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#1 Posted by Dogcat250 9 months 1 week ago
Dogcat250
1550 Forum posts
The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are no strangers to the NBA Finals. The Heat are returning to the championship for a fourth consecutive year while the Spurs are making their sixth trip since 1999, including last years matchup with the Heat. Both clubs are filled with All-Stars and future Hall of Famers. With so much talent and experience on the court, picking a winner isnt an easy thing to do. The question is, which player in the NBA Finals is most important to their teams success? Who needs to be on top of their game for their team to have a shot at the Larry OBrien Trophy? Lets start off with the Miami Heat. The obvious choice is LeBron James. The player widely regarded as the best in the world is a game-changer in every sense of the word. Hes taken home the Finals MVP the past two championship seasons for the Heat and is in the prime of his career. In Game 7 against the Spurs last year, James racked up 37 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Not a bad performance for the biggest stage an NBA player could ever play on. If James is on his game, or close to it, are the Heat a lock to capture their third consecutive championship? Dwyane Wade played the 2013 Finals with a bad left knee and was still able to contribute to the teams success. Now in 2014, the 32-year-old has a clean bill of health (for his standards) and is ready to compete for his fourth title in a Miami uniform. Wade is averaging 18.7 points and close to 20 minutes of play per game throughout these playoffs. The knee doesnt seem to be an issue. Wades leadership and secondary scoring behind James may be integral to Miamis chances. The third wheel when it comes to the Miami Heat is Chris Bosh. The 30-year-old Dallas native doesnt seem to get the same respect as his fellow Heat All-Stars. But, the reality is, Bosh is a good player. The Heat probably wouldnt have been as dominant as theyve been over the past few seasons if Bosh had stayed with the Toronto Raptors. Does Bosh need to continue being effective for the Heat to be at the top of their game as a group? The Spurs have their share of talented players as well. The ageless Tim Duncan will be vying for his fifth championship with San Antonio. Even as a 38-year-old in his 17th season in the NBA, Duncan hasnt missed a step in these playoffs, averaging close to a double-double. Will Duncans leadership and flawless fundamentals on the court be the difference-maker in a Spurs series victory? Last year it was Wade hobbled with an injury in the Finals, now its Spurs point guard Tony Parker stricken with the bug. Parker is dealing with a lingering left ankle problem that forced him to miss the second half of Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Finals. Hes expected to play in Game 1. Even with the wonky ankle, the 32-year-old is leading the team in points (17.2) and assists (5.7) this post-season. If Parker can stay healthy enough to contribute on the court, San Antonio might be able to figure out Miami. Manu Ginobili is arguably the most reliable bench player in the Association and is a major key to the Spurs success. If San Antonio is going to beat Miami, will Ginobili be a major reason why? And then there is Gregg Popovich. The four-time NBA champion and three-time Coach of the Year (including this season) knows the game like the back of his hand. Will his fiery intensity be enough to help dethrone the Heat? So there you have it, the main characters of the 2014 NBA Finals. It was a great seven-game series last June and theres no reason the same wont happen this time around. With these teams being so evenly matched, its hard to predict a winner and one player could be the difference. So, which player is most important to their team winning the Larry OBrien Trophy? As always, its Your! Call. 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BARCELONA, Spain -- Diego Costa sparked Atletico Madrids exhilarating 2-1 comeback at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, while Lionel Messi converted a late penalty to keep Barcelona one point behind the Spanish league leaders with a contentious 1-0 win at Espanyol. Cristiano Ronaldo scored as well before Gareth Bale netted a brace as Real Madrid routed Rayo Vallecano 5-0 at home, breaking a rare two-game losing streak and keeping their team within three points of the pacesetters. A tireless Diego Costa cancelled out Iker Muniains opener before Koke "Jorge" Resurreccion followed with a 55th-minute header to keep Atletico on course in its search for its first league title since 1996. Messi made sure Barcelona stayed right behind Atletico with seven games left by slotting in a spot kick in the 77th when Espanyol defender Javi Lopez handled in the area. Ronaldo leads the league with 28 goals through 31 games. Diego Costa is next with 25, trailed by Messi with 23. Barcelona hosts Atletico on Tuesday in the Champions League quarterfinals, a preview of their meeting in the last round of the Spanish league season. Diego Costa was a nightmare for Bilbaos defence, and could have had at least one more goal given the number of opportunities he fought hard to create. He did help leave Bilbao with 10 men by earning a second yellow card for Aymeric Laporte in the 86th. "Diego Costa is huge for us," said Koke. "We have seen that from the start of the season and I only hope he keeps it up. We knew that we were visiting a tough ground and the game was like we expected. Diego (Costa) had space to roam and we found him. Then we turned it around." Muniain took advantage of a rare defensive lapse by Atletico to hit six minutes in when he chased down a pass touched on by Aritz Aduriz and used one touch to lob the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Atleticos answer came in the 22nd when Koke intercepted Ander Iturraspes ill-advised pass and left Diego Costa alone to beat goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz. After Diego Costa almost struck again seconds after the restart, Koke pplayed Filipe Luis wide and ran forward to nod his returned cross into the net to momentarily silence the raucous San Mames crowd.dddddddddddd Diego Simeones side still needed Courtois one-handed stretch to swat away Adurizs header with 10 minutes to play. Simeone called his teams game the "best of the season." "We are aware of the great match we played," said Simone. "We went straight at recovering the ball and exploiting the space up front for Diego (Costa). We didnt waste time despite falling behind. We always knew how we wanted to play." Bilbao was left in fourth place and in control of the last Champions League spot with a six-point advantage over Sevilla after it lost 1-0 at Celta Vigo from Manuel "Nolito" Agudos 87th-minute penalty. Espanyols physical style kept Messi and the crosstown visitors in check until Lopez was whistled, allowing Messi to score the spot kick for his eighth goal in his last four games and save Barcelona from a costly draw. Barcelona was fortunate, however, that the referee did not see the ball hit Lopez after Dani Alves cross first ricocheted off Neymars arm, as television replays appeared to show. "Derbies are always tough, and this was a tense game with lots of interruptions, fouls and controversy," Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said. "Three weeks ago we were in a difficult situation. Now we are in a privileged one and control our fate. I hope it stays like that until the last game against Atletico." Espanyol played the last seven minutes and injury time with 10 men after goalkeeper Kiko Casilla used his hands outside the box. Lopez had to take over goalkeeping duties with Espanyols three substitutes already made and played admirably, making two saves. Ronaldo and Bale were the main attractions in an otherwise dreary, rainy, and lopsided match at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo opened from Bales pass in the 15th before setting up Dani Carvajal in the 55th. Bale scored twice on the break in the 68th and 70th. Substitute Alvaro Morata curled in Madrids fifth in the 78th. Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Cheap NBA Jerseys Wholesale NHL Jerseys Wholesale MLB Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Wholesale NCAA Jerseys Wholesale Football Jerseys Wholesale Basketball Jerseys [url=h
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