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Pacers make trip back to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Remember when Reggie Miller scorched the Knicks to become the “Knick Killer”? or when Larry Johnson knocked in a four point playto propel the then 8th seeded Knicks to stun the Pacers? Well, in a rebirth of a classic rivalry from the 1990s, the third seeded Indiana Pacers came out as the better team, as they defeat the second seeded New York Knicks to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2004.

Photos ©NBA
 
The Knicks came into the playoffs as one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. They won the Atlantic Division title for the first time since 1994 and won a playoff series for the first time since 2000 when they knocked off their Atlantic division rival Boston Celtics in six games. Led by scoring champion Carmelo Anthony and joined with this year’s Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, Raymond Feltion, Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni to name a few. The Knicks looked poised to take their playoff run further deep. Unfortunately, their title run ends in the second round. They were unable to beat the Pacers on the road and allowed them to take Game 1 on their home floor. It was a bitter finish to their remarkable season and a season where they rejoined the elite of the East.
 
As for the Pacers, after knocking out the Atlanta Hawks in Round 1, they right away stole Game 1 at MSG which is the turning point of the series as the Pacers maintained a perfect home record at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the 2013 Playoffs which stands at 6-0. Led by Most Improved Player award winner Paul George and joined by George Hill, Roy Hibbert, David West, Lance Stephenson, D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough to name a few. These Pacers have put everyone on notice as for most of the season, they were under the radar. Now they have a shot of getting back to the NBA Finals for since Reggie Miller led the Pacers to their lone trip in franchise history in 2000.
 
The Pacers will now face the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals setting up a rematch from last year’s second round series which the Heat won in 6 games.
 
As for the Knicks, their impressive run to the East elite comes to a bitter end. A lot of uncertainty will now bloom in the Big Apple as their offseason begins now.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
GAME 1 @ New York: Pacers 102-95 Knicks
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: West 20, George 19, Augustin 16
Rebounds: Stephenson 13, Hibbert 8, Hill 7
Assists: Hill 6, George 4, Hibbert 4
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 27, Felton 18, Smith 17
Rebounds: Anthony 11, Smith 5, Shumpert 4
Assists: Prigioni 6, Felton 3, Smith 2
 
GAME 2 @ New York: Pacers 79-105 Knicks
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 20, West 13, Hill 12
Rebounds: Hibbert 12, West 6, George 4, Stephenson 4
Assists: Hill 7, West 4, Stephenson 2, B. Hansbrough 2
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 32, Shumpert 15, Felton 14
Rebounds: Anthony 9, Shumpert 6, Smith 6
Assists: Prigioni 4, Kidd 4
 
GAME 3 @ Indiana: Knicks 71-82 Pacers
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 21, Chandler 9, Smith 9
Rebounds: Shumpert 10, Martin 7, Kidd 6
Assists: Prigioni 4, Felton 2, Shumpert 2
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Hibbert 24, Hill 17, George 14
Rebounds: Hibbert 12, West 12, George 8
Assists: George 8, Stephenson 3
 
GAME 4 @ Indiana: Knicks 82-93 Pacers
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 24, Smith 19, Felton 14
Rebounds: Chandler 10, Anthony 9, Martin 5
Assists: Felton 6, Kidd 3, Martin 3
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Hill 26, George 18, Stephenson 13
Rebounds: George 14, Hibbert 11, West 10
Assists: George 7, Hill 4, West 3
 
GAME 5 @ New York: Pacers 75-85 Knicks
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 23, West 17, Augustin 12
Rebounds: West 10, Stephenson 8, Hibbert 7
Assists: George 6, West 2, Stephenson 2
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 28, Smith 13, Copeland 13
Rebounds: Chandler 8, Anthony 6, Shumpert 6, Smith 6
Assists: Felton 4, Prigioni 3, Smith 2
 
GAME 6 @ Indiana: Knicks 99-106 Pacers
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 39, Shumpert 19, Smith 15
Rebounds: Smith 10, Anthony 7, Chandler 6
Assists: Felton 6, Prigioni 6, Smith 3
 
Pacers leaders:
Points: Stephenson 25, George 23, Hibbert 21
Rebounds: Hibbert 12, Stephenson 10
Assists: George 4, Hill 4, West 4
 
Pacers win series 4-2
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Knicks survive emotional Celtics rally.

In a emotional battle between two rival cities, the second seeded New York Knicks survive a comeback push by the seventh seeded Boston Celtics who came back to won two games after trailing the series 0-3. The Knicks would take the series in six games and advance to the second round for the first time since 2000.

Photos ©NBA
 
The Celtics managed to come back to the playoffs despite losing their superstar point guard in Rajon Rondo to a season-ending foot injury. Led by their trusted veterans in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics keep themselves above the win column despite getting hit by the injury bug all season long. They also got big contributions from Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley all season long. They were down 0-3 in the series and managed to put the Knicks on the brink of a 7th and decisive game back in New York. They trailed by 20 points in the 4th quarter and managed to bring the lead down to four. But the Knicks, made all the stops in the final three minutes of the game to seal the series. Despite bowing out in the series, the Celtics fought with a lot of heart and determination especially coming off the Boston Marathon tragedy which is well appreciated by any NBA fan.
 
The Knicks, led by the new scoring champion Carmelo Anthony won the Atlantic Division title for the first time since 1994. They showed their dominance in this series by going out with three straight wins on the Celtics, before the Celtics won two straight to extend the series before bowing out in Game 6. Anthony is backed up well by J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Steve Novak and the rest of the Knicks roster who have been playing great basketball in the Big Apple. The Knicks now continue their run back into contending for a championship come June.
 
The Knicks will face the third seeded Indiana Pacers in the second round who wrapped up the sixth seeded Atlanta Hawks in similar fashion. Setting up a rebirth of a classic Eastern Conference rivalry.
 
As for the Celtics, question now looms on whether Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on whether they will cap off their careers in Boston together with the returning Rajon Rondo or move elsewhere to finish their illustrious Hall of Fame worthy careers.
 
Now here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
Game 1 @ New York: Celtics 78-85 Knicks
 
Celtics leaders:
Points: Green 26, Pierce 21, Bradley 15
Rebounds: Bass 10, Garnett 9, Green 7
Assists: Pierce 7, Bradley 4, Garnett 3
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 36, Smith 15, Felton 13
Rebounds: Martin 9, Anthony 6, Chandler 5, Smith 5, Shumpert 5, Kidd 5
Assists: Felton 6, Kidd 3, Shumpert 3
 
Game 2 @ New York: Celtics 71-87 Knicks
 
Celtics leaders:
Points: Pierce 18, Garnett 12, Green 10, Crawford 10
Rebounds: Garnett 11, Bass 10, Pierce 6
Assists: Pierce 6, Terry 3, Bradley 2
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 34, Smith 19, Felton 16
Rebounds: Martin 11, Felton 7, Kidd 6
Assists: Prigioni 5, Felton 2, Kidd 2, Martin 2
 
Game 3 @ Boston: Knicks 90-76 Celtics
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 26, Smith 15, Felton 15
Rebounds: Chandler 8, Shumpert 8, Kidd 6
Assists: Felton 10, Kidd 6, Smith 3
 
Celtics leaders:
Points: Green 21, Pierce 17, Terry 14
Rebounds: Garnett 17, Green 9, Bass 7
Assists: Pierce 5, Green 4, Garnett 2, Terry 2
 
Game 4 @ Boston: Knicks 90-97 Celtics (OT)
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 36, Felton 27, Shumpert 12
Rebounds: Shumpert 12, Chandler 11, Kidd 9
Assists: Felton 3, Anthony 2, Prigioni 2, Kidd 2
 
Celtics leaders:
Points: Pierce 29, Green 26, Terry 18
Rebounds: Garnett 17, Pierce 8, Green 6
Assists: Pierce 6, Garnett 6, Terry 4
 
Game 5 @ New York: Celtics 92-86 Knicks
 
Celtics leaders:
Points: Green 18, Terry 17, Bass 17, Pierce 16, Garnett 16
Rebounds: Garnett 18, Bass 5
Assists: Garnett 5, Green 4
 
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 22, Felton 21, Smith 14
Rebounds: Chandler 11, Anthony 7, Shumpert 6, Felton 6
Assists: Felton 4, Anthony 2, Chandler 2, Smith 2
 
Game 6 @ Boston: Knicks 88-80 Celtics

Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 21, Shumpert 17, Prigioni 14
Rebounds: Chandler 12, Anthony 7, Smith 7
Assists: Felton 7, Anthony 5, Prigioni 3
 
Knicks win series 4-2
 
K-Smoove

NBA Christmas 2012: Heat defeat Thunder in Finals rematch. Clippers win 14th straight game. Lakers clicking at home. Rockets and Celtics rout opponents on the road.

On this special edition of my NBA blog, we look back at the games held on Christmas Day in the NBA. There were five games on tap for that day, teams went it in with their special  Christmas jerseys and they put on a show for fans on hand. Let’s get to it.

Heat knock off Thunder in Finals rematch.
Photo ©NBA/Heat.com
 
187 days ago, the Miami Heatcap off their quest for a second championship as they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals in front of their home crowd at the American Airlines Arena. It was also the time when LeBron James fulfilled a dream to become a NBA Champion, as well as a Finals MVP trophy to complement, at the same time proving his haters and criticswrong. On Christmas Day, these two teams meet for the first time this season, and the game proved to be a scoring parade. The Heat would prevail over the Thunder 103-97.
 
The Heatnowlead the Eastern Conference at 19-6, while the Thudnerdrops to second in the West at 21-6.
 
James led the Heat with a near triple-double 29 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds with 2 steals on 12-20 shooting from the field. Dwayne Wade added 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Mario Chalmersscored 20 points. Chris Bosh added 16 points and 6 rebounds. Also, Mike Miller made a career milestone by reaching the 10,000 point mark all-time in his career.
 
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 33 points and 7 rebounds on 11-21 shooting from the field and 2-4 shooting from 3 point range. Russell Westbrook finished with a double-double 21 pointsand 11 rebounds. Kevin Martin off the benchand Serge Ibaka each scored 15 points.
 
Clippers win 14th straight game.
Photo ©NBA/Clippers.com
7 and half hours after the Lakers played a game inside Staples Center, their co-tenants and the hottest team in the NBA came out to begin their own Christmas Day game. The Los Angeles Clippers battled the Denver Nuggets, on the line was a 13 game winning streak, things went well for the Clippers as they defeat the Nuggets 112-100 for their 14th straight victory.
 
The Clippers now lead the Western Conference at 22-6, while the Nuggets drop to 8th place tie with the Utah Jazzat 15-14.
 
Jamal Crawford off the bench led the Clippers with 22 points on 9-21 shooting from the field and 3-6 shooting from 3 point range. Matt Barnes added 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Chris Paul added 14 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Blake Griffinadded 13 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Lamar Odom grabbed 10 rebounds.
 
Kosta Koufos led the Nuggets with a double-double 16 points and 10 rebounds on 8-8 shooting from the field. Jordan Hamilton off the bench also scored 16 points with 4 rebounds. Ty Lawson added 15 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. Andre Miller added 12 points and 6 rebounds.
 
Lakers defeat the Knicks at Staples.
Photo ©NBA/Lakers.com
 
The drama around Laker Nationis starting to fade as the Los Angeles Lakers have now found their groove and are now starting to make some ground in the Western Conference as they picked up their 5th straight win and go at .500at the expense of the New York Knicks at the Staples Center 100-94.
 
The Lakers are now at 14-14, tied for 10th place with the Portland Trail Blazers. While the Knicks drop to second place in the Eastern Conference at 20-8.
 
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 34 points and 5 rebounds on 14-24 shootingfrom the field. Metta World Peace off the bench added 20 points and 7 rebounds before fouling out in the 4th quarter. Steve Nashfinished with a double-double 16 points and 11 assists with 6 rebounds on 7-12 shooting from the field. Dwight Howard also finished with a double-double 14 points and 12 rebounds with 2 steals and 2 blocks. Pau Gasol added 13 points and 6 rebounds.
 
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 34 points and 7 rebounds on 13-23 shooting from the field. J.R. Smith off the bench added 25 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals on 10-23 shooting from the field. Raymond Felton added 10 points and 6 rebounds.
 
Rockets blow out Bulls in Chicago.
Photo ©NBA/Rockets.com
 
The team with the fastest pace in the NBA today have picked up another win by another scoring rampage on another defensive-oriented team, the Houston Rockets led by as many as 35 points, were able to keep their composure despite a late challenge in the fourth quarter as theyblew out the Chicago Bulls on their home floor at the United Center 120-97.
 
The Rockets are in 6th place in the Western Conference at 15-12, while the Bulls lose their lead in the Central Division to the Indiana Pacers at 15-12, in 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
 
Four Rockets players finished with more than 20 points with James Harden leading the way with 26 points, 6 assists, 5 reboundsand 2 steals on 7-13shooting from the field and 11-13 shooting from the free throw line. Chandler Parsons added 23 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals on 9-15 shooting from the field and 4-5 shooting from 3 point range. Omer Asik who made his return to Chicago finished with a double-double 20 points and 18 rebounds with 3 blocks on 9-13 shooting from the field. Jeremy Lin also finished with a double-double 20 points and 11 assists on 8-12 shooting from the field.
 
Nate Robinson off the bench led the Bulls with 27 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals on 9-16 shooting from the field. Marco Belinelli added 15 points and 3 assists on 5-10 shooting from the field. Luol Deng added 14 points and 5 rebounds.
 
Celtics take Atlantic showdown in Brooklyn.
Photo ©NBA/Celtics.com
 
Defense was the key to this game as the Boston Celticswith their stifling defensetake the Atlantic Division showdown against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center 9376. The Celtics forced the Nets to 20 turnovers and 40% shooting from the field.
 
With the win, the Celtics tie the Nets for 7th place in the Eastern Conference at 14-13.
 
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals on 8-16 shooting from the field and 2-2 shooting from 3 point range. Rookie Jared Sullinger off the bench added 16 points and 7 rebounds on 6-7 shooting from the field. Jeff Green scored 15 points. Jason Terry added 11 points and 4 assists. Paul Pierce dished out 10 assists with 8 points while Kevin Garnett grabbed 10 rebounds with 8 points.
Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace led the Nets with 15 points each. Lopez added 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Wallace added 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Joe Johnson added 12 rebounds and 4 assists. Deron Williams added 10 points and 6 assists.
 
Watch out for my NBA weekly blog, the last one for 2012coming out this Sunday.
 
K-Smoove

Kobe Bryant reaches 30,000. Knicks retake control atop the East. Rolling Thunder.

History was made to mark the week in the association. Here are some of the happenings from Week 6 of the 2012-13 NBA season.

Kobe hits 30,000 points!
Photo ©Getty Images
In their December 6 (December 5, New Orleans time) game against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant shot himself to the history as he reached the 30,000 point mark in his illustrious NBA career, making him the youngest player (34 years, 104 days) in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points, all of which donning the purple and gold. He also becomes the 5th player in NBA history to reach the mark joining the likes of Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. The Lakers capped of the game with a win over the Hornets 103-87. However, the Lakers went into a slide after losing to the reigning Western Conference Champions Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz, as the Lakers are outside of the playoff picture out West in 11th place at 9-12.But for a player like Kobe Bryant who is always on a mission to win it all, a lot of work needs to be done in Tinseltown these days.
 
Knicks once again on top of the East.
Photo ©NBA/Knicks.com
 
In a very intense competition atop the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks have once again retook control atop the Eastern Conference as they stand at 15-5, a full game ahead of the reigning NBA champions Miami Heat who are at 13-5. While the Atlanta Hawks have made their way up the ladder and are now sitting in third place in the East at 12-5. While the Chicago Bulls lead the Central Division at 11-8. The Knicks have remained unbeaten athome in Madison Square Garden where they are 8-0. Carmelo Anthony has shouldered the load for the Knicks as he won the Eastern Conference Player of the Week award for Week 5 of the season. Things are looking bright in Manhattan, they arewell in contention for a shot at the NBA championship, if their friends from South Beach or down the East River in Brooklyn have anything to say about their chances of winning the title this season.
 
 Eight in a row for the Thunder.
Photo ©NBA/Thunder.com
 
The reigning Western Conference Champions Oklahoma City Thunder have made it eight straight wins in a row picking up wins this week against the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn and against the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers at home. The Thunder are currently tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the NBA at 17-4. Once again, Kevin Durant has been leading the way for the Thunder bagging his second Western Conference Player of the Week award in Week 5 of the season, and he has been backed up well by the entire Thunder roster with players like Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin, Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins to name a few helpingout Durant this season. Indeed, these guys are ready to contend for another shot at the NBA title.
 
Meanwhile, LeBron James of the Miami Heat was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October-November. James for the month finished with averages of 25.0 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game and 6.5 assists per game on 53% field goal shooting
 
While Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was crowned the Western Conference Player of the Month. Durant for October-November finished with averages of 26.5 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, 4.4 assists per game and 1.6 blocks per game on 51% shooting from the field, 43% shooting from 3 point range and 89% shooting from the free throw line.
 
Also, the first Rookie of the Month selections of the season were named. For the month of October-November, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers took the honors in the Western Conference. Lillard stands out among the rookies alongside top pick Anthony Davis as he led all rookies in scoring (18.4 PPG), assists (5.9 APG) and steals (1.4 SPG) for the month.
 
While Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Charlotte Bobcats took top honors in the Eastern Conference. Kidd-Gilchrist finished the month with averages of 10.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.3 BPG.
 
The first Coach of the Month awardswere also given. Out West, the awardwent to Lionel Hollins who led the Memphis Grizzlies to their best start in franchise history at 12-2 for the month. While Avery Johnson took the honors in the Eastern Conference as he led the Brooklyn Nets to also their best start in franchise history at 11-4 for the month.
 
Here’s how the teams are faring across the association:
 
Western Conference:
1. Spurs (17-4), 2. Thunder (17-4), 3. Grizzlies (14-4), 4. Clippers (14-6), 5. Warriors (13-7), 6. Jazz (12-10), 7. Timberwolves (9-9), 8. Mavericks (10-10), 9. Nuggets (10-11), 10. Rockets (9-10), 11. Lakers (9-12), 12. Trail Blazers (8-12), 13. Kings (7-12), 14. Suns (7-15), 15. Hornets (5-14)
 
Eastern Conference:
1. Knicks (15-5), 2. Heat (13-5), 3. Hawks (12-5), 4. Bulls (11-8), 5. Nets (11-8), 6. 76ers (11-9), 7. Celtics (11-9), 8. Bucks (10-9), 9. Pacers (10-11), 10. Magic (8-12), 11. Bobcats (7-12), 12. Pistons (7-15), 13. Cavaliers (4-17), 14. Raptors (4-17), 15. Wizards (2-15)
 
17 of the 30 teams have picked up 10 wins this season, on both sides of the standings, things are looking clear and tightly contested on top of both conferences, at the same time in the middle of the standings, it is a log jam of teams trying to gain a better footing in the standings.
 
Stay tuned as a new edition of my NBA weekly blog comes out soon.
 
K-Smoove

NBA Weekly Blog: Brown fired as Lakers coach. Undefeated Knicks. Spurs atop the West once again.

From firings to the early leaders in the standings. Here are some of the stories for Week 2 of the 2012-13 NBA season.

Fired! Mike Brown out as Lakers coach.
Photo ©NBA/Lakers.com
 
After spending a lockout shortened season and five games into the new season. Mike Brown has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Brown, took over as the coach of the Lakers from Phil Jackson last season where he led them to a 41-25 finish during a lockout shortened season which saw them advance to the second round of the playoffs before falling in five games against eventual Western Conference Champions Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers started the season flat at 1-4 before Brown got the boot. Assistant coach and former Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff takes over as interim head coach for the Lakers as the franchise begins their search for a replacement. After Brown’s departure, the Lakers came out with a victory against the Golden State Warriors yesterday at Staples Center. A favorite for most Lakers fans would be to bring back “The Zen Master” Phil Jackson as head coach. The Lakers are also considering former Suns & Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni and another former Lakers coach in Mike Dunleavy, Sr.; With Brown out, who will call the shots for a Lakers team with a lot of hype coming into the season but has to find it’s calling in order to compete a top the Western Conference? A lot of uncertainties for franchise with a rich history and a devoted fan base which spans all over the world.
 
Knicks remain undefeated.
Photo ©NBA/Knicks.com
 
The New York Knicks, are the only team left in the NBA this season who has yet to taste a defeat are playing inspired basketball to start the season, especially for a city which has been recently battered with extreme weather for the past couple of weeks. The Knicks are at 4-0 in the standings and are on top of the Eastern Conference ahead of the defending champions Miami Heat at 5-1. It also happens that one of the Knicks four victories came at the expense of the reigning champions when these two teams met at Madison Square Garden on opening week. Carmelo Anthony has been leading the charge for the Knicks currently averaging 27.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per outing on 44% field goal shooting. He has also been getting help from every guy on the Knicks roster from players like J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Steve Novak, and even Rasheed Wallace. So the Knicks are doing well so far to start the season, the question is, can they sustain it until the end of the season. That we will have to see as the season progresses.
 
Once again, the Spurs are atop the West.
Photo ©NBA/Spurs.com
 
A recurring theme for the last two seasons, the San Antonio Spurs this season have maintained their hold atop the Western Conference. These veterans under the long-time mentorship of Gregg Popovich have kept themselves competing year after year, and now are sitting in ahead of the Western Conference early into the new season at 6-1 ahead of the second running Minnesota Timberwolves at 4-1. They picked up huge victories against teams like the team that booted them out in the Western Conference Finals the Oklahoma City Thunder on a Tony Parker game winner on opening week as well as victgries against the New Orleans Hornets, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers and the Portland Trail Blazers. Their lone defeat came at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers in a dismantling defeat in Los Angeles. A balanced Spurs attack has been crucial for the team led by “The Big Fundamental” Tim Duncan who leads the Spurs averaging 18.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.4 steals on 53% shooting from the field. Duncan is well backed up by players like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Gary Neal, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and Stephen Jackson to name a few. Consistency has been the name of the game for these Spurs. They may have a veteran-laid lineup, but they find ways to win games. Will it translate to another championship. Too early to tell, but these guys will be on the hunt this season.
 
Meanwhile, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks won the first Player of the Week awards of the season for the Western Conference and Eastern Conference respectively.
 
Here are the standings across the league:
 
Western Conference:
1. Spurs (6-1), 2. Grizzlies (4-1), 3. Clippers (4-2), 4. Thunder (4-2), 5. Timberwolves (4-2), 6. Hornets (3-2), 7. Nuggets (4-3), 8. Mavericks (4-3), 9. Rockets (3-3), 10. Jazz (3-4), 11. Warriors (3-4), 12. Suns (3-4), 13. Trail Blazers (2-4), 14. Lakers (2-4), 15. Kings (2-4)
 
Eastern Conference:
1. Knicks (4-0), 2. Heat (5-1), 3. Bulls (4-2), 4. 76ers (4-2), 5. Bucks (3-2), 6. Nets (2-2), 7. Celtics (3-3), 8. Hawks (2-2), 9. Pacers (3-4), 10. Bobcats (2-3), 11. Magic (2-3), 12. Cavaliers (2-4), 13. Raptors (1-5), 14. Wizards (0-5), 15. Pistons (0-7).

So teams have played a minimum of 4 games and a maximum of 7 games. Still early within the season, we have seen a ton of surprises both on top and the bottom of the standings. Some teams who struggled early getting their grove back, while some teams who started well have suffered setbacks. Others see no change in their fortunes. Days in, we’re in for a great battle in the coming weeks. Watch out for a new edition my weekly NBA blog next week.

K-Smoove

NBA Daily Blog Playoff Edition: Heat advance to the second round, knock off Knicks in Game 5 106-94. Grizzlies stay alive, beat Clippers in Game 5 92-80.

LeBron James makes his move
Photo ©NBA/Heat.com

The Miami Heat advance to the second round as they defeat the New York Knicks in Game 5 to take the series 4-1 at the American Airlines Arena 106-94. The Heat will now face the #3 seed Indiana Pacers in the second round. For the Knicks, their well-storied season comes to an end with the loss.

LeBron James led the Heat with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Dwayne Wade added 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Chris Bosh also scored 19 points with 7 rebounds. Mario Chalmers added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Mike Miller and Shane Battier, both coming off the bench each scored 9.

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 35 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Amar’e Stoudemire added 14 points and 4 rebounds. Landry Fields added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. J.R. Smith off the bench also scored 12. Mike Bibby added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Tyson Chandler pulled down 11 rebounds with 7 points and 4 blocks.

In Memphis, the Memphis Grizzlies keep their season alive as they defeat the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 of their first round series at the FedEx Forum 92-80. Game 6 will be in Los Angeles on May 12 as the Clippers will have another chance to wrap up this series, this time on their homecourt. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Zach Randolph finished with a double-double 19 points and 10 rebounds. Rudy Gay added 14 points and 5 rebounds. Mike Conley added 9 points and 6 rebounds. Quincy Pondexter off the bench added 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Tony Allen added 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Mo Williams off the bench led the Clippers with 20 points. Chris Paul added 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Blake Griffin finished with a double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds with 3 steals. Randy Foye scored 11. Caron Butler scored 8.

2012 NBA Playoffs Bracket (as of 12:39 PHT)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Spurs vs #8 Jazz
SAN ANTONIO SPURS WINS SERIES 4-0

#4 Grizzlies vs #5 Clippers (Clippers lead series 3-2)
Game 6: May 12, 9:00 am PHT Channel TBD

#3 Lakers vs #6 Nuggets (Lakers lead series 3-2)
Game 6: May 11, 10:30 am PHT on NBA Premium TV

#2 Thunder vs #7 Mavericks
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER WINS SERIES 4-0

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Bulls vs #8 76ers (76ers lead series 3-2)
Game 6: May 11, 7:00 am PHT on NBA Premium TV

#4 Celtics vs #5 Hawks (Celtics lead series 3-2)
Game 6: May 11, 8:00 am PHT on Basketball TV

#3 Pacers vs #6 Magic
INDIANA PACERS WINS SERIES 4-1

#2 Heat vs #7 Knicks
MIAMI HEAT WINS SERIES 4-1

K-Smoove

NBA Daily Blog Playoff Edition: Knicks avoid the sweep with Game 4 win vs the Heat 89-87. 76ers, Celtics and Lakers take 3-1 leads.

Carmelo Anthony drives on LeBron James
Photo ©NBA/Knicks.com

The New York Knicks avoid the sweep and snap a 13 game playoff losing streak with a Game 4 victory over the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden 89-87. Game 5 will be back in Miami on May 10 as the Heat will have another chance to advance into the second round.

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 41 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Amar’e Stoudemire who came back after injuring his left hand after he punched a fire extinguisher after their loss in Game 2 finished with a double-double 20 points and 10 rebounds. J.R. Smith off the bench added 7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Mike Bibby added 6 points and 5 rebounds. Tyson Chandler pulled down 9 rebounds with 2 steals.

LeBron James led the Heat with 27 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Dwayne Wade added 22 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Chris Bosh added 17 points and 9 rebounds. Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem each scored 6.

In Philadelphia, the Philadelphia 76ers are one win away from pulling an upset as they pick up the win in Game 4 of their first round series against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center 89-82. Game 5 will be back in Chicago on May 9 as the Bulls will try to keep their season alive at home. Spencer Hawes led the 76ers with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Jrue Holiday added 20 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Andre Iguodala finished with a double-double 14 points and 12 rebounds with 3 steals. Evan Turner added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Thaddeus Young off the bench scored 8. Elton Brand added 7 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Lou Williams also scored 7 off the bench. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with a double-double 23 points and 11 rebounds with 4 assists and 2 steals. C.J. Watson added 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Taj Gibson off the bench also finished with a double-double 14 points and 12 rebounds with 4 blocks. Luol Deng added 11 points and 5 rebounds.

In Boston, the Boston Celtics take a 3-1 series lead with a victory in Game 4 over the Atlanta Hawks at the TD Garden 101-79. Game 5 will be back in Atlanta on May 9 as the season for the Hawks is on the line at home. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 24 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. Rajon Rondo finished with a double-double 20 points and 16 assists with 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Kevin Garnett added 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Ray Allen off the bench added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Brandon Bass and Keyon Dooling each scored 10. Josh Smith who came back from an injury he suffered in Game 2 led the Hawks with a double-double 15 points and 13 rebounds with 5 assists. Al Horford also coming back from a injury that kept him sidelined since January added 12 points and 5 rebounds coming off the bench. Jannero Pargo added 11 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Joe Johnson scored 9.

In Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a Game 4 victory over the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center 92-88. Game 5 will be back in Los Angeles as the Lakers have a chance to wrap up the series at home. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Andrew Bynum added 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Pau Gasol added 13 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Jordan Hill off the bench finished with a double-double 12 points and 11 rebounds. Ramon Sessions also scored 12 points with 4 rebounds. Steve Blake scored 10. Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Andre Miller off the bench added 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Ty Lawson added 11 points and 6 assists. Al Harrington added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals.

2012 NBA Playoffs Bracket (as of 13:00 PHT)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Spurs vs #8 Jazz (Spurs lead series 3-0)
Game 4: May 8, 8:00 am PHT on Basketball TV

#4 Grizzlies vs #5 Clippers (Clippers lead series 2-1)
Game 4: May 8, 10:30 am PHT on NBA Premium TV

#3 Lakers vs #6 Nuggets (Lakers lead series 2-1)
Game 5: May 9, 10:30 am PHT on NBA Premium TV

#2 Thunder vs #7 Mavericks
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER WINS SERIES 4-0

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Bulls vs #8 76ers (76ers lead series 3-1)
Game 5: May 9, 9:30 am PHT on Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV

#4 Celtics vs #5 Hawks (Celtics lead series 3-1)
Game 5: May 9, 8:00 am PHT on NBA Premium TV

#3 Pacers vs #6 Magic (Pacers lead series 3-1)
Game 5: May 9, 7:00 am PHT on Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV

#2 Heat vs #7 Knicks (Heat lead series 3-1)
Game 5: May 10, 7:00 am PHT Channel TBD

K-Smoove