Not so much with the Mike Miller and the returning by Christmas

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Mike Miller had hopes of returning by Christmas in order to try and help the Heat with the Lakers. Even with the Heat playing better, there’s a significant need for Miller to get back on the floor. He’s a more reliable shooter, ball-handler, and defender than James Jones or Eddie House, and when the Heat was first constructed, Miller was to play a pivotal role as the fourth best offensive option. He’s designed as the end-point if you commit to the Big 3 (or as it seems to be more and more, the Big 2). There was talk that he could make it back by then.

Yeah, not so much.

Erik Spoelstra told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that even though Miller’s able to get back on the floor now with his thumb healing, there’s a huge difference  between that and being in game condition.

Miller has been out since the preseason with a thumb injury.”Whenever hes cleared for contact, hell need to get into game condition and speed and tempo of the competition,” Spoelstra said. “So I think hes still a ways away before he could actually take some contact on it. But if you saw him working out, you would think, and he would tell you, that hes ready to go. But hes not yet.”

via Miami Heat: Mike Miller, Dexter Pittman will be away from Miami Heat for a while longer – South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

Not having Miller means that Christmas is going to be even less the game we thought it would be, and even with the Heat’s improvement, it’s hard to see this being all that competitive. The Lakers have struggled in games they don’t care about. They’ll care about the Heat. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to see the Heat at anything close to full-strength (minus Haslem).

Dwyane Wade sinks halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)

So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.

Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.

Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)

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The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.

But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.

Report: Suns exploring signing Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.

He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.

Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.

But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.

The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.

It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.

Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)

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Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.

After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.

Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.

Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.