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Thursday, May 16th, 2013 at 9:04 am  |  47 responses

Post Up: On to the Next One

The Heat and Grizzlies advance to the Conference Finals.

Heat 94, Bulls 91 (Heat win series 4-1)

Wearing a brace to keep his right kneecap in place, Dwyane Wade couldn’t find a rhythm through the first three quarters Wednesday night. But Wade led the Miami comeback in the fourth quarter, as the Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight season.

The Heat rallied from 11 points down in the second half and outscored Chicago 25-14 in the final quarter.

After going up by 18 early in the game, the Heat gave the home crowd a big scare as the visitors went on a 49-25 run heading into halftime. Carlos Boozer (26 points, 14 rebounds) and Nate Robinson (21 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists) went off, and Miami looked a lot like the Bulls of Game 4—when Chicago recorded a playoff franchise low in points and field-goal percentage.

Jimmy Butler (19 points, 5 rebounds) hit big shots and snagged key rebounds in the third, and Rip Hamilton (15 points) nailed a three-ball to put the visitors up 73-63.

But LeBron James (23 points) led the Heat’s fourth quarter charge with buckets in paint and and trips to the foul line. Norris Cole stepped up with a pair of fourth-quarter baskets, including a monstrous left-handed dunk past Joakim Noah that gave the Heat the lead for good with 5:50 remaining.

With a new pair of sneakers and his knee re-taped, Wade (18 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists) looked fantastic in the final five minutes. He blocked a Butler three with 3:21 remaining and slammed home an offensive outback on the next possession.

A Robinson three got the Bulls within three with 1:43 remaining, but both teams failed to score before time expired. Robinson and Butler got good looks on the final possession, yet their shots clanked off the rim and Miami’s gentleman’s sweep was complete.

The undermanned and valiant Bulls team finally fell for good. Passion finally gave way to pain. And the defending Champions will open the Eastern Conference Finals at home next week, as we all knew they would.—Ryne Nelson / @slaman10

Grizzlies 88, Thunder 84 (Grizzlies win series 4-1)

After a Reggie Jackson triple and some missed free throws by Zach Randolph, OKC was within two points with 10 seconds left last night. Kevin Durant got himself a great look for a game-tying jumper, but the shot was off the mark, ending Oklahoma City’s season in disappointing fashion.

The Grizzlies are a great team, and deserve a ton of credit for a masterfully played series. They were the better team in Games 2-5, and only lost Game 1 by two points. Marc Gasol struggled early on in Game 5, but was clutch in the fourth. He hit three jumpers in the final five minutes to hold off Oklahoma City’s comeback attempt. He blocked 3 shots while anchoring a stellar defense with a perfect game plan (stop Durant). Randolph missed a few big free throws, but was dominant for the first 45 minutes of the game. In all, he scored 28 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and got to the line 16 times. Serge Ibaka was no match for him all series.

Mike Conley continued to pick defenses apart, and finished with 11 assists, though he did need 18 shots to score 13 points. Conley committed just 2 turnovers, and his Playoff assist: turnover ratio is now a ridiculous 7.6: 1.9. After knocking off Chris Paul in the first round, Conley was great all series in Round 2.

Tony Allen scored 11, including a big and-one late. He was great defensively against Durant in the series, and will battle a very good shooting guard next round—either Klay Thompson or Manu Ginobili. We’ll probably see some of him on the opposing star point guard, too.

Kevin Durant missed his first six shots on Wednesday and never found his groove. He finished with 21 points and missed 16 of his 21 shots overall (0/4 from downtown). He got to the line 15 times and knocked down 11 free throws, but also committed 7 turnovers. The stat line is pretty bad, as is losing four straight games in the postseason as a No. 1 seed but neither is entirely Durant’s fault.

The Grizzlies constantly swarmed him with multiple defenders and made him give the ball up or take impossible shots. Derek Fisher hit a big three late in the game, but finished 3-of-11 overall. Kevin Martin likely ended his Thunder career with a 3-for-6 effort. Reggie Jackson (16, 7/15) and Serge Ibaka (17, 8/17) came on at the very end, but it was too late for OKC.

The Thunder found success by speeding up the pace and driving to the basket. They made a big comeback in the third quarter, closing on a 16-4 run, and in the final few minutes of the game they started finding easy buckets around the rim, especially when Durant drove to the hoop. The late spark makes Scott Brooks’ decision to slow down the offense and live off of Durant isolations all series look even worse than it already did (it already looked really bad).

It’s hard to believe how far the Thunder have fallen in a year. In June of 2012, they were up 1-0 in the NBA Finals with a core of Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and James Harden. 11 months later, they’ve been bounced in the second round with a team featuring a frustrated Durant, a less fun version of Ibaka (who did not step up when the team needed him to), an injured Westbrook, Martin, who is about to become a free agent, and no Harden. Also Kendrick Perkins got even worse than he was a year ago.

Still, it’s not so bad. Westbrook will be back next season and Durant is still the best player in the Conference. Also, they have a few interesting prospects on the roster and own two first-round picks and an early second-rounder in the upcoming draft. They’ll be an elite team in the West again next season.

Meanwhile, Memphis will draw one of two tough teams in the Western Conference Finals. Z-Bo and Gasol created major mismatches in Round 2, and I don’t think Golden State or San Antonio has the personnel to handle them (imagine the Warriors’ small-ball 4, Harrison Barnes, trying to guard Randolph in the post). The Warriors and Spurs like to go small, but Memphis was dominant when the Thunder tried it. The Grizzlies have been the best team in the West in these Playoffs, and will advance having won eight of their last nine games.—Leo Sepkowitz

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    Kevin Durant wouldn’t have shot so bad if he hadn’t been doing all those chores for that asian lady.

  • Max

    WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALSSSSS!!!!!

  • Guest

    Kendrick Perkins is stinky poo.

  • Guest

    ..

  • Max

    Kendrick stinky poo Perkins.

  • Max

    KD so tired about coming in second, he going out 7th place!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i really thought Durant would win one of those games on his own…..but he progressively got worse during the series.

  • Slick Ric

    Jimmy did about as good of a defensive as I have seen on Lebron this whole series. He’s going to be on one of those All defensive teams one day.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    I don’t think he got worse. I think Memphis’ defense got more and more outrageously focused on stopping him. At first they respected the other players, and then they decided “These guys are complete bums. No more respect for them.” Think about how many wide open shots the other players had because the Grizzlies were focused on never allowing Durant to shine.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    this sounds more accurate. i still thought he would be able to over come that though and lead OKC to one big win. but that team was so lost.
    .
    .
    and 71% of my blame goes to Scott Brooks for the overall fight OKC put up. What a pathetic excuse for a gameplan having Durant play point forward, and having him touch the ball 30 feet from the hoop on every possession.

  • JML-G

    i remember that when OKC got him, everybody was like – Perk gon be our key to championship and second most important player.. lmao

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Imagine if OKC still had Jeff Green and James Harden… just saying (assuming they would’ve been able to afford them).
    1. Westbrook
    2. Durant
    3. Green
    4. Ibaka
    5. Collison
    6th man: James Harden.
    Then, in crunch time, they could’ve run a line-up of Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Green and Ibaka. Whew.

  • http://twitter.com/_brandonallen Brandon Allen

    Kendrick Perkins is killing the Thunder. They’ve got to get a center who can play basketball next season…

  • RayJr

    Glad to see that nobody from the Bulls or Thunder rolled over and quit ala Dwight Howard. They are going to be much better teams next season when they get healthy.

    Also, Kendrick Perkins has to be the worst offensive player to ever come out of high school, and yes I am including past players who didn’t last.

  • Max

    Kenrick Perkins has to be the worst offensive player to ever play in the NBA.

  • LakeShow

    Or not… Considering Iggy has only made it once….
    He’s great, don’t get me wrong.

  • RayJr

    Kwame “baby hands” Brown?

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    You know I’ve been calling Scott Brooks the worst for the past two or three years.

  • fruizm

    hahaha

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yeah, I remember both of us lambasting his deficiencies game planning that year they lost to LA in the playoffs. .
    Luckily the absence of Westbrook exposed him completely. If he doesn’t get to the finals next year, next year will be his last I’m confident.

  • Max

    Nah, he averaged 11pts a season once.
    He’s just the worst no1 pick ever.

  • Caboose

    Desagana Diop. Let’s be serious here.

  • Max

    You have a point.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Festus Ezeli

  • Slick Ric

    Butler plays for the Bulls though…

  • Sergio

    Man, Perkins isnt even the worts defensive player in his own team – did you all forget of Hasheem Thabeet, who was, amazingly, a number 2 pick?

  • davidR

    he was ballin those first 2 games. says a lot about your team if those performances weren’t enough/barely enough to win

  • http://twitter.com/SarahDa35527142 Sarah David

    іf y○υ tһіոκ сһrіs`s st○ry іs υոbеlіеvаblе…, lаst раy-сһеqυе my sіstеr bаsісаlly еаrոt $9886  w○rκіոg twеlvе һ○υr’s а wееκ fr○m tһеrе һ○υsе аոd tһеrе frіеոd’s m○m`s ոеіgһb○υr wаs d○іոg tһіs f○r f○υr m○ոtһs аոd mаdе ○vеr $9886 раrt-tіmе аt tһеrе lаbt○р. υsе tһе gυіdе аvаіlаblе ○ո tһіs раgе. ..Fox83.com

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yeah no doubt. His performances are very impressive, especially playing in a role he is not at all accustomed, or suited to thrive in.

  • davidR

    who do you think is best suited to coach the thunder if brooks is out?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Stan Van Gundy

  • davidR

    yea, festus is pretty bad, but at least still has time to grow as he’s still a rookie. perk is terrible this late in his career

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Truuuuue

  • Max

    Atleast he doesn’t make 10 mill a year.

  • Guest

    LOL

  • Max

    lol.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    That’s another year of Durant’s greatness wasted. You can’t assume that he’ll stay injury free and be great. OKC needs to make the smart move now.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    YES!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i agree completely……but i’m not speaking on what i would do. just what i am pretty positive Oklahoma City will.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    or just imagine if the Tyson Chandler didn’t fail his physical after the trade in 2009.
    .
    Starters, RW – JH – KD – SI – TC
    6th Man – Jeff Green.

  • LakeShow

    That’s my dood right there!

  • pposse

    SVG offense was such a gimmick in Orlando; one monster defensive rebounder and a gang of three pt shooters. Admittedly it worked to an extent, but look at the fall out from his superstar; DH was never really in agreement with the offense, how can he be trusted to coach two superstars now?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    SVG wasn’t running a gimmick offense. He was running the best offense for the talent he had at his disposal. He took a team with Hedo Turkoglu as it’s second best player….to the finals. That’s impressive.
    .
    DH has problems everywhere, with everyone. And he was happier in SVG’s offense then he has been in the 2 other systems he played this year.
    .
    SVG got along with all of his other players, and has a sterling reputation around the league. The only reason he is not coaching currently is because he keeps turning down offers.

  • pposse

    exactly coaching talent is a lot different than coaching grade B ball players. Its easy to foreshadow numerous disagreements between himself and Russell Westbrook, JVG calling out Westbrook in the media, Westbrook clowning on his coach to the media etc. etc. The Dallas Mavs coach would be perfect. Maybe run the triangle out there in OKC with Brian Shaw.

    The issue i see is how stubborn JVG is and how stubborn RW can be and KD having to be the middle man while also being the most important player on the court, just seems like a distraction to me. I will say this though, JVG would be smart to keep turning down jobs, he probably will get this job once Brooks fails.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    There is no reason to just assume those things. There is absolutely no evidence that there would be an issue between the OKC players and any coach. There is no evidence that RW would be a problem for his coach. You can speculate, but you can do that about anyone. Until Westbrook causes a problem, I’m going to assume he won’t in the future. It’s fine if you disagree

  • Noompsi

  • Noompsi

    two chickens and a duck say yr wrong

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