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Erik Spoelstra: Heat Players Crying in Locker Room After Loss to Bulls

The Miami Heat have a bit of a problem on their hands. Aside from the fact that they have lost four straight games and five out of their last six, they seem to lack leadership and guts. Furthermore, statistics prove that they have struggled mightily in clutch situations this season.  Not to worry, Heat fans — the players are very upset over their current skid.

Miami lost a heart-breaker to the Bulls on Sunday afternoon, with the same issues plaguing the Heat as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both had chances to win the game in its final seconds and failed to get the job done.  According to Erik Spoelstra, the team took the loss pretty hard — perhaps too hard.

Sports by Brooks Live called our attention to the following tweet from Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel:

There’s nothing wrong with showing some emotion, but what ever happened to toughing it out and turning things around?  The whole crying thing seems to be an emerging theme, as evidenced by Chris Bosh’s postgame press conference when the Heat blew a 24-point lead to the Magic.  Assuming Spoelstra is telling the truth, Miami might want to consider drying the tears and trying a different approach.  However they’re choosing to deal with their losses right now obviously isn’t getting it done.

Jaylin Fleming, 11-Year-Old Baller (Video)

Every once in a while, a kid who isn’t even in junior high school yet comes along who’s better than I am at sports.  Thankfully it doesn’t happen that often, or I’d probably be a man with zero confidence.  Good thing there’s only one Jaylin Fleming.  The Chicago Tribune called our attention to the 5th grader, who can absolutely ball.  His handle alone will probably take him to the NBA one day.  Check out the Jaylin Fleming 11-year-old superstar video:

Kind of wish we got to see a jump shot, but maybe he doesn’t have one yet.  We may be looking at the next Rajon Rondo.

Elgin Baylor Drops Racial Discrimination Claim Against Donald Sterling

The lawsuit Elgin Baylor filed against the Los Angeles Clippers and owner Donald Sterling appears to be weakening. Sterling has been accused of racism multiple times in his tenure as Clippers owner.  Earlier this week, we questioned whether or not his Black History month ad — which was run in March instead of during Black History Month — was anything more than a PR stunt.  Baylor’s claim that Sterling had a “plantation mentality” in dealing with him as an employee is just one tidbit in an abundance of information that has turned people into skeptics.

On Friday, Baylor dropped the racial discrimination claim in his lawsuit against the Clippers.  The teams executive vice president and general manager from 1986-2008, Baylor filed a wrongful termination suit in February 2009 alleging wrongful termination due to his age and race.  According to Baylor’s attorney, Carl Douglas, the race claim was “going to survive” but Baylor chose to voluntarily dismiss it.  Like many of the racism accusations against Sterling, an ongoing game of “he said, she said” probably wasn’t going to cut it in the court room.

When you consider that Baylor worked for the Clippers for 22 years — four of which saw the team qualify for the postseason — it should come as no surprise that he voluntarily dropped the racial discrimination claim.  Proving age discrimination will also be a challenge considering he worked for the team into his 70s.

This is not the first racial discrimination suit against Sterling that has been settled, so a pattern has obviously developed over the years.  At this point, one has to either believe that Sterling is not a racist, or he’s just extremely effective in covering his tracks.

Matt Barnes, Snoop Dogg, and a Bong

Lakers forward Matt Barnes has been out nearly two months with a knee injury. On Thursday, he tweeted that he was hoping to be back on the court soon for the Lakers. He even shared a picture of himself with Snoop Dogg because he plans to wear Snoop’s Adidas shoes (which we previously profiled). Here’s the picture, and take notice of the tall, narrow glass item on the left:

I’m sure there’s a thousand good reasons why a water pipe is in the room, just like there was a good reason for the water pipe in Michael Phelps’ hands. I’m just saying it’s not the look you want, particularly coming from your own twitter account. Oh wait, I get it — Barnes’ account was hacked and the bong was photoshopped into the picture. Has to be it!

Jeff Van Gundy, Daryl Morey Call Out T-Mac for Not Working Hard Enough

Tracy McGrady has been in the league since 1997 when he was drafted 9th overall by the Toronto Raptors. He forced his way out of Toronto after three years and went to Orlando where he led the league in scoring twice. Though T-Mac’s scoring ability and talent is undeniable, there have always been two knocks against him: he could never get out of the playoffs, and more recently, he’s been unable to stay healthy.

McGrady’s disappointing career path makes one wonder what could have been for the man who once averaged 32.1 points per game (!!!) in a season. Apparently his former coach Jeff Van Gundy and Houston’s GM, Daryl Morey still feel the same way.

Both men were in attendance for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and the subject was Malcolm Gladwell’s book that surmises it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve greatness in a given field. According to Zach Lowe of SI who was there for the conference, both men used T-Mac as an example of underachieving.

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LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Have Struggled in the Clutch, Stats Confirm

The Miami Heat have two of the best closers in the game today in Dwyane Wade and LeBron James yet they struggle to maintain late leads and close out games.  This is counterintuitive considering how great both LeBron and Dwyane have been throughout their careers in the “clutch.” Their struggles have played out in front of millions and they need to correct this if they ever want to win the NBA Championship.

The 4th quarter collapse to the Orlando Magic Thursday night summed up Miami’s struggles this season. The Heat was up as much as 24 points in the 3rd quarter but they allowed a 22-7 run to the Magic. From that point, you could see the train wreck developing in slow-motion. Miami carried a 9-point lead into the 4th but you could see the twist at the end developing. This game was building up to be a culmination of Miami’s season long struggles. You knew that at one point, LeBron was going to get a chance to take a game winning or saving shot and that he was going to come up short.

And it played out exactly like that.

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GTBA Trick Shot Video: Something Other Than Football

In keeping with the recent flood of trick shot videos we’ve given you here at LBS, I give you this video courtesy of a couple of players from General Tso’s Basketball Association:

GTBA is a rec. league in Indianapolis made up of teams such as Panda X, the Ninja Stars, the Kamikazees and, my personal favorite, Hadouken. Some of the shots look fairly pedestrian as far as trick shots go — more standard H.O.R.S.E than real trick shot — but the last two are pretty impressive. At least it’s not another football video.

Thanks to gtbasketball for the video.