TrueHoop: Paul Westphal
Bosh may only be a 29 percent 3-point shooter for his career, but there’s something about late-game 3-pointers that suits him well. On a night in which the Heat were without both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Bosh’s game-tying 3-pointer was the biggest shot in the Heat’s eventual triple-overtime win.
Since the start of the 2007 season, Bosh is now 6-for-10 from long range in the last 10 seconds of the 4th quarter/overtime of a tie or one-possession game.
That was one of a few remarkable stats from a remarkable game, in which the Heat outlasted the Atlanta Hawks.
Some of the others from this game included:
• The Hawks were shut out in the third overtime. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first game since the advent of the shot clock in the 1954-1955 season that a team went scoreless in the third overtime of a game or later.
• In 312 minutes last season without both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James on the floor, the Heat were outscored by 27 points. In 90 minutes so far this season, the Heat have outscored opponents by 12, including the seven-point edge in Thursday’s victory.
• The Heat outscored the Hawks by 24 points with Mario Chalmers on the floor. In eight games this season, Chalmers is +109.
Elsewhere in the NBA
Mavericks can’t shoot straight
Lamar Odom was once again held to single digits, finishing with 6 points on 3-10 shooting. Despite shooting just 3-for-10, he actually raised his field goal percentage for the season. Last year, Odom scored in double figures in all but one of his first eight games.
Westphal out in Sacramento
Paul Westphal was fired by the Sacramento Kings just seven games into the season.
That's tied for the second-quickest firing since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-1977.
The Kings can only hope to get the same turnaround as the 1977-78 Philadelphia 76ers, who replaced Gene Shue with Billy Cunningham six games into the season, a year after reaching the NBA Finals.
The team went 53-23 the rest of the way and Cunningham led the Sixers to eight straight playoff appearances and the 1983 NBA title.
- Bret LaGree of Hoopinion on the bizarre play that earned Mike Woodson a technical foul: "I've been critical of both the timing of and propensity for the head coach's technicals this season. This time, he got jobbed. Railroaded, even. The replays showed that Woodson had clearly gotten back out of bounds before Kidd (himself with at least one foot out of bounds) made glancing contact with his outstretched left arm. The replays, though, only confirmed what was an obviously terrible call when witnessed live. Jason Kidd only came into contact with Mike Woodson because he, Kidd, veered suddenly to the left when approaching the Hawks' bench. Jason Kidd only came into contact with Mike Woodson because Kidd purposely dribbled the ball out of bounds."
- Paul Westphal and Spencer Hawes put their differences behind them during player introductions with a chest-bump. Westphal is the one in the dark suit. Hawes then went out on the floor and delivered 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the Kings' win over the Jazz. For the Kings, the tired debate over whether Evans is a point guard, an off-guard, a point-forward or an offensive generalist is immaterial. Positional fundamentalism is a thing of the past. The challenge for Sacramento will be moving the ball enough in the half court to get easy opportunities. It doesn't matter where that playmaking comes from, so long as the good looks materialize. Last night, they did, as the Kings notched their most efficient offensive effort since February 10.
- The Lakers didn't look particularly good Friday night against Philadelphia, but size has a way of compensating for sluggishness.
- Was that Aaron Gray playing meaningful -- and effective -- minutes for the Hornets against the Magic and Dwight Howard? The Magic blew an 18-point, third-quarter lead. Orlando Pinstriped Post documents what transpired in Orlando's 34 possessions down the stretch.
- Not every player in the League dines at the Cheesecake Factory.
- Frank Madden of Brew Hoop is selling ... and I'm buying: Andrew Bogut is the most unhearlded defender in the NBA. The blocks are nice, but next time you watch the Bucks, notice how Bogut protects the paint. Any opposing big man who tries to set up shop on the block will be treated to a strong forearm, and any small who rips across the paint will be slowed by a bump from Bogut. He might not look scary, but there's a reason Milwaukee is one of the ten most efficient defensive squads in the league -- and it isn't all Luc Mbah a Moute.
- How badly is Mo Williams' defense hurting Cleveland? Williams hits big shots, but there's no disputing that the Cavs are a lot less efficient -- on both ends -- when Williams is on the court.
- Another case of a prolific, fluid offensive unit inexplicably resorting to stagnant isolation on a crucial late-game possession.
- Jon Brockman knows when you're a hick.
- Robin Lopez goes for 30 points against the Clippers without committing a single foul. The Clippers' new additions contributed again, but without Marcus Camby on that back line, the team defense is suffering mightily.
- From Clips Nation: "After the game, the Suns announcers asked Lopez what he was going to do to celebrate and he said, 'I'm going to kill Bart Simpson.'"
- The gym at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle is now named Crawford Court, "after Jamal Crawford, the NBA star who paid for the renovation of the gym in which he played so many games."
On the same day, Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee quoted three Kings: Sean May, Spencer Hawes, and Tyreke Evans, talking about how the strange minutes distribution (pity Donte Greene, who started a game, sat after four minutes, and never got back in) has been difficult for players.
To my reading, the most pointed quotes of all came from Evans, who was clear that he thinks the coach's decisions are hurting performance:
"Guys never know when they'll be having their time to play or they might be (starting)," Evans said.
"They're going into the game confused, and when they get into the game they want to impress the coach and (try) to play well. … It's probably hard for a player to keep that focus when they know that if they're playing bad they might not go in again."
Hawes, meanwhile, was mushier, mostly just saying that it was tough, which is fairly obvious:
"All year we've kind of been dealing with that," he said. "When you think you have kind of gotten over that hump, it comes back up again. That's the philosophy, so you've just got to deal with it.
"Everyone up and down the roster has had a taste of that, so everyone can relate. I think it's kind of tough, the not-knowing part on a game-to-game basis, to get in that rhythm. But that's the way it's going and there's not a whole lot you can do about it."
In any case, rather than reacting to all that feedback with some ode to improved consistency, Westphal instead decided to try another new roster manuever. He made Hawes (and only Hawes) inactive last night against Detroit. That was specifically in response to those kinds of comments. Hawes has started the majority of the games this season. Westphal explained the move to the Bee's Jason Jones:
"I saw where he's having a hard time understanding his role," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "He should understand it (after) tonight."
I know what you're thinking. What a lot of drama! I wonder what the next conversation between Hawes and Westphal will be like?
They could make a reality show out of that locker room scene!
Well, in a hilarious, imagined, animated robotic way, they did. I insist you watch that. Honestly.
UPDATE: Similar insight into Daryl Morey's negotiations with Donnie Walsh.
TrueHoop reader Kirk (you may know him from the comments as crazykirk35) is a huge Dallas fan who is hugely worried about the Mavericks' newest assistant coach. He emails:
Marc Stein's recent ESPN.com article about the West's best moves scared me when he talked about my beloved Mavs. Not because he talked about the lack of shake-up in the roster, but because he thinks the Mavs' signing of Paul Westphal is a good thing.
I'd like to stop right now and point out that I am a Pepperdine alum (class of '06) and I watched Westphal singlehandedly tear down an NCAA-tournament caliber program through both poor recruiting and absolutely horrid coaching.
Stein writes: "It'll be interesting to see if Westphal can bring some creativity and movement back to the Mavs' attack ... and how much influence Johnson will actually let Westy have."
I hope he doesn't let him have any influence. In one of his last years at Pepperdine (2004-05) Westphal had Yakhouba Diawara (Denver Nuggets), Alex Acker (former draft pick of Pistons, now with AXA FC Barcelona), Glen McGowan (multiple European teams), Robert Turner (Harlem Globetrotters), and others and led them to a 6-8 record in the West Coast Conference. The WCC. One of the worst conferences in America. Filled with large white guys, as Bill Simmons loves to say.
Even though we averaged 75 points a game that season, it's misleading. There was no sense to the offense and even though we had good firepower, we could only score in bunches. This is all quite terrifying to me. I understand Westphal was a great player and a pretty good coach until a decade ago. I just hope the Mavs don't hand him the keys to the offense. They might crash horribly.