NBA Playoffs Heat Celtics Game 5: Celtics move on, Heat move to summer of mystery

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The rumors of the demise of the Boston Celtics have been greatly exaggerated.

The Celtics didn’t dominate the Heat in Game 5 of their first round series in Boston, but they left no doubt. They are still a contender, and Miami is not. Boston, looked at by many, including your devoted author here, as a team primed for an upset, won the series comfortably, easily, efficiently, keeping the Heat at arm’s length for all but one Wade-Nova game.

Paul Pierce was the hero, clocking in 21 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, including a variety of up and under moves that left the Heat defenders looking downright silly. On top of that, Ray Allen had the stroke tonight, scoring 24 points including 5 of 6 from the arc. When those things happen, and the Celtics play defense at the absolute apex of their potential, they’re pretty tough to beat, for any team.

But let us not go forward without taking a moment to celebrate the spectacular fail of the Miami Heat in this series. Tonight the Heat outside of Dwyane Wade shot 38% from the field. Take Mario Chalmers one, useless good night (6-13, 20 points, 2 unimaginably stupid fouls), and you’re looking at 35%. The Heat weren’t just off. No one wanted to shoot. It was an epic fail.

So now Boston advances to face Cleveland, with LeBron James dealing with an elbow injury. A chance for redemption and to advance to the Finals is before them, and they now firmly believe that they can accomplish whatever they need if they focus and execute.

The Heat? They turn to free agency, hoping to pull in enough talent to wash away the horrifically bad taste of this playoff run and re-sign the franchise, Dwyane Wade.

One team has young talent and one of the top five players in the league. The other is an aging squad trying to hold on to relevance. And yet that’s the team that looks like it’s ready to compete for a championship, while the other looks like a lottery team that snuck in the back door.

Get ready for the bloodbath, Celtics-Cavs starts Saturday.

Nick Young wears Gilbert Arenas’ old shoes during game (PHOTO)

Nick Young, Devin Harris
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In a disastrous Lakers season, one thing can be counted on (besides Byron Scott saying absurd things about Kobe Bryant): Nick Young will always be able to lighten the mood. He brought some levity to the Lakers’ blowout loss to the Warriors on Tuesday night with a blast from the past: a pair of gold shoes formerly worn by his ex-Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas.

These shoes, like Swaggy, and like Gilbert before the injuries and the guns, are awesome and should be celebrated.

Blake Griffin hits acrobatic three-pointer to beat the shot clock (VIDEO)

Blake Griffin
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During the third quarter of the Clippers’ Tuesday night win over the Nuggets, Blake Griffin had some SportsCenter-worthy acrobatics that had nothing to do with dunking. He caught a ball in the air behind the three-point line as the shot clock expired and sank this buzzer-beater:

It was just his third made three of the season.

Report: Hornets sign head coach Steve Clifford to three-year extension

Steve Clifford
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With the Hornets fighting for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, head coach Steve Clifford’s future with the team has been a mystery hanging over their heads. Clifford, in his third year with the team, was set to become a free agent after this season. Not anymore. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that the Hornets have signed Clifford to a contract extension that will keep him in town through the 2018-19 season:

The Charlotte Hornets and coach Steve Clifford have come to an agreement on a multi-year extension, the Observer has learned.

The deal includes a three-year guarantee that would keep Clifford in his current role through the 2018-19 season.

In Clifford’s first year with the Hornets (then the Bobcats) in 2013-14, they made the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history. This season, they’re off to an 8-6 start despite losing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a season-ending shoulder injury during the preseason.
With several teams potentially having openings this summer, it was smart of the Hornets to keep Clifford off the market.

Griffin, Jordan each score 18, Clippers beat Nuggets 111-94

Blake Griffin
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DENVER (AP) Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan each scored 18 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 111-94 on Tuesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Jordan finished with 11 rebounds and four blocks, while Griffin had 10 rebounds. Chris Paul had 15 points and 10 assists to give the Clippers (7-7) three players with double-doubles.

The Clippers, who hadn’t been under .500 this far into a season under Doc Rivers, made eight 3-pointers after coming into the game at 31.3 percent.

The Clippers hit their first four shots from deep, missed their next seven but found the stroke again when Jamal Crawford hit a halfcourt shot to give them an 83-72 lead at the end of the third.

Danilo Gallinari led Denver with 20 points and had a career-high 18 rebounds.

Crawford scored the Clippers’ first seven points of the fourth quarter to push the lead to 90-76. He finished with 15 points.

Denver started fouling Jordan, and the center was just 7 of 16 from the line in the fourth, but Denver couldn’t hit enough shots to close the gap.

His dunk on a lob from Paul gave the Clippers a 110-93 lead.

Griffin was struggling from the field until he hit a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock midway through the third. He hit two more shots and fed Jordan for a dunk to give the Clippers a 73-62 lead.

Rookie Nikola Jokic had 16 points and Gary Harris scored 14 for the Nuggets, who have lost four straight and fell to 3-5 at home.


Clippers: J.J. Redick had 16 points. … Griffin reached double digits in rebounds for the first time in seven games. He averaged 6.5 boards in his previous six games. … The Clippers were outrebounded for the 12th time in 14 games. They are 5-7 when that happens.

Nuggets: All of Gallinari’s rebounds came on the defensive end. … F Kenneth Faried missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. With C Joffrey Lauvergne (low back strain) also out, the Nuggets were down to 11 players. … Mike Miller made a rare first-half appearance and gave the Nuggets a jolt with two 3-pointers in seven minutes off the bench. He finished with nine points.


Clippers: Host Utah on Wednesday night.

Nuggets: Host San Antonio on Friday night.