SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs and the Heat are tied 49-49 at halftime of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, and this game has been every bit as exciting as one played at the championship level between the league’s two best teams.
Each team led by as many as 10 points over the first 24 minutes, and the stars are out in a big way thus far.
LeBron James guaranteed he’d be better in Game 4, and while it took him a few minutes to get started, he’s certainly delivered on that promise. James had 11 first quarter points, and got there by being in complete attack mode, literally running up the floor with the ball and then forcing the action with strong drives to the basket. He has 15 points, four rebounds, and two assists at the break.
Dwyane Wade has been just as aggressive as LeBron, and nearly as productive. His drives to the basket and looks from midrange have him with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals — as active a performance as we’ve seen from Wade in some time.
The Spurs put together a fast start to the half, and concluded it with a strong finish.
San Antonio started the game on a 15-5 run, thanks to three-pointers from Danny Green and Gary Neal that went down as if this was simply a continuation of Game 3. To end the half, the Spurs put together an 11-2 run over the final 3:03 on the strength of some stellar play from Tony Parker, who finished the half with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting, to go along with six assists.
In a word, this game has been awesome. LeBron and Wade have delivered, and the Spurs, led by Parker, have made it clear they aren’t going anywhere. It’s anyone’s game as we head to the final 24 minutes.
Thunder center Enes Kanter – who had passport revoked by Turkey – lacked documentation to travel for a December game against the Nets in Mexico City and a March game against the Raptors in Toronto.
Apparently, that issue has been resolved.
Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman:
Kanter said on Sunday that the team has worked out an arrangement to allow him to travel to games in Toronto and Mexico City even without a passport.
It always seemed highly likely Kanter would get to Toronto and Mexico City. He’s a high-profile millionaire working for a billion-dollar company.
In July, Carmelo Anthony was reportedly confident he’d be traded to the Rockets.
That optimism always seemed misguided. A couple months later, with Anthony still on the Knicks, it looks downright foolish.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
Anthony’s camp is cautiously optimistic that a deal will be struck before Monday, and trying not to think about the potential media circus that will take place if Carmelo is still with the Knicks.
It’s more likely Anthony’s confidants are hopeful than optimistic. If they’re actually optimistic, they’re very likely to be disappointed.
If Anthony hasn’t been traded by now, what will change between now and Monday? Houston still must find a taker for Ryan Anderson, and that’s no easy task – not without relinquishing sweeteners more valuable than Anthony. I suppose Anthony could waive his no-trade clause for additional teams, but it’s late for a deal to come together.
Hopefully for Anthony, his advisors aren’t pinning everything on a longshot trade and are helping him craft answers to the numerous questions he’ll face at media day next week – likely in New York.
Once an advocate of increasing the age minimum and a willing accepter of one-and-done, NBA commissioner Adam Silver sounded more open about allowing high school players to declare for the NBA draft.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement left the issue open, but Louisville coach Rick Pitino predicts change is coming – relatively soon.
Pitino, via ESPN:
When I was at Kentucky, I had seven high school basketball players, told me they were coming, and instead, they went to the pros out of high school. And by the way, I think that rule is going to change back to that. I think high school players are going to be able to go pro again.
I think the commissioner is probably going to do it within two years.
Does Pitino know something? With decades of experience in the NBA and college, he could have many contacts with inside information. It’s certainly imperative for devising a recruiting strategy to know how this rule will change.
It’s also possible Pitino saw Silver’s comments, like any outsider could have, and is making a relatively blind guess.
But the possibility of inside information makes his comments more intriguing.
The Warriors are charging $60 million over three years for their jersey ads – about double what any other NBA team is getting.
Golden State chief marketing officer Chip Bowers, via Darren Rovell of ESPN:
“We actually had multiple finalists,” Warriors chief marketing officer Chip Bowers said. “This was not the biggest deal that we were offered.”
Bowers said the team felt it was important for the deal to be with a worldwide brand.
Light years ahead.