Its done. The King has been crowned. LeBron James and the Miami Heat won their first title in the “Big Three” era as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 4 games to 1 in the NBA Finals. LeBron James monster run throughout the Finals and the playoffs continued as he tore through the Thunder for a triple double of 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. However, it was Mike Millers BIG 23 points off the bench that pushed the Heat over the edge as they won by a 15 point margin but it aws much bigger throughout the game.
Whilst it was hugely dissapointing for the Thunder to go down, it was another huge step forward. This is a ridiculously young team here and they have the core to win a championship. As LeBron James said after the game, watch out for the Thunder!
The Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a half time deficit to continue their perfect home playoff run as they defeated the Miami Heat in Game One of the NBA Finals 94-105. Kevin Durant was his usual ridiculous best scoring 36 points. LeBron James had 30 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in the losing effort. Dwyane Wade added 19 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds.
Russell Westbrook was massive for the Thunder, giving them the second scoring option they needed as Harden was well guarded by Wade and the Heat. Westbrook had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in a near triple double effort. Shane Battier also added 17 for the Heat giving them an unexpected boost
The Boston Celtics took a major advantage against the Miami Heat as they won in Miami and can now go home to close out the series. The Celtics have gone from the “old” Celtics to a winning team. TD Garden will surely be roaring when the C’s return home for Game 6 and KG will be doing the same. The men in green have all the momentum heading home.
“They jumped on us at the beginning of the game and we just told our guys to just hang in there. Just hang in there. Don’t overreact. Hang in there. The longer we’re in the game, the better we’ll play.”
— Celtics coach Doc Rivers
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 57 points but not a single other player registered in double figures for the Heat. For the Celtics, Garnett had 26 points and 11 rebounds while Paul Pierce scored 19 points.
Marquis Daniels was certainly prepared to play as he provided the spark to help the Celtics win their first game at home. The Celtics got 20+ points from three of their big four as Garnett, Pierce and Rondo all poured in the points.
LeBron James was unstoppable as he had 34 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists but did not receive a great deal of help from his partner in crime as Wade only added 18 points.
The Miami Heat duo of LeBron and Wade heaped the pressure back onto the Indiana Pacers as they took Game Four in Indiana by 8 points. LeBron especially had a ridiculous evening, scoring 40 points, pulling down 18 rebounds and adding 9 assists and 2 steals on the side. Unbelievable. Dwyane Wade had 30 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
Danny Granger had 20 points to lead the Pacers in a losing effort.
“It comes down to this: yes, you can get the ball out of their hands and make other guys make plays but you get the ball out of one of those guys’ hands and it finds its way to the other guy. It’s not just like one superhero and a bunch of role players. You’ve got to worry about the other guy.”
— Indiana coach Frank Vogel
The Miami Heat took an early series lead as they took down the Indiana Pacers in Game One of their series. 3-time and newly crowned MVP LeBron James dominated the game with a match leading performance of 32 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists. Dwyane Wade provided ample assistance as he scored 29 points. However, it was not all good news for the Heat as they lost Chris Bosh to an abdominal strain early in the game. For a team that struggles with size, the return of Bosh is paramount to this teams success. He may not be the best player in a Heat uniform but he may very well be the most important.
“We are going to have to get him better shots. I don’t know if he’s going to have a huge offensive series, especially when he has to guard LeBron James for 38 minutes. That takes a lot out of your offensive game.”
— Pacers head coach Frank Vogel on Granger’s struggles.
David West made the most of Chris Bosh’s absence, scoring 17 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Center Roy Hibbert also played well as he scored 17 points and had 11 rebounds while fighting through foul trouble. Danny Granger on the other hand quickly realised that he would not be getting the same shots against LeBron as he did against the Magic, only scoring 7 points on 1-10 shooting.
It finally happened. It took 11 years but the Knicks have at last won a playoff game. What made it even more rewarding was that it was in front of a raucous Madison Sqaure Garden crowd. The hero of NYC for the night was Carmelo Anthony, who finally exploded in this series as he poured in 41 points. Amare Stoudemire also had 20 as the two All Stars finally combined for a winnning result. The night was marred for Knick fans though as veteran guard Baron Davis went down with a dislocated knee cap.
LeBron James did all he could to get the win for the Heat with 27 including a huge three to make the win look likely for the Heat. Dwyane Wade also added in 22 points. Despite no other player scoring in double figures, the Heat simply were not able to reign in the combined might of STAT and Melo.
Final score: 67-100 Miami win (Miami leads 1-0)
The Miami Heat cruised to an easy 33 point win at home against a poor New York Knick team. Both Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler got in to early foul trouble to take away the Knicks only real discernible advantage as LeBron James powered his way to a 32 point win. The Heat defence completely suffocated Carmelo Anthony as they simply did not let him get the ball. Shane Battier and James both fronted Melo every time he tried to post up racking up steal after steal as the Knicks tried to get their star the ball. When Carmelo did get his hands on the ball, he was often pushed down into the corners of the court, reducing his effectiveness. Stoudemire did not offer much support either, often barreling through defenders and getting called for offensive fouls. Poor discipline and suffocating Miami defence meant that the New York Knicks simply got eaten alive.
The most important thing now for the Knicks to do is to put that game behind them. Learn from your mistakes yes, but move on. Miami wre always gonna come otut and make a statement on the big stage as they opened up a postseason full to the brim with expectations. Be competitive in the next game, and even if you don’t get the win, have confidence in your homecourt and get the wins there. New York City is far from a welcoming environment for a visiting team.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, this has been made even more difficult by the injury to possibly their best perimeter defender in Iman Shumpert, who has torn his ACL and will be out for the rest of the playoffs. All the best to Shump.
(All times American)
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, Philadelphia at Chicago, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Tue. May 1, Philadelphia at Chicago, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Fri. May 4, Chicago at Philadelphia, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 – Sun. May 6, Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m., ABC
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Chicago at Philadelphia, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD, TNT
Not to long ago, this playoff series didn’t really seem likely. The Sixers were much higher in the standings then their current 8th seed position and were looking to prove that a team could win without a true superstar in their lineup. This does not look likely to present much of a challenge to the Bulls, as there really is no “No Rose, no Bulls argument”. If Rose does start to prove a factor, as he surely will, Andre Iguodala may play some defence on him, much like LeBron James did at times. Perhaps one of the keys here will be that. Elton Brand against Carlos Boozer will be another key match up, with the two veteran forwards likely to have to score highly for their respective teams. Bulls will get the win here
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, New York at Miami, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 2 – Mon. April 30, New York at Miami, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Thu. May 3, Miami at New York, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 4 – Sun. May 6, Miami at New York, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, New York at Miami, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Miami at New York, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, New York at Miami, TBD
Possibly one of the more exciting match ups of the Eastern Conference. Great contests at multiple positions and superstars littered all over the place. The highlight will no doubt be the competition between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the two 2003 alumni likely wanting the win over their compatriot. Both teams love to get out on the fast break, but its not secret that a big step towards stopping the Miami Heat is halting the run of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Amare Stoudemire’s play against Chris Bosh will be interesting to see, with Bosh having to deal with the physicality of Stoudemire, something he has shown in the past to dislike. Tyson Chandler’s shot blocking and ability to fill up the paint will also be essential in stopping the drives of Wade and James. Possible upset, but Miami likely to get the win.
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 – Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 – Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 – Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Injuries will definitely be the determining factor in this series. The Pacers have quietly gone about having a good season as they secured the number three seed and Dwight Howard’s injury will make their playoff run much easier. David West, Danny Granger and co. will have a much easier time scoring in the paint without Dwight’s intimidating presence in the middle. Howard is really the only defensively minded player on the Magic team and they will struggle without him. Hedo will have to turn back to clock and Ryan Anderson will need to play out of his skin to force David West to play defence all the way out of to the three point line if the Magic are able to fit the series win here. Unlikely though.
Game 1 – Sun. April 29, Boston at Atlanta, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Tue. May 1, Boston at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 – Fri. May 4, Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun May 6, Atlanta at Boston, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Boston at Atlanta, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Atlanta at Boston, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Boston at Atlanta, TBD, TNT
Boston’s charge at the end of the season has them well place in this years playoffs. They avoid Miami and Chicago in the first round but the Hawks are no small hurdle to overcome in the first round. The Hawk duo of Josh Smith and Joe Johnson have been playing some of the best basketball of their careers, especially Josh Smith. But the suffocating defence and the inability of the Hawks to match up with Rajon Rondo should allow the Celtics to get the win here. Ray Allen could play a key role as he comes back from extended injury, and if he’s playing off the bench will provide a huge spark. Celtics to get the win here
Western Conference previews up before too long!
Mike Woodson was given yet another quandary in the seemingly endless drama in the Big Apple as the Knick’s got the win against the Hawks. With Tyson Chandler sitting the game out, Amare Stoudemire played his seemingly preferred position at the center, with Carmelo Anthony filling the power forward position. Whilst the Knicks were worse defensively, they got the win and Melo and Stat combined for 51 points, the kind of numbers Knick fans are more than happy to see. Which leaves Woodson with the question: Can all three of his potential All Stars play well in the same front court?
Serge Ibaka had 18 points 14 rebounds and 7 blocks but it was not enough as Kobe Bryant had 28 to lead the Lakers to a double overtime victory over the Thunder. However the biggest talking point of the night would end up being Metta World Peace’s elbow to the back of James Harden’s head. Looking much more like the Ron Artest of old, World Peace slammed his elbow into Hardens head with enough force to knock the man to the ground. Will be very interesting to see the type of punishment handed out by the league.
DeMarcus Cousins played big as the Sacramento Kings completely eclipsed the Charlotte Bobcats, winning by 26 points. Cousins had 29 points and 10 rebounds but perhaps Tyreke Evans was the real star of the show as he had 22 points on 10-11 shooting, including three assists and 2 steals.
The Heat scored 31 points in the fourth to overwhelm the Rockets 19 points as LeBron James’s 32 points lifted the Heat. With the loss the Rockets are no longer in playoff contention, despite Chandler Parsons’ 23 points.
40 points from the Toronto Raptor bench were not enough for to push the Raptors over the line as they lost to the Detroit Pistons. Despite none of the starters scoring in double figures for the Pistons, Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon scored 19 points apiece to lead Detroit.
Manu Ginobli the Super Sub had 20 points off the bench for the San Antonio Spurs as they increased their buffer as the number one overall seed in the playoffs with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 19 points.
It’s amazing how injury can destroy a promising season. The Timberwolves are the epitome of this. Playing without Kevin Love and many other notable absentees, the Wolves put up a good fight but were defeated by the Golden State Warriors. Charles Jenkins had 24 points.
JaVale McGee had 17 points as the Orlando Magic were held to just 30 points in the second half. Ryan Anderson had 24 points for the Magic to lead all scorers.
Chris Paul had 33 points and 13 assists as the Clippers outscored the Hornets by 19 as they won by 9. With the win, the Clippers stay in the race for the top spot in the Pacific Division with the Lakers.