Miami's LeBron James complains to an official against the Pacers during an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis.

LeBron, Wade unfazed by Heat’s latest loss to Pacers

18 Comments

After the Heat lost to the Pacers in Indiana on Friday for the second time this season, there was no worry, panic, or even concern form Miami’s two biggest stars.

LeBron James didn’t seem all that interested in the fact that his team has struggled against the top teams in the East this season, and wasn’t down about the way the Pacers used a physical defense and a size advantage to pund the Heat into submission, while shooting a season-high 55.7 percent from the field in the process.

“We don’t put too much into losing a game or winning a game,” James said afterward. “We don’t need victories versus top-four teams to prove what we’re capable of doing. We don’t need ’em. We’d love to have ’em — but we don’t need ’em.”

Dwyane Wade was equally dismissive of the loss.

“I’m glad we could bring the best out of ’em,” Wade said with a chuckle, following a chippy contest where Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, and Erik Spoelstra all picked up technical fouls at various points throughout, in a game that the Pacers led at one stage by as many as 19 points.

Miami has been challenged by teams like the Bulls, Knicks, and Pacers this season, who all have size and the ability to execute flawlessly at times offensively. The Heat continue to be outrebounded on a nightly basis, including by nine in this one, and remain just .500 away from home with a 12-12 road record to this point in the season.

It’s probably difficult for Spoelstra to instill any type of worry into his team before the All-Star break, considering the fact that despite the team’s flaws, which are real, the Heat are at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Miami is playing like a team that won the championship the season before; the Heat coast at times, and do just enough to win against the teams that aren’t in the league’s upper echelon. At some point the lack of defensive intensity will come back to haunt them, and the team will realize that flipping that switch, especially against opponents who have gained confidence through lopsided regular season wins, isn’t as easy as it seems.

That time isn’t now, however, as evidenced by the reactions of Wade and James after this one.

James Harden presents fan with game ball on her 100th birthday (video)

Leave a comment

HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.

Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.

Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.

The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.

Paul George dunks on DeMarcus Cousins while getting whacked in the face (video)

1 Comment

Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.

But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.

Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

2 Comments

Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.