Posts Tagged ‘Joel Anthony’

Point/Counterpoint — Should LeBron Have Taken The Last Shot?

by Micah Hart

A lot of disagreement out there in the NBA atmosphere about the finish to the Heat-Jazz game tonight in Utah, a game the Jazz won 99-98. On the game’s final play, LeBron James slipped a pass to his teammate Udonis Haslem, who missed a potential game-winning jumper just before the buzzer sounded. Many think LeBron should have taken the final shot. Others say he made the correct decision to hit the open man. Who is right and who is wrong? We take sides:

Bron’s strengths are known and undeniable. He led the Heat from down double digits, including two huge shots in the final minute. He just came from another last-possession gaffe in the All-Star game, in which he inexplicably passed the ball across court (into the arms of an opposing player). So with seconds left and a chance to win the game in Utah, he had a chance to redeem. He passed again. Yes, Haslem was open. Yes it was the “right” basketball play. But if you’re the best player, you can’t keep deferring on the final play. I’m not talking about a single play here…I’m talking about a pattern. — Zettler Clay

I’m no LeBron lover, but the guy can’t win for trying. It’s not like he passed up a wide-open shot for himself, he drew the coverage and made the correct play to a teammate for a wide-open shot. This is the NBA – every player on the court save the Joel Anthonys of the world should be relied upon to make open shots, and the mid-range jumper is Haslem’s bread and butter. It’s probably why they drew that play up in the first place. People on Twitter keep saying things like “MJ would never pass there”, but I seem to recall Steve Kerr hitting a rather important game-winner in a deciding Finals game. — Micah Hart

Yes, Kerr knocked down that jumper at the top of the key. But that was an exception to the Jordan mythology. Bron passing on the last shot…is the norm. And hence the rub: People aren’t mad at Bron for making the “right” play. It’s the constant deferring that grates viewers. Here is arguably the most physically gifted player we’ve ever seen, a player who struts his talents and dazzles the whole game…but seems scared of THE moment. Not to mention the fact that, again, he was scorching hot entering the final play. Even a covered Bron close to the rim is a higher percentage than an open Haslem at the key. I would think. — ZC

I get that. And LeBron’s reputation is deserved for how he melted down against the Celtics in 2010 and in the Finals in 2011. But reputation or no, the best way to win basketball games is to play the game correctly. Imagine if the two possessions at the end switched places and had reverse outcomes — LeBron hits Haslem for a wide-open jumper, then misses a crazy one-footed fadeaway over two defenders to end it. Is that somehow a better scenario for the Heat just because he ends up taking the shot at the end? Regardless of how you feel, I think we can both agree what should have happened, and what should happen next time. Give the ball to Dwyane Wade. — MH

We’ve stated our cases as to who is right and who is wrong.

What say you?

A Wild Block Party

by Zettler Clay

The Association has a tendency to use a lull as bait; just when you think the cadence of the season is figured out, something happens to heighten — or floor — the senses. On a 10-game Saturday night, copious highlights are a given. But what made last night unusual was the swat party invites.

Twenty-one players recorded two or more blocks. Twelve players rejected three or more shots, to wit:

Three Blocks
Tayshaun Prince
Timofey Mozgov
Tyson Chandler
Jared Jeffries
Elton Brand
LeBron James
Joel Anthony
Kris Humphries
Tyrus Thomas

Five Blocks
Serge Ibaka

Six Blocks
Marc Gasol
Samuel Dalembert

Without further ado, here are Saturday night’s top five stuffs:

5) Mozgov and ‘Melo

Apparently — maybe — Mozgov reads All-Ball, because a day after being framed as an early candidate for posterdom by yours truly, he posts a season high in points (16), along with a couple of highlights. One is here. Way to go, Tim. Nothing like a quick retort to silence the critics.

4) Serge “Iblocka” and Deron

OK, so Deron Williams‘ hops aren’t Derrick Rose’s. But clean blocks off dunk attempts aren’t as easy as it appears. You get the feeling that Ibaka gets out of bed for these moments.

3) Derrick Favors waits on Nikola Pekovic

Pekovic didn’t have much momentum and Favors had the angle. Plus he was preying on that play as soon as the screen was set. Just mean. And impressive.

2) Yi meets DaJuan Summers at the rim

Talk about full steam. Summers had a good four steps before he took off, but couldn’t avoid the tentacles of the mighty Yi Jianlian. Note the quick sidestep to the left by Yi before launching. Decent degree of difficulty.

1) Dante Cunningham crashes DeMarcus Cousins’ party

My favorite for a couple of reasons. One, it was excellent help-side defense (not to mention footwork) by Cunningham to get to the spot in time. Two, it was a total collaborative effort by the Grizzlies. Gasol shows on the screen, hustles back to Cousins, helps off to cover Francisco Garcia, which leaves Cousins momentarily open. Seventy-five percent (armchair estimate and all) of the time … that’s either a bucket, foul or both. Cunningham, all of 6-foot-8, puts the coup de grace to the Kings’ possession.

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Miller time in Miami

by Micah Hart

Sekou can talk all he wants about Joel Anthony’s role in the middle for Miami (as a Horns fan, I’m looking for “Sexy” Dexter Pittman to take his spot by mid-season), but in my eyes the guy who will be the most important sidekick to Miami’s MV3 is South Dakota’s own Mike Miller.

Here’s the deal – LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are outstanding in nearly every aspect of the game of basketball, but let’s just say I don’t see either taking home a 3-point title at All-Star Weekend any time soon. In fact, dig this: .329, .289, .405.

Know what those numbers are? They are the career 3-point shooting percentages for LeBron, Wade, and Miller, respectively. Shoot, Chris Bosh has a better career mark (.298) from distance than Wade, albeit in way fewer attempts.

I suppose it’s possible the Heat can win with Wade, James, and Bosh scoring all their points (at least against the Pistons tonight), but in the long run they are going to need someone else to knock down open shots, and frankly, Miller is the only guy on the roster I trust to make that happen. No offense, Eddie House.

Frankly, I can’t think of another player in the NBA who should be more excited right now than Miller. With as much attention as will be paid his teammates, Miller might as well be shooting baskets in an empty gym. He’ll get more looks than Inez Sainz at football practice.

Besides, LeBron is probably excited about the Heat having a hole in the middle – that just means more potential rebounds for him to grab as he attempts to match Oscar Robertson‘s triple-double season.

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