Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 5:45 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
Sorry, LeBron James. You melted down in the clutch during an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, and you broke the rules while doing it.
The NBA announced on Thursday -- using @NBAOfficial, a new Twitter account dedicated to clarifying controversial refereeing decisions -- that James violated the league's traveling rules on a key late-game play.
"Yes, LeBron should have been called for traveling on this play last night," the NBA's statement read.
The play in question occurred during the final 10 seconds of regulation with the Heat looking to draw even with the Clippers. James drove to his left past Clippers forward Caron Butler, appeared to execute a jump stop, and then spun into a turnaround jump shot, which was interrupted by a bump from Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Jordan was whistled for a foul on the play.
HardwoodParoxysm.com studied the tape and noted that James did not properly execute the jump shot because he did not land with both feet simultaneously and that he slid his pivot foot as he moved to attempt the shot.
The traveling infraction, which was not called by the refereeing crew of Ron Garretson, Eric Dalen and Derek Richardson, occurred prior to Jordan's foul of James, which sent the Heat's All-Star forward to the free-throw line, which eventually led to overtime.
Despite some obvious frustration at the officiating, all was well that ended well for Los Angeles. The Clippers went on to defeat the Heat, 95-89, in overtime.
James finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 6 turnovers on 7-for-19 shooting. James missed eight free throws on the night, including three in the final 1:21 of regulation.
Here's video of the play in which the NBA publicly admitted that LeBron James traveled, courtesy of HardwoodParoxysm.com.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:45 pm
Posted by Royce Young
People have made a big stink about the Heat for a lot of different reasons, but one thing people really like to hone in on is the so-called "closer" talk. Who takes the last shot in a close game? Who closes out opponents, LeBron or Dwyane Wade? The team has played more than 100 games together now and it's become pretty obvious in that time -- it's Wade's time, not LeBron.
Nobody has necessarily declared that, but more just it's been the plan of action in close games. Well, now Chris Bosh has actually said what we all already know. Via GQ:
That sounds like something we should all make a big deal about, but here's the thing: I bet LeBron would agree with that. It's kind of the life he signed up for when he went to Wade's team. That doesn't mean LeBron won't ever have his opportunity, but unlike the situations for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose or Dirk Nowitzki, it's not a given that LeBron gets that look. Even his own teammates say so, without hesitating.
Wednesday against the Clippers though, Wade played decoy and passed to LeBron at the end of regulation (LeBron was fouled and missed a big free throw). So they do interchange a bit.
But here we all are, mostly agreeing that LeBron James is the best player in the league and yet his own team doesn't want him taking the big shot. Isn't there something wrong with that? Does that say more about Wade, or does that say more about LeBron? Does Bosh, and the Heat, not trust LeBron or do they just believe in Wade that much?
Obviously Bosh isn't intending to take a dig at LeBron, but it's hard not to see it as that. He's saying Wade "relishes" those big moments which indicates that LeBron really doesn't. And there's proof of it: In Cleveland, where LeBron was The Man, he routinely passed to an open Daniel Gibson or Larry Hughes in the corner rather than taking things into his own hands. It's the player he is. He prefers to defer than dominate. It's his curse and his gift.
At this point though with the way the Heat are playing late in games, maybe he should've said Mario Chalmers.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:52 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Mike Brown has been a pretty fortunate head coach. Sure, he got fired from his last gig, but he's coached teams that featured LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. So basically, he was set up to do well.
But he's also one of the few people that actually have a good perspective on the differences between the two superstars. Brown coached LeBron for multiple seasons in Cleveland, but Kobe just a handful of games in Los Angeles. Still, he has had a unique look at both players. His early conclusion: They're different. Via the O.C. Register:
It's very easy to read into those comments and make something out of them. But even from just the outside perspective, that's the truth. LeBron has talked about having fun and trying to make basketball a game first. Kobe approaches it like it's his only sustinance and if he doesn't win, he'll die. Maybe that's a difference between the two in terms of Kobe having multiple titles and LeBron having failed twice. Maybe not.
There are things that separate players. Mental makeup, competitive drive, insanity, anger -- whatever. Kobe Bryant is a different animal when it comes to basketball. It makes him a joy to watch and a pain to watch. LeBron is a freak of nature but obviously doesn't have the same mindset as Kobe when it comes to the game. Kobe has no fear of taking 35 shots in a game and then standing in front of the press saying, "Yeah, so what?" after the game. LeBron almost plays to please everyone. Not in a sense that he doesn't have the backbone, but he prefers to play more team ball than take over. It's the best and worst thing about him.
I don't know if you can take Brown's comments as something that says LeBron needs to grow up, but there is something to be said for having fun and something to be said for making basketball life or death. There are things much more important in life than a game, but at the same time, that's sometimes what makes the great ones great. It means everything to them. It almost means too much. There's no time to have fun on the basketball court, only time to win.
But like Brown said, LeBron is young and still has a lot of time to figure things out. Kobe is in an entirely different place career-wise. And it's not like LeBron wouldn't give everything to win. He just wants to have fun while doing it. Nothing really all that wrong with that. People are different, players are different.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 11:31 am
Edited on: January 12, 2012 11:33 am
Posted by Royce Young
Before he cut his dreads and joined the Miami Heat, Chris Bosh was regarded as maybe the best power forward in basketball. He was a consistent 20-10 guy on a bad Raptors team and had every team drooling over him.
Versatile, strong, smart and gifted -- Bosh was a prize.
He chose to join Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami and immediately became a punchline. While Wade and LeBron were seen as the stars, the guys doing the real work, Bosh was the underachiever, the soft guy that didn't do his job. In reality, he averaged 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds a game last season and is averaging 19.4 and 8.1 this season which aren't bad by any means. Not the 20-10 he consistently put up before, but he wasn't playing alongside two superstars then either.
Still, he's the butt of most Heat jokes, the guy that's easy to pick on. And he's kind of sick of it. Via SI.com:
"People created this stigma about [me] and they just ran with it," Bosh said. "And once it was out there, everyone ran with it. It was just talk. There was no evidence to back it up. The name-calling and stuff, it got a little too out of hand. If you want to say my game isn't where it's supposed to be, fine. But the name calling, that's not journalism. Too many people, especially when they don't know me, were just saying a whole lot of stuff that wasn't true."I'm totally with Bosh -- the name-calling really isn't fair (except for "Like a Bosh," because that's hilarious). He's done his job and played relatively well. There have been times he's disappeared, but I'm not entirely sure you can blame that on him. For example, Wednesday against the Clippers, Bosh had a double-double in the first half, but scored just two baskets after halftime and grabbed a lonely rebound. Partially on him, but also on the fact that the Heat tend to squeeze him out late in games. It becomes all about Wade and LeBron instead of maximizing the five guys on the floor.
Bosh has been marginalized to a degree. He's not able to play entirely like himself, and for a reason. As a result, he gets called stupid things like "Bosh Spice" and other dumb names. It's not fair, but that's the deal he signed with the devil when he chose to go to South Beach.
He better get used to it though, because just because he asks nicely doesn't mean it's going to stop. In fact, it'll probably just get worse until the Heat shut their critics up with a ring.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:59 am
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:04 am
By Matt Moore
Los Angeles 95 Miami 89
Theory: LeBron James cost the Heat a winnable game on the road against a playoff team by missing free throws.
Proof: Eventually you reach a point where these things cross the line of believablility. One missed clutch free throw by an 80 percent free throw shooter, one of the best basketball players on the planet, OK. Sure. Weird, but it happens.
But the sheer volume of missed free throws from LeBron James against the Clippers on Wednesday is purely staggering.
And more so, James was clearly, visibly shook by the misses. He didn't settle for long jumpers, though he did brick a face-up J with Billups defending him in the fourth. He did what everyone asks. He posted, he drove, he got to the rim, and he drew the foul.
And he bricked. Over and over and over again.
It was comical. It was absurd. Some people will say they aren't surprised, that James has already shown himself to be that kind of player. But there's a reason so many people react the way they do. There's a reason James is regarded in such lofty compliments. He really is that good... provided it's not a crucial game since the Eastern Conference Finals ended last June.
The Heat missed 14 free throws against the Clippers. Hit half of those misses, they win the game. Any better than that and it's a walk. The game never goes to OT. The Heat absolutely melted down on multiple levels. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were equally as terrible in the fourth quarter and overtime as James. But it was James who had the opportunity, yet again, to step up and lead, to end it, to be the player that gets it done.
And again, he failed. Shrunk. Choked. Whatever cliche you want to rip out there. He finished 9-17 from the line. Eight missed chances, any pair of which in regulation would have ended it. Torching LeBron for his late game failures has become more boring and drawn out than players complaining about calls (which there was also a lot of in this game, and rightfully so). And yet it's based in reality. No one remembers him crushing the Celtics down the stretch in a dominant series. No one remembers him erasing the MVP Derrick Rose. And rightfully so. These performances aren't just questionable or soft. They're bad. He's played badly.
And Wednesday night, those failures cost the Heat a game they should have won.
It's not even funny at this point, but that's hard to tell over the sound of the world's laughter.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:05 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 10:09 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
After missing three games with a sore foot, Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade will return to the team's starting lineup on Tuesday night, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The Heat are visiting the Golden State Warriors.
The paper reports that Wade might play restricted minutes but opted to play after participating in the team's Tuesday morning shootaround.
"I'm not trying to play my normal minutes, just get out there and get back into the groove of things."Wade is averaging 18.8 points, 6.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game in six appearances so far this season. The Heat are 5-1 with Wade in the lineup; they won games against the Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks and New Jersey Nets without him.
On Monday, Wade expressed concern that he might have been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis in his foot.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:55 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 8:58 pm
By Matt Moore
Let's pretend for a minute that LeBron James isn't LeBron James. Let's take away his massive ego which has risen up and taken control of his cerebral cortex more than once a week over the past two years. Let's take away the polarizing nature of "The Decision" and the epic failures in the fourth quarter during the Finals (after Game 3). Let's remove him teaming up with too much talent, from premature talk of his greatness, from all the things that make us recognize LeBron James as the professional athlete or media entity we associate him with. Let's pretend, just for a moment, that he's just another basketball player.
If we assume for a minute that we want all players to reach their potential, because that makes for the most entertaining games possible, even if fans hope for their particular team's best to be better than everyone else's best, then there's something to be noted about James this year. He's doing it. Particularly in the biggest area of criticism for him, outside of clutch play.
For years, people have marveled at James' athleticism. To put it simply, the dude's a truck that moves like a jackrabbit. He's got so much power and speed packed into that 285 lb. (a rough number, he drifts between 295 and 260 and protects the number like his bank account) frame, but there's the hitch. He has never really exerted it in the post. He's bigger than any 3 that can guard him, faster than any 4. So why not just pound guys into oblivion in the post instead of drifting into those pull-up perimeter shots?
I've long thought that James' fascination with Michael Jordan had a lot to do with it. After all, kids of LeBron's generation didn't grow up emulating Kareem's sky hook or even the Dream Shake. They idolized "The Shot,'" worshipped Jordan's turnaround jumper, the push-off jumper against the Jazz. His game always seemed to take on the impression of trying to conform to what we think of as a star scorer. "Rise and fire" as it were.
But that's changing. As ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst noted Tuesday:
Meanwhile, Spoelstra is growing a little fatigued of answering questions about James’ post game. He knows quite well that James posted up on seven percent of his offensive plays last season and now it is more than 15 percent. He knows that James is shooting 65 percent on those post plays, the best in the NBA so far. He also knows has that James averages 1.219 points per play from the post, another in-depth stat that Spoelstra specializes in.via LeBron's transformation into an inside man - Heat Index Blog - ESPN.
And that's definitely true. From the wide-open, Oregon Ducks-influenced changes in transition to the alterations to Chris Bosh's approach, to what Mario Chalmers is doing on and off ball, the Heat are a wildly different team. And yet the changes to James can be most impactful. In the post, there is no one that can guard him one-on-one. When single covered, James is unstoppable, scoring 68 percent of the time. But there is still a weakness. When doubled, James has turned the ball over 20 percent of the time. It's still a tiny sample in this young season, but at least it shows there is a weakness.
More to the point than numbers and figures, however, is the philosophical change this demonstrates in James and what it means. Players are defensive of their game. After all, it's their craft. They have dedicated their lives to it and no one wants to have their job performance ripped apart, most often times by people who could never replicate it. There's a pride that goes with it. Consider for a moment, Kobe Bryant's comments to Yahoo Sports this week about how he will not be changing his game, despite struggles with his shot before this week's 3-game hot streak as well as continuing issues with turnovers while dominating the field goal attempts of the Lakers.
“I shoot, I shoot,” Bryant said. “You’ve known that for 16 years. I’m not changing my game. If the defense is not doubling, I’m going to score. If I’ve got a good look, I’m going to score. My teammates know that. But I also give them the ball, too, and set them up.via Kobe sees few cracks in championship foundation - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.
Now, it should be noted that Bryant has radically altered his game throughout the years, adapting a face-up game and then becoming one of the deadliest post players in the league. But these adjustments were largely extensions of his pre-existing skill-set. Turnaround-jumper, off-hand layup, driving dunk. What James is faced with is a need to become more than what he's been. And what he's been has been an MVP caliber player. So from that perspective it's easy to see why he may have resisted change. But alongside his work in the post, James has done much more in transition. His decisions are quicker when he's running point. He has arguably the widest skillset of any player in the league, but for the first time, he's putting all of them to use.
This could fade away. James could suffer a serious injury and return to pull-up threes and tentative jump-passes. But the work in the post stands for more than just the changes the Heat have made to their offense. It represents an extension of James' self-awareness and exploration of his own game, and hints at the possibility of him becoming the player he was so undeservedly crowned to be so early in his career. If it was any other player, you'd want to pull for that, you'd want to urge him to keep it up.
But then to take that blind approach is to ignore elements as plain as the nose on his face, a transgression as blatant as James' own avoidance of the post game.
James has to change his game before people change their minds.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 8:50 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Right now, Dwyane Wade's injury is nothing. It's just a sore foot and the Heat are winning just fine without him. LeBron James is playing terrific, Chris Bosh is filling the gaps and the role players are doing their jobs.
But Wade has now missed three games and is questionable for the Heat's Tuesday game against the Warriors. His injury is clearly lingering a bit and Monday after Miami's practice, Wade mentioned a potentially ugly injury situation. Via the Sun Sentinel:
“I don’t know, man, it’s just hurting. It could be three different things. (Plantar fasciitis is) one of them. The bruise is one of ‘em. Maybe it’s a combination. I just know that it’s in the area of the plantar fascia and I know it’s bruised as well. Whatever it is, it’s just taking its course, taking its time to get healthy.”Any time a player says "it's just hurting," that's not good. Playing in pain isn't something you want to do. Every player has to do it at different times but a healthy Wade is the kind of player Miami wants to win with.
Plantar fasciitis though is the type of nagging injury that can affect an entire season. It's a foot condition that includes constant pain with pressure. It's the type of injury you get from spending too much time hammering on your feet. And the way you rehab it is simply to rest. For a while. Don't rest it long enough and you'll wind right back up where you were.
Without Wade, the Heat have gone 3-0, but obviously that's not a sustainable success model. They need Dwyane Wade. Not necessarily right now, but definitely come May. Right now he's trying to heal and the hope is it's just a bruise. Otherwise, Wade could have a painful season ahead.