Archive for May 16th, 2011
The Dallas Mavericks have been resting for a while now but the suspense is over. They now know who will be their rival in the Western Conference Final. It wasn’t easy for the Oklahoma City Thunder. It took them 7 days and this last game was certainly going to be filled of surprises. The Grizzlies managed to survive a 3-2 deficit that had them against the wall for game 6. And yet, it has to be said, the Memphis Grizzlies had much luck in this scenario. The Thunder’s best player was having his worst playoffs night in his young professional career. He had 11 points and 7 rebounds as the Thunder fell 83-95 to the Grizzlies at Memphis.
Durant knew that he couldn’t afford losing another game; ok, that’s quite obvious, but what I’m trying to say is that he couldn’t afford having another game like the previous since that would mean the Oklahoma City Thunder’s elimination, and he would be the one to blame. It wasn’t going to fly. Not at least for the player who dominated the US National team in the Turkey 2010 Basketball World Championship. Not for the player who, at the beginning of the regular season, was expected to be in the fight for the MVP. And not for a guy who understands who vital his role is in the Thunder’s every aspect of the game.
And that’s when it clicked in. Kevin Durant stepped into the occasion and scored a series-high 39 points with 9 rebounds and 2 assists while Russell Westbrook finished the night with his first ever playoffs triple-double for a 105-90 win in game seven over the Memphis Grizzlies. Durant was the key-component in this win, but he couldn’t have done it without the extraordinary play of Westbrook. The 21 year-old point guard from the Oklahoma City thunder finished the night with 10 rebounds, 14 assists and 14 points.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are now working their way into Texas for the franchise’s first appearance in the West finals since losing in the NBA Finals in 1996 as the Seattle SuperSonics. The game 1 with the Mavericks will be played at Dallas tomorrow night.
Despite losing, some extra kudos should go to Memphis. Truth is Mike Conley scored 18 points to lead Memphis, a team that had never won a playoff game before this year. Surprisingly enough, they were quite close of making a bid to become the first No. 8 seed to reach the West finals. The Memphis Grizzlies were guided by Zach Randolph on game 7. He was struggling inside the paint. Randolph shot 2 of 6 from within 5 feet of the basket and finished the night with only 17 points and 10 rebounds.
They had it coming. The Memphis Grizzlies missed 18 of 23 shots over a stretch between the midway points of the first and second quarters. That was just not going to fly against the Thunder. The Thunder took advantage of this for 13-4 run to finish the first quarter with a 21-17 advantage, then extended their lead with the unexpected spark in the second. And the Grizzlies never got back in the game again. Stick around, we’ll keep you updated with the best sports betting news her at blog.betias.com
This is the best thing that has happened to the Chicago Bulls since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen closed off the deal to their second three-peat back in 1998. And just like it happened back in the Jordan Era, the Bulls are leaning into their franchise player and the league’s MVP to get the job done. The Bulls finished the season with a league high 62 win record, and not only had in Derrick Rose the league’s most valuable asset; it also seemed that they were having the proper ingredients for making their own the recipe that had made the Bulls so successful in the 90’s.
Derrick Rose had a very rough start in this game. He had three turnovers in the first five minutes and he wasn’t just been able to get his game together. But when the halftime break came in, Rose stood up to his teammates and apologized. He said he was going to make it right. Well, he did. Rose scored 28 points, Luol Deng made a magnificent job guarding LeBron James and holding him to only 15 points for the night and the Chicago Bulls sent the first blow in the Eastern Conference finals, pulling away in the fourth quarter to beat the Miami Heat 103-82 in Game 1 on Sunday night.
Despite the home team advantage and the fact that they had finished the season with the best record in the league, not many would have taken the Chicago Bulls as the favorite to win this Eastern Conference Finals series. The fact is that at first glance, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh seemed like a little too much of a squad to be solely handled by Derrick Rose. And they were right.
Perhaps what many fans and sports commentators alike were not really considering was that Rose could actually get some help from the supporting cast and that, more importantly, Chicago’s defense could find a way to slow down LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. And here is the trick. I really believe that if the Bulls can keep up diversifying their portfolio, that is pitching in from the bench and the starting squad, and not depending all their production solely on Rose, the Heat could actually end up going home a little too early for the season.
Take this important win. Not only did the Chicago Bulls punch first, truth is, they did this while Loul Deng became the man of the game. Deng not only kept James under the radar, he also scored 21 points, recorded 7 rebounds and 4 steals. What about the rest of the crew? Well, check it out: Carlos Boozer finished the night with 14 points and nine rebounds. Joakim Noah had 14 boards to help outrebound the Heat 45-33, that is including 19 on the offensive end while outscoring Miami 31-8 on second-chance points. As if that was not enough, Derrick Rose scored 28.
Chris Bosh led Miami with 30 points and nine rebounds, but nothing else came from him. Dwyane Wade scored 18 points, and 3 rebounds. James had 15 points. That’s it. If the Chicago Bulls want to win the series, they might very well start by taking down James. If he is kept under 15 points a night, history says his team has lost every time that has happened.