The Indiana Pacers get Danny Granger back and added a lot of depth. The Chicago Bulls get former NBA MVP Derrick Rose back. The Brooklyn Nets added Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, plus some depth. The New York Knicks added Metta World Peace and will have Iman Shumpert a full season.
Miami has won the Eastern Conference three straight years and have back-to-back NBA titles. They have LeBron James. But while they have made no big moves this summer (Greg Oden, if the Heat land him, is not a big move — he hasn’t played since 2009) the rest of the East has gotten better.
The East is going to be much tougher next season and Miami is going to be hard pressed to be the first team to go to four straight NBA Finals since the 1987 Boston Celtics.
“The East is going to be a beast this year,” Chalmers said. “It’s going to be tough competition every night. Brooklyn’s making moves, Indiana just got Luis Scola, Derrick Rose coming back to the Bulls, it’s going to be a tough Eastern Conference this year. At the same time, we’ll still do what we do to try to get that third championship that we want.”
Miami is going to have to be better, be healthier come the playoffs if they want a three-peat. The question is can they rise to that challenge?
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) —Stephen Curry scored 34 points, Klay Thompson added 24 and the short-handed Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start to take a 3-0 lead in their playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 119-113 victory on Saturday night.
The Blazers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but couldn’t hold off the Warriors, who can clinch the series with a win Monday night in Game 4 at the Moda Center.
Golden State was without Kevin Durant, who was sitting for a second straight game cause of a left calf strain, and coach Steve Kerr stayed back at the team hotel because of illness.
The Warriors took a 108-100 lead after Andre Iguodala‘s dunk with 4:05 to go.
Noah Vonleh‘s dunk got Portland within four at 110-106 with 1:29 left, but Curry answered with a 3-pointer that all but sealed it, sending fans streaming for the exits.
Paul Millsap had 29 points, pulled down 14 boards, got to the line 11 times, and led the Hawks to the win. He got the calls he wanted this game, but Washington’s Markieff Morris was not exactly down with high praise for Millsap.
The key line here: “”He just did more for his team. He’s a crybaby. Get all the calls and you a crybaby.”
Millsap was asked about that comment in his postgame presser — and the best part may be Dennis Schroeder’s reaction.
“It definitely got personal now, yes. I mean, I don’t care. So what? He can take his loss and go back to the hotel and be ready for the next game.”
Kawhi Leonard scored 16 consecutive points for the Spurs down the stretch of regulation to force overtime, then in OT hit a corner three with 7.2 seconds left to tie the game at 108-108. Leonard finished the game with a career playoff high of 43 points.
It wasn’t enough. Because in those final seconds Marc Gasol did this.
The 110-108 Memphis win ties the series at 2-2 as it heads back to San Antonio for Game 5. I might not want to sit next to Gregg Popovich on the flight home.
While Gasol hit the big shot, he never gets the chance if Mike Conley isn’t every kind of amazing through the clutch parts of this game. Conley finished with 35 points, and that includes a floater in the lane that forced OT (although Leonard got a pretty good look to end it in regulation and just missed). I’m surprised the Spurs switched on the pseudo pick on this play.
The Spurs struggled to get stops down the stretch, mostly because they had David Lee and Tony Parker both on the floor and Memphis did a good job getting switches onto those defenders. Spurs starting center and best defensive big Dewayne Dedmon missed the game due to an illness, and that ended up mattering.