It was just one of those plays — LeBron James was going up for the alley-oop and the Knicks J.R. Smith was playing free safety, watching the ball and going up to swat the play away. They collided and LeBron came down awkwardly on his left leg.
He instantly started to grab for his knee. Thought better of it, stayed down for a second and them walked it off. Actually, more than walked it off he dropped 11 in the fourth quarter to help the Heat beat the Knicks.
“I was concerned,” James told the Miami Herald. “I’m still concerned a little bit….
“I was able to finish the game strong but things are always a little worse the next day,” James said. “We’ve got to fly to Minnesota, but I believe I’ll be in the lineup [Monday], though.”
LeBron may play Monday but whether he wants it or not look for coach Erik Spoelstra to get him some nights off the last couple months of the season. Some physical and more important mental rest before the playoffs. The Heat have a comfortable 6.5 game lead in the Eastern Conference now, the question is how hard will they push to catch the banged-up Spurs for the best overall record (Miami is currently two games back). Health and rest matter more — Oklahoma had home court in the finals last year, it didn’t matter.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.