Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Three

Dwyane Wade says knee “not even close” to full strength


Dwyane Wade didn’t look right during Miami’s 104-91 Game 3 win over the Bucks Thursday.

He was grimacing in pain. He shot 1-for-12 and had six turnovers (although he did have 11 assists and nine rebounds). He was not the same guy on the defensive end.

And it comes back to that knee he was resting at the end of the regular season — it’s still not right.

Wade talked about it to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

“I’m not where I want to be. I’m not even close,” Wade said, words that, in the big picture, meant far more than Thursday’s result. “I’m still able to push through certain things…

“I shot the ball terrible,” he said. “But we played a good game. I wasn’t feeling great tonight. I’m not worried about it. I’m not going to cry. I’ve got two days off. So, hopefully, it’ll be better for Game 4.”

If time off is what Wade needs he and the Heat can get a nice stretch of it — win Game 4 on Sunday and Miami could be off a week or more waiting for the winner of the Brooklyn/Chicago series that looks like it could go seven games (Chicago leads 2-1).

In the first round, going 1-of-12 for a night is not going to slow the Heat against the Bucks. Frankly the Heat should have enough to survive that in the second round against either opponent as well.

But by the conference finals — likely facing the Knicks or Pacers — and the NBA finals this kind of game from Wade could do in the Heat for a game. Fortunately for the Heat, with the way the playoffs stretch out, Wade will have some time to get right.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell
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After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.