LeBron James and the Miami Heat lead the NBA Finals 2-1 over Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Through those three games James is averaging 30 points per game, 10 rebounds, four assists and almost two steals per game on 46% shooting. James has been great defensively and shut down Durant in the fourth quarter of game three. The demons that haunted James in last year’s finals against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks seem to have been exercised. James persistence to get to the basket has also put Durant in foul trouble the past two games and Dwyane Wade seems to have found his stride again. However, despite James’ performance in clutch situations throughout the 2012 NBA playoffs, the haters continue to hate. This begs the question; will the LeBron haters continue their attack on the King if he finally wins a championship this season?
The LeBron haters have even found flaws in his performance throughout the first three games of these finals series. The loudest argument came after game two when he came in contact with Durant on his last second shot attempt. The LeBron haters blamed the referees for the Thunder loss instead of the Thunder’s seven missed free throws and bad interior defense. In the mind of a LeBron hater, when the Thunder won game one it was because of the stellar play. However, when the Heat won games two and three it because of the preferential treatment they received from the officials.
But the LeBron hate goes way beyond this finals series. For some reason adults have a hard time understanding why someone would leave Cleveland for Miami. The geographical factors are reason alone. James played his heart out for the Cleveland Cavaliers every night for seven seasons and even took them to the NBA finals while leading a team full of Tito Jacksons. The large mistake James made during his move to South Beach was having an hour-long ESPN special to make the announcement. Even though the event’s proceeds went to charity, it was an arrogant, self centered and self-serving move that disappointed NBA fans around the world. However, I have always wondered if New Yorkers would feel different about the special if James would have chosen to be a Knick, or if Cleveland fans would have felt different if he had announced he was staying with the Cavs.
It seems as if LeBron Haters might be as selfish as they accuse James of being. Unlike a lot of our favorite athletes and celebrities, James has kept his name of the tabloids and off of TMZ. James has been charitable, a seemingly model family man and has never thrown his teammates under the bus (I’m looking at you Kobe & Shaq). I could even understand LeBron hate if he was a ball hog or engaged in unsportsmanlike conduct, but neither has ever occurred. The most laughable product of LeBron hate is the way haters have painted the James vs. Durant battle as a battle between good and evil. Instead of what is really is, the two best players in the world fighting for the biggest prize in basketball.
Real NBA fans acknowledge the fact that this is a series featuring a great veteran NBA warrior who has suffered numerous playoff failures against an up and coming team with a great core on the biggest stage for the first time. My money is on the vet, but I am sure the LeBron Haters will have an excuse when he lifts the Larry O’Brien trophy (66 game season, refs, etc.).
That young up-and-coming Oklahoma City team is again making things difficult for the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.
This time, the Thunder might not let the defending NBA champions get past the first round.
Even though Kevin Durant has struggled shooting, and each of the first two games has gone down to the closing seconds, the Thunder have a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-7 series. The first-round series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Thursday night.
Last year, Dallas needed only five games to get past the Thunder’s lineup of 20-something players in the Western Conference finals. But there was an overtime loss by Oklahoma City and every game was tight.
Mavs guard Jason Terry says “Game 3 is Game 7″ for Dallas this time.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
NBA action last night was fantastic but no play or game could match the ferocity of L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin when he dunked through Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. The dunk is of course number one this countdown and sent Twitter into a frenzy last night and this morning. The best about the dunk is that Perkins is a notorious angry man on the court and looked like he just got his bike stolen from the school bully with all his friends watching. Even though the quality of the play in this lockout shortened season has left a lot to be desired these plays and that dunk all receive perfect 10s, even from the German judge.
This season’s version of the NBA playoffs have already featured the elimination of the western conference’s top seeded San Antonio Spurs, a 46 point game from the Orlando Magic’s All-Start center Dwight Howard and a 40-foot three-point bank shot from the Atlanta Hawks sixth man scoring machine Jamal Crawford that helped eliminate Howard’s Magic. The Boston Celtics swept the injury depleted New York Knicks while Kevin Durant lead the Oklahoma City Thunder over the New York Knicks, I mean Denver Nuggets. The championship contending Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and defending champion Los Angeles Lakers also advanced to the second round.
At the beginning of the season I predicted the south beach marriage of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh would lead the Miami Heat to a championship this season. That prediction was looking pretty bad when the Heat started the season 9-8 and lost their first three match-ups against the defending eastern conference champions, the Boston Celtics. However, the Heat won their last regular season game against Celtics pretty convincingly and now lead the squad from Bean town 2-0 in their eastern semifinal best of 7 series.
The Heat have looked super human and the Celtics have looked their age. While Miami moves up, down and over the court at will, the Celtics have looked…..old. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are all fighting injuries while Rajon Rondo has looked disinterested on defense the past two games.
The Heat will capture this series in 5 games and will defeat the Chicago Bulls in the eastern conference finals. As long as Carlos Boozer continues to play poorly, the Bulls will have no chance to reach the NBA finals.