LeBron James in Game 7 Saturday was not the LeBron James of Game 6. At least not for the first three quarters. In fact, at the half his performance pretty pedestrian — he and Brandon Bass had matching point totals.
But with the game tight in the fourth quarter, LeBron put his head down, barreled to the hole, led Miami on an 18-4 run and that was enough to give them a 101-88 win, which sends them on to the NBA finals for the second consecutive year.
If Miami plays half a game like that against Oklahoma City they will get blown out of the water. But that’s the problem for tomorrow. Today, the Heat get to celebrate a win.
What Miami did in the fourth quarter was what they needed to do all series against Boston — play good defense and have their stars attack. In the first half Boston’s offense was clicking as they shot 53 percent and built a seven-point lead at the half. It felt like it should have been more. Miami never pulled away and the first 14 minutes of the second half were a see-saw affair.
But in the fourth quarter Boston scored just 15 points on 39 percent shooting. There were moments Rajon Rondo — 22 points, 14 assists — carried the offense but in the fourth he went dry. Boston could not score and at the other end they struggled to slow Miami’s attack.
In the fourth quarter LeBron (31 points) and Dwyane Wade (23) were able to get in the lane, but for the first time this series Chris Bosh was on the floor to make Kevin Garnett and the Celtics defenders pay for their rotations. He hit two three pointers and had 8 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. Any defense, even one as good as Boston’s breaks down when you can drive into the paint on it.
Which was an odd way for what might be the last game of the Big Three era in Boston to end. This was one of the best defensive teams of a generation, it was also one of the most selfless, throwback teams we had seen in a long time. They were good for basketball and the NBA.
But it was not enough. Miami’s talent and spurts of execution were enough.
Andrew Bogut left just 10 minutes into Dallas’ eventual loss to Charlotte Monday with what looked to be a hyperextended knee. After the game, coach Rick Carlisle said an MRI was coming, but they expected Bogut to miss time.
Looks like it will be a couple of weeks at least, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Mavericks are 8.6 points per 100 possessions better when Bogut is on the court, all because their defense is vastly superior when he is on the court.
With Bogut out, look for Dwight Powell to get more run.
Bogut’s name has come up in trade rumors, this kind of injury isn’t going to change that.
Meyers Leonard grew up in Illinois. He played at the University of Illinois.
So, last night’s Trail Blazers-Bulls game in Chicago was a bit of a homecoming for him.
That’s probably why he was particular perturbed the Bulls’ PA announcer kept calling him Myles. So, the Portland big man issued a stern correction:
For anyone in the Midwest, I trimmed this into a handy Vine you can use in case anyone asks which grocery store you’re headed to:
Warriors guard Klay Thompson possessed the ball for 1:28 last night.
Teammate Ian Clark had it for 2:05.
Obviously, Thompson made a little more of his opportunities.
Thompson scored an insane 60 points in 29 minutes in Golden State’s win over the Pacers.
Remarkably, he didn’t hijack the offense to produce those eye-popping numbers. Thompson shot a cool 21-of-33 from the field, and 20 of his baskets were assisted. In addition to Clark, Stephen Curry,Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston all possessed the ball longer than Thompson.
In fact, nobody has come close to scoring so much while having the ball so little.
Here are the highest scoring games since the NBA began publishing possession time in 2013-14, marking points in time of possession:
The the second-lowest time of possession on that leaderboard was also by Thompson. He scored 52 points in 2:40 of possession against the Kings in 2015.
But even that game required more than a minute of extra touch time.
Who has scored the most points in a game while possessing the ball for fewer than two minutes? Again, Thompson litters the list – with last night blowing the rest out of the water:
- Klay Thompson (GSW-IND 12-5-16):60 in 1:28
- Klay Thompson (GSW-DAL 1-27-16):45 in 1:40
- Bojan Bogdanovic (BRK-PHI 3-15-16):44 points in 1:53
- Klay Thompson (GSW-PHO 12-16-15):43 in 1:17
- Anthony Davis (NOP-UTA 11-22-14):43 points in 1:36
Maybe Thompson knew what he was talking about when he said he wasn’t sacrificing for Durant. Even with his usage rate down slightly, Thompson has still found ways to flourish. He gets hot in a hurry.
It does take him a while to cool down, though.
Ever been so excited you didn’t know to react?
That was Stephen Curry as Klay Thompson worked his way toward 60 points in 29 minutes, running from the bench toward midcourt then doubling back and heading right into the tunnel.
Eventually, Curry found his senses and tried to put out the fire.