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      “I just want to make sure I’m good to go,” Davis told reporters. “I don’t want to rush into anything. We’ve seen, unfortunately, how football went with no preseason, shorter season, and a lot of injuries happen. You don’t kind of want that same thing. So I’m going build up the right way. Coach has been doing a great job of doing that with our team, building up the right way.”Detroit Pistons Face Masks

      “It means that they believe in me,” Gobert told ESPN. “They believe in what we’ve been building over the years with this whole organization, with Coach [Quin Snyder] and all the guys. For me, it’s an incredible blessing. It’s a very motivating feeling to know that we all share the same vision and we all share this goal for this state and for this franchise.”

      That would appear to be a clear nod to players like Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler, who played until mid-October, when the NBA Finals wrapped up, and will have to start the new season just over two months later.Oklahoma City Thunder Face Masks

      The schedule changes the bottom line, because teams can play a different number of games, against a different caliber of opponent, with different breakdowns of home vs. road, back-to-backs, rest nights, etc. All of these things matter, and as I’ve seen this season, they often matter more than a player’s skills.

      Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s smart game-planning has been a huge advantage in its series against the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA playoffs. “The Miami Heat are up 2-0 in against the first seeded Milwaukee Bucks. They need to win twice more to earn an Eastern Conference Finals berth, a height that no one saw them reaching when they retooled their roster last offseason.

      Several of the Heat’s newcomers have been impactful in Miami’s two victories against the Eastern Conference’s best team but one of the longest-tenured people in the Heat organization deserves credit as well: head coach Erik Spoelstra.

      Miami’s two-time championship-winning coach has proven to be a cut above the rest yet again. The culture he fosters in the Heat organization pays dividends, attracting stars like Jimmy Butler and developing guys with few, if any, expectations to be big-time contributors at the NBA level into key starters (see: Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson).

      While the play on the court is always the most important aspect of the game, coaching makes a tremendous difference, and it’s showing in this series. Spoelstra has run circles around Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer. Spo’s decisions have put the Miami Heat in a prime position to take the series while Bud’s have cost his team momentum and possibly the outcome of games.

      For one, Spoelstra has managed his rotations better than Budenholzer, who still has a reluctance to play his best players through the entirety of crunch time.

      Spoelstra has made minimal substitutions near the end of the fourth quarter. By roughly half-way through the final period, Spo has his key players in for the remainder of the game. Budenholzer has struggled with this.

      With 5:06 left in Game 2, Middleton picked up his 5th foul. He was subbed out for Wes Matthews and subbed back in with 3:32 left. In that time, Matthews committed a turnover and two fouls, one of which was a shooting foul on Jimmy Butler, who made both free throws, extending the Heat’s lead to eight.

      The absence of Eric Bledsoe in Game 1 doesn’t excuse some of Budenholzer’s rotation decisions. Pat Connaughton receiving 25 minutes in Game 1 and Marvin Williams receiving 21 minutes in Game 2 are huge lapses in judgment by last season’s Coach of the Year.”

      On Sunday, August 23rd, the Boston Celtics beat the 76ers by four points to win the series in a fashionable sweep. Even though the series was short and seemingly one-sided, the rivalry seems to only be increasing in intensity as the two young teams continue to grow.New York Knicks Face Masks

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      The 2021 trade deadline has yet to be finalized. The deadline is typically in early February, a week or two before the All-Star break, but this season’s deadline will occur after March 3. That is the date when free agents who signed with their own teams for greater than a 20% increase from the previous season can be traded. — Royce YoungMilwaukee Bucks Face Masks

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