MIAMI — It was the defining moment of Game 2, even though by this point the game was pretty well in hand for the Heat. LeBron James went up and shut down Tiago Splitter at the rim, a lot of the players were buzzing about it after the game.
LeBron James: “Just wanted to, I guess, make an impact some way. Offensively it was a struggle for me; couldn’t make a shot, missed lay ups. Some things I’m accustomed to making. So I just wanted to make some plays and try to help our team. And I was able to protect the rim on that one.
“Basically I told myself, you’ll end up on Sports Center where you’re going to get dunked on or you’re going to get a block. Luckily I was on the good side of the Top Ten and the Not So Top Ten.”
Mario Chalmers: “He blocked it. I mean, we seen that coming. I know I kind of figured he was going to block that one, just the angle he had. That’s why he’s First Team All Defense. It was a great defensive play.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: “What you like from a competitive standpoint is a lot of players wouldn’t go for that. The risk/reward, and they weigh that right away and the possibility of getting dunked on and being on a highlight film. He’s been on that highlight film both ways. It takes great courage to go up and make one of those plays.
“Obviously you have to have that ability. He and Dwyane always make those plays, knowing there’s a big chance they’ll get dunked on. “
Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’
That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.
There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.
Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.
That place turned out to be the Pacers.
Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.
That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.
Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)