Tag:Norris Cole
Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:41 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:49 pm
 

Linsanity meets LeBrontology in Heat win

LeBron James lead the Heat to a win over Jeremy Lin and the Knicks. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Magic and momentum can take you far in this world. Things happen in sports that defy logic and reason. They happen all the time in the NBA. The 8th seed Warriors with no discernible defense knocking off one of the best regular season teams of the decade in Dallas. The Nuggets toppling the Sonics in the 90's. Sundiata Gaines hitting a game winner. In football, Tim Tebow knocked off the Steelers. It only took injuries to half of Pittsburgh's team to pull it off. Sometimes the story is greater than the facts.

But eventually, there's science. Cold, hard, science.

On Thursday night, Linsanity got a cold dose of LeBrontology, as Miami downed New York 102-88.

It wasn't primarily James doing the damage, it was the Heat's suffocating team defense. It was Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier attacking Jeremy Lin's dribble, it was Wade, Chris Bosh, Chalmers, and Battier on offense. But James was the tip of the spear at both ends, and putting on another MVP performance in a big game setting with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals,, and 2 blocks. Want proof this game mattered to James? 40 minutes, before the All-Star break. He contained Lin, forced him into traps, and the Heat took away Lin's right, then took away his dribble, and always, always, always started the break with one of their athletic wings streaking in for the finish.

It was a blitzkrieg, it was a bum rush, it was a stampede by Miami, and the Knicks were left trampled underfoot.

By the end of the game any hope of Lin turning on one of the furious comebacks he's created this year fell by the wayside, instead the Knicks reverted to B.L. (Before Lin) thinking, with Carmelo Anthony isolating for contested jumpers, the rhythm destroyed for New York. It was an impressive win, but far from a blowout.

The Knicks had things going for them, and in reality, this game represents well where the two teams are. The Knicks are dangerous, now. When Anthony is slashing to the basket, when Amar'e Stoudemire is taking advantage of opportunities, when Tyson Chandler is a force at the rim, and on any other night when Lin is able to create scoring opportunities, the Knicks have what it takes to make a playoff run and run to the second round. That they were over-matched is not indicative of the degree of this team's flaws, less than a week in with this complete roster.

The fact that Miami slammed the door so emphatically in the second half is.

The Big 3 scored 67 points, the bench gave them 27. But it was their game plan that shows what this team can do when it's in gear. The formula is simple. Turn the opponent over, run, run, run it down their throat. Rinse, lather, repeat. There will come a time when the Heat offense again looks pathetic, stagnant, pedestrian. But the Knicks caught them at a time when they are at their very best. This Heat team smothers your possession, dissects your ball movement, then punishes you with their speed and athleticism. I call it the Flying Death Machine for a reason. That New York hung in says a lot about their talent level.

Lin was sloppy, running into defenders, desperate to try and create space, contained on the drive and deterred from his sweet spots. The Heat can talk all they want about not adjusting their game to their opponent, but this was a concerted effort to cut the Knicks' mythological head clean off. With Lin buried, the Knicks offense was fine, for a while, but eventually it caught up. That may be the most impressive piece of the Heat's performance. Amar'e Stoudemire hurt the Heat in the first half. They made him vanish in the second half. The perimeter shooting killed them throughout the game, but eventually the Heat started anticipating the passes. They gave up a lot of size inside, but the bigger the game became, the better Joel Anthony (5 blocks) played.

And there was James, at it all, running and swiping and cutting and shooting. The Knicks were within ten under two-minutes. Lin turnover. Outlet pass. LeBron James emphatic dunk. The end.

Lin will adjust and get better, the Knicks will be fine. But this game showed itself to be another example of what we already knew.

The Miami Heat play above the rim, and a step above everyone else in the NBA right now. They are faster, stronger, better right now. 

It's science.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:25 pm
 

Lin's turnovers a problem for Knicks vs. Heat

By Matt Moore 

We told you that the Heat could create turnovers against Jeremy Lin and you saw it in the first half. After the first 24, Miami leads 5-47, as Jeremy Lin has six turnovers, and LeBron James has five steals (though not all are off Lin). Both Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers have done an excellent job of containing and pressuring Lin, while the rest of the Heat have attacked his dribble. Amar'e Stoudemire also has six turnovers, but has 11 points and 3 boards to go with it. Lin on the other hand has just 2 points and 2 assists.

It's a breakneck pace with the Heat running out in transition. LeBron James has 8 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 2 turnovers. The defense for both teams has been very good despite the high shooting percentages.

Lin has to calm down and run the offense, and not force the issue. Mental and physical exhaustion have to be playing a part, but six turnovers in a single half is just too much. Steve Novak has nine points off the bench. A second quarter run gave the Knicks the lead briefly, but the Heat came right back by pushing the tempo again with Lin in the game. It's been a game of fast pace and big plays with huge blocks and dunks on both ends.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:15 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:28 pm
 

Knicks vs. Heat headlines: LeBron vs. Jeremy Lin


By Matt Moore
 

Okay, I'm going to use one pun here for this Knicks-Heat game Thursday night, and then we're going to go through the rest of it without a single one, not even Linsanity. But I have to get this one out there, OK?

This is Nuclear Lin-ter.

The unbelievable story of Jeremy Lin rolls into Miami at 7 p.m. EST Thursday night, and it's not out of this world to say that this is the biggest matchup of the season. The Knicks, 7-2 in the Jeremy Lin era (3-2 in their last five) take on the Heat on a seven-game winning streak, all by double-digits. The unheard-of phenomenon against the superstar monolith. It's David vs. Goliath, only Davis is armed to the teeth this time, with Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and J.R. Smith. It is the story that's captivated the minds and hearts of the sports world vs. one of the truly most hated, yet incredibly awesome in terms of ability teams in the history of sports.

This is going to be fun.

With that, here are your Knicks vs. Heat Storylines.

A Question of Fit

The superstar teams have not come together seamlessly. There have been hiccups, problems, issues, complications, struggles and downright disasters. Last year's Heat team was a mess of athletic dynamos running into each other at times, and simply standing around ball-watching others. Things are different this season. The Heat have become a much more fluid offense, but there are still times when the hesitation presents itself and the defense can stifle the Heat into looking like four-year-olds playing four-square. Meanwhile, the Knicks were disastrous without Lin. Carmelo Anthony, point forward, was an era that lasted approximately five games before Mike D'Antoni realized that wouldn't work. Is Lin the engine that can make this go? In two games with Anthony back, the Knicks are 1-1. Anthony hasn't put up big numbers, neither has Lin. But the offense has been efficient and balanced. This game is a chance for each side to present its best offering as to how they've come to fit together. The Heat can demonstrate the pieces have assembled into the Flying Death Machine they've been this season. The Knicks can show they have the engine to make the parts work with a legit point guard.

Because if neither team fits well together last night, the other might run away with the game.

Guarding Jeremy Lin

LeBron James has already said he will guard Lin for portions of the evening, and that's no surprise. What will be worth watching is how Lin adjusts. James is a monster perimeter defender because, well, he's the size of a truck and has the lateral quickness to stay with absolutely anyone. Lin, on the other hand, does a terrific job at two things, forcing the split of the double-team (though that's where most of his turnovers come from), and managing that set in terms of when to pass and when to finish. He can force the pass sometimes, but in general he has a good sense of the set.

He's running up against a big problem in James, though. According to Synergy Sports, James forces a turnover on the pick-and-roll ball handler 23.1 percent of the time, which is extremely high. Think of how shooting 45 percent in any set is pretty decent, now imagine out of ten possessions, the player turns it over twice, and hits just three of the remaining shots (James holds those shooters to 40 percent shooting). With Lin's turnovers coming mostly out of the pick-and-roll as ball handler (26 percent of the time in a small sample size), this could be rough. Great defenses like Dallas' have struggled with containing Lin when he splits that double-team, but again, this is Miami. This is really the crux of the battle right here. The Miami shooters can contain the perimeter threats with their rotations, but the biggest offensive set threat happens if Lin gets loose out of that double. That will force the Heat to adjust which opens up things for Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. No pressure, J.

Rivalry Renewed

This isn't going to get the press of the other stars, but does anyone else realize this is Tyson Chandler facing the same Heat team he annihilated in the Finals? Chandler's ability to convert offensive rebounds is going to be key in this game. Likewise, the Heat need to get him in foul trouble early. Chandler can be neutralized which puts capable but not-standout Jared Jeffries in to battle Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, matchups the Heat would much prefer. Chandler can crush teams if he gets going in the pick and roll or on tap backs. This is the biggest game of Chandler's season to date with the Knicks. He put the Mavericks into the list of champions over this team last year. How he dominates the glass will go a long way into deciding this game.

One-on-One-on-One-on-One

Oddly enough, the same sets which give Miami and New York their worst performances may be necessary tonight. I've railed on the Heat for going Isolation too much as I do with nearly every NBA team, and the rest of the world has done the same to the Knicks, especially Carmelo Anthony. But the Heat's pick-and-roll defense is so good, their rotations so well-executed, that the best answer for them may simply be to let Anthony and Stoudemire do work one-on-one. Getting the Heat away from playing on a string takes away their biggest defensive strength outside of sheer athleticism. And for the Heat, the Knicks' defense is better this year despite having mostly the same players as a terrible one last season. The reason is systemic, not individual, and the best way to answer that is to isolate those poor defenders, Anthony and Stoudemire (and Fields) and try and blow past them.

In short, going hero ball is actually not a bad plan tonight.

The Indescribable

This is one of those moments. You know, the ones that form the tapestry of a season. The Heat are bagged on about not closing out games against elite competition, and Jeremy Lin has been as clutch as it comes in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony has been accused of not being able to fit in an offense. The Heat crowd is typically terrible. Amar'e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh both have their demons. Both teams will blow off this game. It's one game in a regular season going by in a blur. But this game means something. The Lin phenomenon has taken the world by storm. Can it beat the best combination of talent in the NBA? Can the Heat finally step up and answer their critics resoundingly in a key moment?

This one's going to be fun.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 7:36 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 8:58 pm
 

Jeremy Lin added to rookies-sophomores game pool



By Matt Moore 

The NBA annnounced Thursday night that it has added New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin to the "Rising Stars" competition which took the place of the Rookies-Sophomores game this year during NBA All-Star Weekend. Due to overwhelming fan support, and the fact that more peope know about Lin than about half of the rest of the competitors, Lin was added to the pool. Later Thursday, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley selected their teams. Shaquille O'Neal selected Lin second, third overall during the process. 

Miami Heat rookie point guard Norris Cole, another notable omission, was also added to the player pool. 

It comes as no surprise as the NBA has tried every imaginable way to figure out how to include Lin this weekend. David Stern had said earlier Thursday that he would not allow Lin into the game as to not interfere with the current setup but popular sentiment won out.

Turns out even David Stern is powerless against Linsanity.

The draft for each team was held on NBATV with Blake Griffin going No. 1 to Shaq's team. Charles Barkley selected Kyrie Irving second overall. Shaq took Jeremy Lin in the third round. John Wall wasn't taken until the 11th pick. Here are how the two teams shake out:

Team Shaq: Blake Griffin, Jeremy Lin, Ricky Rubio, Markieff Morris, Greg Monroe, Landry Fields, Norris Cole, Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight and Tristan Thompson.

Team Chuck: Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Derrick Williams, MarShon Brooks, John Wall, Tiago Splittler, Evan Turner and Kawhi Leonard.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:06 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 3:14 pm
 

5 Things to Watch: Lakers at Heat

The Heat need LeBron James, who is a gametime decision with flu-like symptoms, against the Lakers Thursday night in Miami. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore


The Heat and Lakers are probably the most recognizable teams in the league at this moment in time. Featuring a likely six All-Stars between them, it's a marquee matchup of the season. Even with Dwyane Wade out and LeBron James a gametime decision, all eyes will be on South Beach Thursday night to see if the Lakers can get past the wall they've recently hit against LeBron's teams, and if Kobe Bryant can continue what has been an incredible month for him. The Lakers need this game to avoid another loss to a playoff team, and their second loss in three games, while the Heat need a win to stave off a disastrous four losses in five games stretch. With that, here are 5 Things to Watch or Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers 2012, Round 1. 

1. A Sick Attitude: LeBron James isn't feeling well. And it's not even the Finals! (Hey-O!) James is a gametime decision against L.A. due to "flu-like symptoms" that he's been dealing with this past week. James was also not feeling great against the Spurs and missed several layups and jumpers in the first half. Then apparently he had a Hi-C juice box at the half because he came out and demolished the Spurs in the third quarter to help the Heat turn a double-digit deficit into a double-digit route. That's what he can do. The question will be if his condition has worsened and how he reacts to it. Thanks to Michael Jordan, expectations actually raise if you have the flu. So LeBron's under pressure not only to win, but to extra special while sick. With the compact schedule, there's little rest, so James could be far less than 100 percent Thursday night. Which pretty much dooms the Heat. This is not the Hawks.

2. Spreading the Wealth: Kobe Bryant has been ridiculous over the past week, Mavericks game aside. He's been on tear of scoring 40 per game which came to an end against the Mavericks, but they got the win anyway. He's also been shooting an insane amount. His usage rate, or percentage of possessions used, is at 39.7 percent. So basically 4 out of every 10 times the Lakers come down the floor, he's the one who winds up with a shot or turnover. Against Miami, he may want to get everyone else involved so the Heat's help rotation defense doesn't neutralize everyone else, leaving him to go it alone. Granted, Dwyane Wade being out opens up chances for him (Shane Battier remarked after practice today that he was going to get some Hail Mary's in before the game). But the Lakers can dominate the Heat inside. An efficient game from Bryant that uses Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum's advantage over a small Heat frontline to open up opportunities for Kobe could be the difference. That way Kobe gets the points, and the win.

3. The Inside Man: Well, I was worried about Andrew Bynum tearing the Heat apart, but Eddy Curry might play. The Heat are saved! But seriously, Bynum should be able to have his way with the smaller Joel Anthony and much smaller Chris Bosh. The Heat may even put Dexter Pittman on Bynum due to his size, but the youngster won't have the experience or muscle to hang with the wunderkind. If Bynum gets touches, the Lakers can play at their pace and rough up the Heat. Do that and you slow down the Heat's transition attack, their biggest asset.

4. Old Friends: Mike Brown knows LeBron James' tendencies as well as anyone in the league, having coached him for years in Cleveland. And setting aside whatever personal history exists between them, Brown will likely have his team prepared to combat James' effectiveness, flu or no flu. Whether it's goading him into his ineffective mid-range jumper, bringing help at the right time and position, or attacking one hand or another, Brown will have one of the best books on James you can have in this league, and he has a quality defensive roster and Metta World Peace to implement on him. Classic matchup: superstar power versus coaching stratagem.

5. Next Generation: Norris Cole and Darius Morris could have a lot to say about this game Thursday night. Cole provides a full-speed, no hesitation bucket creator for the Heat they desperately need coming off the bench. Morris provides an athletic point guard, which they haven't had in eons. Derek Fisher's savvy and Mario Chalmers' athleticism and improved shooting should cancel one another out, which means whichever guard can make the most of the attention drawn by their superstar big brothers will make a big swing in a game that features a lot of veterans in role positions. You hate for a game to come down to two rookies, but considering the matchups, whichever handles the pressure better could help their team to a monstrous win.

Your Plus-3 for the game:

- Don't be surprised to see Chris Bosh heavily involved in trying to draw out Pau Gasol, who has struggled with defense in space this season. Bosh has excelled at the pump fake and go, but if his jumper isn't falling, Gasol can pack the lane along with Bynum, keeping the Heat in mid-range jumper mode.

- The odds of a physical conflict in this game are pretty high. Between Udonis Haslem, Andrew Bynum, Bryant and Battier, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace and the rest of the Heat bench, this will likely not be a pretty game.

- Mike Miller hit his shots against the Spurs in his first game back. He better hope he hasn't used them all up. The Lakers will bring a lot of help and cheat inside on drives, which means Miller will have looks. If he knocks them down, that puts the Lakers' defense into disarray.
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 28, 2011 2:00 am
Edited on: December 28, 2011 2:12 pm
 

Report Card 12.27.11: Lakers back on track



By Matt Moore


The Lakers get off the schneid, the Heat win by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin, and the Blazers look better than last year. All this and more in Tuesday night's report card.

A: Portland Trail Blazers: On the second night of a back-to-back, the Blazers trounced the Kings in dominant fashion, including holding them to just 14 points in the fourth quarter. There's a lot to like about this Blazers team along with the usual suspects, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews. Mostly, the defense, lead by Gerald Wallace. Wallace was an absolute demon Tuesday night, covering wall-to-wall and making every play you can imagine. The Blazers blocked three shots on one possession at one point, and wound up with eight blocks and six steals. A dominant showing on a night when their guards struggled. Blazers look good early.

A: Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers played so well I'm handing out two A-grades. On the third night of a back-to-back, the Lakers came out at home and put away any talk of their losing streak stretching to 0-3 in the first quarter. The Utah Jazz looked like the worst team in the league Tuesday night, but the Lakers' dominance was great enough to overcome the challenge of a terrible opponent bending the curve. Defense was the key here. Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace were everywhere. Gasol played extremetly strong both at the rim and in space against Al Jefferson. The Jazz were a wreck, but the Lakers steered them there. Great first win for Mike Brown and company.

B: Norris Cole: The Heat rookie was the fourth quarter closer the Big 3 could not, would not be. 20 points for the rook who was aggressive at every turn. Cole not only took the game by the horns and drove the Celtics into the ground to bring back for supper when they made a furious fourth quarter run behind a zone defense, he was pivotal on defense and made good decision making. He would nail a big shot, then fist pump his way to the bench without turning around for Dwyane Wade or LeBron James' approval. So why the B? He was a bit too aggresive at times and still struggles with finishing like all rookies do. Wouldn't want the kid to get too big a head on his shoulders. The kid simply stepped up, did his job, and helped get the win for the Heat when they needed someone to step up and hit the shots. And now everyone gets to ask, "They have MORE talent?"



C: Boston's comeback: Great adjustment by Boston coach Doc Rivers to go to the zone, which the Heat will now be seeing in every game for the remainder of the season. That, combined with some great shooting, particularly from Keyon Dooling, helped the Celtics bring the Heat to the knife's edge before Cole turned it around on them. The Celtics made the push they needed to, and showed why they are still dangerous. So why the C? They lost, are 0-2, with two losses to teams they are likely to encounter in the playoffs. It was a good comeback effort, but ultimeately, it wasn't enough, and you have to wonder if it would have been that close had it not gotten so out of hand in the third so as for Erik Spoelstra to start screwing with lineups. The Celtics get a D, but the comeback is a C. 

D: Heat's composure: How many times is this team going to melt down in the fourth? They had to turn to a rookie to save them late in a key game against arguably their biggest rival. It should never have gotten that close. Oh, and Paul Pierce didn't play. The Heat won, and they played incredibly well in the third, but man alive, they need to learn to close better.

F: Utah Jazz: So, you know, this draft class, it looks great...

Other Notable Grades:

Withdraw: Heat as invulnerable: Best team in the league right now? No question. But after looking like a flying death machine in the third, the Celtics drew blood on Heat before falling to their own mortality.

E For Effort: Kevin Love: 31 points, 20 boards in a three-point loss to the Bucks. Love was a monster and gave it his all in a badly coached game by Terry Porter with Rick Adelman absent due to a death in the family. One complaint? His final shot was either badly drawn up or executed, a pull-up 35-footer a la Kevin Durant in last year's playoffs vs. the Mavericks. But that stat line is part of what we missed during the lockout.

Gold stars: Pau Gasol (5 blocks). LaMarcus Aldridge. Brandon Jennings. Jon Leuer. Chris Bosh. MarShon Brooks. Vlad Radmanovic.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com