Spoelstra makes mistake in saying Heat players cry after loss

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There is no crying in basketball.

Well, there is, but we don’t really talk about it. Basketball is an emotional game. Well, it is if you care. So not for Andray Blatche most nights. But if you are invested — as any professional player should be — there will be wild emotional highs (we all remember Michael Jordan hugging the trophy in tears). The flip side of that is devastating emotional lows. For all the talk of keeping an even keel, there are times the game takes an emotional toll.

But players don’t want to be seen that way. They need a swagger. They think of themselves as invincible. They like that image.

What Erik Spoelstra told the media in Miami after the Heat suffered another difficult loss to an elite team shattered that image. They should be down, the Heat blew another big first half lead. They have lost four in a row. They lost a game a lot of people were pointing to as big for this team. They missed another shot at the end of the game.

But Spoelstra told the press — as reported by our own Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel on twitter — that some of the players were in tears after the loss.

I can understand some players were crying after a loss. Maybe it’s a little immature, but at least they are invested. At least they care. That matters.

But telling the press? Oh, that was your mistake, Spoelstra. This was a regular season game. Say they were in tears after being eliminated from the playoffs is one thing, but to spill that after a regular season loss is a mistake. You may have been trying to pass along the message that they cared, but that will not be the perception. Tweens crying over not getting Justin Bieber concert tickets will be the perception. Your heat will look soft. Which, on top of playing soft makes them look, well, soft. Like a Nerf ball soft.

And, it keeps the Heat soap opera going.

Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma trolling now ad for Wish shopping app

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The Lakers asked Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma to back off on their social media trolling battle.

However, they made an exception for this new Wish.com app ad (Wish is the Lakers’ jersey ad sponsor).

Well played guys.

Miami bringing Briante Weber into camp with chance to make roster

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For three seasons, Briante Weber has bounced around the fringes of the NBA. The defensive-minded point guard has played in short stints (often 10-day contracts) for the Grizzlies, Heat, Warriors, Hornets, and last season he got in 13 games for the Rockets (plus five in Memphis). He’s spent most of his career in the G-League, working for his chance to get in the door.

Miami is bringing him into training camp, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

This is apparently camp invite.

There is roster space in Miami if Webber blows them away. Miami has 12 fully guaranteed roster spots and, with Webber, two partially-guaranteed deals (Malik Newman, who was undrafted out of Kansas, is the other).

The problem for Webber is Miami is deep at the point guard spot: Goran Dragic will start, and if Tyler Johnson is healthy (as expected) he will get a lot of minutes behind him, and then there is Newman. The Heat also have in the guard rotation Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder, and possibly Dwyane Wade if he returns (all of those guys are more two guards).

That’s a lot of guys for Webber to beat out and find a spot. On the other hand, his defensive style is something different from what the Heat have on the roster.

Webber is a longshot, but he’s at least going to camp.

Russell Westbrook “very, very excited” Paul George re-signed with Thunder

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What did you expect him to say?

Rather than a potential rebuild — or another “Russell Westbrook vs. The World” season — the Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the big winners of the off-season when Paul George agreed to re-sign with the team. They also moved on from Carmelo Anthony, will get Andre Roberson back from injury, and added Dennis Schroder to give them a shot creator off the bench.

Needless to say, Westbrook is a happy man. We could kind of tell that from the party he threw the night George agreed to re-sign, but he said it directly in an ESPN interview while in China on his Jordan Brand Tour.

“I’m very, very excited. Paul has been an unbelievable teammate, obviously a great friend. I’m very, very excited that he is back and we’re ready to make some noise. We are just going to take it one day at a time. I think our team has a lot of great, young talent. We have one goal now and that is winning a championship.”

While it’s hard to envision the Thunder reaching that goal (as constructed), the Thunder could well be the three or four seed in the West and have home court in the first round of the playoffs. While the margin for error in the West will be minuscule (with 12 teams having a shot at the eight playoff spots), with the Thunder’s strong top-10 defense and two stars who can take over games nightly, they should be one of the more consistent regular season teams in the West.

Either way, the Thunder are a lot more interesting with George than without. It’s going to be a good season for the Thunder.

PBT Extra: Carmelo Anthony officially a Houston Rocket now — this can work

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Did the Houston Rockets get better this summer? The conventional wisdom is no, they will miss the switchable defense and versatility of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute against the NBA’s other elite teams.

But with Carmelo Anthony officially signing with the Rockets on Monday, don’t expect a big step back, something I cover in this latest PBT Extra.

The Rockets had the second-best offense in the NBA last season (almost tied with the Warriors) and ‘Melo can enhance that — he can still punish switches in the post, he has a catch-and-shoot game, and while he may not be as efficient as he once was, the man can get buckets. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, expect Mike D’Antoni to find him minutes while Chris Paul and James Harden rest where he can be an offensive focal point.

This all could work out in Houston.