@SteveNash back on the court with us!
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (Sporting Alert) — Kevin Durant powered the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 105-94 victory over the LeBron James-led Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA finals, here at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Tuesday.
Watch Video Highlights Thunder 105 v Heat 95
Durant, who played for 46 of the 48 minutes, scored 36 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the win for the Thunder, which outscored Miami 31-21 in the fourth quarter.
“Well, those guys, they came out on fire. They were passing the ball well, knocking down shots. We just wanted to continue to keep playing,” Durant said.
“It’s a long game, and every time our coach was just saying, ‘Play harder, play harder,’ and that’s what we did.”
Russell Westbrook supported well with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, while Serge Ibaka added 10 points and six boards.
For Miami, LeBron James led the way with 30 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Dwyane Wade had 19 points and eight helpers, with Shane Battier ending with 17 points, starting in the forward position.
Game 2 of the series is Thursday night again here in Oklahoma City.
SAN ANTONIO (Sporting Alert) — After sweeping the defending champions Dallas Mavericks and making light weight of the LA Lakers, the Oklahoma City Thunder now turns its attention to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, starting on Sunday night.
Both teams have been impressive in the post season and will back themselves talented enough to win the series and move on to the championship game to face either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics, which start their series in the East on Monday.
San Antonio got to this stage by sweep the LA Clippers and star forward Tim Duncan is looking forward to getting the series on the road.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been in the Western Conference finals,” Duncan said. “And it’s been a week kind of sitting here stewing and waiting on it.
“All of that together makes it an exciting series to start.”
Kevin Durant and the Thunder have been playing like champions and a few pundits believe that after seeing them eased past Kobe Bryant and Lakers in five games, a win at the AT&T Center would set things up nicely for the series win.
At the same time though, a level headed Durant believes it will be a tough series.
“I know they’re the No. 1 seed — they’re a tough group, they haven’t lost in a couple months.
“But I think we bring another dimension to the table as well and we come out and compete.”
OKC v Spurs Stats Leaders
Kevin Durant – (OKC) – 28.0
Russell Westbrook – (OKC) – 23.6
Tony Parker – (SA) – 18.3
James Harden – (OKC) – 16.8
Tony Parker – (SA) – 7.7
Russell Westbrook – (OKC) – 5.5
Manu Ginobili – (SA) – 4.4
James Harden – (OKC) – 3.7
Tim Duncan – (SA) – 9.0
Kevin Durant – (OKC) – 8.0
Serge Ibaka – (OKC) – 7.5
Kendrick Perkins – (OKC) – 6.6
Boston, MA (Sporting Alert) — Star point guard Rajon Rondo came up big for Boston on Saturday night as the Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 85-75 in Game 7 and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals.
Rondo finished the game with a triple-double, his ninth in playoffs action – after ending with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He also had three steals in the win.
The All-Star guard stepped up big time to score nine straight points for Boston after captain Paul Pierce, who had 15 points and nine board – fouled out with 4:16 left in the game.
Kevin Garnett also had 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, while Brandon Bass added 16 points.
Ray Allen struggled in the early going, but hit two big three pointers late in the game to finish with 11 points for the Celtics.
Andre Iguodala led the way for the 76ers with 18 points and four rebounds, with Elton Brand and Jrue Holiday both added 15 points to the stats.
Brand also had six rebounds, while Holiday collected nine assists, five steals and three boards in the defeat.
The Boston Celtics will now take on the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat for the conference title and place in the championship game, starting on Monday.
INDIANAPOLIS (Sporting Alert) — Dwyane Wade scored 28 of his 30 points in the second half and LeBron James dropped another double for the Miami Heat to beat the Indiana Pacers 101-93 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal Sunday.
Wade, who shot just 2 of 13 for five points in game three, started with zero points in the first 22-minutes and had just eight in the first half.
However, the star guard came alive after the interval and he and James, who scored 40 points in the game, combined for 70 of the team’s overall put-ups.
James came out aggressively to lead the way with points and rebounds after grabbing 18 points in the vital road win.
Udonis Haslem scored 14 important points for the Heat, including two big jumpers down the stretch when Indiana looked as though they were about to make a late surge.
Meanwhile, Danny Granger led the way for the Pacers with 20 points, while Darren Collison finished with 16 off the bench.
Miami, which is without the injured Chris Bosh will host Game 5 on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
LOS ANGELES (Sporting Alert) — The San Antonio Spurs are looking like a title winning team and will get the opportunity to extend their lead in the Western Conference semi-finals against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday.
San Antonio at LA Clippers
Game 3 – Spurs lead 2-0 3:30 PM ABC
Oklahoma City at LA Lakers
Game 4 – Thunder lead 2-1 10:30 PM
San Antonio lead the series 2-0 and can take a dominant 3-0 lead in their seven game match-up with victory Saturday at the STAPLES Center.
The Clippers will be using inspirations from fellow city colleagues, LA Lakers, which battled to victory on Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder to cut their series to 2-1.
It however, may not be as easy for Blake Griffin and Chris Paul and the Clippers, who are yet to test the Spurs in the series so far.
But although many are counting them down and Griffin says the mood in the Clippers dressing room is still jolly.
“The mood is still pretty good,” the All-Star forward told reporters Friday after practice. “We’re not completely out of this.”
At the same time though, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro says his team will be approaching the game as though it’s the last.
“The next game is our Game 7,” Del Negro said. “We got to fight, we got to claw, we got to do whatever we can.”
Meanwhile, the Lakers, after beating the Thunder in a game many called “a lucky win” – will get the chance to even the series in the second game tonight, also at STAPLES.
Kobe Bryant came up big when called on down the stretch and the Lakers will be hoping he can do that again Saturday night, but do so more consistently.