A 2011 Finals Rematch Goes Into OT; Kevin Durant Does Something He’s Never Done Before

By: 01.03.13
LeBron James

LeBron James (photo. David Alvarez)

How often do you see it happen: a visiting team takes control in the fourth quarter before squandering a late chance to grab a W, and then end up getting pounded into submission in the extra session? Dallas is feeling the pain now after letting the Heat off the hook in Miami’s 119-109 overtime win. There’s not much to explain from overtime: Miami just ran Dallas over. The real fun was in the fourth quarter. In the final minutes, LeBron (32 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists) found Shane Battier for one of the biggest shots of the night, a corner three. But he also missed a fadeaway at the buzzer against Vince Carter that would’ve won it for the Heat. On the other side, the ball routinely ended up in VC and Dirk Nowitzki‘s hands, and Dirk (19 points) came through with one of his patented one-footed fallaways. It was the shot that sent the game to OT. The action was dope, but it would’ve been even better had they teleported everyone back in time and played this one (VC/Dirk vs. ‘Bron/Wade) in 2008 … After a few games of drifting back into Memphis mode, O.J. Mayo definitely regained his confidence last night. In the fourth, he hit a 29-footer with Rick Carlisle screaming “Shoot it!” in his ear, and then put on a fireworks show the rest of the way, finishing with 30 points and six assists … Avery Bradley made his presence known almost immediately in his return to Boston’s lineup. The best off-ball cutter in the NBA scored doing just that on one of the game’s opening possessions, and then, even though he picked up a cheap early foul, was harrassing Mike Conley all over the floor like paparazzi on Bieber. Then Paul Pierce (17 points) had a dozen points and three triples before the first quarter was even over, making Memphis’ defense look awful with all of his old man tricks. Too bad the Grizzlies blew it open in the third quarter of their 10-point win, and after Conley (23 points, nine assists) hit a H-O-R-S-E shot from nearly beyond the arc, the TD Bank Garden felt like a funeral home … After watching Darrell Arthur light Boston up in the early second with two consecutive three-pointers, we couldn’t have been the only ones thinking since when has Arthur been a three-point shooter? Guess what? Before last night, Arthur had NEVER made a triple in a NBA game … Remember the other night when we said Indiana was finally unleashing Paul George? He’s eating up that extra screen time, and last night had perhaps the best game of his career (29 points, 14 boards) in Indiana’s eight-point win over the Wizards. Things can’t get much worse for Washington, especially if you leave it up to Stan Van Gundy. The “other” Van Gundy recently said he doesn’t believe John Wall is someone you can build around, that “he’s got great speed and quickness, but point guard is a decision-making position. That’s what makes you great as a point guard, is your decision-making. I haven’t seen any indication that John Wall is a great decision-maker.” … Late in the first quarter, Jordan Crawford (20 points, seven assists) got into the lane and put up a moonshot floater that came down about a foot short of the rim. He caught it and laid it in – unfortunately, that’s illegal. Indiana’s color guy – our old friend Austin Croshere – said, “I’m impressed that he was able to get to his own pass.” Little does Croshere know, but Crawford doesn’t pass (those seven dimes must’ve been a typo). It was definitely a shot … Keep reading to hear about DeMarcus Cousins’ clutch play against Cleveland …

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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant (photo. Nike)

Danny Crawford helped Kevin Durant break down a new barrier last night by tossing him with back-to-back technicals in the closing minutes of Brooklyn’s surprising 110-93 beatdown of OKC. It was the first time KD (27 points) has ever been ejected from a NBA game, and the crowd took it so personally, they were still booing five minutes later. Durant couldn’t help it, not after the Thunder had gotten washed by the Nets over the game’s last few minutes. They had battled all the way back to tie it up at 85, but couldn’t overcome 33 from Joe Johnson, 19 and 13 from Deron Williams, and 25 from Brook LopezDeMarcus Cousins went to another level in Sacramento’s 97-94 win in Cleveland last night. It wasn’t just his scoring (18) or his rebounding (16). He was even making plays for everyone else, whether it was intended – like when he hooked John Salmons up with a perfect crosscourt pass for a triple in the last minute – or unintended – like when he ripped Kyrie Irving but fumbled the ball right to Francisco Garcia on the breakaway for a layup … Irving (22 points) should blame his late game theatrics on the white mask he’s wearing (why would he ditch the Dark Knight?). He threw a possession away, and twice let Aaron Brooks get to his right hand and hit floaters in the lane … Salmons obviously hasn’t shaved in at least two months. His “goatee” looks like a spider web now, and it’s big enough to fit DeMarcus Cousins inside … No one’s game has aged as nicely as Tim Duncan, and he did it all last night in San Antonio’s 117-110 win in Milwaukee. TD put up one of those lines (28 points, 13 rebounds, six dimes, three blocks) that wins fantasy leagues, and he even caught a putback dunk in the second quarter, a part of his game that’s been on the endangered species list for four or five years … Other notable scores and numbers from last night: Steph Curry (31 points, eight dimes) and the Warriors ran the Clippers off the floor by 21; James Harden (31 points, seven helpers) powered Houston over the Hornets, 104-92; Portland got throttled by Toronto, 102-79, and Terrence Ross put in 26 points off the bench; Jameer Nelson exploded for 32 points, but missed the one that counted in the final seconds, and Chicago walked out of Disney World with a 96-94 win; Phoenix overcame Jrue Holiday (16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) and Philly to win, 95-89; and Kevin Love‘s season from Hell continued as Minnesota was grilled and served for dinner in Utah, 106-84. Love shot 4-for-14 and scored 13 points … And in college hoops, Syracuse’s 25-point win over Rutgers wasn’t important because Brandon Triche threw up 25 points. It was big because Jim Boeheim secured his 903rd career win, which moved him above Bob Knight into second all time on the career wins list … We’re out like Ray Lewis.

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