LeBron doesn’t want Tuesday’s Heat/Bucks match called playoff preview

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It’s a fact that goes against your first instinct but nonetheless has proven true over the years — regular season NBA games are not good predictors of postseason series. Every year a team that dominates a team during the regular season gets whitewashed in the playoffs. The intensity level is different, games are slower paced, there are no back-to-backs and guys will play through injuries. It’s just different.

So anyone looking to read much of anything the Heat game against the Bucks on Tuesday is making a mistake (the Heat will be without Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, for one).

Don’t just take my word for it, here is what LeBron said when asked about the matchup aspect of the game, as reported by the Journal Sentinel.

“I really hate that question, personally,” James said of how the Bucks match up against the Heat. “I hate it when people say people match up well with us. We don’t really care about it too much. We want to go out and take away from what they do best.

“They’re very good with dribble drive, dribble penetration. They share the ball and play at a high level.”

Brandon Jennings said a couple weeks ago that he thought the Bucks matched up pretty well with the Heat. He’s wrong. The Bucks might win a game in that series on a night he and Monta Ellis get hot from three. But the pressure the Heat apply defensively when focused will overwhelm the Bucks (their offense just isn’t that good). Plus, the Bucks like to play fast and that will give the Heat easy buckets in transition.

But that is for the playoffs. We’ll see how much of any of it applies to Tuesday night.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.