For LeBron James, Game 5 last season against Boston was horrific.
A year later, Game 5 was humbling. And he and the Miami Heat are half-way to an NBA championship, having finally found a way to vanquish the Celtics.
Dwyane Wade scored 34 points, James added 33 — including the game’s last 10 in a spectacular closing flourish, part of Miami’s 16-0 run over the final 4:15 — and the Heat beat the visiting Celtics 97-87 on Wednesday night to win the Eastern Conference semifinal series in five games.
When it was over, James knelt on the court, oblivious to the photographers who quickly surrounded him in Miami’s celebration.
“Everything went through my mind at that point,” James said. “Finally getting over this hump against this team. Everything I went through this summer, with ‘The Decision’ and deciding to come down here to be a part of this team, because I knew how important team is to this sport and all the backlash I got from it.
“I’d be up here for two hours if I tell you exactly everything that went through my head. Very emotional at that point, you know, and happy we got through it as a team.”
James Jones hit a 3-pointer that kickstarted the final push, and Chris Bosh completed with 14 points — none of them more important than the two coming when he blew past Kevin Garnett for a game-tying dunk with 2:57 left.
The Celtics got one measure of a victory: Ending months of
speculation, coach Doc Rivers stated he will likely return to coach next season.
Thunder 99, Grizzlies 72: Kevin Durant scored 19 points, reserve Daequan Cook added 18 and the host Thunder followed their triple-overtime triumph with a blowout of the Grizzlies to take their first series lead in the Western Conference semifinals. The Thunder lead 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Friday night in Memphis. They got there with ease considering what happened two nights earlier.
Marc Gasol had 16 points to lead Memphis, which matched its lowest point total from the regular season and played like it was still drained from an emotional loss in their own building that knocked them out of control in the series.
The Grizzlies shot a season-worst 36 percent and were far enough behind that Durant and fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook did not play in the fourth quarter. By the end, Durant was wearing one of the same white Thunder T-shirts as the sellout crowd.
Lakers: Phil Jackson doesn’t imagine returning to an NBA bench. At least not right now. Jackson informally wrapped up his tenure with the Lakers, three days after the two-time champions were swept out of the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers have no plans to replace him imminently, but Jackson left only the slightest doubt he is done with what is likely the last chapter of his unmatched career. “I have no plans to return,” the 65-year-old Jackson stated in an emotionless news conference at the Lakers’ training complex. “Today, I’m sure. What it’s going to be like in six months, I’m not sure.”
Mavericks: Dallas guard J.J. Barea states he doesn’t hold any animosity toward Lakers center Andrew Bynum after their ugly collision in Game 4 of their playoff series. Barea stated that he received an apologetic message from Bynum that he thinks about sincere. He did not return the call because he did not think it was necessary.
Obituary: Robert “Tractor” Traylor, who spent seven seasons in the NBA, was found dead in his apartment in Puerto Rico, according to his professional team there. He was 34.
Traylor may have died from a big heart attack, the Bayamon Cowboys stated on their website.
Wire services contributed to this report.
Submited at Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 5:00 am on Uncategorized by robert
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