It’s one of the best parts of these NBA finals — Kevin Durant and LeBron James are going to be matched up on each other. The two best players in the game today going head-to-head.
It’s not going to happen all the time (expect cross matching, the Heat will want LeBron on Durant at key moments, but the Thunder will hide Durant more on defense).
But having it happen at all is good for Miami because it will fire up LeBron, at least that’s what Dwyane Wade thinks will happen. Via Ethan Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post.
“I’m glad he has that challenge because it’s going to make him focus more,” Wade said. “It’s going to make him play a little different. I’d rather for him to be guarding Kevin Durant than to have to guard DeShawn Stevenson like last year, where he wasn’t as involved. And also Shawn Marion, he wasn’t as involved. Kevin Durant, you’ve got have your antennas up at all times. I think it’s going to bring out the best in both of them.”
Good theory, but bringing out the best of LeBron has not really been the Heat’s problem this playoff. Bringing out the best of Wade in the first half has been an issue. Bringing out the best of Mike Miller/Udonis Haslem/Shane Battier at any points has been the problem.
They can’t all cover Durant, can they?
When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).
This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.
During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.
But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.
NBC Sports Washington:
I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.
The double technical foul called seems about fair.
The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.
That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.
The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.
Trey Lyles made a nice play in the Nuggets’ loss to the Celtics last night, driving by Jayson Tatum then dunking on him.
On the other hand, that swirl around Tatum’s head was not very nice at all.