Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:59 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 11:01 pm
Heat win hugely important game that does not count in standings against mediocre squad. LeBron James is good at basketball.
Posted by Matt Moore and Royce Young
Some thoughts from your F&R staff after the Heat's 105-89 win over the Pistons to open the Miami Triad era. Dwyane Wade left the game in the first quarter with a strained hamstring and did not return.
Royce Young: One thing mildly interesting: With Carlos Arroyo on the court, he typically ran the offense but when Mario Chalmers was in the game, LeBron seemed to control things a bit more. I don't know if this was by design or coincidental, but it seems the Heat are set on letting LeBron operate much in the same way he did in Cleveland. Now this (preseason) game isn't the best indicator because Dwyane Wade only played a few minutes and really all it turned into was the Cavaliers with Chris Bosh, but still, the usage of the point guard was minimal.
Matt Moore: Interesting that you mention that, because I thought the offense flowed a lot better with Chalmers in the game. He wasn't dictating the ball by bringing it to the timeline or setting things on the perimeter as much, but Chalmers was a through-point for the offense, and his shot looked much cleaner than Arroyo's. It's not just that this team can operate with James or Wade at point, but they may actually need to.
RY: Chalmers handled his duties pretty well though. Ten points, seven assists and just one turnover in 19 minutes. And he's coming back off a light ankle sprain. He'll be seeing more like 25-30 minutes this season but if that type of box score becomes semi-consistent, this team will be pretty awesome.
MM: Much better than I was expecting. Arroyo on the other hand was dreadful, even with a better line (4 of 6) than Chalmers. He just seemed like such an athletic downgrade from Chalmers. Then again, it's preseason, which is what I like to call "Marioworld."
RY: If you're even a casual fan of the NBA, it was hard not to be a little star-struck watching Wade, LeBron and Bosh all on the court at the same time. It was kind of surreal. Everyone has their feelings about this Miami team but even if you're on the side that absolutely despises it with every fiber of your being, watching Dwyane Wade try and follow a missed LeBron layup was something else. I wonder how long it's going to take for this newness to wear off and we can all start watching them just as a basketball team. I kind of think it might not really happen this season.
MM: It definitely had that All-Star feel to it. I kept waiting for Usher to break out at halftime. Bosh I thought was the weirdest part. He's doing what Chris Webber called "the dirty work" by cleaning up misses (and man is he going to get a ton of points that way this season). This is a premier offensive player in the league, and he's essentially playing the Anderson Varejao role. Of course, Bosh's line was great (20 points, 6 boards), but he had significant trouble with both the double-team and setting up in the block. He looked much more comfortable face-up on the wing, which isn't surprising if you've done your homework, but betrays what he's supposed to be for the Heat, which is the man down low. I would have liked to see more pick and roll with LeBron from them tonight, as well as more high-post work from Bosh.
RY: The DNP's for the Heat: Eddie House, Kenny Hasbrouck, Juwan Howard, Jamaal Magloire, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mickell Gladness and Da'Sean Butler. Probably not too much to read into there because the notable ones (House, Howard, Magloire and Ilgauskas) are old veterans and are probably being limited in preseason.
MM: I thought more interesting was that Patrick Beverly got as much time as he did (a good nine minutes) as well as Dexter Pittman. The Heat are obviously still giving the youngsters a look in preseason.
RY: For a player like Udonis Haslem who is near automatic on an open 12-foot baseline jumper, LeBron is going to be incredible for him. Haslem was very good finishing with 14-13 and hit 6-9 from the field. More than likely, Haslem will become the rock on the Miami bench and in some games may prove to be that difference maker on the second unit instead of Mike Miller or Eddie House, who most think needs to step up.
MM: Z lived off of drive and kicks from LeBron for years, but Haslem is more athletic and has a closer range (Z has to have space to allow time to set up his shot at his age). I think Haslem's got a ton of potential to be the difference maker for this team on both sides of the ball. The best thing about him is he's reliable. Well, except for last year against the Celtics. That'll be a storyline down the road.
RY: Joel Anthony is set as the Heat's starting 5 right now and here was his line: 20 minutes, zero points, one rebound, two blocks, 0-0 from the field and four fouls. When you're Joel Anthony on the roster built like this, you better get used to lines like that.
MM: I almost feel like Dexter Pittman's 8 points, 4 fouls, 2 rebound performance was better. The effort was there from Pittman which is what the team needs. Anthony's not going to fill up the point totals, but he better get to rebounding and fast. This team absolutely must dominate the glass if they want to get where they're going, because they're not flush with elite size.
RY: Granted, just one preseason game so it's way too early to start crowning this team, but that didn't stop me from thinking about 25 times, "Dang, this team is good." Wade only played three minutes so that's not a big taste of what it will be like, but with LeBron cooking there's just no stopping them. I think while we all questioned how Wade and LeBron would co-exist this summer we kind of forgot what an unselfish and great passer LeBron is. Yes, LeBron needs the ball in his hands just like Wade, but at the same time, LeBron is such a creator that you can picture them working fabulously together.
MM: How about that jab-step dribble and jump-whip pass to Bosh for the dunk in the first quarter? That's the kind of stuff you're going to see a lot. I think a lot of people put too much emphasis on one game of LeBron's career (Game 5) and forgot that this really is the best player in the NBA. He's still able to get to the rim whenever he wants. Having Bosh is good for him because he can finally trust the guy to get it done. The Wade-James experiment is still in testing phase with Wade's injury, but it's a matter of how it will work, not if. This is a preseason game, so there's going to be heavy limitations from what we can take away from it. But if you're a hoophead, you watched this team and it struck you. We have a new powerhouse in the NBA and teams better get ready to contend with them.
I will say this in closing. The chemistry on court seemed good, but there was a concern. Bosh seemed a bit awkward and out of place early on when he wasn't just given the ball in ISO to work. That's going to come in time, but right now, it's something they need to work on. And if you noticed, James took a hard hit on his right elbow in the first, grimaced, cursed, then missed two free throws (finished 0-3 from the line). I'm not convinced the elbow is better. I am convinced the Heat are going to be not only good, but interesting to watch develop this year. As overhyped as they may be.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:47 pm
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Posted on: August 27, 2010 1:44 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 1:46 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The 2010 FIBA World Championships tip off tomorrow and let's be honest, outside of Team USA and a handful of NBA players scattered around other teams, we all don't know a ton about it. So here's your cheat sheet to catch up on the important parts of the games:
10 NON-NBA PLAYERS TO WATCH
Miroslav Raduljica, Serbia - The big Serbian was going to play a large role in this year's games before Nenad Krstic was suspended for three contests. Now, Serbia's early success may very well hinge on Raduljica. He runs the floor well, has soft hands and is one of the most improved players in Europe. He's eligible to enter the NBA draft next year and with a big showing in Turkey, might see his stock skyrocket.
Tibor Pleiss, Germany - Pleiss is property of the Oklahoma City Thunder and was taken in the early second round of this year's draft. He's 7'1, skilled with a lovely jumper that stretches out near the 3 and has an improving post game. He's already a quality rebounder and shot blocker, though as is the case with most young European big men, he needs strength. He's definitely an NBA caliber player at some point and he's one of Germany's top players. If Germany makes some noise in Turkey, it'll likely be because Pleiss did some breaking out.
Juan Carlos Navarro, Spain - Ah, the elusive JCN, or La Bomba as he's endearingly called in Spain. He's known in the States because of a brief stint with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2007-08, but is known across international basketball as one of the most crafty, creative and skilled guards in the world. The lack of superior athleticism is what held him back in the NBA, but he has an array of runners, floaters and running jumpshots, plus is deadly when he's open. He's one of those players that's basically just fun to watch.
Ioannis Bourousis, Greece - Bourousis is coming back from a hand injury that forced him to miss most of Greece's exhibition games, but should be ready to go in Turkey. He's a massive seven-footer that weighs in at 280 pounds. Like Tim Duncan, he trained to be a professional swimmer before getting to big for the pool. He's surprisingly smooth on the post and at 26, has improved his game a lot since 2006 when the U.S. played Greece.
Victor Claver, Spain - Property of the Portland Trail Blazers, Claver is a classic swingman that prefers to run the floor and shoot jumpers. He's not strong and not a great ballhandler, but does finish well at the rim. He's huge at 6'10, but only weighs about 215 pounds. Teams with physical forwards will beat him up, but running the floor with Ricky Rubio will give him a chance to showcase his talents in the open court.
Matthew Nielsen, Australia - The Euro Cup Final Four MVP for Valencia last season, Nielsen is an accomplished international player. He's 32 and has spent time on multiple national teams for Australia. He's not overly skilled, but he's big at 6'10 and moves well. He scores outworking players inside, but is a quality post-up threat.
Tiago Splitter, Brazil - He counts here because he's not in the NBA yet. A recent signee of the Spurs, Splitter will be a player that NBA fanatics will have a close eye on these next few weeks. We've all heard about his skills for the last few years, but most haven't had a chance to see them in action. He's incredibly gifted around the basket and if he plays well, Brazil may make a run to the semi-finals.
Timofey Mozgov, Russia - Same as Splitter, Mozgov will be in the NBA next year with the New York Knicks. He's a true big man at 7'1, but runs the floor well. He's not especially polished offensively, but he uses his big body well. A lot of people have compared him to Marcin Gortat or Andris Biedrins because he scores a lot by playing physical inside. He'll be a project for the Knicks, but he'll be a feature for the Russians.
Ante Tomic, Croatia - Tomic is a gifted big man that has drawn comparisons to Pau Gasol because of his excellent footwork, soft touch and passing ability. He has range that stretches out close to the international 3, and is a player Croatia will likely center their offense around. He's rail thin though and his lack of strength is what really hurts him when talking about taking his game up a notch.
Ricky Rubio, Spain - Everyone knows about the flashy passes. Everyone's seen the YouTube mixtapes. Everyone knows he has a ton of talent. But not a lot of people have seen him actually play a full basketball game, outside of 2008's gold medal game. With Jose Calderon out, this team is Rubio's. He'll play the bulk of the minutes and run the show. He's a bit turnover prone and his stat line never seems to impress, but it's all about watching him. A game where he scores five points, dishes out four assists and has four steals may not seem like much, but he seriously impacted the game.
THE UNITED STATES GROUP PREVIEW
Most consider Group B to be the toughest in Turkey. Obviously there's Team USA, but Brazil, Slovenia and Croatia are all capable squads that should advance out of this group.
NBA players: Anderson Varejao, Leandro Barbosa, Tiago Splitter, Nene (out with injury)
Prior to Nene's injury, Brazil was becoming a trendy pick to make the semi-finals and possibly the finals. The talent is there and it's not just in NBA players only. Former NBA players Alex Garcia and Marcus Vinicius clearly have skill, but Marcelo Machado is an excellent sharpshooter, Marcelo Huertas is a crafty point guard and Wellington Dos Santos may actually be faster than Barbosa.
Former Gonzaga star J.P. Batista has the ability to anchor the interior with Splitter and Varejao and with a combination of size and speed, Brazil is a team to take notice of. They want to play up-tempo and high pressure defense, and they have the players to do it.
NBA players: Roko Ukic
The Croatians are a squad that doesn't have a ton of top tier talent, but is deep and filled with quality players. The aforementioned Ante Tomic is the key. If he plays well and stays consistent throughout, Croatia could be a team that goes deeper than expected.
NBA players: Hamed Haddadi
This isn't a bad team. They aren't good, but they aren't that bad. They likely won't advance out of the group stage, but they definitely are a candidate to win a game or two. Teams like the United States will steamroll them, but they could definitely sneak up on Croatia and Slovenia, potentially making a little noise to finish in the top four.
NBA players: Goran Dragic, Primoz Brezec
As it is now, Slovenia is good. But if it had its entire roster with players like Beno Udrih, Sasha Vujacic, Rasho Nesterovic and Erazem Lorbek it could be really good. Slovenia should battle Croatia for third in this group, but is definitely good enough to get to second. It all hinges on Goran Dragic. He needs to score and create and if he can continue his good play, Slovenia should be fine.
NBA players: None
This is easily the worst team in the group. Its goal should be to maybe beat Iran and then keep games within 20. There's simply not enough talent on the roster to stay competitive. Honestly, Team USA could let Jim Boeheim and Nate McMillan start and it would still be a cakewalk.
NBA players: Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, Lamar Odom, Tyson Chandler, Chauncey Billups, Danny Granger, Stephen Curry
The clear favorite to win Group B and a favorite to win the whole thing. Obviously, Team USA has the most talent in the entire field. But playing together is the key. Coach K has done a fine job of establishing roles for players, but the lack of interior size could hurt the Americans the deeper the tournament goes. A game against Brazil in this group could be the only hangup, but Croatia and Slovenia aren't pushovers.
Despite this group probably be the toughest in the tournament, anything less that a 5-0 start for Team USA would be disappointing.
1. United States
FOUR GROUP STAGE GAMES TO WATCH
Saturday, August 28: Spain vs. France - Two traditional soccer powerhouses field pretty solid basketball teams. Spain should win, but Nicolas Batum has emerged as a go-to player for France to seeing him compete and defend the Spanish roster will be fun.
Monday, August 30: Brazil vs. USA - The winner of this game will likely win the group. It should be a fun game to watch too as both teams play pressure defense and prefer to push the pace. This one could easily have 200 combined points.
Monday, August 30: Croatia vs. Slovenia - A European rivalry game with the winner surely locking in a place in the tournament, and probably third place in Group B.
Tuesday, August 31: Greece vs. Turkey - Someone might be killed during this game. No, seriously. Both these teams HATE each other. I don't know if this will so much be a basketball game, as a 40-minute hip-checking contest.
United States - The most talent in the field, though maybe the least chemistry. The U.S. squad will have to find its identity and find it fast.
Spain - A chic pick to win gold, Spain has the talent, chemistry and leadership to win. Losing Jose Calderon hurts only the sense that backcourt depth is light. But if Spain is to seriously make this run, a player like Rudy Fernandez is going to have to elevate his game and play well.
Greece - The smallest player on the team is Vassilis Spanoulis, and he's "only" 6'4. So in other words, the Greek's are big. Greece is massive and what they lack in athleticism, they make up for in size and skill.
Argentina - The USA's old nemesis, Argentina has NBA talent in Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola and Fabrico Oberto. They'll surely miss Andres Nocioni and Manu Ginobili, but this is a team that should make an easy run to the quarters, probably the semifinals and possibly the finals.
Serbia - The suspensions to Nenad Krstic and Milos Teodosic definitely hurt, but there is enough on this roster still to get out of the group. And once they're full strength, this is a team that's good enough to be in the semifinals.
Brazil - The Brazilians seem to be flying a bit under the radar, but with a group of speedy, skilled players, they should get to the quarterfinals with ease and then past that, they're a tough matchup for anyone.
Turkey - The host country always seems to do well because the boost from a home crowd always helps. But Turkey has players too. There's Hedo Turkoglu, Ersan Ilyasova, Semih Erden and Omer Asik, all NBA players. Some are taking Turkey to get to the finals based only on the fact they're hosting, but they might get there because this roster has some serious talent.
Canada - Don't sleep on Canada. While not a lot of names on the roster jump out and there's no Steve Nash, they have all decent players and a few NBA guys in Joel Anthony and Andy Rautins. Canada beat Serbia and France in friendlies and isn't a walkover by any means.
Puerto Rico - This feisty group has three NBA players in J.J. Barea, Renaldo Balkman and Carlos Arroyo and has played well in exhibitions. They should get out of their group and in tournament play, they have the players to make a small run.
Australia - The Australians have slowly been building better basketball teams and this might be one of their best yet. There are two NBA players in David Andersen and Patty Mills, plus quality guys like A.J. Ogilvy and Matthew Nielsen. They lack athleticism, but if Mills can get his game going, Australia might sneak up on a few teams.
PREDICTION (see the full bracket)
Group A winner: Argentina (Serbia, Germany, Australia advance)
Group B winner: United States (Brazil, Slovenia, Croatia advance)
Group C winner: Greece (Turkey, Puerto Rico, Russia advance)
Group D winner: Spain (Lithuania, France, Canada advance)
Round of 16: Argentina defeats Croatia, Puerto Rico defeats Lithuania, Greece defeats Canada, Brazil defeats Germany, United States defeat Australia, Turkey defeats France, Spain defeats Russia, Slovenia defeats Serbia
Quarterfinals: Argentina defeats Puerto Rico, Brazil defeats Greece, United States defeat Turkey, Spain defeats Slovenia
Semifinals: Argentina defeats Brazil, United States defeat Spain
Third place: Spain defeats Brazil
Finals: United States defeat Argentina
Some don't like Team USA winning gold. But it's hard not to like them. The way the bracket sets up, if both Spain and the U.S. win their groups, they'll meet in the semifinals. So if the U.S. gets by Spain again, beat whoever comes their way in the gold medal game shouldn't be a huge issue.
The thing with Team USA is, they have more talent than anyone. They have more skill. They have more strength. They have more speed. They have more athleticism. The one thing they lack is size, and that's just in a traditional sense. Nobody can properly match up with the likes of Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and Rudy Gay. Even figuring out how to guard Team USA's second unit would be tough. While no, this isn't a team full of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, this is a quality unit with a ton of talent. There will be some tough games for sure and the U.S. will rely on Rose and Durant to carry them through. But these guys should be up to the task to bring home gold for the first time since 1994.
Tags: 2010 World Championships, Anderson Varejao, Brazil, Carlos Arroyo, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, Ersan Ilyasova, Fabrico Oberto, Greece, Hedo Turkoglu, Kevin Durant, Leandro Barbosa, Lithuania, Luis Scola, Nenad Krstic, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Russell Westbrook, Serbia, Stephen Curry, Team USA, Turkey
Posted on: August 12, 2010 9:05 am
Edited on: August 12, 2010 9:30 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Did we overreact to the Malice in the Palace? Was it really that big of a deal when Ron Artest went into the stands and decked a fan who he thought hit him with a cup of soda (he didn't, some other dude did)? After all, Kevin McHale did pretty much the same thing in 1987. The answer of course, is no. Even if no one was significantly injured in either incident doesn't mean that the odds are good these types of things won't lead to it. There are kids in that lower bowl. Let's all agree near-riots are bad, m'kay?
While we're at it, let's keep "don't slap assistant coaches in Pro-Am leagues (or ever)" on the list as well.
Daryl Morey on the trade for Courtney Lee yesterday: "This is a guy who we were focused on acquiring in the (’08) draft. I think, overall, the deal is similar to the Kyle Lowry deal. We’ve been trying to acquire Courtney when he went to Orlando and then he went to New Jersey and as you can tell, myself being on vacation, you can just never tell when an opportunity is going to strike. We really target players who we think will fit in well here over time and when we got our first chance to acquire him we really were obviously fairly aggressive to get this done."
Lorenzo Wright's ex-wife (who has been investigated in connection to his murder) claims he left the house the night of his murder with drugs and money . This story gets progressively somehow more depressing.
Carlos Arroyo raps ! (Not well.)
Breathe a sigh of relief for the already depleted Team USA team. Danny Granger's finger is A-OK . You can pat your Pacer friends on the back as well.
Don't sleep on Shaun Livingston. I can never decide if Shaun Livingston is over-covered due to his hardships, or not covered enough. Either way, the idea of him with the Bobcats is a pretty solid concept. Larry Brown is the type of coach that appreciates the effort that Livingston has made to recover from injury.
Chris Bosh continues to drive the dagger into Toronto . It's kind of suprising. Some people you expect to behave cruelly to their former small-market comrades. But Bosh never struck me as that type. I was wrong in that assessment.
Shocking news, Rudy Fernandez wants out of Portland . No, really. No kidding. Like, seriously this time. No joshing.
Brian Scalabrine may be a coach . No, not a dancing coach. Quit laughing. It's not funny. Not that funny, at least.
Posted on: July 18, 2010 4:42 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2010 4:46 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Miami bought out the final three seasons of Jones' contract June 30, but he told the Herald he believed there was a possibility he would return.
Jones will earn the $1 million veteran's minimum this season, combined with the $1.5 million buyout sum he is owed for the upcoming season. Not a horrible deal for Jones. Also, reportedly, Jones passed up more money elsewhere. San Antonio was reportedly looking to give him part of its $6 million mid-level exception. But he turned it down to stay in Miami. Ah, the siren song of the new-look Heat.
Why? Jones gives his reasoning:
"I still feel I have unfinished business here," Jones told the paper. "The opportunity to win a championship was too much to pass up. Hopefully, the minutes will be there and I will make teams pay."
Jones, 29, is a situational shooter by trade. He shot 41 percent from 3 last season and in seven seasons he's a career 39.5 percent shooter from distance. Obviously a ton of minutes won't be available for him playing behind Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Mike Miller, but as a specialist off the bench, he'll definitely have value for the Heat. In the report, it's noted Jones understands that is just looking for a spot to contribute.With Jones, center Jamaal Magloire and point guard Carlos Arroyo all expected re-sign with Miami, the Heat will have 13 players under contract, making them a legal NBA team. That group includes Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, rookie Dexter Pittman, Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers. Free agent Juwan Howard is also expected to sign. Not a bad looking roster by any means. Especially for a group that had two players under contract just over a week ago.