After a wild weekend for the eastern conference the Miami Heat are in great position to make the playoffs. The Heat were briefly in playoff position over the weekend, but were quickly knocked back down after wins by the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks.
There are only 12 games remaining in the regular season, and these three teams are jostling for playoff position. Time is running out for the Heat and they need to win in order get back to the 7th or 8th seed.
They can put pressure on the Bucks and the Pistons if they win games. As the season comes to a close the Heat might need help with a couple of losses from the teams ahead of them.
In a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves the Heat would come away with a 123-105 win. This win put the Heat in the 7th spot in the eastern conference momentarily. The Heat had a lot of help from their bench in this win.
Tyler Johnson would score 23 points off the bench, and James Johnson would contribute 17 points and 6 assists in the win. Starters Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside would both have double-doubles in the game.
Dragic would score 19 points and dish out 10 assists. Whiteside would score 23 points and grab 14 rebounds. Their playoff position would be short lived after their game against the Trail Blazers.
In their matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers the Heat would fall 115-104. This loss would bounce them right back out of a playoff spot. The Trail Blazers would only score 14 points off the bench, but the starters would have huge games.
Damian Lillard would score 49 points. Three other starters would be in double figures and that would prove to be too much to handle for the Heat.
James Johnson would be the high scorer in the game for the Heat, scoring 24 points off the bench. Whiteside would also have a big game scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Heat would play against the Phoenix Suns and win 112-97. This win put them back in the playoff picture at the 8th seed.
Whiteside would have a big game, and also break a team record for most rebounds in a single season. He would finish the game with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Tyler Johnson would have a big game off the bench being the second highest scorer with 17 points. The Heat bench played a big role in this game having 4 players in double figures. The Suns were hurt by the 3-pointer in this game only making 25% of them for the game.
In their game against the Toronto Raptors the Heat would lose 101-84. Both teams shot poorly from downtown. They both shot 26.1% from that range, but the Heat had a poor shooting night in the paint as well.
They would shoot 39% from the field. The Heat had trouble containing DeMar DeRozan who went off for 40 points. Some Heat players went scoreless in this game such as Luke Babbit, Wayne Ellington, and Okaro White.
Combined all three players saw 30 minutes of playing time. That hurt the Heat, but they are able to stay in the 8th seed in the eastern conference because of a loss by Detroit.
Clippers’ Paul George Booed by Pacers Fans
Los Angeles Clipper superstar Paul George wasn’t fazed by the relentless boos showered down on him during Monday’s game in Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers, the team he spent several seasons with before requesting a trade in 2017, in fact, George teased a tell-all in which he will tell his side of the story that led to his trade request, hinting that he is set to take aim at many within the organization.
As far as the boos, George says the fans are booing the wrong people. George, who dropped 36 points in the victory, was booed every time he touched the ball, and was subjected to chants of “Paul George s—!” during the game, was playing back in Indiana for the third time since the trade.
“I’m not surprised,” George said, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “That’s Indiana for you. It’s a Hoosier thing.”
“You know, someday I’ll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana,” George said. “And I promise you, I’m not the one to boo.”
“… I’m not gonna share the teaser,” George continued. “… I like being the villain. I’m here two nights out of the year. The people they should boo is here a lot longer than I am.”
George was pressed by the media to divulge details, specifically about general manager Kevin Pritchard who said George’s trade request was like a punch to the gut.
“You’re getting close to trying to get this story out, aren’t you?” George asked. “… I’m not going to bad-mouth KP. That’s just Kevin’s side of the story.”
George has excelled in every game back in Indiana since the trade, and Monday’s game marked the third straight time he scored 31 points or more against his former team. However, judging from George’s post-game comments, he may be saving his best performance yet against the Pacers organization.
Carmelo Anthony Warned Chris Paul About Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers’ forward Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul have both spent time with the Houston Rockets, and both had unceremonious exits from the organization.
But upon his exit from the Rockets after only 10 games, Anthony says that his experience prompted him to warn his close friend Paul to “be careful” with the Rockets organization, who ended up trading Paul a few days after general manager Daryl Morrey told Paul they weren’t going to trade him.
Anthony wasn’t shocked at how things played out for Paul in Houston.
“No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Anthony said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “When my situation happened in Houston, he was the first person that I called to come to my room. And we had to clear some things up, and I wanted to know if he had anything to do with it. And that was the first thing that I wanted to know, and he told me, ‘No.’ And from that point on, I told him, looked him in his eyes and said, ‘Look, just be careful.’ You know what I mean? Just be careful. And damn sure if [the same situation] didn’t happen to him.”
Paul was dealt to the Thunder over the summer in package that brought point guard Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.
“I was shocked,” Paul said, according to The Undefeated. “Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade, and he said he wasn’t going to trade me [to Oklahoma City]. That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.”
“I haven’t talked to nobody in their organization, no,” Anthony said. “I’m not angry. I’m not bitter at it. It happens. I wish I had an explanation when it happened, but I’m past it.”
Anthony also discussed a potential vibe around the league that the Rockets may not forthcoming, with the situations involving he and Paul as examples as to why some may be weary with the Rockets organization.
“Well, nobody has an answer, right?” Anthony said. “My situation and Chris’ situation is totally different, but nobody has an answer. Like, nobody really has an answer for my situation. Still. The only people that know is me. Me and them. That’s it. And I don’t even think they know. It’s just something that was already established before I even got there. It was on a trial-run basis. You look back at it, and 10 games is an evaluation. So that’s the business, right? You see New York have a press conference eight games in, 10 games. So that’s the new analytics. That’s the new game. Everything’s based off of your first 10 games. And once you know that, it gives you clarity on a lot of things.”
Anthony says that he did speak to Paul following Paul’s trade to the Thunder.
“No, he didn’t say I was right,” Anthony said. “He was in Vegas when all of that happened, so we was talking. And when I talked to him, he was like, ‘Man, look, I understand it. It’s messed up, but I understand it.’ And for me, I’m like, ‘Yo, it took me months to kind of, like, get past that.’ My pride was hit. My ego was hit. I had to really get past that. To a point where it was like, ‘Man, Chris, is you good?’ I wanted to make sure he was good. So he told me he was good, and that was that.”
Lakers’ LeBron James Praises Luke Walton
Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar forward LeBron James is praising former Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton, who is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, when the Kings came in to play the Lakers on Friday.
James says that with all the devastating injuries and the non-stop distractions of the constant trade rumors, Walton “did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances”, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
Walton was the head coach during James’ first season with the Lakers in 2018-2019 and led the team to a 37-45 record, missing the playoffs.
“Throughout everything that was going on, we were two of the guys that just tried to remain positive and patient, even with the circumstances that we had,” James said during shootaround on Friday.
James reflected on the challenges of last season, pointing to key injuries as contributing factors to the disappointing season.
“I mean, we were right where we wanted to be on Dec. 25, went up into Golden State and played against a very good team and had a very good game,” James said. “And then the injury happened and I’m out 6½ weeks.
“I don’t think anyone could have predicted that, including myself and including Luke. And we were just behind the eight ball. But throughout it all we just tried to remain positive, even throughout with the young guys, with the older guys and whatever the case may be. So I think he did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances.”
“Um, I agree with LeBron,” Walton said. “[There’s] a longer answer and I’ve spent time reflecting on last season, but for now, couple of hours before a game, it is more focused on tonight’s task and our game planning and rotations and things like that.”
Walton is now at the helm in Sacramento, but he talked about how special it is to return to Los Angeles, even on the opposing side.
“It’s always a special place for me to come into this building,” Walton said. “I have a lot of great memories in L.A. It’s a great opportunity playing here and coaching here.”
“LeBron, he’s one of the greatest players of all time if not the greatest,” Walton said. “So I’m sure last year getting hurt, not making the playoffs, I mean, he’s going right now. And this team kind of follows that lead. They’re playing incredibly well. Their defense and offense starts with him. He looks really good.”
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