A little late today, but I was doing some reporting at the Durham Bulls game this afternoon. Look for my article in a few days… Ok, I’m not really going to write about AAA baseball, but it was fun.
Miami 101 – Pacers 93 (series tied 2-2)
In game 3, the Pacers blew out the Miami heat 94-75 to take a 2-1 series lead. Dwayne Wade had the worst game of his playoff career, going 2/13 from the floor for 5 points. Lebron James could have called out his All-Star teammate after the game and blamed the loss on him, but that’s not really his style. Instead, the 3 time MVP, stepped up his own game and forced Wade to come along for the ride. By the third quarter the two of them were playing some of the most beautiful basketball I’ve seen all year. James had one of the all-time great playoff performances (40 points 18 rebounds and 9 assists) when everything was said and done and Wade busted out of his slump (22 second half points, 30 overall).
That’s what makes Lebron so great. There is literally nothing he can’t do on a basketball court. He’s playing out of position at the 4 while Chris Bosh is hurt and he still put up the best playoff stat line in 25 years. It’s also what makes him so frustrating to so many people too. He’s capable of doing things we’ve never seen before, but he also isn’t happy unless his teammates come along for the ride with him. He’s just not a “me” player, he’s a “we” kind of guy. The problem is, when you’re as good as James, sometimes a bad shot from you is better than a good shot from your teammates. I’m sure there will be more 4th quarter struggles for this team, because frankly, they’re just not that good of a team overall. They might even lose this series against the Pacers. Indiana has a much better team than I gave them credit for. However, they do have the best basketball player in the world and another top 10 player, so it will certainly be entertaining to watch.
Lakers 90 Thunder 106 (OKC wins 4-1)
Now on to the other polarizing NBA superstar. In case you weren’t paying attention in the last recap, I took a subtle shot a Kobe Bryant. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that subtle. After game 4, Kobe called out Pau Gasol for not being more aggressive and turning the ball over. Doesn’t look like it did much good does it?
Look. Kobe Bryant is one of the most competitive guys in the history of the league. But he’s also played with Pau for several years now and should know that’s not the way to motivate him. Part of being a leader isn’t just screaming at your teammates all the time. That’s what made Phil Jackson so important to the career of Kobe Bryant. He kept that aggression in check and made a team full of different egos work together. Now, Kobe is on the loose again and Gasol will likely get shipped out of town this offseason even after bringing Kobe his 4th and 5th rings.
Another dirty little secret is that Kobe just isn’t able to put a team on his back anymore. In game 5 he was 18/33 for 42 points, but had zero assists and his teammates weren’t kept involved enough to help him out once he became tired in the 4th quarter. Kobe can still score, but when he was in his prime he could get those numbers while still playing facilitator at times. That player is gone and Bryant is nothing more than a volume shooter these days. If he wants to tie Jordan with six rings he’s going to have to concede some.
I’ll also add that Oklahoma City is really, really good. Kobe would never pass the torch on his own, so Kevin Durant just snatched it from him. In nine playoff games so far, Durant has hit 3 game winning shots. A new legend is being born before our eyes…
Indiana at Miami
I’m writing this post as the game is about to start, so I figured I would just add some thoughts as things go along
- Miami has to get some help with their outside shooting. Shane Battier hit a couple 3’s in game 4 and has already knocked down a couple more in the first three minutes. He looks to be out of his slump.
- Roy Hibbert is the most important player for the Pacers. They are a completely different team when he is on the floor. Even with Lebron’s monster performance in game 4, Indiana may have still won had Hibbert not been in foul trouble.
- Miami is playing very aggressive early and the Pacers can’t hit a shot. 19-8 Miami with 3:56 left in the 1st quarter.
- It’s early, but James and Wade only have 6 of the Heat’s 21 points. That’s a great sign for Miami.
- Do Pacers fans even like Danny Granger?
- James hits a 3 with 0.9 seconds left in the quarter and Miami ends the 1st up 26-20.
Ok, that’s it for the live blog. I’m going to actually watch the game now.
Devils at Rangers (series tied 2-2, 8:00 NBCSN)
I can’t lie to you guys. I haven’t watched any hockey since the NBA playoffs started. But I do know that this series sounds like it’s completely insane. Barry Melrose said Henrik Lundqvist had the best playoff game of his career in game 3 when he shut the Devils out. In game 4 New Jersey came back with a convincing win that I’m sure caused John Tortorella to murder a drifter. Game 5 will be just as intense so make sure you watch and tell me what happens for my post Tuesday. Thanks!
Sorry I was late, but I put more effort than usual into this one to make up for it. Fair? Also, feel free to yell at me in the comments section about my Kobe/Lebron opinions.