|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAIt took four tries, a couple of moves, and some waiting for some players to age, but LeBron James and crew finally overcame the Boston Celtics in a playoffs series.
With all three of the 2000s championship dynasties now out of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, it now becomes much more difficult to predict which team has the best chance of winning the title. The fact that the Grizzlies and Thunder are still battling out west adds to the speculation.
James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all coalesced around the Miami Heat for one purpose: defeating the Boston Celtics in the playoffs and having a chance at an NBA Championship. And in five games, Boston was eliminated. The Heat took care of the final game last night with a 97-87 victory in Miami, despite trailing for much of the game. But the Celtics' injuries and age finally caught up with them and the Big Three from Boston were passed down the stretch by the Big Three from Miami.
Would the Celtics have been able to win a few more games or even the entire series if they were healthy? Who knows about the eventual outcome, but it was clear last night that Rajon Rondo was completely ineffectual for the C's. Shaq was also out last night with lingering soreness from his calf/ankle injury. But the Heat earned their victory, as well, with some clutch three-pointers from James, who scored the team's final 10 points of the game.
Out in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies were back at it after a day off following the triple-overtime game on Monday night. The Grizzlies looked fatigued the entire game after the first few minutes, and Kevin Durant and the Thunder took advantage. By the end of the first half, OKC was up by 11, and ended the game 99-72 over Memphis, who missed one shot after another all night.
The Grizzlies are still a tough team and have gone further this year than anyone would ever have expected. But that triple-overtime game looked like it took a toll on Memphis, which shot only 36% from the field last night. Even their free throws were off, as they went 14-of-23 for the night. The Thunder now lead the series 3-2, but expect the Grizzlies to battle back in Game Six and push the series to a decisive Game Seven in Oklahoma City.