Miami Heat v Washington Wizards

LeBron, did Miami learn lesson from loss to Wizards? No.


It’s still a little stunning to see the score: Washington Wizards 105, Miami Heat 101.

Sure, it’s an early season NBA game, which gives it about as much weight at Kate Moss, but still this is the kind of win the Heat should get easily. They didn’t. And you totally get why Wizards coach Randy Wittman was telling his guys it was a statement game — he wants them to believe. He wants to build on this into their season sucking less.

Was there a lesson in this for the Heat? Not if you ask LeBron James, as did.

“This isn’t a lesson for us; it’s just a loss. That’s all it is. We’ve seen and been through everything, so we don’t need a loss to teach us a lesson to do better.”

Maybe the lesson, LeBron, is not to go out clubbing late night before a game.

If not a lesson — implying you don’t know what to do — then how about a reminder, suggesting you should do what you know how to do?

Miami won a title last year because of their defense, which gave up 100.2 points per 100 possessions and was fourth best in the NBA. This season they are giving up 107, 22nd in the Association.

Miami plays an aggressive, gambling style of defense designed to use their superior athleticism to challenge your passes, your drives — they attack you before you can attack them. But this year the Heat are playing at three-quarter speed and reacting rather than forcing other teams to react. Do that with their style of defense and NBA players are going to put up points — and yes, the Wizards still have NBA players on their roster.

So call it whatever you want LeBron, there is something to be taken from this game for the Heat. This loss doesn’t matter, but the consistent lack of effort, the lack of building good habits through the season that will be tested in the playoffs, does.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
Leave a comment

DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.