Enjoy that dunk for its power. The dunk is full of so many of LeBron James’ gifts — handles, speed, strength that all come together in an almost unfair package. It is one of the big highlights from the Heat’s opening night win over Boston.
First Chris Bosh blocks Jeff Green (after a fantastic preseason Green went back to looking like Green) and the ball gets to LeBron who starts pushing up the court. Now notice Allen, who is ahead of the pack and starts running to the corner — where he is deadly, as Boston knows from first hand experience, and where he has already drained a three in the game. Watch Celtics defenders Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett get caught hesitating on getting to Allen or stopping LeBron.
“He was in front of KG and Paul (Pierce),” James said. “And I just kind of gave it a little hesitation because I knew for the most part, they were going to run right to him.”
Allen knew what to do. As soon as James slowed his dribble, Allen darted toward the corner.
“You make a hard sharp cut,” Allen said. “It’s the same stuff I did in Boston, but when you’ve got a guy like LeBron barreling down the lane like that … I always ask myself, which direction are they going to go in? Are they going to go to me? Or are they going to go to him?”
They really did neither, they hesitated and got confused and in that instant LeBron turned on the jets and when he has a head of steam coming down the lane it’s only a question of how much pain he is going to inflict on the rim. The play is over. And it was. And Garnett was frustrated afterwards.
But that’s one of the things Ray Allen can do for you. And will do for the Heat all season.
Spurs demolish Thunder to take Game 1 of second-round series
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
Hawks get another playoff shot at King James and Cavaliers
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
ESPN sources say the Warriors, meanwhile, plan to go outside the organization at season's end for a replacement to add to the current staff.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
Luke Walton's contract to coach the Lakers will be for five years and about $25 million.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.