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.”
The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.
Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.
He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):
We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.
The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.
But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.
Not that Lin cares what I say.
When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.
But there were some great blocks.
Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.
Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.
Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.
Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.
That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.
But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.
Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.
I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.
Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).
Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.