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MIAMI HEAT: BACK TO BACK NBA CHAMPIONS

They validated themselves and proved all the critics wrong again. The Miami Heat may have won the title last year, but they just got branded with a brand new name: Back-to-back NBA champions. After winning a thrilling seven-game series against a veteran and battle-proven team in the San Antonio Spurs.

Photos ©NBA.com
In a series where prior to Game 7, the odd games went the way of the Spurs and the even games went the way of the Heat. A series where Spurs guard Danny Green broke an NBA Finals series record with 27 three pointers in the entire series. A series where the Spurs veteran Big 3 of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili went up against the Heat’s version of the Big 3 in LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Where all the role players stepped up in big games like Miami’s Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal, Danny Green, Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter. A series where big shots and plays were made on both ends of the court.
 
But when it all came to Game 7, when the Spurs could not deliver the big punch to grasp the title for a fifth time in their history and when the Heat took advantage of every lapse the Spurs gave them. The Heat once again stood atop of the mountain in the basketball world. LeBron James who led the Heat in their quest for a repeat and scored at will in Game 7, was named the Finals MVP for the second straight season. The series loss for the Spurs marks their first defeat in an NBA Finals series in franchise history after coming out successful in their  four trips to the NBA Finals prior to this and once again, the home team came out on top in a Game 7 situation where no road team since the 2-3-2 format for the NBA Finals has won in Game 7.
 
Once again, congratulations to the Miami Heat. Your 2013 NBA Champions.
 
 
Give credit as well to the San Antonio Spurs. They fought hard in a great series like this one.
 
Now here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
GAME 1 @ Miami: Spurs 92-88 Heat
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 21, Duncan 20, Ginobili 13
Rebounds: Duncan 14, Leonard 10, Green 5
Assists: Parker 6, Duncan 4, Ginobili 3
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 18, Wade 17, Bosh 13, Allen 13
Rebounds: James 18, Bosh 5, Haslem 4, Miller 4
Assists: James 10, Cole 4, Wade 2, Chalmers 2
 
GAME 2 @ Miami: Spurs 84-103 Heat

Spurs leaders:
Points: Green 17, Parker 13, Neal 10
Rebounds: Leonard 14, Duncan 11, Blair 4
Assists: Parker 5, Leonard 2, Diaw 2, McGrady 2
 
Heat leaders:
Points: Chalmers 19, James 17, Allen 13
Rebounds: Bosh 10, James 8, Chalmers 4, Andersen 4
Assists: James 7, Wade 6, Bosh 4
 
GAME 3 @ San Antonio: Heat 77-113 Spurs
 
Heat leaders:
Points: Wade 16, James 15, Miller 15
Rebounds: James 11, Bosh 10, Haslem 3, Battier 3, Anthony 3
Assists: Wade 5, James 5, Bosh 4
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Green 27, Neal 24, Leonard 14
Rebounds: Duncan 14, Leonard 12, Splitter 5
Assists: Parker 8, Ginobili 6, Joseph 4
 
GAME 4 @ San Antonio: Heat 109-93 Spurs
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 33, Wade 32, Bosh 20
Rebounds: Bosh 13, James 11, Wade 6
Assists: Chalmers 5, James 4, Wade 4, Cole 4
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Duncan 20, Parker 15, Neal 13
Rebounds: Leonard 7, Duncan 5, Parker 4, Green 4
Assists: Parker 9, Green 4, Ginobili 2
 
GAME 5 @ San Antonio: Heat 104-114 Spurs
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 25, Wade 25, Allen 21
Rebounds: James 6, Bosh 6, Miller 5
Assists: Wade 10, James 8, Battier 3
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 26, Ginobili 24, Green 24
Rebounds: Duncan 12, Leonard 8, Green 6
Assists: Ginobili 10, Parker 5, Diaw 3
 
GAME 6 @ Miami: Spurs 100-103 Heat (OT)
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Duncan 30, Leonard 22, Parker 19
Rebounds: Duncan 17, Leonard 11
Assists: Parker 8, Ginobili 3, Splitter 2
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 32, Chalmers 20, Wade 14
Rebounds: Bosh 11, James 10, Miller 7
Assists: James 11, Wade 4
 
GAME 7 @ Miami: Spurs 88-95 Heat
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Duncan 24, Leonard 19, Ginobili 18
Rebounds: Leonard 16, Duncan 12, Green 5
Assists: Ginobili 5, Parker 4, Duncan 2
 
Heat leaders:
Points: James 37, Wade 23, Battier 18
Rebounds: James 12, Wade 10
Assists: James 4, Allen 4, Bosh 2, Chalmers 2
 
Heat win series 4-3
 
Another season of NBA basketball has come to an end, we’ll see you again next season.
K-Smoove
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Spurs get "SWEEP" revenge to advance to the NBA Finals.

Two years ago, the San Antonio Spurs suffered a tough defeat in the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies, this year they got their redemption as they knocked off the Grizzlies in a sweep of the Western Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals for the fifth time in franchise history.

Photos ©NBA
The Grizzlies pulled off their best season in franchise history as they made the trip to the Western Conference Finals for the first time after knocking out the reigning West champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. Led by Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen. The Grizzlies used defense to their advantage in making the trip this season. Unfortunately for them, they suffered a ton of setbacks that led them getting swept by the Spurs. Their offense struggled throughout the series as they struggled shooting the ball on all ends from three point shooting to free throw shooting. Randolph also got a handful against the Spurs defense which have gone back up to the level we used to see them of. Add to that, they suffered a couple of heartbreaking overtime defeats in this series. To put everything in place, they lost to a better team.
 
The Spurs came in the series after knocking out the Golden State Warriors in 6 games, and came out swinging in the series, blowing the Grizzlies in Game 1, then pulling off two straight overtime victories before sweeping the brooms in Game 4. The Spurs are a better offensive team than what we have seen from them in previous years as defense had been a staple for this franchise. Tony Parker shot magnificently throughout the series and the Spurs were able to dissect the Grizzlies defense apart with tough screens and great ball movement, something we haven’t seen from them most of the times. Add to that, the shot the free throws well throughout the series. Tim Duncan turned back the clock with his near unstoppable plays. Players like Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter have also contributed big in this run for them. Now they return to the NBA Finals where they won it all in four trips, the last one was in 2007. They’ll be ready to bring the title back to the Alamo City, six years after they last won it.
 
The Spurs will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. The series currently stands with the Heat leading 2-1.
 
As for the Grizzlies, their magnificent playoff comes to a tough and bitter end. Now the question looms on the players that will stay and go for this franchise. Even the fate of head coach Lionel Hollins is in question. They had a great run this year, but they lost to a better team.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
GAME 1 @ San Antonio: Grizzlies 85-103 Spurs
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Pondexter 17, Gasol 15, Conley 14
Rebounds: Gasol 7, Randolph 7
Assists: Conley 8, Bayless 5
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 20, Leonard 18, Green 16
Rebounds: Duncan 10, Ginobili 5, Green 4
Assists: Parker 9, Duncan 4, Ginobili 3, Green 3
 
GAME 2 @ San Antonio: Grizzlies 89-93 Spurs (OT)
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Conley 18, Bayless 18, Randolph 15
Rebounds: Randolph 18, Gasol 14, Pondexter 9
Assists: Conley 4, Gasol 4, Randolph 3, Bayless 3
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Duncan 17, Parker 15, Splitter 14
Rebounds: Duncan 9, Leonard 9, Parker 5, Joseph 5
Assists: Parker 18, Ginobili 4, Duncan 3
 
GAME 3 @ Memphis: Spurs 104-93 Grizzlies (OT)
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 26, Duncan 24, Ginobili 19
Rebounds: Leonard 11, Duncan 10, Ginobili 7
Assists: Parker 5, Duncan 5, Ginobili 5
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Conley 20, Gasol 16, Pondexter 15
Rebounds: Randolph 15, Gasol 14, Allen 7
Assists: Gasol 5, Conley 4, Bayless 4
 
GAME 4 @ Memphis: Spurs 93-86 Grizzlies
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 37, Duncan 15, Leonard 11
Rebounds: Duncan 8, Ginobili 6, Leonard 6
Assists: Parker 6, Ginobili 6, Splitter 3, Diaw 3
 
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Pondexter 22, Gasol 14, Randolph 13
Rebounds: Randolph 8, Allen 8, Conley 6, Arthur 6
Assists: Conley 7, Gasol 5
 
Spurs win series 4-0
 
K-Smoove

Spurs are back in the Western Conference Finals.

In a battle of youth vs experience. Experience got the better of this match-up as the second seeded San Antonio Spurs are heading back to the Western Conference Finals as they defeat the sixth seeded Golden State Warriors in six gamesas the Spurs are in the West Finals for a second straight season.

Photos ©NBA
The Warriors, after pulling of a major upset of the third seeded Denver Nuggets in six games, they came in as the lowest seeded team to come out of the first round and these young players led by sweet shooting Stephen Curry battled against a tested veteran team and gave it their all in this series. They manage to win two games in the series including one on the road. However, the more experienced Spurs team came out and delivered when it all mattered the most. Fueled by a frenzied fanbase which pack up their home floor dressed in yellow and pecking the decibel meter up to the roofs every single home game. These young bloods have achieved a nice run with players surrounding Curry like Klay Thompson, David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack to name a nice lineup the Warriors had. However, their playoff run comes to an end this time around.
 
As for the Spurs, they came into the series well rested after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. The extra rest they got proved to be beneficial especially on a veteran core that they have on the line up. Their experience proved to be a factor in their series as shown by their poise in an thrilling Game 1 victory at home as well as picking up two wins in front of a raucous “Roaracle” Arena crowd in Oakland. Their triumvirate of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have delivered when it all mattered for the Spurs. Now their quest back to glory will continue as they look to have another shot at an NBA championship as these three men are winding down their decorated NBA careers.
 
The Spurs will now face the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals. In a rematch of their first round matchup from 2011 when the then eight-seeded Grizzlies knocked off the then top seeded Spurs in six games. Despite having to go through personnel changes over the two years since they last met in the playoffs, expect the same old ballgame that we saw from both teams two years back.
 
As for the Warriors, their remarkable season comes to an end. This young team will be a team to fear for many years to come. The players on their roster still have a ton of growth ahead of them and this deep playoff experience they had will make them better for even deeper playoff runs when their time comes.
 
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
 
GAME 1 @ San Antonio: Warriors 127-129 Spurs (2OT)
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Curry 44, Thompson 19, Barnes 19
Rebounds: Bogut 15, Barnes 12, Dr. Green 7
Assists: Curry 11, Bogut 4, Thompson 3
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 28, Da. Green 22, Duncan 19
Rebounds: Duncan 11, Leonard 9, Parker 8
Assists: Ginobili 11, Parker 8, Leonard 3
 
GAME 2 @ San Antonio: Warriors 100-91 Spurs
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Thompson 34, Curry 22, Barnes 13
Rebounds: Thompson 14, Bogut 11, Landry 8
Assists: Dr. Green 5, Curry 4, Jack 4
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Duncan 23, Parker 20, Ginobili 12
Rebounds: Leonard 12, Duncan 9, Parker 6, Da. Green 6
Assists: Ginobili 4, Parker 3
 
GAME 3 @ Golden State: Spurs 102-92 Warriors
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 32, Duncan 23, Leonard 15
Rebounds: Duncan 10, Leonard 9, Parker 5, Ginobili 5
Assists: Parker 5, Ginobili 4, Duncan 3, Da. Green 3
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Thompson 17, Curry 16, Landry 14
Rebounds: Bogut 12, Thompson 8, Barnes 8
Assists: Curry 8, Landry 4, Thompson 2, Barnes 2
 
GAME 4 @ Golden State: Spurs 87-97 Warriors (OT)
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Ginobili 21, Duncan 19, Parker 17
Rebounds: Duncan 16, Leonard 8, Da. Green 7
Assists: Ginobili 3, Parker 3, Diaw 3, Splitter 3
Warriors leaders:
Points: Barnes 26, Jack 24, Curry 22
Rebounds: Bogut 18, Barnes 10, Jack 7
Assists: Curry 4, Jack 4, Landry 4
 
GAME 5 @ San Antonio: Warriors 91-109 Spurs
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Barnes 25, Jack 20, Landry 16
Rebounds: Barnes 7, Landry 6, Bogut 6
Assists: Curry 8, Landry 2, Bogut 2, Jack 2
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Parker 25, Leonard 17, Da. Green 16
Rebounds: Duncan 11, Leonard 7, Splitter 6
Assists: Parker 10, Ginobili 5
 
GAME 6 @ Golden State: Spurs 94-82 Warriors
 
Spurs leaders:
Points: Duncan 19, Leonard 16, Splitter 14
Rebounds: Leonard 10, Duncan 6, Ginobili 6, Diaw 6
Assists: Ginobili 11, Parker 8, Diaw 4
 
Warriors leaders:
Points: Curry 22, Jack 15, Landry 11
Rebounds: Bogut 7, Ezeli 7, Landry 6
Assists: Curry 6, Thompson 3, Lee 2
 
Spurs win series 4-2

K-Smoove

Rajon Rondo’s season is over after ACL injury. Rudy Gay sent to Toronto. Popovich to coach the West at the All-Star Game. Award winners for January.

Another point guard suffers the ACL injury, a big trade where every team involved wins, and one coach for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game has been named, here are some of the highlights from Week 14 of the 2012-13 NBA season:

Rajon Rondo’s season ends with ACL injury.
Photo ©The Guardian
Last season, two point guards had their seasons end with the ACL injury. First it was the Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio in which the injury derailed Minnesota’s chances of making the playoffs that season, then it was the Bulls‘ Derrick Rose who suffered the injury on the 1st game of the NBA Playoffs, and derailed Chicago‘s title pursuit as they got eliminated in the 1st round by the Philadelphia 76ers. This season, another point guard‘s season is derailed by a torn ACL in the Boston Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo’s ACL injury was confirmed before their battle against the Miami Heat at home as they stated Rondoplayed hurt during their loss against the Hawks in Atlanta. The Celtics however have won 3 straight after the loss of Rondo as well as the season-ending back injury of rookie forward Jared Sullinger. Rondo, in 38 games played this season finished with averages of 13.7 points per game, a league-leading 11.1 assists per game, 5.6 rebounds per game and 1.8 steals per game. Losing the man who will be the face of the franchise in the future is indeed a huge blow on any team, now the question is how will the Celtics respond with this adversity they are facing right now. That we will have to find out soon.
Also with Rondo‘s injury, he will also sit out the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston this month where he was voted in as a starter for the Eastern Conference. Replacing Rondo will be Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez who will make his All-Star Game debut.
Rudy Gay sent to Toronto in three-team trade.
Photo ©NBA/Raptors.com
In a radical franchise move, the Memphis Grizzlies dealt their star swingman Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors as part of big changes the new ownership of the Grizzlies franchise has brought in town. The Grizzlies then got Ed Davis and Jose Calderon from the Raptors. They would eventually send Calderon to the Detroit Pistons for Tayshaun Prince, the last guy from the Pistons’ championship team in 2004 and Austin Daye. 
Gay would make an instant impact with his new team as he led the Raptors to a 98-73 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers at home. Coming off the bench, Gay scored 20 points in his debut with the Raptors. Prince also made his presence felt in Memphis as he scored 14 points off the bench in the Grizzlies’ 85-76 victory against the Washington Wizards. While Calderon was in attendance for the Pistons-Cavaliers game in Detroit, but did not play due to visa issues.
In a dubbed win-win trade for all three teams involved in the trade, there are questions on how these players will make an impact to their teams. Like how will the Grizzlies continue to contend in the West with the radical lineup change? Can Gay lead the Raptors to the playoffs? and how will the trade help the Pistons as they go along with the season. That we will find in the days to come.
Popovich named West coach in 2013 NBA All-Star Game.
Photo ©NBA/Spurs.com
For the third time in his coaching career, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovichwill call the shots for the Western Conference at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston thanks in part to the Spurs’ league leading performance in the first half of the season as they are riding a 10 game winning streak, Popovich coached the West at the All-Star game on two separate occassions, one was in 2005 in Denver, while the other was in Los Angeles, 2 years back.  
The head coach of the Eastern Conference at the All-Star Gamewill be determined in the game between the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors in Toronto. If the Heat win, head coach Erik Spolstera will coach the East, while if the Raptors win, New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson will call the shots.
Meanwhile, here are the award winners for the month of January:
LeBron James of the Miami Heat wins his 3rd consecutive Eastern Conference Player of the Month Awardwhile Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs wins in the Western Conference.
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers wins his 3rd consecutive Western Conference Rookie of the Month Award while Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards wins in the Eastern Conference for the 2nd consecutive mark.
Meanwhile for Coach of the Month we have 2 new winnerswith George Karl of the Denver Nuggets taking the honors in the Western Conference, while Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls took the honors in the Eastern Conference.
Also Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers took home the Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award in Week 13, while Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs took the honors in the Western Conference.
Here are the standings from across the association:

Western Conference:
1. Spurs (38-11), 2. Thunder (35-12), 3. Clippers (34-14), 4. Grizzlies (30-16), 5. Warriors (30-17), 6. Nuggets (30-18), 7. Jazz (26-22), 8. Rockets (26-23), 9. Trail Blazers (24-23), 10. Lakers (21-26), 11. Mavericks (20-27), 12. Timberwolves (18-26), 13. Kings (17-32), 14. Suns (16-32), 15. Hornets (15-33)
Eastern Conference: 
1. Heat (29-14), 2. Knicks (30-15), 3. Bulls (29-18), 4. Nets (28-19), 5. Pacers (28-19), 6. Hawks (26-20), 7. Bucks (25-21), 8. Celtics (23-23), 9. 76ers (20-26), 10. Pistons (18-29), 11. Raptors (17-30), 12. Magic (14-33), 13. Cavaliers (14-34), 14. Bobcats (11-35), 15. Wizards (11-35)
Stay tuned as another edition of the NBA weekly blog comes your way next week!
K-Smoove

2013 NBA All-Star Game Reserves announced. Spurs cookin’ at home. Celtics in a slide.

Who will come off the bench for both the West and East. One team is in a groove, especially on their home floor. While one team is in a slide and have put their playoff hopes in serious jeopardy. Here are the highlights from Week 13 of the 2012-13 NBA season:

2013 NBA All-Star Game reserves announced.
Photos ©NBA.com
The lineups for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas has been filled up with the announcement of the reserves for both the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference this week as voted by the 30 coaches of the NBA. So here are the reserves from both sides of the association:
 
In the Western Conference, we start off with James Harden of the home team the Houston Rockets who makes his very 1st All-Star Game appearance and is the only player in the Western Conference who will make his All-Star debut as the rest of the reserves for the West will make their return trips to the All-Star Game. Joining Harden will be his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook who makes his 3rd All-Star game appearance, the San Antonio Spurs tandem of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker who are making their 14th and 5th All-Star game appearance respectively. To wrap up the reserves for the West, it will be Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies, David Lee of the Golden State Warriors and LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers who will make their 2nd All-Star game appearance.
 
Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, five players will make their All-Star game debuts this year in Houston, namely Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers. To complete the reserves for the East it will be Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat who will make his 8th All-Star game appearance and Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls who is in the All-Star game for the 2nd time in his career.
 
The coaches for both the West and the East will be determined on January 30 (January 31 Manila time), and it will depend on the standings at the end of the night. Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks and Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau are ineligible to coach in the All-Star Game this season after coaching the West and East respectively at the last All-Star Game in Orlando.
 
Spurs cookin’ at home. Aiming for the top out West.
Photo ©NBA/Spurs.com 
 
It is no secret that the San Antonio Spurs, despite having a veteran-filled lineup have managed to still compete among with the best and the up and coming teams across the NBA over the past couple of seasons. As the San Antonio Spurs are riding a 8 game winning streak as well as a 16 game home winning streak which makes the AT&T Center one of the toughest places in the NBA for visiting teams. The Spurs are knocking on the door of the West leading Oklahoma City Thunder and have overtaken the Los Angeles Clippers for 2nd place, as the Clippers have been struggling since the loss of Chris Paul to the lineup. Led by their penultimate future Hall of Famer trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili as well as the consistent coaching of Gregg Popovich, the Spurs are just finding ways to keep themselves competitive each year. It’s on them however if they can end a six year title drought and bring the title back to the Alamo City.
 
Celtics in a slide down the standings.
Photo ©NBA/Celtics.com
 
Things have not been well in Beantown the past couple of days, aside from the fact the NFL’s New England Patriots losing in the AFC Championship Game at home against the Baltimore Ravens. The Boston Celtics have struggled recently and are now in a six game losing streak, their last loss came in double overtime against the Atlanta Hawks on the road. The Celtics are at below .500 at 20-23 and holding on to the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and are behind Atlantic Division rivals the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Net. For a team that made it last year to the Eastern Conference Finals, they have mightily struggled this season as head coach Doc Rivers has been vocal and animated about the C’s recent struggles this season. With a big game coming up tomorrow against the defending champions Miami Heat at home on Ray Allen’s first trip to Boston since taking his talents to South Beach, this game has a significant importance which will determine the fate of the season for these guys from Beantown.
 
Meanwhile, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder wins his 4th Western Conference Player of the Week (2nd in a row) of the season in Week 12, while Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls becomes the 8th person this season to win the Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award in Week 12.
 
Now here are the standings from across the association:
 
Western Conference:
1. Thunder (34-10), 2. Spurs (36-11), 3. Clippers (32-13), 4. Grizzlies (28-14), 5. Warriors (26-17), 6. Nuggets (27-18), 7. Jazz (24-20), 8. Rockets (24-22), 9. Trail Blazers (22-21), 10. Lakers (18-25), 11. Mavericks (18-25), 12. Timberwolves (17-24), 13. Kings (16-29), 14. Suns (15-29), 15. Hornets (14-29)
 
Eastern Conference:
1. Heat (28-12), 2. Knicks (26-15), 3. Bulls (26-17), 4. Nets (26-18), 5. Pacers (26-18), 6. Hawks (25-18), 7. Bucks (23-19), 8. Celtics (20-23), 9. 76ers (18-25), 10. Pistons (16-27), 11. Raptors (16-28), 12. Magic (14-28), 13. Cavaliers (13-32), 14. Wizards (11-31), 12. Bobcats (11-32)
 
Keep in touch as a brand new edition of my NBA Weekly Blog comes your way next week!
 
K-Smoove

Spurs fined $250K for sitting out 4 key players, Thunder getting their groove, Heat on a hot streak.

Five weeks into the 2012-13 NBA season, here are some of the happenings from Week 5 of the season

Spurs fined $250,000 for resting 4 key players
Photo ©NBA/Spurs.com
 
The San Antonio Spurs have been fined by the NBA $250,000. The fine came as the Spurs decided hours before their 100-105 road loss against the Miami Heat to sit out their three star players + 1 player on their roster namely Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green. It all came to a decision by head coach Gregg Popovich who decided to sit out his star players after the Spurs underwent a grueling early-season road trip. Fans had mixed reactions about the fine, some say the fine is well played, while others think that the team should had not been fined. After the fine was imposed though, the Spurs came back home and responded with a 99-95 overtime win over the West leading Memphis Grizzlies. Parker scored 30 points and 6 assists, while Duncan added 27 points and 15 rebounds. Life goes on in the Alamo City as the Spurs continue to challenge for control of the Western Conference.
 
Thunder getting their grove out West.
Photo ©NBA/Thunder.com
 
The reigning Western Conference Champions Oklahoma City Thunder are riding on a 5 game winning streak and are tied for second place at 14-4 with the San Antonio Spurs. Their wins include against teams like the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia, Charlotte Bobcats at home, Utah Jazzat home, New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans and a win at home against the Houston Rockets in which guard James Harden returns to Oklahoma City after being traded to Houston before the season began. The reigning scoring champion Kevin Durant has currently dropped his scoring averages averaging 26.2 points per outing which is 2nd best in the NBA, but has improved other assets of his game averaging 8.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per outing on 51% shooting from the field, 44% shooting from three point range and 90% shooting at the line. Russell Westbrook who has been dubbed a “selfish” player last season has dropped more assists so far this season averaging 8.7 assists per outing to go along 20.7 points, 5.1 rebounds ans 2.1 steals per outing on 41% shooting from the field. The Thunder had also gotten help from players like Kevin Martin who arrived from Houston in the Harden deal is now embracing his role as the 6th man coming off the Thunder bench, Serge Ibaka has also improved his numbers while maintaining his great shotblocking ability. As well as role players like Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison to name a few. This team had so far learned it’s lesson after a bitter defeat in the NBA Finals last season. This team is once again ready to compete for one more shot at the NBA championship.
 
Champs on a hot streak.
Photo ©NBA/Heat.com
 
The defending NBA champions Miami Heat are riding a hot streak, currently riding the longest winning streak in the NBA right now at six wins. The Heat are also leading the Eastern Conference with a record of 12-3, a game ahead of the New York Knicks. Their wins include against the Nuggets and Suns on the road, the Bucks, Cavaliers, Spurs and recently against the Nets at home. Their win against the Spurs involves another big shot by Ray Allen late in the fourth quarter and it was a close call for the champions as they played the game with the Spurs sitting out their Big 3 in Parker, Duncan and Ginobili. In today’s game, the Heat came back from a 14 point first half deficit to defeat the Brooklyn Nets 102-89. Dwayne Wade led the Heat with 34 points and 7 assists while LeBron James added 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Ray Allen scored 13 off the bench, while Norris Cole added 12 points. The Heat are looking good early in the East, the question is can they hold their ground and contend for a back-to-back this season. That we will have to see.
 
Meanwhile, last week Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. Duncan is the 4th player this season to be awarded in the West. While Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Horford is the 3rd player this season to be awarded in the East.
 
Here’s how the standings look like in the NBA today:
 
Western Conference:
1. Grizzlies (12-3), 2. Thunder (14-4), 3. Spurs (14-4), 4. Warriors (10-6), 5. Clippers (10-6), 6. Jazz (9-9), 7. Lakers (8-8), 8. Rockets (8-8), 9. Nuggets (8-9), 10. Mavericks (8-9), 11. Timberwolves (7-8), 12. Suns (7-10), 13. Trail Blazers (7-10), 14. Hornets (4-11), 15. Kings (4-12)
 
Eastern Conference:
1. Heat (12-3), 2. Knicks (11-4), 3. Nets (11-5), 4. Bucks (8-7), 5. Hawks (9-5), 6. 76ers (10-7), 7. Bulls (8-7), 8. Celtics (9-8), 9. Pacers (8-8), 10. Bobcats (7-8), 11. Magic (5-10), 12. Pistons (5-13), 13. Cavaliers (4-13), 14. Raptors (4-13), 15. Wizards (1-13)
 
Once again, the race out West has been tightly contested. 13 of the 15 teams have picked up at least 7 wins. With the Warriors and Clippers contending for the lead in the Pacific Division and the Lakers coming off the heels of these two squads.Meanwhile out East, the Hawks and 76ers have better records against the Central Division leading Milwaukee Bucks, and finally the Wizards have picked up a win this season.
 
Keep in touch for a new edition of the weekly NBA blog, next week.
 
K-Smoove

Tight race in the West. Heat retake control atop the East. Kevin Love returns in Minnesota.

We are now four weeks into the new NBA season, plenty of things have happened since. Now here are some of the highlights of Week 4 of the 2012-13 NBA season.

 Three teams, fighting atop the West.
Photos ©ph.nba.com
 
On top of the Western Conference Standings, it has been a three-way race featuring teams that are no strangers to lead the conference. Sitting on top the West at the moment are the Memphis Grizzlies who are at 92 and holding on with the best record in the NBA. Then they are followed by the San Antonio Spurs who are at 10-3, and in third are the reigining West Champions Oklahoma City Thunder who are at 10-4. Other teams in the mix in the West include the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors. 12 of the 15 teams out West have more than 6 wins so far this season, which makes the conference more unpredictable on who will end up with playoff berths. Once again, the West has been proven as a wild, wild conference in the NBA.
 
Heat retake control atop the East.
Photo ©NBA/Heat.com
 
The Miami Heat have silently retaken control on top of the Eastern Conference Standings, after then leaders the New York Knicks suffered back-to-back defeats in Texas against both the Mavericks and Rocketsto fall at 8-3 in the standings as compared to the Heat who are at 10-3. For the Heat, they have been doing it with their usual protagonists in tow with their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. James, the reigning Season and Finals MVP is averaging 26.2 points which is tied for 4th best in the NBA alongside Rockets guard James Harden, as well as 8.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1 block per game on 53% shooting from the field and 43% shooting from three point range. Bosh is averaging 20.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per outing on 56% field goal shooting. Wade is averaging 18.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per outing on 47% field goal shooting. The Heat have also been getting help from players like Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to name a few. With most of the pieces from their title run last season intact, the Heat are well poised to defend the title this season.
 
Kevin Love returns in Minnesota.
Photo ©NBA.com
 
After sitting out the a month with an injury, the Minnesota Timberwolves got a boost with the return of their all-star foward Kevin Love. Love, a member of the gold medal winning US team in the 2012 London Olympics returned to action in their game last Thursday (Wednesday Minneapolis time) against the Denver Nuggets where he made his presence felt scoring a double-double 34 points and 14 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves lost the game 101-94 against the Nuggets. As well as losing the next two games against the Trail Blazers in Portland and the Warriors in Oakland, despite Love scoring double-double outings in both games. It has been an unfortunate start to the season for the Timberwolves as they have suffered injuries to players like Love, and recently players likeBrandon Roy and Chase Budinger. Now with Love back in the fold, we’ll see if these men from the north regain their groove and contend for a playoff berth in the West.

Meanwhile last week, LeBron James of the Miami Heathas won his 2nd Eastern Conference Player of the Week award. While out West, a third winner of the Western Conference Player of the Weekthis season has been named in Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Here are how things look in the NBAas of today.

Western Conference:
1. Grizzlies (9-2), 2. Spurs (10-3), 3. Thunder (10-4), 4. Clippers (8-5), 5. Warriors (8-6), 6. Nuggets (7-6), 7. Jazz (7-7), 8. Mavericks (7-7), 9. Trail Blazers (6-6), 10. Lakers (7-7), 11. Suns (6-7), 12. Rockets (6-7), 13. Timberwolves (5-8), 14. Kings (4-9), 15. Hornets (3-8)

Eastern Conference:
1. Heat (10-3), 2. Knicks (8-3), 3. Hawks (8-4), 4. Bucks (6-5), 5. Nets (7-4), 6. Bobcats (7-5), 7. 76ers (7-6), 8. Celtics (7-6), 9. Bulls (6-6), 10. Pacers (6-8), 11. Magic (5-7), 12. Pistons (3-10), 13. Raptors (3-10), 14. Cavaliers (3-10), 15. Wizards (0-10)

So we got a few teams who have garnered 10 wins this season, the race has been tightly contested out West where a win can give a big boost in the standings, while a loss can be costly. Meanwhile out East, the Atlanta Hawks have silently gone up the ladder and are now in third behind the Heat and the Knicks. While the Charlotte Bobcats have already matched their win total last season 12 games in to the new season showing signs of significant improvement from last season where they finished 7-56 which was the worst finish by any team in NBA history. While the Washington Wizards have yet to pick up their first win of the season after 10 games.

Stay tuned, as a new edition of my NBA weekly blog comes out next week.

K-Smoove