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l 3-pointer of the night cut the gap to 11

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    September 13, 2017 7:28 AM +0430

    Oklahoma City Thunder• Western Conference #2 seed | Season record: 59-23BACKDROP: As my buddy Jezmund refers to him, Kevin Durant is my business card. Adidas Superstar Maat 38 . He is the face of the Thunder and has been since they made the move from Seattle six seasons ago. When I first glimpsed Kevin Durant play for the Texas Longhorns, I, and others blessed with the gift of sight, knew he was a superstar. He was to become my new Dominique Wilkins, AKA The Guy I Pinned My Hopes On. While on my stag in Las Vegas, I met Kevin in a library (picture attached). At the same literary function, Lebron James, just a few days removed from The Decision, had dined at the table next to mine, and was now watching an underpaid busboy zipline above the, oh, lets say microfiche, in a freshly minted Miami #6 jersey, while Durant roamed the room without entourage, looking like the worlds tallest Abercrombie salesman. I felt comfortable in my choice of next generation icons.CURRENT TEAM: Durant, the newly crowned MVP of the league, is unquestionably the face of the franchise according to everyone not named Russell Westbrook. Born without a brake pedal or a conscience, Russell likes to shoot the rock. These two alpha dogs have had difficulty meshing when it counts most, suffering five game dispatches the past three seasons, including 2012s Finals loss to Miami. Unlike the ongoing question which arises every postseason— "Why isnt the ball in KDs hands?"—now the team has a more desperate problem. Third banana, Serge Ibaka, a superstar in his own right as a two time 1st Team All Defender is out for the remainder of the playoffs. Expect gritty play from Steven Adams and Nick Collison, but it will be hard sledding against Tim Duncan to overcome losing the best shot blocker in the game.WHY ROOT FOR THEM: Beyond the sky-high likeability factor of Durantula, you may not want to root against a team that seems to have this years lucky streak on its side. Despite Ibakas injury, a ton has gone right for OKC in surprising ways this postseason, and perhaps after years of being labeled with the "next great team" status, the lords of basketball have decided for the breaks to go to tornado country. The Thunder were handed a gift when Zach Randolph was suspended for the final game of the Memphis series (a terrible decision by the league—if this was 1990, he may not have even been called for a foul). Then there was the bizarrely botched officiating at the end of Game 5 versus the Clippers, which effectively handed the game to OKC, and shifted the tide in the series. Do you really want to bet against the team with the best sixth man since James Harden? (That sixth man being the officiating crew.)Indiana Pacers• Eastern Conference #1 seed | Season record: 56-26BACKDROP: The state of Indiana is synonymous with basketball, even if the pro team has never won a title. Gene Hackman and his Hoosiers. Bobby Knight and his temper. Larry Bird and his hair. But the Pacers havent had a compelling national brand since Reggie Miller exchanged pleasantries with a courtside Spike Lee. Last year, for the first time without Reggie on the roster, the Pacers emerged under Paul George as a genuine force, making the Eastern Conference Finals, where they would lose to Miami in a slug-it-out seven game affair. They knew they were young and they were close. By mid-January of this year, they were the best team on the planet. Then something happened...CURRENT TEAM: The Trade. Before Larry Legend swapped the once face of the franchise, Danny Granger, for the overrated Evan Turner, the Pacers had the leagues best record at 42-13. After the trade, 14-13. They acquired Turner because bench play was the teams undoing in 2013 and making moves to strengthen it were necessary and advised. But whether it was the fault of Turner or other personalities in the locker room, the team unraveled (Turner and fellow Pacer, and known irritant, Lance "Born Ready" Stephenson, engaged in a fist fight last month, marking a nadir in the teams descent). Defence, the hallmark of the team, suddenly faltered. The offence stalled. Only recently has David West emerged as the emotional leader, and the team has clawed its way against lesser Eastern Conference opponents to the third round. Cue the rematch.(Sidenote: Top picks Lebron James, Tim Duncan, and near top picks Durant, Westbrook, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, etc., havent been the signature of these Pacers. Indiana hasnt selected above the #10 spot since George McCloud in 1989. Evan Turner, selected second overall by the 76ers, was the teams first foray into the top of the draft in many years. Paul George was taken at 10, Hibbert at 17. West, 18. Stephenson, 40. Scola, 56. I havent worked out this theory entirely, but I think Turners draft slot impacted the Pacers internal harmony.)WHY ROOT FOR THEM: Because you want to join me in rooting for the current member of "Team 29". You may never tack a picture of David West up on your wall, but you can still look yourself in the mirror with pride after rooting for him. The same cannot be said for Dwyane Wade.Miami Heat• Eastern Conference #2 seed | Season record: 54-28BACKDROP: Sadly, it is possible that one day we will argue over whether The King, blessed be He, correctly predicted winning seven or eight titles. Ugh. The Heat. Two-time defending champs. Three-time finalists. All time cocky bastards. The road team, but still heavy favourites to win the series. Further proof that the city of Miami is the Cosmo Kramer of the sports world—falling ass backwards into success. The fans ignore their losing teams, barely support their winning teams, and they still win championships (even the Florida Panthers have played for a Stanley Cup more recently than the Maple Leafs).CURRENT TEAM: Lebron James and fourteen other people paid to play (and often witness) basketball near Lebron James. As the lone quasi-big market team left among the final four, Im certain Adam Silver and the NBA brass (read: broadcasters) want to see the Heat in the Finals (read into that however you like, scholars of NBA officiating). This Heat team isnt as deep as seasons past, but in the final year of guaranteed contracts for the infamous Big 3, they still have plenty of firepower, as their solitary playoff loss attests.WHY ROOT FOR THEM: When you watch Die Hard, you root for Hans Gruber to get back his detonators. If an elderly man slips into a silt-soaked puddle, you chuckle. While others cheer for the upstart Rocky Balboa, you find yourself more of an Apollo Creed booster. You are reading this on a Samsung Galaxy. You thought Bambis mother had it coming. Welcome to your Miami Heat years.Gallays Poll #10Q: Who will you be rooting for? San Antonio. Because a fifth championship would cement them for all time. Oklahoma City. Because Kevin Durant was the MVP for a reason. Indiana. Because Larry Legend is due for a return to the winners podium. Miami. Because I need something to do when Im not kicking kittens. Adidas Zx Flux Zwart .  Bjoergen pulled away from Swedens Charlotte Kalla on the final straight to win in 38 minutes, 33.6 seconds and defend her title from the 2010 Vancouver Games. Kalla was 1.8 seconds back. Heidi Weng of Norway took bronze. Adidas ZX Flux Weave . Or at least on everyone elses expectations. Costa Rica followed up its surprise win over Uruguay with another World Cup stunner on Friday, beating four-time champion Italy 1-0 to secure a spot in the next round and eliminate England in the process.San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Zach Randolph scored all six of Memphis points in the third overtime, lifting the Grizzlies over the San Antonio Spurs, 117-116, in a wildly entertaining game on Wednesday. Randolph ended with 21 points and 21 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who ended the Warriors 16-game winning streak with a 105-98 win Tuesday. Marc Gasol tallied 26 points and nine boards. Vince Carter made five 3-pointers en route to 18 points for Memphis, which won despite blowing a 23-point lead. Mike Conley donated 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. The Grizzlies have won six in a row to improve to 21-4 on the season. Danny Green went 7-of-13 from beyond the arc and finished with 25 points and seven boards for the Spurs, who have lost two in a row. Tim Duncan had 23 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks. The fun started after Greens 3-pointer gave the Spurs an 88-86 lead with one minute remaining in regulation. After Gasol missed a layup, Duncan went 1-of-2 from the line to make it a three-point contest. Carter missed a 3-pointer and Boris Diaw came down with a key defensive rebound. Diaw, however, threw the ball away and Conley made a game-tying 3- pointer with 7.2 seconds left. Following a timeout, Manu Ginobili kicked the ball out to a wide-open Green for another 3-pointer. But Gasol followed with a ridiculous 30-foot bank shot at the buzzer to force overtime. Diaw and Green each connected from beyond the arc around a Conley jumper to make it 101-100 San Antonio with 1:21 remaining in the first overtime. Duncan and Green recorded blocks to give the Spurs the ball back. Duncan went 1-of-2 from the line with 48.9 ticks left on the clock, but the Spurs made another critical mistake.. Adidas Zx Flux Weave w m21371. . After Carter missed a 3-pointer, Ginobili turned the ball over on a bad pass. Gasol made San Antonio pay by making a game-tying layup with 9.3 seconds to go. Ginobilis one-handed jumper was off the mark as time expired. The Spurs took a 109-108 lead on Diaws 3-pointer with 1:01 left in the second overtime. After an empty possession from each team, Courtney Lee made a go- ahead 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining. Duncan forced another overtime with a 16-foot bank shot that rattled in. Duncan started the third extra session with a short jumper, but Randolph scored the next six points. Greens final 3-pointer of the night cut the gap to 117-116 with 40.5 seconds left. San Antonio had one last chance following misses from Conley and Lee. Ginobili, however, missed from distance and Conley came down with the defensive rebound. Earlier, the Grizzlies shot 70 percent from the field in the first quarter en route to a 34-19 lead. The margin reached 23 in the second, but the Spurs ended the frame on a 24-8 run to get within 52-45 at the half. The Grizzlies came out strong in the third stanza and built a 17-point lead. However, San Antonio fought back again and got within 73-68 heading to the fourth. Marco Belinelli and Green made back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Spurs their first lead of the game, 80-77, with 8:21 left in the fourth. Game Notes Memphis guard Tony Allen (eye) missed the game ... San Antonio was without Kawhi Leonard (hand) and Tony Parker (hamstring) ... Ginobili had 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists ... The Spurs went 17-of-35 from beyond the arc ... Duncan played 47 minutes and 44 seconds. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '