Bulls Take First Lead Over Heat, Thunder Progress
Miami’s addiction to the Big Trio can be easily noticed when the three cornerstones score less than 70 points. Chicago beat Erik Spoelstra’s side 103-82 last night at the United Center thanks to Rose and Deng’s great shape, but also to a late comeback which brought the hosts a 12-point advantage.
Chris Bosh was the best player on the court, but the Bulls were the better side. Heat’s cornerstone finished his 37-minute work with 30 points and nine rebounds, while Chicago’s star Derrick Rose came up with 28 points, six assists and one rebound. Bulls’ performance was improved by Luol Deng’s 21 points, seven rebounds, four steals, two assists and one block.
Carlos Boozer was the last one to score more than nine points, leaving the court with 14, including nine rebounds, two assists and one steal. Joakim Noah scored just nine points, but managed to grab 14 rebounds, deliver four assists and make two steals and two blocks. Finally, Keith Bogans had three points, one assist and one steal.
Concerning their bench, Bulls’ reserves scored 28 points, nine of which being added by Taj Gibson, whose 23-minute showing included at the same time seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Ronnie Brewer came up with eight points, three rebounds and one steal, C.J. Watson had three points, five assists, two rebounds and one steal, while Omer Asik, who played just 11 minutes, left with five points and two rebounds.
Finally, Kyle Korver completed his 17-minute showing with three points, one assist and one steal. Rasual Butler and Kurt Thomas weren’t given the chance to be part of Bulls’ huge success, the two spending the 48 minutes on the bench. Overall, Chicago converted half of their three-point throws, Deng going for four three-pointers, Rose had three, while Bogans, Korver and Watson had one, each.
On the other side, Miami’s Big Trio scored 63 points, 18 of which being brought by Dwyane Wade whose 39-minute also included three rebounds, three assists and three steals. As for LeBron James, he didn’t shine too bright, leaving the court with just 15 minutes. He counterbalanced his poor throwing with six rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals, but even so, Heat were losing more pace.
Heat won the first quarter 23-20, only to lose the second one 25-28. So, neither side looked as favorite after the first half. But hardly did the second term start that Chicago were powering through to an 11-point lead. The home side won the third quarter 24-15, while Heat were simply unrecognizable. Finally, Erik Spoelstra side’s disaster came in the fourth quarter when the former East leaders allowed the current ones score 31 more points.
Mike Bibby finished his 23-minute showing with four points, two rebounds and two assists, while Joel Anthony, who left scoreless, came up with six rebounds, three blocks and one steal. As for their reserves, they scored 15 points. Mario Chalmers scored the most of them, nine, James Jones had four and Jamaal Magloire added two. Udonis Haslem, Mike miller, Eddie House and Juwan Howard, who all played less than five minutes, left scoreless.
LeBron, Jones and Chalmers were the only ones to convert a three-pointer. Overall, Miami converted three out of just eight throws, Erik Spoelstra’s side focusing on a very offensive play. Game 2 is scheduled to take place on Wednesday at the same United Center where Heat are expected to break through.
Said Bosh: “Dwyane and LeBron are going to create a lot of attention. This is a good defensive team. They’re going to make them distributors. We have to look at where we fell short as a team for Game 1 and come back with a better approach.”
Oklahoma City Thunder 105 – 90 Memphis Grizzles
Thunder grabbed a precious win over stubborn Memphis last night at the Oklahoma City Arena to make the progress into the semi finals. With a hot Kevin Durant on the court, Oklahoma thundered past Grizzlies, not allowing them to win an of the four quarters. Thus, the hosts went four points adrift in the first quarter and repeated the same performance in the second one. So, the first half went 42-24 to Thunder who managed to set the pace throughout the entire 48 minutes.
The second half found the same Thunder extending their lead to 14 points only in the third quarter as things looked clear as possible. Finally, Oklahoma kept the lifeless Grizzlies 15 points behind them to celebrate a huge success. They will next play Dallas Mavericks.
Kevin Durant hit 39 points and grabbed nine rebounds, the Thunder star providing the most solid contribution. James Harden scored the second most points, 17, while Russell Westbrook had 14 points, 14 assists, ten rebounds and one block, a second remarkable performance. Nick Collison came off the bench to score eight points and collect 12 rebounds, while starters Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins scored four points, each.
Memphis’s collective play proved to be inefficient in front of Oklahoma’s individual one. Even though four of its five starters scored 12+ points, Grizzlies needed something more than that. Zach Randolph, who had provided a remarkable performance in Game 6, finished Sunday’s game with just 17 points and ten rebounds. Mike Conley also had bad night, finishing his 40-minute showing with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Starter O.J. Mayo had 14 points, five rebounds and two assists, Marc Gasol came up with 12 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and one assist, while Tony Allen’s efforts stopped at seven points, four steals, three rebounds, one assist and one block. Grizzlies’ reserves added 22 points. Darrell Arthur and Greivis Vasquez had four, each, while Sam Young and Shane Battier scored eight points together. Overall, Memhpis converted five out of 15 three-pointers, Conley bringing two of them.11