The NBA Finals are underway and the fans are finally getting what they’ve been waiting for since last June: an epic finale to the Big Shot Rob Playoff Tournament. But that other thing, those NBA playoffs…they;ve been pretty good, too, right? Let’s briefly recap the conference finals.
Celtics-Heat (ECF): In what has become a classic rivalry between LeBron and the Celtics (4th playoff meeting in 5 years), James and the Heat narrowly edged an unselfish, crafty, and tough Celtics team in seven games.
In Game 1, the Heat stomped the C’s behind one of LeBron’s now-usual 30+ point 10+ rebound games (32 and 13).
In Game 2, Rondo displayed historic dominance and ball-mastery in a Game 2 overtime loss (44 pts, 10 ast, 8 reb on 16-24 shooting); LeBron once again went for 30+, 10+ (34 and 10).
In a Game 3 in Boston, the Celtics got a decisive must-win. Wade didn’t get to the free throw line once and LeBron was 1-5 from the stripe; meanwhile, KG took advantage of a Bosh-less front line and Rondo delivered again.
In Game 4, LeBron and Pierce both fouled out in an overtime loss, but it was a statement from the Celtics that put the Heat on their heals.
Indeed, the Celtics came out in Miami to steal Game 5 despite another 30+, 10+ LBJ performance (30 and 13) and Chris Bosh’s return.
Down 3-2 and heading to Boston, Miami found itself in a do-or-die Game 6; LeBron proceeded to torch the Celtics with 45, 15, and 5 on 19-26 (!) shooting.
Going back to Miami, the Heat finished off a feisty Celtics team in a good old-fashioned Game 7. Although the Celtics started out ahead and in command, the Heat came alive in the second half behind big-time plays from Wade, another 30+ , 10+ game from James (31 and 12), and solid play beyond the arch from Bosh and Battier.
Thunder-Spurs (WCF): In what some considered the “true” NBA Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder won in 6 games, winning for straight after dropping the first two two a red-hot Spurs team. The Spurs had won 20 consecutive games before Game 3.
In Game 1, the Spurs won a close home game that shouldn’t have been that close. After a 3rd quarter Spurs collapse, Coach Pop viscerally laid into his players, telling them “I want some nasty.” Nasty he got as the Spurs won behind a hyper efficient Manu performance (26 pts on 9-14 FG).
In Game 2, the Spurs played the best offensive team basketball I have ever witnessed and out-gunned the Thunder in a surprisingly close game. The Thunder had a strong outing from their big 3 (combined 88 pts on 30-54 FG) and used Hack-a-Splitter to slow the Spurs down, but none of it was enough.
But back in OKC, everything changed. In Game 3, the Thunder decimated the Spurs 102-82 with lock-down D.
In Game 4, the Spurs made a match of it, but Kevin Durant brought the pain to San Antonio, scoring 18 of his 36 points in the final 7 minutes; Ibaka shot a perfect 11-11 from the field and the stripe (4-4 FT) en route to 26 points.
In a pivotal Game 5 in San Antonio, the Thunder became the first team in the series to steal a road game. Ginobili took a starting role and played great (34 pt, 7 ast, 6 reb), but James Harden hit the biggest shot of his career to seal the deal; up 103-101 with 30 seconds left and no time on the shot clock, Harden drilled a step-back 3 in the face Kawhi Leonard.
Going back home to Game 6, the Thunder clinched a finals birth with another superb fourth-quarter effort; Durant was majestic (34 pts, 14 reb, 5 ast), as he was all series long. After playing and losing to the veteran Lakers and Mavs the previous two years, the Thunder rose above their youth as the world witnessed a changing of the guard. Hero: Kevin Durant, who was consistently brilliant. Goat: The Spurs’ lack of athleticism. Best Boxscore: In Game 4, Durant had 36 pts (13-20 FG, 9-9 FT), 8 ast, 6 reb and 1 TO to avoid going down 3-1.
The Status of the Big Shot Bob (Rob) Tournament after the Conference Finals:
There is little to say, as I’ll save my more verbose coronation for after the Finals, but it deserves mention that Dan “Big Purple” Leifer will be coming away with this year’s trophy (it exists, okay?). Here are the totals going into the Finals:
1. Dan Leifer (66)
2. David Gold (59)
2. Dave Attewell (59)
4. Chris Nolop (58)
4. Zach Mason (58)
4. Jesse Gainsburg (58)
4. Ethan Frigon (58)
8. Andrew Wise (56)
8. Michael Eppler (56)
10. Dickson Cohen (54)
11. Izzy Gainsburg (53)
12. Tommy McCarthy (52)
13. James Choca (46)
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