now.
On the road with their backs against the wall, the Celtics have to play their best game of the series to even have a chance.
But do you really doubt they can?
New York Knicks C Joakim Noah has an awkward jumper and free throw technique, there’s no denying that. His two-handed, horizontal approach to shooting a basketball is ripe for criticism.
DeMarcus Cousins thinks so, at least.
During a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Knicks, Cousins decided to give Noah a little tongue-in-cheek trolling about his form.
Looks about right.
The 1980s were back in Cleveland Friday night. Well, not completely, Bernie Kosar wasn’t leading the Browns to contention (although man, could they use him now).
No, the ’80s were back in the form of the throwback orange Cavaliers uniforms. And to complete the theme, the Cavaliers players dressed up and Rick-rolled the intro video — they did the complete “classic” Rick Astley hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” And it was awesome.
The Cavaliers won the game 114-84 over the Heat behind 28 from Kevin Love, but that was secondary to the intro video.
Second-year forward Sam Dekker is finding a comfort zone in the Mike D’Antoni offense in Houston. Healthy this season, he is coming off the bench for 18 minutes a night, and his game where he is quick and can also hit the three is fitting perfectly with Houston’s system, leading him to 6.7 points a game.
Also, he can run the floor. And finish.
As Enes Kanter found out when he hustled, got back in transition defense, and wasn’t going to stop Dekker from getting to the rim.
That’s a quality dunk.
The Rockets went on to win the game 102-99, despite Russell Westbrook‘s seventh-straight triple-double.
LeBron James has been climbing the NBA’s All-time scoring list fast the past couple years, passing Hakeem Olajuwon last season to move into the top 10.
Friday night LeBron passed another legend, Elvin Hayes, who spent the prime of his career with the Washington Bullets and was an NBA champion, six-time All-NBA and 12-time All-Star from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.
LeBron passed Hayes with a vintage LeBron bucket, bringing the ball up in transition, then just using his quickness and strength to power to the rim.
LeBron’s not done, he should pass Moses Malone in the next week or so. Here is the NBA’s All-time scoring Top 10. (As a side note, if you count ABA scoring in the mix LeBron is 11th because Julius Erving and Dan Issel both pass him. For now.)
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38387
2. Karl Malone 36928
3. Kobe Bryant 33643
4. Michael Jordan 32292
5. Wilt Chamberlain 31419
6. Dirk Nowitzki 29552
7. Shaquille O’Neal 28596
8. Moses Malone 27409
9. LeBron James 27315
10. Elvin Hayes 27313