Tag: NBA Finals
It took him three different trips to the NBA Finals, but it has finally happened: LeBron James has won an NBA Championship. After winning the NBA MVP regular season trophy, LeBron James guided the Miami Heat to its second win in the franchise history. The Heat took a 121-106 win in game 5 over the Oklahoma City Thunder, to make a strong statement, proving that the financial risks they took when signing LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh had paid off. Sure enough, just like it was last year, this was a Championship or Burst situation for the Heat. But this time, they delivered. The 2012 NBA title will be going to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
The Oklahoma Thunder had a brilliant run this season, working its way into the NBA Finals for the first time since the move from Seattle and supported by a young, athletic cast that includes Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Then again, considering that neither of these three players are not yet 24-year-old, the young team needed a little bit more of maturity. They needed to find a way to shine under pressure, to keep on playing strong when the stakes were high, and to keep their cool when playing under the brightest lights of the NBA. In other words, they needed to learn what LeBron James and the Miami Heat’s Big Three learned last season when they lost against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Championship. To bring on their A-game when the Championship is in the line.
The Miami Heat proved they were hungrier, proved that they wanted this more and that they were ready to deliver. Leading the series 3-1, the Miami Heat had a great chance to finish it off in at the American Airlines Arena in South Beach. And before their own crowd, the Miami Heat delivered the results. The Heat simply broke hells loose on the third quarter and outscored the Oklahoma City Thunder, 36-22, to take a 95-71, before the fourth quarter. The Heat went ahead and never looked back. This was simply a flawless demonstration of long-range shooting from the Miami Heat. It didn’t really matter that his back was killing him, Mike Miller played through the pain and finished with 7 three-pointer for the night, for 23 points in 23 minutes coming of the bench.
James scored 26, adding 13 assists and 11 rebounds as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the other two-thirds of Miami’s “Big Three,” scored 20 and 24, respectively. The Oklahoma City Thunder gave it a good run, but there was really nothing they could do to stop the Heat from taking over in the second half. Kevin Durant scored 32 points and had a good match. But it was simply not enough to keep the Thunder from losing their fourth straight game following a Game 1 victory in Oklahoma City, that had the Thunder’s hopes flowing. Russell Westbrook had just 19 points in a poor 4-of-20 shooting night. The Thunder were stricken by turnovers and poor 3-point shooting, and a lot of poor plays on defense.
LeBron James and the Heat were in this same exact position just one year ago. They were up 2-1 in the NBA Finals last year playing against the Dallas Mavericks and they never won a game again. It would be easy to look back at that series and figure out what went wrong: LeBron James was once again failing to shine under the brightest lights, and his performance during the Playoffs was simply terrible. Not this time around. LeBron James has put up three of his best performances in the Finals we have ever seen against the Oklahoma City Thunder. And he really delivered when the series finally shifted to South Beach. On game three against the Thunder, LeBron James finished the game with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists. And despite a brilliant comeback in the third quarter from the Thunder, who managed to turn things around and even built a 10 point lead, James put up a three-pointer in the final seconds of the third to take the lead and never let go.
Kevin Durant had 25 points for the Thunder while Russell Westbrook finished the night with 19 points and 5 rebounds in 8 of 18 shooting. Kevin Durant once again got caught in foul trouble and things got a little complicated. He picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter and had to go to the bench, but perhaps the biggest surprise came just few seconds later when the Thunder head coach Scott Brooks decided to sit Westrbook as well to give him a little break at the end of the third quarter. Suddenly, the Heat took a second wind and turn things around to take a three-point lead at the end of the third quarter. From there on, the Heat never fell back again and finished the night with a 91-85 win at home.
The Miami fans were excited with James overall performance. It’s not just that he is delivering offensively, he is also working hard on his defensive play. James was responsible for cutting down a bit on Kevin Durant’s performance for the Thunder. He was a bit proud of his performance on Sunday night. “Just trying to make plays,” James said in the postgame press conference. “I told you guys, last year I didn’t make enough game-changing plays, and that’s what I kind of pride myself on. I didn’t do that last year in the Finals. I’m just trying to make game-changing plays, and whatever it takes for our team to win, just trying to step up in key moments and be there for my teammates.”
In this same circumstances, when both team in the NBA Finals are tied with one game a piece, whatever team goes on to win the third game, ends up winning the championship 85% of the time. Sure enough, there is still plenty to be said and done in this series and the outcome has not yet been decided by any means, but things are looking a bit uphill right now for the Thunder. Still, there is plenty of talent on this young and hungry team. “It was frustrating,” Durant said. “Of course we had a good lead and they came back and made some shots. We fouled shooters on the 3-point line twice. It’s a tough break for us, man. You know, I hate sitting on the bench, especially with fouls.” Well, it’s going to be up to Durant to take some pride and guide the Thunder into a vital win in game 4.
The Oklahoma City Thunder just got a good idea of what sort of team they are really facing in their first trip to the NBA Finals. So did pretty much everybody else, because let’s face it, this was the first time during the 2012 NBA Playoffs that we got a chance to see the Miami Heat’s Big Three play a game like they are meant to. And suddenly that Oklahoma City Thunder looked vulnerable, and even thought they once again got back in the fight in the final quarter, they gave such a big advantage early on the game that it was just a little too much to ask from the home team to close that gap in the last 12 minutes of the game. One thing is for certain, now that the series is moving back to Miami, the Oklahoma City Thunder need to find a way to be offensively aggressive since the start. Because there is no way the Thunder are coming behind a 17-point deficit to win in South Beach.
Now, back to last night’s game. LeBron James guided the Miami Heat with his best Playoffs performance best, his second personal record breaking match of the series, finishing off the night with 32 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and closing with 10-for-10 shooting from the free throw line, what once was considered the weakest spot in his game. But LeBron James had seen how his brilliant start on his previous game ended in a loss, so this time, he got some serious help coming from his co-stars. Chris Bosh came in to the rescue chipping in 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Dwayne Wade improved his game and gave the Heat 24 points and 6 rebounds.
But perhaps it all comes down to LeBron James been able to hold off Kevin Durant in the last seconds of the game, as the Thunder were coming down with a furious fourth quarter that got them within two-points of the Heat. Sure enough it was a bit of a controversial play. Many considered a foul should had been called against James in that decisive play. Still, the referees let the illegal contact pass and the Heat took a 100-96 win in Oklahoma City. For a moment there, it seemed as if the Miami Heat would once again get in trouble in the fourth quarter. Let’s not forget that last time they blew a 13-point lead in Game 1 and seemed headed toward a repeat of the second game of the Finals last year, when the Heat blew a 15-point edge on its home floor against the Dallas Mavericks.
“We had played too well in the first 36 minutes to try to let this one slip away from us,” LeBron James said in the postgame press conference. “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.” Still, the big elephant in the room is that last play of the match. Kevin Durant had a solid performance. He finished up with 32 points for the Thunder but missed a short jumper with 9.9 seconds left after appearing to be bumped by James. It’s just one play, sure. And to be fair, the Heat had leaded the whole way up to this point, but that basket would had tied the game after Derek Fisher deflected the ball off Wade’s hands. It’s uncertain how this will play out in game three. One thing is clear: the Thunder now knows what the Heat can do. Let’s see what Oklahoma put in the table for Sunday’s game.
When there were 28.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Boston Celtics head coach, Doc Rivers, pulled out Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all at the same time. With a brilliant run from LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, who scored all of the Heat’s fourth-quarter points in a 28-15 run that put the game away. And the veteran Celtics coach made a grand gesture. He was accepting his defeat, yes, that’s certain, but he was giving credit to the core of his group, to the three players that had given this team half a decade of success. Rumor has it, the Celtics Big Three will not be back together next season. At 36-years-old, both Garnet and Allen are now officially free agents and it is not far fetched to expect the Celtics to build a new team around their all-star point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Miami Heat won two games in a row to turn around a 3-2 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals. At the end, despite Rajon Rondo’s 22 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists, the Heat took an 88-101 win at home. LeBron James finally came out with a victory in a game 7. It took him three chances to get that win, and a 31 points, 12 rebound performance to close the deal. But once again the Miami Heat are up for the NBA Finals. Miami will open up the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thuesday night. This has been a highly anticipated matchup. It is still uncertain how the Heat will work out against Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Their explosiveness and game style are far away from what the Celtics gave them.
Dwayne Wade scored 23 points for the Heat. Chris Bosh finished with 19, including a career best three 3-pointers for the game while Shane Battier added 12 to help the Heat win a Game 7 for the first time since 2004. Last year, the party ended a little too soon as the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Finals in game 6 at Miami. For the Boston Celtics this could very well be the end of an era. Brandon Bass scored 16, Ray Allen finished with 15 and Kevin Garnett scored 14 for the Celtics. “Give them credit,” Rondo said. “They spread the points out as a team tonight. Give them credit. They played great tonight as a team and we just came up short.” And a brilliant game, filled with true teamwork might be exactly what this squad needs to finally give LeBron James his first title.
The Heat had to deal with 3 weeks without Chris Bosh. He proved vital in game 7 and is certainly going to be a reference in the offensive end in the finals. “We all had a pit — even though we didn’t admit it — we all had a big pit in our stomach when we saw him walking off the court in Game 1 of the Indiana series,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Bosh. “We played tough, but we knew that for two years he had been our most important player, because he makes it all work.” Well, the finals are here, it is time for this squad to deliver.