Congratulations, New York. Your Knicks just set the NBA record with 13 consecutive playoff losses. Forget a championship. New Yorkers just want one playoff W before they die. Even with that one, it could be a while. Miami played possum through three quarters before exploding in the final 12 minutes and walked away with a 3-0 lead after a 87-70 win. In a weird way, LeBron James‘ foul trouble came back to help him. He stayed fresh. While everyone else was busy throwing body shot after body shot as if this was Fight Night Round 4, James (32 points, eight turnovers) spent heavy portions of the game on the pine, and then came back in the fourth quarter with eight consecutive quick points to give Miami their first cushion of the game. He did all of this without his beard (still funny to look at) and with the New York crowd chanting “asshole” at him for most of the game … But the Knicks can only slap themselves for not winning. They had their chances in the first half to open up a nice lead, and with guys like Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis at times popping facial blood vessels with how hard they were screaming, the intensity was there. But the execution wasn’t. The Heat closed the half with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to four. We all knew then that Josh Harrellson‘s boys were in trouble … J.R. Smith (5-for-18, 12 points) did a whole lot of un-J.R. Smith things last night (defense, intensity) while also finding time to put in the portion of the menu that we are so used to seeing with him: a NASTY dunk. Smith went baseline in the fourth, double pumped in the air, and finished with a reverse/360/one handed rip … Are we just going to ignore the fact that Shane Battier has gone from “the no-stats MVP” to just another sucky player to the guy who played out-of-nowhere really good D on Carmelo Anthony (7-for-23, 22 points) last night? Yes, the dude could one day run for president, but it’s alright to say the 33-year-old’s defense fell off like Bapes. In the first half last night, we kept clamoring for Miami to double ‘Melo. At the very least, Erik Spoelstra should’ve recognized he can’t check Anthony with one player who is nearly as old as he is. Battier used to be the Kobe Stopper. Now he’s just another average-shooting guy with a bad mat on his head. For example, in the second quarter, Baron Davis took a ride on his Hot Tub Time Machine (Hello Reggie!) and crossed up Battier’s legs before finishing over him in the lane. But give Battier credit for sticking with it and continuously harassing the Knick star all night long, at every turn. Impressive … Later, when it really counted, Davis couldn’t find his throwback again, missing a wide open triple before Mario Chalmers made one on the other end for a six point swing. Chalmers added another one after the timeout just to drive the stake in a little further. All the New York City crowd could do was meekly go out with another weak chant … Speaking of Chalmers (19 points), he got into it again with James last night. On a fast break with LeBron, Chalmers stopped running, and after James turned it over because he thought his point guard would be in the corner, expletives started flying. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it wasn’t even the last time in this game. Stay tuned on this one. There’s some serious Kobe/Smush potential here for down the road … Keep reading to hear about the old guys from the Big D …
It was fun while it lasted, Dallas. But your championship defense is all but finished after getting thoroughly smacked by the Thunder last night, 95-79. Kevin Durant (31 points on 15 shots) and Russell Westbrook (20 points) were the two best players on the court as no one from the Mavs played well at all. To start things off, Dallas did what you would expect a No. 7 seed to do: give the struggling Kevin Durant three consecutive wide open shots (15 points in the game’s first 10 minutes). The NBA’s leading scorer made them all, and then just to add on, got to make a technical free throw just a few possessions later. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how you go from a championship to out in the first round. You do things like give a guy who couldn’t make anything through two games three shots that you and us could hit to start the night … OKC went up 25-11 to start as Rick Carlisle was even getting T’ed up to try to stop the OKC onslaught. Dallas’ shooting in the first half was so up and down we felt like we were looking at a slideshow of Kirstie Alley‘s dieting career. They made five straight shots at the end of the first quarter to eat away at OKC’s big lead, and then started the second quarter by missing their first eight shots to watch the lead blow up again. But the third quarter was where the season really ended for Dallas. They went 4-for-18, let OKC score the last seven points of the period, and just looked plain old as the visitors went up 75-57. From there, Derek Fisher (10 points) helped spearhead a 15-1 run to really make it ugly, his old legs suddenly feeling a lil’ lively being around so many young cats … Really, the only thing you needed to know about this game was Dirk‘s statline. Not only did he miss three of his eight free throws, but he was just 6-for-15 from the floor for a silent 17 points … Charles Barkley at halftime about the Mavs: “You can’t replace the DPOTY… and DeShawn Stevenson.” Ummmm … And it was reported last night that James Harden and Anthony Davis will both be added to the Olympic preliminary roster this summer … We’re out like Mariano Rivera.
Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook