Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Dorell Wright, a member of the 2006 Heat championship team and now with Golden State, was in attendance. A denim-vested Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, Miami's first-round playoff foe, was seated courtside, and former Celtic Glen Davis was near the Boston bench. ... Wade scored seven points in the first 4:22 of the game. He didn't score again in the first half, and after scoring 26 points by halftime of the series-clincher against Indiana, he has 29 points in five first halves against Boston in this series. ... Pierce said before the game that he does not expect to need offseason surgery to repair the sprained MCL in his left knee. ''No complaints,'' Pierce said.
I would rather have 4 good players than 2 great ones. That is the just of it. That is the bottom line. Maybe if Wade and Lebron had roll players to compliment them it would be different. But it is not the roll players fault they are struggling. It is Wade and Lebrons and the coaches. I think lebron is sincerely a good guy. Wade to. But wade just gives off a "I am not a happy person" vibe and it rubs off on the team. So many times after a he dunks it or something his teamates run up to give him five and he just ignores the the high five. He just seems like a jerk to me. I could be wrong. What do I know. I just see him play basketball. But dude do you ever smile. There is just to much drama on that team and in a way I think each of them want to lose. Plus Lebron and Wade just are not a great fit. I think the best scenario is a good gaurd and a good big to build around. Not two guards and not two bigs. Like Kobe and Gasol, Stockton and Malone. For the most part. Jordan and Pippen were both gaurds. It can be done. But for the most part you need a stud guard and a stud big. I just don't see Bosh as a stud. He plays like a guard anyways. But if he was healthy they would probably be done with ECF already but even with him healthy they couldn't touch OKC and the spurs. Remember, this is just my opinion and what I think. Things change quickly. Heat can not lose a game the rest of the playoffs and I would look foolish. Could happen. But in my opinion they cannot win it this year. Unless one of the big three go down from the west teams.
There is a lot of talk today on how the Oklahoma City Thunder is just that much more athletic than San Antonio Spurs. I agree with that statement. Although the spurs have the most athletic guy on the court. Manu Ginobili is a stud. The way he can weave through traffic and still lay it in nice and soft is a joy to watch. I think he is very underrated. A lot of people don't like the Spurs because they seem to be a bit old fashion. They play as a team. There is not as much one on one. The move the ball around. I am not saying they are gona win it all because OKC is tuff. But I am saying whoever wins the Western Conference Finals is going to win it all and Manu is amazing!
Monday, June 4, 2012
SAN ANTONIO (AP)
Kevin Durant scored 27 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder are on the brink of the NBA Finals, beating the San Antonio Spurs108-103 in Game 5 on Monday night and moving within a victory of a series knockout.
Russell Westbrook added 23 and the Thunder took a 3-2 lead in a wildly entertaining Western Conference finals. Looking invincible while carrying 20-win streak a week ago, the Spurs have lost three straight and are on the verge of a stunning collapse.
Manu Ginobili scored 34 in a smashing return to the starting lineup. But trailing 106-103 and the Spurs down to their last shot, Ginobili missed an off-balance 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Game 6 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder can punch their ticket to the NBA Finals in the place they haven't lost all postseason.
They're bringing home just what they needed: the must-win on the road if they're going to pull this series out.
Oklahoma City pulled it off behind their stars. James Harden scored 20, joining Durant and Westbrook as the only Thunder players in double figures.
Harden hit the biggest shot, draining a 3-pointer with 28.8 seconds left that pushed Oklahoma City's lead to five. He admitted afterward that the ball was supposed to go to Durant but had no choice but to let go with the shot clock winding down and Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard in his face.
''The shot clock was running down and I had to make a play,'' Harden said. ''Leonard was playing great defense on me. I just shot it with confidence. West Conference finals - that's a big shot.''
Tony Parker had 20 points and Tim Duncan had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs.
After remaining unbeaten for 50 days before arriving in Oklahoma City, San Antonio has lost three games in five day. They now must win two straight to avoid seeing their last best chance to win in a title in the Duncan era end.
''Championship teams win on the road,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ''Oklahoma City just did that.''
It's the first time the Spurs have lost three in a row all season.
''That was a total team effort,'' Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ''Everybody did their job. I thought we played as hard as we can play.''
Durant scored 22 of his points in the second half. Westbrook also had 12 assists.
Not wanting the series to slip away, Popovich moved Ginobili to the starting lineup in place of Danny Green, who came in shooting a combined 8 of 28 in this series. It was the first start for Ginobili since March and just his eighth all season.
Green's days as a starter began looking numbered after Game 3. He couldn't save his job before leaving Oklahoma City - Green shot 4 of 12 in both losses combined - and Popovich couldn't wait any longer with the series tied and the season in the balance.
Out with the undrafted swingman who barely made training camp, and in with the former All-Star.
The switch wasn't announced until after Popovich met with reporters, with whom he refused to discuss any possible lineup changes. But pulling this big an adjustment this deep in the season likely didn't come easy for the NBA coach of the year.
The gambit drew mixed results. It looked like a no-brainer with Ginobili leading all scorers at halftime with 14, but new rotations for the Spurs made for rocky possessions. None more so than in the second quarter, when the Spurs shot 38 percent and trailed by as much as 14 before coming back in the second half.
Ginobili finished 11 of 21 and made half of his 10 3-point attempts. But with 4.9 seconds left, the one he needed most clanked off the back of the rim.
''We wanted to get Manu the 3,'' Popovich said.
Notes: Taking a page from the Thunder, the Spurs held a T-shirt whiteout at the AT&T Center, a move the team has rarely made before. ...Durant's the clear last-shot taker for the Thunder. Popovich said it's as obvious as Dirk Nowitzki having the ball in his hands at the end for Dallas. But who do the Spurs go to with the game on the line? ''It's a secret,'' Popovich said before the game.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
BOSTON (AP) Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists, and scored the final three points of the Boston Celtics' 93-91 overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday night that evened the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.
Getting a huge break when LeBron James fouled out for the first time since joining the Heat, the Celtics recovered after blowing an 18-point lead in regulation and moved two games away from a third trip to the NBA finals in five years.
Kevin Garnett added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Celtics, while Paul Pierce scored 23 points before fouling out. Ray Allen finished with 16 points.
''Stops,'' Rondo said when asked what was the difference in the tight game. ''I think we executed offensively, came up with some lucky plays and we got stops at the end.''
James had 29 points and Dwyane Wade scored 20 after another dismal start for the Heat, who host Game 5 on Tuesday.
In a game that started as a Celtics blowout and turned into a foul- and tension-filled fourth quarter, followed by the second overtime in this series, the Celtics held on when Wade missed a potential winning 3-pointer on the last possession.
''We knew they were going to Wade. I wanted to check him,'' Rondo said. ''They set a great pick. ... We're lucky we got a stop.''
Mickael Pietrus drew James' sixth foul and grabbed two huge offensive rebounds that extended consecutive possessions for the Celtics, who lost Game 4 in overtime in a second-round series against the Heat last year with a chance to tie the series.
This time, they overcame their second-half stall on the offensive end by limiting the Heat to just one basket in overtime, by Udonis Haslem.
Rondo's layup gave the Celtics a 92-91 lead with 2:34 left, and neither team scored again until he made a free throw with 21 seconds to play. Wade, already finding it tough to locate any room with Chris Bosh out and then having to do it James also on the sideline, saw his potential winning attempt bounce off the rim as time expired.
In what could have been the final game in Boston for the Celtics' Big Three, they scored 61 points in a sensational first half that concluded with some televised trash talk from Rondo. But they managed only 12 points in the third quarter, and Wade finally got going after managing just eight points on 2-of-11 shooting in the first half.
With the Celtics down by two, Pierce and Rondo made consecutive layups for an 85-83 edge with 3:08 to go in regulation. But with the Celtics up three, they lost James, who was wide open with plenty of time to set himself for a 3-pointer that evened it at 89 with 37.5 seconds left.
Garnett was called for an offensive foul on the next possession, giving the Heat the ball back with 21 seconds left. But they passed it around too long, leaving them with a long forced attempt from Haslem that was well off before the buzzer.
The videoboard kept encouraging fans to get louder, as if they needed any prompting in what could have been the final time they were watching the Big Three together.
Fans who left and stayed away for years during the Celtics' lean years started coming back in the 2007-08 season after Garnett and Allen were traded to Boston to form join an All-Star trio with Pierce, the Garden almost always full as the Celtics won a championship, played in two finals and returned the franchise back to its traditional place atop the East.
But the aging group was nearly broken up when the Celtics sputtered through the first half of the shortened season, and it seems doubtful they'll be back together after this season.
The fans grew even louder when the Celtics ran out to a 14-4 lead after consecutive 3-pointers by Pierce and Allen. The Celtics went to Garnett for their next two baskets, pushing it to 18-4, and when Pierce's 3-pointer made it 21-6, it was the third time in four games they had a lead of at least 15 points.
And after leading the Celtics to the highest-scoring half the Heat have surrendered this postseason, Rondo even fired a shot at the visitors, saying in his televised halftime interview what was working for Boston was the Heat ''complaining and crying to the referees in transition.''
The feisty point guard didn't back down after the game, either.
''What I said was true,'' Rondo said. ''I don't take back what I said. That's what it is.''
It was so hard for the Heat early that James didn't even make his first basket - the Celtics accidentally tipped in his miss, and it was credited to him as the closest player. But Miami finally got untracked when Garnett left for a rest, getting a number of easy baskets to get within six before the Celtics regained control and went ahead 34-23 after one.
The Celtics made 16 of their first 25 shots and seemed intent on outhustling the Heat to the ball on the rare times they did miss. And the Heat, who insisted they would be more aggressive, didn't shoot their first free throw until James was fouled while making a basket with 6:53 remaining in the first half.
Boston pushed the lead to 18 when Pierce shook off a foul and tossed in a long, one-legged jumper with 3:12 left in the second quarter, and the Celtics were ahead 61-47 at the break.
The Celtics averaged 89.1 points on 44 percent shooting in an ugly second-round survival against Philadelphia, then managed a measly 79 points in the opener of this series, the old guys looking like their best basketball was well behind them. They seemed to have solved their offensive woes, then managed only 12 points in the third quarter, losing Rondo along the way to his fourth foul.
It was down to 73-68 after three, and the Heat tied it for the first time when James' layup made it 74-all with 8:54 remaining. Norris Cole's layup on the next possession gave Miami the lead for the first time and it stayed tight from there.
NOTES: Bosh missed his ninth straight game with a lower abdominal strain. Coach Erik Spoelstra said his status is still out indefinitely. ... The Heat changed centers again, starting Joel Anthony. ... James said there's no playoff silence or anything else behind his absence from Twitter. James, who has more than 4.6 million followers, hasn't posted on the site since April 27, the day before the playoffs began. ''My fans, I'm still with them, but I haven't been on there,'' he said. ... In an apparent nod to Garnett's in-game workout from Game 3, the Celtics' dancers ended a second-quarter routine with some push-ups. ... Rivers' arrival at the arena was delayed by a few minutes, not wanting to leave his home while watching Tiger Woods rally to win the Memorial golf tournament.
Original story found at http://sports.yahoo.com/news/celtics-beat-heat-ot-tie-035419053--nba.html
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Serge Ibaka was surprised so many people were surprised. So he makes more baskets in the first half than Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden combined. So he goes for a career-high 26 points, never missing a shot, in the conference final with the season likely on the line. Is that something new?
Of course it is a surprise. The whole thing is. The All-Defense center who averaged 9.1 points a game in the regular season dropping 26 on the Spurs, or one less than the previous three games of the series combined. The Thunder evening the West final 2-2 because Thabo Sefolosha has the offensive game of his life and then about 48 hours later Ibaka has the offensive game of most anyone's life. Ibaka did miss one time Saturday night -- he missed the league playoff record for most attempts without a miss, that is. If that is not a surprise, it's only because a better word might be shocking. Impossible to believe, even.
Two games in three nights of found money inside rollicking Chesapeake Energy Arena. That's how it would have to be for the Thunder to climb back from 0-2, a seemingly impossible task against an opponent on a 20-game win streak. It would have to be through some freak occurrence, because teams with as much poise as the Spurs, playing as well as the Spurs, and with as much depth as the Spurs simply do not hand over that kind of lead one step before the Finals.
Oklahoma City earned the tie that guarantees another game here on Wednesday after the teams meet again Monday in San Antonio. No trick mirrors were involved. No one could have seen it coming like this, though, with Sefolosha on Thursday tying his season high with 19 points and then Ibaka on Saturday hitting all 11 attempts, one short of the NBA postseason mark of 12 for 12 by Larry McNeill of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings on April 13, 1975.
Hello, freak occurrences.
"(Saturday) he was impressive," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "11 for 11 in Game 4 of the conference finals is not easy to do. I understand if he runs in transition and dunks or on drop-offs when we help (on another player on defense). That can happen. But he made five to six jumpers, and that's something we were willing to give up. But he was impressive today. He made every shot. He was very active as always on the defensive end, so he had an unbelievable game."
Said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich: "All the bigs scored tonight. Obviously you put your attention on the big three there (Durant, Westbrook and Harden) and try do a great job on them first, just naturally. But the bigs came through tonight and were outstanding. I didn't look at the whole (box score), but I think they were 22 for 25 or some crazy thing. If you did a shooting drill with nobody guarding you, I don't think you could do that."
Exactly 22 of 25: 11 of 11 by power forward Ibaka, seven of nine from center Kendrick Perkins, four of five by backup big man Nick Collison. Everyone went off. Durant in the fourth quarter for sure -- 18 of his 36 points to secure the 109-103 Thunder victory -- but KD turning flammable can be expected. The other part, not so much.
Some crazy thing is right."You go into a game with a game plan and try to make other guys beat you," Collison said when asked to put himself in the Spurs' shoes. "When other guys are able to step up and make shots, it's tough to defend against that. We're just going to try to continue doing the same things. We're just a much better team when we move the basketball."
There is that kind of emotional boost for the Thunder as well, as if being 2-2 isn't rocket fuel enough. Two games in a row with unexpectedly big scoring contributions from players known strictly for defense -- that's a team suddenly in a special rhythm, knowing it can win even with Westbrook struggling with his shot and Harden missing on Saturday, knowing how it can be someone else's turn Monday night in San Antonio.
"Maybe for you it's a surprise," Ibaka said. "For myself and my teammates it's not a surprise. I worked hard today. I work hard every day. For you it's a surprise, I understand."
For him, in other words, it's not a surprise. Like holding up the offense until Durant can ride in for the final gun is typical. Nothing about what transpired over the course of three nights at Chesapeake Energy is typical. Of course it's a surprise.
Original story found at nba.com