Video: LeBron’s monster dunk (with Ray Allen’s silent assist)

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Enjoy that dunk for its power. The dunk is full of so many of LeBron James’ gifts — handles, speed, strength that all come together in an almost unfair package. It is one of the big highlights from the Heat’s opening night win over Boston.

But watch that dunk again and see that Ray Allen should get a silent assist for creating the lane for LeBron James to run down. Tom Haberstroh broke it down brilliantly at ESPN’s Heat Index (as he often does).

First Chris Bosh blocks Jeff Green (after a fantastic preseason Green went back to looking like Green) and the ball gets to LeBron who starts pushing up the court. Now notice Allen, who is ahead of the pack and starts running to the corner — where he is deadly, as Boston knows from first hand experience, and where he has already drained a three in the game. Watch Celtics defenders Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett get caught hesitating on getting to Allen or stopping LeBron.

“He was in front of KG and Paul (Pierce),” James said. “And I just kind of gave it a little hesitation because I knew for the most part, they were going to run right to him.”

Allen knew what to do. As soon as James slowed his dribble, Allen darted toward the corner.

“You make a hard sharp cut,” Allen said. “It’s the same stuff I did in Boston, but when you’ve got a guy like LeBron barreling down the lane like that … I always ask myself, which direction are they going to go in? Are they going to go to me? Or are they going to go to him?”

They really did neither, they hesitated and got confused and in that instant LeBron turned on the jets and when he has a head of steam coming down the lane it’s only a question of how much pain he is going to inflict on the rim. The play is over. And it was. And Garnett was frustrated afterwards.

But that’s one of the things Ray Allen can do for you. And will do for the Heat all season.

Nuggets sign Nick Young

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The Nuggets’ have so many injured backcourt playersJamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Isaiah Thomas (plus forwards Paul Millsap, Michael Porter, Jarred Vanderbilt are also hurt).

Denver is adding a reinforcement – Nick Young.

Nuggets:

Young has had a rough go since winning a championship with the Warriors last season. The 33-year-old is probably on his last legs as an NBA player.

But Denver needs someone. Young might still be serviceable. He can make 3-pointers, though he defends like a sieve and doesn’t contribute much else offensively. With the ball running through Nikola Jokic, maybe that will be enough – until better Nuggets get healthy.

Stephen Curry: I don’t believe we went to the moon

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Kyrie Irving‘s first public flat-Earth comments came on a light-hearted podcast.

Will Stephen Curry also become notorious for his conspiracy theory, revealed on a light-hearted podcast?

The Warriors star appeared on “Winging It” with Vince Carter, Kent Bazemore and Andre Iguodala. The conversation:

  • Curry: “We ever been to the moon?
  • Multiple responders: “Nope.”
  • Curry: “They’re gonna come get us. I don’t think so, either.”

Podcast co-host Annie Finberg asked whether Curry actually believed that. He responded affirmatively.

Still, Irving immediately doubled down outside the podcast – then tripled down and quadrupled down and… This hasn’t gotten away from Curry in the same way. He could still easily explain he was joking during the podcast.

Or he could stick with his conspiracy theory. I don’t know what he actually believes.

For what it’s worth, I believe we went to the moon. So many people would have to know if the moon landing were faked, and there’s no way they’d all keep it secret.

John Collins slaps kid in face while giving high-fives (video)

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John Collins brings plenty of excitement to the Hawks, and he was pretty enthused after posting 30 points and 12 rebounds in Atlanta’s 106-98 win over the Nuggets on Saturday.

Too enthused.

Bulls hold players-only meeting morning after franchise-worst 56-point loss to Celtics

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The Chicago Bulls suffered the worst loss in the history of the franchise this week. A 56-point drubbing at the hands of the Boston Celtics was an inauspicious mark on the record of head coach Jim Boylan, who was elevated to his position after Chicago decided to fire Fred Hoiberg earlier in the week.

The young Bulls haven’t taken to Boylan, at least that’s how it’s appeared on the court. On Sunday it came out that Chicago held a players-only meeting. After that, the players met with the coaching staff to discuss the issues of the day.

Via Twitter:

Players wouldn’t discuss in detail what their meetings were about, save for getting on the same page, whatever that may mean. Just about everyone used the word “productive” to describe the behind-closed-doors meetings.

According to a report from The Athletic, Chicago almost had a full-blown mutiny on its hands. Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez reportedly quashed that, but it’s not looking pretty for Boylan early.

Via The Athletic:

One idea that had significant support, according to sources, was the players simply not showing up to the Advocate Center on Sunday. A preliminary plan was to gather at one player’s house and wait for the phones to begin buzzing. That plan fizzled because Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez spoke up, voicing their concerns about the unprofessionalism of that potential act of rebellion, as well as the impact such a stance could have on the roster’s younger, less established players, sources said.

Another idea discussed centered on players walking into the practice facility Sunday morning as a unified group before turning and immediately walking out.

In the end, players reported to work and rather than practice on the court or review Saturday night’s game in the film room, they held two meetings — one with players airing their grievances among themselves, followed by one with coaches entering the room to do the same with players.

The Bulls have the worst record in the East at 6-21. It’s hard to see how it’ll improve much in that respect, but perhaps the guys on the team will like each other a little better after today.