LeBron James was at the heart of a comeback from 18-points down for the Heat — he had 19 points in the second half and controlled a lot of the key plays. He had another great game.
But with the Heat down one with 4.5 seconds left LeBron got the ball and drove, drew two defenders then passed to Udonis Haslem for a 16-foot jumper that missed, and the Jazz beat the Heat 99-98. That ended the Heat’s nine-game winning streak.
LeBron made the right basketball play — he drew the defenders and passed to the open man. But it goes back to the same old meme — we want James to take charge and take that shot, not Haslem (who could have kicked to Wade who was wide open on the wing, but that’s another discussion). It comes back to the feeling expressed in a tweet by our own John Krolik:
When LeBron’s team is up late, he’ll take the hero J. When down, he’ll go for the drive or the pass. Does not want to miss final J.
There were other guys you could blame for this loss — if Haslem hits that jumper or if Dwyane Wade makes a free throw (or doesn’t foul Devin Harris) we are not talking about this. But they didn’t and it fell to LeBron. A guy who entered the league as a drive and dish player without a jumper who reverts to that under pressure.
We have been down this road before. LeBron will take heat for this. The same way he did for the All-Star game. But it’s the same answer — what happens here does not matter. What matters is what LeBron does in the playoffs. If he makes this pass again in the finals and the Heat lose, it is his fault. If he makes the big plays in the playoffs and the Heat get a ring he can change the narrative. Until then, it’s all just fodder for people to say LeBron isn’t ready to win.
Spurs fans decide to vote for Gregg Popovich in presidential election
Gregg Popovich had plenty of strong opinions leading up to and after the 2016 Presidential Election. Perhaps he would have been a good choice for the White House himself?
That’s what 25 people in Bexar County — where San Antonio is located — thought when they cast their vote for the 67-year-old San Antonio Spurs coach.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, rather than cast their vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, some folks thought the Air Force Academy graduate would suit them better as the Leader of the Free World. From MySA.com:
They wrote-in Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Jesus and Mickey Mouse, among others, to be president. A few cast their vote for a Popovich-Duncan ticket, but despite their efforts, Trump and Mike Pence were elected president and vice president.
The write-in records, obtained from the Bexar County Elections Department, show 5,226 people cast a vote for someone, or something, other than the two major party candidates— Clinton and Trump.
Popovich has been putting his money where his mouth is, both in his criticism of the current political climate and in his community outreach.
The Spurs coach recently held a town hall with Cornel West and local disadvantaged San Antonio youth.
I moderated a panel today in San Antonio with Coach Pop & Cornel West in front of hundreds of HS students. It was as remarkable as it sounds pic.twitter.com/31JIkvFdCY
TNT’s legendary sideline reporter Craig Sager is widely held to be one of the best dudes working in professional sports, and this December he will be honored by his peers for his years of hard work. The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame — an organization made up of members of almost every major American media company — will induct Sager to their ranks on Dec. 13.
While Sager is now known for his genial demeanor, wacky suits, and multiple unforunate bouts with cancer, he has been in the national public eye for more than two decades. From the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame:
Sager’s presence has become synonymous with big-time NBA basketball (not to mention with unique style). As a sideline reporter for the NBA on TNT for nearly two decades, he has earned the respect of players, coaches, and viewers. He previously hosted Atlanta Hawks telecasts for TBS Superstation and was a reporter on TNT’s NFL pregame, halftime, and postgame from 1990 to ’97.
This is an excellent thing to happen to a generally excellent human being.
Congratulations to Sager.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle reveals hilarious strategy for unlimited timeouts
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn’t afraid to speak his mind or put his intelligence on display. The 2011 NBA Champion recently made comments amid a losing season that the NBA is better than digging ditches, where most of us would have to agree.
He’s also not afraid to game the game a little bit.
Rick Carlisle keeps calling timeouts when he doesn't have any, knowing he'll get called for a tech. "You never really run out of timeouts."
There was a lot of preseason buzz about Wizards rookie Tomas Satoransky — he’s 6’7″, long, athletic, he’s got handles, and he made some impressive plays in preseason.
His regular season has been a disappointment. He’s playing more than 16 minutes a night, but is shooting just 40 percent from the field, is scoring 3.8 points with 2.4 assists per game, and he has a PER at 8 that suggests he could use some D-League run.
“I’m not playing as a point guard, I’m playing mainly as 2 or 3 and that’s difficult for me,” Satoransky said. ‘When you played your entire career as point guard, it’s difficult to adapt to a new role, especially because you have to play defense against bigger guys. I know I have to do better to play in these roles”
With John Wall and Trey Burke on the Wizards, there isn’t a lot of room for run at the point for Satoransky. He also is adjusting to the NBA game — a third of his possessions come as the pick-and-roll ball handler (a big role for an NBA point guard) and he is shooting 34.8 percent on those, although he is passing well out of those situations (with passes the Wizards average almost a point per possession when he comes off the pick, stats via Synergy Sports). Satoransky also is getting a fair amount of spot-up looks but is shooting 28.6 percent on those.
There are a lot of things going wrong with the Wizards’ bench units, Satoransky is part of that but at least he’s a guy the Wizards want to take their time and develop. Scott Brooks is still figuring out how to make all this work at the same time. Which means Satoransky may have a good NBA future ahead of him, but there is a lot of work to come first, and this rookie season is going to be rough.