Starting 5: Ties, brooms & our last Blake Griffin dunk highlight of the year


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

1:  Not so fast, Indiana

The Indiana Pacers stormed out to a big lead against the Miami Heat yesterday and it triggered a lot of anguished “Oh my God, we might have a Pacers-Spurs Finals” comments… probably, primarily, from the league office where they know the ratings for that would be…. well………..

There’s still a lot of time to figure that out. And the Pacers still might get to the Finals, but not if LeBron James and Dwyane Wade keep playing like this.  They combined to sore 70 of the Heat’s 101 points in their eight point win in Game 4.  Wade looked like he’d be non-existent again, going into halftime with just eight points. but he had 22 in the second half.  Add to that 14 from the struggling Udonis Haslem and the Heat’s two stars got just about all the offensive support they needed. 

The Pacers were doomed by foul trouble.  Both Roy Hibbert and David West sat for a long stretch in the second half, combining to score 18 points on 17 shots.  If the Pacers are going to win, they need each of those guys to take nearly 17 shots and take advantage of the lack of Chris Bosh.  If the Pacers can’t do that, then Miami is about to go on a little winning streak. 

2:  Not so fast, San An… oh, never mind… please proceed with your annihilation

The Spurs scuffled their way through this game.  And let’s face it, they were due to have a tough one.  But a tough one for the Spurs means squeaking out a three-point, series clinching Game 4 on the road. 

Remember when they couldn’t win on the road?  

The Spurs can walk back to San Antonio from Los Angeles and still get plenty of rest before Game 1 of the Conference Finals starts.  And that’s all thanks to a typically balanced Spurs attack where six guys hit double figures and they shot nearly 53%.  The Clippers had a typical Clippers game… some exciting runs, some highlights, but a struggle to get anything consistently good going for any long amount of time. 

So the Spurs sit and wait.  They’ll grab some popcorn and watch OKC and the Lakers go at it a little.  Ho hum, just another day as the most dominant team in the league.


Chris Paul’s crazy shot that goes in off the top of the backboard


LeBron with a gorgeous dime to Dwyane Wade


Our last Blake Griffin highlight of the season

4:  Line of the Night:  LeBron James:  40 points, 18 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks

This was simply a case of the MVP doing MVP things.  It’s a rare player that can say “well, if we need to pick up Chris Bosh’s slack, I guess I’ll just have to do it on my own.”   And really, when you look at LeBron’s regular season averages of 27 points and 8 rebounds, and add Bosh’s 18 points and 8 rebounds, you almost literally have LeBron making up all of Bosh’s production himself.

One aside when it comes to LeBron:  I think it’s time we all move on from the “clutch/not-clutch” stuff.  And that applies to both sides.  He’s going to miss shots and pass the ball in late-game situations again sometime.  And he’s also going to take and make shots in late game situations.  When he passes or misses, the “not clutch” uproar needs to stop.  And when he has a game like that, the “see, he really IS clutch” crowd needs to calm down. 

It ruins these games.  The discussion is tired.  It’s time to move forward.

5:  You can quote me on that

“Me and ‘Bron had it going.  We played off of each other very well. We both were aggressive at the same time. That’s beautiful basketball for the Miami Heat when we play that way.”
     -Dwyane Wade, after Game 4 

“We haven’t done anything yet. We’ve won two rounds.  We haven’t done anything so you can’t qualify or classify our team as anything other than that we’ve gotten this far.”
    -Tim Duncan, on where this Spurs team ranks in team history