Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game One

NBA Playoffs: Heat win Game 1, but Bosh injured

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After the 1st half of Game 1 of the Pacers-Heat series, things did not look good for the defending conference champions. Miami couldn’t get anything going offensively, Roy Hibbert was beating them up inside, and Indiana was moving the ball crisply to get good looks. Miami was able to keep the game close thanks to Indiana’s foul problems, but the Heat were clearly getting outplayed.

To make matters even worse, Chris Bosh, who had the best 1st half of any of the big 3, was forced to leave the game after he strained his abdominal while dunking and getting fouled.

The only way for the Heat to turn things around in the second half was to have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh’s replacements step up, and that’s exactly what happened. James remembered that he’s a 3-time MVP in the second quarter, and started absolutely destroying the Pacers with tough drives to the hoop, pinpoint passes, some midrange jumpers, absolutely great work on the glass, and flat-out suffocating defense on Danny Granger, who finished the game with 7 points on 1-10 shooting from the field.

Wade was relentless as well — his shot wasn’t really falling for him on Sunday, and he didn’t grab a single rebound, but he went to the line seven times and made 13 of his 14 free throws, which helped the Heat get in the bonus while keeping the Pacers in foul trouble for the vast majority of the game.

What may have been even more important for the Heat was the play of Joel Anthony and Ronny Turiaf, who have both spent considerable portions of this season out of the rotation entirely. With Bosh injured and Udonis Haslem completely ineffective, Miami’s high-energy bigs stepped up and saved the game for Miami. Even though Indiana came into the game with a significant size advantage, Miami outscored the Pacers 52-40 in the painted area on Sunday, and somehow grabbed 15 offensive rebounds while Indiana managed to grab only 30 defensive boards. On top of that, Turiaf and Anthony actually managed to make an impact offensively, finding seams in the basket and catching and dunking when the opportunities were there.

This is going to be a tough one for Indiana to take — they led for much of the way, and had a tie game coming into the fourth quarter, but missed a rare opportunity to steal a game on the road from a team as good as the Heat.

On Miami’s side of things, they have to be hoping that Chris Bosh can get back to 100% as soon as possible. LeBron and Wade going into overdrive in the 2nd half and Turiaf and Anthony having great games saved the Heat in Game 1, but the Heat will need Bosh going forward, especially if their secondary perimeter players continue to do as badly as they did on Sunday. The Heat should be happy with this win, but they should also be very nervous about the health of the 3rd member of their all-important “big three.”

Philadelphia 76ers fans are celebrating wins by raising pet cats above their head

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Nothing is crazy in the world of sports, especially not traditions where you literally raise your pet cat above your head every time the Philadelphia 76ers win a basketball game. Nope. Not crazy. It’s simply part of #RaiseTheCat, a social media trend that has taken over Sixers Twitter.

Yup. Seriously.

It all started when 76ers rookie Ben Simmons shared pictures of his two Savannah cats on Instagram. They are gorgeous, expensive hybrid animals, and you know the Internet loves them a good ol’ cat.

🐯for those asking they are F2 Savannahs

A photo posted by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Philadelphia has gone 8-2 over their last 10 games, and one Sixers fan decided to start a social media wave of his own after each W way back near the start of the season.

With the Sixers winning more games, there’s been more photos of cats to go around.

The trend has finally caught on, with other Sixers fans using the hashtag to proclaim their jubilee after the team wins.

And of course, Simmons himself had to finally join in:

I love Basketball Twitter.

(h/t SB Nation)

LeBron James considering return to US Olympic team under Gregg Popovich

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  LeBron James #6 of the United States celebrates after the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the United States and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) LeBron James says Gregg Popovich taking over as coach of the U.S. Olympic team will be a factor in whether he plays in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

James has won two Olympic gold medals, but he skipped last summer’s Rio de Janeiro Games to get rest after leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA championship. On Saturday, James said Popovich “factors a lot” in his plans going forward with the U.S. team.

James was asked about Popovich, San Antonio’s longtime coach, before the Cavs hosted the Spurs.

James considers “Pop” the greatest coach in NBA history and called him a “great mastermind of the game of basketball.”

Popovich is replacing Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who led the U.S. team to three consecutive gold medals.

Stan Van Gundy to Reggie Jackson: “We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio”

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It was rumored this week that the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves were mulling a trade that would send Ricky Rubio to Michigan and Reggie Jackson to Minnesota. Now, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says that isn’t happening.

Nor was it a real offer that was even on the table.

In a video posted to the Detroit Free Press, Van Gundy went off on one of his classic fireside chats — the kind that involves profanity — on how he sees the NBA as it works.

Warning: NSFW language ahead.

While the whole thing is worth watching for the Van Gundyness of it all, here’s the meat you’re looking for:

All these rumors and stuff look I mean know it’s fun for everybody and you’ve got some source somewhere and it’s also all bullshit. Im not denying that discussion — they take place all the time – -that’s a lot different than considerations. Somebody says ‘Hey would you consider Ricky Rubio for Reggie Jackson that discussion might have taken pace. And clearly we didn’t make that move. We wanted to see if they’d go [Michael] Gbinije for LeBron.

Van Gundy said he didn’t know if the specific Jackson-for-Rubio discussion even happened, saying that Pistons president Jeff Bower only brings him trades they are actively considering.

Meanwhile, Van Gundy confirmed that he did text Jackson after his agent made contact with Bower.

“This is the crazy season. We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio,” said Van Gundy about his text to Jackson.

Report: After fining Wizards, league issues memo warning teams on bench etiquette

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 12:  Courtney Lee #5 of the New York Knicks takes a three point shot in the first quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on January 12, 2017 in New York City. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
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The NBA league office fined Washington Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe $5,000 — and the team an additional $15,000 — for his role in distracting a New York Knicks shooter during a game this last week.

Now, the league has issued a warning to teams: make sure you’re practicing good bench etiquette, or we’re coming for your wallets.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams on Saturday reminding them to remain on their own bench in accordance with league rules. Obviously that means no stepping onto active basketball courts:

So what are coaches needing to confine themselves to?

Official NBA rules state simply:

The coach’s position may be on or off the bench from the substitution box line (closest to the coach’s bench) to the baseline. A coach is not permitted to cross the midcourt line and violators will be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul immediately. All assistants and trainers must remain on the bench. Coaches and trainers are not permitted to go to the scorer’s table, for any reason, except during a dead ball.

Like we see with preseason points of emphasis, it’s possible we see additional fines in the weeks to come. Several coaches enjoy toeing the line (literally) to see what they can get away with and how far out on the court they can stand. Tom Thibodeau immediately springs to mind.

Or, it could go the other direction. Perhaps we see more coaches sitting back, respecting their distance?

Hopefully we just don’t see any more of them trying to close out on opposing shooters.