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.
Ty Lawson is headed to the Kings, as first reported on Monday. The team made the move official on Wednesday with a press release, and USA Today‘s Sam Amick offers up another important piece of information: Lawson’s deal is not guaranteed, making it essentially a make-good camp invite.
It’s staggering how Lawson went from a borderline All-Star level point guard in 2012-13 to signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal with a lottery team three years later. His off-the-court issues have contributed to that, and he didn’t produce last season in Houston and Indiana. Still, he should have a pretty good chance of making the Kings’ roster, with Seth Curry and Rajon Rondo gone and Darren Collison their only proven point guard. They need depth there.
When Ben Simmons declared for the NBA draft this spring, he signed with LeBron James‘ Klutch Sports group for representation. That association would appear to have its advantages for the No. 1 overall pick, including the opportunity to work out with James and Dwyane Wade during the offseason. Wade posted a group photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon:
Also, it’s pretty staggering to see Simmons standing next to James and realizing that he’s bigger and taller.
Thanks to a match from an anonymous donor, beloved TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager was able to receive his third bone-marrow transplant since 2014 in an extended battle with leukemia. Sager’s son, Craig Sager II, shared a photo on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon of his father undergoing the transplant, appearing to be in good spirits as usual.
Our continued well wishes go out to Sager and his family in his recovery, and we hope to see him back on the sidelines this season.
Last season, the Sacramento Kings signed Seth Curry, brother of Stephen Curry. He left this summer for Dallas, and now the Kings are working out the brother of the other Splash Brother — Klay Thompson‘s brother Mychel — according to international basketball reporter David Pick.
Mychel Thompson’s only NBA experience is five games with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011-12. He spent some time in the D-League after that, and played in Italy during the 2015-16 season.