LeBron James

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Maybe Miami does miss Wade

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What you missed while wildly overreacting to your team’s loss

Pacers 98, Lakers 96: This contrast in offensive balances was our game of the night.

Bucks 91, Heat 82: Milwaukee turned this into an ugly, grind-it-out game that favored their style and not the high-flying Heat. So, exactly what Scott Skiles wants them to do. Teams do take on the personality of their coach.

No Dwyane Wade so the Heat went heavy with Chris Bosh again, but he had 8 turnovers on the night, which was part of Miami’s problems. Another problem that Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did a good job making LeBron James work for his 28 points (which is about all you can ask).

Miami tried to go small (LeBron at the four) but they looked like a team on the second night of a back-to-back that was just a bit sluggish. It made the game a slower, dogfight of an affair, which plays to the Bucks strengths. Brandon Jennings had 23 points, but it took him 20 shots to get there.

Celtics 100, Wizards 94: Boston had no Rajon Rondo, out with a sore wrist. They were without Ray Allen most of the day after he tweaked his ankle in the second quarter. Still, this is the Wizards, you expect Boston to win this more handily. Without Rondo Boston really struggles to create good looks for each other. The Wizards just struggle to create good looks for themselves — there is no team play. Combine that with some defensive lapses by Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee down the stretch (falling asleep on help responsibilities) and the Celtics get the win. Paul Pierce had 35 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds.

Clippers 103, Raptors 91: After the Clippers let a team hang around and it cost them against Minnesota on Friday, there was none of that Sunday. Los Angeles took control with a 13-0 run in the first quarter then started the second half on an 11-1 run just to salt it away. D’Andre Jordan had 10 points and 9 rebounds in the first quarter alone. Mo Williams had 26 for the Clips, 19 in the fourth quarter. Toronto shot just 35.8 percent as a team.

Nets 97, Bobcats 87: We watch these games so you don’t have to — two struggling teams, but by rule someone had to win. Charlotte came out turning the ball over 7 times in the first quarter and Deron Williams had 11 points in the first quarter , the Nets took the lead and never looked back. Williams finished the game with 19 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds, while MarShon Brooks scored 20.

To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English

Kevin Garnett
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Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.

Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.

Brilliant.

Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.

Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy “encouraged” by players speaking out, protesting social issues

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons yells to his players during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***Stan Van Gundy
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Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.

Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.

A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…

“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.

The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford suggests allowing teams to advance ball in final two minutes without timeout

Steve Clifford
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The final minutes of a close NBA game rank among the best moments in sports – which is pretty remarkable, considering frequent stoppages interrupt and impede enjoyment of the game.

Clutch play. Timeout. Clutch play. Timeout. Clutch play. Timeout.

Coaches should probably call fewer timeouts, because drawing up a play also allows the defense to set. But timeouts give the offense the option of advancing the inbound spot into the frontcourt, a key advantage. So, teams will keep calling timeouts.

Unless…

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

For Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, the ability in the final two minutes of a game to advance the ball without requiring a timeout to be called could speed up the action. That has been used on a trial basis in the D League and in Summer League, and several coaches felt it worked well.

“The game is at an all-time high in popularity, but a lot of people complain about the last two minutes,” Clifford said. “I think it would add a different dimension but it would also be a good thing in addressing our biggest issue.”

Not that the coaches would be willing to lose any of their timeouts, though. They just wouldn’t save them specifically for that purpose.

I’m here for that.

I’m unsurprised control-seeking coaches want to keep all their timeouts, and reducing those seems unlikely, anyway. The NBA pays its bills through commercial breaks.

Would moving those advertising opportunities earlier in the game pay off? Audiences are probably larger in crunch time, but an action-packed closing stretch could hook fans and grow overall audiences. It’s always a difficult decision to forgo maximizing immediate revenue in pursuit of more later.

But I’m fairly certain fans would appreciate the change, which is at least a starting point in considering it.