It may hurt like hell right now for Kevin Durant and the rest of the Thunder but they will be back. They just ran into a team that was on a mission and on a road to redemption. ”I just wanted it so bad man, it hurts a lot. We have a great team and a great coaching staff. We will feel the pain together and we will get back in the gym and get back to this stage.” Durant said following the game 5 loss.
Durant had a fantastic playoff run, but in the end they lost to a better team right now. Durant had the task of trying to cover Lebron in the finals while trying to match his offensive output. For most of the series Durant was struggling through foul trouble, limiting his minutes on the court.
“It’s a learning experience, When we get back i will not let this moment get away from my team again.” Durant said. It’s not like the Thunder got dominated in the series, because they didn’t. One game was a blow out, otherwise the whole series was played very close.
Sports can be cruel to you and be the greatest gift of all to a competitor. It’s the will and the passion of an athlete that forces them to evolve as a player and learn from past failures and mistakes. They have always said you must learn to have your heart broken before you can become a champion.
“I hope this is the last time my heart gets broken. We were so close to knocking out Dallas last year and to finally get to the finals, I dont want to lose again.”Durant said
Don’t worry Kevin, you and your team will be back in the finals for years to come. OKC is still very young and their window is now wide open for more playoff success.
Even with his legs cramping up, Lebron still found a way to will in a huge 3 pointer late in the game that put the Miami Heat up to stay. “I wanted to find a way to contribute even with my body giving up on me. I had to find a way, I owed it to my ballclub.” James said following the win.
Lebron and the Heat are now up 3-1 with history on their side. No team in NBA finals history has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the championship. Losing against the Mavs in the 2011 finals seems to have taught the Heat all kinds of lessons on what it takes to win a championship. “We stumbled last year and for me personally I struggled late in games against Dallas. We now know what it takes to win a game in the finals with the experience we gained last year.” James said.
The young Thunder team made costly mistakes down the strech. The biggest mistake may have been Westbrook fouling Chalmers after the jump ball with 17 seconds left when Miami only had 5 seconds on the shot clock to work with. “I had a meltdown, I didn’t realize the shot clock didn’t reset. I cost us the game.” Westbrook said following the loss. Westbrook had a fabulous shooting game scoring 43 points on 20-32 shooting but it came in defeat.
“It’s not over yet man. We have to come out and leave everything we have out on the floor thursday night.”Durant said following the loss. The Thunder raced out to a 17 point lead only to see it vanish in seemingly the blink of an eye.
The Thunder will need another strong start in game 5 if they want to give themselves a chance. “We can’t let our foot off the gas pedal thursday night. If we do then were done, we have to continue staying aggressive and give ourselves a chance at bringing this series back home.” Harden said.
Being down 3-1 looks like a death sentence for this Thunder team. Being up 3-1 for the Miami Heat feels like destiny for Lebron.
Will Lebron finally get that elusive first championship ring? Will Durant and Westbrook will the Thunder to a win and force the series back to OKC?
One could argue game 3 is the most important game in a series being tied at 1 game a piece. The series has now shifted to Miami for the middle 3 games and is now a best of 5 series. Miami dealt the Thunder their first home loss of the 2012 playoffs and now has the chance to try and win the series at home. Only twice in NBA history has a team won all 3 middle games at home in the finals. The 2004 Detroit Pistons and the last team to do it which was the 2006 Miami Heat.
There is still a lot of question marks going into game 3. Will Westbrook keep forcing the issue? Will Lebron continue his stellar play from the first 2 games in OKC? If this series has taught us anything so far it’s that no lead is safe. Miami got off to a strong start in game 1 taking a 13 point lead before losing the game. Again in game 2 Miami took a 17 point lead before hanging on for a narrow 4 point win they had to have.
We know both teams can score and score in a hurry. With Kevin Durant fully aware of the moment I expect him to continue staying aggressive in South Beach and will his Thunder team to at least 1 win.
For Miami it’s quietly been the story of Chris bosh having a huge impact. In just his 5th game back from injury he said a 16 point 15 rebound effort in the game 2 in. Bosh has made his presence felt on the inside all while getting himself back into game shape. If Shane Battier can keep connecting from the 3 point line Miami will prove to be a tough team to beat.
Game 3 will be all about the role players. Who’s role players will show up and have the bigger impact? Derek Fisher is playing in his 8th NBA finals and hasn’t made the impact we have grown accustomed to over the years. Will playing on the road force Fisher to come out a little more aggressive for his young Thunder team and make an impact?
History shows when the series is knotted up at 1-1 and the winner of game 3 takes the 2-1 series lead, more times then not they win the series.
Kobe Bryant would not allow the Lakers to lose and go down 0-3. Bryant scored 14 of his 36 points in the fourth qyarter as the Lakers held off the Thunder and got back in the series. Bryant shot 9-25 from the field but was a perfect 18-18 from the free throw line to seal the Lakers win. Los Angeles was great from the free throw line all night converting 41-42 with the lone miss coming from bynum who was 11-12 from the line. ”You have to knock those freebies down,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said. ”You’re not going to get any better look in a game than a free throw. That’s how good (the Thunder) are.”
For the second straight game in the series the Lakers found a way to slow down the Thunder’s attack and control the tempo. Everytime OKC made a run to get ahead the Lakers came roaring back refusing to lose the game. ”If it’s an up-and-down game, we don’t have a shot,” said Bryant, who surpassed Gail Goodrich’s 1972 team record of 17 free throws without a miss. ”We’ve got to just slow down the game. Play our pace, play our tempo, and we’ll give ourselves a great opportunity.”
There is a lot of positives to take away from the game for the Lakers win. Sessions finally appeared in the series scoring 12 points along with Steve Blake. Bynum had 15 points despite going 2-13 from the field. Bynum won’t miss those same easy shots again game 4. “I missed a lot of chippies, a lot of easy ones I normally make. I had to hit my free throws, I was really mad about the one I missed.” said Bynum after the game.
Kobe and the Lakers face a quick turnaround with the back to back game 4 tonight. The Lakers will have to come out with the same fire and passion if they want to tie this eries up going back to Oklahoma. The Lakers have to remember what has given them success the last 2 games and build on it tonight. Bryant knows he will have to be the vocal point once again for this team to have success.
For the second year n a row the Lakers find themselves down 0-2 in the second round of the playoffs. The only difference this year is they are coming home instead of going on the road. Los Angeles let game 2 literaly slip through their fingers in the waning moments. Up 7 with 2 minutes left the Lakers turned the ball over two straight times helping the Thunder score the final 7 points of the game. It should be a 1-1 series but it’s not and the Lakers have to move on from the dissapointment of letting the game get away from them in the end.
Los Angeles needs to focus on the first 46 minutes of the game they played. The first 46 minutes will be the key to their success heading into game 3. Bynum controlled the paint on both ends of the floor while the Lakers controlled the tempo and were able to stop the transition game of Oklahoma. Bryant struggled down the stretch missing his last 5 shots and didn’t even touch the ball on the final Laker possesion. Bryant watched Blake missed a wide open 3 point shot with 5 seconds left.
Defense and tempo are clearly the 2 keys to the series if the Lakers want to have any chance of coming back from the 0-2 deficit they find themselves in. History in the playoffs says the Lakers have a 15% chance of coming back and winning. The last Lakers team to come back from 0-2 and win was in 2004. That team came back and beat the Spurs in the second round. The 2004 version of the Lakers featured Shaq, malone,payton and a 25 year old Kobe.
The Lakers can’t look back as they must only look forward and focus on the task at hand. They must first win game 3 before they can concentrate on coming back. If game 2 was any indication of things to come then tonight’s game should be a battle.