LeBron James

NBA Finals Game 1: Spurs win fourth quarter, win game 92-88

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Miami was up by three points heading into the fourth quarter but the Spurs were the better team when it mattered — San Antonio had zero turnovers in the quarter, Miami had 5. The Heat shot just 27.8 percent in the fourth quarter and Chris Bosh was 1-of-5 from the floor.

Combine that with great play from Tony Parker — including an insane shot with 5 seconds left — and the Spurs take Game 1 on the road 92-88.

The big take away we should have from this game — man this was fun. Two teams that for the most part played good basketball and pushed the pace — this wasn’t the grind-it-out stuff of the last round, this was entertaining and smart basketball. I hope we get seven games of this kind of play.

END OF GAME: 92-88 Spurs take Game 1. Great defense from San Antonio in the fourth, they hit their shots. And we have a series.

:05 Fourth Quarter: Tony Parker with shot right at buzzer… so close. Refs could rule either way if it was too late. But the refs make the right call and count it (he got it off by just a split second), and Spurs up 92-88 and will force Heat to score quick and foul. Amazing play by Parker, who fell, but got up and went up and under for the shot.

:31 Fourth Quarter: Parker misses jumper. At other end LeBron fouled in post, hits both three throws, 90-88 Spurs, and Heat will get last shot.

:58 Fourth Quarter: Chris Bosh misses a wide-open three.

1:08 Fourth Quarter: Duncan uses pump fake to create room, drives the paint and is fouled. Hits both 90-86 Spurs.

1:28 Fourth Quarter: Allen hits all three, 88-86 Spurs.

1:30 Fourth Quarter: Huge three by Danny Green has Spurs up 7. LeBron layup makes it five, then next possession Danny Green fouls Ray Allen on a three. Bad foul, Ray can get it to two.

2:40 Fourth Quarter: Sours put LeBron on Parker. 85-81 Spurs.

3:30 Fourth Quarter: Spurs outscoring Heat 16-7 in the fourth so far. Miami hasn’t scored in nearly four minutes. Heat 3-12 shooting in the fourth

3:30 Fourth Quarter: Tony Parker with stepback jumper makes it 85-79 Spurs, six point lead. Other guys have stopped hitting for the HEat and it’s killing them (plus, Spurs playing good defense).

4:05 Fourth Quarter: Duncan makes a tip-in, Wade misses a layup, then next Heat possession the Heat see Chalmers get stripped. 83-79 Spurs as they are the ones cranking up their defense.

5:59 Fourth Quarter: LeBron has been dishing as the defense comes to him, but hasn’t scored himself since 6:48 of the third quarter. That’s fine if other guys are hitting enough.

5:59 Fourth Quarter: LeBron assist to Chris Bosh for a midrange jumper is LeBron’s 10th assist, he has a triple double. But a couple turnovers have the Spurs converting in transition. 81-78 Spurs.

7:47 Fourth Quarter: After sloppy turnover, Parker on runout is fouled, hits both free throws and Spurs have their first lead since the first quarter, 77-76.

10:55 Fourth Quarter: LeBron is back, Heat are up 76-73. No pain for Miami from resting him and Wade at same time.

10:55 Fourth Quarter: Referees are letting them play a little. As it should be in the finals. 74-73 Heat.

10:55 Fourth Quarter: Heat rest LeBron and Wade to start fourth, key stretch here.

START OF FOURTH QUARTER: Both teams have dictated this game with their offense, if one team can start to do it with their defense they will win.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: LeBron now one assist short of a triple double now.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: LeBron James is doing damage on the left block, driving, drawing defenders and finding the open man. This is just well played offensive basketball by both teams (against good defenses), 72-69 Heat with 12 minutes to go.

1:02 Third Quarter: Both teams are making great passes and getting role players to hit shots. Just a fun game. Ray Allen three makes it 72-67 Heat.

2:52 Third Quarter: Heat 7-18 from three, when they are attacking the rim and hitting the kick-outs. That makes them tough to beat, 69-64 Heat.

5:29 Third Quarter: What are you missing in the arena? Jimmy Buffett and Emilio Estefan playing with the Miami Heat bongo section. I’m not making that up.

5:29 Third Quarter: LeBron assists on a Haslem jumper. LeBron now three assists shy of a triple-double — 12 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists. Midway through the third quarter. 62-59 Heat.

6:20 Third Quarter: LeBron backs down Leonard in the post for two, Duncan backs down Haslem in the post. 60-59 Heat.

7:10 Third Quarter: A driving layup by Ginobili makes it a 6-0 Spurs run and a 58-57 Heat, forcing Spoelstra to call a time out.

8:02 Third Quarter: For those of you saying the Spurs should not try and run with the Heat, this is what they did all season. They push off missed shots. It’s worse to change your identity now. 58-55 Heat.

HALFTIME: Some stats for you: Heat shooting 50 percent overall, 6-15 from three. Scoring leaders are Wade (13), LeBron has 10 points and 8 rebounds. Spurs shooting 42.9 percent, 4-10 from three. Tim Duncan has 12 points and 9 rebounds, Danny Green and Tony Parker each have 9 points.

HALFTIME: 52-49 Heat. Wade looks good and has 13 for the Heat, Duncan has 12 for the Spurs including a great stepback jumper to end the half.

:23 Second Quarter: Tony Parker with a driving layup, cuts lead to 50-47 Heat.

:57 Second Quarter: Heat are in attack mode. It’s like the Heat finally figured out “wait, they don’t have Hibbert, we should totally attack the rim.” 50-44 Heat.

3:34 Second Quarter: Chris Bosh picks up his third foul and goes to the bench 48-42 Heat.

2:30 Second Quarter: Shane Battier just missed good look threes on back-to-back possessions. He said being benched was like eating a turd sandwich. Remind me not to smell his breath because he’s going to be eating those again if he keeps shooting like that.

4:47 Second Quarter: Dwyane Wade has 9 points as he attacks the rim. Everybody on the Heat is going at the rim, they are having fun with no Hibbert in the paint. Heat 46-38.

6:38 Second Quarter: Combined, these teams are 10-18 from three.

9:50 Second Quarter: Danny Green is now 3-4 from three and the Heat call time out to remind Wade to be careful about helping off him. 38-34 Heat.

8:15 Second Quarter: Norris Cole on a good look three, came off the help coming to LeBron and him making the pass. San Antonio’s rotation not there yet 38-29 Heat. Spurs shooting 45 percent.

9:50 Second Quarter: Mike Miller trails the break, gets the good look three and drains it. Heat 5-10 from three, up 31-26.

10:23 Second Quarter: Ray Allen drained another three, he got his groove back. But Kawhi Leonard made a sweet move on LeBron, and a couple Splitter free throws and it is 28-26 Heat.

START OF SECOND QUARTER: Gregg Popovich just said his team was sharper off the layoff than he expected. And he was on his best behavior for the in-game interview for a change.

END OF FIRST QUARTER: It’s 24-23 Heat and it looks like we are in for a fun series. Great pace, after two defensive, slow conference finals this is just entertaining. Biggest news may be two fouls on Tim Duncan.

1:43 First Quarter: Tim Duncan is 0-5 shooting to start the game. It’s 22-19 Heat.

2:10 First Quarter: The most important news: Flo Rida is in the building (remember his manager got tossed from courtside in Game 7). Also, Ray Allen hit a three. 21-19.

3:02 First Quarter: Spurs are getting help from role players — Diaw with a cut and reverse layup, then Ginobili fouled on a nice drive. But it stays close because of a LeBron three. 19-18 Spurs.

5:40 First Quarter: Love the pace of this one — both teams like to run, a lot of transition points and opportunities. This is going to be fun to watch. 15-13 Miami.

6:30 First Quarter: Parker hits a bucket on a cut to the rim, Bosh hits a midrange jumper. Those are the shots both teams want and will take. 11-11.

8:07 First Quarter: Miami getting corner threes early. Chalmers hits one, then next trip down Bosh hits a long two, 9-8 Spurs.

9:56 First Quarter: Rust? Rust never sleeps.

9:56 First Quarter: Miami forced to take a timeout after a Parker pass to a cutting Splitter off means an open layup and a 9-2 Spurs lead.

10:20 First Quarter: The Spurs take a 7-2 lead on a pretty ideal play for them — two pick-and-rolls for Tony Parker, he passes out of the pressure, two quick passes and Danny Green drains a three. Spurs now up 7-2.

11:40 First Quarter: We are underway and it’s a pretty ideal start for Miami — they force a turnover, get out and run and a dunk by Dwyane Wade off a LeBron James assist.

12:00 First Quarter: Man, the pregame process for the Finals never ends.

12:00 First Quarter: I love White Stripes “Seven Nation Army,” but ever since it became associated with the Miami Heat intro I just can’t hear it the same way. Still, that song makes and awesome soccer crowd chant. We should all leave it at that.

12:00 First Quarter: We have yet to tip-off, they are just about to do the National Anthem, so you still have time to run to the fridge and get an IPA and a the guacamole to go with the chips.

Welcome to Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat hosting the San Antonio Spurs. And welcome to the ProBasketballTalk live blog for the tip-off of this series.

I’m Kurt, and I’ll be your host, commenter and bartender for the night. I’ll be updating the game and score, providing some commentary and making some asides. So sit back, enjoy the game and follow along.

James Harden’s 37 helps Rockets over Celtics 107-106

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s coaching staff emphasized to the players that Boston led the league in fourth-quarter scoring.

So when they Rockets found themselves down by six entering the final frame they knew they’d have step things up to escape with a win.

Harden made sure they did that, scoring 13 of his 37 points in the fourth before Al Horford missed a shot just before the buzzer to allow the Rockets to hold on for a 107-106 victory Monday night.

“The fourth quarter we just picked up … we just wanted to lock in and get stops and offensively be aggressive,” Harden said.

The game was tied before Harden scored five straight points to make it 107-102 with less than a minute remaining. Avery Bradley made a jump shot and Harden received a flagrant 1 foul for elbowing Marcus Smart in the face. Smart made both free throws before Isaiah Thomas missed a layup.

But Houston knocked the ball out of bounds with 5.2 seconds left, giving Boston one last chance. Horford drove into the lane, but his shot rolled off the rim and Harden grabbed it to secure the victory.

“I felt good when I shot it, but it just didn’t go down,” Horford said.

Horford had 21 points and Thomas added 20 for the Celtics, who had won two straight.

It was the ninth 30-point game this season for Harden, who also had eight assists and seven rebounds.

An 8-2 run by Houston, powered by a pair of 3-pointers by Eric Gordon, cut Boston’s lead to one with about 8 1/2 minutes left. Smart made a 3-pointer for the first of seven straight points for the Celtics that made it 96-88. Smart also had a big defensive play in that stretch when he blocked a one-handed dunk attempt by Montrezl Harrell.

Houston scored eight straight points, topped off with a dunk from Harrell, to take a 102-100 lead with about 3 1/2 minutes left.

Harden raved about Harrell’s work.

“You see how he’s flying around everywhere,” Harden said. “He does a lot of different things, some things that don’t show up on the stat sheet that helped contribute to this win.”

The Celtics trailed by 12 early in the third quarter before using a 15-2 spurt to take a 68-67 lead with about 7 minutes left in the quarter. Boston made three 3-pointers in that span, capped by one from Horford. Houston missed five shots, including four 3s, and had two turnovers to help the Celtics close the gap.

“We guarded at a different level and our first unit played pretty well in the third,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “In one stretch in the fourth we turned the ball over and that was hurtful.”

The Rockets were up by three points with 2 minutes left in the first half before Smart fouled Harden on a 3-point attempt and he made all three free throws. Houston had extended the lead to seven when Smart again fouled Harden on a 3-point try and his three free throws made it 58-48 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Celtics: James Young missed the game with an illness. … Thomas received a technical for arguing a call at the end of the first half. … Bradley finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. … Smart had 13 points.

Rockets: Made 12 3-pointers to extend their NBA record of consecutive games with at least 10 3-pointers to 20. … Trevor Ariza started despite dealing with back spasms and had 15 points and eight rebounds. … Gordon finished with 19 points and made four 3-pointers to give him six straight games with at least four 3s.

PERFECT

Harden tied a franchise record for most free throws without a miss by making all 18 of his attempts on Monday night. Kevin Martin also went 18 for 18 on March 20, 2011 against Utah. He lamented committing the offensive foul on Smart late instead of drawing the foul and getting a chance to go to the line and set the record.

“Of course I wanted two free throws at the end of the game instead of a flagrant, but we won,” he said. “That’s all that matters.”

LATE PUSH

The Rockets have developed a knack for scoring late. After managing just 13 points in the fourth quarter of a 105-103 loss to Oklahoma City on Nov. 16 the Rockets have picked things up, averaging 27.9 fourth-quarter points in the last 10 games.

THEY SAID IT

Stevens on Harden: “Harden is a really good player. I don’t know what else to say. We could go through and dissect every play, but overall he is just a really good player.”

 

Insane: Klay Thompson drops 60 on Indiana in three quarters (VIDEO)

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Oh yea, don’t forget the Golden State Warriors have Klay Thompson, too.

It’s not that the Indiana Pacers forgot, they just couldn’t do anything about it. Thompson hit 21-of-33 shots, 8-of-14 from three, on his way to 60 points in three quarters as the Warriors ran the Pacers out of Oracle Arena 142-106. Thompson was hitting from anywhere and everywhere.

Klay shotchart

The rest of the Warriors loved it.

Russell Westbrook’s sixth straight triple-double leads Thunder past Hawks 102-99

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ATLANTA (AP) — Russell Westbrook extended his streak of triple-doubles to six games, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 102-99 victory over the skidding Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

Westbrook scored 32 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and doled out 12 assists, giving him the NBA’s longest streak of triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven in a row in 1989.

Westbrook’s run has sparked a six-game winning streak by the Thunder. He’s now reached double figures in all three categories in half of the Thunder’s 22 games.

By contrast, Jordan had 15 triple-doubles for the entire 1988-89 season.

Westbrook kept his streak alive with plenty of time to spare. Despite a poor start shooting, he already had 15 points and 11 rebounds when he picked up his 10th assist with 6:20 left in the third quarter.

Scooping up a loose ball after a turnover by the Hawks, Westbrook led a 2-on-1 that ended with a pass to Victor Oladipo for a layup that gave the Thunder a 69-59 lead.

Westbrook, who missed eight of his first nine shots, suddenly found his touch in the third quarter. He made five of his next seven shots, three of them beyond the arc, and finished with 16 points in the period as the Thunder stretched a one-point halftime lead to 83-69 heading to the fourth.

Atlanta rallied down the stretch, but Westbrook closed it out for the Thunder. He finished with 27 second-half points to send the Hawks to their seventh straight loss and 10th defeat in the last 11 games.

It’s the longest losing streak for the Hawks since they dropped eight in a row in February 2014.

Coach Mike Budenholzer decided to shake things up, sending Kyle Korver to the bench and putting Thabo Sefolosha in the starting lineup. The Hawks also were bolstered by the return of Paul Millsap, who had missed three straight games with a sore hip. He led five players in double figures with 24 points.

It didn’t matter. Westbrook made sure of that.

Atlanta had a shot to send the game to overtime after Korver forced a jump ball.

The Thunder clamped down defensively off the inbounds play, and Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer failed to hit the rim.

MONSTER JAM

Oladipo wasn’t afraid to take on Dwight Howard in the lane.

During the second quarter, the 6-foot-4 Thunder guard drove the baseline and slammed one over Atlanta’s 6-11 center, rocking the rim and drawing gasps from the crowd.

Oladipo savored the moment, pumping his fists, stomping his feet and posing briefly in the lane even as the Hawks took off the other way.

RECRUITING DWIGHT

Billy Donovan made a recruiting pitch to Howard while coaching at Florida.

During his pregame chat with the media, the Oklahoma City coach recounted a visit to Howard and his father at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.

Donovan quickly gave up any hope of getting Howard to attend college.

“All I had to do was watch one AAU game and then I stopped recruiting him immediately,” he quipped.

Howard, of course, went straight from high school to the NBA in the days before the rules required at least one year of college. He was the first overall pick of the Orlando Magic in 2004.

 

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .

Al-Farouq Aminu active for Trail Blazers

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 25: Al-Farouq Aminu #8 of the Portland Trail Blazers celebrates with a teammate after hitting a three point shot in the first quarter of Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center on April 25, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO (AP) — Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu is active for their game against the Chicago Bulls after being sidelined by a left calf injury.

Coach Terry Stotts says Aminu will be restricted to around 20 minutes Monday night “depending on how it goes.”

Aminu started the first eight games of the season before he got hurt Nov. 8 against Phoenix. He is averaging 6.4 points and 6.6 rebounds.