Through the Miami Heat’s first three games, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have combined for zero three-point attempts.
Not one. Last season they would have averaged 19 by now.
This is not by accident. As part of Miami’s new aggressive, up-tempo style LeBron and Wade are trying to attack the rim, not settle for threes. Leave the deep shots to the specialists, like James Jones and Mike Miller, the leaders on the Heat have to attack the rim.
“I’ve cut back a lot,” he said. “I still work on it and still shoot it. It’s not part of my everyday workout, though….
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to go a whole season without shooting a 3,” he said with a smile, as the Heat prepared for Friday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “It’ll be those games where you feel real good and you’re shooting the ball extremely well, and that’s when you may go back to the 3-point line.”
LeBron shot 33 percent from three last year, Wade 30.6 percent. In contrast, so far this season LeBron is shooting 78.9 percent inside three feet and 85.7 percent out to 10 feet (10 shots per game average). It’s not rocket science — you do what you are most effective at. LeBron and Wade are two of the best at getting to the rim and finishing in the league. Do that, don’t float around the perimeter.
The only question is if the Heat will slip back into bad habits as the season wears on. Watch the three-ball attempts to see.
LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.