If on Thursday night you were not watching the NBA because you were walking around your house muttering “Coldplay? WTF? Why Coldplay?” I completely understand. That’s why we have a recap of five things you need to know.
1) Dwyane Wade circa 2006 (well, close) leads Heat past Thunder. Unlike the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show, you could not stop watching this game — neither team ever led by more than six, and there were 38 lead changes, and it felt as close to a playoff game as you can get the first week of December. Miami edged out the Heat 97-95 for a few reasons. They finally got good bench production, led by Josh McRoberts. Goran Dragic had maybe his best game this season, a well-rounded performance. Miami was playing strong defense.
But at the top of the list was Dwyane Wade, showing he can still own stretches of a game like it was 2006. Almost. He certainly looked like vintage Wade scoring the final eight points for Miami, including a Curley Neal dribble through all the Thunder players before draining the floater. Then on the final play he just got to the rim — why exactly was Dion Waiters guarding him? — where he drew the foul and knocked down the free throws. It’s just fun to see that Wade again.
2) The Celtics enjoyed their Mexico vacation. The Kings not so much. The NBA made its annual trip to Mexico City, and Boston used the opportunity to show the fans south of the border what quality team basketball looks like. Boston had four players score more than 20 points — Isaiah Thomas, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley — as the team raced out to a 32-15 first quarter lead and cruised from there (114-97 final score). Boston showed the fans in Mexico City what an NBA team should look like.
Sacramento was terrible. They played indifferent defense all night (to put it kindly), Rajon Rondo got ejected, and DeMarcus Cousins shot 4-of-17.Other than that, great Mexico trip for the Kings. This team and its effort are unpredictable night-to-night.
3) Gregg Popovich welcomed Craig Sager back to the sideline with a classic interview. For my money, Popovich sideline interviews are can’t miss entertaining, and this was one of Popovich’s best.
4) Kawhi Leonard hit seven threes, dropped 27 on Memphis. When you start talking MVP for this season — and it’s too early to talk about it yet, in my book — Kwahi Leonard should be discussed. He’s the game’s best perimeter defender, and now he comes with plenty of offense. Leonard had 27 points and hit seven threes as the Spurs handled he Grizzlies Thursday.
5) Mike Dunleavy out at least another month. Mike Dunleavy could provide some much-needed shooting and spacing for the Bulls offense, but it will be at least another month and likely longer before he comes back to the court, according to the latest report. Chicago is 11-5 this young season, but it’s still a hard team to read. In particular, Dunleavy could be a big boost, but it will be a while before anything goes dow