<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>


Dwyane Wade still trying to find his way in new, LeBron-less Heat offense.


It took Dwyane Wade about a season and a half to really figure out how to play next to LeBron James (read: let LeBron be the alpha dog and sacrifice your game to fit around him).

Now it’s taking some time to adjust to LeBron not being around.

Erik Spoelsta has tweaked the Heat’s “space and pace” offense to fit his current personnel with Chris Bosh as a hub and Luol Deng as a jack-of-all-trades. That’s taking some adjusting to, Wade told our friend Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

“I’m still finding my way with this team and this offense,” he said, as the Heat prepare to play in their exhibition finale against the Houston Rockets. “So I’m still trying to see where I fit in. I know I can get a shot any time I want, but it’s about the quality of it more so than anything. I’m just playing the game and just seeing.”

“This early offense that we started in camp is more so to get our guys to better ball movement,” he said. “So now Coach is starting to get to the point where it’s time now to put in a package for C.B. [Bosh] and myself, and it will kind of be what we do for the next week, week and a half.”

This shouldn’t be a shock. It’s going to take Miami some time to really find it’s footing and identity, just like it is in Cleveland. That said I think the Heat will find their stride fairly quickly and be one of the solid teams in the middle of the Eastern Conference pack.

And Wade will find his groove… in however many games he plays, anyway.

Lionel Hollins: It’s not the length, number of games, it’s the travel that’s an issue

2014 Global Games - Brooklyn Nets v Sacramento Kings

Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins is about as old school as they come. Which means you knew he wasn’t going to be on board with shortening games — even though his team is taking part in the 44-minute game experiment on Sunday — or even reducing the number of games from 82, as LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and other players have called for.

That said, Hollins has issues with the travel.

The former NBA All-Star player turned coach says the road travel schedules in the NBA are what need to be changed, as quoted by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

“There are so many more back-to-backs and in-and-out travel, which wears on a player as much as playing 82 games,” Hollins said a day after taking a 14-hour flight from China. “I don’t see 82 games being changed. At least in my lifetime.”

Deron Williams was on board with his coach.

“A lot of back-to-backs, four games in five nights. Those things are tough,” (Williams) said. “They’re tough on your body.”

The Nets will play 19 back-to-backs this season, overall back-to-backs and four-in-fives are up this season (a byproduct of giving the players a week off around the All-Star break without lengthening the season).

It is that travel that is why I would be in favor of the NBA reducing the schedule by 10 games per team. Do that but keep the season at or close to the current length and you cut out some of that travel. Teams are demonstrably worse on the second nights of back-to-backs, guys don’t get enough sleep and tired minds and bodies make them more likely to be injured. Simply put, for the quality of the product, I think it would be better to have fewer games.

It’s also never going to happen because there’s too much money on the table.

That doesn’t make Hollins any less right.

Blake Griffin, Spencer Hawes spend time as ball boys wiping floor (VIDEO)


Blake Griffin did more than just pick up a technical standing up for himself after a hard foul Friday night.

He also was a ball boy, along with teammate Spencer Hawes. It came in with just a couple of minutes left in the second quarter, when Alec Burks was at the line for the Jazz when Griffin noticed a wet spot in the key. The ball boy came out with the magical round mop, but that was not enough in this case so Griffin and Hawes jumped in with towels to help out.

Later Griffin took at turn as the DJ in the arena, sold a tray of frozen lemonades, then made sure there were pretzels and popcorn in the media room for guys working late. He’s important to the franchise that way.

After missing three games with sprained ankle, Kyrie Irving back in Cavaliers lineup Friday

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers
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He’s back.

Kyrie Irving was seen in a walking boot in Brazil when the team was down there for a preseason game after stepping on the foot of teammate Anderson Varejao in a practice. But it turns out it was not that serious.

After missing three preseason games — and this is the meaningless preseason, so you know they were not rushing him back — Kyrie Irving was back on the court with the Cavaliers on Friday night against the Mavericks.

If you’re thinking “finally, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Irving are going to get some quality run together” you’re about to be sorely disappointed. Coach David Blatt is keeping Love out of the game with what is officially called a “sore neck” and is unofficially called a night off for rest.

Cleveland’s big three will get a little run together before the season tips off, but in reality it likely takes them a few weeks (or months) to really find their groove on offense.

Bucks’ Larry Sanders undergoes “minor outpatient surgical procedure,” out for rest of preseason


Larry Sanders played well enough two seasons ago to earn a $44 million extension then missed much of last season with an injury suffered in a bar fight (finally when he got back on the court an inadvertent elbow from James Harden basically cost him the rest of the year). Now he is trying to prove that he is the guy from a couple years ago that deserves the big checks rolling into his account.

This doesn’t help although it’s apparently not much of a setback.

Sanders underwent a “minor outpatient surgical procedure” Friday at a Milwaukee hospital and will miss the Bucks final three preseason games, the team announced. However, the team says he should be ready for the start of the regular season.

I’m always a bit skeptical when the team will not tell you what the surgery was for (we will update when we know), but for Sanders sake let’s hope this really is something not serious.

The young Bucks potentially have a really interesting front line — Sanders, John Henson, Jabari Parker plus veterans Ersan Ilyasova and Zaza Pachulia — if they can just get everyone healthy.

If they do the Bucks become a potential “League Pass favorite” — they are not going to win many games but they will be fun to watch.