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Tag:Conference finals
Posted on: May 25, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 8:47 pm
 

Mike Miller attended to sick daughter at hospital

Miami Heat forward Mike Miller attended to his sick newborn following Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. Posted by Ben Golliver. mike-miller

Miami Heat forward Mike Miller has dealt with plenty of adversity this season: a thumb injury that kept him out for months and the brief disappearance of his shooting stroke that contributed to his on-court struggles this season. But none of that compares what he's been through this week. 

The Palm Beach Post reports that Miller headed to the hospital following Miami's Game 4 win over the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals to check on his newborn daughter, Jaelyn. The girl was born between Games 2 and 3 of the series but remains in the hospital's intensive care unit.
Miller was visiting his wife, Jen, and baby daughter, Jaelyn, who was born last Thursday with a condition that the Millers have not disclosed. Miller remained at the hospital until 4 a.m.

"As important as the playoffs or the Eastern Conference Finals are to me, the most important thing right now is (Jaelyn) and my wife," Miller said Wednesday before the Heat boarded its charter for Chicago, where it could advance to the NBA Finals with a victory in Thursday night's Game 5.

"It puts things in perspective. It makes my thumb injuries a lot less important right now."
The Associated Press reportsthat Miller plans to play in Thursday night's Game 5 in Chicago.
Jaelyn was born between Games 2 and 3 of the East final. Miller has not missed either game since she was born, and told reporters on Tuesday night — after perhaps one of his best games with the Heat — that his daughter is "a fighter."

"She's doing good right now," Miller said Wednesday. "And hopefully she'll continue to do better."
Despite the emotional weight of the situation, Miller scored 12 points in Game 4, including two three-pointers, more than he's scored in the rest of the 2011 NBA playoffs combined, and the most points he's scored in a game since March 23. That he's playing at all is remarkable given the circumstances.

Miller has taken to wearing pink shoelaces to honor his Jaelyn, who is his first daughter after two sons. The Post notes that Heat president Pat Riley offered to pay any fine incurred for breaking dress code should the NBA league office raise the issue, which it hasn't.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 6:49 pm
 

LiveChat: Thunder-Mavericks WCF Game 5

What: Livechat for Mavericks-Thunder Game 5 as the Thunder try and stave off elimination on the road in a must-win, and the Mavericks try and advance to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history. 

Where: You're looking at it.

When: 9 p.m. EST. 

Why: Because where else are you going to debate how ridiculous Russell Westbrook's decision making is, or how Jose Barea is a denial of logic in terms of basketball ability. Also we debate if this is really a must-win for the Thunder since all it means is the Mavericks are up 4-1.


Posted on: May 25, 2011 2:34 pm
 

Thibodeau thinks Rose struggles start with calls

Tom Thibodeau thinks Derrick Rose isn't getting the calls he should in the Eastern Conference Finals. Thibodeau has bigger problems.

Posted by Matt Moore




From Larry Brown Sports, we discover Tom Thibodeau's reason for why Derrick Rose is struggling in the Eastern Conference Finals.
 
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau must have kept that in mind, because he made a point to call out the refs following his team’s Game 4 loss in Miami.

Speaking about Derrick Rose after the game, Thibodeau said “He hasn’t been able to get to the line like we thought he would. There’s a lot of contact, and he hasn’t gotten calls.”
via Tom Thibodeau Calls Out Refs for Not Giving Derrick Rose More Calls | Larry Brown Sports.

On the one hand, the Heat had a 38-22 advantage in free throws in Game 4, and Derrick Rose took seven to LeBron James' 13. On the other hand, here's a brief list of ways why maybe Coach needs to look elsewhere for answers besides blaming the officials. 

  • Rose was 8-27 from the field, or to put it in a different context, Rose missed more than two of every three shots he took. He was 1-9 from the 3-point line. Why did he take four more after starting 0-5 you might ask. Well, that would be something his coach might have something to say about. That's nine possessions where Rose won't be getting to the line. 
  • The Bulls, a terrible 3-point shooting team, knowing this going in, took 24 3-point attempts in Game 4. That's 28 percent of their total FGA predicated on the arc. The Heat, conversely, took 13, for just 17 percent. The Heat shot 39 percent, the Bulls 24 percent. So even though the Bulls are a terrible perimeter-shooting team and needed to create free throws, they went to 3-point shooting to save them.
  • Derrick Rose got a few calls, including a ridiculous continuation on one of his poster dunks. It's not like Rose was constantly knocked to the ground, he just didn't drive as much.
  • Instead, Rose habitually went to the pull-up jumper, like he did on the final possession of regulation. When he did drive, late, he turned the ball over. Hard to draw free throws when you're rolling the ball out of bounds. 
  • The Heat's defense has done three things on Rose in this series. Send multiple defenders to keep him from being able to figure out a consistent attack, bring help at three, sometimes four levels on Rose's drives, and guard him with players like James who have incredible size advantages. The key for the Bulls should be to punish those positional switches by having the other players matched up on smaller/slower players get involved, or working with Rose off-ball. But of course, those would be offensive adjustments and Thibodeau is too busy screaming at the defense to not let a 6-8, 285 lb. freight train with unparalleled explosion drive by them or hit fadeaway 16-footers. Much too busy.

The reality is that there were calls that didn't go the Bulls way in Game 4, and the whistles were generous towards Miami. But Rose not only had the game winner he missed, but a key free throw clanged off in the final minutes and multiple turnovers. Rose is 22. He'll bounce back. This is part of the learning process. He's still the MVP after a banner year. 

But the Bulls aren't losing this series 3-1 because of the officials. They're losing it for multiple reasons, and one of them is that Derrick Rose just hasn't been any good and his coach hasn't helped him to make any adjustments.  
Posted on: May 25, 2011 2:33 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 11:54 am
 

Playoff Fix: Can the Thunder get over Game 4?

Posted by Royce Young



One Big Thing: It definitely feels like this series is over. That's probably because it sort of is. The way the Thunder fell on their face in Game 4 and gave away a win basically sealed their fate. Now not only do they have to try and recover from that but they have to do it on the road. Chances aren't good for them.

However, the other humiliating loss the team suffered, they bounced back from. After a Game 3 loss to Memphis where the Thunder blew a 10-point lead late, OKC bounced back and won a crucial Game 4. Their backs are to the wall even more and they're even more heartbroken now. Do they have anything left? That's the question.

The X-Factor: Mental fortitude. How do you shake the feeling this series is over? How do you stop replaying those final five minutes in your head over and over again? That's what the Thunder have to do. They're going to show people what they're made of in this game. They have every reason to just pack it up and quit. Will they? Or are they going to play with that same resiliency that got them this far?

The Adjustment: The Thunder have to figure out how to score the ball in clutch situations. This has been gone over a million times but whatever the solution is, the Thunder haven't found it. Russell Westbrook can't create everything and score on his own. Kevin Durant can't get away from Shawn Marion for open looks. When James Harden isn't on the floor, the Thunder don't know where to go for points. The Mavs defense has been really good in those circumstances but if the Thunder are close in Game 5, the question is, can they score?

The Sticking Point: I just keep coming back to whether or not this young Thunder team is ready to say they've had enough. Durant is a player that has a ton of pride. Same with Westbrook. The Mavs have a serious chokehold on the series and it's just a matter of closing out a young, rattled team at home. No problem, right?

Thing is, these Thunder aren't quitters. And the temptation for the Mavericks could be to relax and try and coast out of the Western Finals. But mess around and give this one away at home and the series will return to Oklahoma City where you can be sure the Thunder don't want to embarrass themselves again in front of their home crowd. The Mavs could play with some fire here if they don't take care of business.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 1:57 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 2:09 am
 

NBA Playoffs: How the Heat snuffed the Bulls out

The Bulls had one more chance at making a comeback. But the Miami Heat snuffed it out on the defensive end with talent, but more importantly, with supreme effort. The Heat wanted it more, and it showed. 

Posted by Matt Moore



The chance was still hanging there, by a thread. The Bulls were down six with 25 seconds to go. A quick score, force a turnover which the Bulls excel at, get another one at this is a game. There's a chance. You just have to get a bucket. Derrick Rose driving, which is what you want. Amazing comebacks happen, and Chicago could have made it happen. They just needed a score. 

Desire is such a dangerous term. These are professional athletes fighting for a chance at a championship. They're close. They can taste it. Want-to is not lacking in this series. But in a series as grueling in this, with constant brutal defense on both sides, and how physical it is, there are moments that are decided by giving it an all-out effort. It wasn't brilliant highlight plays, big alley-oops, or flash and dance that won Game 4 for the Heat. It was desire. Here's how they snuffed out the Bulls. 



 

After a LeBron James pull-up jumper (on which James may have very well walked), Rose speed down the court to try and get a quick two to put the pressure back on Miami on the inbounds. Dwyane Wade is on the far side at the start of the play.

 


As Rose attacks, Wade times his jump in an interesting way. He jump-stops, plants, and explodes straight up, after Rose has already left his feet and is almost at the apex of his jump before releasing the ball.



Wade gets an absolutely absurd amount of elevation for a player who may be banged up, and blocks the ball out towards the wing, but not out of bounds. Joakim Noah and LeBron James both go for the rebound. 
 

 

Noah has nearly a four-inch advantage on James, but James manages to explode and get to the ball at the same time, knocking it loose towards the sideline. Noah secures this rebound, he's got two shooters on the far side wide-open. (Broken plays consistently made for huge plays for the Bulls in Game 4.)




The ball is loose, the game is on the line, and LeBron James is the first one to the floor. James reaches out to tap the ball away from Noah on one leg diving. 



One dive is good effort. James taps it once on the dive, then gives full-out extension to keep the ball from going out of bounds and keep it out of his hands. Noah starts to dive for the ball as well. But Udonis Haslem is in position to dive as well and he goes for the ball at the same time. 



Check out how close this was to going out of bounds on James' steal. 

This may have been the most effort LeBron James has ever made on a basketball floor. For a player who consistently is questioned for his intensity and effort, there can be no confusion. James wanted this more than any other player on the floor and every bit of his unbelievable athleticism was put into securing this ball as he taps it towards the middle of the floor. 



Joakim Noah gave a tremendous effort in Game 4 at both ends. He really hustled to work the glass, try and score, defend, and even run the break. But here not one, but two Heat players are quicker to dive for the ball than him and both beat him to the punch. Haslem dives on the loose ball like a fumble, and turns his back to Noah to try and create a gap between Noah and the ball with his body. 




As Noah dives over him, Haslem slips the ball to Mike Miller, who eventually gets it to Wade who is fouled. 




Another Bulls turnover, their last shot, and hope is snuffed out by the Heat. The Bulls were supposed to win this series with superior team play and greater effort over an entitled Heat team. But what makes the Heat so dangerous at this moment is not the talent. It's that talent brought to its fullest potential by the kind of effort seen on this play. No alley-oops. No smoke and mirrors. Just effort. 

And a win. 

Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:39 am
 

Boozer's flagrant turned things for Miami

Posted by Royce Young



There was a lot of talk prior to Game 4 that the Bulls needed to send a physical message to the Heat. That whether it be Taj Gibson, Omer Asik, Kurt Thomas or someone else, the first Miami player to cruise down the lnae needed to take a clobbering.

That's what a lot of people thought.

That kind of thing can work a lot of the time to fire up a team and send a message. But it's about picking spots. The correct spots, that is. And Carlos Boozer did not pick a good spot for a flagrant foul.

Chicago was leading 77-74 with 4:40 remaining as Chris Bosh went at the rim. He got a clear path because Joakim Noah overplayed a pass and slipped and Boozer rotated (properly) over to help. He fouled Bosh preventing two easy points, but for some reason followed through with his left arm and shoved Bosh to the floor.

Boom, flagrant one.

What Miami got was two free throws and possession of the ball which turned into four points and a one-point lead. Just like that.

Was it a semi-weak flagrant? Yeah, probably. Not the most malicious thing ever and Bosh sold it pretty hard. But there's no doubt it was correctly called. Boozer's foul was excessive and there was no need for him to extend his left forearm out like that. Plus, it was up around the shoulders and any time that happens, you're getting nailed.

Wrong place, wrong time for Boozer to try and show he was tough. Kind of typical of him to mess up in a big moment I guess. That decision by Boozer didn't cost the Bulls the game by any means but that was definitely a swing play in the game. Miami picked up four points and the lead off of one bad foul.

That foul in the first quarter might've had a reverse effect. It might've sent a message and rallied his team. But in crunch time when points were the most valuable thing in the game, it was just pretty much stupid.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 12:07 am
 

Derrick Rose dunks video: Bulls vs. Heat Game 4

Video of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose throwing down three incredible dunks in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat. Posted by Ben Golliver.

During the first half of Tuesday night's Game 4 against the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose showed why he's the NBA's MVP with a trio of spectacular dunks. He seemed to be raising the bar from dunk to dunk, going from great to sensational to utterly ridiculous. Let's take a look at all three in order.

First, near the end of the first quarter, Rose displayed some excellent verticality, getting ahead of the pack in transition to throw down a monster one-hand dunk. Heat forward LeBron James was trailing the play, but decided not to attempt a chasedown block once he saw Rose elevate. Here's a look at the video.



Second, just before halftime, Rose got loose in transition one again, attacking Heat reserve point guard Mario Chalmers. Although he was fouled by Chalmers near the free throw line, Rose didn't hesitate to continue towards the hoop, throwing down a monster two-handed dunk. Thanks to a generous continuation call, Rose was given the and-one call on the monster slam.



Third and finally, shortly after the dunk above, Rose put Heat center Joel Anthony on a major, major poster, his most impressive play of the night. Rose crossed over Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who was trapping him, from right to left near the free throw line. After taking a gather step as he entered the paint, he eyed Anthony, who was coming over to provide weakside help, but decided to go up and over rather than around Anthony's contest. He finished the dunk cleanly with two hands and was once again given the and-one call. The Bulls bench erupted in celebration.



Simply amazing. This would be a good month for most All-Stars. Rose simply calls it a good half.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 5:39 pm
 

LiveChat: Heat-Bulls Conference Finals Game 4

Join us at 8:30 p.m. EST for Heat-Bulls Game 4. We'll discuss such topics as:

There will inevitably be mid-90's video game references, as there were in Game 4 of Mavs-Thunder as well. Join us at 8 p.m. EST.


 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com