SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James said he is ready to go for Game 2 Sunday night, but added he is still feeling some of the effect of the cramps he suffered in Game 1.
He said he does not feel “normal.”
So exactly how many minutes can the Heat’s Mr. Everything go?
“Not sure,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before Game 2 Sunday night in San Antonio. “I’m open to it. I’ll read it. Obviously we’ll be attentive to it, and if we need to go deeper (into the bench), we will. Anticipate we might have to. He’s been through every situation you can possibly go through. We had an extra day of rest and we’ll manage it.”
The good news for the Heat is the air conditioning is working and on in the building.
Spoelstra talked about the Heat trusting their depth, but he tends not to really lean on it the way the Spurs and Gregg Popovich does. In Game 1 of the Finals, despite his cramping, LeBron James played almost 33 minutes. Rashard Lewis, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen were all over 30 minutes, and Norris Cole played 29. Those heavy minutes in the heat had Miami players wilting more than Spurs players at the end, when San Antonio pulled away for the win.
One Heat player we could see more of is Chris Andersen.
The Birdman has been limited because of a thigh bruise suffered in the Pacers series. He played 17:32 in Game 1 but wasn’t as explosive and impactful as he had been against the Spurs last season. Miami could use minutes from him to protect the paint and challenge Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter inside.
“He actually looked probably his best yesterday in practice,” Spoelstra said. “So we will see. You know, it was a rough week for him, but he’s getting better each day.”
DENVER (AP) — Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee underwent surgery to fix a core-muscle injury.
The team said Plumlee had the procedure performed Thursday morning by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.
Plumlee is expected to return to basketball activities this summer and be ready for training camp in the fall. He averaged 7.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists for a Nuggets team that narrowly missed out on the postseason.
The 28-year-old Plumlee was acquired by Denver as part of a deal in February 2017 that sent center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. Plumlee signed a three-year, $41 million deal with the Nuggets last September.
San Antonio has a lot of roster questions heading into this summer. When Danny Green opts out at $10 million a year, how much do they offer to bring back a key wing defender? What about Tony Parker, an unrestricted free agent? Will Manu Ginobili come back at age
78 41 for another season?
But at the top of the list: Can the Spurs relationship with Kawhi Leonard be repaired?
If so, do they trust his health enough to offer him the $219 million designated veteran max extension?
If not, do they test the trade market (likely we will know the answer to that around the draft, well before July 1)?
I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.
Ultimately, this is moot. Nothing changes — not the critical last Pacers possession, not the fact LeBron James drained a three afterwards (and may well have anyway). All it provides is a little validation for frustrated Pacers fans and players.
Yes, LeBron did goaltend on Victor Oladipo‘s shot with 5.1 seconds remaining in what was then a tie game between the Pacers and Cavaliers. The NBA confirmed it in its Last Two Minute Report on Game 5 in that series. From the report.
“(Above the rim view) shows that James (CLE) blocks Oladipo’s (IND) shot attempt after it makes contact with the backboard.”
Oladipo called it goaltending. However, the officials didn’t call goaltending on the play, therefore it was not reviewable. Often on bang-bang plays like this one an official will call goaltending just to give themselves the chance to review it, but this crew did not (and that is a tough call to make accurately in real time).
From there, LeBron went on to hit the dramatic game-winning three that gave Cleveland the win and a 3-2 series lead.
The report also concluded that it was Thaddeus Young who knocked the ball out of bounds on the baseline with 27.6 seconds left, knocking the ball out of LeBron’s hands. The ball bounced on the line — and was therefore out, but the official didn’t call it — then bounced back up, hit LeBron on the arm and went clearly out of bounds. The referee called the second bounce after it hit LeBron. From the report:
“(Video) shows that Young (IND) deflects the ball away from James (CLE) and it lands out of bounds, but there is no whistle. The ball then bounces and hits James’ arm and lands out of bounds again, which is called. Possession of the ball is incorrectly awarded to the Pacers.”
One other note to Pacers fans: The goaltending call is not why Indiana lost. Oladipo shot 2-of-15 on the night. Darren Collison had a very an off night, was not aggressive, and was 1-of-5 shooting. There are a myriad of plays and decisions that go into a game, one blown call is not why the Pacers lost.
The question is can they regroup at home, get more secondary playmaking and buckets from someone other Oladipo, and can their defense force a Game 7? It can, but they have to put the end of Game 5 behind them first.
Delon Wright made some big plays down the stretch to help the Raptors to a Game 5 win over the Wizards last night. With Toronto up 3-2 in the first-round series and the home team winning the first five games, Game 6 is tomorrow in Washington.
Oubre, via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:
“The next game is a different story. We’re back at home. Just like Delon doesn’t play well anywhere else, you know, other than at home,” Oubre said, sharing inspiration coupled with a touch of an insult. “You can kind of chalk it up as the same story.”
Wright decided not to escalate the conflict when reporters asked him about it.
Wright has been much better in Toronto than Washington in this series. His average game score is 14.7 at home and 5.7 on the road.
But that’s such a small sample. During the regular season, there wasn’t nearly such a big split between Wright’s average game score at home (8.4) and on the road (6.9).
For what it’s worth, Oubre has a somewhat similar home-road average-game-score split, both in this series (9.4 at home, 6.3 on the road) and during the regular season (8.1 at home, 7.5 on the road). Which Oubre basically acknowledged in his diss of Wright/self-own.
This is pretty typical Oubre – hyper-competitive verging on out of control. It’s fun regardless.
Let’s just say he’s right, though, and the Wizards win Game 6. Game 7 would be Sunday in Toronto, where, by Oubre’s own admission, Wright plays well and the Raptors are undefeated in the postseason. Then what?