“OH, LEBRON PASSED! HE SHRINKS FROM THE MOMENT!”
“WADE COULDN’T HIT THE BIGGEST SHOT WHEN HE NEEDED TO!”
OK, moving back to the real world, where fairytales aren’t spun on the dreams of angels and people are taking it one game at a time giving 110 percent, there’s something that’s going to be lost in the incessant nonsense you will be hearing all day tomorrow.
Boston won that game. Miami didn’t lose it. Boston won it. It was Boston that came out and smacked the Heat in the mouth out of the gate, taking the life out of them in the first half, and pounding the shovel on their head. It was the Celtics who responded to a second-half collapse and rallied to force overtime, then made the plays to win.
And most importantly? It was Boston who triple-teamed the best player on the planet and made him pass, and the Celtics who got a hand up in Dwyane Wade’s face to keep him out of the lane . Boston committed three defenders to James and attacked his angles. James had Pietrus going to his left. But the Celtics have always played James so well to that side of the floor, he opted to go middle. And that’s when two more defenders jumped him. The result was a bad pass to Udonis Haslem and a contested fadeaway from UD resulting in overtime.
There, the Celtics ran the right coverage at Wade. Wade was going to shoot. That was always clear. But instead of allowing him inside, where he’s a dangerous scorer, they did enough to work him into a 3-pointer. Wade is 2-of-7 from three in this series, and 28.7 percent from three in the playoffs. That’s defense. Forcing your opponent to take an uncomfortable shot from a place they can’t hit.
Rajon Rondo attacked. The officials were involved. Kevin Garnett was big. But the reason Boston is headed back to Miami with a whole new series and all the momentum?
Boston’s defense stepped up. It wasn’t the Heat failing. It was Boston playing better. Miami wasn’t worse.
Boston was better.
Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.
He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:
In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”
“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.
The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.
Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.
Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.
General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.
McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.