The Miami cHeat: As Basketbawful reader Aaron said: "The Heat can only beat bad teams" is no longer true!
Despite LeBron's big night -- 27 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, 20,562 boos and a three-pointer that shouldn't have counted -- the lowly Cadavers beat the mighty cHeat in what may be the greatest underdog story since Peter La Fleur's misfits from Average Joe's defeated White Goodman and his Globo-Gym team at the American Dodgeball Association of America tournament in Las Vegas.
I know what you're probably saying: Something like "Pffffft!!" or "Buhwhaaaaaa...?!" And not just because Globo-Gym wins in the alternate ending to Dodgeball. The idea that the worst team in basketball could defeat the Nazgul is nearly beyond belief. But I promise you: It's not a misprint. Not a typo. We're still two days away from April 1, so this isn't an April Fool's Day joke. Cleveland straight up took it to Miami despite the fact that (USELESS STAT ALERT!!) King Crab became the first (and only) player since Wilt Chamberlain to have a triple-double against a team he had won an MVP with.
So...how'd it happen?
From ESPN Stats and Information: "The Heat came into Tuesday's game ranked second in opponent field goal percentage. On Tuesday they allowed the Cavaliers to shoot 55.6 percent, giving up more than 12 percent on their season average. The Heat, who were outscored by 11 in the second quarter, allowed the Cavaliers to shoot 5-for-6 from outside of 15 feet including four 3-pointers in that quarter."
The Clevelanders finished with an eFG% of 62.7 percent and an Offensive Rating of 115.9. Miami could do nothing with J.J. Hickson (21 points and 12 rebounds) or Anthony Parker (20 points on 7-for-9 shooting).
Not only were the Cads red-hot, they held the cHeat to 42.3 percent shooting and outrebounded them 44-30. Cleveland led by as many as 23 points and held off a Miami rally to win by double digits. Speaking of which...
From ESPN Stats and Information: "Despite LeBron's historic effort, the Cavaliers beat the Heat by 12 to earn their first double-digit win this season. Every other team has at least four wins by 10 or more points. Should Cleveland not win one of its nine remaining games by double-digits, the Elias Sports Bureau says the Cavaliers would be just the second team ever to have fewer than two double-digit wins in a season. Cleveland would join the 1997-98 Raptors (one)."
I know, I know. Wow.
Said Anthony Parker: "The first time we played them here, we were embarrassed and they took a little from us. This is the night that we wanted to get that back, for us, but more for the fans. That was great getting it back for them."
Added cHeat coach Erik Spoelstra: "The majority of time in this league you get what you deserve and we got exactly what we deserved. They played harder than us. They came out with much more desperation and sense of urgency. This pattern started two games ago, and we're a little confused what our identity is."
Confused what our identity is? That's a weird statement.
But Coach Spo' is right about the Cads playing harder. Especially Ryan Hollins. I mean, damn, son. He would not be denied. And he would not be intimidated, no matter how butthurt D-Wade was feeling:
And Ryan wants the Boshtrich to know something: NOT IN MY HOUSE!!
Hollins' performance (13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 12 free throw attempts and a plus-minus score of +33) focused the camera of shame both on Bosh's soiled panties (10 points, 5-for-14, 4 rebounds, a game-worst plus-minus of -24) and the extreme suck generated by Miami's bench (6 total points on 3-for-12 shooting). Yeah, we all know that Chris' nuts tend to shrivel when he encounters brute force and John Hollinger's "revelation" that the Heat reserves blow rocked our minds about as hard as that recent study that said open shots are better than contested shots...
...but I can't help but think back to the Miami teams from 2004-05 and 2005-06. You know, when they added Shaq, and guys like Damon Jones, Christian Laettner, Jason Kapono and James Posey started playing great. I mean, it's just weird, isn't it? The hallmark of great players is usually how they enhance the performance of their teammates. And while the Nazgul are surrounded by a bunch of stiffs, some of these stiffs have been servicable roleplayers on other teams. Why isn't playing with two MVP-caliber players making these guys any better?
Random statistical anomoly: Joel Anthony (0 points, 0-for-2, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 2 fouls) was the only Miami player with a positive plus-minus score (+13).
LeBron James: Skipping player introductions to avoid boos? Really? Cleveland took its medicine. You can take yours.
The New Jersey Nyets: Not sure what to say about this one: The Deron William-less Nyets fell behind 34-21 after 12 minutes, trailed by as many as 26 points and lost 112-87. At home. It was their third fail in a row and the seventh in eight games. Make it two straight seasons with at least 50 losses.
Screamed New Jersey coach Avery Johnson: "I'M DISAPPOINTED. WE CAN'T KEEP WRITING THESE OFF AS BAD GAMES. I'M A COMPETITOR. WE EXPECT MORE. I DON'T MAKE EXCUSES. WE JUST DIDN'T GET IT DONE TONIGHT."
The Gol_en State Warriors: Kevin Durant broke out of his self-described slump by scoring 39 points on 13-for-23 from the field, 3-for-5 from downtown and 10-for-12 from the line. It was the Durantula's highest scoring output since dropping 43 on the Hornets back on February 2.
And, hey, it happened against the Warriors! We are not surprised.
Minor Controversy Alert! The Thunder were down 111-109 when Durant used the so-called "rip" move that's become so popular among the league's perimeter scorers (Kobe does this a lot). You know, the one where the offensive player whips the ball and his arms up through the defender's outstretched arm, drawing a cheapie foul. Which Durant did. He went on to drain all three freebies to put OKC on top.
Gol_en State coach Keith Smart wasn't happy. How could he be? I mean, his team got penalized for finally playing some defense.
Said Smart: "That shouldn't be a call because defensive players, you're trying to tell your guys to get up on a good player. If the player's going to bait you into a foul -- and I understand it's a rule, so there's nothing we can do about it -- but ... who has the right to the space? We've got to come to a conclusion."
Apparently, we (and by "we" I mean "the league") have come to a conclusion, and conclusion seems to be that the offensive player has the right to that space.
The Phoenix Suns: Christ.
I really believe that triple-overtime loss to the Lakers was the death of the Suns' playoff hopes. Past that, the loss to the Hornets was the funeral and the loss to the Mavs was when they buried the coffin. Last night's loss to the Kings? That's was like a random homeless guy stumbling by and peeing on the grave.
Said Suns coach Alvin Gentry: "You have to play your way into the playoffs. Right now, the way we're playing we don't deserve to be in the playoffs. All the teams we are chasing are really good. And we are not. We are still alive in the playoff race, but we are basically on life support."
It's true Phoenix hasn't been mathematically eliminated, but that says more about the failure of math than it does about the Suns' realistic chances of actually reaching the postseason. Besides, I'm not sure watching Vince Carter bricking contested three-pointers in a four-game sweep would make me feel any better about the way Robert Sarver is ruining the end of Steve Nash's career.
The Maloofs: From the AP recap:
Early Tuesday night, the Anaheim City Council voted 5-0 to approve a $75 million financial package to lure the Kings from Sacramento. The council also voted 5-0 to pay for the Kings' relocation.From AnacondaHL: "The various Suns players and affiliates on Twitter were repeatedly mentioning that this could be the last time the Suns play in Sacramento, and then Channing Frye reveals the picture on the ticket which includes a fan holding up a picture that says 'I heart the O.C. #18.' Wow indeed."
Orange County billionaire Henry Samueli, who manages the Honda Center where the Kings would play, will finance the deal himself, while the city is issuing the bond package. Officials at the Honda Center announced Tuesday that they will be creating a waiting list for fans who have inquired about NBA tickets for next season.
At a press conference, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star in Phoenix, said he's resigned to the Kings moving to Anaheim but expects the Maloof ownership group to pay its $77 million loan to the City of Sacramento.
Chris's Sad Lacktion Ledger:
El (Oh El) Heat-HAPPY Cavs: Erick Dampier gathered just one board in exactly 12 minutes as starting center, only to lose the rock twice and foul thricely for a 5:1 Voskuhl.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas bricked and lost the rock once, and fouled twice for a +4 and a 3:0 Voskuhl.
Eddie House bricked and fouled once each in 5:28 for a +2.
Meanwhile, for the WINNING Cleveland team, Joey Graham wired himself 3.1 trillion (3:05).