There are many ways to take an adult basketball player going to a high school prom, but I think in this context, it was a very cool thing of Miami guard Dwyane Wade to do. This girl had asked Wade to go to her prom as her date in a Youtube video, obviously not expecting anything to come of it. He proceeded to actually call her, but say that he regrettably could not attend the event. She still was happy he even called her, but then Wade walked through the front door, shocking everyone at the prom.
Celebrities rarely interact with fans, and understandably so, but Wade went above and beyond here. His team is in the playoffs still and he really did sacrifice valuable time to give this fan a story she will tell for the rest of her life. I think it is awesome and I commend Dwyane Wade for doing it, the same way I commend J.J. Watt for a similar event where he visited a young fan who wanted to “marry him.”
The Knicks are on the edge of elimination and while it is tough to predict the winner of a game, trends and statistics can be used to guess. Obviously there are things on the Pacers’ side that affect the game like George Hill’s absence among other things. I will be focusing on the Knicks.
The Knicks have started Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler, and Raymond Felton in every game during the series against the Pacers and alternated the fifth starter. I have calculated the points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, and shot attempts for all four starters.
Here are some things that need to happen if the Knicks are going to win.
Can New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony lead his team over the Pacers despite being down 3-2 in the series? (Photo by: Danny Wild/ USA TODAY Sports)
Carmelo Anthony needs to shoot more.
In the Knicks’ wins, Carmelo Anthony shot 27 attempts per game, but in the losses, Anthony shot 22.3 attempts per game. His field goal efficiency also drops from 47 percent in the wins to 38 percent in the losses. This could be attributed to the Pacers playing better defense in the wins, of course, but it also could point to Melo needing to get “warmed up,” as many players do. In those four shots that Anthony didn’t take, the Knicks are losing a maximum of 12 points and that’s without even counting possible free throws from fouls. The Knicks are simply better when Melo shoots more.
Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton just have to keep doing what they do.
Strangely enough, Tyson Chandler has had worse numbers in the Knicks’ wins. He averaged 3.3 more points and almost 2 more blocks in the losses. The rest of his stats were almost identical in both the wins and losses. Raymond Felton had slight drops in rebounds per game and field goal percentage between the wins and losses. Again, the rest of the stats were nearly identical in both wins and losses. As long as Chandler and Felton stay consistent with how they have been playing over the series, they won’t negatively impact their team.
Iman Shumpert might be the biggest factor in the Knicks’ losses
In the losses, Iman Shumpert’s stats dropped by almost 4 points, a rebound and an assist. Also, despite shooting the same amount of attempts in both wins and losses, his field goal accuracy dropped from 42 percent to 22 percent. Shumpert’s play is one of the biggest factors in the Knicks’ losses and he will have to play at a higher level.
Andre Iguodala was a force to be reckoned with as he helped the Denver Nuggets fight off elimination in a 107-100 win over the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)
Maybe the stat line alone doesn’t blow you away (it should), but there was more to the eye when it came to Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala’s performance in the 107-100 Game 5 win. Iguodala compiled this near triple-double while only turning the ball over twice. Better yet, the game was decided by seven points, but the Nuggets outscored the Warriors by 17 points when he was on the floor. He also shot 59 percent from the floor, 64 percent from within the arc (7-of-11). I hope you follow me now. The Nuggets will need more of this from Iguodala, mixed in with great efforts from Kenneth Faried and others on the team, to win the next two games in a row and stave off elimination.
Normally Thunder forward Kevin Durant is on the giving end of posterizing dunks, but the roles were reversed in Game 4 when the Oklahoma City Thunder played the Houston Rockets. Rockets forward/guard Carlos Delfino stole the ball and ran for a fastbreak dunk. As he jumped, Durant jumped to meet him and ended up getting dunked on, an action which sent the Houston fans into an uproar. The Rockets ended up winning 105-103.
Miami and San Antonio are already through the first round, leaving the rest of the league to sort itself out. One of the other teams also was in position for a first-round sweep, but wasn’t able to close it out. Regardless, a player on that team was more than deserving of today’s award.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
38 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 steal
Thunder forward Kevin Durant is doing all he can to keep the Oklahoma City competitive without point guard Russell Westbrook. (Photo by: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Westbrook’s injury has not only forced Durant into a bigger role for the Thunnder, but has also put a giant bulls-eye on the team’s back. The Thunder are beatable without Westbrook’s 23.2 points, 7.4 assists, and 5.2 rebounds every game. It falls on the rest of the team, mostly Durant, to plug that hole and he has been mostly up to the challenge. Although the Thunder fell short against the Rockets in Game 4, the 105-103 loss can hardly be pinned on Durant. “The Durantula” made 75 percent of his shots and nearly scored as many points as minutes played. KD keeps getting better and since the last three games have been decided by a combined eight points, Durant cannot miss a beat. This series can go a number of directions, but one thing is certain: Durant will be the best player on the court.
The best players step up at the most important times for their teams. The Miami Heat had never swept a playoff opponent in the “Big Three Era,” and this player made sure that would change against the Milwaukee Bucks, even though superstar Dwyane Wade was injured.
LeBron James was unstoppable in the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by: Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports)
LeBron James has been the picture of efficiency this season and that was no different in a 88-77 Game 4 win against the Bucks. James shot 13 of 20 and the Heat were +16 with him on the court. With Wade and his 21.2 points per game on the bench, the team needed more. James was happy to deliver and nearly tallied a triple-double, while helping the Heat defense hold the Bucks to their lowest point total they’ve scored in all 86 games they have played in this year. Golden State’s Stephen Curry and New York’s Carmelo Anthony deserve big nods for their individual performances as well.