Down three points inside a minute, the Nets needed a bucket, and for their play they isolated Joe Johnson (one of the best clutch players in the game) on LeBron James, who had five fouls. You can see the play above. Here is what Johnson had to say about the play after the game, via the New York Post.
“I wasn’t necessarily trying to draw the foul on him,” said Johnson, although James had five fouls while defending him, “but I thought he was aggressive, so I was just trying to use his aggressiveness against him.
“[But] he flopped that last one….
“Yeah, it did,” Johnson said, when asked if the flop threw him off. “I should’ve known they wouldn’t have called a foul, but I went into my shot anyway, so I had plenty of time.”
My thoughts on this:
Johnson, you have to make that shot. Whatever LeBron did he did not rake you across the arms, you had a clean look and you missed it. It’s a make-or-miss league and that’s a miss.
A flop is an effort to get a foul call, the referees decided this was a no-call, which strikes me as the right decision. It’s tough to tell from that camera angle, but likely Johnson made contact to create a little space and LeBron, not wanting to be too physical and pick up a sixth foul, went the other way with it. To me, that’s a good no call because out of this Johnson got a clean look at his shot.
He just missed it.
LeBron finished with 49 points to power Miami to the win and put the Heat up 3-1 in the series heading home.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.