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  • LeBron James and Dwyane Wade take a quick pregame nap (Ned Dishman/ Getty).

    Four seasons into their partnership, Miami Heat stars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have produced enough high-caliber highlights that a lengthy period of time without any stands out as irregular. While Wade has certainly lost a step at this point in his career, this is just what he and James do. There's a reason that the Heat remain a very watchable team even as the controversy of their formation dissipates and their regular season games become increasingly less dramatic.

    On Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards, Wade found LeBron for what's become their signature play — a nearly full-court alley-oop.

    It's necessary to point out a few things here. The Heat were getting trounced at this point on the heels of a 43-point first quarter for the Wizards, to the point where an 18-5 run to close the half still only brought Miami within 21 points. Washington won 114-97, too.

    In other words, this highlight loses some value in context. I am going to choose to ignore the context, because

    Read More »from Dwyane Wade finds LeBron James for the full-court alley-oop (Video)
  • Alex Len (left) and Nick Young (right) try to get at one another. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Things got pretty physical during the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' Wednesday visit to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Suns. In the process, the "certain brand of laid-back California cool" that makes "Swaggy P" so eminently imitation-worthy evaporated in the desert heat.

    We pick things up with just over 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the second quarter, after a Markieff Morris dunk off a dish by Goran Dragic gave the Suns a 36-35 lead. The Lakers push the ball up the floor off the make, finding Young racing out along the right wing with Phoenix a step slow getting back in transition:

    Young drives into the paint, elevates and cocks his right arm back to throw down a tomahawk slam. Suns rookie center Alex Len, who doesn't want to give up a dunk, brings his right arm down hard and whacks Young across the face. Young crashes to the floor along the baseline, but instantly pops up and goes right back at the 7-footer from Maryland.

    Young shoves Len. Phoenix forward Marcus Morris

    Read More »from Nick Young (punch), Alex Len (flagrant foul-2) ejected after altercation during Lakers-Suns (Video)
  • Anthony Bennett takes instructions from head coach Mike Brown (David Liam Kyle/ Getty).

    It's early still, but Cleveland Cavaliers rookie forward has arguably been the worst-performing No.1-overall draft pick of the lottery era. In the first 31 games of his NBA career, Bennett has put up stats of 2.4 ppg on 26.9 percent shooting and 2.2 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game. His PER of 1.1 rates 10.1 units worse than the rookie mark of legendary bust Kwame Brown, and a 5.4-foul 36-minute average suggests that he'd nearly foul out in every game with a starter's minutes. It's hard to imagine a worse beginning to his pro career, particularly considering that Cavs fans have started booing him somewhat regularly.

    Yet Bennett is still just a few months into that career, so it's worth considering how his season might be salvaged. One option, considered by our Kelly Dwyer in late December, would involve making Bennett the first top pick to spend time in the D-League. It's a possibility that the player himself now seems to be open to, as well. From Mary Schmitt Boyer for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

    Even before he didn't play a minute in a 120-118 victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night, rookie Anthony Bennett was being asked whether he'd be interested in going down to play with the Cavaliers' owned-and-operated NBA Development League franchise in Canton.

    "It's something I'd think about, for sure," Bennett said before Tuesday's game. "It's not a bad thing, especially going down there, hopefully playing a lot, going out there, building my confidence." [...]

    To this point, the Cavs have resisted a Canton assignment, believing they can monitor his progress and development more carefully if he remains with the team.

    "We've been able to find minutes for AB, from time to time, whether it's at the small forward or power forward," coach Mike Brown said on Tuesday. "That hasn't been a bridge we've crossed yet."

    Bennett was asked what he thought had to happen for him to gain more confidence.

    "To be honest, I don't really know,'' he said. "In practice, I'm going hard. I'm making shots, getting a little work done after practice, before practice, in the weight room, doing all that, building a routine.''

    It's difficult to know how to bring along young players best, particularly from an outsider's perspective with someone who seems to lack

    Read More »from Anthony Bennett says he’s open to a D-League stint
  • Let it fly, lefty. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

    You wouldn't think of the Philadelphia 76ers as an especially "clutch" team; that's fairly reasonable, considering they entered Wednesday's action with a 12-25 record, third-worst in the dismal Eastern Conference, and ranking among the league's five worst teams in points scored and allowed per possession. Take a closer look at the numbers, though, and Brett Brown's team actually seems to do pretty well in close contests — according to's stat tool, the 76ers entered Tuesday with a 9-8 record in games where the score was within five points in the final five minutes, the league's 13th-best such mark, and have outscored opponents by 18 points in 85 total "clutch" minutes. (The problem, of course, is that the Sixers rarely get that close, having been beaten by double-digits 20 times in their first 37 games.)

    Philly's late-game bona fides got a boost during Wednesday night's matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats. After a back-and-forth fourth quarter that featured four lead changes and

    Read More »from Thaddeus Young hits game-winning 3-pointer to push 76ers past Bobcats (Video)
  • Greg Oden dunks in his first game since 2009 (Rob Carr/ Getty).

    The NBA career of Greg Oden has been a major disappointment, to put it mildly. The top pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 draft, Oden entered the NBA as the best American big man prospect since Shaquille O'Neal. He seemed destined for several championships and perennial status as the league's Defensive Player of the Year.

    Then Oden required microfracture surgery on his right knee before his rookie season, underwent two more microfracture surgeries on the left knee, managed to play in only 82 (quite impressive) games with the Blazers overall, admitted to drinking heavily to put up with it all, and finally made his way to the Miami Heat this summer in the hopes of developing a real career, although a very different one than had once been planned.

    On Wednesday night, Oden was finally made active for his first regular-season game of the season, an eventual 114-97 road loss to the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center. In the midst of a dominant first half by the Wizards, Oden

    Read More »from Greg Oden dunks on first touch in first NBA action in four years (Video)


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