Archive for June 17th, 2012

lebron james

Halfway to a title, LeBron James shows no sign of letting this one get away.

James had 29 points and 14 rebounds, and the Miami Heat took a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals with a 91-85 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

Dwyane Wade had 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Heat, who were in this same position through three games last year, then didn’t win again against the Dallas Mavericks.

James’ poor performance was part of the problem then, but he seems on top of his game this time. His 3-pointer sent the Heat to the fourth quarter with the lead, and he scored five straight Miami points when the Heat were building just enough cushion to hold off another late flurry by the Thunder.

Game 4 is Tuesday night.

Kevin Durant had 25 points for the Thunder, but picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter and had to go to the bench when they had seemed to have control of the game. Russell Westbrook finished with 19 points.

The Heat survived their own fourth-quarter sloppiness by getting enough big plays from their Big Three…

Chris Bosh had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who can win a second title by winning the next two games at home…

Oklahoma City started to take control with a 14-2 run early in the third. Durant had the first four points, Westbrook fooled the Heat with a fake behind the back pass before in for a layup, then Durant leaped over James for a follow dunk before nailing a jumper for a 60-51 lead with 6:55 left in the period.

But it was barely a minute later when he drew his fourth foul, though he appeared to make little or no contract on Wade’s baseline drive, and had to go to the bench.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

kendrick perkins

Raise your hand if you still believe Kendrick Perkins (10 points, 12 rebounds in Game 3) has no place in this series. Perk was only the Thunder’s most effective player with the ball in his hands. Granted, that says something about what else was going on, but still.

Perk was good in Game 3. He belongs, OK? So does the Thunder.

But can OKC win it all? Its 91-85 loss to the Heat Sunday night stirred some doubt, had to. And they wouldn’t be human if the men in Thunder uniforms didn’t at least wonder themselves.

“We put ourselves in position to win,” Durant said several times in the postgame, without a ton of conviction.

For the first time in this exhilarating four-year run from 23 wins to the NBA Finals, we saw signs that The Moment may actually be bigger than the Thunder. We saw it in its play, and in the players’ eyes.

– Reported by Mike Sherman of the Oklahoman

Games 3, 4 and 5 of the NBA Finals will be played at American Airlines Arena in Miami, a town that lures visitors to its nightlife.

During the 2006 Finals between Dallas and Miami, Mavericks coach Avery Johnson ordered his players to switch hotels after the Heat won Games 3 and 4 to tie the series.

Johnson said his players had developed a “vacation mentality” and moved them 25 miles north to Fort Lauderdale, away from family and friends who had been sharing the previous hotel. Miami went on to win four straight and claim the series 4-2.

In last year’s Finals against the Heat, which the Mavs won 4-2, Dallas players and coaches were booked into one hotel while family and friends stayed in neighboring hotels.

Asked if he was concerned about his players engaging in the Miami nightlife, Thunder coach Scott Brooks deadpanned, “What about the coaches?” before playfully revealing his wife was on the trip.

“I’ve never had any issues with our guys playing on the road,” Brooks said, not kidding. “They’ve always been focused. Miami is a great city, there’s no question. It’s a great environment, but we’re here to play basketball. There’s only 10 days, two weeks left of the season, then there’s plenty of time to vacation.”

– Reported by John Rohde of the Oklahoman

Tim Donaghy rose to the top of his profession, earning $250,000 a year as an NBA referee and becoming “a courtside witness to the greatness of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal.”

In secret, he also rose in the world of illegal gambling by passing “inside information to wiseguys who were making millions of dollars on my picks and lining the pockets of Mafia heavyweights.”

But in a St. Petersburg courtroom on Tuesday, a world away from the first game of the NBA finals, Donaghy was essentially fighting for scraps.

After chronicling his downfall in a book — which includes the quotations above — Donaghy is now suing his Largo publisher, claiming she failed to turn over any of the estimated $200,000 in sales revenue from the book, Personal Foul.

– Reported by Curtis Krueger of the Tampa Bay Times

deron williams

The Nets may not have a full team yet, but MarShon Brooks is working hard on improving his game this offseason.

While both Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace are expected to test the free-agent market this summer, Brooks is prepping for his second season with the Nets whether or not Williams and Wallace make the move to Brooklyn.

“We don’t really have a team right now,” Brooks told The Post. “I’m just working as hard as I possibly can to be ready for whatever role they give me. I’ve been doing a lot of lifting, trying to get stronger. I think that will help me with my defense, my long range shot.”

Brooks admitted he doesn’t have any inkling what the two All-Star free agents will do when the free-agent signing period begins July 1.

“I haven’t talked to Gerald in a while, but [Deron Williams] he’s still around lifting and things like that at the practice facility,” Brooks said at a Sprint NBA Nation event at South Street Seaport. “[Deron] is a tough guy to read. I really can’t control [whether or not they come back], that’s between them, their family and their agent.”

– Reported by Anthony Sulla-Heffinger of the New York Post

The Memphis Grizzlies’ sale to Robert J. Pera, announced this past week, is already in serious trouble, according to league sources. Pera owns Ubiquiti Networks, a Silicon Valley communications technology company. When its stock bottomed out in the last two weeks, his net worth plummeted from $1 billion to $200 million, according to league insiders who say that unless he has some wealthy partners lined up to help him finance the sale, it will likely fall through. In that case, the Grizzlies will continue to be owned by Michael Heisley. Pera agreed to buy the team for $350 million, a figure that raised many eyebrows around the league.

– Reported by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News

UPDATE: SALE STILL ON TRACK

The New York Daily News reported Sunday that Pera, a communications technology magnate, has already created great skepticism because of his finances. Citing league insiders, the newspaper claimed Pera’s net worth is $200 million and not enough to complete the transaction unless he has “some wealthy partners” in line to help.

Not only is Pera alone in his bid to buy the Griz to date but he remains committed to join the NBA despite his company’s loss in momentum, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

Once estimated at being worth $1.5 billion by Forbes magazine, Pera is now said to be worth more than $800 million in large part because of shares in his company, Ubiquiti Networks.

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal 

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is definitely a scoring point guard. His best attribute is the ability to produce points, ahead of his ability to produce for others. That’s how Russell is. He’s an awesome player, even if he occasionally takes a few shots that maybe could have instead gone to Kevin Durant or another teammate. He’s not a “true” point guard. But he still makes his team much better — most of the time.

With that said, check out this very amusing gif of Durant and Westbrook:

See more funny NBA GIFs.

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