Miami has been getting it done with offense. It has the best record in the Eastern Conference, it has won six in a row and it’s mostly been because LeBron James is LeBron James and Chris Bosh is having a very efficient season.
But the last couple games, the Heat’s defense has started to come together. They allow 102.8 points allowed per 100 possessions, which is 19th in the league. However, they held the Brooklyn Nets to 91.9 points per 100 possessions and 32.3 percent shooting in the second half. A few days the earlier the Heat held the Spurs to 100 points.
Are the Heat starting to figure it out? Dwyane Wade told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel he thinks so.
“We’re a better defensive team than we’ve been,” guard Dwyane Wade said. “Obviously, to win championships, for one you have to be a good defensive team, and, two, you have to rebound the ball….
“We understand that we have a lot of room for improvement,” Wade said. “That’s a good thing for this team, but you also have to take care of it.”
There is a lingering sign the Heat knew what to do on defense — they played much better in the second half all season. Their defensive rating was 105.7 (points per 100 possessions) in the first half this season, but that fell to 100.6 in the second half. The Heat have seemed to coast at points this season, not to have their full focus in the games. But when the games got tight they got better.
Face it, the Heat are starting to find their defensive footing and get better at that end of the court. And they have the best record in the East already. Watch out.
Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals started off hot for the Golden State Warriors. The defending champs scored the first 12 points of the game, but the Houston Rockets rallied before the half was over to take the lead, 53-46, at the break.
One of the biggest highlight plays from Houston came courtesy of James Harden late in the second quarter.
The play came with 6:06 left to play in the half and with the Rockets pushing on the Warriors in transition. Harden found himself with the ball at the top of the key and with an open lane. That forced Draymond Green to slide over as a help defender, and the result was a thunderous dunk for Harden over the Golden State defensive stalwart.
We’ll forget that Chris Paul probably either travelled or double-dribbled before Harden got the ball on the play.
Golden State leads the series, 2-1.
The Phoenix Suns are bolstering their coaching staff. After spending most the 2017-18 season under interim head coach Jay Triano, Phoenix finally settled on Igor Kokoskov as their top man.
Now, it appears they’re adding some veteran talent to the front row.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Suns are in talks to bring former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson in as Kokoskov’s right hand man. Meanwhile, ArizonaSports.com is reporting that the decision has already been made to hire Woodson.
Woodson, 60, was last on the bench with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014-2018. He was head coach of the Knicks from 2012-2014, and helmed the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010.
This is a smart hire for the Suns, who have needed some legitimacy after firing Earl Watson just three games into the season this year. Phoenix has been in a bit of a freefall since letting Jeff Hornacek go in 2015. Indeed, despite for one outlying 48-win season in 2013-14, Phoenix hasn’t been a very good team in this decade.
With a solidified coaching staff and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there’s hope yet for the Suns. Now, the question is who they take with that pick. Luka Doncic? Deandre Ayton? The draft continues to intrigue.
“When we’re right, when we’re playing how we are supposed to play, Andre’s right in the middle of it. His defense and being smart, making good decisions. Andre is one of the guys who seems to set the tone for that for us.”
That’s Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Andre Iguodala
The Warriors are going to have to be without that tone Tuesday night, Iguodala will miss the game with a knee contusion.
This is a blow to the Warriors, who have started small with Iguodala through the first three games of this series. The Warriors have been 4.3 points per 100 possessions better with Iguodala on the court through the first three games of this series.
Expect Kevon Looney or Nick Young to start, with the rest of the minutes divided up between Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, and David West.
Whatever Kerr and the Warriors go with, expect James Harden and the Rockets to attack it.
The NBA does petty very, very, very, very, very, very, very well.
The WNBA is trying to give the NBA a run for its money.
The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have met in the last two WNBA Finals, the Lynx winning last year and the Sparks winning the year before. Minnesota hosted Los Angeles in the season opener Sunday, and the Lynx unveiled their banner and presented players with rings.
Before that, while the Sparks were practicing in Minnesota, the Lynx played their video for the event.
Holly Rowe of ESPN:
The Sparks beat the Lynx on Sunday, but I don’t think that’s enough to override Minnesota’s power move.