Durant named NBA MVP

LeBron James and Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant was named as the 2013-14 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the league announced today in a press release.

Durant received 119 first-place votes, with Miami’s LeBron James landing the other six. The half dozen voters who had LeBron as first on their ballot each had Durant second. LeBron was second on 118 ballots, with Clippers forward Blake Griffin receiving the only other second-place vote.

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Will Zach Randolph return to Memphis next season?

Zach Randolph

The Memphis Grizzlies traveled Oklahoma City for the second of five NBA Game 7s that we were all treated to this weekend. Their leading scorer, All-Star power forward Zach Randolph, did not make the trip. [Read more…]

How Derrick Rose’s injury ultimately impacted the NBA playoffs

Derrick Rose torn ACL

Now that Miami has clinched the NBA Finals with a decisive Game 5 victory, we can most accurately assess what impact Derrick Rose’s knee injury may have had in the 2012 NBA Playoffs.  Think back nearly two months ago, when Chicago (50-16) was the NBA’s top seed—holding the tiebreaker over San Antonio thanks to a head-to-head victory—with its star point guard seemingly back at full strength.  With minutes remaining in Game 1 against Philadelphia, Rose landed awkwardly and tore his ACL, ending his season and the Bulls’ chances at a title.

But would his presence have changed anything?  Would a healthy Rose have helped Chicago topple Boston and then Miami in the East?  Could the Bulls have handled the Thunder and actually taken home the title for themselves? [Read more…]

NBA Finals: Lack of execution late leaves Thunder in 3-1 hole vs. Heat

With the game once again knotted up late in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City choked.

Despite the league’s best player—the only guy who has shown the ability to slow down Kevin Durant, by the way—checking in and out of play with a leg cramp, the Thunder failed to execute on both ends of the floor, falling into a 3-1 hole in the NBA Finals with a third consecutive loss.

But unlike Games 2 and 3, where suspect refereeing helped the Heat slip away with two victories, OKC has only itself to blame for coughing up a crucial Game 4.

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What the offseason might have in store for the Indiana Pacers

With the highly anticipated NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder now under way, a thought randomly popped into my head: It wasn’t very long ago that I was thinking the Pacers could conceivably be playing in this series.

That, of course, was when the Pacers had taken a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after trouncing the Heat 94-75 in Game 3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Miami then won the next three games, thanks in large part to superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade going off, and brought my expectations back down to Earth.

The Pacers boast a talented young roster, but it’s evident they don’t have that one player that can do what James and Wade can do — not yet, anyway. If that player isn’t already on the team, can Indiana find him this offseason? If so, who might he be?

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Let the rivalry begin: Can Lebron-Durant compare to Bird-Magic?

LeBron James and Kevin Durant

Since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach and Kevin Durant proved himself as the NBA’s most dangerous offensive weapon, we’ve wanted nothing more than the inevitable NBA Finals matchup pitting these two against each other.  Now that it’s finally here, don’t expect this to be a one-time confrontation.  In reality, this LeBron v. Durant championship showdown—a preview of more Finals matchups to come, no doubt—should be the beginning of a storied NBA rivalry, one that could ultimately evoke memories of the Bird-Magic duels of the 80s. [Read more…]

Thunder pass Final test, erase 18-point deficit to oust Spurs

Could there have been a more perfect way for the darling Oklahoma City Thunder—an energetic bunch of youngsters who for years were described as “waiting their turn”—to make their first trip to the NBA Finals?

Since moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder have simply climbed the Western Conference ladder step by step.  After missing the playoffs in 2009, they lost to the eventual champion Lakers in Round 1 in 2010 before falling to eventual champion Dallas in the Western Conference Finals in 2011.  In 2012, they dominated the NBA’s last two champs in the Mavericks and Lakers, and have now dealt the league’s top-seeded Spurs, once winners of 20 straight, four consecutive losses en route to the NBA Finals. [Read more…]

Back in the series? Spurs-Thunder will hinge on Game 4

San Antonio Spurs v. Oklahoma City Thunder

After falling down 0-2 to San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City continued its home court playoff dominance and ended the Spurs’ remarkable 20-game winning streak with a convincing 102-82 victory in Game 3.  The Thunder stomped San Antonio up and down the court by playing stifling defense and scoring in the paint at will, handing the Spurs their largest margin of defeat in a playoff game during the Gregg Popovich era and ending their perfect postseason start at 10 games.

But it’s not exactly time to break out the bubbly and get ready for the NBA Finals.  In actuality, down 2-1 in the series with another home game on its way Saturday night, now is the time OKC should be most worried.  Sure, they just dismantled the mighty Spurs, winners of 20 straight and 31 of 33, but such a thrilling victory could make Game 4 a perfect time for a Thunder letdown.  Only complicating matters, the Thunder will again be playing the NBA’s best coached and most balanced team coming off arguably their worst performance of the entire season. [Read more…]