Miami players had to have eyes as big as saucers. They would get the ball looking to drive the lane in Game 1 of the NBA Final — and there was no 7’2” wall of Roy Hibbert there to greet them like last round. It had to feel like an empty expressway to the rim.
So attack the Heat did, getting into the lane far more than they did last series against the Pacers.
But they didn’t finish. They left a lot of points on the rim that they could have used in a four-point loss.
On the night, the Heat were 15-of-26 in the restricted area, or 57.7 percent shooting. On the season, the Heat shot a league-best 67.2 percent in the restricted area.
Within five feet of the rim, the Heat were 16-of-30 (53.3 percent, 14 percentage points off their season average).
It wasn’t LeBron James, he was 5-of-5 in the restricted area and 6-of-8 inside 5 feet. But that means the rest of the Heat players were below .500 shooting in the restricted area. (For the record, LeBron was 1-of-8 outside five feet, his jumper did not show up for Game 1.)
All of this is something the Heat can fix, but they need to focus on it. The Spurs are too good for the Heat to leave points on the table and expect to win.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.