Can Chris Bosh and the end of the Heat bench beat the Charlotte Bobcats?
Tune in Friday and find out, because the Heat are going to face the Bobcats without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers, coach Erik Spoelstra said on Thursday. As part of the NBA world after David Stern fined the Spurs, the Heat are announcing this in advance and listing injuries for all those players. But make no mistake, this is rest.
Which is what the Heat should be doing — they have locked up home court for the East and home court in the finals, with it’s 2-3-2 format, is less important. What matters is they are physically healthy and even mentally ready and not tired from the grind. Because the playoffs are really their own grind, so like a marathon runner tapers off training the week before a race the top NBA teams rest their stars before the second season.
While most teams at the bottom of the standings have apparently given up — Cleveland has lost 10 in a row, the Magic have won once in their last 10 — the Bobcats are 4-6 in their last 10 games. They still have the worst record in the NBA and are dealing with injuries of their own keeping Ramon Sessions, Byron Mullens and others.
During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”
Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.
The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.
Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:
“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.
That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.
There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.
Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.
That place turned out to be the Pacers.
Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.
That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.
Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.
Pacers fans delivered.
They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.
Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.
The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.
“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”
Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.