LeBron, Wade say fatigue was a factor in Game 1 loss to Spurs

39 Comments

The Heat had to play seven hard-fought games against the Pacers to reach the championship round. The Spurs, meanwhile, had 10 days to rest after taking care of the Grizzlies in just four games in the Western Conference Finals.

After a rough fourth quarter for Miami led to San Antonio taking Game 1 on the Heat’s home floor, both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade said afterward that fatigue was a factor for their team down the stretch.

“The fourth quarter was the difference,” James said. “I can see it on a few of our guys’ faces. Felt a little fatigued, still a little banged up from that seven‑game series. They looked like they were rested in the fourth quarter. They took advantage of that.”

“Obviously I thought that we were a little fatigued, honestly, in the fourth quarter, looking around,” Wade said. “We looked like a team that came off a seven‑game series.”

James and Wade aren’t into making excuses after a loss; they were simply telling it as they saw it during the game’s final 12 minutes. And the numbers back up what they had to say.

Over the first three quarters of the game, Miami was shooting better than 48 percent from the field, and had committed a total of just four turnovers during that span. In the fourth quarter alone, the Heat shot just 27.8 percent (5-of-18) and turned it over five times.

In fact, James uncharacteristically asked for some rest to start the fourth, which had him and Wade sitting on the bench at the same time.

“I told him I needed one,” James said, when asked why head coach Erik Spoelstra chose to rest him to start the period. “At that point I had played the whole third. I had been accustomed to being able to start the fourth. But the third quarter was so — I was in the paint, defensive rebounding, I was closing out Kawhi Leonard on shooters. It took all in the tank from me in the third quarter. So I needed a little breather.”

The fatigue isn’t going to go away for the Heat in this series, and even though it wasn’t anywhere near the main reason they lost to a team far more rested, it was clearly a factor that showed some measurable results.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.

Take a look back at just how great Shaq was with the Lakers (VIDEO)

2 Comments

Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.

His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.

Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.