A three-part preface, to begin, before we cover the Heat’s shelling/drilling/slaughter of the Mavericks.
- It’s the first game of the season, and the first game of the season is never indicative of how the season will go for either team, even if it seems like it in retrospect. Th Celtics beat the Heat in the first game of last season, and looked impressive doing so. How did that work out?
- The Mavericks are working with several new players including Lamar Odom (ejected), Vince Carter, and Delonte West, on a short training camp and preseason.
- The Heat had every reason for motivation, the Mavericks were busy congratulating themselves on their title from last season. So it was two different teams mentally.
So we’ve got that all the way.
Good gravy, the Heat looked awesome.
Even in a game in which they only managed 8 points in the fourth quarter, it cannot be overstated how well the Heat played Sunday in their blowout win over the Mavericks. Most shocking was the offense. Last season the Heat had a mishmash, sloppy, clunky, uninspiring offense that seemed like a group of uninvolved loiterers occasionally hoisting jumpers with some lobs thrown in. But on Sunday, the Heat unleashed a torrent of firepower, as if all that talk about needing more time to gel had been accurate.
Dwyane Wade was slashing and hitting jumpers.LeBron James showed off a fave-up mid-range game that smacked heavily of a Dirk Nowitzki assimilation. And the Heat ran, ran, ran. They ran the Mavericks out of the building. James even showed off an honest-to-God post game. The nightmare scenario of the Heat living up to their fullest potential came true, at least for three quarters.
The Mavericks didn’t just look discombobulated, they looked disinterested. They were completely overwhelmed on both sides of the ball. It was about as bad a performance as the Heat’s was good. They allowed the Heat to collect 40 percent of their offensive rebounds. It was a disaster.
For the Heat, this game is the standard for them, the late give-up notwithstanding. This is the energy, focus, and execution they need to play with if they want to play at their potential. For the Mavericks, best to forget this game ever happened and move on.
- This was ridiculous.
- Norris Cole actually looked really good for the Heat. He made good moves in transition, forced the issue, and picked up a few hockey assists. His development would be huge for the Heat who need a fast guard with legs to complement Mario Chalmers.
- The Heat’s defense was just as good. They were swarming, rotating, and very much in position to defend the Mavericks’ perimeter attack.
- There was a Texas-sized hole in the shape of Tyson Chandler down low for the Mavericks.
- Lamar Odom was suspended after two technicals, which only begins to show how out-of-control he was Sunday.
- Brian Cardinal airballed a three and then Vince Carter missed consecutive free throws to end any hope of the Mavericks’ comeback.
Draymond Green is the backbone of the Golden State Warriors, not just because he was the 2016-17 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Green sort of does it all, including passing, scoring, rebounding, and myriad other scrap work that doesn’t show up on regular box scores.
But there was some doubt in Green’s mind in 2016 that he would stay with the team. Green was involved in an argument during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and after things settled down the Warriors big man was concerned the team might trade him.
The thought of doing so is sort of ridiculous, but apparently that was something that flashed into Green’s mind given the tenseness of the situation between he and Kerr.
Via Bleacher Report:
But Green’s mood was still foul, and he left the arena that day believing his days as a Warrior were numbered. He feared the relationship had been fractured, that the Warriors would choose Kerr over him. That he’d be traded.
“One hundred percent,” Green tells B/R. “Especially with the success that he was having as a coach. Like, you just don’t get rid of that.”
The thing that makes Golden State great isn’t just the players, or the system, or Kerr. It’s the human resources management aspect of their organization that allows them to compete on the court in the way they do.
It’s not crazy to think that a player could be shipped out of town thanks to a disagreement with a coach, although the leverage players have these days likely has put a stop to that realistically happening. But that Kerr, Green, and management were able to get things back under control that season was to the benefit of everyone involved.
The Houston Rockets have been supportive of the Texas community after a gunman killed 10 people and injured 10 others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.
Rockets point guard Chris Paul called NBA basketball “minor” compared to what those in Santa Fe are having to endure, and on Thursday the team took things a step further and donned special jerseys for their playoff matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
As Houston prepared to take on the reigning champs in Game 5 back in Texas, the team tweeted out a photo of the jerseys — complete with a special patch on the left shoulder — to honor the victims of the shooting.
The NBA has a lot of advocates for social and political change, not just individually but organizationally. How the Rockets responded is good to see in the face of yet another school shooting.
The Warriors missed Andre Iguodala in Game 4 against Houston. They don’t have a Death/Hamptons 5 lineup without him. Without his depth, the Warriors had to lean more on players such as Kevon Looney (who started), Nick Young, and others who are can be a liability at the high level of play in this series. Not having Iguodala to keep minutes down, play fierce defense, move the ball on offense, and be a stabilizing force was one of the issues that led to the Warriors fourth-quarter issues in Game 4.
Now they are without him for Game 5, too.
Having Klay Thompson on the court is huge for Golden State, although it will be worth monitoring to see how he moves.
The Warriors have gotten sucked into the switching/isolation game the Rockets want to play, if they are going to take Game 5 on the road they need to get back to “the beautiful game” they want to play. That would have been easier with Iguodala.
NBA teams seemed to have moved on from Amar’e Stoudemire. After an impressive NBA career — five-time All-NBA, Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Star — he wasn’t physically the explosive player that dazzled with the Suns. Teams were interested in getting younger and more athletic, and Stoudemire was doing neither. He retired from the NBA and played for a season in Israel where he won a league title. This summer he’s signed up to play with the Big3.
After that he’,d like another crack at the NBA. When asked about an NBA comeback, here’s what Stoudemire told CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter on ‘Reiter’s Block’:
“I am. I am. I’m definitely planning on (coming back). I’ve been training like you wouldn’t believe, my body feels great. I had an amazing year last year playing overseas and so I’m gonna definitely continue to work my way back to top shape and see if there’s a team that needs my talents.”
I’m not sure there’s going to be much demand. Maybe a team does an old friend a favor and brings him in for some workouts. However, his knees and body struggled with the physical grind of the NBA the final few seasons of his career, and it’s unlikely with age that got better. No doubt he’s worked on his conditioning and strength, but Father Time always wins the race and it already felt like this chase was over.
That said, good on Stoudemire for not giving up on the dream. His agent should be making calls, maybe he can become the second player to make the Big3 to NBA leap.