Posted Mar 4 2013 9:30AM
Two words could best sum up this season: The Decision.
LeBron James shocked people everywhere (and in Cleveland in particular) by leaving the familiar confines of Ohio to ink a multi-year with the Miami Heat. Teamed with incumbent Dwyane Wade and fellow All-Star forward Chris Bosh, the Heat quickly became one of the most scrutinized and reviled teams ever. Miami started out slowly, going 9-8 in its first 17 games and gaining few sympathizers. But they shook it off to finish with a 58-24 record and a number two seed in the East.
Number one seed? The Chicago Bulls, who finished with their best record since Michael Jordan graced the United Center. They were led by third-year (and MVP) guard Derrick Rose. Meanwhile on the other end of the country, the Los Angeles Lakers were chasing history with its pursuit of another championship.
However the Dallas Mavericks stole the show, dispatching the Lakers in a dominating second-round sweep en route to a NBA Finals appearance. Their opponent was the aforementioned Heat, who gained fire and tore through the playoffs. Favored to win it all, Miami couldn't withstand the veteran savvy and clutch play of future Hall of Famers Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. In the end, it was Nowitzki who exorcised his famed postseason demons to win the Larry O'Brien trophy, leaving many to wonder if LeBron will ever acheive the ultimate goal of getting a ring.
Eastern Conference first round
Atlanta defeated Orlando (4-2)
Boston defeated New York (4-0)
Chicago defeated Indiana (4-1)
Miami defeated Philadelphia (4-1)
Western Conference first round
Dallas defeated Portland (4-2)
L.A. Lakers defeated New Orleans (4-2)
Memphis defeated San Antonio (4-2)
Oklahoma City defeated Denver (4-1)
Eastern Conference semifinals
Chicago defeated Atlanta (4-2)
Miami defeated Boston (4-1)
Western Conference semifinals
Dallas defeated L.A. Lakers (4-0)
Oklahoma City defeated Memphis (4-3)
Eastern Conference finals
Miami defeated Chicago (4-1)
Western Conference finals
Dallas defeated Oklahoma City (4-1)
Dallas defeated Miami (4-2)
PPG -- Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder (27.7)
FG% -- Nene Hilario, Denver Nuggets (.615)
FT% -- Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (.934)
3PT% -- Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs (.457)
Assists -- Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns (11.4)
Rebounds -- Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves (15.2)
Steals -- Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets (2.4)
Blocks -- Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks (2.6)
Most Valuable Player -- Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Rookie of the Year -- Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers
Defensive Player of the Year -- Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Most Improved Player -- Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Sixth Man of the Year -- Lamar Odom, L.A. Lakers
Coach of the Year -- Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
All-Star Game MVP -- Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
Finals MVP -- Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
LeBron James drives to the basket for the huge dunk over Jimmy Butler.
Mike Dunleavy finds an open lane and throws down the dunk.
|Big Time Hustle|
Kyrie Irving gets the steal and a great assist to LeBron James, who cleans up.
Kyrie Irving shakes Derrick Rose and gets by Joakim Noah for the layup.
|Love Looks On|
Kevin Love joins his teammates on the bench during the first half of Game 2.