Report: Heat have interest in Celtics’ Jordan Crawford

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The Heat are doing just fine at 16-6, sitting at second place in the East behind a Pacers team playing as if the playoffs were going on right now.

While Indiana is at full strength and crushing the competition to this point in the season — Heat included — Miami is resting Dwyane Wade occasionally to preserve his knees for the postseason, and is still bringing along Greg Oden slowly to the point where he isn’t expected to crack the rotation until after the All-Star break.

Still, it makes some sense that given the Pacers’ early dominance and the uncertainty surrounding Oden (and to some extent, Wade) for the regular season, Miami may look around for some available talent to bolster the roster. And Boston might not be a bad place to start.

From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

Miami is looking to deal for a young wing player who can score and take some of the load off Dwyane Wade. A few GMs have identified Boston’s Jordan Crawford as a player the Heat will go after in the coming days/weeks.

That would be reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week Jordan Crawford, who helped lead Boston to the only 3-0 record in the East last week while turning in averages of 23.3 points (fourth in the conference) on 61 percent shooting, to go along with 3.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists per contest.

If the Heat did trade for Crawford, it would likely be no more than a rental for this season. Crawford will be a restricted free agent next year if a qualifying offer of $3.2 million is made, but a strong season in Miami would drive up his value beyond what the Heat would commit in long-term salary.

The Celtics, meanwhile, are in an interesting spot. Much like the Suns, they were believed to be setting up for a complete rebuild that would involve finishing the season with a record poor enough to end up as a lottery team vying for one of the top picks in a very deep 2014 draft. Instead, Boston finds itself atop the dreadful Atlantic division which means the four seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, despite the sub-.500 record.

Boston isn’t exactly planning on trying to win now like the Suns, because they don’t have players like Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic on the roster, along with more first round draft picks than they know what to do with in the coming seasons. So Crawford may indeed be in play, despite the Celtics’ playoff chances and their better-than-expected start.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.