Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:34 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 1:08 am
 

Report Card 12.30.11: Heat escape from Wolves

Posted by Ben Golliver

lebron-wolves

A: LeBron James to Dwyane Wade game-winning inbounds lob

The Miami Heat really, really should have lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which is one of those phrases that you expect never to  think, much less write. But it's true: rookie point guard Ricky Rubio's 12-point, 12-assist effort kept Minnesota in it until the very end, and a careless LeBron James turnover on a critical late possession gave Minnesota multiple chances to steal their only game against the Heat this season.

Instead, order was restored by an absolutely brilliant play design from coach Erik Spoelstra. Miami set up a sideline inbounds play out of a timeout, using James as the inbounder. Miami ran two players to the near corner to pull Minnesota's defense away from the middle of the court and then ran guard Dwyane Wade on a looping pattern using a high screen from forward Chris Bosh to free himself. James then threw the lob pass to a suddenly open Wade, who did well to catch it from behind his body and finish a lay-up smoothly in one motion, as the Timberwolves defense tried, too late, to contest his shot. Final score: Miami 103-101. Can't draw it up any better than that.


A: Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls

You'll rarely see two teams play harder than the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers did during the third quarter on Friday night, when bodies were flying all over the court on both ends. Chris Paul and Derrick Rose went tit-for-tat, blow-for-blow throughout, and DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin finished more dunks than anyone could keep track of. But the Bulls, led by Rose, remained their steady selves, down the stretch, pulling out a 114-101 win at Staples Center. Rose finished with a ridiculous 29 points on just 14 shots, adding 16 assists on top of that. Elite, elite, elite play. Paul was excellent; Rose was on a different level.

B: Boston Celtics and Paul Pierce's return

It must have felt nice for the Boston Celtics to enjoy a return to normalcy. After a dismal 0-3 start to the season in All-Star forward Paul Pierce's absence, Boston got its first win of the year by thumping the pathetic Detroit Pistons at home, 96-85. Pierce wasn't dominant, finishing with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists in just 23 minutes, but the contribution was much needed. 

C: Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers remained undefeated on the season, improving to 3-0 on Friday night, but it took overtime and a gift from the Gods to make sure it happened. Indiana struggled to shoot all night, finishing just 36-for-94 from the field and a pitiful 2-for-10 from deep. The Cleveland Cavaliers, one of the league's weakest sisters, were almost exactly as terrible (34-for-88 overall and 5-for-25 from deep) but one Cavaliers miss swung this in Indiana's favor. Rookie guard Kyrie Irving made a beautiful series of moves to free himself near the rim on the final possession of regulation, staring at a point blank lay-up that would have given Cleveland a thrilling buzzer-beating victory. Instead, Irving, who finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, saw his attempt rim out, forced to hold his head in disbelief. The Pacers slammed the door, winning overtime 14-7, to seal the 98-91 victory. But, Indiana: you're better than all that.

D: New Orleans Hornets' bricklaying

The Phoenix Suns have had a rough start to the 2011-2012 season but they got an elixir for their ills in the New Orleans Hornets' bricklaying. Minus guard Eric Gordon, who didn't play because of a knee bruise, the Hornets starting backcourt of Jarrett Jack and Marco Belinelli combined to shoot 9-for-33. The starting frontcourt of Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry was only barely better, at 8-for-27. In fact, not a single one of the 12 Hornets who played shot 50 percent or better. The final damage: 26-for-90. Unreal.

F: Chris Bosh's ridiculous pass

Oh, Chris Bosh. Just when you were starting to look invincible and slightly more likeable you had to pull us back in. The following blooper brings plenty of unintentional comedy. Bosh, working near the three-point line, hesitates to pass the ball to center Joel Anthony, who decides to move away and set a pick for a teammate. With Anthony's head turned, Bosh decides to fire a pass to him, which richochets hard off his back and out of bounds. Bosh doubles down on the hilarity by giving Anthony a death stare, pointing at his own eyes as if to say, "Watch for the pass." Sorry, man. That one was on you.

Here's the video.



E for Effort: Minnesota Timberwolves

Just like the Charlotte Bobcats earlier this week, The young, frisky Timberwolves watched an excellent shot at upsetting the Heat slip between their fingers at the last possible moment thanks to miracle work by Dwyane Wade. Now 0-3 after suffering varying degrees of heartbreak throughout the first week of the season, Minnesota now possesses what it hasn't in previous seasons: its dignity. A respect level is beginning to develop around the league, thanks largely to the hype building around Rubio, and these close encounters will surely turn into nailbiting upsets before too long.
Posted on: December 30, 2011 9:50 pm
 

Wade's birthday message to LeBron: You're bald

Posted by Ben Golliver

Happy birthday, LeBron James. You look old and you're balding.

That was the message from the other two members of the Miami Heat's Big 3, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, when James turned 27-years-old on Friday. The pair passed on those birthday wishes to James during a halftime feature aired on Fox Sports North during Miami's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Happy birthday," Bosh deadpanned. "Shout out. To LeBron. Nah, happy birthday man. I know you look 37 but you're turning 27, good for you, man."

"Happy 27th birthday to you brother," Wade said, flashing his trademark smile. "Glad I could share this moment with you. I don't think you're 27 but that's what you tell us so we're going to roll with it."

Wade then continued to take a shot at James' receding hairline, pointing to his own forehead for effect.

"Been around to see you grow from an 18-year-old kid that had a line-up to a 27 year old man that don't have one," Wade said. "I'm looking forward to seeing it come back soon. Happy birthday brother."

With friends and teammates like these, who needs bloggers? Here's the birthday message video from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to LeBron James via YouTube user 07rcmp.


Posted on: December 28, 2011 11:40 pm
 

Report Card 12.28.11: Spurs ground Lob City

Posted by Royce Young


A: San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are too old right? THIS is the year it all starts coming apart for them, right? Yeah, right. The Clippers came to town bringing their lightshow of dunks and alley-oops, but the old, slow Spurs had no problems handling all that noise. San Antonio used a 38-point third quarter to pull away from the Clips and really highlighted a lot of issues Lob City has. They need a shooter and some depth, badly. The Spurs seem to have it all together once again, as long as the old guys can stay healthy. Doubt them all you want. Pay attention to the young, excited kids running and jumping and dunking. But the Spurs will just keep winning no matter how boring you may find that, thank you very much. The Spurs are 2-0 with blowout wins over Memphis and the Clippers. No big.

A: LeBron James and Chris Bosh

The Heat got a tougher than anticipated test from the Bobcats, but LeBron and Bosh were terrific for Miami. LeBron had 35 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Bosh had 11 of his 25 in the fourth. And he also had this incredibly awkward and awesome dunk.

B: Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder picked up a third straight win, beating Memphis 98-95 on the road, but it's a bit tainted as Mike Conley injured his ankle on the very first possession of the game. And on top of it, the Thunder shot just 37 percent from the floor and gave up 19 offensive rebounds. But winning is winning and it's always good. Especially when it's on the road against a contender. Kevin Durant dropped a beautiful 32 points and carried OKC down the stretch.

C: New Orleans Hornets

They beat the Celtics to start 2-0. And they did this one without Eric Gordon. That really deserves an A. But you're supposed to be doing bad, New Orleans! You're supposed to be tanking this season away! You're supposed to be setting yourselves up for the Anthony Davis sweepstakes! Each win will be bittersweet this season for that stupid reason. It's supposed to be about the future and every win hurts that a bit. It's a horrible thing, but reality.

D: Russell Westbrook

How's this for a line: Four points, 0-13 shooting, four turnovers. Yikes. So why isn't this an F? Because Westbrook picked up six assists, hit two very important free throws in the final seconds and his team won.

F: Boston Celtics

What can you say? The Celtics are 0-3 and just lost to the Hornets despite their best player sitting. And it wasn't even a close game as they lost by 19. Yeah, Paul Pierce is hurt. Yeah, it's a night after that tough game in Miami. That's not supposed to be an excuse for a team like the Celtics though.

E for Effort: Charlotte Bobcats

So, sooooo close to knocking off the Heat. Miami was dragging a bit and probably overlooked Charlotte a bit as the Heat were coming off a game the night before against Boston, but the Bobcats were ready to go. Charlottle held a one-point lead with a few seconds left and if not for Dwyane Wade being ridiculous, the Bobcats would've registered the upset of the early NBA season. Things to be encouraged about though if you're Paul Silas and the Bobcats though. Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and D.J. Augustin should give Bobcat fans something to be excited about.

Incomplete: Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are 2-0, but have wins over the Pistons and Raptors, with both games being relatively close. Are they good or just beating who they're supposed to beat? It's hard to know right now.
Posted on: December 28, 2011 9:36 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 9:43 pm
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Posted on: December 28, 2011 9:36 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 10:25 pm
 

LeBron James dunk blocked by opponent's head

Posted by Ben Golliver

Go ahead and book it: this is the greatest blocked shot you will see during the 2011-2012 NBA season.

Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James threw down a vicious one-hand dunk during the fourth quarter of a Tuesday night game against the Charlotte Bobcats. One problem, though. As the ball went through the rim cleanly, Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson flew underneath the basket in a failed attempt to contest the play. James' dunk bounced off of Henderson's head and back through the rim, richocheting out clear to midcourt.

The officials apparently thought James' dunk either clanged off the bang rim or was blocked by Henderson and let play continue without counting the basket. James protested mightily, to no avail.

The Heat went on to beat the Bobcats, 96-95, at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. 

Here's the ridiculous video of LeBron James dunking the ball off of Gerald Henderson's head, only to have the basket not count.

Posted on: December 28, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Theory and Proof: Celts still in trouble

By Matt Moore

Theory: The Celtics are in trouble despite their comeback effort against the Heat and tough opening schedule.

Proof: Paul Pierce was out. It was a road game. The calls didn't go their way. And they still managed to come back from 20 down to put the knife to the Heat's throat Tuesday night. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says that the reports of the Celtics' demise are greatly exaggerated. And he's right. But a further examination of this team's performance through two games reveals that it's not all smoke and mirrors that show cracks in the green facade.

For starters, well, you know, they lost both games. A great comeback effort doesn't mean much if the result is still a pair of L's to playoff opponents gunning for you on national television. The Celtics dug themselves holes they couldn't get out of despite long second-half runs in two games, especially Tuesday night, and the result is an 0-2 mark to start a season they need to rack up wins early in order to rest later in.

But beyond the obvious losses, there's a serious trend coming to light that looks awful bad. The Celtics have been one of the best defensive teams in the league for the past four years. They've been about as reliable as it gets in terms of cracking down on the opponent. But they surrendered a 112.7 defensive efficiency (basically the rate they would have scored at in an average pace game) against the Heat after givig up a 112.8 mark to the Knicks. They allowed the Knics to shoot 47 percent on Sunday, and the Heat to shoot 56 percent on Tuesday. This despit stellar third and fourth quarters, respectively, in those games. The Celtics' defense has been just plain bad. Has the copetition been high? Absolutely. But the same style that worked for so long, slowing it down, grinding it out, isn't working well so far.

Then there's the offense. The C's managed to close the Heat's lead to 3 late in the fourth quarter against the Heat, but consider what they needed offensively. With Paul Pierce out, the Celtics wound up running a huge chunk of their offense throught he perimeter. The shots fell. They were 12-19 from the arc against the Heat, a ridiculous mark. Would Keyon Dooling (18 points, 4-6 shooting from 3) have had as many minute with Pierce available, even with Keyon Dooling playing minutes at the 2. The Celtics were downright Magic-ian in shooting all those threes. That was the only way they were able to hang so long. That kind of shooting obviously isn't sustainable. The argument can be made that the Heat's clip won't stay that high either, and it's a valid one. But the Heat ran a smoother offense and created easier opportunities in transition.

This isn't to say that the Celtics won't figure it out, they will. Pierce will help. Continuity will help. Understanding lineups better and getting Bandon Bass more minutes will help. But the Celtics have issues as they showed in the first three quarters against the Heat. There are problems that the Celtics need to resolve quickly.
Posted on: December 27, 2011 6:40 pm
 

Miami Heat make 'All of the Lights' intro video

Posted by Ben Golliver

Nothing says serious championship contender quite like Eddy Curry making a rap music video cameo while wearing two polo shirts.

The Miami Heat have released a 2011-2012 introduction video set to the tune of Kanye West's "All of the Lights". It's pretty incredible and almost defies explanation, but we'll give it a shot anyway. 

The one-minute spot features LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company bouncing their hands and shaking their moneymakers as psychedelic graphics spin around them. Wade is dressed in a white suitcoat, James a green sweater, and Bosh dons a striped sweater. Things get cooky when Shane Battier shows up in double popped collars, James Jones in a scarf, Mike Miller in a jean jacket and cargo shorts. The Heat dancers also make a mandatory appearance.

There are goofy faces, shoulders that are dusted off and some flexing. It ends with the tagline, "Let's Go Heat." This baby has it all.

Related: In early December, the Heat released a hype video dubbed "The Wait Is Over". 

Take a look at the Miami Heat's "All of the Lights" introduction video courtesy of the Miami Heat on YouTube




Hat tip: Palm Beach Post
Posted on: December 25, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 12:31 am
 

Miami runs away with Christmas win in Dallas

Posted by Ben Golliver.

THE THEORY: A faster Miami Heat is a more dangerous Miami Heat

THE PROOF: Miami runs away with opening day road win

The early word out of Miami Heat training camp was coach Erik Spoelstra's desire to up the tempo in an effort to unleash his team's fierce athleticism and ability to finish plays in transition. A competitive advantage could be found, reason dictated, if Miami adopted some of the University of Oregon's football team's creativity and unpredictability. 

Miami was below-average (No. 21) in terms of pace last season but has all the parts, on paper, to be one of the most versatile, mobile teams in the game. The Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all move quickly, authoritatively and nimbly in transition, the available point guard options aren't ball-stoppers and center Joel Anthony and power forward Udonis Haslem aren't oafs. The linchpins of any offense attack are going to be James and Wade, of course, and both are good in isolation and halfcourt situations that it was tempting to just slow things down and let them work their guaranteed man-to-man abilities to create regular trips to the free throw line and high-percentage looks for their teammates. Miami was a top-3 team in terms of offensive efficiency last season so any chances amount to Spoelstra tinkering with a winning formula rather than overhauling a broken model. 

Going faster increases the potential for turnovers, lost possessions and decreased overall efficiency, but it also creates the potential, given the sheer quality of Miami's horses, to simply run teams off the court in demoralizing fashion. The Heat went to Dallas and defeated the Mavericks on Christmas Day, 105-94, but their higher-octane approach made this a game that was far less competitive than that score indicated.

Miami ran up a 30+ point lead thanks in large part to its ability to turn Dallas over and convert in transition, where the Heat finished with 31 fast break points. The results were often sensational, none more mesmerizing than the following double alley-oop, which saw James tip a lob pass from Mario Chalmers to Wade, who finished it with a thunderous dunk and a scowling face that said, "Ooh, that was nasty." The play began with Chalmers picking Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki's pocket from the weakside.



James and Wade, together, were extraordinarily efficient, combining for 63 points on 40 shots and getting to the line a combined 25 times. Bosh was mostly an afterthought but with numbers like that it doesn't much matter. Miami committed 23 turnovers, certainly something to keep an eye on, but it got to the foul line at will and torched Dallas' first unit on the break. The blowout potential here is frightening.

Here's one last look at their open court abilities. a Wade to James to Bosh combination which was sparked by a Wade block on the defensive end. There's not a team in the league that can stop this trio if their chemistry is clicking like this at full speed.



 
 
 
 
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