Through three games of the NBA Finals, LeBron James is averaging 16.3 points a game on 38.9 percent shooting — the best player on the planet has looked average (well, for him).
And passive. In Game 3 Tuesday night with the Spurs packing the paint and having defenders playing a step off him in isolation, LeBron settled for the jumpshots the Spurs wanted him to take. Credit Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green for being at the point of a good Spurs defense, but LeBron didn’t challenge that defense. The result was an ugly 7-of-21 shooting night with zero free throw attempts. And an embarrassing Heat loss that in part flowed out of that.
“Well, honestly I just have to play better,” an up front James said after the game. “I can’t have a performance like tonight and expect to win. I’ve got to shoot the ball better, make better decisions and I will get into the film and see ways that I can do that. I’m not putting blame on anybody, I’m owning everything that I did tonight.”
With Chris Bosh unable to hit midrange jumpers he nailed all season, and with Dwyane Wade slowed and the Heat playing off him (they are almost ignoring him on the perimeter to pack the paint), the Heat need LeBron to be the best player in the game today. They can’t win otherwise. While his instinct is to pass out of the double and take the open shot when he gets it, now it is time for him to put his head down and get to the rim.
When LeBron attacked Tuesday night he was fine — he hit 5-of-7 shots within 5 feet of the rim. But the Spurs made it hard to get those shots while daring him to shoot from the midrange and beyond. LeBron took the bait and hit 1-of-9 from the midrange and 1-of-5 from three. During the season he was a solid outside shooter (43 percent from the midrange and 40.6 percent from three) but that shot has deserted him in the finals. He’s not making up for that by attacking the rim.
“I have to do better,” LeBron reiterated. “If I’m better we’re better and I have to be better. I’m putting everything on my chest and on my shoulders and I have to be better. My teammates are doing a great job and I’m not doing my part.”
The Spurs are not going to change what they are doing or who they are doing it with. It’s up to LeBron to solve this himself. Do that and the Heat can even this series Thursday night, but one more game like this and Miami is going to be in a hole it will not be able to dig out of.
The current social media marketing landscape is sort of a gross place to be. People will do anything for clicks, views, and the idea of “all PR being good PR” is taken to the extreme by many parties.
We live in a world where Kanye West, who made a couple of good albums a decade ago, says something patently crazy in advance of any new marketing campaign as a way to keep his name in the news (and in search engines) prior to the release of a shoe or a new song. It’s not very subtle.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry appears to have done much the same this week. Curry proposed that he didn’t believe that humans had landed on the moon, prompting widespread discussion of the kind of negative impact those comments can have. NASA wasn’t happy about it.
Both ESPN’s “PTI” and “The Jump” issued commentary on it that was out of the ordinary, and fans denounced Curry for setting a bad example and being “anti-science” and “anti-history”.
And now, just a couple of days later, Curry has a new shoe for you to buy from Under Armour. Imagine that!
Tuesday night Curry was at an event showing off the new shoes, and he even did a Q&A on Twitter. Perfect timing, don’t you think?
Steph, let me tell you buddy. This is not the way to sell a shoe. Well, it is one way to sell a shoe in 2018, but as the two-time NBA MVP and a three-time NBA champion, it’s definitely not the right look for a guy of your stature. This is gross, and inappropriate, and honestly damages the legacy of how people will write about you and view you in the future.
Say it was a bad joke and move on. It’s not worth it to look like you’d sell your soul just to huck some rip-off Kobe 10 All-Stars anyway.
The UA Curry 6 drops soon but I’m not telling you where.
We finally have a diagnosis for Philadelphia 76ers point guard Markelle Fultz. According to doctors, Fultz suffers from thoracic outlet syndrome, which has hampered his ability to shoot a basketball and be functional on an NBA floor.
There have been rumors that the Sixers want to move on from Fultz. Those rumors have been shot down, but a public denial is not a guarantee against a private admission.
Meanwhile the NBA sphere has started to churn about where Fultz could fit in and start over. An obvious landing spot would be the Phoenix Suns, who have needed a point guard for some time and come with less pressure than Philadelphia.
But according to at least one report from Arizona, the Suns aren’t interested in Fultz. Phoenix radio host John Gambadoro said as much on Twitter on Tuesday.
This doesn’t say much. Any information sourced to reporters at this juncture could just as easily be Phoenix driving down the cost of a Fultz trade as it is true information about them not having interest.
Still, the idea of Fultz in Phoenix does make some sense on paper, and if the Suns aren’t interested it adds another layer to the story about where the young point guard might eventually end up. The future doesn’t seem bright for Fultz and the Sixers, but for now we’ll just have to wait.
Will Kevin Durant stay with the Golden State Warriors after this summer?
That’s the question on the mind of everyone in the NBA and particularly the basketball fans in the Bay Area. Durant is rumored to desire a change of scenery, especially if he wins another championship at the end of this year with the Warriors.
If Durant does leave Oakland, what will his legacy be with Warriors fans? It’s hard to determine that right now, just as it would be difficult to know how the organization would deal with honoring Durant after he retires.
No matter what, Durant thinks the best players on this current roster will have their jerseys retired and have statues put up out front of the new arena in San Francisco.
“I know for a fact that we’ll all get out jerseys retired,” said Durant. “We’ll probably all get statues in front of the Chase Center. We’ll be Bay Area legends forever.”
There’s no indication from Durant’s comments that he is going to decide to stay with the Warriors, so take them with a grain of salt. I think the Durant is one of the most enigmatic stars to have graced league in the last 30 years, so any assumptions about what he wants is pure speculation.
But, if he leaves, do you really think Golden State would give him a statue?
Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert has been no stranger to NBA officials this season. The Frenchman has already been fined for his comments on what he believes is poor officiating, and he doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon.
After the Jazz lost a heartbreaker to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, 122-113, Gobert again decided to make it known how he felt about the folks in gray.
Specifically, Rudy Gobert said that if officials weren’t going to start protecting him against other players fouling him with disregard, he would have to take it into his own hands.
Via the Salt Lake Tribune:
“Tonight, someone grabbed my arm, pulled me down — that was a very dangerous play, and I got called for the foul. So if I gotta do justice myself, I’m gonna do justice myself. And it’s gonna get ugly,” Gobert said. “Hopefully I don’t have to do that. I just want to play basketball.”
That’s about as close as we’ll ever get to fighting words in the NBA, and Gobert was probably pretty heated after the loss when he said those things.
Still, officiating has been a question around the league this season, and it’s possible that Gobert has some legitimate complaints. Hopefully the coaching staff and front office in Utah is doing what they can to lobby the league so that Gobert doesn’t take it out on his fellow players. He’s already slapped a water bottle off the scorer’s table this year, and the Jazz can’t afford Gobert boiling over.