It’s not the Pacers. It’s not the Bulls. It’s not the Bucks.
At this point, it’s Dwyane Wade.
Wade is struggling to score in these playoffs, and his knee seems like a logical explanation. He’s not moving particularly well, and that hasn’t changed regardless of opponent.
Three of Wade’s four lowest-scoring playoff series have occurred in 2013.
Wade is scoring fewer points per game and per minute and attempting fewer free throws per game and per minute than any other postseason in his career. He’s struggling to create for himself, though LeBron James is keeping the Heat afloat.
LeBron has become an absolute offensive terror inside. He’s shooting 69-for-
Part of the reason LeBron has been so successful near the rim is Miami’s outside shooting spaces the floor for him. The Heat have attempted 3-pointers on a higher percentage of their playoff shots than any other conference finalist.
But Wade doesn’t help there. He’s taken only one 3-pointer in the entire post season.
That partially explains why the Heat have a better offensive rating when LeBron plays with Shane Battier (111.3), Mario Chalmers (111.3) or Ray Allen (115.9) than with Wade (110.0).
There’s no doubt Wade is more talented than Battier, Chalmers and Allen, but if Wade can’t show it, he’s not the best fit with LeBron.
This puts even more pressure on Chris Bosh. When Wade shoots 5-for-15 in Game 4, Bosh scoring a playoff-low seven points on 1-of-6 shooting won’t cut it.
Bosh and LeBron are good enough to carry an ailing Wade into the NBA Finals if they’re firing on all cylinders, and that might be what they need to do.
Why do NBA players flop on defense? Because it works.
While there is less of it than there was a couple of years back — when the NBA made a big show about calling more flops and warning (then eventually fining players a pittance) for the move — it still exists. Case in point, this impressive one from Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers on Tyler Johnson of the Heat Friday night (hat tip AminElHassavag at NBA Reddit).
Was there a little contact, sure, but Thomas fell back like he was shot by the second gunman on the grassy knoll. He exaggerated the contact, which is the definition of flopping. Thing is, he got the call (the ref who made the call, from his position, might only have seen the contact and not necessarily the extent of exaggeration, but that’s where the other officials need to step in).
Not that everything went Thomas’ way Friday night.
There should have been suspensions involved for the cheap shots leveled on Ricky Rubio by the pair during Thursday night’s blowout Jazz win. Instead, the pair were fined $25,000 a piece by the league Saturday for this incident.
Rubio has a knee contusion from the incident Jazz coach Quin Snyder confirmed, however, Rubio is available to play Saturday vs. the Kings.
Dudley was given a flagrant 2 and ejected at the time, Chriss was handed just a flagrant 1 for his escalation. I don’t completely buy Dudley’s explanation here either — I think they were pissed Rubio stepped over a down Chriss to inbound the ball and made him pay for it — but he did own up to it being excessive.
So to be clear, if you throw a haymaker and miss — as Aaron Afflalo did recently — that’s a two-game suspension. But if you throw or body check a player to the ground, that’s just 25 large, no time missed. Players wanting retaliation will take note of that.
Roulette tables are less random than the NBA’s enforcement policies.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Five starts, five wins for Corey Brewer with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The recent addition scored 22 points and matched a career high with six steals to help the Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 121-113 on Friday night.
The 32-year-old Brewer was bought out by the Los Angeles Lakers late last month, allowing Oklahoma City to pick him up as a free agent. As a starter with the Thunder, he is averaging 14.8 points in the shooting guard spot vacated when Andre Roberson ruptured his left patellar tendon and had season-ending surgery.
Brewer said it has been easy to fit in because he played college ball for Thunder coach Billy Donovan at the University of Florida.
“I won’t say it’s surprising,” Brewer said. “It’s a comfort level. I keep telling everybody, coach Donovan makes me feel really comfortable. I won two national championships with the guy. It’s just his demeanor and the faith he has in me that makes the game easier.”
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his 22th triple-double of the season and the 101st of his career. Brewer said playing Westbrook’s up-tempo style has been fun.
“Yeah, I love to run,” Brewer said. “That’s my game. I can run all day, so having Russell Westbrook pushing on the break just running to get a layup – it’s easy.”
Oklahoma City, one of several teams in the race for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, won its fifth straight and clinched a winning season. It was the start of a difficult closing stretch against mostly teams in playoff contention.
Adams created problems for the Clippers all night.
“He’s a good basketball player,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I almost think that’s a slap just to call him and energy player because he is a skilled basketball player with high IQ and is just extremely physical. It seems like every time we got a big stop, he got it back for them, so you just have to give him credit.”
“They are fifth in the league for fast breaks,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You don’t turn the ball over. You turn the ball over that many times, you’re going to lose the game.”
Brewer and Adams carried the load in the first half, scoring 14 points each to help the Thunder take a 63-56 lead.
Terrance Ferguson got a 3-pointer to rattle in early in the fourth quarter to give the Thunder a 94-87 lead. He later caught a pass in midair around his waist, and then kicked his legs out and hesitated before making a reverse layup to bump the lead to 96-88.
Westbrook clinched the triple-double on a rebound in the fourth quarter. His mid-range jumper gave the Thunder a 116-107 lead and forced a Clippers timeout, and Oklahoma City maintained control from there.