LeBron James is a powerful in-game dunker.
Sometimes those kinds of dunkers don’t translate well to the showy exhibition that is the NBA’s Dunk Contest All-Star weekend. Think Shannon Brown. Heck, Jazz forward Jeremy Evans told Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida he could beat LeBron in the contest because we’ve never seen LeBron in that kind of competition.
And we never will, LeBron told Tomasson.
“No,” said James, who turns 28 on Dec. 30. “It’s over with. I’m getting too old for that. … There were times when I wanted to do it. But I came into All-Star Weekend a few times banged up and I didn’t want to risk further injury.”
LeBron was even good with Evans’ boast.
“I’m not a dunk-contest guy, so he probably could beat me in a dunk contest,” James said. “I’m OK with that.”
I’m not sure we ever thought we would see LeBron do the contest, but it seems a bit of a waste. A loss for us. Michael Jordan did it (those against Dominique Wilkins were classics), Kobe Bryant did it, Dr. J did it, Amare Stoudemire did it, Vince Carter did it, Dwight Howard did it and revived it, Blake Griffin did it, a lot of the games great star dunkers gave it a shot.
But we’ll never see LeBron do it. And he’s good with that
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.
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.
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 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.