The Miami Heat won’t have Dwayne Wade tonight against the Lakers, and LeBron James will apparently be a game-time decision, but they may get some help Eddy Curry, who might play in his first game since 2009 tonight: From Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears:
The New York Knicks’ loss to the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 17, 2009, wasn’t a memorable one for the franchise in another lost season. But for Eddy Curry it holds significance.
It was the last time he played in an NBA game.
Curry has been sidelined for more than two years with weight and conditioning problems that, at their worst, pushed the 6-foot-10 center to close to 400 pounds. Now with the Miami Heat and weighing a “svelte” 295, Curry could make his long-awaited return to the court as soon as Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It was humbling, I guess, sitting back not playing, wanting to be there for one reason or another and not being able to be out there,” Curry said recently. “I look at it as a second chance and an opportunity to right this ship.”
Curry, who has shown the ability to be a very good low-post scorer at times in his strange NBA career, has been working with Tim Grover, Michael Jordan’s trainer, and has shed anywhere from 65 to 100 pounds of weight, depending on which report you believe.
Even when Curry was at his best, he was a notoriously poor rebounder, and has never shown much interest in defense. One expects that those things will have to change if he wants to get minutes from Erik Spolestra, who places a high premium on defense and rebounding. Ever since the Heat decided to take a flyer on Curry this off-season, they’ve been adamant that they’re not expecting any miracles from the former #4 overall draft pick. However, the Heat do need some big bodies, especially against teams with as much size up front as the Lakers have, so we’ll see what happens with Eddy Curry’s last chance at NBA relevance.
The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.
It didn’t get better afterward.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.