Archive for March 17th, 2011

Heat need a healthy Udonis Haslem

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN reports:

Udonis Haslem

udonis haslem

Rocks cornrows

Haslem may not be a center, but he usually replaced one when he was healthy. His inside presence allows the Heat to go “small” with him at the four and Bosh at the five. In fact, three of the four most frequent lineups with Haslem on the floor feature Bosh at center. And it’s incredibly effective. The score with those “small” lineups? Heat 203, Opponents 166.

The Heat don’t just suffer on the boards without Haslem. Offensively, the Heat’s floor spacing becomes congested around the rim with the Heat’s big men. On Wednesday night, the Thunder bigs routinely cheated off of Howard, Dampier, Anthony and Jamaal Magloire in the paint without consequence. For a team that depends on open lanes for Wade and LeBron to penetrate, the offensive deficiencies of the Heat big men become exponentially troublesome. It’s no longer a game of five-on-five.

Armed with a silky jumper, Haslem can hit shots inside and out. His presence can help stabilize the Heat’s offense and unclog the paint for his attack-minded teammates.

This is all to say that Haslem offers a specific skill set the Heat woefully lack: a hard-nosed rebounder who commands the attention of opposing defenses. No one else on the Heat roster fills that essential role. On Wednesday against the Thunder, Haslem’s absence was profoundly felt by the Heat’s thin frontline.

Garnett says Rondo is playing hurt

Chris Forsberg of reports:

“Rondo’s playing hurt,” said Kevin Garnett [about Celtics teammate Rajon Rondo]. “He’s giving us everything he has and he’s grinding. I think the nights where he’s playing countless minutes for us, and he’s not playing washed up guys. He’s playing [Indiana’s Darren Collison] and [New Jersey’s Deron Williams] and all these guys and they’re coming at him. He knows that, so he’s just a little focused in. But everybody’s banged up at this point and [Rondo] is no different from that.”

Doc Rivers suggested before Wednesday’s game that Rondo was “just not playing well,” and said he’d work his way out of it. Rivers has praised Rondo’s play in recent games — despite stat lines that are less eye-catching than we’ve been accustomed to this season — and, while making his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM) reiterated that there’s no mystery ailment here.

Warriors reassign Jeremy Lin to D-League

The Golden State Warriors have reassigned guard Jeremy Lin to the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.

Lin has previously appeared in 16 games over two stints with the Bighorns this season, averaging 17.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.19 steals in 32.0 minutes per contest.  The 22-year-old has shot 51.8 % (103-199 FG) from the floor, 40.0 % (12-30 3FG) from three-point range and 69.7 % (69-99 FT) from the free throw line in D-League action.

With the Warriors this season, Lin has appeared in 23 games, averaging 1.9 points, 1.1 assists and 1.13 steals in 8.7 minutes per contest.

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed swingman Othyus Jeffers from the NBA Development League’s Iowa Energy to a 10-day contract.  Jeffers (6-5, 200), a two-time D-League All-Star (2009, 2011) and the 2009 D-League Rookie of the Year, has averaged 21.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season through 38 games (18 double-doubles) with Iowa.

Jeffers has also appeared in 15 NBA games over two seasons after being called up by the Utah Jazz in 2009-10 and the San Antonio Spurs this season.  He will wear uniform #12.

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