Something forgotten when Udonis Haslem came back to help lead the Heat’s surge past the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals is that Haslem wasn’t anywhere near healthy. He was in a race against time trying to recover from his foot injury, and had had significant surgery a few months before. Haslem was careful with when he came back, he wasn’t rushing out there limping, this wasn’t like Rajon Rondo playing through his shoulder. But Haslem was facing a pretty tough hill to climb and got over it in time to get back and rushed right back into playoff play. While the Heat came up short, Haslem played about as well as could be expected. And now’s the kind of time to take note that these players were not near 100% when they fought through the playoffs.
From the Palm Beach Post:
If the season does start on time, Haslem should be ready for it. He recently had another procedure, one he termed minor, to remove the screw from his foot and clean out his ankle, and declared himself at “100 percent strength.” He even that he would consider playing in Europe if the work stoppage dragged on, provided that he felt completely ready health-wise.
Haslem spent the 2002-03 season in France, playing for Chalon-Sur-Saone, after he was cut by the Atlanta Hawks and before he signed with the Heat. He did not enjoy the experience, but thinks he would appreciate it more now.
“I’m a lot more mature, a lot more laid-back,” Haslem said.
via Udonis Haslem: “100 percent strength” after cleanout, open to Europe | Heat Zone blog: Miami Heat & NBA news | The Palm Beach Post.
Getting Haslem back for a full-season along with Mike Miller, who was pretty much a one-man M*A*S*H* unit by the end of the Finals, is crucial for the Heat next season. They’re committed to both of those players for future seasons. Everyone talks about what upgrades the Heat need to make, but they made Game 6 of the Finals with Haslem barely back from being out for most of the year and Miller, the walking wince. There will be upgrades. But you have to wonder what getting healthy will do for the Heat.
Blake Griffin almost got away with it.
During Friday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Griffin gave Cavs forward Jae Crowder an unhelpful knee to the groin during a post isolation.
Griffin wasn’t whistled for anything on the play, and in fact Crowder was assessed a foul after Griffin made his move to the basket.
Now, the NBA has given Griffin a Flagrant 1 for unnecessary contact.
Video of the incident can be viewed above the article here, but it’s pretty egregious and indeed the Cavaliers announcers even suggested at the time that it might warrant a flagrant.
Looks like the NBA agreed.
Cleveland beat LA, 118-113, in OT.
LeBron James totally dissed New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina. Or maybe he was just complimenting Dennis Smith Jr., and Enes Kanter likes to get in the middle of things? Or perhaps it was a barely-veiled shot at former Knicks president Phil Jackson?
No matter which way you view this little NBA drama, there’s some kind of silver lining to take away for New York after LeBron got a little too close for comfort with Ntilikina during a recent matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, that silver lining is how well Ntilikina, Kanter, and the rest of the squad did when standing up to James.
Via the NY Post:
“I thought it was great,’’ he said on the newest edition of “The Jeff Hornacek Experience” that debuts Friday night on MSG Networks after the Knicks face the Raptors. “When we played back in the day, there was a lot of that. So you don’t see as much now in today’s game.
“But, you know, whether the comments from LeBron were aimed at Frank or the Knicks or Phil [Jackson] or whatever it was, I was happy that Frank gave him a little shove and then when LeBron stood in front of him and Enes jumped in there. That’s kind of the chemistry that gets developed when guys are playing for each other. You saw Enes jump right in the middle of this and said, ‘Nah you’re not gonna do this to my young guy.’ So that’s a great sign to see the togetherness of our guys.”
So to recap:
1. LeBron was taking a shot at Phil.
2. Enes Kanter didn’t like that.
3. Jeff Hornacek likes that.
Clear? Ok, good.
Joel Embiid has a reputation around the league already, and for good reason.
The man who continuously lobbied Rihanna to give him a chance for a date has other NBA players hoping they beat the Philadelphia 76ers just to avoid Embiid’s trash talking.
Indeed, the Golden State Warriors beat Philly on Saturday night, 124-116, thanks in part to a huge rally in the second half. A 22-point deficit had to be overcome for Golden State, and not just to add to their win column.
The team also wanted to sidestep Embiid’s silver tongue:
Both Draymond Green and Kevin Durant said they wanted to keep Embiid at bay. Durant’s comment was particularly funny, and can be seen in the video at the top of the article (fair warning, Durant used some NSFW language).
The Process is now The Reputation.
One of the NBA’s more under appreciated forwards has announced his retirement from the NBA.
David Lee, who spent time in his career with the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs, told the NBA world about his retirement via his Instagram page on Sunday.
Lee, 34, played last season with the Spurs. He averaged 7.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists for Gregg Popovich’s team.
Lee played 14 seasons in the NBA, the majority of which came with the Knicks. During his time in New York, Lee was seen as an unsung hero, nabbing rebounds and doing yeoman’s work from the power forward position.
The Knicks traded Lee to Golden State in the summer of 2010 for Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and two second round picks. He was part of the Warriors’ 2014-15 NBA Championship before eventually being traded to Boston in 2015.