Thursday, June 7, 2012

NBA Update

The Oklahoma City Thunder became the first team in NBA history to reach the finals even though all of their top four scorers are less than 24 years old. To do so, they came roaring from behind at home to knock off the San Antonio Spurs and deny Greg Popovich and Tim Duncan their chance for a fourth title. The Spurs came out red-hot, and they led 63-48 at halftime. But OKC responded by blitzing the Spurs 59-36 in the second half for the victory. For the fourth game in a row, San Antonio simply couldn't stop OKC down the stretch, as the Thunder scored whenever they needed to. In fact, OKC shot 36-72 (50 percent) from the field, and 10-18 (55.6 percent) from three-point range.

By the way, here were the numbers for Kevin Durant: 9-17 from the field, 4-8 from three-point range, 12-15 from the line, 34 points, 14 rebounds. That is a Hall of Fame line from a Conference Final.

OKC now moves on to the Finals. If they beat the Heat or the Celtics, we could be looking at a dynasty that might rule the NBA for years to come. But there is plenty of time to speculate about that. Let's wrap up the Spurs, who may have lost their last chance at a title with this group. Spurs fans no doubt believe that their team does not get enough credit from the national media, and that any team that won four titles in nine years (as the Spurs did from 1999 to 2007) should be regarded as an all-time great team. I have written a lot of nice things about the Spurs this year, and I do respect their accomplishments. But to me, the Spurs will always be overshadowed by the Laker teams that won seven Western Conference titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2010) to four for the Spurs. And this year, when the Lakers were out of it, the Spurs lost to another great team that may also come to overshadow them. The Spurs were a great team. But they weren't as good as the Shaq/Kobe Lakers, they weren't as good as the Kobe/Gasol Lakers, and they weren't as good as this year's Thunder. And that is how they will be remembered.

Finally, I want to say something about last night's Celtics/Heat game, which Boston won 94-90 to go up 3-2 in the series. This morning on ESPN, Tim Legler was complaining that the Heat did not have a good offensive flow in the fourth quarter, because LeBron and Dwyane Wade were taking all the shots. But the Heat scored 30 points in the fourth quarter, which is a spectacular pace for an NBA team. For the game, LeBron went 11-25 from the field, 6-8 from the line, and finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Wade went 10-22 from the field, 6-8 from the line, and finished with 27 points and six rebounds. They played well enough to win. Indeed, I think they were smart to take most of the shots in the fourth quarter. For the game, the rest of their team went only 11-35 from the field, a shooting percentage of 31.4 percent. From behind the three-point stripe, the rest of the Heat went 4-17, which is only 23.5 percent. Many of these are wide open shots set up by a drive from James or Wade. Those shots must be made for Miami to win the title, and they are not being made. If Miami had a guy like Doron Lamb who could consistently make a high percentage of three-pointers, they could win the title. But they don't have that guy, and it's unfair to blame LeBron for that.


  1. I wonder if Miami is moments away from getting a guy a whole, whole lot like Doron Lamb ...

  2. No. The Heat picked some player from the SEC who did not win the national championship.