The NBA season concluded on Monday as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat in Game five to capture the franchise’s first NBA title.
Nikola Jokic was named Finals MVP.
Unfortunately for the NBA, the 2023 NBA Finals averaged 11.64 million viewers. That is slightly down from last season’s NBA Finals(Celtics-Warriors), which averaged 12.40 million.
However, there was good news for the league. The 2023 NBA Playoffs across ABC, ESPN, and TNT averaged 5.47 million viewers, making it the most-watched playoffs in five years.
The championship-clinching Game 5 averaged 13.08 million viewers, up 1% vs. last year’s Game 5, and peaked at 17.88 million viewers at 11 p.m. ET.
The ratings being down for the Finals is not surprising when considering the teams involved and how many games the series went. A Lakers/Celtics Finals would have rated higher because it’s a classic rivalry, and of course, you have LeBron James.
The 2023 NBA Draft is on June 22.
It took the Denver Nuggets 47 years to get to this point, but it’s better late than never! On Monday, the Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat 94-89 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to capture the team’s first NBA title.
The Nuggets won the series 4-1, and now they celebrate in Denver. Nikola Jokic was named Finals MVP.
There are many ways to get to an NBA title; some build through free agency, others build through the draft, and for the Nuggets, their path to a championship was through the draft.
Denver’s top three players came through the draft. Jokic was a second-round pick in 2014; Jamal Murray was the seventh overall pick in 2016, and Michael Porter Jr. was the 14th overall pick in 2018.
Unfortunately, injuries hurt this time. Murray(knee) and Porter Jr.(back) missed significant time, which hurt this team’s title chances, but the organization stayed patient, and good things happen to those who wait.
“I came here when I was 20,” Jokic, who led the NBA in points, rebounds, and assists in the playoffs, said. “Jamal came here when he was 21? (19). Yes, the core, but if you want to be a success, you need a couple years. You need to be bad, then you need to be good, then when you’re good, you need to fail, and then when you fail, you’re going to figure it out. I think experience is something that is not what happened to you. It’s what you’re going to do with what happened to you.
“Yes, Jamal was injured. Yes, we lose the first round or second round in the Playoffs… But there is a process that you need to — there is steps that you need to fill, and there is no shortcuts. It’s a journey, and I’m glad that I’m part of the journey.”
Murray, who missed the better part of two seasons with a torn ACL, was emotional after winning his first NBA title.
“Everything was hitting. Everything was hitting at once, from the journey to the celebration with the guys to enjoying the moment, to looking back on the rehab, to looking back at myself as a kid, as the other viewer, looking from the crowd in or from the camera lens in, and now looking back at them,” Murray said. “It was a lot. I couldn’t hold it in. It was just something I’ve been working for my whole life.
“I think Mike said it, Porter. Every real hooper wants to be on this stage and play in the game and be in this moment. To see it full circle, going from my rehab, not being able to walk, go up the stairs, not just for a month or two. It was for a long time. A lot of different things going through my head. A lot of tears. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears, and real ones.”
From start to finish, the Nuggets were the best basketball team. After years of injuries and disappointment, Denver finally breaks through. None of that happens without patience.
Jimmy Butler has done it again. Butler, who had 35 points in Game 1, scored nine of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, including two big shots down the stretch that gave Miami the lead for good as the Heat defeated the Celtics 111-105 on Friday night in Boston to take a 2-0 series lead.
Games 3 and 4 are in Miami, with Game 3 being on Sunday; Miami can close out this series at home.
Butler, who brought the Heat back from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit in Game 2, was motivated by the trash-talking with Boston’s Grant Williams, and the two players went back and forth down the stretch.
“Yes, it did,” Bulter said about the trash talk motivating him. “But that’s just competition at its finest. He hit a big shot. Started talking to me; I like that. I’m all for that. It makes me key in a lot more. It pushes that will that I have to win a lot more. It makes me smile. It does. When people talk to me, I’m like, okay, I know I’m a decent player if you want to talk to me out of everybody that you can talk to. But it’s just competition. I do respect him, though. He’s a big part of what they try to do. He switches. He can shoot the ball. I just don’t know if I’m the best person to talk to (laughter).”
Bam Adebayo, who added 22 points, 17 rebounds, and nine assists, added on Butler: “I feel like things like that always fuel Jimmy. I feel like he starts it so it can get him more in the competition. You see down the stretch what he was doing.”
Butler’s head coach Erik Spoelstra likes his competitive fire.
“Look, I love that gnarly version of Jimmy, but you get that regardless,” Spoelstra said. “I just think people now are paying a lot more attention to him now that we’ve won some games in the postseason the last few years. Jimmy is just a real competitor.”
The Heat have the advantage at this point, but they may have to be even better in Games 3 and 4 to beat the Celtics. Game 3 is going to be huge. History says if Miami wins Game 3, they win the series because no team has come back from a 3-0 deficit, so expect Boston to have a great effort on Sunday night.
Philadelphia 76ers have signed center Dewayne Dedmon for the rest of the season, the team announced on Tuesday.
Dedmon, 33, was recently waived by the Spurs after being traded by the Heat to San Antonio in early February. This season, Dedmon, who spent three-plus seasons in Miami, averaged 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 30 games with the Miami Heat.
Dedmon is not unfamiliar with Philadelphia, as he played in 11 games during the 2013-14 season. The 10-year veteran had the most success as a pro with the Hawks(2017-19). During his time in Atlanta, he averaged 10.2 points while starting in 106 of 136 games played.
Philadelphia could use more size, and the 7-foot Dedmon gives them that. It should be interesting to see what role he’ll have with the 76ers, as they currently have Paul Reed and Montrezl Harrell as the primary backups to Joel Embiid.
The Cavs(31-22) continued their three-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Miami Heat(29-23).
This was a back-and-forth affair, but the Cavs would fall 100-97 after Donovan Mitchell missed a three at the buzzer.
Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Heat.
Evan Mobley led the Cavs with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. He had a team-best +16 rating.
Jarrett Allen recorded another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Not So Great:
Backcourt: Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland had 16 points apiece. They were a combined 13/30 from the field and 5/20 from deep(Mitchell 3/13 3-PT FG, Garland 2/7 3-PT FG). The Cavs, on average, get 49.4 points per game from Mitchell and Garland, but against the Heat, the two combined for 32 points.
Free Throw Line: Cleveland was 6/12(50%) from the charity stripe on Tuesday.
Final 3:28 of Regulation: After an Isaac Okoro three tied things up at 92, the Cavs would make one field goal the rest of the way. Miami went on a 6-1 run over the next two minutes, and ultimately, they held on to get the win.
You have to close out games, and right now, the Cavs need to do that at a consistent enough level. Two of their last three losses(Heat and Knicks) have come down to the final possession.
The expectations are high in Cleveland, but this team is not a finished product. The Cavs have a young basketball team who are learning how to win, which takes time.
Cleveland, who has not won two straight since early early January, was not expected to win an NBA title this season. Still a lot of basketball left, but this team has to be a little more consistent.
The Cavs host the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.
Best of the Rest:
-Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 23 points. Caleb Martin, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro each had 18 points. Adebayo added 11 rebounds, and Martin had a career-high 10 rebounds.
-Caris LeVert had 14 points off the bench for Cleveland.
-Kevin Love(back) missed his fourth game straight game.
-Mitchell led the Cavs with four steals
Over the last three games, the Dallas Mavericks had no issues scoring(121.3 ppg), but they were not stopping teams from scoring(135.3 ppg), and because of their poor play on defense, the Mavs have lost three straight.
On Friday, they were hoping to get back to playing big-time defense, and on Friday night, they did that.
Dallas(25-22) led the visiting Miami Heat(25-22) pretty much from start to finish as they defeated the Heat 115-90.
Mavs head coach Jason Kidd, who was visibly upset about the team’s defensive performance in their loss to the Hawks on Wednesday night, liked the effort the team played with on Friday night.
“I thought they played for 48 minutes,” Kidd said. “I thought even the group that was in at the end played with energy and effort. I think there was clarity of what we’ve asked them to do in this game plan, and they responded. It wasn’t me calling them out or saying we had a walk-through or shoot-around during the game against Atlanta. You could see they were flying around. Now we’ve got to hold them to that standard.”
After the three quarters, the Mavs held the Heat to 67 points on 44% shooting from the field, including 3/15 from three-point range, and Dallas took a 25-point lead into the fourth.
Without Christian Wood(fractured thumb), Dallas went with a smaller lineup, which was effective for the Mavs on both ends of the court. Reggie Bullock, who had 15 points on 5-6 shooting from three-point range, said the work on the defensive end was a collective effort.
“It was just a team effort,” Bullock said. “Obviously, [the lineup] was a lot smaller tonight; people were flying around, giving multiple efforts, trying to take away 3s from them. But it was just the effort that guys put in, the five that Coach [Jason Kidd] put out there.”
-Luka Doncic had a game-high 34 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. Doncic is averaging a league-best 33.7 points per game, slightly ahead of Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (33.6 ppg).
-Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 19 points, third rebounds, and two assists. Over his last four games, Dinwiddie is averaging 23.0 points and 5.8 assists per game.
After falling in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at home, the Boston Celtics knew they would have to come up big if they wanted to defeat the Miami Heat in Game 7 Sunday night.
Boston never trailed in Game 7 as Jayson Tatum had 26 points and 10 rebounds; Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown added 24 points apiece as the Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals to face the Golden State Warriors after defeating the Heat 100-96 at FTX Arena.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is Thursday night at Chase Center.
With the win, Boston returns to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
“It’s the biggest game of the season, of my career, and I just had faith that we were going to give it all we had, regardless of the outcome,” Tatum, who was named Eastern Conference finals MVP, said after the win. “But it feels great, honestly. Some of those guys been to the Eastern Conference Finals four times; it’s my third time. Obviously, we know we want to win a championship, right, but to get over this hump in the fashion that we did it, obviously, we took the toughest route possible, and then to win a Game 7 to go to a championship on the road is special.”
Boston had its largest lead of 17 points in the second quarter and led 98-85 with 3:35 left in the fourth. However, Miami went on a furious 11-0 run to cut the lead to 98-96 with just under 20 second to go with the ball in the hands of their best player, Jimmy Butler, who scored a game-high 35 points and had Al Horford on his heels.
However, Butler pulled up for three, which was short, and Smart hit two free throws to seal the game. Butler appeared to have had the advantage and probably could have gotten a layup or fouled, but he went for the win, which he was comfortable with after the game.
“My thought process was go for the win, which I did,” he said. “Missed a shot. But I’m taking that shot. My teammates liked the shot that I took. So I’m living with it.”
According Horford, who will be making his first NBA Finals appearance after 141 career playoff games, the most in league history, Butler’s shot was nerve-racking.
“Yeah, I was loaded,” he said. “I didn’t know what he was going to do. It seemed like he was going to go for the shot, but I had to make sure that I stayed solid and when he pulled up for the three, I was like, let me contest the best way that I can. He got a good look at it, and it was nerve-racking. It was nerve-racking. He pulled up, and anything could have happened there. He could have made the shot and fortunately contested it enough, and he missed it, and we were able to get control of the ball.”
Boston’s Brown had this reaction to Butler’s shot: “I didn’t want to give up an offensive rebound, but when he shot that, I was like, man, what the hell. But he missed, we get the rebound, we move on.”
The Celtics made a lot of changes last offseason. Their former head coach Brad Stevens replaced Danny Ainge in the front office, and they hired Ime Udoka as head coach.
It wasn’t all pretty for Boston as they got off to a slow start this season, and at one point were 18-21 on January 6, but through it all, they battled, fought, and now they’re in the NBA Finals.
For Udoka, who became the first rookie head coach to win multiple Game 7s in NBA history, this win epitomized Boston’s season.
“It’s been a long road obviously throughout the season,” Udoka said. “Feels like it was always meant to be this way, difficult, obviously, two Game 7s in the last two series, and shows what I said about our group, that we fought through a lot of adversity this year, a resilient group, and tonight seemed to kind of typify our season.”
The Celtics split the season series with the Warriors, but that means nothing. Both teams are playing well, and both teams have found ways to get the job done. The Warriors have the experience as no player on Boston’s roster has played in an NBA Finals’ game, but Boston has defied the odds all season long, and we’ll see if that continues in the Finals.
Jimmy Butler has been one of the best players in the 2022 NBA playoffs, and on Friday night, with their backs against the wall, the Miami Heat needed him to be at his best.
Well, he delivered.
Butler scored a playoff-career-high 47 points as the Heat avoided elimination and defeated the Celtics 111-1o3 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at TD Garden.
The seventh and deciding game is Sunday night in Miami. The winner will battle the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Butler, who recorded his fourth 40-plus point game in these playoffs, got a special call from Heat legend Dwyane Wade before the game, which according to Butler, was well needed.
“D-Wade never hits me until his voice is really, really needed,” Butler said. “And it was. I texted him and told him I appreciate him for it. Just to let me go out there, continue to build on that legacy, and make sure that we win.”
“It’s (expletive) incredible,” Kyle Lowry, who had 18 points and 10 assists, said about Butler’s performance. “He’s such a humble basketball player. The work he does put in, I witness it. It’s incredible to have a guy like him next to me. I’ve played with some great players, and he’s one of the best players I’ve played with.”
This performance by Butler was very similar to LeBron James’ big Game 6 performance against the Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, where the Heat trailed 3-2. In that game, James had 45 points and 15 rebounds, and Miami defeated the Celtics in Boston. That was a great performance, and what Butler did Friday night was equally special.
Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, who had 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists, was impressed by Butler’s performance, but he feels Boston will do a better job against Butler in Game 7.
“He just had it rolling. Made a lot of shots that on film we’ll live with,” Brown said. “Made four threes; I don’t think he’s made four threes in a game all Playoffs, but tonight he came out, and he was aggressive. He played like his back was on the wall, and he had an amazing game, and we just had no answers for him tonight. We’ve got to do a better job — we will do a better job on Sunday.”
Now, it’s onto Game 7, and no one knows what will happen. Boston has won in Miami twice in this series, so they definitely have a shot.
Who wins Game 7 is anyone’s guess.
In the Game 1 of their Eastern Conference finals series against the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics jumped out early on the Heat and led by as many as 13 in the first half, and had a 62-54 lead at halftime.
However, Miami would explode in the third quarter and cruised from there to win Game 1.
In Game 2, Boston jumped out early on Miami, and this time, they kept the lead for good.
The Celtics led by as many as 29 points in the first half and had their largest lead of 34 points in the third as they routed the Head 127-102 Thursday night at FTX Arena to tie series at 1.
Game 3 is Saturday night in Boston.
Also, in Game 2, Boston got back two starters who missed Game 1 in Marcus Smart(foot) and Al Horford(health & safety protocols).
Smart had a near triple-double with 24 points(8/22 FG), nine rebounds, and 12 assists, and Al Horford added 10 points.
According to StatMuse, the Celtics are 4-0 when Marcus Smart scores 20-plus points these playoffs, and they are 6-0 when he takes 12-plus shots.
“We just wanted to come in and be the harder-playing team tonight, and we did that,” Smart said after the win.
According to Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, Smart, who is the Defensive Player of the Year, always sets the tone, and he set the tone Thursday night.
“Yeah, as always, he sets the tone,” Udoka said about Smart. “Defensive Player of the Year for a reason. Ability to switch and switch on to bigger bodies and just another good defender to throw at Butler, Adebayo, some of those guys and not have to worry about them trying to pick on certain matchups. So he brings the physicality every night, kind of gets everybody else in line, and adding Al back there, as well, is another versatile guy. Wasn’t surprising to see how well we guarded with our guys back.”
Jayson Tatum, who led the Celtics with 27 points, was happy with the team’s response in Game 2.
“I think we just had a better presence about ourselves,” Tatum said. “They kicked our butt last night, and we just wanted to respond and play better on both ends of the floor, and I think we did that.”
The Celtics got the response they needed in Game 2, and more importantly, they stole home-court advantage. Now, as they return to Boston, the Celtics have the momentum on their side, and they’re hoping to take that momentum into Game 3.
Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro has been named the 2021-22 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, the NBA announced today.
Herro, the first Heat player to win the award, received 488 total points (96 first-place votes) from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love finished in second place with 214 points (three first-place votes). Phoenix Suns forward Cam Johnson finished in third place with 128 points (one first-place vote).
In his third NBA season, the 22-year-old Herro averaged 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 32.6 minutes in 66 games (10 starts). His scoring average of 20.8 points as a reserve was the highest in the NBA. Herro’s eight 30-point games off the bench were tied for the third-most since the 1970-71 season, and his 20 25-point games were tied for the fourth-most.
Setting a single-season franchise record with 1,162 points off the bench, Herro helped the Heat finish top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Miami is currently facing the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with Game 2 to be played on Wednesday.
The voting results for the 2021-22 Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award are below: