Category Archives: 2012 NBA Playoffs

Will Chris Bosh Play in Game 5?

Game 4 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals was another instant classic. Dwyane Wade missed a game-winning 3-pointer at the end of overtime to give the Boston Celtics a 93-91 win over the Miami Heat. Miami was without Lebron James for a portion of overtime due to him fouling out. James and Wade had a hard time getting space between them and their defenders all night. They missed Chris Bosh…a lot.

Erik Spoelstra started Joel Anthony at center and James at power forward. He hasn’t found the right combo to start the game with. Miami has fallen behind by double-digits by the end of the first quarter in two out of the last three games.

Before Game 4, Spoelstra said that Bosh is considered ‘out indefinitely.’ He has been getting evaluated before each game and has shown improvement. Will Chris Bosh be back for Game 5 back in Miami?
Chris Bosh must play in Game 5 if the Heat has any shot at making the NBA Finals. He will have the entire off-season to heal his lower abdominal strain. Miami said they did not want to rush him back in fear of a setback. If Miami doesn’t game Game 5, there will not be another series for them to play this season.

ESPN reported that Bosh is rumored to be coming back for Game 5, but the report has not been confirmed yet.

Udonis Haslem has filled in for Bosh adequately. He is giving exactly what Haslem can give you in a game. You can’t replace what Bosh gives the Heat with Haslem. Ronny Turiaf didn’t even enter into the game. James committed seven turnovers as the starting power forward.

Boston is ‘cheating’ defensively. I don’t mean cheating in as doing something illegal, but in a way that a cornerback plays close to the line because he thinks the quarterback will throw a quick pass. The Celtics don’t have to respect Miami’s low-post scoring. James and Bosh cannot get the space to shoot if Bosh isn’t there to draw an extra defender.

Boston pulled down 11 offensive rebounds in Game 4. Bosh is not the best rebounder, but he is long and would have disrupted a few of those rebound attempts. Kevin Garnett had 14 total rebounds and could have had a few more rebounds if he wasn’t worried more about hustling back to play defense.

Bosh is a competitor and we know that he wants to play. They have been showing him on the bench and he looks like a lost puppy. Miami just needs to give him a green light. Even if Bosh could contribute 20 minutes, Miami would be a much better team.


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Chris Bosh Out for Game 4

The Miami Heat will have to find another way to stop the Boston Celtics from scoring in the paint. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said that Chris Bosh won’t play Sunday. He has not advanced enough in his recovery from his lower-abdominal strain. They will keep evaluating him in hopes of him returning later in the series.

Boston scored 58 points in the paint during Game 3, the most they have scored in a playoff game since 2008. Kevin Garnett looked like he was in his twenties again by scoring 24 points rather easily. Rajon Rondo has even had success hit floaters and scoring in the paint.

Since Game 4 of their series with Indiana, Miami have done a great job in overcoming the absence of Bosh. Can they do it again in Game 4?
It is hard to replace Bosh’s 18 points and 7.9 points per game that he averaged during the regular season. Miami’s bench isn’t strong since an overwhelmingly large portion of their salary cap is distributed to Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh. Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard, Eddy Curry, and Ronny Turiaf are the available power forwards and centers on the team. Center Dexter Pittman is still suspended due to his flagrant foul on Lance Stephenson that occurred during Game 6 of their series with the Indiana Pacers. Haslem, Anthony, and Turiaf have been rotating in and out of the game filling the Heat’s power forward and center positions.

During the regular season, Boston struggled to put up points on a regular basis. They are a great defensive team and have won games because of it. Their identity had to change when Avery Bradley went down with a shoulder injury. He was their defensive spark plug and will miss the remainder of the playoffs. Rondo increased his scoring with an unprecedented offensive output in Game 2 of the series. Boston is being more aggressive and leaving everything out on the court. Coach Doc Rivers apparently knows when to push the accelerator.

Game 4 of the series takes place Sunday at 8:30pm EST.

Get your popcorn ready! (I hope Terrell Owens doesn’t own that trademark)

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Will Chris Bosh Play in the Eastern Conference Finals?

The Miami Heat have missed the presence of Chris Bosh since he was injured in early in the series with the Indiana Pacers. After the injury, Miami said that Bosh would be ‘out indefinitely. They defeated Indiana in six games, but 90% of their plays were isolation plays with either Lebron James or Dwyane Wade taking it to the rim. Bosh gives the Heat a third option and frees up James and Wade out of double teams.

They are still unsure when he would be back. A timetable is hard to set for a lower abdominal/high groin injury. A player could come back in as early as two weeks or need to sit out a maximum six to eight weeks.

When will Bosh be back for the Heat? Will it be in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics or could he be out for the remainder of the 2012 NBA Playoffs?

ESPN reported that Bosh participated in an on-court workout at American Airlines Arena on Sunday. Assistant coach Keith Askins ran Bosh’s workout over the seeing eye of team president Pat Riley. He worked on his lateral movement, shot some free-throws, and did some catch and shoot footwork. It was reported to be an extremely light workout, but it is a sign that he could be back sometime in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra commented to the media that he is preparing the team to play without Bosh. He is taking each game one at a time and if Bosh is ready to play, he will adjust his game plan.

Miami needs Bosh to play as soon as possible. They don’t want to rush him and gamble a setback, but they were only 1-3 against Boston this year. Boston likes to play small, but would benefit by playing bigger against a Bosh-less Heat. Kevin Garnett has been playing center and are a much better team since making that change. They will be without Avery Bradley for the rest of the post-season because of a small tear in his shoulder. He is one of the best defender on the team and Ray Allen will have to step up on defense.

My prediction is that Miami will play the first few games without Bosh. If they win two out of the first three games, the Heat will wait after Game 4 to make a decision to bring him back for Game 5. If Miami is 3-1 after that game, Bosh will sit…if Boston ties up the series, he’ll be back for the next game. I think Game 5 is the earliest that you will see him back on the court.

The Heat would need Bosh in the NBA Finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs are big and play great interior defense. They will not be able to beat either of those teams with him.


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Udonis Haslem & Dexter Pittman Both Suspended, Flagrant Fouls (VIDEO)

The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are fighting like the basketball court  in the middle of an octagon. The fifth game of this series was a battle. Both teams tried to hold their ground, but frustration started to set in and the play started to get chippy.

This series is one of the most physical in recent memory. The tension is starting to build and players are taking their aggression out on each other.

Miami won Game 5 and lead the series 3-2, but they could end up without two of their big men. Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman committed moronic fouls that will cost them games. Haslem will be suspended for Game 6 and Pittman received a suspension of three games.

The video of these fouls are below…after the jump.

Tyler Hansbrough started the foul contest after he was too physical with Dwyane Wade. The play was borderline, but Wade sold it by laying on the court for nearly thirty seconds. The Heat answered when Udonis Haslem put both hands in Hansbrough’s face and pushed his head back. In most cases, this would have been a Flagrant Two, which would eject Haslem from the game. He was only cited for a Flagrant One, the same level of Hansbrough’s foul. During the second-half, Marv Albert and Steve Kerr mentioned that Commissioner David Stern would review Haslem’s foul on Wednesday.

Possibly the most aggressive foul was committed by the Heat’s Dexter Pittman in the final minute of the game. Lance Stephenson was coming in the paint to rebound the ball, but Pittman jumped over to his side of the paint and put an elbow right in Stephenson’s throat.

Why would two back-of-the-rotation guys go at it like this? It started when Lance Stephenson held up the “choke sign” when Lebron missed a couple late-game free-throws. Miami didn’t take kindly to that and believe that Stephenson needed to learn to respect other players. Before Game 4 in Indianapolis, the Heat’s Juwan Howard crossed the half-court line and confronted Stephenson.

Pittman’s foul was planned and it has no place in the NBA. The Heat can survive without him. He is expendable and this is why he was chosen to commit the hard foul.

Nearly ever major player in this series have been close to fighting each other. Danny Granger and Lebron James have been talking trash to each other and it nearly came to blows twice. Because their team leaders are going at it, it is open season for the rest of the roster. It didn’t help when Wade tackled Darren Collison in Game 2. Wade was not suspended for Game 3, in which infuriated the Pacers and their fans.

The Heat will need to activate Eddy Curry, who has not played a single minute in these playoffs. Game 6 of the series is on Thursday in Indianapolis at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.

Here are the videos of the Miami Heat’s flagrant fouls and a video breakdown from…

Game 5: Udonis Haslem’s flagrant foul on Tyler Hansbrough

Game 5: Dexter Pittman’s flagrant foul on Lance Stephenson

Game 2: Dwyane Wade flagrant foul on Darren Collison

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10 Reasons: Why Indiana Pacers Can Win NBA Title

The Indiana Pacers didn’t have a nationally televised game this season. At one point this season, they had the NBA’s lowest attendance numbers in the league. Yes, even the Charlotte Bobcats were beating them in attendance for most of the season. Indiana surprised everyone this year and took a leap from last year’s #8 seed to this year’s #3 seed in the playoffs.

NBA analysts have been divided on whether the Pacers benefited from this year’s schedule or if they are legit. Indiana is full of young players who are still peaking, so they are a bit unpredictable. They started off the season on fire, but suffered a mid-season slump. After acquiring Leandro Barbosa, they went 18-9 and finished the season 42-24. Can the Pacers be consistent enough to win a series against the Miami Heat? How does Indiana match-up against the best teams in the West?

1. Roy Hibbert is a defensive nightmare for the Miami Heat. Hibbert is one of the most improved players in the NBA. He hasn’t put up get offensive numbers in the playoffs, but he can block any guards that drive in the lane. There aren’t many legit big men in the playoffs and the ones that are left (Joakim Noah, Andrew Bynum, Marc Gasol), he has had big games against in the past. Joel Anthony isn’t an offensive threat, but Hibbert is more physical and will be able to score.

2. Paul George is turning into an elite defender. George came into the league with a big question mark. He had all of the tools to be a great player in the league, but no one knew if he would develop into one. He was good at a lot of things, but not great. He didn’t have a position out of college, much like Evan Turner. He has improved his game at every level and could be the Pacers’ franchise player very soon. In the past, Indiana has relied on Dahntay Jones to defend the team’s best scorer. He has done well, but he is an offensive liability. He takes too many bad shots and he has a quick trigger. George was top-10 in steals, steal %, and steals per game. He would guard Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Dwayne Wade with Danny Granger sharing the duty.

3. Danny Granger is a consistent scorer. I couldn’t say this at the beginning of the season, but he finished the season on a hot streak. He raised his points per game to 18.7 and finished the season shooting 38% from behind the arc. He doesn’t have the pressure to be the team’s leading scorer, since George, Hibbert, and David West could all easily have 20-point games. I have confidence in him taking the final shot and cemented his place as the team leader.

4. David West is fully-healed from his knee surgery. Before the All-Star break, West wasn’t playing maximum minutes and Tyler Hansbrough would often finish the games at power-forward. West is turning into a 20-10 guy and help the Pacers go 18-9 down the stretch. He is the enforcer in the paint, much like Kendrick Perkins was during the Boston Celtics title run. Teams are scared to go in the paint with West and Hibbert occupying it.

5. George Hill is a better starting point-guard than Darren Collison. When Collison went down with an injury a month ago, Hill stepped in and the team went on a seven-game winning streak. The team is much better on the fast break than in the half-court and Hill is a better scoring threat on the break. Hill only averages 1.0 turnovers per game, Collison improved his turnovers per game to 1.9, but Hill is better with the ball. Pacers’ fans are now happy that they traded their first-round draft pick (that turned into Kawhi Leonard) to the Spurs for Hill.

6. Indiana’s bench is one of the deepest teams in the league. At the trading deadline, the Pacers traded a second-round draft pick to Toronto for Leandro Barbosa. They needed a bench scorer and he has delivered. Hansbrough, Barbosa, Collison, Louis Amundson, Jones, and Lance Stephenson are an exciting second unit. Hansbrough and Amundson are motor guys that always fight for the ball and Jones can deliver perimeter defense. They will have an advantage when the opposing team rests their starters.

7. Indiana has the confidence that they can beat any team. As in #8 seed in last year’s playoffs, they made the Chicago Bulls fight for every win. They weren’t supposed to make that series close, but Derrick Rose had to give 100% to win that series. They have beat most of the teams in the playoffs and have only had a few games this season that were out of reach early. The team is peaking at the right time in the season.

8. The Pacers are an excellent road team. They had a winning road record (19-14) and even averaged more points per game away from home (95.5). If they slip up at home, like they did against the Magic in Game 1, they can make it up on the road. I know that it is tougher to win on the road in the playoffs, but like I said before, their confidence is at a season-high.

9. Derrick Rose’s unfortunate injury opens up the Eastern Conference race. Indiana has to play their way through Miami to face where Chicago would be, but they match-up well again the top part of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. Miami will be their toughest challenge in the East, so if they make it to the Conference finals, they will be favored. They will have a difficult match-up against the Western Conference winner, but it won’t be as lopsided as experts would predict.

10. A playoff match-up against Indiana will be a “trap series” for the Heat. Miami has only one goal, to win the NBA Championship. Their season would be a disappointment if they fall short of their goal. No matter who the Heat face in the second-round, Magic or Pacers, their focus will be past their opponent. A team will be able to sneak a couple wins against them throughout the playoffs, so that extra win could sway the series. I’m excited to see Indiana play Miami, since the entire country will be rooting for them to knockout Lebron and his “South Beach talents.”

No matter how far the Pacers make it in the playoffs, this season will be considered a success. They are a young team and are expected to make the playoffs many times in the near future.

I just hope that this is the year that Indiana hangs their first banner as a member of the NBA.


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Amar’e Stoudemire Hates Fire Extinguishers

When an athlete is able to play at the highest level in their sport, it can be hard to lose. You are used to dominating at every level, then you hit a wall and can’t seem to get over the hill. Players deal with their frustration differently. You can hit the gym, talk it over with teammates, or forget it and move on. If it was only that easy for a certain member of the New York Knicks. A moment of frustration could end the season for Amar’e Stoudemire or Amare Stoudemire (for those who lack an apostrophe on their keyboards).

I promise that no fire extinguishers or their cases were hurt in the writing of this blog post.

The New York Knicks lost to the Miami Heat (104-94) in Game 2 of their best-of-seven playoff series. This is the second defeat in a row. They were dominated in the fourth quarter with ease. Most say that this was a “must win” game for the Knicks. They now face an an incredible challenge to come back in this series.

Yahoo! reports that while exiting the court, Stoudemire punched the glass of a fire extinguisher case. He cut his hand and later left the arena with a heavily bandaged hand and his arm in a sling. It was reported that there was a great deal of blood in the Knicks locker room and that a paramedic that to assist in helping him with his injury. Stoudemire later tweeted, “I’m so mad at myself right now, I want to apologize to the fans and my team, not proud of my actions, headed for home for a new start.” The extent of his injury has not be reported yet, but due to the amount of blood and the bandage/sling medical equipment, it could be substantial.

It is unknown if Stoudemire is healthy enough to play in the rest of the series or if he will receive any discipline for his destruction of the arena’s property. He was just recovering from a back injury and he would join Jeremy Lin, Iman Shumpert, and possibly Baron Davis on the injured list. Davis missed the first-half of this game after his own back injury flared up on him. It is unknown if Lin will be able to play in this series and Shumpert will be out until next season with a torn ligament.

The Knicks have a nearly improbably task ahead of them. If they win one game in this series, I would consider it a moral victory. Carmelo Anthony can only do so much and he’s already maxed out. I will continue watching this series for Steve Novak, a “White Boy of the Year” nominee. They can go into the 2012-13 season with a decent draft pick in a very deep draft, a healthy Jeremy Lin, and either Mike Woodson or a new coach. They will be a better team next year, if they can stay healthy…and Stoudemire stops trying to fight fire extinguishing equipment.

Photo credit goes to Timothy Burke for his hilarious Photoshop talent. Go to Deadspin for his awesome photo and video work.


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