Starting 5: Holding home court, regaining composure & Amar’e’s apology


Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1: Holding home court

Oklahoma City and Miami both did what they had to do: hold home court and take 2-0 series leads.  OKC dispatched Dallas with a flurry of incredible individual play and tough D down the stretch.  Granted, the Thunder’s weakness continues to be an over-reliance on “hero-ball” (cliche du-jour!  DRINK!!), but they have the heroes to do it, so it’s worked so far.  

Miami had to work hard for its 2-0 lead.  The Knicks hung around within striking distance (not an Amar’e pun) but couldn’t punch through (sort of an Amar’e pun).  Carmelo Anthony had 30 for the Knicks, but the Heat’s Big 3 combined for 65 points in the 10 point win.  But all that anyone is talking about in this game today is this: 

Amare’s getting crushed today.  I’m starting to wonder if we’ve seen the end of him in New York.

2:  Indy gets its groove back

For a little while there, it looked like the Magic were going to do the improbable and take a 2-0 lead of their own back to Orlando.  But that’s why they play full games and don’t stop at the half.  

The Pacers used a 30-13 third quarter to pound the Magic 98-73.  For all the good Orlando might have done in the first half of that game, the second half was a disaster.  Glen Davis, who played pretty well against the much taller Roy Hibbert, fell apart in the second half, finishing with a 5-16 shooting performance and a game low -30.   

Orlando’s fire and perseverance without Dwight is a nice story.  And they can certainly be dangerous as currently constituted.  But if Indiana just plays its game, they have more than enough to win three more in a row.


Dwyane Wade helps Mike Bibby with his shoe

Hey, Derek Fisher did something… a buzzer beater!


Paul George with the big putback 

4:  Line of the night: Dwyane Wade: 25 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover

There were a few good nights to choose from and Wade had maybe the best all around game of them all.  He shot well (11-18) and did a little bit of everything else to help stabilize the Heat in the face of a hard-charging New York Knicks team.  LeBron is more of a freakish athlete and he is certainly the best overall player in the league, but I will always rely on Wade to get the job done when it matters.  And I’m not saying that in the typically snarky knock on LeBron in the 4th quarter way.  I’m saying it in the “I have come to trust Wade in pressure situations” way.  The Heat have morphed into LeBron’s team, but Wade is the rudder… he’s keeps it all in line.

5:  You can quote me on that

“It gets back to very basic things and we’re not going to have a chance to win if we do that. Then yes, we are going to have to make some shots. But we’re not gonna win when over half their points are on second-chance points and fastbreaks. They beat us with their effort and their energy tonight, and that’s not acceptable.”
     -Magic coach Stan Van Gundy 

I am so mad at myself right now, I want to apologize to the fans and my team, not proud of my actions, headed home for a new start
     –Amare Stoudemire, on Twitter, after his glass punching incident

“If Ray’s not ready, he’s not ready. It’s one thing I won’t do. I will never do it. I don’t ever put a guy out if he ain’t ready. I just won’t put him on the floor. If Ray told me he could play tomorrow and Eddie [Lacerte] said he didn’t think he could play, Ray would not play. That’s just the way it is. He said he felt a little better, but I don’t see it right now.”
     -Celtics coach Doc Rivers, on injured guard Ray Allen