One note we kind of glossed over from the Miami Heat’s dramatic comeback win over the Spurs Tuesday — Mike Miller is back.
The three-point specialist missed the start of the season due to a sports hernia but he was back running with the Heat on Tuesday night and went 6-of-6 from three in 15 minutes of play.
He helps the Heat in a lot of ways, starting with depth. Miller also spaces the floor with his shooting, makes good decisions on when to pass and plays better defense than he gets credit for.
But all of that is not the best thing his return brings to the Miami Heat, suggests Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated. Rather, having Miller (with Shane Battier and James Jones) allows Miami to play LeBron James at the four.
The Heat’s offense reached another level last season with James at power forward, scoring a whopping 10 more points per 100 possessions on average than lineups with James at his traditional small forward spot – lineups that scored at an elite level to begin with. Miami’s defense slipped from elite to average with James at power forward, though the results here were all over the map, depending on which four teammates joined LeBron…
This was a powerful weapon for coach Erik Spoelstra, and one he used to great effect against Boston and Philadelphia during the playoffs before personnel issues forced him to pocket it against Chicago and Dallas.
The NBA is a game of matchups, and a roster that lets Spoelstra move LeBron between the three and the four to get the better matchup makes the Heat that much harder to beat. And if you don’t think they are a tough enough matchup just ask the Spurs.
Report: Bucks brought Jabari Parker off bench for discussing with media team’s meeting
The Milwaukee Bucks had lost four in a row and had slid out of a playoff slot in the East. It’s not one end of the court — in their last five games, the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. After that fourth loss, the team held a players’ only meeting, one where Jabari Parker reportedly ripped his teammates for a lack of togetherness.
In the postgame media sessions that followed, Parker told the press he confirmed there was a meeting and said he had been “thrashed” by his teammates for what he said.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker did not start in Saturday’s road loss to the Miami Heat for violating a team rule that prohibits disclosing locker room discourse to the media, league sources told ESPN…
Parker’s teammates deliberated and decided the appropriate punishment for the violation was to bring him off the bench against the Heat, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time this season that he did not start.
The meeting and the benching didn’t help, the Bucks fell to the lowly Heat 109-97. (Team/players meetings are overrated in how often they help teams turn things around.)
The good news for the Bucks is that in a tight East they remain just a game out of the playoffs and three games out of the five seed. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.
Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers don’t have much going for them offensively. However, there is one thing: DeAndre Jordan can still run to the rim and dunk with authority.
The Knicks last three losses have come by a total of six points. The team is not good, a little banged up, and doesn’t play any defense, but New York also has just had a run of bad luck.
The latest example: Phoenix’s Devin Booker draining a three to knock off New York, 107-105. It was a mistake by Derrick Rose, who sagged down to the free throw line watching Eric Bledsoe with the ball coming off the pick, which led to the open pass. Also, notice that Booker set up three feet back of the three-point line — this is a trend a lot of teams and good shooters are following (watch a Rockets’ game) because it makes the closeout harder. Rose would have contested a shot at the arc, but Booker gets a clean look from where he spotted up, and drills it.
The Spurs would like you to include them in your conversations about contenders.
Without Pau Gasol (hand) or Tony Parker (foot), San Antonio went into Cleveland and beat the defending NBA champions in OT 118-115 in what was one of the wildest, most entertaining games of the season. Check out the clutch-time action above, including LeBron James hitting a three Shaker Heights.
But the real star was Kawhi Leonard, who put up a career-best 41 on 30 shots. He’s the guy who has to create and make plays for this offense, and he did it on a big stage. LeBron added 29 points. Between them, they put on quite a show.