Archive for the ‘ NBA Playoffs Blog ’ Category

Sunday in San Antonio, the Miami Heat came to town, enjoyed proper arena air conditioning, and edged the Spurs 98-96 to tie the 2014 NBA Finals 1-1. LeBron James shot 14-of-22 in the win for 35 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Enjoy these LeBron video highlights:

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat, who are down 1-0 to the Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals. Game 2 is Sunday night in San Antonio:

The last time the Miami Heat lost consecutive playoff games, Ray Allen played for the opposition, Chris Bosh played off the bench, and James Jones was the first reserve off that bench.

Since then, since that June 5, 2012 Eastern Conference finals loss to the Boston Celtics, every Heat playoff loss has been followed with a victory. Every one.

While the sting remains from Thursday’s 110-95 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of these best-of-seven NBA Finals, the Heat go into Sunday’s Game 2 at the AT&T Center having followed up each of their last 12 playoff losses with a victory. It is the longest such streak in the NBA since the Chicago Bulls had a similar 12-victory run that ended in 1992.

“I think this team, when we are faced with those situations, being in this so many times before, it brings out the best in us,” center Chris Bosh said before Saturday’s practice at the Spurs’ practice facility. “We’ve been in this position many times before, so we know how to handle it.”

Three times during last year’s Finals against the Spurs the Heat responded from losses with victories in winning their second consecutive championship, including such a response after losing their first road game of that series at the AT&T Center.

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on Thursday’s Finals Game 1, where the Spurs beat the Heat:

Mario Chalmers struggles in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Mario Chalmers said his ball-handling responsibilities — always less than the traditional point guard — have been reduced somewhat in these playoffs, to the point where he is “just trying to figure out where I fit in right now.”

Regardless, the Heat needs a more efficient, productive Chalmers than the one who was turnover- and foul-prone in Game 1 of the Finals.

“Everybody knew I was frustrated with the foul trouble I got into early,” Chalmers said Friday. “When I got back in the game, I was trying to press too much. I’ve got to be more patient in my pick and rolls, and try to find more gaps.”

Limited to 17 minutes by foul trouble, Chalmers committed five turnovers and finished with one assist and three points. Tony Parker, who was outscored by Chalmers in the final two games of last year’s Finals, thoroughly outplayed him Thursday, with 19 points and twice as many assists (eight) as turnovers.

The Spurs beat the Heat 110-95 Thursday to take a 1-0 NBA Finals lead. For seven minutes of great entertainment, enjoy the video highlights in this Game 1 “minimovie.”

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat-Spurs NBA Finals:

LeBron James definitely expects to play NBA Finals Game 2

The flair for the dramatic was back, even if it temporarily might have stopped the hearts of Miami Heat teammates still reeling from the impact of his Thursday departure.

“If I had to say today,” LeBron James told a packed press conference Friday at the San Antonio Spurs’ practice facility, “I would probably be out on Sunday. I probably won’t play.”

He paused. Some gasped. Then he smiled.

“No, I’ll be all right,” he continued. “I’ll be in uniform on Sunday. I should be 100 percent on Sunday.”

With treatment ongoing for the cramping that sidelined the All-Star forward for the decisive latter stages of the Heat’s 110-95 Thursday loss to the Spurs at the AT&T Center in Game 1 of the best-of-seven NBA Finals, James said extensive overnight hydration, round-the-clock therapy and a return to air-conditioned confines had him in a far better place than those sweltering and debilitation hours when he attempted to play through the air-conditioning malfunction at the Spurs’ arena.

Here are video highlights of the top plays from Spurs vs Heat NBA Finals Game 1. Played in San Antonio Thursday night, the Spurs won, 110-95

Tim Duncan made his first appearance in the NBA Finals in the 1998-99 season and is making is his sixth appearance in the championship round in the 2013-14 season, marking the second-longest span between Finals appearances in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the 1971 Finals with the Milwaukee Bucks and the 1988 Finals with the Los Angeles Lakers. Robert Parish won a title with the Boston Celtics in 1981, and was on the roster of the 1997 Chicago Bulls, but didn’t play in the 1997 Finals.

San Antonio is making its sixth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history, which is the eighth most in NBA history. The Spurs have amassed a 19-10 record (.655) in the Finals, the second-best winning percentage in NBA Finals history. Additionally, the Spurs are 11-3 (.786) at home in the NBA Finals and 8-7 (.533) on the road.

The Spurs have won seven consecutive home games by 15+ points, marking the longest such streak in NBA postseason history. The record was previously set by the 1985 Los Angeles Lakers when they recorded six straight such games. San Antonio owns a +17.4 point differential average in 10 home games this postseason, the most among playoff teams.

Miami has scored more points off turnovers than its opponent in 13 of its 15 games this postseason and has forced opponents into double-figure turnovers in all 15 games as the opposition has averaged 13.7 turnovers (206 total) over that span during the playoffs.

LeBron James is one assist shy of his 1,000th career postseason assist, and would become just the third player in NBA postseason history to total at least 4,000 points (4,278), 1,000 rebounds (1,293) and 1,000 assists (999), joining Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The Heat and Spurs have a combined seven NBA Finals MVP awards (LeBron James - 2012, 2013; Tony Parker - 2007; Dwyane Wade - 2006; Tim Duncan - 1999, 2003, 2005).

Eight players on Finals rosters boast NBA D-League experience: San Antonio’s Aron Baynes, Austin Daye, Damion James, Patty Mills, Danny Green and Cory Joseph; and Miami’s Chris Andersen and Justin Hamilton.

– Via NBA News

Some top 2014 NBA Finals storylines

RETURN TRIP: A Finals rematch is a rare treat. This will be the first time since 1997 and 1998 two teams will square off in consecutive years. Further adding to the anticipation, it’s the first time in 25 years that two teams played a seven-game Finals and repeated as conference champions the following season.

SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE: Six Finals appearances in 16 seasons and 15 consecutive 50+ win seasons have established the Spurs as the NBA’s model for long-term success. Is this the team’s last run for a championship? When you’re the Spurs, the answer to that question can never be yes.

COACHING UP: Only four coaches in the history of the NBA (Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and John Kundla) have won five or more titles. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich hopes to join this elite club in 2014. On the other sideline, Erik Spoelstra is aiming to become only the fourth coach (Auerbach, Kundla and Jackson) in NBA history to win three straight Finals.

DOING IT WITH DEPTH: The Spurs’ depth has been one of the largest reasons for their return to The Finals. San Antonio is the first team since the NBA/ABA merger (1976) to not have a single player average 30 minutes. The Spurs had nine players average at least 8.0 points this season — the first team to hold that distinction and make The Finals since the 1965-66 Celtics. San Antonio’s reserves finished the regular season with the highest scoring average in Spurs franchise history and in this season’s playoffs, the reserves have accounted for a league-high 42.2 points per game.

DIFFERENT PATH, SIMILAR RESULTS: The Spurs and Heat were built in different ways, with different types of players. After Tim Duncan, who was the top pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, the next highest Spurs draft pick is Kawhi Leonard (15th overall pick). Their roster boasts five second-rounders and one undrafted player. The Heat, on the other hand, features six top 10 picks on its star-studded roster.

– NBA News

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Heat backup guard Norris Cole:

Young Norris Cole living in NBA Finals with Heat

Norris Cole isn’t ready to assess his place in history, not at 25, not in just his third season in the league.

But he appreciates the uniqueness of his NBA reality, having now made it to the Finals in each of his first three seasons, with championships in each of his first two.

With this best-of-seven series against the San Antonio Spurs, the reserve point guard becomes the first player to appear in the NBA Finals in his first three seasons since Scott Williams did it with the Chicago Bulls from 1991 to 1993.

Beyond being the first player to do that in more than two decades, Cole entered these Finals having appeared in 55 playoff games, the fourth highest total over a player’s first three seasons.

Spurs get their Heat Finals rematch

Spurs get their Heat Finals rematch

Starting Thursday, the Spurs get a rematch in the NBA Finals against the only team to ever beat them in a championship series. San Antonio will be holding home-court advantage, so if another Game 7 awaits, the Spurs will have the decided edge this time around. If that wasn’t enough, the Spurs even got basically five full days between games to get healthy and prepare.

It is, without question, everything the Spurs could have wanted.

“We know what we’re going against,” said Spurs guard Tony Parker, who added that he has great respect for what the Heat have done in this four-year run. “It’s a great challenge.”

There are so many things that would seem like a distinct San Antonio advantage right now.

First, while everyone’s better at home, the Spurs dominate in San Antonio, winning 103 times in their last 123 games there. Over the past four seasons, the Spurs are also 25-5 when having three or more days between games.

– Associated Press

Enjoy video highlights of some of the hottest plays of the 2014 NBA Conference Finals, where the Spurs wound up eliminating the Thunder, while the Heat eliminated the Pacers:

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on veteran Spurs star Tim Duncan, who sure seems ready for an NBA Finals rematch with the Heat:

The normally bland Duncan offered some surprising thoughts on facing the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for a second straight year. The best-of-7 series opens Thursday in San Antonio.

“We’re back here now and we want to get it done this time,” Duncan said.

The Spurs advanced after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games. Last year they lost in seven games to the Heat despite holding a 3-2 lead in the series. The Heat won the last two at AmericanAirlines Arena, but this time the Spurs hold homecourt advantage.

“We were ready last year, too,” Duncan said. “People keep talking about it like we weren’t close to winning it. We were ready last year, and we just couldn’t get over that hump. We’re happy to be back here this year, we’re happy to have another opportunity at it.”

Duncan said the Spurs still have a “bad taste” in their mouths after last year. This season began with coach Gregg Popovich addressing the team about how close they were.

Heat must win on road in NBA Finals

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the upcoming NBA Finals series between the Heat and Spurs:

The season began with the Miami Heat hearing about how their biggest rival in the Eastern Conference wanted to earn homecourt.

Now, the Heat have to listen of how their latest challenge embraces being the home team.

For the Heat to win a third straight NBA title, they will have to defeat the San Antonio Spurs as the visiting team.

“Once the time came when the playoffs started, we knew whoever we were going to play there was a chance that we were going to have to win on the road,” guard Ray Allen said.

Last year homecourt proved valuable in the Heat defeating the Spurs in the Finals. They trailed 3-2 when the series returned to Miami. The Heat then won the last two games to capture a second consecutive championship.

Spurs beat Thunder in OT, advance to NBA Finals

San Antonio fought off Father Time, the league MVP and an injury to its best player to return to the NBA Finals.

The Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 in overtime Saturday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals to set up a rematch with the Miami Heat.

San Antonio will host Game 1 on Thursday night and will try to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss. San Antonio led Miami 3-2 before losing Game 6 in overtime, then dropping Game 7…

San Antonio pulled this one out despite All-Star point guard Tony Parker missing the entire second half and overtime with left ankle soreness. Popovich said Parker had been struggling with the ankle since Game 4 of the series. The Spurs overcame it the way they have for more than a decade — with teamwork, passing and great performances by role players…

Russell Westbrook had 34 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals, and MVP Kevin Durant added 31 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder. But Oklahoma City committed 20 turnovers that led to 33 points for the Spurs. Westbrook and Durant each had seven turnovers.

– Associated Press

Here are video highlights of the top plays from Spurs vs Thunder Western Conference Finals Game 6. The Spurs won 112-107 in overtime to advance to the 2014 NBA Finals, where they will face the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year’s matchup.

The Spurs won Game 5 of their Western Conference Finals series against the Thunder, 117-89 Thursday. Here are video highlights of some of the game’s best plays:

Thursday in San Antonio the Spurs pounded the Oklahoma City Thunder 117-89 to take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference Finals series. In the win, Tim Duncan shot 8-of-13 for 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Manu Ginobili nailed 7 of 9 shots for 19 points and six assists. Enjoy these Duncan and Ginobili-centered video highlights:

Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers have each been fined by the NBA in separate incidents for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Stephenson has been fined $10,000 for his second violation of the 2014 NBA Playoffs which occurred with 8:23 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Pacers’ 93-90 win over the Miami Heat last night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Hibbert has been fined $5,000 for his first violation which occurred last night with 5:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.

To view the plays click on the following links:  Stephenson flop, and Hibbert flop.

Tiago Splitter fined for flopping

San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

The incident occurred with 7:30 remaining in the second quarter of Spurs’ 105-92 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

To view the play click on this link.

Paul George fined for public criticism of NBA referees

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

George made his comments in the postgame press conference following the Pacers’ 102-90 loss to the Miami Heat on May 26, at AmericanAirlines Arena.

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