Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Frank Vogel blew it.
The Indiana Pacers coach allowed LeBron James an open lane for a last-second layup when he kept his rim-protector, Roy Hibbert, on the bench in the final seconds of a 103-102 Game 1 overtime loss to the Miami Heat.
What could have been a monumental victory for the Pacers to begin the Eastern Conference Finals turned into a dreadful coach's decision that will be heavily scrutinized.
The Pacers led by one with 2.2 seconds left in OT as the ball was inbounded from half court to James, who pivoted quickly on an overplaying Paul George and attacked an unguarded rim for the game-winner.
We might find out this summer.
Attempting to pry either Dwight Howard from the Los Angeles Lakers or Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers will be a chore enough in its own right—even more so when factoring in Dallas' spotty history in free agency.
The Mavs failed to lure Deron Williams back to his hometown last summer, perhaps in part because Cuban was off filming an episode of Shark Tank in LA, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com.
It's really one of the more intriguing draft pickles we're ever going to see.
The Cavs will weigh the pros and cons of selecting a player who just recently suffered a torn ACL. You'd think the pros should outweigh the cons by a lot when it comes to a No. 1 overall favorite. But not this year. Not with Nerlens Noel, who will be hoping the scale on Chris Grant's desk tilts slightly in his favor.
It was 10 years ago today that the Cleveland Cavaliers secured the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA draft lottery. The Cavs went on to spend that selection on an 18-year-old, Ohio-born phenom by the name of LeBron James, who, as you probably know, has gone on to fashion for himself quite the pro career.
The Cavs find themselves in a strangely similar position as the 2013 draft approaches. They own the top choice (for the second time in three years, no less) and may be able to use it to land LeBron again, albeit indirectly.
At least, that's what Twitter's reaction to Cleveland's lottery luck would have you believe.
There were plenty of parody accounts crowing about LeBron wanting to leave the Miami Heat for the cold, dingy climes of Cuyahoga County. Even Grantland's Mark Titus, known for his tongue-in-cheek basketball analysis, offered his two cents on the subject:
Don't weep for the Memphis Grizzlies. They may be down two games to none against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 Western Conference Finals but that should hardly preclude them from making this series a competitive one.
After all, the Grizzlies dug themselves an 0-2 hole in the first round, only to roar back with four straight wins over the crumbling Los Angeles Clippers. Memphis also squandered Game 1 of its tilt with the Oklahoma City Thunder, only to put together yet another four-game streak to close that one out.
There's also the not-so-small matter of the Spurs trying to exercise the lingering demons from last year's Conference Finals. Remember they went up 2-0 on the Thunder, only to squander that prime positioning over the next four games. History, then, hasn't abandoned Memphis by any stretch.
But if the Grizzlies are going to keep history on their side, they'll need to at least consider a handful of adjustments prior to Game 3 at the FedEx Forum.
Next time I hit up the the poker room and blackjack tables in Vegas, remind me to stop off in Cleveland to rub Dan Gilbert's son's lucky little head.
The Cavaliers won the lottery for the second time in three years, though this year's prize isn't as appetizing as the one they got in 2011. In fact, nobody is even sure who that prize will be.
By getting the first pick, Cleveland sets the tone for the rest of the first round.
If Cleveland selects Nerlens Noel...
Allen Crabbe took a big leap forward his junior year at California, putting himself on first-round radars with his 18.4-point per game average.
He was one of the top shooters at this year's NBA combine, and if scouts were unfamiliar with him before it, chances are that's no longer the case. Crabbe is a late-rising prospect after putting up impressive numbers both during measurements and athletic testing.
The buzz is getting louder, as Crabbe is no longer considered a potential draft-day sleeper.
Crabbe has excellent size for the position he plays. You can call him a 2-guard or a small forward, but to simplify things, I just refer to him as a wing.
Once the regular season ends, it's usually pretty easy to determine how each NBA team wins basketball games. The team numbers pile up, and 82 games are ample enough of a sample size to figure out a team's identity.
The Indiana Pacers win with defense, for example, while the Miami Heat spread you out and kill you with uncanny three-point accuracy.
We know who these teams are.
That is why it is so strange when the playoffs arrive and those trends are turned on their head.
You'd hardly know the San Antonio Spurs were a high-flying finesse team after the way they closed out Game 2 of the 2013 Western Conference Finals against the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday night.
The Spurs were up by as many as 18 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth. Tony Parker appeared poised to challenge the NBA playoff record for assists in a game, with 16 dimes through the first three frames. All five of San Antonio's starters had already scored in double figures while helping to hold the Grizzlies well under 40 percent from the field.
Then, the wheels came off the wagon, and the Spurs found themselves on the brink of blowing a crucial contest at home. Over the last 8:10 of regulation, San Antonio missed all but one of its 12 attempts from the floor (including an ugly fadeaway by Tim Duncan at the end of the game), turned the ball over four times, and racked up six fouls—four of which came on the same possession.
Not that the Grizzlies played any prettier. Zach Randolph had himself another forgettable game. He had just two points at the half and (once again) struggled to get his shot off from among San Antonio's trees. Tony Allen airballed his fair share of shots, as did Jerryd Bayless, who clanked a three off the backboard in the closing seconds of overtime.