2012 NBA Playoff Review: Heat, Pacers, Spurs Clippers


EAST Semifinals * Game 4 * Series is tied, 2-2

The Pacers looked to take the Heat out early. They got off to a 9-0 start in front of the rockin', uh, what's that arena's name again? Bankers Life Fieldhouse? God. Why can't it be easy to remember like Market Square Arena?

Anyway, during that first quarter, I felt the Pacers had a chance to knock the Heat out early. But I wasn't a fan of them attempting 11 3-pointers (only making 3) in that period. The Heat got away from the first quarter only down 7.

The Heat, particularly LeBron James, closed in (as Dwyane Wade, who had his knee drained earlier, got off to a 1/9 start). But the Pacers had an answer for everything the Heat had in the second quarter. After Roy Hibbert fouled Wade, Danny Granger got in Wade's face (as he had been getting in LeBron's face). This was what I meant when the Pacers were punking the Heat around. I don't really believe that Granger is a "fake tough guy"; the dude is building a batcave!

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Once again, the Pacers had plenty of chances to put the game away as they went up 10 after Bat... er... Granger's 3-pointer, 61-51. But from here on out, it was just all LeBron and Dwyane as they showed Granger who the real superheroes are. Wade made an incredible 11 straight shots as he and LeBron made 38 straight points for the Heat. And just when they seemed to run out of gas in the last quarter, Udonis Haslem woke up in time to score eight points in that stanza. Miami fought back and tied the series against the bullying Pacers.

There was really no way to describe how incredible LeBron James was in this game: 40 points, 18 boards, and 9 assists. Wade's slow start was forgotten as he finished with 30 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Haslem gave a helping hand and finished with 14 points. Our favorite superhero, Danny Granger, failed in his bid to conquer the Heat; he finished with 20 points to lead the Pacers.

At least, this series is guaranteed to go back to Conseco Fieldhouse. I mean Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

WEST Semifinals * Game 4 * Spurs WIN series, 4-0

The Spurs weren't messing around. They tried to bury the Clippers early as they led, 45-33, in the second. But a seemingly rejuvenated Chris Paul led the comeback and it seemed like they were going to extend the series. Eric Bledsoe, who had been playing really well in the playoffs, went buckwild in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 of his 17 points in that all-important last quarter; his 3-pointer gave the Clippers a 90-85 lead.

And the Spurs came roaring back as predicted. Danny Green made a 3 to tie it at 92. They went back and forth for a bit, and an incredible lay-up (plus the freethrow) by Paul that went off the top of the board a few times gave the Clippers back the lead, 97-96. However, Tony Parker came back with two consecutive buckets to give the Spurs a 100-97 lead.

Paul had a chance to take the lead back with 30 seconds left but he threw a bad pass that ended up in the hands of Manu Ginobili. Then later with 3 seconds left, Paul had a chance to tie the game but his wacky off-balance 4-foot pull-up went left. The Spurs escaped Staples Center with a win, a SERIES win, and a sweep.

Tim Duncan will have more free time to play WoW now. He finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks. CP3 had 23 points and 11 assists... but I'm sure he wished he or his teammates had four more points. Blake Griffin had 21 points.

Nothing for the Clippers to be ashamed of. They just got blitzed by a team that's clearly on another level and while this team and some of its fans will look at this as a failure, the Clippers had their best season in terms of winning percentage. They got to their second round and had plenty to be proud of with their series win against the Memphis Grizzlies, which included coming back from a 27-point deficit to win and winning a Game 7 on the road. If they keep their core, the Clippers will be something to watch in the next few years.

But this year? It's the Spurs' time. They are now closer to their first NBA title in five years.

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