Ballin: LeBron James scored 32 points on 8-17 shooting and went 15-16 from the line, which is great, but more shoutouts are coming for his supporting cast who supported him for once. 21 points and nine rebounds for Dwyane Wade, 10 points and three threes for Ray Allen, eight points and four assists for Norris Cole, eight rebounds from Chris Bosh, solid defense and general longhairedness from Mike Miller — these are things the Heat will need if they want to repeat as champions.
Not so much: Nice playoffs, Paul George. Too bad it had to end on a seven-point, 2-9 outing where the LeBron Jamesity of LeBron James just totally took George out of his game. That can happen when you’re 23 years old playing against the best player in the game during the biggest game of your life.
Heads up: Watch your face, LeBron James.
On a scale from 1-10, how scared do you think LeBron James was to smash his face against the rim? I’d guess about a six. This was also a great dunk, because LeBron just does that a bunch.
Ballin: Just watch a minute of LeBron James’ third quarter highlights and you’ll have your answer to who was last night’s MBP, Most Ballinest Player. By the time that 25-footer came around, LeBron was so on fire that as soon as he had a sliver of daylight I said “This is in” to my wife, who wasn’t paying attention, and then I just giggled when it splashed. Killer.
Not so much: Lance Stephenson had more turnovers (3) than assists (2) and more fouls (6) than points (4) on the very same day that some people tried to start the Lance Stephenson bandwagon. As a fellow who appreciates that he made himself in to a useful player but will not ever like the guy, I was OK with this.
Grrrrr: A lot of puffed-out chests in Miami last night, and I’m not talking about the breast implants for once.
Here are two things that I am surprised did not happen: 1) Chris Andersen was not kicked out, which I thought was a guarantee if you push someone in the 2013 NBA; 2) Udonis Haslem hasn’t called anyone a fake tough guy or studio gangster yet, which is kind of his favorite thing. Personally, I’m just bummed out that neither of these skirmishes led to some old-school forehead-to-forehead trash talk. That really needs to make a comeback.
Ballin: Roy Hibbert went for 23 points on 10-16 shooting, grabbed 12 rebounds and was a real Georgetown No. 55 about things all night. I am pretty sure that number gives you special hook shot powers and makes you taller than everyone on the court, so maybe we should check in to that technology.
Not so much: Chris Bosh went 1-6 from the field, scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds, which means he got outplayed by Sam Young. And when you get outplayed by Sam Young, you are Not So Much.
Let me whistle at em: Something historic happened last night — LeBron James fouled out (first time all season) and he did so on an offensive foul. That can’t have happened too many times in his career.
Two things about this: 1) LeBron earned a foul for a similar foot-under-foot thing in the first half, so at least things were consistent; 2) I know he’s mad at the officials, but LeBron should really be mad at Dwyane Wade for leaving early, before LeBron could really set this screen, which is the main reason this foul was called. Gotta wait, Wade.
Ballin: 37 points on 15-21 shooting for Tony Parker, who also added six assists and four rebounds, just to make sure the Grizzlies realized how bad he was destroying them. For the series, Parker averaged 24.5 points, 9.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and two steals per game, all against a team who finished second in defensive efficiency during the regular season and who features two All-Defense team members in their backcourt and the Defensive Player of the Year at center. Pretty impressive.
Not so much: After going 4-13 in the Game 4 loss, Zach Randolph finished the four-game series shooting 30.2 percent from the field (and just 50 percent from the line) while averaging just 11 points a game. Not terribly surprising considering he shot 36 percent against the Spurs during the regular season, but still.
Wizardry: There are a lot of things that are amazing about this Manu Ginobili pass, but I’ll tell you what’s the most amazing after you watch the clip.
It’s not that it was a great touch pass, and it’s not even that it was a between-the-legs pass either — no, the most amazing thing here is that neither Mike Breen nor Jeff Van Gundy mentioned that this pass went through Tayshaun Prince’s legs. How do you not mention that? Come on.
Ballin: LeBron James had a triple-double, so him. LeBron James also made a game-winning buzzer-beater, so also him. LeBron James also became the first player in NBA postseason history to tally a triple-double and a game-winning buzzer-beater in the same game, so him again.
Not so much: Frank “En” Vogel went 0-2 on last minute of overtime Roy Hibbert substitutions, which allowed LeBron James a nice chance to practice both his right-handed and left-handed layups after blowing by Georges Paul and Hill on the way to the basket. Quick coaching tip — if you’re subbing out Hibbertydibberty for Sam Young or Tyler Hansbrough in the final seconds of a playoff game, you’re doing it wrong.
Fin: If you’d prefer the top two entries to be condensed in to a quick vijoe, this should work.
Considering this was a virtual replay of the previous Heat possession — when Vogel pulled Hibbert for Young, only to see LeBron force a switch, easily ditch George Hill and then gently lay the ball in with no one at the rim — pretty Bad Idea Jeans by the Pacers head man. Good to know, however, that Vogel says Hibbert will “probably” be in if a situation like this presents itself again.
Ballin: I suppose the Ballinest Baller of the evening was the Cavaliers’ Nick Gilbert, who is neither a player nor a grownup, but still brought his particularly swaggy brand of good luck to the draft lottery and won the whole thing again. Perhaps most amazing, however, is that Lil’ Nicky apparently hasn’taged since his first appearance at the lottery in 2K11. Stay youthful, my friend. (And lucky.)
Not so much: Zach Randolph ended up with a pretty solid line in the Grizzlies’ overtime loss — 15 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks — but he also shot 6-18 from the field, missed five of his eight free throw attempts and turned the ball over four times. That looks pretty bad in and of itself, but it was even worse watching Zach be unable to shoot over the taller Spurs, then trying to meekly pump-fake multiple defenders who weren’t jumping. Not good.
Charles Smith: Here’s what the whole first half was like for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Yep, that’s a lot of missed layups on a single possession. No bueno. But at least it was more than one guy, otherwise all those misses would earn someone a bigger Wikipedia entry for that sequence than the entirety of their career.
Baguette: You might look at Tony Parky’s 15 points on 6-20 and wave your hand at your face while saying “Lordy, no” like an elderly Southern woman, but then you keep scanning and see that T-Bag handed out a career-high 18 assists. And then you check his Basketball-Reference page and see that he’s played 164 playoff games and realize that’s pretty baldwin. (Here’s his sexiest one from last night, by the way.)
Believe it or not, you can actually see air underneath both of these guys’ feet. Doesn’t change the fact that they both still couldn’t jump high enough to touch the ball at its apex. So good.
Engraving: Tim Duncan was only credited with four blocks last night, despite getting a fingy tip on what appeared to be any shot taken near him, but that was still enough to give him exactly 500 career postseason blocks. He’s the first player in league history to do that, though it’s worth remembering that Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played all or some of their careers before the 1973-74 season when blocks became an official league stat.
Quinge: Hey, Boris Diaw — there’s a Quincy Pondexter dunk in your face.
Seven points, nine rebounds, an assist, a steal and no turnovers in 37 minutes for Q-Pon, who might be hours away from stealing Tayshaun Prince’s starting job since the Grizzlies probably realize they need to be able to score points to win.
Lil Boozy: While we’re talking about backup Grizzlies perimeter players, let’s shoutout Jerryd Bayless’ 18 points (7-18 shooting), three rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block and just one turnover. Good job, man. But let’s also anti-shoutout the terrible, terrible brick he threw up on Memphis’ last real possession. Lionel Hollins really hated it and so did I.
Ballin: 18 points, six rebounds and five assists is sometimes a half for Dwyane Wade, so his overall line from last night’s series-clinching Game 5 isn’t really that big of a deal. But I think you’d have to agree that Fourth Quarter Dwyane Wade –six points, 3-3 shooting, three rebounds, a block on a Jimmy Butler step back three-point attempt (what) and a frustrating ability to make every play look awesome — was the best player on the floor during either of last night’s games. If he’s that healthy, well, congratulations on your second straight championship, Miami Heat.
Not so much: Kevin Durant went 5-21, missed a game-tying jumper with five-ish seconds remaining, and saw his No. 1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated in the second round. Bad night for Kraft Dinner, but it’s kind of weird that the online basketball community immediately went in to “If you criticize Kevin Durant for not carrying the Thunder to the conference finals by himself, then you’re an idiot and didn’t watch the game” mode. Has any semi-smart person been saying he choked? Or is it really just people saying that no one should say he choked even though no one given any credence has said he choked?
Charlos: Here’s the definition of Carlos Boozer’s defense.
You might think the Booz Cruise fell for a pass fake, but when you watch the slowmo replay, you’ll see that Slow Norris never once gives any sort of indication that he’s passing. Nope, he was just the beneficiary of some vintage Boozer defense.