Post Up: Watch This
Heat go up 2-0; Thunder even up series with Grizz.
This is what happens when two of the best basketball players on the planet stop being polite and start getting real. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 63 points to lead Miami to a 102-91 game 2 win. More than just a 2-0 advantage, Miami’s performance showed just how scary good Bron and Wade can be on both sides of the ball when they’re rolling.
After a dozen or go highlight reel plays, it was Miami’s final one that was the most telling. With Miami up 9 and 30 seconds left, KG rose for a short shot. Only problem was that Bron rose higher, hung longer and spiked KG’s shot into oblivion. In the scheme of things, that potential bucket from Garnett would’ve meant little. The block on the other hand was a harsh reminder of how far apart these two teams are athletically and none of that trademark ubuntu/bullying/Celtic mystique will make KG’s knees feel like its 2001 again.
The scarier part for Boston is that beyond the YouTube stuff, Miami out executed them. The Heat got to the basket at will—in both transition and the halfcourt—they made the right pass and played excellent defense. Miami outhustled Boston all game and stood ready to pounce on their smallest slip up. In the fourth, after Boston tied it at 80, Miami went on a 14-0 run over the next four minutes to put this one away.
For the C’s, Rondo led, but not many followed. R-Double had 20 points and 12 assists, but no other Celtic could find a rhythm offensively. Boston’s Big Three combined for just 36 points; in other words just one more point than LeBron got all by himself. Facing its first 0-2 deficit in their Big Three era, Boston’s search for answers begins now. Otherwise this guy could be in for quite a rough summer. —Jonathan Evans
Oklahoma City took a step towards fully avenging their opening-game loss with a strong Game 2 win. Apart from the obvious (the fact that they won), it was a reversal of the opener in the truest sense: They got off to a great start, there was terrific production from the bench, and they held Memphis’ suddenly destructive big men tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol to poor shooting from the field.
It took James Harden exactly four minutes and 29 seconds to exceed his Game 1 total of 5 points; he finished with 21 and held the fort alongside Eric Maynor for a seven minute stretch in the fourth where the Thunder appeared galvanized and with Scotty Brooks sitting Durant and Westbrook. Harden is something of a barometer for the Thunder—when he scores big as that third scorer OKC is a difficult team to beat.
Durant had 26 and the Thunder got 39 points from its point guards, with Westbrook finishing with 24 and Maynor 15, which came especially in handy considering the lack of production from the remaining starters.
Memphis was for the most part lackluster outside of a late run that doubled as scoreboard dressing. Randolph went 2 of 13 from the field while Gasol was just 3 of 9. Adorers of traditional points guards would say Mike Conley arguably outplayed Westbrook for the second straight game; he had 24 and 8 assists and there’s no denying the growth in his game.
The Grizzlies have been here before—heading home with a series tied. They responded by crushing the Spurs in two straight, effectively putting them on the ropes. Oklahoma City hopes to avoid the same fate. This series now has permission to start. —Todd Spehr