Every morning, we'll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Flexing some Finals muscle
Miami and Oklahoma City are most peoples' picks to make it to the NBA Finals, and last night on national TV, they both served up some reminders as to why that's the case.
Miami shook off some recent struggles, which included consecutive double-digit losses for the first time this season, to decimate the defending champion Mavericks. There was a nice distribution of the offense between the Heat's big 3 with LeBron and Bosh scoring 19 and Dwyane Wade scoring 16.
One of my favorite little moments of the game was Jason Terry's shot at the Heat when he came out in his gold, Finals-edition Reeboks. I know they lost the game, but don't think the dig at the Heat didn't go unnoticed.
As for the Thunder, they used a huge second half to beat the Lakers. More on that when you see Russell Westbook's line of the night.
2: Pacers slowly trying to get it together
The Pacers are much like any other team right now struggling with the condensed season. Any win they can get is a good win and that's that. So a four-point squeaker over the Wizards qualifies for them.
21 points between Roy Hibbert, Darren Collison and Paul George won't cut it most nights, but the important thing here is getting the win when something like that happens.
Indiana will still be a tough out in the playoffs. But they do have to build up some momentum soon to show how dangerous they can really be.
Russell Westbrook jukes Kobe and beats the third quarter buzzer
Paul George with the sweet move to finish the break
Wade to LeBron... twice.
4: Line of the night: Russell Westbrook - 36 points, 6 assists, 2 steals
Westbrook scored 17 of his 36 in a decisive 3rd quarter run that buried the LA Lakers and asserted the Thunder's dominance as the top dog in the Western Conference. Westbrook was the man for the Thunder on an off night for Kevin Durant (he'd snap out of it later in the game). Westbrook isn't just some second option. as he's been proving all season long. Pay too much attention to Durant, and you'll pay dearly.
5: You can quote me on that
"I would listen. He's phenomenal. I love what they're doing there. A lot of people don't like them because they put all that talent there. But they're professional, they play hard, they play together. Their coaching staff has done a great job, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for them.
"I would definitely listen."
-Steve Nash, on whether he'd listen to LeBron James about playing for Miami next season
“My emotions aren’t really strange. You know, I’ve kind of been through this dress rehearsal before a few times with a couple different teams. It’s different compared to what I’ve been used to the last four or five years, but it’s a game. And I play for the other team now.”
-Derek Fisher, on returning to Los Angeles to face the Lakers
"I just coached him. Whatever I need to talk to him about on the floor, I coached him. There's no problem between Andrew and I. I coached him just like I normally have. If I'm in charge of a play-set those guys are scripting and Andrew has a question or I got to tell him, 'Hey, Andrew, do this or do that,' or if he says, 'Hey, Coach, what's this or what's that.' I just coach him."
-Lakers head coach Mike Brown, on any potential issue between hiim and Andrew Bynum.
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