San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 6

LeBron James gets another triple-double, now favorite for Finals MVP


You’ll have to excuses ESPN for not mentioning LeBron James achieving a triple-double during the Heat’s 103-100 win over the Spurs until Game 6 ended.

LeBron grabbed his 10th rebound – capping a 32-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound, three-steal game – on Chris Bosh’s block of Tony Parker’s jumper with 31 seconds left, setting off a whirlwind finish that included Dwyane Wade missing a jumper, Manu Ginobili turning the ball over, Ray Allen making a pair of free throws and Chris Bosh blocking Danny Green’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. LeBron’s triple-double was, deservedly, an afterthought in one of the greatest Finals games in recent years.

But taking a step back, LeBron has made his mark in historic terms with his all-around games.

How many triple-doubles in the NBA Finals?

  • LeBron: Four
  • Every other active player combined: Three

How many triple-doubles in the 2013 playoffs?

  • LeBron: Three
  • Every other player combined: Two

LeBron has clearly outshined his peers in this area, but he’s still a step behind a predecessor, though only one predecessor, when it comes to all-time rank in Finals triple-doubles:

1. Magic Johnson, 8

2. LeBron James, 4

3. Walt Frazier, 2

3. Bob Cousy, 2

3. Bill Russell, 2

3. Larry Bird, 2

3. Wilt Chamberlain, 2

LeBron’s two triple-doubles in a single Finals series are the most since Magic also had two in 1991.

When it comes to playoff triple-doubles, LeBron now also trails only Magic:

1. Magic Johnson, 30

2. LeBron James, 11

2. Jason Kidd, 11

4. Rajon Rondo, 10

4. Larry Bird, 10

Of course, these historic rankings won’t – or at least shouldn’t – determine whether LeBron is recognized as having the best individual Finals in 2013. But obviously, a couple triple-doubles put him in great shape. LeBron leads these Finals in points, assists and steals and ranks seconds in rebounds (to Tim Duncan).

If the Heat win Game 7 on Thursday, which seems more likely than not, LeBron is in great shape to land his second Finals MVP whether or not he gets yet another third triple-double.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Can Thunder win 60 games?

Leave a comment

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are healthy — just how good will the Thunder be?

The bold prediction in this PBT Extra preview with Jenna Corrado is that the Thunder will win 60 games, something they have not yet done. I wouldn’t bet on them hitting that number — with a new coach, and them making sure Durant and Westbrook get rest coming off injuries, plus the fact they’re in the deep West, that number may be high.

I think they have a better chance to come out of the West than win 60 games. I think they have a good shot to come out of the West.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
Leave a comment

DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”