August 19, 2022

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This was earlier than the Brooklyn Nets went into Philadelphia on Thursday evening with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and annihilated Joel Embiid, James Harden and the 76ers.

As a substitute, it was a debate two nights earlier on the identical community that carried Nets-76ers, when WNBA star Candace Parker and former Miami Warmth teammates Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade have been debating the fact of the Warmth ending because the No. 1 playoff seed within the Japanese Convention solely to probably face the Nets within the first spherical.

It’s a prospect that looms if the Nets end No. 8 within the East, which is a definite eventuality: Brooklyn loses the opening recreation of the play-in match after which wins the second.

And it might be a disheartening actuality for Erik Spoelstra and his group, irrespective of one of the best face put ahead.

It additionally would hearken reminiscences for the Warmth of the 1999 opening spherical.

That season, the New York Knicks by season’s finish have been much more proficient than a No. 8 seed, however a fractured heel and prolonged harm absence for Latrell Sprewell left them as simply that. It additionally was a season Pat Riley’s Warmth completed because the No. 1 seed. An Allan Houston jumper later, within the winner-take-all last recreation of the opening spherical, and it was over for the Warmth. Arguably probably the most devastating second in franchise historical past.

This season, it has been Durant lacking time just like Sprewell, on this case a knee harm, plus Irving’s ban on residence video games attributable to a vaccine rule prone to be lifted by New York Metropolis prematurely of the April 16 begin of the postseason. And Ben Simmons, who didn’t even play Thursday in Philadelphia, additionally looms as a Brooklyn lineup enhance.

So there they have been, within the TNT studio — Parker, O’Neal and Wade — debating whether or not one other Warmth first-round nightmare may very well be looming.

Parker: “This isn’t a matchup that Miami desires to see within the first spherical.”

Shaq: “Who? What?”

Shaq: “Miami desires all that smoke, minimize it out.”

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Parker: “Miami doesn’t need Brooklyn within the first spherical.”

Shaq: “Miami desires that smoke. Oh, come on D-Wade, alma mater.”

Parker: “Miami doesn’t need Brooklyn within the first spherical.”

Wade: “They don’t need Brooklyn.”

Shaq: “Yeah, they need the smoke.”

Wade: “For those who get Brooklyn, you’re going to say, ‘Carry ‘em on.’ “

Parker: “However you don’t need Brooklyn.”

Wade: “You don’t need Brooklyn within the first spherical.”

Shaq: “They need all that smoke. They ain’t frightened of no one.”

Parker: “No person stated they have been scared. You don’t wish to play Brooklyn.”

Wade: “You wish to play KD and Kyrie within the first spherical?”

Shaq: “If I’m the primary seed, yeah.”

Wade: “Come on Shaq.”

Shaq: “Yeah.”

Parker: “Shaq, come on.”

Shaq: “Come on Shaq what?”

Wade: “Shaq, come on.”

Shaq: “I would like all of the smoke. I’m the chimney man.”

Shaq: “I’m simply making an attempt to indicate the Warmth some respect, as a result of they actually don’t get lots.”

After all, if the Warmth do maintain on to the No. 1 seed, a Brooklyn victory within the No. 7-vs.-No. 8 play-in recreation would lock Brooklyn into the No. 7 seed and a gap best-of-seven towards the No. 2 seed.

The problem there’s that if Toronto stays at No. 7, Ontario guidelines would possibly nonetheless be in place that ban an unvaccinated Irving from collaborating within the play-in spherical opener.

The proper world, one which would supply wiggle room for the Warmth, could be the Nets vaulting the Cleveland Cavaliers for No. 6, assuring a first-round assembly with the No. 3 seed.

However time seems to be working on the market, even with Jarrett Allen sidelined for Cleveland. There merely are too many remaining Nets residence video games, video games that also may imply no Irving at Barclays Heart.

And it’s not as if any humorous enterprise on closing evening of the common season on April 10 may essentially present an escape hatch on the high of the standings, with the No. 7 seed to not be recognized till two days later, when the play-in spherical opens.

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So, sure, there possible might be Shaq-like bravado from the groups on the high of the East, loads of “Carry ‘em on.”

However there is also a lure door probably awaiting, one which may very well be just like the beautiful silence of that Allan Houston second at Miami Area 23 years in the past.

For the Warmth, at the same time as spectators, the play-in spherical may nicely outline their season.

Both that, or the audacity of Shaq must permeate Erik Spoelstra’s locker room for 2 surprising weeks on the finish of April.

IN THE LANE

LITTLE EXTRA: If it appeared as if there was a little bit further coming from the Phoenix Suns in Wednesday evening’s victory at FTX Area, that’s as a result of there was a little bit further. Guard Devin Booker stated the Suns’ 123-100 residence Jan. 8 residence loss to the Warmth nonetheless resonated. “We needed this one unhealthy, to be fully trustworthy,” he stated. “We now have quite a lot of respect for his or her group, particularly for what they did to us in Phoenix. We simply needed to show some extent. They’re taking part in one of the best basketball over right here within the East and we’re doing the identical within the West, so it was a heavyweight matchup.” And virtually a TKO, in mild of the Suns’ 111-90 romp.

AGING OUT: At 28, it seems Josh Richardson has discovered himself aged out of the San Antonio Spurs’ rotation. Connected as wage to the draft picks acquired from the Boston Celtics on the buying and selling deadline for Derrick White, the previous Warmth guard has been held out of 5 video games since becoming a member of the Spurs on Feb. 10. “I’m the large bro round right here,” Richardson stated, based on San Antonio’s Specific Information, with solely Doug McDermott, 30, older on the Spurs’ roster. “That is new for me, being one of many oldest guys on the group.” As just lately as 2017-18 and ‘18-19, his last two seasons with the Warmth, Richardson had began all 154 of his appearances. “Loads of it’s psychological,” Richardson stated. “Whenever you’re not taking part in day by day, it’s straightforward to get down on your self and begin blaming different individuals and begin pondering of dumb excuses.”

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SECOND CHANCES: To a level, the Warmth could have prolonged Nik Stauskas’ NBA profession with the emergency 10-day contract they prolonged in December amid the group’s COVID outbreak. From there, a renewed Stauskas returned to the G League, the place he scored 100 factors over a two-game span with the Denver Nuggets’ affiliate after which landed a two-year contract with the Celtics. “I used to be prepared to offer in, to be trustworthy,” the 28-year-old 6-foot-6 guard stated, based on the Boston Globe. “Simply taking part in within the G-League all yr. I had informed myself that if it didn’t work out this yr, that I’d be OK with strolling away from the sport. . . . It’s been a very long time coming for me, personally, simply to form of get again so far, form of cracking a roster.”

PERSEVERANCE CITED: Having guided Victor Oladipo for a part of final season, Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas stated he was heartened by Oladipo’s comeback with the Warmth. “Clearly, for Victor, it’s nice for him, after every thing he has been via, the accidents. It’s like one after the opposite,” Silas stated earlier than Monday evening’s recreation at FTX Area. “He’s aggressive. He desires to do issues the suitable manner. He’s a fighter. For him to combat via all the accidents that he has had and handle the ups and downs, the emotional a part of what he’s been via is admirable.”

NUMBER

$290,000. Warmth assure to ahead Haywood Highsmith for the stability of the season, primarily based on the three-year contract he signed with the group this previous week. Highsmith additionally has salaries of $1.8 million and $1.9 million for the non-guaranteed last two years of the deal, with varied set off dates additional guaranteeing a part of the contract, if nonetheless on the roster.

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