Paul George (IND) — 27 pts, 11 rebs, 5 assts
LeBron James (MIA) — 30 pts, 8 rebs, 6 assts
Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat (Series tied 2-2)
LeBron James and masterful Eastern Conference Finals just seems to go hand in hand these days. Think about all the incredible performances James has put in during the conference finals.
There was his masterful domination of the Pistons vaunted defense in 2007. His heroic effort against the Magic in 2009 in a losing effort. His ability to close down the Bulls on the road in Game Five in 2011. And then that gut-check performance in Boston in Game Six last year.
This year really has been no different against Indiana. James is averaging 28.0 points per game, 7.0 rebounds per game and 5.3 assists per game. He is shooting 53.2 percent from the floor in the four games so far this series. This series has not been about LeBron James.
It is quite clearly about Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and, to some extent, Shane Battier and what those three are doing. Or not doing.
Wade's decline has been a story throughout this postseason. He is still a good player, an elite player event. But he has not been able to do it every single night. And not in the Playoffs. This postseason, Wade is averaging a career-low 14.3 points per game this postseason. In the four games of this series, Wade is averaging 16.8 points per game and is shooting 48.3 percent.
Wade is playing fine, Miami just needs him to produce more.
Particularly with Bosh and Battier struggling. Bosh is scoring 14.0 points per game. More importantly, Battier is averaging 3.5 points per game and shooting 2 for 13 from beyond the arc. Battier is in there specifically to make 3-pointers and help Miami spread the floor and get one of Indiana's posts out of the paint. He is not filling his role.
That is showing off the warts in Wade and Bosh's decreased production. One way or another James needs help.
Noel schedules Orlando visit, Cleveland next
Presumptive top overall pick Nerlens Noel is beginning to make his workout rounds. Well, it will be a short one because Noel expects to be the top overall pick. Andy Katz of ESPN.com reports Noel will work out for the Magic on Sunday and will soon schedule a workout in Cleveland. Katz reports Noel is not expected to have workouts with anyone else unless a credible trade report surfaces.
Ujiri still mulling Raptors offer
The fates for the Raptors and Nuggets are still up in the air. Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri is still mulling a reported 5-year, $15 million offer from the Raptors to fill the spot left vacant by Bryan Colangelo. Ujiri has built something special in Denver and won Executive of the Year this past season. But his ties to Toronto, he had worked there previously, and the allure of that big payday could be worth the challenge of rebuilding the Raptors.
Mutual interest between Pistons, Drew
Former Hawks coach Larry Drew is starting to make the rounds and search for a coaching job after the Hawks announced they would not retain Drew when his contract expires. Drew has officially interviewed with Milwaukee. However, Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News reports Drew and the Pistons have a mutual interest in joining up to fill the Pistons' coaching vacancy.
Lee should be ready to go following hip surgery
Warriors forward David Lee miraculously returned in Game Six of the First Round after tearing his hip flexor in Game One. Lee was not able to play much but the emotional lift was a big part of Golden State's run to the second round. Lee though still tore his hip flexor. He had surgery on it Wednesday. Lee posted a photo on Instagram and said he should be ready to go for training camp.
Rockets want to trade Thomas Robinson
Zach Lowe of Grantland reported several GMs have been speculating the Rockets would try to trade Thomas Robinson before free agency started. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports put some weight behind that thought reporting the Rockets are trying to do just that. Why would Houston want to trade the rookie they acquired mid-season in a reclamation project? Houston is still hoping to clear enough cap room to sign Dwight Howard.
Clippers contact Byron Scott
The Los Angeles Clippers have not quite gotten into full coaching search mode yet. There appears to be some interest though in talking with Chris Paul's former coach in New Orleans, Byron Scott. Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reports the Clippers have contacted Byron Scott at least preliminarily to interview for their head coaching job.