Archive for May 28th, 2012

lebron james

A big early Miami lead was wasted. Once the Heat took control again, they simply ran away from the Boston Celtics.

And the NBA finals are now three wins away for LeBron James and the Heat.

James scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Heat beat the Celtics 93-79 on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Shane Battier, playing in the conference finals for the first time, scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds for the Heat, who wasted an early 11-point first-half lead before running away to break a halftime tie. Miami outrebounded the Celtics 48-33, and blocked 11 Boston shots…

kevin garnett

Kevin Garnett scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Boston, which got 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists from Rajon Rondo and 12 points from Paul Pierce. Ray Allen shot just 1 for 7 from the floor for Boston, which was outscored by 10 in the first quarter and 11 in the third…

Boston scored 35 in the second quarter, erasing what was an 11-point deficit early in the period by scoring 27 points in the final 8:46 of the half to pull into a 46-all tie. Rondo, Garnett and Pierce combined to score 23 points in the quarter, looking absolutely vintage, near-perfect offensive execution getting to Miami time and time again. And the Celtics’ comeback happened even while they got hit with three technical fouls in the second quarter, plus Allen missing four first-half free throws - matching his career-worst for an entire game.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Rebounds continued to be a problem for the Celtics, who lost that battle, 48-33, in Game 1. The Heat forced the Celtics to work for every possession, limiting Boston to 40 percent shooting. There was a glimpse of hope — the Celtics wrapped two dismal offensive quarters around a brilliant second quarter — but the burst was short-lived. In a microcosm of their inconsistent season, the Celtics scored 11 points in the first quarter, 35 in the second, and 15 points in the third. By that time, the Celtics were down 11 points and were desperately trying to claw back.

LeBron James outscored the Celtics all by himself in the first quarter, 13-11. The 11 points the Celtics scored in the first quarter was a team low this postseason, and it wasn’t even close. Their previous low was 17 vs. Atlanta on May 4. Rondo was 0 for 3 with 2 assists and 4 turnovers in the first.

– Reported by Gary Dzen of Boston.com

dwyane wade

LeBron James scored 32 points, Dwyane Wade finished with a relatively modest 22, and the Celtics finished at one of their most offensively-challenged rates (39.5 percent) of the playoffs.

Beyond Kevin Garnett’s 23-point, 9-for-16 performance and a 16-point, nine-rebound, seven-assist finish by Rajon Rondo, no Celtic found a steady rhythm.

To wit, for the first time in his career, Ray Allen (3-for-7 from the line, 1-for-7 from the floor) missed four free throws in a single playoff game.

It was also game that didn’t do much for relations between the Celtics and the brotherhood of NBA officials. Allen, Doc Rivers, Garnett (delay of game) and Rondo were all T’d up, with referees Dan Crawford and Ed Malloy contributing two whistles each.

James had 27 points by the end of the third quarter, including six points in a tough 10-1 run in the last 4:18, staking Miami to a 72-61 lead.

– Reported by Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald

The Heat’s dynamic duo, which has now dominated four straight playoff games, was bolstered by a combined 19 points from starters Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers. Battier finished with 10 points, shooting 4 of 11 from the field and 2 of 9 from three-point range while playing superb defensively.

ray allen

Meanwhile, the Celtics seemed more concerned about the officiating than anything else. Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and coach Doc Rivers each received technical fouls before the fourth quarter for arguing with refs. In all, the Celtics were hit with five technicals.

“I don’t how long I’ve been in the league but that would rank as the worst one,” Rivers said of his technical after the game. “I would have liked to earn it.”

The Heat shot 20 percent from three-point range but Mike Miller was 2 of 2 from behind the arc and Battier added two three-pointers of his own on nine attempts. James Jones, who played 10 minutes off the bench, also had a three-pointer.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

This is absolutely pathetic. In game 1 of the Western Conference Finals series between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, Manu Ginobili and James Harden insult the game of basketball by unleashing a double flop.

Watch the acting:

ray allen

The Celtics honestly don’t know what to expect from Ray Allen on a game-by-game basis, but they’re not ready to make a change. Asked if he considered starting Mickael Pietrus ahead of Allen, coach Doc Rivers said, “No. We’re going to stay the way we are.”

Still, there is concern over Allen who was challenged defensively against the 76ers and will be facing a far-greater problem in guarding Dwyane Wade who scored 99 points in Miami’s final three games against the Pacers.

“It’s tough. Really, you don’t know,” Rivers said. “We don’t know game to game with him. We don’t know how he’s feeling, then we don’t know how he’s going to deal with it during the game. The way we coached him so far, is with the eye that’s how we have to coach him. We have to watch him. If we feel like he’s moving enough to help us, we keep him on the floor. If he’s not moving enough, then we take him off the floor.

“Then the second decision is, do we put him back on the floor. It’s every game — in Game 7, the argument our staff was having. ‘Take him off, take him out, bring him in.’ Honestly, it’s just luck sometimes. We left him in and he made two 3’s. But the hook was close, I can tell you that.”

– Reported by Paul Flannery of WEEI

Spurs strike first against Thunder

Manu Ginobili scored 26 points and the Spurs won their 19th in a row — tying the NBA record for longest winning streak kept alive in the playoffs — by rallying in the fourth quarter on the orders of their furious coach to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 in Game 1 on Sunday night.

It was a tantalizing near-upset for the young Thunder, who came as close as anybody to beating the Spurs for the first time in 46 days. But a nine-point lead didn’t last after the famously mercurial 63-year-old Popovich — the NBA’s Coach of the Year — huddled his lagging team together in the fourth and told them to “get nasty.”

“I said that?” Popovich said afterward.

A nationally television audience heard it.

“The heat of the game, stuff comes up,” Popovich said. “So I talked to them about they’ve got to get a little bit uglier, get a little more nasty, play with more fiber and take it to these guys. Meaning you have to drive it, you have to shoot it.”

And when they did, the Thunder couldn’t keep up.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points. Russell Westbrook had 17, and insisted he was OK after taking a spill that was nasty in its own right — face first, bracing his fall with his hands and sitting under the basket for more than a minute while the entire Thunder bench walked across the court to check on their All-Star point guard.

– Reported by Paul J. Weber of the Associated Press

Bruce Bowen says diet helped Tim Duncan

tim duncan

Former Spur Bruce Bowen said that 2o pounds that Tim Duncan has lost since the end of last season has been a major reason for his comeback season this year.

Bowen appeared Sunday morning on ESPN’s Sports Center. He said that Duncan had a revelation that led to changes in his conditioning after the first-round elimination to Memphis last season.

“He lost a lot of weight,” Bowen said. “In fact, when we would go out to eat, Tim would split the bill and we had a big plethora of food out of us. But now, he’s starting to eat wheat bread and chicken only, no mayonaise, no mustard, none of that.”

Bowen said the weight loss has helped Duncan extend his career.

– Reported by Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News

The Charlotte Bobcats are in the process of setting up an interview with Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, perhaps as soon as next week. They also plan to meet with Los Angeles Lakers assistant Quin Snyder in Chicago before the NBA pre-draft camp the first week in June, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard.

The Bobcats have reportedly already interviewed Jerry Sloan, Patrick Ewing, Nate McMillan, Dave Joerger, Mike Malone, Nate Tibbetts, Mike Dunlap and Stephen Silas — son of departed coach Paul Silas.

The Bobcats decided not to renew Paul Silas’ contract after the team finished 7-59 this season for the worst winning percentage in league history (.106).

– Reported by ESPN.com, with information from the Associated Press

Young Sixers must learn from Game 7 loss

jrue holiday

Often, the most important lessons are the toughest to take. Just ask Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.

Holiday and Turner, the Sixers’ youthful backcourt teammates and future leaders of the 76ers, received an up close and personal education on big-time basketball Saturday night in Game 7 at the Garden. It was there, during the Sixers’ season-ending, 10-point loss to the Celtics, where the young guards watched as Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen took them to school.

No, the Celtics’ veterans didn’t embarrass the Sixers with an array of highlight-reel buckets or anything like that. Instead it was a lesson of perseverance, more surgical than anything. Better yet, the young Sixers guards got to see how superstars act when it’s all on the line.

And don’t think for a minute that they didn’t pick up on it.

Rondo seemed to make the biggest impression on Holiday. Still just 21-years old and playing in his third NBA season, Holiday talked about wanting to develop into an All-Star or Olympian as his career progresses. In fact, during training camp last December, Holiday said he was planning on attending the Olympics in London this July where he hopes to get swept up in the excitement. Perhaps watching the Olympics in person could help spark the motivation to become an Olympian in 2016.

– Reported by John Finger of CSN Philly

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