With under two minutes remaining in overtime of Miami’s game against the Magic on Monday, the Heat were trailing, and wanted to preserve every precious second on the clock to ensure enough possessions were available for the team to come back and get this victory.
They got it down the stretch, but time ended up not being a factor. That didn’t stop LeBron James from “walking the dog” perhaps earlier than necessary, a move which prevents the clock from starting while the ball rolls up the floor before a player decides to touch it.
Chris Paul is the most famous for this tactic, though now it’s done by players all over the league. But it seemed unnecessary at this point, especially in the cavalier nature (no pun intended) that James chose to use to execute it.
As the ball rolls slowly into the front court, James is not huddled closely beside it in a protective stance, nor does he seem concerned that anyone from the other team would dare try to take it. He walks calmly upright, before picking it up just as the timeline is crossed.
Josh McRoberts briefly pretends as though he is going to contest, but even that minimal effort from the opponent doesn’t phase James in the lightest.
There seems to be value in this tactic when saving time is a necessity, though it doesn’t appear that was the case in this situation. Either way, and as if the opposing team wasn’t fully aware, James made a statement with this play.
He reaffirmed to the Magic that he is the best player in the game today, and that there’s no one on that roster who would dare challenge his abilities — even as he taunts them with such a brash display of being loose with the basketball.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Steven Adams reflecting on Kevin Garnett's retirement. Said he pulled the "no English" card when KG tried to talk to him: pic.twitter.com/uUVgisG4vb
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.