Kevin Durant pulls up from 30, finishes off Cavs with the ultimate game winner 

Kevin Durant has proved everyone that he has ice in his veins after hitting a clutch pull-up 3 over LeBron James to give the Golden State Warriors a one-point lead late in the 4th quarter, pushing the series to a dramatic 3-0 swing.

Durant showed nothing, but poise with his late-game dagger, especially during the most important possession of the game. He hit the biggest shot of the NBA Finals, and his entire career solidifying himself as one of the greatest in the world.

Durant started the NBA Finals letting LeBron know that he’s coming, and now he’s ending it in the same fashion.

Scoring 7 of the team’s final 11 points in the final 3 minutes, KD rallied the Warriors to victory. After carrying GSW to three straight wins, it is safe to say that Durant is the legitimate MVP of the NBA Finals.

Not only Game 3 was heartbreaking for the Cavs, but it is also more demoralizing seeing the way their opponent win. Kevin Durant, once again, single handily dominated Cleveland.

ESPN’s NBA Analyst Stephen A. Smith reacts to the Warriors’ Game 3 win over the Cavaliers, addressing KD’s dominance is something that simply cannot be ignored.

“Take a look at the highlights, he starts off the series basically letting LeBron know that he’s coming, said Stephen A. Smith. “Kevin Durant has been saying I’m here since opening of these Finals.”

KD’s clutch game last night at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, certainly has everyone’s attention. His mission this year to win the championship is scary not only for Cavs, but also the NBA.

Who is going to stop him and this Warriors juggernaut in the next 4-5 years?

Photo source from Cam Stein, via Flickr.

Miami Heat are ‘playoff-less’, but not hopeless

The Miami Heat’s 110-102 win over the Wizards should be a celebration rather than just a commemoration, for the team will miss the playoffs by a whisker in a tie-breaker with the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers.

The Heat made history in their miraculous second-half effort of the 2016-107 regular season, rattling off a league-best 20 wins in 24 games just after starting 19 games below .500. They shocked the league with their incredible turnaround, finishing the regular season at 41-41.

The Heat were eliminated with wins from Pacers and the Bulls, mainly accredited to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawk’s controversial move to rest all of their starters. The ridiculous decision to rest the starters at the last game of the season left a black eye on the NBA.

The Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks’ ‘forfeit’ negatively impacted playoff seeding, and could be an omen that this could be a future NBA
trend.

Heat fans may be upset, but should be proud of their team; for their resiliency should be respected, and Heat President Pat Riley felt mutual about this. Riley was greatly disappointed that his team missed the playoffs, but was pleased with the effort in their second-half turnaround of the season.

“I love what we built,” said Riley.

Riley and his Heat Nation can feel a great sense of optimism with the chemistry the team had built towards the last half of the season. The Heat’s momentum looks to stay a float when Dion Waiters makes his return.

Waiters shined in big moments when he was in the lineup, averaging nearly 19 points and 5 assists during the two-month stretch before his injury. The Heat went 20-4 with him in the lineup, according to USA Today’s Adi Joseph.

Miami was on pace to win 48 games with the momentum the team had built with the former OKC guard, which could’ve been enough to grab the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. The team immediately saw the impact Waiters left on the team during their miraculous turnaround of the second-half of season.

The Heat organization have the mutual feeling that, if Dion Waiters was completely healthy, they make the playoffs easy.

Now Miami has to put aside their playoff heartache and focus on the offseason, for they have many decisions to make. While the Heat have there building blocks set – Goran Dragić and Hassan Whiteside, they need to lock down key role players who will be free agents this offseason.

Of those free agents, who will be getting paid big money this 2016-2017 season, is James Johnson.

One of the most improved players of the year, James Johnson, has become a force to deal with at the power forward position. Johnson, just alike his teammate Waiters, impressed his peers with his strength and conditioning.

Not only Waiters and Johnson have improved with their play, they have upgraded their fitness and overall health. Both Heat players have lost weight, and felt mutual it benefited their play.

The work ethic of Erik Spoelstra and his players were certainly recognized this season, and will be even more renowned when they make damage in the playoffs next year. Miami will need to focus on keeping some of their key players on the roster this offseason, wether they have to make a trade or even release veteran players like Chris Bosh.

Photo by Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky Basketball: a Wildcat comeback

Wildcats shine bright on Senior Night, showing resiliency after rallying from a 19-point deficit in the biggest comeback during the Coach Cal era. Freshmen Malik Monk’s 20-point effort in the second half carry No. 9 Kentucky to a 73-67 victory over Vanderbilt.

Following an emotional Tuesday night of senior recognitions, especially with the engagement proposal by Derek Willis to his girlfriend Kelly Potts, Kentucky found themselves yet with another slow start against the visiting Vanderbilt Commodores.

Vanderbilt started out the gate hot, shooting their 75.0 field-goal percentage incorporated a 19-point lead early in the first half. The Kentucky faithful were quieted quickly, with doubts that their 27-game winning streak at home would be in jeopardy.

The Commodores left their mark in the game with draining eight 3-pointers early on, creating a sense of urgency for their opponent. Vanderbilt controlled the flow of the game, looking like they were the team at home.

Kentucky simply had to wake up, for they were ‘sleep walking’ in the first-half, scoring a season low: 29 points.

The Wildcats woke up quickly, scoring a 6-0 run in the 2nd half, which soared the crowd. It was only fitting that the team’s seniors were adding to the scoring surge on Senior Night.

Moments like these gives College Seniors like Dom Hawkins recognition for their valiant efforts, and leadership throughout the years. Hawkins, as well as other
teammates were praised by coach John Calipari.  “Just a humble, smart, great teammate,” said Calipari.

Caliper’s relationship with his players were well examined Tuesday night and transitioned well in their game against Vanderbilt. Kentucky found a way to lock down, deeply within themselves and just play their hearts out.

Malik Monk was certainly one of those who played with heart, scoring 20 points in the second half once again. The 23,000 fans at Rupp Arena roared when the Wildcats found themselves within just a one-possession game with seven minutes left.

The defensive intensity for the Wildcats increased greatly, which proved to be a game changer, for the Commodores had over 10 turnovers in the second half.

De’Aaron Fox was not 100 percent healthy, but stepped up to lead his team to smart shots in the paint. He showed spirit, and his ability to shift into another gear helped  spark Kentucky.

When it was down to the wire, less than 4 minutes in the game, it was ‘Malik Monk time’. Monk was also clutch shooting over 84.0 free-throw percentage, sealing a six-point victory, 73-67.

Sometimes in the game of College Basketball, you’re not going be at your best and you got to look for a way to win. Looks like Kentucky looked for no. 5.

Photo by TonyTheTiger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Carmelo clause: Knicks, Clippers, or Celtics?  

Amidst all the trade rumors, with just one week away from the NBA Trade Deadline, the Boston Celtics appear to be the most likely candidate to suede Carmelo Anthony away from New York. Anthony’s decision to waive his no-trade clause might seem unlikely, but not impossible.

With the recent discord between GM Phil Jackson and Anthony, it appears the works of trade could be very possible. While the New York Knicks have made it clear that they have proposed a proposition for a move, Carmelo is still certain he will be in New York after the trade deadline.

If not now, when?

While Phil Jackson is giving signals that he is ready to move on from Carmelo with recent comments/criticism, the truth is that he would need something noteworthy in return for his star player. It is much more likely to see a Carmelo trade this offseason, rather than the All-Star break.

The Knicks have reportedly reached out to the Cavs and Clippers, but failed to reach any kind of frameworks for a deal. The Knicks would need a Kevin Love, Blake Griffin caliber of a player in replacement for Melo’.

Jackson has made it evident that does not have much of a filter, making his “comments” about current or former players public. In the past, he has criticized Kobe Bryant – which didn’t go over well with Lakers Nation, Phil seems to be comfortable critiquing whom he wants.

Having a high stature in not only sports, but life in general, can give you a certain confidence, or comfort to do express your desires. When you have more championship rings to put on all of your fingers, there can be a tendency to be a bit big-headed.

Jackson’s tendency to speak out and his reputation in New York is yet a different matter, but the animosity growing in the Knicks’s organization just keeps Anthony questioning.

The quiet stare down that is with Carmelo and the Knicks, creates a toxic situation for fans and players. There is the feeling that they will just get this trade in the works to finally lift the dark cloud that is hanging over New York York.

It’s only a matter of time whether Carmelo Anthony will be traded.

Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Carmelo Anthony, Bradley Beal) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons