Why Heat know they can compete without LeBron

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have new types of pressure, but the Heat are more relaxed now.

      
 

 

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Spurs reloading like they do every season

It’s about time we learned the Spurs aren’t going away

      
 

 

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New York Knicks: Who can they rely on in 2014-15?

The New York Knicks have been dealing with consistency of play issues and this can be detrimental to the organizations hopeful process of bringing home a NBA championship. Since the season has ended, the Knicks have traded their second most reliable player. This would arguably be Tyson Chandler, although he wasn’t a high scorer and didn’t always stuff the gaudy stat sheet with numbers; he lets his presence be known in the paint. Chandler was depended upon to put a lot of effort and energy into the center position and when he stepped on the floor, he always positively impacted the game.
Carmelo Anthony is the obvious choice for being the most reliable Knicks player based on his pure scoring ability. Anthony finished the season as the second highest scorer in the NBA for the 2013-14 season . He may even be able to translate his skillful play into most valuable player award in the future, but that would only happen if other players also step up into a more reliable role on the team. In other words, the team

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Denver Nuggets: 5 reasons why they will make the playoffs

Last year was a disaster for the Denver Nuggets. They won only 37 games and finished as the 5th worst team in the conference. The new coach meant they were playing under a new system and weren’t able to build any chemistry due to the constant injuries. All the rotating players, the new system of Brian Shaw, injuries, nothing went right for the Nuggets last year. That is about to change.
#1 Return of Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee
Danilo Gallinari did not step onto the hardwood last season. He had been one of the standout players for the Nuggets in the years before, but his knee injury forced him sit. That hurt the team immensely. Wilson Chandler could have stepped in his place and done alright, but he also missed significant playing time due to injury. McGee only played five games before going down, the only good thing about the whole injury situation with him is that Timofey Mozgov was able to step up and produce.
Now that these two players are healthy and able to play, they will be able to significantl

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Miami Heat Season Preview: Can They Prove They Were More Than Just LeBron James?

The Miami Heat will have a new identity this season after LeBron James decided to bolt South Beach in favor of a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Can Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh keep the Heat at the top of the Eastern Conference? 

Howard Beck and Ric Bucher join Adam Lefkoe to offer their takes in the video above.

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New York Knicks: 5 Reasons They Will Make The Playoffs

New York Knicks: 5 Reasons They Are Better Than
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff..
People aren’t talking about the Knicks much when it comes to this season and it’s hard to blame them, as they have only re-signed Carmelo Anthony, traded Tyson Chandler and hired Derek Fisher this offseason and they missed the playoffs, but this team has talent. There seems to be 10 teams in the East that can make the playoffs and based on talent, they are probably 7-9, but they are better than the Knicks team which was just the 9th seed in the East. Yes, the conference is better, but for 5 reasons they will make the playoffs this season.
1. Carmelo Anthony
– When you have one of the five best players in your conference and the best scorer, you have a strong chance to make the playoffs and the Knicks have Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo will give them about 30 points and 8 rebounds per game and he alone gives them an excellent chance to be one of the 8 best teams in the East. Having one of the …

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Team USA Big Men Proving They Can Match Up with Spain at 2014 FIBA World Cup

If their last two FIBA tuneups are any indication, Team USA’s template will be as follows: author a somewhat forgettable first half that gives the opponent a modicum of confidence, before steadily pulling away behind a balanced scoring effort.

So long as Mike Krzyzewski’s decision to load up on frontcourt talent yields the desired result—a win over the Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka-led Spain—it’s a trend the Team USA coach is more than willing to live with.

Playing in their lone exhibition in the Canary Islands just two days after announcing their final round of roster cuts, the Americans rolled to a breezy 98-69 win over the Goran Dragic-led Slovenia Tuesday afternoon.

From here, Team USA will head to Spain, where they will face Finland in the opening round of group play on Saturday.

Ahead of what many believe will be his global coming-out party, Anthony Davis led the way with 18 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and four blocks. More amazing still, Davis’ most impressive number might’ve been the lowest one possible:

Meanwhile, Davis’ frontcourt mate, Kenneth Faried, registered a fine outing of his own, tallying 14 points and nine rebounds.

Headlining one of the deeper American frontcourts in recent memory, Davis, in particular, is serving notice that Team USA has every intention of matching Spain’s formidable size with a dose of its own.

And while his offensive repertoire only continues to grow, it’s at the other end of the floor that Davis has made his domain.

As they had in their second and final pre-FIBA tilt against Puerto Rico in Madison Square Garden this past Friday, head coach Mike Krzyzewski and company struggled early to keep the opposing guards from wreaking havoc on the perimeter—this despite the struggles of Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic, who finished with six points in limited action.

And, just like Friday, the second half saw Team USA throw it into a gear the opposition simply couldn’t match.

Beginning with a pair of technical free throws by Stephen Curry—awarded following a halftime outburst from Slovenian coach Jure Zdovc—Team USA commenced what’s become its strategic bread and butter: ratcheting up the pressure and turning its defense into offense. By the 4:50 mark of the third quarter, the Americans had opened up a 69-39 lead.

But it’s in his cast of big men that Krzyzewski has staked his team’s fortunes.

Krzyzewski clearly has the host country on his radar screen. And rightly so: Not only are the No. 2 ranked Spaniards brim-loaded with quality big men; they have a two-headed point guard monster in Jose Calderon and Ricky Rubio that itself boasts oodles of international experience.

All of which invites the question: In preparing exclusively for Spain—and, to a slightly lesser extent, Brazil—have Krzyzewski and Team USA president Jerry Colangelo painted themselves into a corner (no pun intended)?

In a recent column, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley raised precisely that point:

The international stage tends to promote floor spacing, both to take advantage of shorter three-point arcs and to break opponents out of zone defenses. USA has stretched opposing teams thin in the past, but this super-sized attack doesn’t offer the quantity of perimeter-oriented players as those clubs did.

Of course, what it lacks for quantity in terms of three-point snipers, it may completely compensate for in quality.

Taken together, Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose and DeMar DeRozan would seem to offer Team USA plenty of backcourt firepower. Where the quintet falls a bit short, however, is in the dual combination of perimeter size and playmaking—two areas where Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons, two of Krzyzewski’s final cuts, could’ve paid significant dividends.

During a July press conference, Krzyzewski sounded adamant in his belief that beating Spain didn’t necessarily own a monopoly on Team USA’s strategic radar screen.

“Everyone talks about matchups (with big teams such as Spain), people have to matchup against us, too,” Krzyzewski said. “What you have to do is put your best 12 together and then make adjustments with the best 12. Obviously we’re not going to have 12 guards, but that’s what we’ve done.”

It’s difficult to say whether Krzyzewski’s shift amounts to a strategic about-face, or a natural reaction to what he sees as a FIBA fact: Spain remains the only real threat to Team USA’s six-years-long hardwood hegemony.

Here’s what we know: Of this year’s four FIBA groups, Spain—with France (No. 8 in the FIBA rankings), Brazil (10) and Serbia (11) all in its midst—has by far the toughest draw. Team USA, by contrast, could be in for a cakewalk, with Turkey (7) and New Zealand (19) being the drawing’s most formidable competition.

Might Krzyzewski be banking on a banged-up Spain being a team of walking wounded headed into tournament play? It’s certainly possible—even strategically clever.

Then again, if Krzyzewski can rely on this kind of consistent performance from Davis and Faried—ditto backup bigs DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee—looking like a genius might never seem so easy.

Given the level of competition it’s about to meet, Team USA is bound to encounter a handful of teams built, either by design or happenstance, to give it fits.

From Krzyzewski’s perspective, though, the philosophy is all too obvious: better to weather the small storms, so long as you’re boarded up tightly for the big one.

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WATCH: Durant thought Steph Curry was white when they met

Hearing stories from the past can be fun, especially when professional athletes are speaking about their childhoods. During Tuesday’s NBA 2K Uncensored event, Kevin Durant revealed something pretty hilarious that was going through his mind the first time he met Stephen Curry. Keep in mind that Durant was only 10 years old at the time. Durant’s little story had Curry, James Harden and Anthony Davis rolling with laughter. That wasn’t the only funny moment from the event. The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar and the Golden State Warrior sharpshooter both revealed that they have a hard time playing as Curry in the video game. The post KD Thought Stephen Curry Was White When They Met as Kids appeared first on The Sideline Sports.

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Kevin Durant Reveals He Thought Stephen Curry Was White When They Met as Kids

Hearing stories from the past can always be fun, especially when it’s professional athletes speaking about their childhoods.

During Tuesday’s NBA 2K Uncensored event, Kevin Durant revealed something pretty hilarious that was going through his mind the first time he met Stephen Curry. Keep in mind that Durant was only 10 years old at the time.

Durant’s little story had Curry, James Harden and Anthony Davis rolling with laughter.

That wasn’t the only funny moment from the event. The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar and the Golden State Warrior sharpshooter each revealed that they have a hard time playing as Curry in the video game.

 

[YouTube]

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Miami Heat: Why They Won And Lost The Offseason

Miami Heat: Why They Won And Lost The Offseason
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
When I writing the winners and losers of the NBA offseason, I had difficulty placing the Heat. On the left hand their best player and the best player in the NBA, LeBron James went to Cleveland. If you have the best player in the NBA and he signs with another team you cannot be an offseason winner, but on the right, I loved the rest of their offseason, so they cannot be called losers. Yes I just said I cannot call them winners or losers, but I will call them winners and losers. Yes, it’s a technicality, but if you’d like to complain feel free.
Yes, losing LeBron James hurts, they won’t be a better team and likely aren’t a contender, so yes they are losers in that regard, but they have rebounded as well as they could. Pat Riley was able to still keep the Heat one of the 3 best teams in the Eastern Conference. Signing Chris Bosh to a 100+ million dollar contract isn’t perfect, but with no Ja…

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