Best player in the game. Best team in the league. Now NBA champion,
too. LeBron James is finally savoring it all since taking his talents
to South Beach. ''Happiest day of my life,'' he said. James had 26
points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists, leading the Heat in a 121-106 rout
of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night to win the NBA Finals in five games.
All that was left was a celebration nine years in the making - and two
years after his acrimonious parting from the Cavaliers. ''It means
everything,'' James said moments before being named the playoffs MVP to
go along with his regular-season award. ''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.'' Read more here.
June 21, 2012
Down 3-1 to Heat, Thunder vow to keep fighting
3-1 in the NBA Finals, history says the Oklahoma City Thunder aren't
coming back. Nobody has ever rallied from that deficit in the finals.
Then again, few have erased a 2-0 deficit in any playoff series, and
the Thunder did that just one round ago when they charged past the San
Antonio Spurs. So don't write off the Thunder just yet. ''We didn't get
here just to make it here and say we made it to the finals. We want to
come in here and we want to try to get a title,'' Kevin Durant said
Wednesday. ''It's all about, keep competing until that last buzzer
sounds and that's what we're going to do. That's the type of city we
play for, a city that never gives up. That's the type of team we are.''
Read more here.
June 18, 2012
James scores 29, Heat rally past Thunder 91-85
Miami Heat have been here before, two wins from an NBA title. The
difference now? LeBron James isn't letting his head get in the way of
his talent. James had 29 points and 14 rebounds, and the Heat took a
2-1 series lead with a 91-85 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on
Sunday night. Miami also won Game 3 of the finals last year, but that
was its last victory as the Dallas Mavericks stormed to the title. It
was a painful failure for James, who looks determined to prevent a
similar collapse. ''He had a game where he struggled and he kind of let
that get into his mind a little bit and he was thinking too much. Now
he's playing, he's on attack and being very aggressive,'' Dwyane Wade
said. ''He's playing very aggressive and that's the difference
obviously from last year to this year, and the difference in our
team.'' Read more here.
June 15, 2012
Heat survive Thunder rally for 100-96 win
James has seen his share of great starts turn into faulty finishes. So
with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh providing the help he needed, he wasn't
letting another one get away Thursday night. James scored 32 points,
got a disputed big stop on Kevin Durant and the Miami Heat held off a
furious fourth-quarter rally behind their three All-Stars to beat the
Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96, tying the NBA Finals at one game apiece.
''We had played too well in the first 36 minutes to try to let this one
slip away from us,'' James said. ''We just wanted to make one more, two
more plays than they made and come out with a victory and we were able
to do that.'' Read more here.
June 13, 2012
Durant powers Thunder past LeBron's Heat 105-94
Durant delivered the fourth quarter LeBron James never could last year.
So forget those NBA Finals jitters at the start. Durant and the young
Thunder showed they have already figured out how to finish. Durant
scored 17 of his 36 points in another nightmarish final period for
James and his team, leading a Thunder storm that overwhelmed the Heat
and gave Oklahoma City a 105-94 victory over Miami in Game 1 on Tuesday
night. ''That's what they do, they keep on coming,'' Heat coach Erik
Spoelstra said. ''They're relentless.'' Teaming with Russell Westbrook
to outscore the Heat in the second half by themselves, Durant struck
first in his head-to-head matchup with James, who had seven points in
the final quarter and was helpless to stop the league's three-time
scoring champion. Read more here.
June 10, 2012
To the Finals: Heat top Celtics 101-88 in Game 7
James finally got a Game 7 victory, on his third try. Next up, the NBA
finals - and his third try at that elusive first championship. A year
after watching someone else celebrate on their home floor, the Miami
Heat were the ones dancing at midcourt. James had 31 points and 12
rebounds, Chris Bosh hit a career-best three 3-pointers - the last
sparking the run that put it away - and the Heat won their second
straight Eastern Conference title by beating the Boston Celtics 101-88
in Game 7 on Saturday night. Miami opens the title series in Oklahoma
City on Tuesday night. Read more here.
Celtics face uncertainty after Game 7 loss to Heat
Rivers had tears in his eyes. Rajon Rondo insisted more could have been
done, even after he put up another triple-double. Ray Allen said he has
years left in his legs. The season is over for the Boston Celtics. Only
time will tell if this run of Celtics basketball is over as well.
LeBron James had 31 points and 12 rebounds, Chris Bosh hit a
career-best three 3-pointers - the last sparking the run that put it
away - and the Miami Heat won their second straight Eastern Conference
title by beating the Celtics 101-88 in Game 7 on Saturday night. So one
''Big Three'' - the one from Miami - is headed to an NBA finals matchup
with Oklahoma City. Read more here.
June 4, 2012
Revived Thunder eyeing needed road win in Game 5
the span of three days, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio
Spurs as many times as they had in the last three years. And now the
Western Conference finals are suddenly up for grabs. What once seemed
like the continuation of one of the most dominant runs in NBA history
has turned into a genuine toss-up of a series after the Thunder stopped
San Antonio's perfect stretch with two convincing victories in half a
week. Game 5 is Monday night in San Antonio. Oklahoma City needs at
least one road win to advance, and Thunder coach Scott Brooks said
Sunday there's no time like the present. ''We have a great opportunity
in Game 5,'' Brooks said. Seldom have the Thunder been able to say that
when they faced the Spurs. Read more here.
Celtics beat Heat in OT, tie East finals at 2-2
Rondo delivered the trash talk at halftime and the big plays in
overtime. And after one final defensive stand - maybe assisted by a
Garden ghost - the Boston Celtics were two wins away from an improbable
chance to play for another championship. Rondo had 15 points and 15
assists, and scored the final three points of the Celtics' 93-91
overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday night that evened the
Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece. Getting a huge break
when LeBron James fouled out for the first time since joined the Heat,
the Celtics recovered after blowing an 18-point lead in regulation and
moved two games away from a third trip to the NBA finals in five years.
Read more here.
May 31, 2012
Parker leads Spurs to 2-0 series lead
Parker has found balance in his role as a scoring point guard. Two more
wins, and the San Antonio Spurs will find themselves playing for
another NBA championship. Parker had 34 points and eight assists, Manu
Ginobili added 20 points and the Spurs stayed perfect in the playoffs
with a 120-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the
Western Conference finals Tuesday night. The Spurs set an NBA record
with their 20th consecutive victory bridging the regular season and the
playoffs. They came in sharing the longest such streak with the 2000-01
Lakers, who won 19 straight before losing to Philadelphia in the first
game of the finals. Read more here.
Celtics say intensity must rise vs. Heat in Game 2
Boston Celtics have bigger issues than being upset about a perceived
slight. Yes, LeBron James dribbled behind his back. Then between his
legs, five times. Then threw a behind-the-back pass. And after grabbing
an offensive rebound while getting fouled by Kevin Garnett, he smiled
and shouted ''Yeah'' three times while holding the ball out for referee
Jason Phillips to collect. All that came on one possession in Game 1 of
the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics called it showboating.
They're probably right. But that's not the problem. Read more here.
May 27, 2012
Rondo leads Celtics to 85-75 Game 7 win over 76ers
Doug Collins, Boston's Big Three is already a memory. ''I don't look at
them as the Big Three. I look at them as the Championship Four,'' the
Philadelphia coach said. ''Because if you're going to leave Rondo out,
you're making a huge mistake.'' Rajon Rondo helped his aging teammates
keep their season going Saturday night, finishing with 18 points, 10
assists and 10 rebounds in Game 7 against the 76ers to lead Boston to
an 85-75 victory and into an Eastern Conference finals matchup with the
Miami Heat. The Celtics will open the third round of the NBA playoffs
in Miami on Monday night. ''I've already packed,'' Celtics coach Doc
Rivers said. ''We'll be ready. It's going to be a tough turnaround, but
we're not an excuse team. We'll be ready on Monday.'' Read more here.
They meet again: Heat-Celtics in East finals
a rematch: Miami and Boston will meet in the playoffs again, this time
with a spot in the NBA finals at stake. Boston's 85-75 win in Game 7
over Philadelphia on Saturday night earned the Celtics a trip to Miami,
where the reigning East champion Heat will host Game 1 of this year's
conference title series Monday night. Boston took the regular-season
series from Miami 3-1, though the last of those meetings was in the
final game of the season and came on a night where LeBron James, Dwyane
Wade and Chris Bosh all sat out for Miami, while Kevin Garnett, Rajon
Rondo and Ray Allen got the evening off for Boston. The lineups will
look more normal Monday, though Bosh will remain sidelined because of a
strained lower abdominal muscle. Read more here.
May 22, 2012
Thunder surge past Lakers 106-90 to win West semis
the Oklahoma City Thunder just starting to come to life, Russell
Westbrook and Kevin Durant didn't need to take a break. They will have
enough time to rest as they get ready for a second straight trip to the
Western Conference finals. Westbrook scored 28 points, Durant added 25
points and 10 rebounds, and the two All-Stars skipped their usual rest
periods to power the Thunder ahead in the second half for a 106-90 win
over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the West semifinals on Monday
night. ''We know that's the most important time of the game, especially
in a tight game,'' Durant said. ''I think that we kept our composure
throughout the fourth, and our poise and we made plays.'' Read more here.
Bass erupts for Celtics in 101-85 win over Sixers
started as a Big Three and grew to a Big Four when Rajon Rondo earned
the right to be mentioned along with the other Boston Celtics
All-Stars. At no point, however, did Brandon Bass merit marquee billing
in his first season in Boston. The fifth, newest and least-heralded
member of the Celtics' starting lineup, Bass erupted for a career
playoff-high 27 points on Monday night, scoring 18 in the third quarter
as Boston pulled away from the Philadelphia 76ers to win 101-85 and
take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. ''We've got a few
good players on the team that they had to focus on,'' said Bass, who
left the game to a standing ovation with 2 minutes left and Boston
leading by 18. ''That left me open, and I was able to take advantage of
my opportunity.'' Read more here.
May 20, 2012
Spurs beat Clippers 96-86 to take 3-0 series lead
was going to rattle the calm, cool and collected Spurs. Not even a
24-point deficit. Tim Duncan scored 19 points, helping engineer a
defining 24-0 run in the third quarter, and San Antonio defeated the
Los Angeles Clippers 96-86 on Saturday to take a commanding 3-0 lead in
their second-round playoff series. ''We didn't plan on being down that
much,'' said Duncan, who at 36 is hungry to win the team's fifth NBA
championship and first since 2006-07. ''We stuck with it.'' Led by Tony
Parker's 23 points and his defense on an ailing Chris Paul, the Spurs
kept running their plays even as Blake Griffin's early offensive
assault buried them in a huge hole. Griffin missed three shots in the
first half, when he scored 20 points and carried his team to a 24-point
lead despite a left hip injury and a sprained right knee. Read more here.
Thunder rally past Lakers, take 3-1 series lead
Durant stood above the 3-point line and watched the shot clock dwindle
in the final seconds of Game 4. When Metta World Peace backed up
slightly on defense, Durant hesitated only an instant before launching
a 26-footer. ''It left my hand, (and) I was thinking, 'If this doesn't
go in, it's going to be a terrible shot,''' Durant said. The three-time
scoring champ trusts his instincts and his silky-smooth jumper. Neither
let him down while he and Russell Westbrook engineered yet another late
comeback that pushed a frustrated Kobe Bryant to the brink. Westbrook
scored 10 of his 37 points during a stirring fourth-quarter rally,
Durant added 31 points and hit that tiebreaking 3-pointer with 13.7
seconds left, and the Thunder seized control of their second-round
series with a 103-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday
night. Read more here.
May 14, 2012
MVP James gets 32, Heat top Pacers 95-86 in Game 1
LeBron James was promised some rest. It never came.
The MVP didn't care, not after he and the Miami Heat struck the first
blow against the Indiana Pacers. James accepted his third MVP trophy
from Commissioner David Stern before the game, then scored 26 of his
game-high 32 points while playing every second of the second half -
adding a season-high 15 rebounds as well - as the Heat survived some
rough stretches to beat the Pacers 95-86 on Sunday in Game 1 of their
Eastern Conference semifinal series. ''I just looked at him straight in
the eyes and said, 'You can flat-out not get tired, period,''' Heat
coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''And he made MVP plays on both ends of the
court.'' Read more here.
Clippers advance with 82-72 win over Grizzlies
Los Angeles Clippers refused to let a third chance to knock the Memphis
Grizzlies out of the playoffs slip away. Kenyon Martin scored seven of
his 11 points in the fourth quarter, and the Clippers advanced to the
Western Conference semifinals with an 82-72 win over the Memphis
Grizzlies in Game 7 on Sunday. ''That's why it's seven games,'' Martin
said. ''If you don't do it before, you get another chance. So they did
what they had to do, they came and stole home court back on our floor.
We had a chance to close it out. We knew we let it go, an opportunity
get away.'' The Clippers blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter
Friday night. Read more here.
May 7, 2012
Anthony helps Knicks end 13-game playoff skid
Stoudemire raised his hands in the air, one covered in padding, as
streamers fell from the ceiling above him. Finally, New York could
celebrate an NBA playoff victory again. Carmelo Anthony scored 41
points, Stoudemire had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return from a
cut hand, and the Knicks snapped an NBA-record, 13-game postseason
losing streak by beating the Miami Heat 89-87 Sunday in Game 4 of their
first-round series. ''I think it's the first of many,'' said
Stoudemire, his left arm back in a sling to keep his hand elevated.
''Tonight was a great win for us, for our fans to finally get over that
hump of those consecutive games that we lost, I guess the Knicks, lost
over those years in the playoffs.'' Anthony made a tiebreaking
3-pointer with 54.5 seconds left as the Knicks overcame another serious
injury to win a playoff game for the first time since beating Toronto
on April 29, 2001, in Game 3 of a best-of-five series. Read more here.
76ers top Bulls 89-82 for 3-1 series lead
as the misses piled up, Holiday never felt the weight of it on his
21-year-old shoulders. All he could do in a thorny Game 4 was laugh
about his struggles with teammate Evan Turner. ''You've got to be happy
when you play,'' Holiday said. ''It really helps.'' Boy, did it help
Philadelphia in the final minutes against Chicago. Holiday busted out
of a game-long slump with consecutive 3-pointers that stretched a
one-point lead into seven and helped the 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls
89-82 on Sunday and take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff
series. ''Don't fear the consequences,'' 76ers coach Doug Collins said.
It's the top-seeded Bulls who suddenly fear elimination. Spencer Hawes
scored 22 points and Holiday had 20 to put the Sixers one win away from
joining the short list of eighth-seeded teams that have won a series
against a No. 1 seed. Read more here.
April 30, 2012
Smith leads Hawks past Celtics 83-74; Rondo tossed
The Boston Celtics lost Game 1 - and they may have lost their floor leader for Game 2.Josh
Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks
built a big lead early, then held on for an 83-74 victory over the
Celtics in their opener of the Eastern Conference playoffs Sunday
night. But this one will be remembered for what happened in the final
minute, not the Hawks' blistering start. While complaining about a
call, Boston star Rajon Rondo was ejected for bumping an official and
faces a possible suspension when the teams meet again Tuesday night in
Atlanta. ''I didn't intentionally chest-bump him, but that's what it
appears to be,'' Rondo said. The Hawks, who led by as many as 19 in the
first half, were clinging to a four-point lead when Rondo lost his cool
with 41 seconds remaining. Boston's Brandon Bass was called for a foul
on Smith tussling for a loose ball, with both players sprawled on the
court out beyond the foul line. Rondo screamed at official Marc Davis,
who quickly called a technical. Rondo then bumped Davis with his chest
and was tossed out. Read more here.
Clippers rally from 27 down, stun Grizzlies 99-98
Chris Paul begged coach Vinny Del Negro to put him
back into the game for the fourth quarter and not give up despite being
down 21 points. The result was another Clippers comeback - one of the
greatest in NBA playoff history. Paul hit a pair of free throws with
23.7 seconds left, and the Clippers rallied from a deficit that had
been as much as 27 to stun the Memphis Grizzlies 99-98 Sunday night in
the opening game of their Western Conference series. The key, Paul
said, is to keep believing. ''Unfortunately, that's how we play,'' he
said. ''We get killed in the first three quarters and in the fourth
quarter we like to try to stand up for ourselves, and we found a way to
win tonight.'' Read more here.