Jason Terry said LeBron James couldn’t guard him tightly for seven games. DeShawn Stevenson said LeBron “checked out” of Game 4.
The Miami Heat heard all that. LeBron heard all that.
Dwyane Wade told Dallas thank you for adding fuel to the fire under the best player walking the planet, as reported by Matt Moore over at CBSSports Eye on Basketball.
“(LeBron) doesn’t need it, but it adds fuel to the fire. We appreciate Dallas for that. Even if he had lost focus, he was going to get it back, but we appreciate the words that are coming out of their mouths….
“LeBron obviously wants to play better, but it’s not always about the scoring aspect. It’s just about playing better overall.”
The second part of that is key, and our Game 5 preview focuses on that. It can’t be LeBron being more aggressive by just dominating the ball and drawing all the defense then shooting over a triple team — he needs to attack but kick when the time is right, and he needs to work hard off the ball when Wade has it.
There’s a line at the end of the classic World War II movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” where Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, when congratulated on the attack, says, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” (Yes, I know in real life he didn’t actually say that.)
Dallas may someday look back at all these comments the same way.
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.
Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.
The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.
This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.
After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.
Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).
Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.
Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.
But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.
He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.
LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.
Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?
In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.
But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.
Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.
“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”