Andre Iguodala finally has a good game and the Sixers lose. It was a close game throughout but the difference came when Spoelstra took a T for his guys with the score was knotted up at 60. From that point on, Miami went on a 7-0 run that gave them control of the game.
The Sixers definitely overachieved this season and they should be proud of that. They should also know that they can do the same thing again next year. And if they don’t start out 1-13, they might actually have a shot at home court in the first round.
As for the Heat, both LeBron and Dwyane had near triple-doubles in last nights close-out win and Bosh went for 22 and 11 but the questions still loom. Specifically, about how they will match-up with the Boston Celtics in the next round.
What an amazing game this was. Memphis was oh-so close to closing the door on the Spurs. Not just their season but perhaps on their dynasty. But the Spurs just wouldn’t die. Someone on twitter called them the Zombie Spurs and I found that very fitting. Down 3 Manu hit what looked to be a miracle corner three with just 2 seconds left in the game that resulted from a chaotic broken play. The video review showed that his foot was on the line and it was a two. Spurs fouled Zach Randolph on the inbounds and Z-Bo hit both of his Z-Throws. With just 1.7 ticks left in the Spurs season, they drew up a play for 26-year old rookie, Gary Neal. Naturally.
Having gone 0-1 in the game and had scored just 4 points, you’d think Popovich would have gone with a different option but he trusts the rookie, immensely. Neal rose up over the double team and buried the three, resurrecting the half-dead Spurs and forever dubbing them the Zombie Spurs because they just won’t die. Spurs went on to OT and put the game away for good. Now down just 3-2 in the series, you have to wonder if the Grizzlies are shook. Then again, I doubt anything in the world can shake Z-Bo and Tony Allen. Those two are too hood for the hood.
Kevin Durant was Kid Delicious last night. Dropping a cool 41 points and helping his team close out the series in 5 games. But before we get into this, I want to tell you that Kevin Durant’s back court/front court call by the refs was the correct call. If you don’t know what I am talking about, let me explain. Durant caught the ball running towards the mid-court line. When he caught the ball, his foot was on the line, which is perfectly legal. His next step and dribble put his other foot on the line and the ref immediately called a back court violation. However, the ref on the baseline came running in and all three refs huddled and overturned the call. A lot of people were upset over this call and thought that Oklahoma was bailed out by the refs. In reality, this was the correct call and here is why:
The rules state that a player isn’t technically in the front court until both his feet and the ball are completely past the mid-court line. Durant never got both feet across that line since both of his steps were on the line, therefore it was the correct call to overturn the original back court violation. What ensued after the play was overturned was a complete breakdown by the Nuggets. Durant got free, caught the ball, took a few dribbles and pulled up inside the arc to nail a 19 foot jumper to give the Thunder a 100-97 lead.
When Durant is in the zone there is nothing like it in the world. A 22-year old, 6’11″ silky smooth shooter that can get almost any shot he wants. Last night he did just that. According to NBA Analyst, Kevin Pelton, the Thunder scored 18 points on their last 8 possessions which is a ridiculous 225.0 Offensive Rating. Durant had 14 of those points and an assist in that span. And it wasn’t just a one sided effort by the NBA’s scoring champ. He came up with a few key stops including blocking a J.R. Smith 3-pointer, that could have potentially tied the game with under 10 seconds to go.Speaking of blocks, Serge Ibaka had 9 of them, all of which were crucial to their victory.
The only thing souring this victory was Russell Westbrook going Starbury. Again. Shooting an ugly 3 of 15 for 14 points and just 4 assists is bad news from your team’s point guard. To do that while ignoring your team’s best player who just happens to be the NBA’s leading scorer I tragic news. At some point coach Brooks is going to have to speak to Westbrook about his new found fame and his propensity to chuck the rock. Russell’s only been a point guard for 3 years now, before that he was always designated a 2-guard. His primary job on the court has always been to get buckets so I understand this is just part of the growing pains but you don’t want to see those pains develop into an incurable illness down the road. Maybe next season, OKC should explore running West at the 2 and Eric Maynor at the 1. Either way, this was a fun series despite spanning just 5 short games.
Orlando Magic @ Atlanta Hawks – 7:30 PM EST on NBAtv: I’m pretty sure this entire series has been on NBAtv. As if Stern wants Howard to not only lose the series but also suffer from terrible national exposure just so he opts out and Joins either the Knicks or the Lakers. Okay, that’s enough conspiracy talk. The Hawks should wrap this series up at home tonight. If it happens, the post-game interviews of Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard are going to be epic.
Los Angeles Lakers @ New Orleans Hornets – 8:00 PM EST on TNT: Kobe’s ankle is the determining factor of this game. If he’s stiff from the travel and the downtime, it’s going to be a long night. Ariza has already outscore Kobe in a couple of games and he has the same confidence he displayed in the Lakers’ 2009 championship march. If the Lakers don’t go to their bigs, we could be headed back to LA for a game 7. With that said, I think LA closes out tonight. They finally woke up in Game 5 and it looks like they are now in playoff form.
Dallas Maverick @ Portland Trailblazers – 10:30 PM EST on TNT: Portland might be all out of juice. Then again, Dallas might not be focused. They do that sometimes, especially in the playoffs. Their lack of focus already cost them Game 4 in which they blew a 20+ point lead. I origanilly picked Dallas in 7 and I’m going to stick with it. Portland wins a close one tonight.
Shane is a contributor to Stacheketball.com, LarryBrownSports.com & NBAoffseason.com. You can find him babbling about basketball all over the net or tune in as he tweets nonsense on twitter @Suga_Shane.