Joakim Noah does not like the Miami Heat. It shows in his play against them. In a sports world where these guys all know each other and are buddies off the court, it’s a throwback to have someone who just can’t stand the other jerseys.
Which means he didn’t really enjoy how the NBA Finals ended.
He admitted as much speaking with the USA Today’s blog For The Win.
“At first I said I didn’t care, but I was lying to myself,” Noah told For The Win at The Steve Nash Foundation Showdown in New York City Wednesday night. “I was driving in my car and I just didn’t feel good about it at all after they won.
“Well you know what? It’s going to be extra motivation to work extra hard in the offseason and I feel like we’ll be the team that beats them next year.”
I don’t know if the Chicago Bulls, with a healthy Derrick Rose (and healthy Noah, and healthy Luol Deng) can beat the Heat. But I’d like to finally see a fair fight, because the last two years it has not been.
“I think we’re pretty close,” (Noah) said. “We got a lot of work to do. We don’t like them, they don’t like us, but at the end of the day, you gotta give credit where credit is due. They’re a very good team, but we feel like if we’re healthy, we’ll have our shot.”
Hopefully we get to see that next year.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.