LeBron James is in the rare situation of being widely recognized as the game’s best player, and few would argue his position in those rankings. But what makes the Miami Heat a championship level team is the star talent surrounding James, and that starts with a healthy Dwyane Wade.
Wade is still able to impact the game in his 11th NBA season, and when feeling right can flat out take things over. That’s what he did in this one, and his effort early in the fourth quarter helped his team pull away for the 102-97 victory over a Clippers team many expect to contend in the West.
This game was tightly-contested throughout, but with James and Chris Paul on the bench early in the fourth, Wade was dominant enough to stretch Miami’s lead to the point where L.A. was unable to claw its way back. Wade scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in 10 fourth quarter minutes, and looked good doing it with a dunk in the half court set to go along with a long baseline jumper that was well-defended.
LeBron was decent all around as usual, but was largely passive in this one, finishing with 18 points, five rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes of action. Ray Allen was important for the Heat off the bench, not so much in terms of numbers but more in the way that he was able to get to the basket. Allen was deadly off the dribble, which made the Clippers’ defense pay for trying to overplay him without worrying about having the proper rotations in place.
The Clippers are only going to go as far as Chris Paul takes them this season, and in the games where he’s been aggressive and dominant offensively, they’ve cruised to easy victories. The Heat may have given other teams around the league a blueprint for slowing L.A. with the way they shut down Paul, focusing their defensive energy on him to the point where he was limited to just 11 points, 12 assists and five turnovers on 3-of-11 shooting in over 37 minutes of action.
Miami is further along than this Clippers team at this early point in the season, given the stability on the roster along with the team’s tenured head coach. The Clippers are still figuring things out, and they’ll get better as the season progresses. But Doc Rivers is going to need to come up with some counters for when teams key in defensively on slowing Paul, otherwise the Clippers might be in for some underwhelming results as the year rolls along.
Last May, Magic Johnson tweeted that the Lakers chase LeBron James, Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan in free agency. All three players were still under contract with their teams until July 1.
In response to that apparent tampering, the Lakers announced Johnson had asked the team to remove his title of Vice President.
Too little, too late.
William Weinbaum and Steve Delsohn of ESPN:
Outside the Lines learned this week — and confirmed with a senior Lakers official — that the NBA fined the team over Johnson’s communiques about players under contract to other teams.
If Drake got the Raptors fined for tampering by pitching Durant during a concert, the Lakers deserved this fine.
Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian are dating. There are mixed reports about whether they’re engaged.
No matter their exact terms of their relationship, it brings increased attention to the Cavaliers – who are already in the spotlight as LeBron James‘ team and the defending NBA champions.
LeBron might not welcome increased scrutiny.
Gabriella Ginsberg of Hollywood Life:
LeBron James hasn’t been happy that Tristan Thompson is dating drama magnet Khloe Kardashian, and we hear that the teammates had a locker room showdown before the Cavs’ home opener game.
“Tristan isn’t taking any crap from his teammates anymore. As far as he’s concerned, Khloe’s coming to every damn game she chooses,” the insider reveals. “Tristan told LeBron straight up before last night’s game that Khloe was coming and that was that.”
There’s nothing wrong with LeBron, as a friend, advising Thompson about his personal life. They share an agent, Rich Paul, and that obviously means a lot to LeBron.
But at a certain point, LeBron should back off. Neither coworkers nor friends have a right to determine who someone dates.
76ers players are unsure how to respond to their franchise blocking Sevyn Streeter from singing the national anthem because she wore a “WE MATTER” jersey.
Justise Winslow is seemingly trying to nudge Philadelphia in a certain direction.
The Heat forward posted a photo with himself and the 76ers’ Jerami Grant raising fists and captioned it “WE MATTER”:
I’m unsure when this photo was taken, but my best guess is after the Miami-Philadelphia preseason game – which was preceded by the national-anthem singer kneeling during her performance.
Was Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha making the smart play to beat the defender or just showing off?
Either way, I’m glad he did it.