LeBron James: “I’m still getting better”

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LeBron James was making his first tour of the Philippines recently, a Nike sponsored tour to boost his brand in on of the world’s real basketball hotbeds.

The tour was filled with the usual appearances and a few games. And he didn’t really say anything you wouldn’t expect, but one thing he said could be scary for the rest of the NBA.

“I’m still getting better,” LeBron said. “I don’t want to be the same player I was this past season, I want to come into this season a new, improved, better LeBron James. We’ll see what happens, man. But I will come back a better player.”

LeBron does work on his game in the offseason — he didn’t used to be able to hit threes, now he does at a 40.6 percent clip last season. He developed a post game. And there are always things that can be added to the mix.

Frankly, he is going to have to be a little better next season for Miami to complete a three-peat — the Pacers will be better with experience and depth (and Danny Granger), the Bulls get Derrick Rose back, the Nets added talent for a one or two year run, and the Knicks defense could be better as well. Miami needs a healthier Dwyane Wade, more out of Chris Bosh, more out of the role players and mostly more out of LeBron James to overcome that.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)