Heat’s Spoelstra talked to Seattle Seahawks about winning

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The Seattle Seahawks are NFL title contenders.

That is a strange sentence to type, but it’s true. ProFootballTalk has them fourth in its preseason power rankings and they were probably the hottest team in football at the end of last season.

So how do you get a team over the top? Ask someone who got their team over the top, to start.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra went and talked to the Seahawks this week at the request of Pete Carroll and staff, reports Ira Winderman at the Sun-Sentinel. Quarterback Russell Wilson talked about the message.

“Just having him here in front of the team and just having him in meetings with us and having him out here in practice is an unbelievable experience for everybody,” quarterback Russell said after Tuesday’s practice, with the video of Wilson’s interview posted at the Seahawks’ website. “For him to be able to talk about how his basketball team was successful and the way that they went about their business in terms of sacrificing . . . just that whole idea of sacrificing everything, the players, LeBron [James] coming to Miami, and Dwyane Wade sacrificing all that, all that type of sacrifice that it takes to be great and to be great so often, is kind of what he talked about for the most part. And having that discipline, as well, too, is something that he talked about, and just working hard, continuing to work hard, continuing to believe in yourselves and ignore the noise.

“That’s the main message he gave. And it clicked right with us.”

Spoelstra doesn’t get enough credit in some quarters; he does more than just roll the ball out there. He is obsessive about preparation and giving his team the right information (for example his pregame white board is impressive), putting them in the right situations to succeed. Secondly, he helped manage the egos and build a culture where sacrifice to win matters — Chris Bosh could be the focal point of an average team, but he gave up the points to win, Wade sacrificed his role to LeBron James (who sacrificed money). And the rest of the role players buy in also. All of that matters.

Spoelstra has his toughest job ahead of him — the roster Heat didn’t get better this offseason (unless you believe in Greg Oden more than I do, I want to see him succeed but wouldn’t count on it). Miami is going to have to be better, be healthier with the guys already on the team.

But for now, Spoelstra should bask a little in the glow of those two titles, do a few trips like this. He’s earned it.

Jazz have one of worst offensive showings ever, score 68 in 50-point loss to Mavericks

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NBA scoring is exploding. Defenses are getting less leeway for physicality. Offenses are more efficient than ever. Pace is at its highest mark in decades.

Except for the Jazz last night.

Utah scored just 68 points in a 50-point loss to the Mavericks. And even that undersells the Jazz’s offensive woes. They played reasonably fast, getting 101 possessions. Their offensive rating – 67.3 – shows just how inept they truly were.

In all, Utah shot 42% on 2-pointers, 17% on 3-pointers and 63% on free throws and committed 22 turnovers.

The Jazz set several milestones for offensive futility:

  • Fewest points in a game (68) in nearly two years (68 by Hawks vs. Jazz on Nov. 25, 2016)
  • Lowest Basketball-Reference estimated offensive rating in a game (68.8) in more than three years (68.2 by Grizzlies vs. Warriors on Nov. 2, 2015)
  • Fewest points in a second half (22) in nearly five years (19 by Rockets vs. Thunder on Jan. 16, 2014)

Comparing across eras can be difficult, but here’s one measure: The Jazz scored 68 points in a season teams are averaging 110.4 points per game.

That output relative to average – -42.4 – is one of the lowest of all-time:

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Kevin Durant’s brother posts: ‘just follow along before the greatness is done rubbing off on you and people see you for what you really are’

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Kevin Durant and Draymond Green are feuding, the possibility of Durant leaving the Warriors in free agency next summer hanging over everything.

Now comes Durant’s brother, Tony – intentionally or not – throwing gasoline on the fire. Again.

Tony posted and deleted these comments on Instagram, via Bleacher Report:

Read too much into vague social-media content at your own peril.

But, man, that sure looks like Tony advising Green just to enjoy Durant masking Green’s problems until Durant leaves the Warriors and leaves Green exposed.

Andrew Wiggins simultaneously dunks on, kicks nuts of Nikola Mirotic (video)

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Andrew Wiggins keeps besting Nikola Mirotic.

Wiggins won Rookie of the Year over Mirotic in 2015.

In the Timberwolves’ win over the Pelicans last night, Wiggins had the dagger dunk on Mirotic – and made sure Mirotic felt it. Ouch.

Hamidou Diallo blows open, big windmill dunk (video)

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Ahead on a fastbreak late in the Thunder’s 128-103 win over the Knicks last night, Hamidou Diallo had a great opportunity to showboat. He went for a big windmill dunk.

And missed.

It seems the scouting report on the rookie hasn’t changed much since the draft: “He is incredibly athletic and also incredibly raw.”