Heat 100 Knicks 67: Heat drown Knicks in their own tears

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That got ugly fast, and then Iman Shumpert went down. So it was essentially the worst day for the Knicks. It could have been worse, but it would have taken some dark magic.

The Heat destroyed the Knicks 100-67, outscoring them 57-29 in the second and third quarters. It was total annihilation. After Tyson Chandler gave LeBron James a hard foul on the back (and LeBron flopped like his life depended on it), James ripped off a 9-0 run to end the second quarter. He hit an and-one after being slammed into on the pump fake, then sliced between two defenders and finished after contact. It was that kind of game for James. He gave the best and worst he can give, flopping to make everyone who hates him full of hatred, and playing like the best player in basketball.

Little example. LeBron and Mike Miller were on the floor together for 16 minutes Saturday. In that time, they had an offensive efficiency of over 150, and held the Knicks to an efficiency of 37.6 101 is considered good in that context. I’ve seen building demolished with less carnage.

The Knicks, on the other hand, drowned in a bucket of defense from Miami. Carmelo Anthony had 11 points on 3-15 shooting. James did that, too. Tyson Chandler was limited by foul trouble but also had trouble dealing with the Heat’s ball movement. The Heat created open looks, everything the Knicks did was contested. Miami rotated on the string. It was total and complete domination. The Knicks shot 36 percent. Their starters had a 45 percent eFG% which is downright miserable. They had 27 turnovers leading to 38 points off turnovers. They turned the ball over 23 percent of the time. More than two out of ten possessions, the just gave the Heat the ball.

So, no, the game did not go well for the Knicks.

What to improve on? Everything.

Ball movement, execution, shooting, passing, defense, rebounding, help defense, composure, aggressiveness. They need to smell better. They should call their mothers more. Basically, if there’s anything they can control, they need to do it.

This series likely won’t be like this throughout its time. But it’s also going to take a major turnaround from the Knicks. They need everything to change, and quickly. Otherwise the Garden won’t just be cheering the Knicks on in an 0-2 deficit, but a series in which no hope appears evident.

And Shumpert was injured.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.

Report: Other small-market teams championing Pacers’ tampering allegation against Lakers

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The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.

Bob Kravitz of WTHR

In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”

Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.

The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.

I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.