In the lane
Unprepared: Speaking of LeBron James and of the Lakers and of championship pressures, apparently the James experience was one, even in the wake of the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal years, that the storied franchise seemingly was not prepared for. Take Jeannie Buss‘ takeaway from the rumors of the Lakers offering anyone and everyone (beyond James) at midseason for Anthony Davis. “Those stories leak out, and it hurt our young players. It wasn’t fair,” the Lakers president said at the recent MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Except the drama surrounding this season’s Lakers is no worse than what the Heat dealt with during that initial Big Three experience in 2010-11, a time when Erik Spoelstra questioned why each of his play calls needed to be schematically broken down across the web. When you put yourself in the spotlight, you have to learn to live with the glare.
Lasting memory: Few players in the NBA have a more lasting memory than Patrick Beverley. It is among the reasons the feisty guard so relished the Los Angeles Clippers’ victory over James and the Lakers this past week. ”I played with Miami, with LeBron and they cut me,” he said of the Heat’s 2010 training camp, the first with the Heat’s Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. “I got drafted by the Lakers, they traded me to Miami. ‘Bron got there, they cut me. I remember it like it was yesterday. So yeah, it’s a chip on my shoulder.” The Heat initially were so high on Beverley that they guaranteed his salary even when he ultimately wound up playing in Greece in 2009-10, after acquiring his rights in a draft-night trade. The Heat then bypassed Beverley at their final 2010 cut down in favor of veteran outside shooter Eddie House. After a season in Russia, Beverley caught on with the Houston Rockets in 2012.
Humbled at home: Like many opponents amid Wade’s farewell season, Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker said it was a bit unusual having the visiting team receive so much adulation during the Heat’s Wednesday victory at the Spectrum Center. “I’m pretty sure everywhere he goes it’s like that,” Walker told The Athletic. “It was the same for Kobe in his last one. What can you do? I don’t care.” ).
Fitting in: Former Heat guard Tyler Johnson appears to be everything the Phoenix Suns thought they were getting in the Feb. 6 trade. “He’s impacted the game in so different ways,” Suns coach Igor Kokoskov told the Arizona Republic. “I want him to make every shot he takes, but there are so many other ways he impacts the game — his toughness, his guarding the ball. He’s quiet, but his game is very, very loud.”
Years since Dwyane Wade and Vince Carter scored at least 20 points in the same game, which Wade did with 23 and Carter with 21 in Monday’s Heat victory over the Hawks. The previous time it happened was March 18, 2010, when Wade scored 36 and Carter 27 in a Heat overtime victory against the Orlando Magic.
LeBron James didn’t realize he had it all with the Heat and Cavaliers . . . until he went to the Lakers. Everyone needs a support system.