The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

April 17, 2014

Let the (real) games begin: It's NBA playoff time

MIAMI — Finally, the NBA playoffs are set.

It took the entire season to fill out those brackets.

Overtime thrillers in Memphis and Charlotte, a go-ahead dunk in Oklahoma City to win a game and cap another scoring title for Kevin Durant, plus some good old-fashioned disinterest by Brooklyn ... all that, and more, on the final night of the season was needed before the eight conference-quarterfinal matchups in this season's NBA playoffs could be decided.

In the Western Conference, San Antonio — the league's best team this season, and a club that had the NBA title slip from its fingers a year ago — opens with Dallas. Oklahoma City gets Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers face Golden State and Houston squares off with Portland. In the East, it's Indiana against Atlanta, Miami against Charlotte, Toronto facing Brooklyn and Chicago meeting Washington.

And for the third straight year, it's the same question entering the playoffs: Can anyone beat the Heat?

By late June, we'll have an answer.

"Now it's time," Houston's Chandler Parsons said, "for the real fun."

If what's occurred in the season's first 170 nights wasn't the real fun, then these playoffs could be epic.

More points were scored in the NBA than ever before this year, more 3-pointers were both shot and made in league history, the Spurs won 62 games — including 19 straight — and Durant scored at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games, a stretch of offensive brilliance that spanned exactly half of the season. Durant wound up winning his fourth scoring crown, making him the overwhelming favorite to deny LeBron James a third straight MVP award.

James has taken the high road, lauding Durant's season and saying he would be a worthy MVP.

Really, though, it's obvious that the trophy James is most concerned with is the one that'll be handed out at season's end. The Heat won the last two championships of David Stern's era as commissioner, and would enjoy nothing more than being the first team to accept the Larry O'Brien Trophy from new Commissioner Adam Silver.

Text Only
Sports
  • 7-22-14 15 or 17-Airborne tag A rally fit for Kings (with VIDEO)

    ELDRIDGE — It would have been easy for Clinton sophomore Nick Houzenga to be discouraged as he took the mound in the bottom of the first inning of the River Kings’ Class 4A substate semifinal against North Scott.After all, the Lancers had already bui

    July 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-22-14 Photo, Bowlsby Big 12 Commissioner issues warning about future DALLAS — Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby had a dire warning Monday for anyone who likes intercollegiate athletics the way they are now.“You’re going to hate it going forward,” Bowlsby said. “There’s a lot of change coming.”During his opening address

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Trio of Queens earn honors ELDRIDGE -- Three members of the Clinton High softball team were named to the All-Mississippi Athletic Conference honorable mention squad Monday.Junior Cara Brewer and sophomores Sydney Davis and Jenna Stremlow received the honors.Brewer, a catcher-t

    July 22, 2014

  • Assumption spoils Sabers' strong start MAQUOKETA—Things fell apart quickly for the Central DeWitt Sabers on Monday night, as they fell 5-4 to the Davenport Assumption Knights in the Iowa Class 3A District 7 baseball final, ending their 2014 season.The Sabers (21-19-1) had complete control

    July 22, 2014

  • Win completes 4-2 road trip for LumberKings LANSING, Mich. – One day after a walk-off home run spoiled an opportunity for a series win, the Clinton LumberKings responded with a 2-1 series-clinching victory over the host Lansing Lugnuts in a Monday Midwest League baseball matinee at Cooley Law

    July 22, 2014

  • Sale pitches White Sox past Royals CHICAGO — About the only pitch that Chris Sale wouldn’t make Monday night was his case for the American League’s Cy Young Award.Then again, if he keeps pitching like he has so far this season, he won’t have to say much.Sale pitched seven effective in

    July 22, 2014

  • 7-21-14 9-Photo, Cubs Rizzo's big catch backfires PHOENIX — Things are going so badly for the Chicago Cubs, even a spectacular play backfires.First baseman Anthony Rizzo tumbled over a railing and into a camera well to make a catch, but a rule allowed the go-ahead run to score from third and the Cub

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-21-14 8-Photo, Cordova burnout Nitro Jam delivers thrills CORDOVA, Ill. -- Another beautiful night in Illinois gave way to a massive turnout to watch the final rounds of professional drag racing in the IHRA Nitro Jam Summer Nationals on Saturday night at Cordova Dragway Park.The event, returning to Cordova

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-21-14 10-Photo, British Open McIlroy wire-to-wire at British HOYLAKE, England — Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.In the record book, he is listed behin

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-21-14 8-Photo, Marquette softball Last year motivates Marquette WILTON -- Marquette Catholic barely missed making a second consecutive trip to the Iowa softball state tournament a year ago. But, the 3-2 regional final loss to Gilbertville Don Bosco that prevented the return trip is a key reason the Mohawks are he

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

High School Sports