Fantasy basketball is a great hobby, but real life comes first. Meeting my adorable 1-day-old grandson Rory and telling the world about his arrival made it a wonderful Saturday.
Monday night … The BCS National Championship … THE big game in college football.
Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight is watching the game.
Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Chase Budinger and New York Knicks guard Ronnie Brewer asked the same thing, in addition to needing a place to eat.
There are a lot of players weighing in on the outcome of the BCS Championship, as listed on the following page.
According to Ric Bucher’s source (more on that below), that appears to be the case and if so, the rumors of the Lakers having a desire to acquire Ryan Anderson becomes a moot point.
The question is, does Nash still feel the same way after seeing how much Gasol has struggled up to this point of the season? Before sitting out the previous contest due to knee tendinitis against the New Orleans
Pelicans Hornets – where Anderson did his best to show what the Lakers are missing by dropping 31 points on them – Gasol had averaged 12.6 points on a career-low 42 percent shooting from the field. That is probably not the version of Gasol that Nash had in mind before signing with the team.
More importantly, the point guard’s desire to play alongside Gasol was before the team managed to acquire Dwight Howard, who is by far the best center in the league – even if he isn’t playing like one at the moment. With such a dominant pick-and-roll partner at his disposal, is it really necessary to have a struggling 32-year-old Gasol by his side as well? No one knows what is going through Nash’s mind, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he changed his tune on the situation, especially if there is a good trade on the table and it helps the Lakers become a better team in the long run.
“We make our mark defensively,” MVP LeBron James said.
He’s right. But maybe that’s about to change a little bit. Maybe.
For years and years, the Heat have prided themselves on defense. That’s the culture. This is the team that gets its defensive philosophy from Pat “Contest Every Possession” Riley. It is defensive-minded right down the line.
James might be the best defensive player in the NBA. Dwyane Wade is the best shot-blocking guard in the NBA and has made the All-Defensive Team. And you will never confuse Heat coach Erik Spoelstra with Doug Moe.
But Miami is allowing 106.5 points per game, while scoring in bunches. This ain’t right.
So what in the name of Paul Westhead is going on here?
“We’re not last year’s team,” Wade said after Monday’s 124-99 victory over Phoenix. “We’re trying to find our own identity. We have work to do. We did a better job tonight.”
Here’s what could be going on: We might be looking at the wrong thing. We might be seeing the evolution of a higher-scoring Heat team, an improved team offensively, a more dangerous team.
Set aside the defense. It will come around.
Offensively, this could become a Heat team that, right from the start of the season and throughout the playoffs, puts an unreal amount of pressure on its opponents.
No, the Heat are not last year’s team. They might be even better.
Defense and effort are the reasons Miami spanked Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals. Spoelstra’s brand of position-less basketball made center Kendrick Perkins and power forward Serge Ibaka powerless to use their size. And the Heat’s defense took care of guard James Harden. The defense will be fine.
Plus, the Heat are doing well overall. They’re 3-1.
Granted, there are defensive issues. The fact that the Heat are tied for 23rd in rebounds (39.5 per game) isn’t a big deal. They finished tied for 21st in the league (41.6) last year and won the title.
Here’s what’s out of whack. Denver had 18 offensive rebounds and outscored Miami, 30-6, in second-chance points.