Isiah Thomas: People don’t like LeBron because he’s successful

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Say what you want about Isiah Thomas — and we’ve said plenty over the years — the man knows about being disliked. He was the best player on the “bad boy” Pistons teams. You’ll be hard pressed to find people around the old CBA league that speaks well of him. And then there’s the entire city and state of New York.

So I guess that gives him some kind of authority to speak about not being liked.

Right now, nobody is hated around the NBA like LeBron James and the Miami Heat. And Thomas said he knows why, reports our own Ira Winderman, writing for the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“It kind of comes with the territory when you’re really good,” Thomas said. “Nobody cares about the loser. Everybody likes the loser.

“Some people are not going to like you because you are successful and I think LeBron has been extremely successful since high school and Wade has been successful and I think those guys will continue to be successful. And with their success, there are going to be some people who are upset with that.”

Um, I’m not sure that’s it. I think it’s more about how LeBron put a shank in the back of Cleveland like it was a prison fight, did that on national television, then was seen acting care-free at a wild pep rally in Miami 48 hours later talking about seven rings. It’s not LeBron’s success, or even making a move to Miami that was totally within his rights (if you’re mad about him even going to Miami, and you’re not from Cleveland, you’re wrong), it’s about how he did it. It left people with a bad taste.

Thomas is the coach of college team in Miami, one who is hosting a big Nike/LeBron charity game next Saturday, so you know he’s going to stick up for LeBron now. It’s all about how you see LeBron from your perspective.

I’m just not sure Thomas’ perspective matches most of the nations. Not sure it ever has.

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.