Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while freaking out that their are flying snakes (and not just those aboard a plane with Samuel L. Jackson)….
LeBron James, Miami Heat. LeBron James does bleed — we have now all seen it — blowing up the alien conspiracy theories out there. He also remains the best player on the planet and he showed that early and often Thursday night. He came out with a Durant-sized chip on his shoulder and scored Miami’s first 12 point and LeBron finished the first quarter with 16 points. He pushed Miami out to a lead on a 22-4 run that they would not surrender. He showed every shot in the arsenal — he drove and dunked, he hit threes, he posted up, he showed a little floater. As LeBron started to distribute more later in the game vintage Dwyane Wade showed up to seal the deal. LeBron finished with 33 points and could have had more if it had been motivation late in the game. Instead he’ll take an easy win.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets. The book on Faried is to force him to his left, make him use his left hand. The Bucks ignored the conventional wisdom and paid a serious price for that. Faried had 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting and all but one of his shots came on the block and within 8 feet of the rim. I wouldn’t go around expecting consistency from Faried now, but this was one his better games ever and Denver picked up a win because of it.
Golden State’s defense. Just a reminder that Golden State may have the sexy shooters and All-Star starting point guard, but their offense is pedestrian — 104.2 points per 100 possessions, 12th in the NBA this season. Against the Rockets Thursday night they scored barely over a point a possession. What the Warriors are winning with is defense — they held the Rockets to 36.6 percent shooting and some good shooters struggled (Chandler Parsons 8-of-24, Terrence Jones 1-7, Patrick Beverly 1-of-6, Dwight Howard 4-of-14). They did it without Andrew Bogut. This is why to me it seems Golden State could make a playoff push — they defend well when Andre Iguodala is on the court and they have guys who can score in the half court. They could take a series from a team like Houston based on defense alone.