Miami has gone very small against the Spurs — and it worked at first, the Heat won a game and forced the Spurs to adjust to them.
However a consequence of that has been Chris Andersen has slid out of the rotation. The Birdman’s size was key against the large Pacers front line last series, but in a game of small ball he just has a good courtside seat.
Except it’s been pretty obvious the Heat need some of what he brings. Udonis Haslem is giving the Heat little and Miami certainly could have used Andersen’s rim protection as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have gotten in the lane.
Expect him to get some run in Game 6. Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel pointed it out with statements he got from players at shootaround Tuesday.
“It’s cliché to say `stay ready,’ but I think Bird will have an impact tonight,” forward Shane Battier said.
Erik Spoelstra danced around any lineup questions at shootaround (he says anything is possible), but in a game when the Heat need a bolt of energy, particularly on the defensive end, the Birdman could swoop in with some key minutes. I don’t know that Andersen will start, but he should see time in the rotation again.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.