Wade to play again Thursday, says he’s ahead of schedule

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Things seem to be going pretty well for Dwyane Wade this preseason.

He had to skip out on winning a gold medal in Beijing to get knee surgery he really needed earlier but played through last spring to get Miami a ring.

But he appears to be all the way back, although he just calls it “ahead of schedule.” He is scheduled to play in his third consecutive preseason game on Thursday. It was all sunshine and lollipops when Wade spoke to ESPN’s Heat Index.

“I feel ahead of schedule,” Wade said. “If I continue to keep progressing, I’m going to try to play as much as possible but try to be smart as well. I want to play Thursday, get back out there and continue to get my legs under me … so I can be ready for opening night.”

That opening day is less than two weeks away against Boston.

Miami is not rushing it because they have that sense that all championship teams have — it’s not the Oct. 30 game against the Celtics that matters, it is the likely games in late May when they will need a fully healthy Wade. No reason to do anything that makes this linger.

But just watching him play, Wade looks to be back. And a healthy Wade is just one of the reasons this year’s Miami Heat side will be even better than last year’s. Which should scare 29 other teams.

Dwyane Wade says Bulls’ showers had no hot water in Boston

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The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.

It didn’t get better afterward.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:

I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.

But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.

Robin Lopez pushes short floater over backboard (video)

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Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

This miss was all on him.

Dwyane Wade plays the laziest defense you’ll ever see (video)

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Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.

Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.

Video Breakdown: Clippers use JJ Redick in split cut to fool Jazz at 3-point line

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.

One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.

We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.

Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.

If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.

For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.