James Harden Ends Dallas’ Title Defense; Chris Paul Is A Monster

By: 05.06.12
James Harden

James Harden (photo. Nicky Woo)

Thank you James Harden. With Dallas in danger of extending the inevitable, – OKC in the second round – the super sub stepped up and destroyed the defending champs down the stretch. Harden finished with 29 points in the Thunder’s six-point win to complete the sweep, and was so good, everyone forgot about KD (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Westbrook in crunch time. Dirk Nowitzki (34 points) was struggling to hold Dallas’ once 13-point fourth quarter lead as OKC hit them with a 12-0 run, which including one spurt where Westbrook had two straight steals, leading to big dunks from Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. Eventually, it spread to a 21-5 run and Durant was in everyone’s face during a timeout to end the series. … One thing does need to be said. We heard a lot of this last night: “If Harden was on another team, he could easily average 25 a game!!!” Um, y’all realize only four players in the entire world averaged at least 25 points a game this year? FOUR. Kobe, Durant, LeBron James and Kevin Love. We love the Beard, but he ain’t that nice. His own teammate, Westbrook, averaged 23.6, and now you suddenly believe the Beard could drop 25 every night? Stop … Jason Terry has always been superstitious, almost to the point of annoying. The dude wears enough socks to outfit an entire village, and before last night’s Game 4, he told CBSSports.com: “I broke every broom in the house. That’s a little superstition, so I don’t think there will be any sweeps going on … We’re going to try the black suit thing – the funeral. And we just hope it’s not ours.” Back to the drawing board, JET … Before we salute Indiana on a 3-1 lead (in all honesty, they really should’ve swept), show some respect to the Magic. Without Dwight Howard, they look like a bunch of junkyard parts thrown together on a whim, and are relying on none other than Big Baby Davis. And down 19 with only eight minutes left, they came storming back yesterday.. all the while Larry Bird was standing behind the Pacers bench ready to suit up and start talking some junk to Big Baby. If it wasn’t for two enormous jump shots from George Hill (12 points), the Magic would’ve pulled off one of the better comeback since Robert Downey Jr. J.J. Redick banged a triple with 38 seconds left to send it to overtime. Even in OT, David West (26 points, 12 rebounds) destroyed Hedo Turkoglu on the block, and still Jameer Nelson tied it at 95 after a three-point play with under two minutes left. In the end, Indiana held on to win, 101-99 after Davis missed a J and fell into the bench. Don’t blame him though. Davis (24 points, 11 rebounds) was dominating off the pick-n-roll. But in fact, the Magic could’ve brought back out 46-year-old Rony Seikaly and he would’ve dominated. Indiana couldn’t stop it. In the fourth quarter alone, Davis got open dunks on three possessions … At one point in the second half, Redick and Hansbrough got into it with Redick slapping the air and Psycho T barely moving. Some UNC/Duke bad blood perhaps? Either way, we’re not sure why anyone would want to mess with Hansbrough. What can you do against a dude who doesn’t fear his own blood/getting mashed in the face? … Keep reading to hear about CP3’s MVP-like performance …

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Chris Paul

Chris Paul (photo. Zach Wolfe)

Before we get any further into this Clippers/Grizzlies series, let’s make an observation: The Grizzlies have the better team, but the Clippers have the best player. In games like yesterday, which the Clips won by one to go up 2-1 in the series, sometimes it really doesn’t matter about the first 44 minutes but instead the final four. Chris Paul‘s 24 and 11 brought the Clippers back after they trailed pretty much the entire way in the fourth quarter, and as the Grizz struggled to find good shots down the stretch, CP3 was orchestrating anything he wanted on the other end. Before Rudy Gay‘s (24 points) ridiculous three with 12 seconds left, Memphis hadn’t scored in seven minutes. Gay would hit one more three before his final attempt wasn’t wet, probably the first time all year he hasn’t come through with the game on the line … The Clippers honestly deserved to lose. They went just 13-for-30 from the line as Blake Griffin (17 points) appears to be able to do everything outside of making free throws and growing a playoff beard … Marc Gasol (11 points, 10 rebounds) had his first second half points… of the entire series last night. WHAT? If Memphis wasn’t so aggressive on defense – the Clippers have had their first three-game stretch of at least 15 turnovers all season – someone in Memphis would’ve noticed this earlier and told O.J. Mayo to stop chucking up every shot he sees … Speaking of Mayo, he had a hard time handling the ball in the first half, turning it over at will, but he did give CP a perfect shot to his balls. No flop needed there … Weren’t the Grizzlies supposed to wear down the Clippers with their depth? During the late first/early second, with mostly bench players in the game for both teams, L.A. went on a 20-3 run to open up a lead they wouldn’t give up until the third quarter … Tony Parker (27 points) took over Game 3 in Utah in the fourth quarter as San Antonio pushed the Jazz to the cusp of their grave, 102-90. Utah played with energy, and the crowd was its usual psychotic self (until they realized at about the five-minute mark of the third that it didn’t faze the Spurs), but San Antonio is so good right now that none of it matters. We wish we had counted the number of extra passes the Spurs made throughout the course of the game. It probably would’ve tripled the number J.R. Smith has had throughout his entire career … Here’s an interesting note to think about going into the Knicks last game of the year today (trust, it’ll happen): the Heat were one of the worst teams in the league at guarding against the three ball during the regular season. But in this series, they’ve held Steve Novak to nine total points … And were it not for freaks of nature like Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin on display, Saturday would’ve been a total throwback special, with horse racing (Kentucky Derby) and boxing taking center stage. Floyd Mayweather Jr. scored a uninamous decision over Miguel Cotto, taking Cotto’s super-welterweight title belt to add to his collection of like 39 championship straps. Floyd actually came out to the ring with 50 Cent and, um, Justin Bieber carrying his belts. Then Triple H joined Floyd’s crew at some point: It looked like Jamie Foxx‘s “Blame it on the Alcohol” video when Foxx was hanging with the most random group of famous guys you could put in one limo … As for the fight, Cotto hit Floyd more often than Floyd usually gets hit — he bloodied Floyd’s nose early and the flow never stopped — but Floyd still won convincingly with his typically slick defense and a few powerful shots of his own. There were no knockdowns, and Floyd won about eight or nine of the 12 rounds. Afterward, Floyd made it sound like he was letting Cotto hit him just to make the fight entertaining. C’mon son … We’re out like Dallas’ title defense.

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