NBA Playoffs: Spurs advance, LeBron puts on a show

LeBron James
James’ 40 points carried the Miami Heat to a victory in Game 4.

Many people didn’t expect the San Antonio Spurs to dominate the Los Angeles Clippers like they did, but now I think it’s safe to say that the Spurs are the overall favorite to win the NBA Finals. In the Eastern Conference, it was D-day for LeBron James and the Miami Heat. James put on a brilliant display to help even the series with the Indiana Pacers at 2-2. The Spurs have not lost in the 2012 playoffs. They have won 18 games in a row (eight straight in the playoffs) and might be the best team in the NBA since the Chicago Bulls went 72-10 in 1995-1996. The Spurs have everything that is needed to win a championship: leadership, experience, depth, and talent. They can play 11 players and not lose a beat. Tony Parker is playing at the highest level he has ever played at as a professional. Tim Duncan is healthy and looking five years younger. Manu Ginobili is healthy as well and playing at a high level. They are getting contributions from rookie small forward Kawhi Leonard and former cast-offs Danny Green and Boris Diaw. Role players like Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal, and Stephen Jackson are playing within the system and complement each other nicely. They thoroughly dismantled “Lob City” and made All-Star point guard Chris Paul look like a rookie. The Spurs are likely going to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. The Thunder better be ready because I don’t see the Spurs slowing down one bit.

Everyone was up-in-arms when the Heat got creamed by the Pacers on Thursday night. “Can LeBron win a ring?” “Will LeBron ever win a ring?” “Do they need to break-up the ‘Big Three’?” All those questions were answered by the NBA MVP on Sunday. LeBron James posted 40 points and 18 rebounds in a big Game 4 victory over the Pacers. James was the first player to post atleast 40 points and 18 rebounds since Elgin Baylor accomplished that feat in 1961. James put the team on his back and got some help from his partner-in-crime Dwyane Wade, who had 30 points. This was the first time since Game 1 that we saw the Heat play with a sense of urgency. They fell behind early (9-0 to start the game), but had taken control of the game by the 4th quarter. As the series shifts back to South Beach for Game 5, did LeBron give the Heat their momentum back? I am thinking that yes, he did. Now I hope he follows up that 40-point performance with a big Game 5.


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