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Smack / Dec 26, 2012 / 2:07 am

LeBron & The Heat Deliver Something Special For OKC; Kobe & Carmelo Stage A Crazy Duel

LeBron James

LeBron James (photo. David Alvarez)

The past year was a good one for LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Championships. Rings. Respect. Fear. They hogged all the goodies. Christmas day was no different. Yesterday’s NBA Finals rematch in Miami between the Heat and Thunder was a rugged, physical battle. The refs were letting them play from the jump, and the physicality and a lack of superstar whistles got to the big names early. Both LeBron and Kevin Durant (33 points) were hit with techs in the first quarter when they didn’t get calls after getting roughed up (One of the calls was a personal foul on LeBron for hacking Serge Ibaka on a dunk attempt in the first quarter. It was ‘Bron’s first foul in six games.). … LeBron was a monster the entire game (29 points, nine assists, eight boards), and his first half sidekick wasn’t Dwyane Wade (21 points) or Chris Bosh. Mario Chalmers had 12 in the first quarter – matching his season high for a game. He finished with 20 on the night … The game was tight throughout the second half, but you could feel the Heat asserting control. They were running good offense, getting themselves solid looks or letting ‘Bron go to work (Multiple possessions saw Kendrick Perkins guarding James. That did not work out well for OKC.). Every Thunder possession had some sort of desperate, difficult, circus feel to it. If KD didn’t manufacture a tough bucket on his own, the possession seemed to fizzle out with a wild Russell Westbrook look. Not a way to beat the Heat, and Miami held on, 103-97 … With 11 minutes to go in the game, Westbrook (21 points, 11 rebounds, a lot of “bad” Russell Westbrook in the second half) was taken out by Wade and Shane Battier on a fast break dunk attempt. Russ jumped up like he was ready for the bell to ring, and had to stop himself from charging into the cameramen to get at Battier … Did you see Westbrook’s kicks yesterday? The unique Air Jordan XX8 colorway looks like it’ll be one of the most love/hate drops we’ve seen in a while. Yet it wasn’t even the best sneaker in the game – Ray Allen‘s Christmas XVIIIs were incredible … If you’ve ever wanted to watch surgery performed live, the Clippers held a clinic after nearing losing a 19-point lead. A 112-100 win over the Nuggets, L.A.’s 14th straight, came out of this stretch. The lead down to nine, Willie Green busted two threes on consecutive possessions. Jamal Crawford (22 points) – whose first half was spent rocking Andre Miller to sleep – kept the rally going when Blake Griffin (13 points) slipped an assist to Crawford between two defenders for the hoop and the harm. One possession later, Chris Paul snuck into the paint and hit Matt Barnes (20 points) with a no-look backdoor cut for an and-one. Then Paul walked over to the left three-point wing and drilled a bomb to beat the third-quarter buzzer. The first half was fun, but another win came in that final four minutes of the third and the Clips’ response … Best new commercial: Blake Griffin’s new Kia Optima joint? Or Cliff Paul? … Keep reading to hear about how the Lakers solved the Knicks’ offensive riddle …

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