LeBron James Continues To Toy With The NBA; The Clippers Run L.A.

By: 02.15.13
2012 NBA Finals

(design. Ryan Hurst)

Don’t let the final score in Oklahoma City deceive you: this wasn’t the NBA Finals matchup we thought we’d see. Miami was too good for much of the first three quarters and Kevin Durant (40 points, eight rebounds) and Russell Westbrook (26 points, 10 dimes) couldn’t do much about it in Miami’s 110-100 win. OKC was helping the Heat out with turnovers and a cold-shooting start, but those only fed the engine even more that’s powering Miami’s insane run right now. The battle became a one-on-one of a different kind, less consistently between Durant and LeBron James‘ best (39 points, 12 boards, seven assists) and more between LBJ and LBJ. Or, depending on your viewpoint of Bron’s recent run of 30-plus points, 60-percent-plus shooting, Bron vs. basketball’s limitations. He almost had a triple-double midway through the third quarter and personally derailed one Thunder mini-comeback in the second. He is frightening to watch find his groove. … There was a seriously fun stretch to end the first half when LeBron hit a long two off a mini step-back near the left break, then Durant flushed a giant dunk at the rim, which was followed by a Wade heat-check triple. The first half had us glued to the set, don’t get us wrong, but it was lopsided, like big brother Miami had OKC stuck in a headlock. That was one of the first moments of back-and-forth we expected entering the game mostly because OKC was stuck in neutral by a 12-point, six-board, three-block, two-steal half by Chris Bosh — his finest ever, statistically, and he’d end with 20 and 12 — and a LeBron showing turned up a notch with glee by ripping off 10 straight points in less than two minutes when a Thunder fan started heckling him. Did he have a death wish or something? What did he possibly think would happen when he talked mess to a player at the height of his game? … After the Thunder went down by more than 20 points and tried to claw back in in the fourth, Miami gave him an iso on Durant halfway through the fourth and he hit a pure three to go up 99-84, a play that stood as a microcosm to this game. LBJ went away from getting most his shots at the rim and instead locked in from beyond 20 feet (the Thunder had almost twice as many free throw makes as Miami). … Almost more unbelievable than the LeBron-Bosh tag team combo was how Durant stayed in the damn game without any break after falling on his right shoulder hard in the first half. It looked very bad when he went in for a rebound, got caught in the air over a Miami player we can’t remember, then spun around and hit hardwood. We’d be lying if we said shades of Andrew Bogut‘s injury didn’t flash in front of our eyes before he hit with his arm at an awkward angle. But then he stayed in and even took it to the rack soon thereafter. KD does not ice. … Hit the jump to read about Lakers and Clippers …

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