Archive for June 9th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Finals, featuring Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs LeBron James and the Miami Heat, begins Tuesday, June 12 in OKC.

Here is the full 2012 NBA Finals schedule:

Game 1 - Tue June 12 Miami at Oklahoma City 9:00PM ET

Game 2 - Thu June 14 Miami at Oklahoma City 9:00PM ET

Game 3 - Sun June 17 Oklahoma City at Miami 8:00PM ET

Game 4 - Tue June 19 Oklahoma City at Miami 9:00PM ET

Game 5 * Thu June 21 Oklahoma City at Miami 9:00PM ET

Game 6 * Sun June 24 Miami at Oklahoma City 8:00PM ET

Game 7 * Tue June 26 Miami at Oklahoma City 9:00PM ET

*If necessary NBA Finals games will be on ABC television

InsideHoops.com has you covered! Hit our site every single day during the finals, plus daily all off-season.

LeBron James has often said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win.

So it comes as no surprise he said after the morning shootaround he was willing to play 48 minutes against the Boston Celtics Saturday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The winner advances to meet Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals, which begin Tuesday.

“I prepared for it in Game 6 to play the whole game,” James said. “[Coach Erik Spoelstra] only gave me a couple minutes there. I’m focusing on not coming out.”

James is coming off a 45-point effort in Game 6 that tied the series at 3. He played 44 straight minutes before leaving when the game was already decided. Spoelstra tried to substitute James in the third quarter, but he waved it off.

– Reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Kevin Durant aims to keep improving

”There’s always another level you can go to. In basketball, you always can be better at something, I think,” Durant said Saturday after Oklahoma City’s practice.

”I haven’t seen a guy that totally dominates the game in every aspect. He can’t make every shot, he can’t get every rebound, he can’t get every assist, so I think you can get better. That’s the mindset I take.”

Durant has gotten his fair share in each of those categories, particularly this season. Durant became the seventh player in league history to win three straight scoring titles, averaging 28 points per game, and set career highs in shooting percentage, 3-point shooting, rebounding, assists and blocks.

And yet he’s still driven to want more.

”I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied,” Durant said. ”I’m happy that I progressed a little bit. I have a long ways to go and I think that if I continue to just keep getting better at the mental part of the game - watching film and knowing where the defense is going to play, knowing where my teammates are going to be - then I can get better.

”I’ve just got to keep improving.”

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

The intrigue here at the NBA pre-draft combine involved Syracuse guard Dion Waiters essentially going underground once he completed the weights-and-measures process.

Waiters, a 6-4 combo guard with a knack for making pressure jump shots, suddenly cancelled workouts and interviews, setting off speculation he’s been made a promise by a team with a lottery pick.

Toronto Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo (8th pick) confirmed as much to the Toronto Star, saying, “His agent has told me there’s a promise to another team.”

Certainly everyone has the right to decide what’s in his best interest, but it’s curious that a player seemingly outside the top five wouldn’t want as much exposure as possible.

– Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

Asked if he might be a draft sleeper, Jared Sullinger’s face broke into a sly smile. If the Ohio State forward was prepared for anything during the NBA draft combine, it was this question.

“I could be,” Sullinger said. “A lot of people have been sleeping on me, and it’s kind of fun. All my life I’ve kind of been known as the underdog.

“People said I wasn’t going to be able to play at the college level, and I did. Some people said I wasn’t going to be able to play at the high school level; some people said I was too overweight to play at the middle school level. I’m used to it.”

Doubts might recede now that Sullinger appears to measure up. He officially stood 6-foot-9 in shoes, and his wingspan of 7-1 1/4 and his standing reach of 8-11 were comparable to the centers in the combine pool. The latter number was just an inch shy of presumptive No. 1 pick Anthony Davis’ reach.

– Reported by Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune

Royce White handling his anxiety issue

Royce White knows he has an anxiety issue. He’s fully aware that these feelings have taken him from a top-10 prospect to a late first-rounder and are trying to take hold of his body every time he faces a situation outside of his control.

Still, the Iowa State forward spent time at the NBA combine addressing his fellow prospects. He knows what he deals with and can’t imagine how other prospects are prepared to go through similar issues on their first job interviews.

“I believe that having anxiety is the same as having cancer or heart disease,” White said. “It’s not a character issue. If you talk about character, it’s a whole different ballgame. I’m ready to openly talk about all of those associations, and I feel for those who aren’t.”

Interviews are the most important part of the combine. The top prospects don’t participate in on-court drills, like a top-notch high school student testing out of college courses.

– Reported by Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle

Jared Sullinger tired of the critics

Ever since middle school, Jared Sullinger has heard the same criticisms about his game: Too fat, too slow, too short, can’t jump, no foot speed and on and on and on. Now that he’s hearing all about it again at the NBA combine, Sullinger has had enough.

“Everybody is overanalyzing my game,” he said. “I’m always the bad guy in every gym. Everybody says I can’t do this or that, everybody points out all the negative things I do. There’s a lot of positives I think I do, but that’s not for me to discuss.”

Sullinger met Thursday night with the Cavaliers, who brought General Manager Chris Grant, assistant GMs Michael Blackstone and David Griffin, scouting director Trent Redden, pro player personnel director Wes Wilcox and recent front-office addition Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Chicago for the combine. He also met with representatives from the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks. Sullinger said he wasn’t sure where he was headed for workouts or who was on the list, but he is sure he’ll succeed in the NBA despite all the criticisms. He is projected to go anywhere from seventh to the middle of the first round, which is lower than he would have gone last season in a draft that wasn’t nearly as deep.

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

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