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There is a great line at the end of the classic movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor “Tora Tora Tora” where the after the bombing Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto says, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” (Yes, I know that is not a historically accurate quote, but you’re on a basketball blog so let’s have some latitude here.)
It felt like Russell Westbrook did that to the Heat.
LeBron James was on a breakaway and Westbrook ran him down and went for the foul. The problem is James is so strong he draws the and-1 unless you foul hard — Westbrook fouled LeBron hard but while he was in the air, leading to an awkward landing by LeBron. He walked away from it, but it could have been ugly and Westbrook got a flagrant 1 foul (that would have been a flagrant 2 if James got injured, and we can debate another day whether the luck of the landing should play a part in the severity of the call).
After that, the Heat were even more fired up and went on to win. James and Dwyane Wade talk about the foul and the impact after the game.
The Heat may be one of those rare teams that play better angry. You can bet the Heat remember this if these teams meet again in the finals.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.
Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.
Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.
Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.
The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.
BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.
The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.
In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.
Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.
New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.
That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.
First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.
The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.
Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.
That seemed odd.
In fact, it’s unprecedented.
That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron James‘ cachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.
Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.