3.11 The Cooler
Flashdance Cat, Disapproving Cat, and Paul F. Tompkins

Dwyane Wade and the Heat Figure Out How to Win; Kobe Bryant Proves He’s the Hardest Working Man in the NBA

By 03.11.11


So how many of y’all want to stand up, cuff your palms around your mouth and scream, “I told you so!” That’s what Charles Barkley is doing right now. After countless late-game fumbles, Miami finally smartened up and gave Dwyane Wade the ball down the stretch last night. Wade then went out and beat the champs from L.A. with a number of key plays in the Heat’s 94-88 win … In the TNT studios during pre-game, Chuck was all over Wade and LeBron James to man up. Wade (20 points) got the message and clearly got the better of Kobe Bryant (24 points) down the stretch. Dwyane had three straight buckets late to push Miami ahead and then later ripped Bryant in an iso situation, leading to a James (19 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists) spike dunk. On the other side, could Bryant have played any worse in crunch time? Yes, he hit a couple of long threes, but he was turning it over, forgetting about his teammates and generally playing like a 2004 Kobe, minus the athleticism. Not cool. And someone needs to explain why Kobe and the Lakers forgot about their big guys again. Andrew Bynum (13 points, 12 rebounds) was finishing everything inside, but got only five shots. And Pau Gasol (20 points) should never, ever get outshined by Chris Bosh (24 points, 9 rebounds) … For Miami, it was clear from the start they were ready, getting themselves second-chance points and creating turnovers. Who would’ve ever thought the Lakers’ largest problem against the Heat would be an inability to grab rebounds? The team that is too big for everyone else couldn’t get it together on the glass against the team that has a group of senior citizens at those spots. The rebounding and turnovers ended up being the difference, especially in the third quarter when the Lakers opened up a six-point lead and looked poised to put the kids to bed. A series of turnovers right around the rim let the Heat hang tight … Before the game, Phil Jackson took a shot at Miami’s style, saying: “Their basketball is very much standing with Xbox games or whatever those games are. Basketball’s not a 1-on-1 game. It’s a team game.” … A tweet from ESPNLA’s Dave McMenamin: “For the second straight year in Miami, Albert Pujols was waiting for Kobe Bryant outside the visitor’s locker room after the game.” After meeting up with baseball’s biggest star, guess what Kobe did? According to the tweets from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Bryant went back out to shoot jumpers, drenched in sweat, in an empty arena for well over an hour after the game. How many guys can you think of that would do that on the road? One of our boys tweeted, “This man is out here working on his game like this. What do you think The Big 3 is doing right now?” … Read more: The Knicks get clocked in Dallas, more on Kemba Walker’s heroics, and Sir Charles is in a war of words with Billy Packer


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