CAVALIERS 94, Wizards 84
Kyrie Irving made the All-League Pass Team because of plays like this:
I can’t see too good, is that Kyle Lee Watson?
Cavs fans should feel good about Irving’s big game. (29 points, 6 assists, game-best +23). They should not feel good about the tie score with the Wizards (missing John Wall and Nene, coached by Randy Wittman) with under 5 minutes to play.
HEAT 120, Celtics 107
LeBron checked out of the game with 9:00 to go in the game, suffering from leg cramps. He was taken to the locker room, not to be seen again, with the Heat seemingly in control of a 100-85 lead. With the MVP out of the game, Boston went on a run that cut the deficit to 6 points. But Chris Bosh took over in Winning Time and Miami won a game that it deserved to win. The game was interesting for a few reasons. First, Ray Allen was playing against the Celtics instead of with them. How did KG feel about that?
Stay classy, Kevin.
The game itself opened like a rivalry game in the Big Ten or ACC. Frenetic pace and impossible half-court defense. At times, Courtney Lee looked like he’ll really help the Celtics as an offensive weapon. At times, Jeff Green looked like an overpaid dud. LeBron was overwhelmingly the best player on the floor, finishing with 26 points (on 10-16 shooting) 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 0 turnovers in just 29 minutes, due to the cramping episode. D-Wade struggled early, sometimes forcing the action and whining for calls. He played better later, converting smart cuts into baseline dunks. Bosh started slow and uninvolved. He finished as the key player in LeBron’s absence. The Heat looked better than the Celtics from start to finish.
Mavericks 99, LAKERS 91
It took just two quarters for Lakers coach Mike Brown to feel some heat under his collar. The halftime crew (and all of Twitter) was blasting the Lakers slow, “Princeton” offense as a bad use of its weapons. Barkley pointed out that every Laker possession should begin with Dwight running down the middle of the floor with a hand up, looking for a quick dunk. (This is what Denver does with Kenneth Faried, and it works at least once per game; sometimes a handful of times.) Although the Lakers x’s and o’s had issues, their free-throw shooting was also a mess. They finished the game 12 for 31 from the charity stripe. Finally, the Lakers horribly mismanage rotations. They began the game with a long stretch of Nash and Kobe in the backcourt, with each guy not sure when to pass, dribble or shoot. (Since they’re accustomed to doing plenty of all three.) Then they exit and enter at essentially the same times, often leaving a Blake-Meeks backcourt that doesn’t have to be. Lots of early struggles in LaLa Land. But I’m sure they’ll figure it out. Whether it’s Mike Brown or somebody else is an open question…