Say what you will about the Heat’s rebounding problems against bigger teams such as Indiana this season, but the Heat’s turnovers are reliably the larger indicator for its wins or losses. That’s why its 102-89 loss to Indiana was a little worrisome even if LeBron (28 points) and Dwyane Wade (17 points) sounded afterward as if they’d just lost a charity game, insisting it’s no big deal at all. Miami had only 11 turnovers, one fewer than Indiana, but still got pounded despite playing an overall good game and shooting 47 percent from the field. David West was a Heat killer by getting 30 points and starting out 11-of-12 shooting, all while maintaining an edge on defense that kept the game on the edge of getting out of control. Paul George (15 points) continues to impress by taking LeBron off the dribble for step-back jumpers and drives alike, and Lance Stephenson (15 points) was a thorn in Miami’s side that made us think Juwan Howard was going to come out of the stands and take a swing at him again. Indiana won the season series with still a game between the two to go. Whether that translates into anything meaningful series come playoff time is the million-dollar question. … How about that for a first impression in Toronto for Rudy Gay? The new addition from Memphis had 20 points, 10 of them in his first seven minutes, and made the Raps into an overnight alley-ooping, stealing team that was, dare we say, really fun to watch. Now the reality check: In the 98-73 win over the Clippers, L.A. didn’t have Chris Paul still and looked as mentally into the game as a daydreaming kid in math class, shooting the worst percentage (35 percent) all season. After the first quarter they looked ready to raise the white flag. The Raptors’ wings, between Gay, DeMar DeRozan (19 points) and Terrence Ross (only four points but two off a huge oop) all have redundant create-and-score skills but it sure looked fun when it was clicking. … The Celtics are having a very bad week with the news Jared Sullinger is out for the season because of back surgery. Still, a game against Orlando is a pretty good remedy for what ailed Boston in the C’s 97-84 win that showed at least that Jeff Green‘s (17 points) vertical is mighty healthy. Our concern with Green is that he’s getting a little cocky running through the lane for these dunks with a devil-may-care attitude and some low-grade preening afterward, and someone’s going to take issue with that. You can’t argue he hasn’t been a spark in Boston’s three-game win streak. … It took a month but the Lakers won a road game this year, 111-100 in Minnesota. With Dwight Howard in L.A. getting platelet infusions into his hurt labrum, Pau Gasol (22 points, 12 boards) earned the start and was part of L.A.’s blitz of the T-Wolves, scoring 61 points in the game’s first 18 minutes. Minny dropped into a zone and let the Lakers shoot their way out of a sure blowout, but Kobe smelled blood in the water with 17 points, 11 boards, eight assists. He was going to kill someone before they let this slip away. … Hit the jump to read about the Nets’ bounceback win over Chicago …
Smack / Feb 2, 2013 / 2:00 am
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