Udonis Haslem: Draymond Green ‘broke the code’ by saying Celtics would make NBA Finals over Heat – NBC Sports

After helping the Warriors win the West, Draymond Green was repeatedly asked by Shaquille O’Neal on TNT about an NBA Finals opponent.
Green:
We’re going to play Boston. That’s who we’re going to play.
Draymond believes the Dubs will play the Celtics in the Finals 👀 pic.twitter.com/q4gZ7gC6OS
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 27, 2022

Though brazen for a player to say, the prediction was far from outlandish. The better team for months, the Celtics had just taken a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals and had a home Game 6. Miami looked spent.
Of course, the Heat won in Boston last night. And they’re letting Green hear about it.
Udonis Haslem, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“Draymond broke the code,” Haslem told Yahoo Sports after the Heat’s 111-103 victory. “You ain’t supposed to say some s*** like that. That’s disrespectful. He know better than that.”
“He let Shaq peer pressure him into saying some s*** he ain’t got no business saying,” Haslem told Yahoo Sports. “I didn’t sleep much after he said that. That was some bulls***.”
That’s some extreme rhetoric.
Green disrespected the Heat, no question. But broke the code? The last time that phrase came up was when a someone made a dirty play that injured an opponent. This was merely an unkind prediction, a cocky assumption.
Players will seek motivation wherever they can find it. If this helped/helps the Heat win, more power to them. But Haslem – one of the NBA’s most-hardnosed players – comes across a little soft when he talks about losing sleep over Green’s words.
Also clearly fueled by Green, Miami forward P.J. Tucker wasn’t nearly as worked up.
Tucker ended his postgame interview on ESPN – which included no questions about Green – with “Tell Draymond I said I appreciate it.” Asked about Green’s comment in his postgame press conference, Tucker elaborated:
It’s funny. We laughed. I thought it was funny, because he knows better than anybody, we’ve still got to play games. We’ve got to play. There’s no guarantees for anybody in this league.
It’s kind of weird to be a player and pick another team. I don’t know.
If the Heat win Game 7 tomorrow, Green will definitely have egg on his face. Miami will be especially fired up to beat him in the NBA Finals.
I suspect Green won’t mind, though.
The Celtics have shown a higher ceiling than the Heat this season. Jimmy Butler‘s knee problems aren’t suddenly disappearing. Neither are Kyle Lowry‘s hamstring issues.
Even if Miami wills itself past Boston, Golden State would probably have an easier time beating the Heat in the Finals. Not an easy time. But an easier time.
I doubt Green was trying to motivate his desired opponent into the Finals. But he’s a smart player and media-savvy. I at least wonder.
LOS ANGELES — Sometimes, it is this simple:
Sunday, LeBron James was +19 in a game the Lakers lost by one.
Monday, LeBron was +19 again — and scored a season-high 48 points — in a game the Lakers won by eight (over the team on an 11-game losing streak).
It’s tempting to say the Lakers go as LeBron goes, but that’s not accurate. He has been brilliant, bringing it every night in the season he turned 38— he’s a deserving All-Star starter who reached a historic scoring milestone on Sunday night.
On too many nights, LeBron is not enough.
At least until Anthony Davis returns. That could come as early as the end of this month — according to Jaren Greenberg of NBA TV — or early next month (according to Shams Charania of The Athletic).
LeBron has dragged the Lakers to an 8-8 record without Davis, but it’s obvious watching them how much he is missed. Officially, coach Darvin Ham said there is no timeline, and when asked what he needs to see, “Just ramp up the on court stuff, getting him running up and down. Right now, he’s basically been regulated to stay in the half court but just once we see him running and then coming in the following day, just to see how his body responds — his foot in particular how that response — to just an increased workload within the workout.”
Anthony Davis is out getting a little pregame sweat in. Darvin Ham said there is no timeline for his return yet, he’s limited to work in the halfcourt and hasn’t been running fullcourt yet. pic.twitter.com/wH0fD7gKD2
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) January 16, 2023

For now, the Lakers are the LeBron James show.
LeBron was enough on Martin Luther King Day when he poured in 48 on the Rockets.
LeBron dropped a season-high in the Lakers W.
48 points
8 rebounds
9 assists
5 threes
👑 pic.twitter.com/E6oZ1S5wtt
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2023

“I think it’s historic, man,” Ham said postgame. “On a lot of different levels. For him to be at this point in his career and still be able to produce at the level at which he’s producing, I think all of us just being able to witness it, be a part of it, it shows his competitive spirit. His no quit mentality.”
It was the second night of a back-to-back and there had been speculation LeBron would get the night off (he was listed as questionable due to a sore ankle much of the day). LeBron admitted he was worn down from the previous night’s game, but played anyway.
“I could have very easily took tonight off, but I don’t feel like the momentum of our ball club could use me taking a night off tonight,” LeBron said, referring to the team’s three-game losing streak coming in. “I don’t feel like I wanted to sit on that loss to Philly last night, I wanted to get that out of my tastebuds and see if we could win a ballgame tonight.”
LeBron’s best wasn’t enough one night before. Or the game before that.
Sunday against the 76ers, LeBron was the best player on the court — 35 points plus 10 assists — yet, when the Lakers had the chance to win down one but with the ball in the final seconds, LeBron never touched the rock. Russell Westbrook decided to isolate on Joel Embiid.
“We got a stop, gave ourselves a chance to win the game, we didn’t,” a frustrated LeBron said postgame in the locker room after the Lakers lost to the Sixers.
It was much the same story a couple of nights earlier in a double-overtime loss.
“I thought Bron was phenomenal, you know, really playing downhill playing the right way, running off the ball,” Ham said after the Mavericks game. “Really finding guys as well. I thought he was really, really good.”
LeBron having to carry these Lakers is starting to become overshadowed by the narrative of him chasing history.
He made history Sunday with a 20-foot straight-on jumper midway through the first quarter, meaning LeBron became only the second player in the NBA to reach 38,000 points.
HISTORY MADE 👑
LeBron James becomes only the second player in NBA history to score 38,000 career points. pic.twitter.com/uqLckZ9LY0
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2023

LeBron is now 316 points shy of the NBA’s all-time scoring record — a record once thought unbreakable — held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. LeBron is on pace to break the record in the first couple weeks of February, although it’s possible the drama drags out until after the All-Star break (the Lakers’ first game after the break is at home against the Warriors).
That’s the show, the distraction to the fact the Lakers are four games below .500 and staring up in the standings at the play-in midseason. LeBron has done all he could to keep the Lakers in the postseason mix, both with Davis in and out of the lineup. He has carried this team for the past month, and it appears the Cavalry is coming (in the form of Davis, and maybe a trade).
It won’t be enough to get LeBron and the Lakers where they want to go. But it will be better than this. LeBron deserves the help.
One of the season’s better stories is John Wall‘s return. He had played 40 games over the three seasons prior to this due to a combination of injuries and being in Houston at the wrong time. This season he has been solid in a backup role with the Clippers, averaging 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, being a quality floor general with the reserves.
However, the Clippers need a spark — and their two best players to be on the court consistently, but that’s another issue entirely — and Shams Charania of The Athletic reports they are willing to trade Wall to get it in the form of a backup big.
The Clippers are searching for depth in the frontcourt and have discussed guard John Wall in potential deals, league sources say. Behind Ivica Zubac, the Clippers have relied heavily on two-way big man Moses Brown but have also looked into a more accomplished center.
The Clippers also reportedly have interest in Jazz point guard Mike Conley, which would change the pecking order at the one in L.A.
Wall is making $6.5 million on a two-year contract with the Clippers (his $6.8 million is a team option).
There are name bigs available such as Jakob Poeltl or John Collins, but the Clippers might be looking more at someone like Nerlens Noel (also reportedly available from the Pistons, and the Clippers could get him with Wall and a player on a minimum).
Halfway into the fourth season of the Kawhi Leonard/Paul George era with the Clippers, there is still a “let’s see what we’ve got when everyone is healthy” feeling around this team, but at this point are we ever going to see it? If we do later this year, will it be with enough time to build good habits, such as sharp defensive rotations that they will need in the postseason — this is not a “flip the switch” team with a reservoir of good habits they can dip into (like the Warriors), the Clippers have never built that with this unit. There are games, even stretches of games with Leonard playing where you can see the potential of this team, but at this point it’s hard to imagine them sustaining that level.
A trade would help bring a spark, even if it’s just for a backup big man. But it will take more than that in Los Angeles, where the Clippers will head into the summer with some big questions to answer — starting with what to do with Wall.
It may be a debate about Michael Jordan being the GOAT on the court, but what goes unquestioned is his influence around the game — from the still sky-high sales of Air Jordan’s to the branding and commercials, not to mention a generation of loyal fans that worship him to this day.
Steve Kerr saw that up close. Now he coaches Stephen Curry and sees the same thing — like MVP chants in Washington, D.C.
“He’s the modern MJ”
Coach Kerr with the ultimate praise for Steph 🐐 pic.twitter.com/ffkevnJEWq
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 16, 2023

“He’s the modern MJ. I used to see this playing with the Bulls. Half the crowd’s got red 23 jerseys on and now half the crowd’s got blue and yellow 30 jerseys.
“Steph transcends the game. He elicits an emotion from people, I think, because he’s so awe-inspiring with his play that, no matter where we go, there are people cheering for him and can’t wait to see him perform because we’ve never seen anything like him. And I think people can relate to him because he’s not this superhero, in terms of his size and strength. He’s 6-foot-3, 185 [pounds]. There’s a lot of people out there that size but none who can do what he can do. He’s incredibly inspiring and as a result, we get a ton of support on the road.”
Kerr is the person best suited to make this comparison, Curry was asked about Kerr’s comments and had this response, via Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area.
“I think everything you take the floor and you feel that energy, I don’t ever take that for granted because it wasn’t always like that,” Curry said. “And that’s what we play the game for, in a sense of fans being a part of the journey, coming out and spending their hard-earned money on tickets, and creating the atmosphere like we had tonight, it was, from the time we ran out on the floor for warmups, throughout the whole game, it was amazing.
“Fortunately, we feel that most nights on the road and at home, obviously. That means a lot. So I’ll leave that to him to make the comparison but it is special knowing what our accomplishments have done in terms of bringing that atmosphere night after night, even on the road.”
On the influence level, Curry can get mentioned in the same breath as Jordan (and maybe passed LeBron James in some ways, although LeBron’s influence with players off the court in terms of branding and how he handles his business has changed a generation). Kerr is not wrong, see the Warriors play on the road anywhere and the arena is filled with Curry jerseys — often on the youth at the game, fans ages 10 to 16 who then head play in local leagues, or for their junior high or high school, and try to emulate what Curry does. Those fans fill the arenas where the Warriors will play more than an hour before game time to watch him warm up.
Kerr also hit the nail on the head with Curry being more relatable. It’s one of the reasons that Allen Iverson and Derrick Rose reached such levels of fame — it’s hard to imagine yourself as LeBron, a massive 6’9″ human being touched by the gods and bestowed historic athleticism. Same with Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo — we admire and appreciate their greatness, but the fandom feels slightly different. Curry is much more normal human-sized. Fans can envision themselves in his shoes.
It also only works because he wins — if Curry didn’t have four rings, it would all feel hollow. But he has won, and with that turned the Warriors into a national brand for a generation of fans.
Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) “Old man” LeBron drops 48 on Rockets

Rockets rookie Jabari Smith had the highlight of the night. Mic’d up, he went up to LeBron James early in the game and reminded the Lakers star just how old he is — his first NBA game was against Smith’s dad.
“You feel old, don’t you?” 🤣
Jabari Smith Jr. had a fun fact for LeBron 😂#CenterCourt pic.twitter.com/0HCJ5N8nAH
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 17, 2023

“It made me feel extremely old when junior said that…” LeBron said with a smile postgame. “I’ve been extremely blessed to be able to play this game to touch multiple generations, I mean Kenyon Martin Jr. was out on the court tonight and I played against his dad.”
LeBron didn’t look old in the final game of Martin Luther King day, scoring 48 points — all of which the Lakers needed to beat the Rockets 140-132, snapping a three-game losing streak for Los Angeles. He also had eight rebounds and nine assists.
LeBron dropped a season-high in the Lakers W.
48 points
8 rebounds
9 assists
5 threes
👑 pic.twitter.com/E6oZ1S5wtt
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2023

It was the second night of a back-to-back for the Lakers, and in an ideal world it might have been a night LeBron got off — he admitted to being sore after the Lakers’ loss to the 76ers the night before. But his team was five games below .500, it can’t wait on wins anymore, so LeBron suited up.
“I could have very easily took tonight off, but I don’t feel like the momentum of our ball club could use me taking a night off tonight,” LeBron said. “I don’t feel like I wanted to sit on that loss to Philly last night, I wanted to get that out of my tastebuds and see if we could win a ballgame tonight.”
Russell Westbrook scored 24 off the bench for the Lakers (and reportedly had some words with the Lakers coaches during the game, although it got downplayed when everyone was asked postgame). Alperen Şengun led the Rockets with 33 with 15 rebounds, while Jalen Green added 23.
The Lakers can’t sustain winning if it takes 48 from LeBron to beat the lowly Rockets. The good news is Jared Greenberg of NBA TV reports he was told Anthony Davis is on pace to return before the end of the month. That would be the boost the Lakers need.
Anthony Davis is out getting a little pregame sweat in. Darvin Ham said there is no timeline for his return yet, he’s limited to work in the halfcourt and hasn’t been running fullcourt yet. pic.twitter.com/wH0fD7gKD2
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) January 16, 2023

There was a time that the best player on the best team was the automatic MVP frontrunner. This season, that would be Jayson Tatum, but in an East deep with frontcourt talent he might not even start the All-Star Game.
Monday he went out against the Hornets and made an MVP statement.
Watch: Jayson Tatum drops 51 points over the Hornets for the Celtics seventh straight win ☘️#BleedGreen pic.twitter.com/gA4DkxgJIK
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) January 16, 2023

Tatum said postgame that he had gotten close to 50 earlier in the season but the Celtics had that game in the bag so he didn’t push for it. After that game, NBA legend Jamal Crawford texted him and said when you have a chance for a historic 50, you do it. So Tatum drained a 3-pointer with :38 seconds left to get to 51. That’s seven 50-point games in Tatum’s career.
The Celtics beat the Hornets130-118 (the second time they played in three days, and the second Celtics win). Derrick White had 19 points and eight assists, while Malcolm Brogdon added 16 for the Celtics. That’s seven straight wins for the Celtics.
Stephen Curry is a walking cheat code.
UNREAL, STEPH 😱 pic.twitter.com/EUIMpsehCq
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 16, 2023

He put up 41 on the Wizards on Monday in the nation’s capital and is back to drawing MVP chants on the road with his play.
MVP chants for Steph in D.C. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/ljy09cs3XA
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 16, 2023

The Warriors picked up a needed road win 127-118 behind Curry and Jordan Poole‘s 32 (he started and stepped up with Klay Thompson resting on a back-to-back). This win was needed because things get wild from here for Golden State: They visit the White House to celebrate their title, then have to face the Celtics and Cavaliers in a back-to-back.
The win moved the Warriors to .500 and into seventh place in the West, within striking distance of the safety of the top six. If the Warriors can get in that top six and get to the playoffs healthy — and with some good habits built up, like the ones they showed against the Wizards — they are a threat in a still wide-open conference.
The Wizards have dropped five of six and sit 12th in the East, but they should get Bradley Beal back soon and are hoping that will key a turnaround.

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