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Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am  |  44 responses

Post Up: King James Still Reigns

LeBron leads Heat over Thunder, Dubs stop Rockets

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Nuggets (25-28) 101, Bucks (10-44) 90

Denver pulled ahead early and never looked back, leading from the tip to the final buzzer in a win over Milwaukee. Kenneth Faried was hot for the second straight game, posting 26 points on 11-15 shooting, pulling down 6 rebounds as well. Wilson Chandler chipped in 15, hitting all three of his 3-pointers, and Randy Foye, starting at point guard, put up a double double with 12 points and 10 assists.

The Bucks were as hapless as usual, shooting a shade under 43 percent while allowing Denver to hit on 51 percent of their attempts. Caron Butler led six players in double figures with 17 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo came off the bench to put up 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Milwaukee missed the chance to win consecutive games for the first time all season.

Heat (39-14) 103, Thunder (41-13) 81

The Heat got revenge for a blowout loss to the Thunder on national TV a few weeks ago, going into Oklahoma City and owning the court in Russell Westbrook’s first game back from injury for OKC. LeBron James dominated the matchup, scoring 14 points and hitting 7-8 shots in the game’s first five minutes to set the tone. James finished with 33 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals (along with 8 turnovers), hitting 15-22 from the field.

LeBron finished just as strongly as he started, flushing a dunk through contact over Serge Ibaka (14 points, 8 rebounds, 5-11 shooting), getting his nose bloodied and heading to the locker room for the remainder of the game in the process. Dwyane Wade had no problem picking up the slack, as the wily vet (he’s reached that stage) posted 24 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 steals. Miami earned a split of the season series with the Thunder and moved within 1.5 games of Indiana for the top seed in the East.

The Thunder looked out of sorts welcoming Westbrook back into the lineup after a 27-game absence. They watched the Heat sprint to a 30-13 lead in the first quarter, and allowed similar runs to start the third and fourth quarters. Kevin Durant struggled early but battled his way to 28 points on 10-22 shooting while committing 5 TOs. Westbrook was noticeably rusty, scoring 16 points but shooting 4-12 from the field and often not knowing exactly where his teammates would be; he contributed to some sloppiness, with four of the Thunder’s 20 turnovers. No doubt that once he re-acclimates, the Thunder will go back to being extremely scary.

Warriors (33-22) 102, Rockets (37-18) 99 (OT)

Golden State picked up a crucial win at home, ending Houston’s eight-game winning streak in a grinding defensive affair. Stephen Curry (25 points, 6 assists, 5-8 from 3-point range) lofted a lefty layup in high off the glass in the final seconds to force OT, then gave the Warriors the lead for good when he splashed in a 3-pointer to open the scoring in the extra period. David Lee came up big for the Dubs, going for 28 points (11-22 shooting) and 14 rebounds, his third straight 20-10 game.

James Harden carried the Rockets on a night when Dwight Howard and pretty much everyone else struggled offensively. Harden scored 39 points (14-27 shooting), getting 15 of them in the fourth quarter, 30 after halftime and hitting a mean step-back jumper to give Houston the lead at the end of regulation before Curry’s layup. Dwight dominated the glass, pulling down 21 rebounds, but struggled against the tough Warriors defense and scored 11 points on 4-13 shooting. The Rockets as a team struggled from all over outside of Harden, shooting just 36.6 percent despite the Beard’s stellar night. Chandler Parsons was just 8-24 for his 21 points, and Omer Asik  was the only Rocket outside of Harden to hit even half of his shots.

This was the type of game that Golden State will have to win consistently to make their move in the West. The Dubs shot under 40 percent on the night, but their hard-nosed defense combined with once again limiting their turnovers helped them gut it out. The Warriors had gone 5-5 in their previous 10 games at home, an very mediocre stretch for a team with an incredible home atmosphere.

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  • JJ Jones

    Damn that 1st quarter had me.thinking that this would be lebrons 60 point game too bad they stopped feeding him the ball. I still dont understand why that decided to bring westbrook back for THIS game and throwing him into the fire literally. Durant really should have recognized that this wasnt the game to be playing passive just because he wanted to get westbrook back into things. Someone really needs to get in his ear and tell him to stop playing so damn soft around westbrook. Everybody else seems to understand this except him

  • Nathan Shane Long

    I loved watching LeBron kick Durant’s ass the whole game don’t worry folks LeBron will get his 5th MVP no problem

  • Pppinoy

    Durant and OKC got raped! I apologize for using that word. But that was a disgusting thumping. I am a Lebron James hater but tonight I have mad respect for the man.

  • Tmzulator

    How was that hit to the face not a foul? Lebron gets props for finishing the play after getting slapped, then getting slapped on the way down.

  • JML-G

    OKC cant have none wont have none while King James is running things @ South Beach

  • LakeShow

    These finals, both the O’Brien and the Western and Eastern, will be epic.

  • JJ Jones

    Im sure the game would have been more competitive had westbrook not comeback yet. Brining back a player as dynamic as him was going to disrupt chemistry especially against THIS team

  • JJ Jones

    Not necessarily miami probably as to get the best record at this point to win mvp. Besides 1 game isnt going to erase everything kd has done all season. Kd starts slumping then sure give it to james

  • Slick Ric

    Lebron didnt come to play last night, SMH at KD.

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Westbrook is back that will kill all of KD’s momentum

  • christianbullen

    that lefty layup by curry was ridiculous.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he flopped or something, he’s the king of the flop, LeFlop James, every time you breathe on him it’s a foul. this is just the refs getting it right. that blood? flop blood.

  • bringbackthesonics

  • DeMacksBack

    I’m not to sure about that, I think it was going to be a blowout either way. Sure you can say that Westbrook coming back disrupted the chemistry, but that Miami defense last night was just crazy. That was the championship defense everyone has been waiting to see and it was a beauty to see. They forced 20 turnovers, while also making the Thunder shoot 38% from the field overall.

  • JJ Jones

    U act like kd hasnt had mvp caliber seasons with westbrook in the lineup. The fact of the matter is that kd carried this roster to the best record in the league and took down top contending teams doing so

  • JJ Jones

    I will say that his reputation for flopping is probably why he isnt getting calls now that and his build

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • JJ Jones

    How many of those turnovers were simply from being out of sync though? Anytime u add someone as dynamic and ball dominant as westbrook theres bond to be growing pains which is why said it was a bad idea to bring him back for this game. Just watch how passivekd was

  • JJ Jones

    Flopping reputation

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Durant has been a great scorer since 2010 that means nothing to me tho and Durant carrying OKC means nothing since he will fail in the playoffs yet again

  • DeMacksBack

    Only 5. So 15 of the 20 turnovers were actually forced and if you don’t believe me here is the link: http://on.nba.com/1f562TH . Miami actually stopped the Thunder’s offense by, doubling on the screens, which made all the ball handlers panic and turn the ball over, contesting everything inside and hounding KD like crazy. KD also had to be passive, because Battier was actually doing a good job defending one-on-one and when he got passed Battier there were like 2-3 defenders waiting on him. Don’t say they were out of sync, because that’s not the case. Miami came to ball and thats exactly what they did. Miami’s Def Rtg is at 106 and last night it was at 87. So you can’t honestly tell me OKC was just out of sync?

  • bike

    Kicking and a’ floppin…
    .
    in the mud…
    .
    and the blood…
    .
    and the beer.

  • LakeShow

    James Harden is so cocky. That dude… Acts like he is one of the all time greats.

    So glad the GS pulled out the win. He thought he won it after his bucket.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i really can’t believe people don’t see how conceited that dude is.

  • JJ Jones

    I saw it in okc

  • Dagger

    If the only word you can think of to describe a decisive defeat is “raped,” I question your vocabulary. Smh.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i realized it when he chose being the man at ASU over competing for championships elsewhere

  • LakeShow

    It was pretty easy for us Lakers fans to see quickly.

    He exchanged unpleasant words and got physical while being a 6th man in his 2nd year with the 2nd greatest shooting guard of all time (whom was in his 14th season after just winning his 5th chip).

    Reminded me of Bynum going at Shaq in his rook season.

    Just disrespectful.

  • LakeShow

    Didn’t you see their orifices getting rammed!?

  • JJ Jones

    What age did mj win a title? How about lebron? Kd has lost to the eventual champs every year with the exception of last year history has shown that hes probably going to get his at some point

  • Nathan Shane Long

    It won’t be during LeBron prime or with OKC tho

  • bringbackthesonics

    Best exit I’ve ever seen

  • JJ Jones

    So basically when he hits 27 years old? Who will be around to stop him in 3 years? They could possibly win as soon as this year if miami gets beat by indians so I would just chill before saying hes going to fail

  • JJ Jones

    He represents every negative aspect of the game today

  • Whoareyou

    Why is your attitude any different (or is it) to any of the other, younger “confident” stars in the L? Paul George, Westbrook, occasionally Hibbert come to mind. I classify each of them under the same category. I won’t go out and say they’re cocky, but they definitely aren’t humble.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Well in my opinion all NBA players have to be irrationally confident to some degree, and I don’t necessarily think Harden being conceited is a terrible thing, he’s just talked about as some kind of ultra unselfish guy because of the role he played in OKC….which is like pretending the context of his situation was irrelevant (teammates / salary)

  • Happy

    No different than you claiming they are a dynasty before a single championship has ever been won. It’s weird you don’t see that.

  • JJ Jones

    First of all I said this team was built to be a dynasty not that they are already. I really dont get why your so offended by that statement. Instead of bringing that.same thing up over and over again like a broken record that wont shut the f*ck up why dont u explain how im wrong. True or false ?The thunder right now are built for long term success.

  • Happy

    That’s your same response every…single…time someone explains to you why you are wrong. No matter what, you come back with the same stupidity. Newsflash, if someone contradicts you with facts and realities, THAT IS THEIR EXPLANATION. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean they haven’t explained themselves, especially because often times the votes convey that you are the only one lost on people’s explanations.
    You contradict yourself, and then you ask why you contradicting yourself was wrong. Just some examples of your own quotes: In regards to the Thunder’s dynasty in the making,”You are the type that needs to believe something only when you see it”. Several people explained what ‘dynasty in the making implies’, which is that one championship has already been won, not that they are simply built for long term success. In a different argument regarding Lebron’s longevity “I’ll believe it when I see it”. You flip flop, exaggerate, contradict yourself and then you ask why you are wrong when people explain exactly why you are wrong. You don’t admit it, you just edit your comment or build straw man argument rather than address simple points. That pretty much sums up your commenting style on here.

  • Happy

    BTW: If you think “They are a dynasty in the making”, and “they are built for long term success” mean the same thing, you have a bad grasp on the English language.

  • JJ Jones

    Ok then whats your defintion of success losing for years to come? Answer my damn question already instead of trying to prove me wrong (u havent yet). Are the thunder not built to win multiple titles in the future barring injury yes or no. Also do u really think lebron will age as seamlessl as mj/kobe given his dependence on transition baskets and an inconsistent jumpshot?(which will be contested later in his career)Durant just had a a 42 and 10 following his weak game against miami while chris bosh and the heat just won WITHOUT lebron.(the reason why I have kd as mvp) so again where was I wrong?

  • the real

    For the record I dont get why its a cardinal sin to say that lebron wont adjust to age as well as other greats. Hes special because of his athleticism not his basketball abilities except passing. For some reason this is a sensitive subject for lebron fans but I recall stephen a smith making the same point about how jump shooters last longer in this league then physical specimens like lebron especially considering how much energy it takes to replicate tthe kind of all around play he provides dont be surprised is 2 years if lebronbegins struggle against father time.

  • LakeShow

    Yeah, pretty much.

    Flopper, no defense, shoots too many ill advised jumpers, cocky, doesn’t accept responsibility, disrespectful to the past greats and their accomplishments.

    That looks like the whole cake.

  • JJ Jones

    Dont forget lack of discipline partying during the nba finals

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