How did the Warriors run up 72 points on the Heat's defense on Saturday night? There were several factors at work, one of which was James taking liberties as a weak side defender. As Sebastian Pruiti demonstrates in pictures at NBA Playbook, Dorell Wright was able to get open looks behind the arc because James opted to cheat off him. Rather than stay home on Wright, James chose to pack the paint to defend against the Warriors' pick-and-roll action.
Bobcat blog Rufus on Fire on one of Charlotte's keys to the game: "Stephen Jackson is taller and longer than Wade, just as he's taller and longer than most other shooting guards in the league ... I'm still often amazed that he doesn't post up his man more. The Ray Allens and Kirk Hinrichs and even Dwyane Wades of the world simply don't have the size to deal with Jax on the block. And Jack has the post skills to make them pay! He's a fine passer and has some crafty moves, so I'd love to see him setting up there more."
Chris Bosh's adjusted plus-minus this season is an eye-popping 28.27. The 6.39-point margin between Bosh and the league's second-ranked player, Derrick Rose, is larger than the difference between Rose and LaMarcus Aldridge, who is ranked ninth.
There's an increasing amount of statistical data to support the premise that the Heat are a better defensive team when Mario Chalmers plays the point. Chalmers gambles a little too much for my taste, but he can compensate for mistakes and cover lost ground with his ranginess, speed and quick hands. Erik Spoelstra's favorite descriptor for Chalmers' defense is "disruptive."
Arroyo and Zydrunas Ilgauskas start for the Heat at point guard and center. But who finishes the game for the Heat? Erik Spoelstra is approaching that question situationally, allowing matchups to dictate his lineup down the stretch. Lately, that's meant a lot of Chalmers and Joel Anthony.
LeBron James is the most loathed sports figure in New York (after being cheered and much coveted there). In fact, according to the No. 1 votes in this SportsNation survey, he’s as despised as everybody else put together, including Isiah Thomas, James Dolan and Cliff Lee.
Raul Takahashi of Hot Hot Hoops on Saturday night's win over the Warriors: "Tonight’s match marked the 9th time the Big Three score +20 points each, with James and Wade finishing with 25 points and Bosh with 20 points. The Heat are 8-1 in such balanced games."
The Miami Heat are ripping opponents in the third quarter. Surya Fernandez of AOL Fanhouse: "The Heat rank first in the league in points (26.5) and scoring margin (+4.5) in the third quarter. They also boast the highest average margin through three quarters (+8.7 points), affording them breathing room entering the final stage of games."
LeBron James tweets an image of his birthday cake.
Garbagetime All-Stars has tracked down the world's smallest portrait of James, which sits above an enormous mantel and fireplace somewhere.