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After a rather pedestrian first two rounds that featured more injuries and inconsistencies, The 2012 NBA Playoffs have entered the into its Final Four stage as the Conference Finals got underway this past weekend with some spicy basketball.
On Sunday, the Western Conference Finals began with the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder traveling to the Alamo city to face the playoff harden San Antonio Spurs, in what should be viewed as the present and future contenders from the “westside”.
The Thunder established and maintained control of game one behind the sharp shooting of young star Kevin Durant, the guy who should have won the MVP award this season. With OKC holding a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, was heard imploring his team to get “nasty” during the game’s final period. The Spurs obliged and rallied to a 101-98 opening victory behind 26 points from Manu Ginobili. San Antonio has now won 19 straight games, 10 to finish the regular season and nine in the post season. Game two is set to tip-off Tuesday night in Texas.
In the Eastern Conference, the aging veteran Boston Celtics faced off against their rival Miami Heat on Memorial Day to start their series. Miami, who ousted the Celtics last season’s semifinal round, displayed a confidence swagger as they rolled to a 93-79 game one victory. However, the story of the game was how Heat star, Lebron James, was seen taunting Boston’s Kevin Garnett late in the fourth quarter.
James, who prior to last season, had suffered some playoff frustration by hand “gang green” was seemingly displaying some glee at the hands of the Celtics’ big man after Garnett slammed him with a frustration foul. James was then seen holding the ball in one hand as he repeated yelled, “Yeah” — much to Garnett’s chagrin.
The Celtics, who were coming off an exhausting seven game series against the Philadelphia 76ers, looked tired and lost as Miami unleashed their assault.
Game two tips off tonight in South Florida.
The NBA’s Final Four are heating up the hardwood as the June summer month rolls around. Sit back and enjoy the fireworks.
By Rashid Umar