Tag:Erik Spoelstra
Posted on: March 8, 2011 11:39 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 6:20 am

Heat fans chant 'We want Riley'

Miami crowd chants for president, former coach Pat Riley as Spoelstra's Heat struggle through loss again. 
Posted by Matt Moore

In the midst of the Heat's latest embarrassing loss, this time to the Blazers, the Miami Heat crowd turned on the home team pretty hard. While attendance wasn't stellar, lacking as it has all season, those in attendance became restless as the Blazers kept the lead by following up Heat runs with definitive performances from its whole team, especially the bench.

The result? Miami's crowd joined the throng of people nationwide claiming that the Heat would be better off with their president as coach rather than Erik Spoelstra. From ESPN's Tom Haberstroh
Yep. "We want Riley" chants at AmericanAirlines Arena. Heat down 9 with just under 7 mins left.

It's too late for Riley to step in -- way too late. He's been too far removed from the coaching decisions for most of the season and on top of it, he's made it clear his heart's not in it. This isn't 2006. While the Heat could use a coach of Riley's mold in terms of his ability to motivate superstars and manage the X's and O's, it's just past that point. They're locked into Spoelstra, for better or worse. 

But the fans do have a point. It's not just the inability of Spoelstra to make the obscene amount of talent he has mesh.  It's the lack of focus and the simple breakdowns.  Defensively, turnovers, you name it, the Heat lack a mental edge. And that falls on Spoelstra. Riley is a known quantity, he has been at that level. But the biggest reason for a Riley return is a little more complex. Riley has coached great big men. Erik Spoelstra has never coached a great big man, and his work with Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony reflect that. 

It's a bandwagon fanbase in Miami with the current pricing structure after the formation of the Triad. And those chants will keep coming as long as the Heat are losing.
Posted on: March 8, 2011 8:48 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 8:51 pm

Phil Jackson mocks Miami Heat for crying

Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson chimes in on the Miami Heat crying after a loss. Posted by Ben Golliver. phil-jackson

There's nothing quite like an emotionally honest admission to bring everyone in the NBA out of the woodwork.  

On Sunday, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra admitted to the media that members of his team cried following a loss to the Chicago Bulls. The reaction was instant and enormous: the New York Knicks laughed about it, Spoelstra tried to backtrack and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant made it clear that he hasn't cried but said that the Heat crying wasn't of any real importance.   

As for Lakers coach Phil Jackson? There would be no high road. ESPNLA.com reports that Jackson thinks tears don't have a public place in the NBA.
"This is the NBA: No Boys Allowed," Jackson said. "Big boys don't cry. But, if you're going to do it, do it in the toilet where no one can see."
This came seconds after Jackson tried to deflect the reporter's question by saying, "People cry in locker rooms, yes, [but] I don't want to talk about Miami's situation."
Gee, tell us what you really think. 

Unlike some of his takes on hot button issues, Jackson's comment here don't need much between-the-lines analysis to be understood: the upstart Heat don't meet his masculine standard and they fell short of his understanding of how emotional situations should be handled in-house. 

Jackson has never been one to think twice about kicking someone when he's down and here - even though he hesitated - he seems to have aimed below the belt. As we now by now, he simply can't help himself.     

The question: what are the Heat going to do about it? Probably nothing, but we'll find out on Thursday when the Lakers travel to Miami for a nationally-televised grudge match.
Posted on: March 8, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 1:28 pm

Kobe weighs in on the Heat's crygate

Posted by Royce Young

Kobe Bryant joined ESPN 710 LA to talk about the Lakers blowing out the Spurs, what's changed since the All-Star break... ah who am I kidding. He talked a lot about the Heat crying.

What are your thoughts on the Miami Heat situation where players were supposedly crying after Sunday’s loss to the Bulls? What would your advice be?

“I don’t really have any advice. I mean you know they have their own issues over there. Every team has issues. That’s part of the season. If you don’t have issues you know then you’re not a team. Everybody responds to adversity differently. You know what I mean. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it wrong. Everybody has their own way of dealing with things, but it’s how you come out of that, really that’s the true mark of a king.”

Have you ever come close to crying in the locker room?

“No. Uh no.”

Are you in a position where you can honestly respond to the Heat crying in the locker room? You don’t cry do you?

“We don’t care too much about bulletin board stuff, but that means nothing to me. I’ll give you an honest answer. I mean it’s…everybody truly responds differently. If guys are crying in the locker room, they’re crying in the locker room. It doesn’t mean they’re chumps, doesn’t mean they’re soft, doesn’t mean anything. That’s just how they respond to it.”

Not that it matters, but I'm with Kobe on it. I don't think it's a big deal. If guys were teary in the locker room after a tough game where they spent two and a half hours battling for something they really, really wanted only to come up short, it's not a big deal to me if they get a little emotional. They cared. They wanted to win. Again, isn't that we all want from our professional athletes?

Now they didn't ask Kobe the real question here: Would you have been entirely peeved at Phil Jackson if he let the cat of the bag and told reporters some guys were crying? Because to me, that's more of the issue than the actual crying. The fact Erik Spoelstra dropped that out there is the story, not that the actual guys were crying.

Then again, if Jackson did it we'd all just recognized it as some kind of clever mind game to get Andrew Bynum's attention and praise the Zen Master.

Oh, and by the way, Kobe talked a little about how the Lakers are the hottest team in the league having won seven straight. But who really cares about that when the Heat are crying.

Via Sports Radio Interviews
Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 5:10 pm

Erik Spoelstra, LeBron react to 'crygate'

Posted by Royce Young

So evidently the Miami Heat cried yesterday. It made big news. We're all talking about it today.

This morning, Erik Spoelstra met with the media following the Heat's practice and did what any damage control expert would tell him to do: Blame it on the media.

"I think you guys (the media) can probably take anything I say and turn it into a story," Spoelstra said. "I was shocked when [PR man Tim Donovan] told me about it this morning that it's actually making the news. I think you guys can be a little more creative than that. I will say one thing, the guys care. Nobody was whimpering in the locker room."

"It's a classic case of sensationalism [by the media]," Spoelstra continued. He then said he didn't regret it and even tried to joke it away by dubbing it "crygate." (I must admit, that's pretty clever.)

While saying it, Spoelstra had the look of a man that knew he has royally screwed the pooch but was trying to just laugh it off as no big deal. Couldn't believe it was actually making the news? And you didn't know until this morning? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah right.

Spoelstra kind of backtracked when asked if players were actually crying. He kind of said no, just saying heads were down and there was lots of noise.

It was an obvious plan of attack from the Heat as Spoelstra waited until he was asked about it and then played dumb, pulling the blame the media routine. It's one of the easiest ways to deflect criticism. It's not my fault. You guys are the ones making a big deal of it. I prefer people to stand up and tell it how it is. I think the general public (and media) respect that more than pointing fingers. It wouldn't have been hard for Spoelstra to say, "Yeah, a couple guys were upset. They cared about the game. We're not going to apologize for caring."

LeBron had his coach's back on the matter. "Spo is the captain... we stand behind anything he says."

I do think this is an example of us -- fans, media, general onlookers -- of kind of getting excited about a simple statement. So the Heat may or may not have cried a bit in the locker room. Just like most anything Heat related, it's turned into big news. We'll all move on here soon enough when they choke a crunch time play this week.

Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:05 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 5:04 pm

Dwyane Wade says world is getting what it wants

Dwyane Wade says the world is getting what it wanted: the Heat losing. But is it the symptom or the cause?

Posted by Matt Moore

Dwyane Wade said after the Heat's loss to the Bulls Sunday something which will get quite a bit of play on Monday morning. It represents the complicaed relationship between the Heat and the public, one that has been contentious, vicious, and resentful from both sides since "The Decision" and that ridiculous, over-the-top introduction with the smoke and pyro and all that. Check 1:38 in the following CBSSports.com video: 

The money quote? 

"Outside the Miami Heat are exactly what every one wanted: losing games. The world is better now, now that the Heat is losing."

So what are people saying about Wade's arguably pouty comment? 

Oh, stop it. As if you didnt have any idea last summer that NBA fans would react poorly to you flexing and preening for the cameras, promising championships three months before training camps even started.
via Miami Heat players moved to tears after another close loss - Ball Dont Lie - NBA Blog - Yahoo! Sports .

What there isn't yet is a breakout team, a clear favorite for a title run. For a moment, it looked like it could be Miami. Now they're battling like everyone else. Dwyane Wade had it wrong: The world isn't better because the Heat are losing. But it's getting kind of fun.
via LeBron James's Heat Lose Again as NBA Gets More Intriguing - WSJ.com .

It's kind of an interesting chicken-and-the-egg question. Do people hate the Heat which causes them to preen resulting in more hatred that results in the Heat pouting, or do people hate the Heat because they preen and pout which causes the Heat to pout which causes people to hate them even more? It's a real quandary. 

The Heat, though, are showing signs of the worst parts of losing. Not just the frustration, but the self pity.  The best teams don't have these kinds of cracks in the armor, they internalize it and use it as motivation. It's probably healthier for themselves this way, but it's not going to solve their biggest problem: focus. In reality, this is emblematic of that issue in and of itself. They're too busy being distracted with what the world thinks of them and how they're perceived, with how their global brands are going and filling the massive cultural roles they're trying to establish for themselves. Maybe that's got nothing to do with why they're either failing out of fourth quarters mentally, or checking themselves into significant holes in the first. But it's certainly not helping. 

The world's not going to be satisfied with the destruction of the Heat untill they're irrelevant, or they win enough to force people's respect. But comments like Wade's? Nothing but fuel for the fire. 

Posted on: March 4, 2011 1:26 am
Edited on: March 4, 2011 2:31 am

Your Heat collapse post-game comment decoder

Deciphering the Heat's comments following the loss to the Magic
Posted by Matt Moore

When a basketball team loses a 24-point lead and falls to a division rival at home, there are going to be some choice comments. When that team is the Miami Heat, the comedy is going to be off the charts. We're here to help you decipher the wreckage after the Heat's loss to the Magic. 

LeBron James

What he said: "If we had the answer, we would try to figure it out and pin that specific answer. I don't think it's the execution, because we're getting some great looks. Hopefully, we can figure it out soon."

What he meant: "Sure, we could 'try hard the entire game' or 'focus consistently.' But look, we had Chris Bosh, a 29% 3-point shooter wide open to tie the game. What more do you want? Hopefully, we can play someone who's not an actual good team soon. Oh, we go to San Antonio tomorrow? Uh-oh." 

What he said: "It feels worse, because it's now. That pain (about  the 9-8 start in November) went away and now it's another one. We just have to figure it out."

What he meant: "I didn't really care then, because I knew we could beat up the bad teams and still make the playoffs, and I figured by now we'd be killing everyone between photo-shoots. I didn't really think the other teams would be good. Or that I'd be excited to have Mike Bibby to save us. We just have to figure out something we've figured out twice in 14 games, beating an above .500 team in a gam decided by 5 points or less."

What he said: "We continue to get big leads and we continue to falter. Hopefully we can figure it out soon."

What he meant: "We continue to get big leads and we continue to falter.  It's almost like we have to maintain effort, or that Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony are getting significant minutes on this team. Hopefully we can figure it out soon. We have a bunch of guys with calculators trying to figure out how we can get Chris Paul." 

Dwyane Wade

What he said: "Mind boggling." 

What he meant: "No... seriously... what just happened? I blacked out. They threw it to Chris and then things just went all dark..."

What he said: "The urgency is there. Just got to finish it."

What he meant: "The urgency is there for the first two quarters. We were under the impression that you only had to try for as many quarters as you have superstars with awesome beach attire. Just got to have Chris actually rebound at the power forward position and/or get it to a player who does not shoot 29% for three in a must-score situation."

What he said: "It's a trend. We've had leads and we've let it go away. I'm not used to being on teams like that."

What he meant: "It's a trend. We've had leads and we've let it go away. I'm not used to being on teams like that. I'm used to being on teams that had reasons to lose games like this."

What he said: "We enjoy these games. We play them hard."

What he meant: "We also enjoy root canal surgery, death metal played at a high volume, 'The Crying Game' on loop, and the comedy stylings of Dane Cook.' We play them hard... at times... relatively speaking. I mean, if you looked at how hard we played Boston, we were Warriors tonight."

What he said:  "It's growing pains and it [stinks]. You look for the light at the end of the tunnel."

What he meant: "It's painful that the other guys on this team can't grow a pair... of game-winning brains. You look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Wait, what's that rumbling sound?"

Erik Spoelstra

What he said: "We need to keep on pushing through.  There's no other way to say it. ... The tide turned."

What he meant: "I don't mean pushing the ball to Erik Dampier. I don't mean that. Trust me, if there was another way to say it, I would have figured it out by now. I'm trying to figure out how to say it in that weird alien language from 'Avatar.' The tide turned. Mostly over and on top of Chris, but we try not to dwell on that." 

What he said: "There are only two options for us: We can collapse or we can continue to stay the course."

What he meant: "Well, okay, there's one more option, which is we blame it on Udonis Haslem's injury and then act surprised when we get our clocks cleaned in the second round."

Chris Bosh

What he said: "Obviously there is a trend with us where we do the same things over and over." 

What he meant: "It's a lot like 'Groundhog Day' where Bill Murray gets hit by a train only I'm Bill Murray and the train is Dwight Howard." 

What he said: "We've blown a lot of games where we're in full control, and we have to do something. I don't know what it is."

What he meant: "We've blown a lot of games where we're in full control, and we have to do something. I don't know what it is. Obviously. You saw the game, right?"

What he said: "We have to stop talking about it. Sometimes you can get caught up in talking too much."

What he meant: "We have to stop talking about it, and do more photo-shoots. Here, I have a beach shirt you can wear. It's cotton-mesh." 

What he said: "We'll know when it's all said and done, but we have to stop doing this."

What he meant: "I'm not sure why, but LeBron and Wade keep saying they're going straight home at night a lot, and then talking about the club the next day. And Pat Riley keeps looking at me funny."

In conclusion, from Chris Bosh's presser, via Jose3030 on Twitter

HT: CBSSports.com recap,  South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Eisenberg on Bibby
Posted on: February 13, 2011 1:46 am

10 Keys to Celtics vs. Heat III

Five keys for Boston and Miami as the Celtics and Heat meet Sunday for the third time this season. Is this a must-win for Miami, even in February?
Posted by Matt Moore

Allright, Miami. We're going to give you one last shot at this to show us you have anything interesting to bring to the matchup against the Boston Celtics before we start tracing over our penciling in of the Celtics for the Finals. In the first two meetings between the two best teams in the East, the Heat were dispatched. Both games featured moderately significant leads for the Celtics late, runs by Miami to keep the television audience slightly interested, then workman-like elimination stretches from Boston to close things out. If the Heat want to showcase anything towards the notion that they are anything more than a cupcake-devouring regular season team, this is the time to prove it. Their showcase wins over the Lakers and Magic in the past month and a half will mean very little if the Celtics were to run up a 3-0 season series advantage.

There's no such thing as a must-win game for an NBA title contender in February. But this is about as close as it gets. 
And with that, here are five keys to Boston and five keys to Miami for Sunday's afternoon delight between the Heat and the Celtics. 

Boston Celtics

1. A Pointed Exchange

Rajon Rondo isn't just the best point guard on the floor, he is arguably the third best overall player in this matchup.  He's certainly made a strong case for that element in the first two games against Miami. Rondo has 33 assists and just six turnovers against the Heat this season. I'll let you soak in that stew of incredible for a moment. 33 assists. Six turnovers. Even more incredible, though, is that his games could have been a lot stronger offensively. Rondo is just 5-17 from the field in this season series, for a grand total of 12 points. Rondo's clearly shown he doesn't have to score in order to be a huge advantage for the Celtics, but if he brings his brilliant playmaking and finds his mid-range or floater falling? This thing could get out of hand before half. Matched up against either Mario Chalmers or Carlos Arroyo, Rondo is able to out-class whatever the Heat want to throw at him, and he's even got the speed and ability to take Dwyane Wade or LeBron James to the cleaners. The big key for Rondo is to stay aggressive and focused. When he's zoned in, the Heat simply don't have the personnel to counter him. 

2. Baby You Got What I Need

Glen Davis has never lost a regular season game to the Miami Heat. True story. He's 9-0 all-time agains the Heat, and while some of that is an anomaly, some of it isn't, and he's been a big factor this year against the Triad. Davis is the unofficial league-leader in charges-drawn and has made some big ones against LeBron James. The Celtics' ability to close on James not at the point of attack on the perimeter, where his size and athleticism allows him to either bust the double or pass to a cutter, but at the bucket, has frustrated James time and time again throughout the years. While Davis' blubbery reverse, tilt-a-whirl mid-range and fiercely wild, yet consistent putbacks are helpful, it's this awareness on the defensive end and his willingness to sacrifice his body to an oncoming L-Train that really makes him a difference-maker in this matchup. With a shortened bench likely for this game, expect Davis' presence to be felt early and often. 

3. In Your Head, Zombie

Kevin Garnett's cute little antics can get in the heads of some, but he hasn't really whipped out the special effects in the first two meetings. His game has raged from strong but shakey in the first meeting (10 points, 7 turnovers) to strong (16 points, 13 rebounds) in the second. But he hasn't really had any key moment of conflict, which is surprising, considering how much of a target you'd expect Chris Bosh to be for Garnett's jawing and snapping. Garnett did shut down Bosh in the season opener, but he recovered for the second. You'd think that given how emotional Garnett has played lately, this game would be ripe for a fake-fight from the former MVP. At the same time, Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen need to make sure Garnett doesn't go too far. He's been pressing his luck further and further with officials lately, and they can't afford to lose him to an ejection, not with how short the bench is. Speaking of... 

4. Protect and Serve

The biggest key for this game for Boston? Don't get injured. That's the really important message. They've already won two impressive games against Miami, they're short-handed, it's February, they're in a bit of a slump, and it's an early-start game. While a nice, comfortable victory on the back of great shooting would be rewarding, and sending an even more dominant message would do the Celtics good, the goal for the Celtics now is to get to the Finals healthy. 

5. The Kobe Treatment on LeBron

The same formula that worked in the first two games should work again. Let James score all the points he wants, but make life a living hell for Dwyane Wade and the Heat shooters. Do that, and they become as one-dimensional as the Cavs were. It's only when the cylinders get going on all three members of the Triad and then the perimeter rotations start freeing up threes for the lesser guards that the Heat become a really effective unit. As long as James is being tempted into ISO situations, the Celtics can close, harass, and limit James' domination. It's fine if he gets ridiculous numbers as long as the rest of the team struggles. Worked before, it'll work again. 

Miami Heat

1. Try, Try, Try Again

It sounds simple, but if the Heat want to walk away with their first win over the Green since forming this little group of Super-Friends, they need to give more effort. Boston's defensive unit is yet again the most feared in the league and a huge reason for why the Heat's focus seemed to go in a thresher in October and November's games.  However, there was a clear lackadasical element to the Heat's body language in those games that seemed to indicate they simply weren't dialed into these games. Against the Celtics! It should have been Boston who wasn't committed to winning a meaningless regular season game, acting as if they didn't care about such games. But instead Boston brought its A-Game and the Heat seemed content to lay down and watch them take it from them. Needless to say, the same kind of intensity from Miami on Sunday will ruin any chance they have. The Celtics are tired, worn-down, injured, and know this game means nothing for them. Yet they will still bring their focus and be ready to capitalize unless the Heat give them a reason to quit. 

2. The D-Rated Superstar

Dwyane Wade has been terrible against Boston this season. He has shot 6-28 from the field for 21 points, with 9 assists and 12 turnovers. Those are "OMG" bad numbers. Wade is an elite player and it's his ability to finish at the rim that can rack up fouls for Boston and force them to bring doubles. If they're able to simply rotate like they usually do, the Heat shooters will face contested shots, which will pile up the misses. James has brought it the first two games, it's time for Wade to step up and join him. There's no reason to think they can count on the rest of the Heat to step up against the Celtics so the two best players on the team have to set the example. Wade has had a great season, but really been shut down against Boston. That can't happen Sunday or the Heat is sunk.

3. Do-Run-Run-Run, Do-Run-Run

The Celtics don't like running teams. They still usually beat them, but they have issues with them, as we've pointed out in the past. A shortened rotation due to injury is only going to exacerbate that problem. Likewise, the Heat are at their best when they're out in transition, using the talents of James, Wade, and Bosh in space. Against the Celtics this season, the Heat actually have fewer transition plays than the Celtics, (27-25, via Synergy Sports). The Celtics do a good job of getting back immediately in transition and attacking the ball to stop it. The Heat need to be insistent in pushing, and trusting that their athletes can make things happen. If they turn the ball over, so be it. But a higher pace game favors the Heat, even as the two teams are even in pace this season at 92.8

4. Desperately Seeking X

The Heat need an X-Factor. Someone to step up and put some points on the board, make a few defensive plays, create some steals, something. Udonis Haslem was that player in the first two games, but since he's out, someone will have to step up. If either Mario Chalmers, James Jones, or Eddie House can make a significant set of plays to cap off Heat runs, they may be able to get some damage done against Boston. They'll have their opportunities. The Celtics won't over-double and will run off three-pointers, but they're also unlikely to kill themselves to contest shots they're willing to live with. The Heat have to be ready to step up in those situations. It won't take a cohesive effort from all of the role players, but someone is going to need to give them something surprising. 

5. A Step in the Right Direction

The Heat can't convert anyone about their prospects in the playoffs on Sunday. Not really. But they can make a good step in that direction. The Celtics will brush off a loss by saying they'll get it done when it counts. Miami does not have that luxury, but they still need to get some level of confidence. A loss means they were beaten in three straight by Boston, with their last matchup coming in rest-up time just days before the playoffs in April. This is their best and last shot to show they can go toe to toe with Boston, even if it's an injured Celtics team. They need to get outside the hype they brought with them this season, the injuries they've dealt with, and the newness of this team. If they want to feel confident in any way, shape, or form for a possible Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Boston Celtics, they have to start by winning in Boston Sunday.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 2:03 am
Edited on: February 9, 2011 2:09 am

Game Changer: Pacers choke against Heat

The Miami Heat get an easy one thanks to a late-game meltdown by the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James gets way up, Blake Griffin throws down the Alley Oop and Chauncey Billups looks cold. Plus, plenty more. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements that help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the previous night's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what led to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


The Indiana Pacers and their new teenage-looking coach Frank Vogel are hard to root against, as the sacking of Jim O'Brien immediately produced a four-game winning streak for a team that had only won four games in the month prior to his dismissal. 

The winning came to an end -- and Vogel's undefeated head coaching record was finally tarnished -- on Tuesday night as the Pacers lost to the mighty Miami Heat on the road, 117-112. 
  The ending to this one was not only bizarre, it was fairly rare. Allow me set the scene.

With 8.9 seconds left, the Pacers have the ball on a side inbounds play in the frontcourt, trailing by three points, 115-112. The Pacers stacked four players in the middle of the court with guard Dahntay Jones inbounding the ball. Even without strong initial pressure on the ball, Jones couldn't find anyone, and he watched as Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. fired across the top of the key, as point guard Darren Collison shot into the near corner and as forward Danny Granger came directly to the ball. The only non-shooter on the court for Indiana, big man Jeff Foster, just stood stunned in the paint watching this car wreck unfold. 

With all three possible options exhausted, Jones finally threw a bounce pass in to Granger, only to have the referee blow his whistle, signalling for a five second violation.

Man alive. How often do you see a five second violation on a potential game-winning, last second play? Not often. 

Credit goes to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who had a small-ball defensive lineup in with guards Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade and a trio of forwards: LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mike Miller to defend against the obvious three-point attempt. Chalmers didn't initially pressure the ball that hard, but as the clock started ticking he does move up, obscuring Jones' vision. Miller and James simply did their jobs, shadowing their men and not getting hung up on screens. Dwyane Wade probably had the largest role in causing the violation, sticking to Granger like glue, forcing Jones' delay and indecision because he was worried about a Wade steal from behind.

But we shouldn't go overboard in praising Miami. This wasn't a difficult to time catch-and-shoot situation. This was a standard late-game entry pass that the Pacers simply couldn't execute. Get. The. Ball. In. Bounds. They couldn't do it.

Miami cashed in on the mistake as the Pacers were forced to foul immediately and that was the ball game. Take a look at the play. Admire the meltdown.


LeBron James:  41 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists on 15-of-23 shooting in 42 minutes in a Miami Heat home win over the Indiana Pacers.

Dwight Howard:  22 points, 20 rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block, +30 (!) on 7-of-13 shooting in 37 minutes in an Orlando Magic home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Zach Randolph:   31 points, 13 rebounds, four assists on 11-of-19 shooting in 47 minutes in a Memphis Grizzlies road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.



Blake Griffin might put more people on posters, but nobody dunks in more photographic fashion than LeBron James. Watch out, below. My goodness. Two of his 41 points. 



This is just a Blake Griffin dunk every single day, you know how I do it. Here Griffin catches the alley oop lob pass and dunks over Orlando Magic forward Ryan Anderson, much like he dunked over Kyle Korver recently. Griffin struggled on the night, scoring just 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 35 minutes of action in a 101-85 loss to Orlando.


Per Denver Nuggets team policy, Chauncey Billups does not charge baggage handling fees. Boy, he looks cold.


I, for one, am glad that Kevin Durant made the three-point contest even if he is the only one of the contestants to shoot below league-average from deep.  Given his competitive desire, overall talent level and ability to rise to the occasion, Durant not only makes a great candidate, he serves as an excellent foil for the field. He gets to take on a Larry Bird role here, the intimidating all-NBA gunner who the specialists can try to take down. I love it. What better script is there for a three-point contest?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com