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.
The Lakers post season came to a grinding halt as the Oklahoma City Thunder won the series 4-1., winning the final game 106-90. Russell Westbrook top scored for the Thunder with 27 points, while Kevin Durant added 25 points and 10 rebounds.
“Oklahoma (City) really blitzed us there at the start of the fourth. It was tough to watch to say the least. We had the game under control but this team (the Thunder) is very explosive all of a sudden they go on an 8-0 run.”
— Lakers guard Bryant.
This is no doubt a big step forwards for the Thunder. They have achieved what they did last year, and now have the chance to take this franchise to the next level. It would be be a huge achievement for this team to make it to the Finals. However, they face a more than difficult challenge in the San Antonio Spurs, almost the opposite to who they are. It will be veterans against youth in a hugely exciting Western Conference Final.
A certain Kobe Bryant did everything humanly possible to stave off elimination, scoring 42 points in his final playoff outing of the year.
The 76ers got a stirring victory over the Celtics as they stunned the men in green with an 18 point comeback.
Down big and on the verge of having to go into Boston to fight for their playoff lives, Andre Iguoldala came up big, knocking down key shots including a shot clock beating triple.
Iguodala high scored for the Sixers with 16 points while Evan Turner also had 16 but shot at just 5-22 (22%) from the field.
“I thought, for the most part, we played decent defense. We just didn’t do it well enough in the last four or five minutes.”
— Boston forward Garnett.
Rajon Rondo was the Cs best, or at least close to it, with 15 points and 15 assists while Paul Pierce had 24 points on one knee.
Yet it seemed that the offence did not go through Garnett enough, as he had only 9 points. When he has a big night and gets lots of touches, the Celtics seem to win. When he does not, they appear to struggle. An interesting thought to carry into Game 5 in Boston.
41 points from the Los Angeles Clippers bench, including all but two of the teams fourth quarter points, helped the Clippers secure a second round berth as they beat the Grizzlies 82-72. Nick Young and Kenyon Martin scored the bulk of the points for the bench with 13 and 11 points respectively. But it was Chris Paul once again who led all scores for the Clips with 19 points and 9 assists.
“That’s what we do, the bench comes in and we try to change the pace of the game and change the momentum of the game. We come in and get stops and just run.”
— Clippers’ guard Eric Bledsoe, who had eight points off the bench.
Both Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol did all they could for the Grizzlies, scoring 19 points each, as they top scored for the Grizzlies. But apart from that, the Grizzlies did not recieve much more help as no other player scored in double figures. A dissapointing loss for the Grizzlies, especially after last years wonderful first round against the Spurs, but there are positves. Marc Gasol has emerged as a scorer during this series, ofthen carrying the majority of the load. The combination of him and a healthy Zach Randolph could very easily form a front court to fear. For the Clippers, it’s all positve, proving that the trade for Paul was a smart one for now and the future.
The Hawks may of gotten back Josh Smith and Al Horford back into the lineup but it made little difference as the Celtics cruised to a dominant 22 points win in the last game before Atlanta. With the win, the Celtics take a 3-1 series lead into Atlanta next game. Paul Pierce led all scorers with 24 points in only 16 minutes of play. Rajon Rondo set the pace early with 10 assists in the first half and finished with 20 points and 16 assists in another clinical display.
The Hawks struggled all night and the individual scores reflect this. Usual high scorer Joe Johnson only had 9 points while Josh Smith led all scorers for the Hawks with 15 points on his return from injury but struggled with touch, shooting just 5-13 from the field. The Hawks as a team shot quite well, hitting 40 percent of their shots, but they were simply overwhelmed by an always loud TD Garden crowd and the Celtics 50 percent shooting display. Simply a great win for the Cs to take onto the road.
Bargnani had 30 points as Toronto beat fellow cellar dweller Charlotte by 5 in Canada. DJ Augustin had 18 off the bench as Kemba Walker was given the start. Demar DeRozan had 20 for the Raptors to support Bargnani.
The game was won within the first quarter as the San Antonio Spurs shot 60% percent, destroying the hapless Cavaliers by 35 points. Aussie point guard Patty Mills lead the way for the Spurs with 20 points off the bench in 20 minutes playing time. Boris Diaw had 9 assists, while kyrie Irving had 13 points and 5 assists in the horror loss.
The Pacers launched a 40 point final quarter to defeat the New York Knicks despite Carmelo Anthony’s 39 points. Granger had 27 as the Pacers rolled right through and well over a final quarter deficit.
LeBron James’ season high 41 points lead the Heat to a win over ‘best of the rest’ contender Philadelphia. LeBron also pulled down 6 boards and handed out 4 assists as the Sixers’ Evan Turner had 26 points.
Still without Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic went down to the Detroit Pistons, despite a big effort from Glen Davis who had 31 points and 10 rebounds whilst trying to guard budding big man Greg Monroe/ Monroe had 22 and 11 to lead the Pistons.
Steve Nash had 18 and 12 assists as the Suns beat the Sacramento Kings. DeMarcus Cousins HUGE game of 41 points and 12 rebounds somehow was not enough for the Kings as the lost by 9.
Kobe Bryant had 24 points and rattled home the game sealing three as the Lakers beat the Nets without Andrew Bynum. Deron Williams had 20 points and Kris Humphries had 18 and 15 rebounds in the loss.
Kobe Bryant has to be one of, if not the, most uncaring basketballer in history. Few other players can care so little about missing, and keep shooting the basketball. Whilst some would argue this is a bad thing, there has to be some level of admiration. The man simply does not care, and this is a helpful attribute in itself. Not every night is going to be your night, as shown by the Lakers game against the Hornets.
Kobe went 0-15 in the first three quarters, with 0 points, no free throws, nothing, for the worst start of his career. Yet when the fourth quarter came, the lid suddenly came off the hoop, and Kobe went for 11 points, including the 3 pointer that gave them the lead. He was 0-7 from downtown before that point. Somehow he managed to pull through
This probably has much to do with the unwavering faith that Kobe has in his game. He believe that he is the best, he knows that eventually his shots will start to fall. Call it arrogance, but when you are that good, eventually you will start to score. Many would say ‘HE DIDNT PASS THE BALL ENOUGH!!’ yet he still had 5 assists and his role on that team is to shoot the ball. He is there to score, to win the game for his team. And despite his terrible shooting night, he still managed to pull his team through. Is Kobe the greatest closer the game has ever seen? You tell me.
Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points and Jose Calderon had a 10 point and 10 assist double double as the Toronto Raptors too care of business at home against the Denver Nuggets. The Raptors shot 55% from behind the arc to help overcome Ty Lawson’s 26 points and 9 assists.
Carmelo Anthony’s return to form continued as the New York Knicks blew out the Magic by 22 points. Melo and Iman Shumpert both had 25 points to lead the Knicks while Dwight Howard struggled all game, only scoring 12 points and having 6 turnovers in a game that was over by half time. The Knicks outscored the Magic 32-12 to set up a big win.
Kevin Love’s 40 points and 19 rebounds pulled an injury riddled Minnesota Timberwolves over the line against the Charlotte Bobcats. Love’s ability to lift his team to a victory knows no bounds, and despite only having 8 players play minutes, the Wolves were still able to get the victory, albeit against a more then subpar Bobcats.
Tayshaun Prince had 29 points as the Detroit Pistons won over the Cleveland Cavaliers. One time playoff hopefuls Cleveland have now lost five on the trot and are well and truly destined for the lottery
Kevin Garnett’s 23 points and 10 rebounds were enough for the Boston Celtics to dump the Utah Jazz, despite Al Jefferson’s 18 and 12.
The New Jersey Nets scored a big win over the Indiana Pacers. Deron Williams had 30 points and 9 assists to lead the way in the Nets’ win. The Nets outscored the Pacers 31 to 17 in the final quarter to seal the win.
The still Rose-less Chicago Bulls held the Atlanta Hawks to just 77 points and they won by 21 on the Hawks’ own floor. Luol Deng led the way with 22 points.
The Big Three did their thing for the San Antonio Spurs as they emerged triumphant over the kings. Manu had 20, Tony had 10 and 10 assists whilst Duncan had 18 points in the win for the Spurs. Isiah Thomas played big for the Kings, leading both teams with 28 points and 10 assists.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led the way for the Clippers as they beat the Phoenix Suns. CP had 15 and 15 assists while Griffin hammered how 27 points and 14 rebounds. Marcin Gortat paced the Suns with 23 points.
The Hornets had three players score 20 points or more as they beat the injury ravaged Golden State Warriors. David Lee had 28 for the losers.
Injuries are ravaging this shortened season. With some discussing whether this shortened season had been a positive thing and should continue, injuries are the number one reason why this shouldn’t happen. Amare Stoudemire has fallen, the exciting Jeremy Lin also taken by injury. They Golden State Warriors have Andrew Bogut out with injury, Stephen Curry has barely seen any game time whatsoever. Recently Ray Allen has been sidelined. Derrick Rose has had absolutely no chance to defend his MVP title, his season ravaged by a horrible back injury. Al Horford has been knocked out for most of the season as well. With this hectic schedule, all the excitement has covered up the terrible and growing list of injuries to the games’ best players. The game is losing its superstars to injury and whilst every season there are injuries, this season more than most has seen many teams lining up with nowhere near their best team lining up.
One only has to think of a team to think of a name. Cavaliers? Anderson Varejao. Oklahoma City? Eric Maynor. Chicago Bulls? Not just Rose, but also Rip Hamilton. It’s not just the team’s success that is being compromised, but also players’ careers could very well be compromised. What if Rose has developed a chronic back injury that has been triggered by the fast paced schedule? Will we ever see his absolute true potential? Whilst this is speculation in many regards, this really has to be considered in great depth before we start thinking about any kind of shortened or compressed season.