Miami Heat v Phoenix Suns

Heat likely without Shane Battier for “a few” after knee sprain

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It was an awkward play Saturday night — Cleveland’s Alonzo Gee was driving the lane and Miami’s Udonis Haslem stepped in to take the charge. Haslem was knocked backwards and fell into Shane Battier’s right knee, and Battier went to the ground grabbing it.

Battier left the game and did not return. He tweeted out the result and a vague reference to when he will be back.

 

Not sure if Battier means a few games or a few days. Or both.

Battier has started all 13 Heat games this season, playing really as a stretch-four (he defends the opposing four most of the time) allowing LeBron James to head to the post in the Heat’s position-less offense. Most of what Battier does is move the ball and stretch the floor on offense by shooting the corner three — 4.5 of his 5.2 shot attempts per games are threes, and he is shooting 45.8 percent from deep.

Miami will miss that because Battier is smart about it and does it well. The most logical option is to go with Rashard Lewis as the stretch four, but he has fallen out of favor in Miami and is not currently part of the rotation. However, if I were a betting man I’d think Haslem will move into the starting spot, even though he doesn’t space the floor the same way.

Tom Haberstroh at ESPN’s Heat Index put out an interesting idea — move Joel Anthony back into the starting five, sliding Chris Bosh to the four and Lebron to the three. Anthony brings great defense and no offense, and coach Erik Spoelstra moved away from that trade off in the playoffs. But in the short term here this would be an interesting call.

Lou Williams hits halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Yeah, the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 134-95, Wednesday. But consider how lopsided that margin would’ve been without Lou Williams‘ halfcourt buzzer-beater.

And if this headline looks familiar, it is.

LeBron James, Cavaliers do water-bottle challenge on bench during blowout win over Knicks (video)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson entertain themselves by flipping a water bottle trying to get it to land on it's flat bottom during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 126-94, and most starters left the game for the bench at the end of the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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LeBron James did his part – scoring 25 points (on just 10 shots!), dishing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds – to give the Cavaliers an insurmountable lead over the Knicks through three quarters. So, he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

As Cleveland put the finishing touches on its 126-94 win, boredom set it. LeBron and a few of his teammates tried to flip a water bottle and have it land upright on the floor. LeBron even dove onto the court to pull the bottle back in after an errant flip!

No, Phil Jackson should not have used the word “posse” to describe LeBron’s business associates and friends. But this is the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen – and I love it.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.