Starting 5: Indy steals one, Spurs shake off rust, & DWade vs. DWest on celebrations


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

1:  Indy steals one

The Pacers took advantage of a short-handed Miami team in an ugly (what’s new in the East) win that stole home court advantage from the Heat.  The Pacers turned the game into a grind, limiting fast break opportunities, or any scoring opportunities for that matter.  Neither team broke 80, and for the first time in Heat franchise history, only two players (LeBron, 28 and Wade, 24) scored more than 5 points in a game.

And, of course, there is the issue of the last shot, as is always the case now in a LeBron game that could have been won or tied.  I’ve watched the last play, a Mario Chalmers missed 3, about a dozen times now.  LeBron is setting screens to get Wade open and Chalmers a shot… but he doesn’t exactly make much effort to get open for a shot himself.  Then again, Chalmers doesn’t have much time to pass, either.

So here we are again.  The “LeBron isn’t clutch” people have another morsel to chew on as LeBron made little effort to get the ball (though Wade had he ball and passed it).  And those on the other side have a valid argument that you got the ball to your best 3-point shooter when you needed a 3.

… and the beat goes on.

2:  Spurs shake rust, run Clips off the floor

The Spurs came out and showed a little rust, missing some make-able shots early on and staying close with the Clippers in Game 1 of their Semi-Final series.  But that rust came off quickly, with the Spurs going on a late second half spurt to take an eight point halftime lead and then pushing it to nearly 20 in the second half, easily dispatching the Clippers 108-92.  The AP sums it up nicely:

The Spurs have won 15 in a row, haven’t lost in more than a month and are winning by an average margin of nearly 17 points during that span. It’s the longest winning streak sustained in the NBA playoffs since the 2004 Spurs carried 17 straight wins into the second round that season.

Yowza.  And in classic Spurs fashion, every starter made a huge contribution:  Tony Parker had 11 assists, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard combined for 31, Boris Diaw had 12 rebounds and 5 assists, and Tim Duncan had 26 and 10 (more on him later).  Oh, and Manu Ginobili had 22 off the bench. 

Who’s beating a team that can do that night in and night out? 

Nobody.  That’s who.


Dwyane Wade with the sweet touch pass back to LeBron

Blake Griffin starts it with a steal, and finishes with the dunk

Griffin plays a little defense too

4:  Line of the Night:  Tim Duncan – 26 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks 

Timmy D had it all working last night.  This was a classic performance from a guy who somehow continues to get things done.  He was nailing his 15 foot jumpers which, inexplicably, he was allowed to take.  When the Spurs were in trouble, they went to him in the post, where he just spun and scored.  And in typical Tim Duncan fashion, he was just a steady influence on the game, calmly killing his victims without change of expression or acknowledgment that he was, in fact, there to rip their souls from their bodies.  

Just another day at the office for Timmy.  Punch in, dominate, punch out.  Go home, eat a bologna sandwich, watch some Nat Geo, maybe read a comic book.  And do it all again tomorrow. 

5:  You can quote me on that

“It’s hard to tell if they were tired or not. If we were rusty or not.  The game just developed that way it did.”
     -Manu Ginobili, on how the game played out 

“I heard they wanted to be like the Dallas Mavericks in a sense.  I saw [Indiana’s] little celebration at the end of that game. I don’t know if they didn’t expect to win. But every night we go out on the court, we expect to win. They stated their identity. They said they wanted to be like Dallas. So, they celebrated like Dallas, I guess.”
     -Dwyane Wade, on Indiana’s celebration after winning Game 2 

“We can’t get too excited because we won one game.  That is not our goal in this series. We can’t overreact because we were able to get one game down here.”
     -David West, immediately after winning Game 2 vs. Miami