Heat plan to get Chris Bosh some touches on the block

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MIAMI — It is one of the key images out of Game 1 of the NBA Finals — the Heat are down four late, LeBron James drives into the paint and rather than shoot over the help defender he dishes back to a wide open Chris Bosh at the three point line. The Spurs don’t close at all, basically giving him the shot. And he clanked it. Bosh was 1-of-5 shooting in the fourth quarter.

In Game 1, Chris Bosh was 1-of-4 in the paint and 0-of-3 from three. He was 5-of-8 from the midrange and particularly hot from the right elbow area.

The Heat are going to need more from Bosh if they are going to come back from down 0-1 to beat a balanced Spurs team. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday his goal is to get Bosh going.

“But he’s been our most important player,” Spoelstra said. “We still run much of our offense through him. We need to get him in areas he can be aggressive and get paint catches. That will be one of the bigger areas of focus I’ll have in the next two days.”

Bosh, for his part, plans to take what the defense gives him.

“Well, I mean, they can give it to me, I’ll take it,” Bosh said. “I’ll take any open shot. I just missed a couple I think one was a bad shot. I probably could have had a better option. If they want to leave me open, then that’s cool with me.”

Getting Bosh a couple touches in the post is not a bad call, but both Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter are good post defenders. What worked last game was Bosh in the midrange — get him shots at the right elbow area. A couple baseline jumpers. Let him slash to the basket off the ball from there and catch rolling to the rim. That will start to boost his confidence.

And when he is knocking down shots, the Heat become exponentially harder to beat.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.