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Heat Fan

Miami fans should applaud LeBron, and he should return the favor posted by Heat Fan

Four Finals appearances in four years? Two championships? I'd say James delivered on his promise when he the Heat in 2010.

When he left Cleveland, he was the game's biggest individual talent who hadn't won anything. He needed validation; needed to begin his ring count before it was too late.

His four years in Miami built leadership qualities and maturity that were lacking before. And his time in the South Florida sun removed the stigma of being the best player in the world who hadn't won a championship. When it was all over, the experience had given him the confidence to return home and try to build something new.

As he returns to face his buddy, Dwyane Wade, on Thursday, here's a question: Is it possible that James' four years in Miami will wind up being the apex of his career? That he'll never have another run like that again?

It's more than possible. Only three teams have been to the Finals four consecutive times -- the Lakers and Celtics in the '80s and the Heat of James, Wade and Bosh. The odds that James could accomplish that feat a second time with another team? Pretty slim.

Even slimmer when you consider how much the NBA landscape has changed since James formed his Big Three in 2010. That was the last hurrah under the old collective bargaining agreement, and the deal struck after the 2011 lockout has fundamentally changed how teams are being built.

This is not to say that the Big Three model can't or won't work one more time for James in Cleveland. But with the landscape changing all around him, it's a reminder of how special his four years in Miami really were.

Continue reading "Miami fans should applaud LeBron, ..."


Heat Fan

Miami Heat Preseason Report 2014 posted by Heat Fan

Miami Heat managed to reach the finals in the 2013-14 season but could not match the explosive play of San Antonio Spurs. For the fourth straight year, Miami has reached the finals, but keeping the focus mentally and physically to win the title seemed to be lacking. Secondly, the Spurs had a much better play, and even if Miami had done their best, they could not have beaten the Spurs. LeBron James played excellently, but he seemed to be falling short on the defense compared to his earlier games. Chris Bosh had to make up for the defense shortfall, and bigger role given to Greg Oden did not play out.

For 2014-2015 season, Miami Heat had a good chance to win the title, but now since they have lost LeBron James, their chances have gone down drastically. The team had to overpay Chris Bosh to keep at least two of their star players in the team. Pat Riley seems to have made all the right moves for the team to have a good chance for a top four playoff in the Eastern division. If Bosh remains healthy and Dwayne Wade keeps to his former performance, the team could pose a good challenge to the Cavaliers and LeBron.

Luol Deng who is an excellent starter has replaced James, and veteran Danny Granger seems to have been bought in for a reason. Miami Heat has also managed to acquire Josh McRoberts from Charlotte, and in the draft, the team managed to snag Shabazz Napier to improve point guard. Other acquisitions at reasonable amounts included Udonis Haslem, Dwayne Wade, and Mario Chalmers. Wade now seems to be the key player in the team, who could make a difference. If he remains healthy and displays good leadership skills, Miami Heat could again have a chance at the finals.

Continue reading "Miami Heat Preseason Report 2014"


NBA News

Make Money Betting on the 2013 NBA Playoffs posted by NBA News

The 2013 NBA Playoffs is upon us. As the regular season has closed, the real battle begins. The Miami Heat, lead by the reigning MVP Lebron James, is out to repeat as the NBA champions. The Heat have been very impressive in the regular season, boasting of the best record and even stringing 27 straight wins- the second most in the entire history of the NBA. The Miami Heat are considered  as the odds-on favorite to win the NBA title again.

However, 15 other teams are dead-set on preventing this from happening. Leading the list of contenders to the throne held by the Miami Heat are last year’s Finals losers, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Led by three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, the Thunder are hungry for a return trip to the finals and possibly exact revenge for the stinging 1-4 loss they absorbed at the hands of the Heat.

There are other teams that are eager to challenge the supremacy of the Miami Heat. Among them are the New York Knicks, a rejuvenated franchise led by this year’s scoring champion Carmelo Anthony. Backstopped by an aging but very defense-oriented team, the Knicks are hungry for recognition. Also out to stop the repeat bid of the Heat are the San Antonio Spurs, a four-time champion led by the consistent Tim Duncan, a two-time MVP and considered as the best player of his generation. The Spurs have been very consistent in the regular season for many years but have been thwarted by upstart teams like the Thunder in recent playoffs.

For NBA fanatics, the NBA playoffs is the real deal. This is the time of the year when the best players show up. This is the time when legends are made, when the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul Jabbar showed  up during their time to capture glory and gold.

Continue reading "Make Money Betting on the 2013 NBA Playoffs"


Richard Kagan

Bulls Top Heat in OT 96-86 posted by Richard Kagan

The best team won tonight's clash of the titans in the NBA.  The Miami Heat have two great players in DWade, and Lebron James, and guys who fill in the roles.  Oh, Chris Bosch is pretty good too.  As good as he is, he is not a game changer.  Tonight, with a sub-par game from Derrick Rose, who couldn't hit a shot all game, and wound up with 3 points and 8 assists, the other Bulls played great.  The "Bench mob" was marvelous.  Kyle Korver was on fire from downtown, hitting some treys from Lake Michigan.  Taj Gibson played with hustle and fire, making key plays down the stretch, and CJ Watson hit a shot to tie it at 84-84 with two seconds in the game.  His three pointer with DWade on him like a sponge, went through the net, sending the sold-out crowd to a crescendo. 

The Bulls are likely to finish ahead of Miami for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.  Don't discount the Heat, Wade is incredible on offense and defense.  Lebron does it too, but he missed a FT to leave the door open for a lucky shot from Watson to tie the game.  The Bulls took over in OT, outscoring the Heat, 12-2.  Tonight I saw a terrific Bulls team playing vs. some terrific players.  In this game, the whole team was greater than any one player.   Chicago was able to win despite a bad shooting night from Derrick Rose and great games from James and Wade.  It's not the playoffs, should the Bulls and Heat meet then, it will be a war for sure.

Continue reading "Bulls Top Heat in OT 96-86"


Richard Kagan

Bulls Beat Miami, 106-102 posted by Richard Kagan

Chicago Hope.  The Bulls prevailed over their rival, the Miami Heat, 106-102, without the reigning MVP, Derrick Rose, who sat out for the game.  John Lucas III scored 23 points filling in as a shooting guard on a night wien Rose was sidelined dur to a groin injury.  The Bulls played 10 guys which seemed to back who the expression: "You have to be in it to win it.

Everyone played tonight.  Jermey Lin had some nice assists, made enough  of media stir.  He had some decent numbers

The Knicks overpowered Portland Trailblazers to break its 6 game losing streak. 

Continue reading "Bulls Beat Miami, 106-102"


Richard Kagan

Bulls are Very Good posted by Richard Kagan

The Chicago Bulls are 31-8 and are top of the Eastern Conference.  It will be nip and tuck to see who gets the #1 seed either Chicago or Miami Heat.  The Heat are right now considered the favorites to get to the Finals.  When the Big 3 are on their game, which is most of the time, they are very hard to stop.  Bosh is out right now, and with Wade on the bench after fouling out vs. Lakers, the Heat with LeBron looked fallible. 

Unfortunately if you took DRose off the Bulls it would make it very hard for Chicago to do any damage in the Playoffs.  Last year not only was he the most valuable player on the team, he was the MVP of the league.  And, when he plays, he looks great out there.  Scoring 35 points against a 76'ers team that leads the Eastern Division, the Bulls needed Rose to come away with a win.  It was a tough game but Chicago prevailed bercause Rose made some shots that no one else on the court could make.  So, with Miami's loss and the Bulls' win, Chicago has a two game lead in the race for the top seed. 

Continue reading "Bulls are Very Good"


Omari Prince

2010-2011 Basketball Season Recap posted by Omari Prince

Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks, Connecticut Huskies, for becoming newly minted champions. Enjoy the summer and good luck defending your titles next season. Now that college and pro basketball has concluded, AAU and shoe camps are heating up but let's review ten things what basketball has taught me these past few months.

  1. Blake Griffin - Karl Malone is training has the makings of becoming the next great power forward of all time. Once The Blake Show realizes the game of basketball is more than just dunking over people and develops a mid-range shot and becomes a decent free-throw shooter, he'll surpass Tim Duncan as the greatest power forward of all time. His ball-handling ability is already above average. 
  2. Derrick Rose - Youngest MVP in NBA History. Straight from Chicago I've always said this hometown point guard will not only be the best lead guard for years to come but he'll also become the face of the league with the likes of LeBron, DWade, Kobe, Durant. So far he's right on track. 
  3. Chicago Bulls - Speaking of Derrick Rose and his team, not one critic, scout, fan (including me) thought the Bulls will finish with the best record in basketball this season. Next season teams will pay more attention to this defensive minded team lead by the reigning MVP Derrick Rose. 
  4. Miami Heat - Cavs owner Dal Gilbert tweeted after the Mavs victory there are no shortcuts. Not shocked they did not defeat the Mavs as my notion about them being only a 3 player team got exposed. Pat Riley's crew need a completely roster to compliment Wade, Bosh, and James. 
Continue reading "2010-2011 Basketball Season Recap"


Richard Kagan

Dallas Does It in Miami posted by Richard Kagan

The Dallas Mavericks were marvelous.  They withstood a slow start by start Dirk Nowitski and made a team effort to beat back the Miami Heat to win game 6 and the NBA title.  Lebron James, DWade and Chris Bosh seemed to wilt under the pressure of winning that dream title.  Dallas won the game, and players like Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitski received some vindication as great players who were able to win the title.  Jason Terry came up strong scoring 27 points while Dirk scored 21, ten in the 4th quarter. 

The Heat were outplayed by a fierce Dallas team that refused to wilt under the pressure.  They got the loose balls, made the free-throws, hit the open treys, and fed the man for the score.  They did the things winning team do, and walked away with a NBA trophy.  Nowitzki was named MVP of the Finals for his outstanding play. 

In this game, the other guys stepped up.  Look at Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Terry, and J.J. Berea.  They all made plays.  Mahimi hit a shot before the end of the third quarter that showed it could be Dallas' night.  They held off the big 3 and held onto their dreams.

Continue reading "Dallas Does It in Miami"


Amari Harris

Spring Fever: The Heat of an indefinite Lockout brings random NFL thoughts... posted by Amari Harris

First I would like to recognize the accomplishments of the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks.  It was been quite a show watching these teams make it to the NBA Finals and I believe it will be a fantastic match-up.  

With that said I must admit a dark secret to the blog world right here live on a Dallas Cowboys news posting site!  I am not a Mavericks fan.  In fact, I often root against the Mavericks, but I must admit that I have garnered a whole new respect for that basketball team.  They have a ton of hungry veterans led by the best (offensive) player in basketball- Dirk.  And you have to respect their explosiveness late in games.  Those comebacks against OKC almost looked orchestrated they were so on point.  

But the Miami Heat will win this NBA championship.  Why?  Because they do it the old fashioned way. They do it the gritty, nasty way.  They play lockdown defense.  Every one his hustling, including the superstars.  And they have the best all around player in LeBron James, another top 5 player in D-Wade, and Chris Bosh who has been playing lights out as of late. They have great offensive players and championship defense. Miami made a comeback of their own but I don't think there was ever a doubt after they cut it to 9 with under three minutes left remaining in the game.  The only thing I could think was, "This is happenning..."  And it did happen. D-Wade and Lebron (top 5 each) took over in the 4th and that was it. But even more importantly than that, this team is a unit.  It is truly them against the world thanks to all the Lebron/Heat Haters. 

Continue reading "Spring Fever: The Heat of an indefinite ..."


Richard Kagan

Bulls vs. Heat in the East posted by Richard Kagan

The Bulls are Back.  Back in the Eastern Conference Finals.  A place they practically owned during the Jordan - Pippen years.  It's been a long time coming.  It took some luck, drafting Derrick Rose, and signing the free agents from Utah, plus the development of Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.  A few years ago, the Bulls gave the Celtics all they could handle in a first round series.  Now, it's a date with the vaunted Miami Heat with Lebron James, DWade, and Chris Bosh.

James and Wade are two of the top players in the NBA.  And, the free-agent signings of the trio last summer shook the NBA world and practically re-configured a team overnight.  No one thought the Chicago Bulls would be playing the Heat for the right to earn an NBA title.  But the Bulls had a great year and took home the individual post-season honors.  Rose got the MVP award, new coach Tom Thibadou worked wonders with this team and rightly won Coach of the year.  And, Gar Forman earned Executive of the Year tied with Pal Riley of the Heat.

It's a harmonic convergence and the Bulls hope the good vibes continue into the Third Round of the playoffs.  Chicago is the underdog in this Series.  Even though Chicago beat Miami the three times they met in the regular season.

For the Bulls to win this series, they will have to emhasize team play versus the talent of the Heat.  You can't stop James or Wade on most nights.  What you can do is make it hard for them to play off each other and to shut down lanes for others to join in.  The Bulls will have to play great team defense.  Their best of the season.  That could get them past Miami and into the Finals.

Continue reading "Bulls vs. Heat in the East"

Miami Heat News

View All Miami Heat News


Confidence led Heat rookie James Ennis to improve his game

James Ennis was one of a few bright spots for the Miami Heat, showing plenty of promise to begin the season but also displayed improvement as the season progressed. Most encouragingly, he did so as a rookie trying to acclimate himself to the speed and pace of the NBA game after a successful overseas campaign last year. [read full article]

From FOX Sports Digital


NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part tothe interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the firsthalf, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place inthe West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

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