Before LeBron James moved more of his game to the post last year — before he became the most dangerous four in the league — he spent time in Houston with Hakeem Olajuwon. Working on his post moves.
Olajuwon was impressed. Impressed with LeBron’s physical skills, impressed with his mentality. And speaking with the Sun-Sentinel, Olajuwon didn’t shy away with a bold prediction for what the Heat can do next (hat tip SLAM).
“I think it will be much easier for him,” Olajuwon says. “All the pressure of, ‘OK, can he do it?’ That’s gone now.”…
“The goal is different,” Olajuwon says. “It’s not to prove a point to people. Now it’s just to take advantage of the opportunity: ‘Can we really achieve something great in the real sense? Can we get three out of five [championships]?’…
“That is a very realistic goal,” he says. “In fact, it’s scary.”
It is not 7, but it is realistic. Although far from easy. This season Miami should be the class of the East, which would send them to their third straight NBA finals. The road is not going to be smoother — there are teams lurking in the East if the Heat stumble, teams like the Celtics and Pacers are not far behind (with good teams like the Bulls still out there once Derrick Rose gets fully healthy). If you get past them the Thunder or Lakers will be waiting in the finals, both with plenty of talent.
But the Heat are more dangerous now because they figured out who they are as a team, they have embraced small ball.
Hassan Whiteside defends himself when questions about his maturity early in his career with the Kings arise:
“That was a long time ago,” Whiteside said. “If they want to think about things that happened four, five years ago, that’s up to them.
“I don’t think it’s something that should follow me, but I really don’t know right now. That was years ago. Things didn’t work out in Sacramento. I worked my way to get back here. I could’ve easily gave up and went back home and just chilled. But I put in the work, and I feel like I’m a hard worker or I wouldn’t be here.”
But then he does something like this.
Rodney Hood got the Jazz to overtime.
Gordon Hayward took it from there.
This extends Utah’s win streak to eight games and snaps a 10-game losing streak in Dallas. The last time the Jazz won in Dallas? Mavericks guard Deron Williams started – for Utah.*
*Those Jazz brought Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews off the bench. Dang
Up three points and the final seconds winding down, the Mavericks had a great chance to intentionally foul Trey Lyles (a 62% free-throw shooter) with his back to the basket.
Instead, they allowed Rodney Hood to hit this shot and get the Jazz to overtime.
The Bucks led the Celtics led the Bucks by 19 in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.
But Boston completed its comeback when Jerryd Bayless committed a boneheaded foul on Kelly Olynyk with a second left, shoving Olynyk in the back on the inbound. Olynyk sunk both free throws to tie the game.
Then, Khris Middleton got Bayless off the hook.
Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley, who was trying to contest the game-winning shot. The Milwaukee wing made one free throw then intentionally the second, and Jae Crowder couldn’t replicate this.