Archive for June 21st, 2012

Miami Heat win 2012 NBA championship

lebron james

The decision is final: LeBron James made the right call coming to Miami.

Finally an NBA champion, it’s all worth it now.

James had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists, and got the kind of help that was worth leaving home for, leading the Heat in a 121-106 rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night to win the NBA Finals in five games.

Best player in the game, best team in the league.

James has found it all since taking his talents to South Beach.

”It means everything,” James said moments after the win. ”I made a difficult decision to leave Cleveland but I understood what my future was about … I knew we had a bright future (in Miami). This is a dream come true for me. This is definitely when it pays off.”

He left the game along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for good with 3:01 remaining for a round of hugs and the start for a celebration he’s been waiting for since arriving in the NBA out of high school as the No. 1 pick of the 2003 draft.

James hopped up and down in the final minutes, shared a long hug with opponent Kevin Durant, and watched the confetti rain down from the rafters.

The Heat took control in the second quarter, briefly lost it and blew it open again in the third behind their role players, James content to pass to wide-open 3-point shooters while the Thunder focused all their attention on him.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

As the Miami Heat’s lead skyrocketed Thursday night from five just after halftime to an insurmountable 24 by the end of the third quarter, their fans outside the AmericanAirlines Arena decided it was time to celebrate the team’s second NBA championship in six years.

The thousands gathered in bars, restaurants and a park near the arena screamed in joy late Thursday as the Heat dropped one three-point shot after another, using the fourth quarter to get an early start on their party as they watched their team coast to a 121-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat won the series 4-1.

The promise made to South Florida fans 23 months earlier when LeBron James and Chris Bosh added their talents to Dwyane Wade’s had arrived.

– Reported by David Fischer of the Associated Press

It was Miami’s second NBA title following a 2006 triumph and the first for three-times league Most Valuable Player James, who finally realized his dream of winning a championship ring in his third trip to an NBA Finals.

Three-times NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant led the young Thunder team with 32 points with Russell Westbrook and James Harden adding 19 points for the losers.

– Reported by Larry Fine of Reuters

Favorites coming into the series, the Thunder fell in Game 5 of the finals Thursday night, as Miami finished off its run to a championship by beating the Thunder 121-106. Oklahoma City’s 11-point win in Game 1 is long forgotten and irrelevant now, considering that for the first time in more than three years, the Thunder have lost four straight games.

At the absolute worst time, on the absolute biggest stage, no less.

”When you play against the best, you learn,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

Kevin Durant had 32 points and 11 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook finished with 19 points for the Thunder, though Westbrook’s night - one game removed from a 20-for-32 performance from the field - came on a night where he shot 4 for 20. They came out with 4:44 left, the outcome long decided, the Heat fans going delirious.

James Harden scored 19 points and Derek Fisher added 11 for the Thunder.

Down 10 at the half, the Thunder cut the deficit in half by the time the third quarter was a minute old. It was the last gasp of the season - Miami put the game, and the title, away with a 34-13 burst that pushed the lead to 93-67 on a three-point play by Dwyane Wade with 1:23 left in that pivotal quarter.

Mike Miller connected on his sixth 3-pointer of the night, and Miami’s 13th, on the first possession of the fourth quarter. Miller would soon add another, for good measure.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press 

derrick rose

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is “ahead of schedule” in the rehabilitation process on his torn left ACL, according to Dr. Brian Cole, who performed surgery on the former MVP last month.

ESPNChicago.com reported Tuesday that Rose traveled to Alabama to consult with famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews. But Cole, the head team physician for the Bulls, noted that it was actually a therapist in Andrews’ office with whom Rose is working. Cole said the trip to Alabama had been scheduled before Rose’s surgery. Andrews was not in the office nor will he meet with the 23-year-old All-Star, Cole said.

“Derrick is ahead of schedule,” Cole said in a phone conversation Wednesday night.

– Reported by Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago

Here’s what Charles Barkley said on 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C.

“If you’re successful, a lot of people aren’t going to like you. That’s just the way it is. I always used to use this analogy: Everybody hates the homecoming queen because she’s pretty. All the ugly girls hate the homecoming queen. And all the dumb kids hate the smart kids. That’s just the way it is. LeBron James, first of all he has to take some responsibility [for] the way he did the stuff last year leaving Cleveland, the decision, coming on stage talking about not five, not six, seven championships. So he deserves some blame, but like I say, he’s a great kid, he’s a great, great player. … If you look at his résumé right now, the only thing he’s missing is a championship, and he’s gonna get that done [Thursday]. And no telling how many championships they’re going to win. … I wish he had stayed in Cleveland, because those fans in Cleveland, man, they’re fantastic. They don’t even have real fans here in Miami, they’re front-runners.“

– Reported by Glenn Moore of Cleveland.com

The Golden State Warriors have named Chip Bowers as the team’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), it was announced today.  Bowers, who will begin his new duties in mid-July, will oversee all marketing and corporate partnership sales & services efforts for the organization, while reporting to President & Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts.  Additionally, his responsibilities will include management of the team’s game operations and various digital media projects.

“I am extremely honored to be joining the Warriors organization,” said Bowers.  “Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have a vision for the Warriors organization that is very compelling and have demonstrated their commitment to building a first-class executive team. The organization is well-positioned to do great things and I am humbled to now be part of what is sure to be an exciting period in team history.”

Bowers joins the Warriors from the Orlando Magic, where he worked the last four years and served this past season as the team’s senior vice president of corporate partnerships & marketing.  With the Magic, Bowers oversaw the marketing, corporate partnerships sales and client services process for the organization, while orchestrating the sale of naming rights and all founding partnerships associated with the Amway Center – the Magic’s new arena that was named 2012 Facility of the Year by the Sports Business Journal.  Under his direction, the Magic’s corporate partnership team also won the inaugural Sponsorship Activation Award at the NBA Sponsorship Meetings in 2012.  He originally joined the Magic in June of 2008 as vice president of corporate partnerships.

“We’re ecstatic that Chip is joining our executive staff as we move into this next phase of Warriors basketball,” said Welts.  “Chip has established himself as an outstanding, creative and respected NBA executive who has achieved success in each role he has served with various teams, including the Orlando Magic, where he provided the franchise with leadership and vision as they made the recent transition into a new state-of-the-art arena.  We will benefit from that experience as we move forward.  He’s a terrific addition to our management team as we continue our quest to build a World Class organization for both now and the future.”

Prior to joining the Magic, Bowers spent eight seasons in various roles within the business development department for the Seattle SuperSonics organization. In May of 2007, Bowers was promoted to vice president of business development, where he oversaw the corporate partnership development, revenue generation and client services for both the Sonics and Seattle Storm of the WNBA.

A graduate of Appalachian State University, Bowers began his career in professional sports with the San Diego Padres, where, as a senior sales executive, he assisted in fiscally rejuvenating previously unused revenue streams by selling newly developed stadium signage, website advertising and multi-dimensional marketing programs.

lebron james

Pat Riley has held the title of team president and head coach with the Miami Heatorganization.

But air-conditioning repair guy? That’s a new one.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra joked Riley was tinkering with the air conditioning at AmericanAirlines Arena to prevent LeBron James from experiencing leg cramps in Thursday’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The Heat have a chance to close out the Oklahoma City Thunder, holding a 3-1 lead in the series.

Spoelstra said the arena being abnormally warm Tuesday for Game 4 may have caused James to cramp during the fourth quarter. They sidelined James for the final 55 seconds of the Heat’s 104-98 victory.

“Pat is Mr. Trap Door,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve been addressing a few things [in the arena] the last 24 hours.”

– Reported by Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

kendrick perkins

Kendrick Perkins said Wednesday he wasn’t criticizing Thunder coach Scott Brooks after Game 4 when he questioned Brooks’ rotation of players.

“I’ll roll with Coach Brooks all day, so it wasn’t nothing directed at him,” Perkins said the day after Oklahoma City’s 104-98 loss gave the Heat a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals. “It wasn’t nothing to that nature.”

The Thunder built a 17-point first quarter lead before squandering it during a five-minute stretch.

“I just don’t understand why we start out the first quarter the way we did, with the lineup that we had, and all of a sudden we change and adjust to what they had going on,” Perkins said after Game 4. “So they won the last three quarters, and that’s what happened.”

– Reported by Michael Sherman of the Oklahoman

steve nash

One confidant of Steve Nash doubts the star point guard will truly give the Knicks any consideration even if they have their $5 millon mid-level exception, despite his remarks at a promotional appearance with Walt Frazier yesterday.

Frazier joked at the Samsung event, “We need you to come to New York.’’

When asked later, Nash told ESPN, “The Knicks are a great franchise and I live in New York City [in the summer], so I’d definitely consider them if they were interested.”

The confidant said Nash doesn’t really believe the Knicks are close enough to a title to take less money and didn’t like how former coach Mike D’Antoni, his buddy from Phoenix, was treated. Nash will get offers for more than $5 million, especially from Phoenix.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

The Boston Celtics, the Maine Red Claws, and the NBA Development League today announced that the Celtics and Red Claws have entered into a single affiliation partnership beginning with the 2012-13 NBA D-League season.  Boston will be Maine’s sole NBA affiliate and will have full control over the team’s basketball operations.

This partnership, also referred to as the “hybrid affiliation,” is the fifth of its kind in the NBA D-League.  It allows for NBA teams to secure control of and cover the expenses related to the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team while partnering with existing local ownership, which maintains responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations.

The Celtics join the Houston Rockets with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Brooklyn Nets with the Springfield Armor, the New York Knicks with the Erie BayHawks and the Portland Trail Blazers with the Idaho Stampede as NBA teams with “hybrid affiliations.”

Six other NBA teams are singly affiliated with their NBA D-League affiliates.  The Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs fully own and operate the Canton Charge, Dakota Wizards, L.A. D-Fenders, Tulsa 66ers and Austin Toros, respectively, while the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Legends are one-to-one affiliates.

“The newly-enhanced relationship between the Celtics and Red Claws is an exciting development for both franchises,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed.

The Red Claws and Celtics have been affiliated since the 2009-10 season, Maine’s first in the NBA D-League, sharing the affiliation with the Charlotte Bobcats and the Philadephia 76ers during the 2011-12 season.  New affiliates for the Bobcats and 76ers will be announced at a later date.

“We are excited to formalize an already great relationship we have established with Maine. Not only is it a perfect fit geographically, but the people of Maine are some of our most loyal Celtic fans, and Bill Ryan Jr. and the Red Claws staff have been great to work with,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.  ”What a great opportunity for our young players to get game reps and develop their skills, while still maintaining the continuity and direction of our organization.”

Boston’s partnership with Maine follows the NBA D-League’s 11th and most successful season, where records were set with 60 GATORADE Call-Ups and 67 assignments, while 27 percent of players on 2011-12 NBA end-of-season rosters spent time in the NBA D-League. For the third consecutive year, the NBA D-League saw more than one million fans attend games across its 16 cities.

“The Maine Red Claws have enjoyed a strong three-year partnership with the Boston Celtics, dating back to the team’s inaugural season of 2009-10, and today we enter into a new era of that relationship,” said Maine Red Claws Team Chairman Bill Ryan, Jr. “The further strengthening of this partnership can only benefit both organizations, and we look forward to seeing Celtics talent come through Maine for years to come.”

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