Archive for June 16th, 2012

lebron james

At this point a year ago, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were using words like urgency and desperation.

And that’s exactly what the Miami Heat expect the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring into Game 3 of this year’s NBA Finals.

So far, this championship series has followed the same script as a year ago, with the home team winning the opening matchup, then falling in Game 2 to lose the home-court edge. Miami took the sting of that into Dallas last year and used it as fuel to win Game 3 — and the Heat will look to ensure that trend doesn’t repeat itself when the title matchup resumes on their home floor Sunday night.

“You’ve got the two best teams in the league right now going against each other,” Wade said Saturday, when practices resumed after a day off for both clubs. “So it’s going to be a very tough game, but we have to find a way to win it. And it’s about taking, like I said, one possession at a time, one second, one minute at a time to make sure we reach our goal — and that’s to win the game.”

A Game 3 victory assures nothing, a lesson the Heat learned the hard way last year. That win in Dallas was Miami’s final victory of the season.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

The Suns might need the franchise’s next point guard soon. They also are putting a priority on finding a wing scorer who can create his own shot.

Those are needs, but the Suns’ most glaring need after missing consecutive postseasons for the first time in 24 years is talent. Saturday’s draft workout at US Airways Center made it clear that a talent influx also could come in the form of another big man, despite drafting power forward Markieff Morris last year, returning Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat and planning to retain restricted free agent Robin Lopez.

The Suns close workouts and do not announce or comment on visiting prospects, but league sources revealed that on Saturday they hosted an impressive group of big men who are all first-round candidates. The workout featured North Carolina’s John Henson and Tyler Zeller, Illinois’ Meyers Leonard, Baylor’s Perry Jones and Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie, as well as Vanderbilt small forward Jeffery Taylor.

On Tuesday, the Suns worked out two big men who also are first-round candidates. In that workout, St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson outshined Syracuse’s Fab Melo, but neither is considered in the realm of Saturday’s bunch, although Nicholson’s stock is rising.

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Thunder must stop slow starts in Finals

The Thunder had to overcome first-half deficits of 13 and 17 points in the series which is knotted at one game each.

“We just have to play harder to start the games,” said Durant during Saturday’s practice. “We are doing it a little too late. We watched film — the first 10 minutes of the game and we kind of relaxed. I don’t know why.

“It was tough to watch … you look at it and say ‘wow, did I really just do that?’

“It falls back on me as a leader. I have to start the games with a lot of intensity. No matter if I am making shots or missing shots or if I make a bad defensive rotation. I just have got to start off with a lot of energy.”

The Thunder rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit to win game one 105-94. They dug themselves an even deeper hole in the first quarter of game two by falling behind by 17 points. But this time they couldn’t climb out of it, losing 100-96.

– Reported by Greg Heakes of the Associated Press

Phil Jackson not looking to coach Knicks

phil jackson

Phil Jackson views the Knicks as a flawed team and says he would have turned down the franchise had it offered him the head coaching job, according to a transcript of a coming segment of “Real Sports” on HBO.

“There’s just too much work that has to be done with that team,” Jackson said in the interview with Andrea Kremer, which is set to be televised on Tuesday. He added, “It’s a little bit of a clumsy team.”

But there was never a decision to make because the Knicks “never called,” Jackson told Kremer. The remarks could be viewed as an odd sort of vindication for Knicks officials, who were widely criticized for failing to reach out to Jackson.

– Reported by Howard Beck of the New York Times (Blog)

Explaining what he meant by clumsy, Jackson said, “Well, they don’t fit together well. Stoudemire doesn’t fit well with Carmelo. Stoudemire’s a really good player. But he’s got to play in a certain system and a way. Carmelo has to be a better passer, and the ball can’t stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kind of blend that group together.”

When interviewer Andrea Kremer said it sounded as if Jackson was the perfect person to blend the talent because of his résumé, Jackson said, “Yeah, well, it never happened.”

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

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