Tags: "It All Hurts So Good", 2012 NBA Finals, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Mike Miller, Mitchell, NBA Finals, NBA title, South Dakota
Game Five should be renamed, “The Mike Miller Show,” or at least if you’re from South Dakota. The former Mitchell, South Dakota native saved his best effort for last.
Miller said after the game, “I’m just glad they didn’t take me out back to the barn and put me down.” He has dealt with injuries (a bad back, bad knees, and a sports hernia), and talked retirement. Well, this would be the best way to go out. He just played his best game of his life with an NBA championship on the line. Now, he is an NBA champion.
Miller played 23 minutes in Game Five, whereas he only played a total of 21 minutes in the first four NBA Finals games. Miller made seven three-pointers in Game Five (1 short of Ray Alllen’s NBA Finals record of eight), and finished with 23 points off the bench for the Miami Heat. He went seven of eight from beyond the arc. In fact, he actually hit his first three point field goal in Game Five.
Here are all seven of Miller’s three pointers during Game Five:
In the first four games, Miller scored eight points, didn’t make a three and made just two field goals.
Miller’s three pointer in the third quarter that put the Heat up 88 to 63 might have been the biggest or when he knocked back to back threes at the start of the fourth quarter to take a 101 to 74 lead. He also got some huge rebounds, and dove for balls out of bounds. He wanted that championship. His put aside his pain for greatness.
Miller, is a former two-time South Dakota state basketball champion at Mitchell High School, played in an NCAA championship for Florida, played in two NBA Finals (one won and lost one), won a NBA rookie of the year and an NBA sixth man award. He is NBA journeyman as he has played for Orlando, Memphis, Minnesota, Washington, and now, Miami.
Miller once averaged 18 points a game during a season for Memphis, but has seen his time in Miami in become ravaged by injuries. In two years in Miami, he played 80 out of 148 games, and saw his shooting percentage take a dip. However, with an NBA championship on the court, he wanted to be part of every second of what would be his first championship.
Miller fought. I think that is what will be best remembered for the kid once nicknamed “Skinny.” I remember when he picked up his second foul of Game 5, I remember him seeing Coach Erik Spoelstra signal for Norris Cole, but Miller said, I want to stay in this game. He did. He would pick up his fourth foul of the game in the second quarter, but showed he wanted to grind it out.
I can only imagine his teammates have the greatest respect for him. Juwan Howard helped him get up when he got down, and he got ovations from the crowd when he came out. He has been through it all. He made the playoffs in Memphis, lost early, endured losing season in Minnesota, and Orlando, been to championships and lost, but now, the greatest feeling in the world, he is a World Champion. He has that coveted ring.
In fact, it is even sweeter because today is daughter, Jaelyn turns one after recovering from having surgery to remove four holes in her heart. (Check out Gregg Doyel’s article on Miller, worth the read: (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/story/19400661/if-this-is-it-for-ultratough-miller-what-a-way-to-go)
Will he call it quits on top, or will he come back for more? Either way, another chapter of the legend of Mike Miller grew on Thursday night.
In the end, Mike Miller can say, “It all hurts so good!”
Tags: Heat vs. Thunder, Kevin Durant, Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James, LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Finals 2012, Oklahoma City Thunder
It’s the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Miami Heat for all the marbles. A world championship is on the line. The NBA couldn’t have dreamt up a more sexy match-up for the finals.
LeBron James is 27 years old. He a three time NBA regular season MVP. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant is 23 years old. He is a three time scoring champion.
Two of the NBA’s bright young stars are on the big stage and have a chance to win their first rings to help cement their legacies in NBA history.
For the Miami Heat, it is their second trip to the Finals in as many seasons after the Big Three came to South Beach and promised not one, two, but as many as eight championships. (I don’t think LeBron was thinking of Eastern Conference championships, either. He has two with the Heat, and one with the Cavs.)
Miami got up 2 to 0 on Boston, then fell behind 3 to 2 before winning the next two games to advance to the NBA Finals. Not to mention, it was all behind the King or Chosen One, LeBron James. James played with that look in his eyes. That look of a champion.
If you like James or am a hater, either way, you had to be impressed by his historic game 6 performance where he had 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. His game 7 wasn’t too shabby either. He has silenced his critics for now. However, were are on the big stage now, the NBA Finals. Last year, LeBron couldn’t finish, he would play well for three quarters and disappear. It was like a magician’s act. Is this his time?
You can’t give James all the credit either. Before Game 6, people were questioning James, Erik Spoelstra, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat. Is James capable of bringing the Heat back? What if they lose to the Celtics, is Spoelstra done? What’s wrong with Wade? Will Chris Bosh play again?
All of those questions got answered. James had two big games to finish the aging Celtics. I have to think his three pointer in Game 7, which felt like it was from half court, was the momentum killer. Don’t forget Bosh’s huge defense and three pointers in Game 7 either or Shane Battier’s performance.
So, can the Heat win a ring now?
Out in the wild west, as Garth Brooks once sang, the Oklahoma City Thunder are rolling. They are formerly the Seattle SuperSonics, and are led by Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. In fact, Westbrook and Harden are 23 and 22 years old. So, could this be the start of a dynasty in Oklahoma City? Don’t forget role players like Serge Ibaka (I-block-a), Kendrick Perkins, Derek Fisher (he wants to one up Kobe Bryant and get his sixth ring).
For the Thunder, I am most intrigued by is the job that head coach Scott Brooks is doing. His team was down 2 to 0 to the San Antonio Spurs. They had won twenty games in a row. They’ve won championships. Yet, defying odds, the Thunder hand the Spurs four consecutive losses. The Thunder got nasty on the Spurs. Now, can they get nasty again on the Miami Heat?
All I can say is that this NBA Finals is going to be a heck of a series. Television ratings will skyrocket. Having two of the game’s best young stars in the Finals will make people excited about the NBA again. I know I will be in front the television screen every time these teams square off for the NBA finals!
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The Colts say he is the pick, so we will take their word. Clearly, the Colts are ready to move on after Peyton Manning.
2. Washington Redskins:Robert Griffin, III, QB, Baylor
Griffin is the reason they traded up with the Rams. Griffin isn’t your typical mobile quarterback; he threw for over 4,000 yards last season and is accurate, as he completed over 70 percent of his passes.
3. Minnesota Vikings: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
I had Matt Kalil here last night, but just believe Rick Spielman loves Claiborne. In a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matt Stafford, and then receivers Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall, you need a great cornerback.
Take Claiborne and get a wide receiver or offensive tackle in the second and third rounds.
The Vikings could also trade down and take Kalil to get more picks, as they have a lot of needs.
Adam Schefter has reported today that they are willing to make a trade first—if they cannot, they will make a pick.
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Mike Mayock and Mel Kiper put Blackmon here in their latest mocks. Colt McCoyneeds a playmaking wide receiver to develop confidence.
I realize the Browns have Montario Hardesty, Chris Ogbonnaya and Brandon Jackson, but you can get a sleeper later. Last year they missed on Julio Jones—they won’t want to miss again with a big playmaker.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
They wanted Claiborne, and will have to settle for Richardson. They can develop a two-back tandem in Tampa.
6. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Rams need a weapon for Sam Bradford, but miss on Blackmon—don’t worry, the wide receiver class is deep, with guys like Rueben Randle or Mohammed Sanu in the second round.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
Ingram is 6’2″, 264 pounds, and is great against the pass, though he might need some work against the run. Against Auburn last season, he had 11 tackles, 4.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. Against Georgia, he showed great handling, returning a fumble for a touchdown, and versatility, running back a fake punt for a touchdown.
Could be used on inside and outside.
Could also trade the pick.
8. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Tannehill only made 19 career college starts and had a disappointing senior season. He is a development quarterback who needs time, and could do so behind veterans David Garrard and Matt Moore.
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Dontari Poe may be an athletic freak, but Cox dominated the SEC with 19.5 sacks and tackles for a loss last season. Ever since Julius Peppers left, they have desperately needed a pass rush, especially with an offense that scored points last year.
10. Buffalo Bills: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Bills could opt to draft Luke Kuechly or Michael Floyd, but choose to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Has short arms, but a big frame and quick feet. He is 6’6″, 313 pounds, and has 10-inch hands.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Kuechly is the all-time leading tackler in ACC history, and Scott Pioli found a gem to pair with his defense that has to stop Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers now.
Kuechly is 6’3″ and 242 pounds, with great instincts and intelligence. He is fast (ran a 4.5 40-yard dash first, then a slower 4.78), aggressive and is around the ball and tracks the ball to sidelines.
12. Seattle Seahawks: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples’ junior season is where scouts noticed him, and in his senior season, he was switched to defensive end and his numbers dropped, as he had seven sacks and 15 tackles for a loss.
He is 6’6″ and 284 pounds. He needs to be consistent and have a desire on every play.
Peter King said a coach called Coples “gifted and sporadic.” He is Mike Mayock’s second best defensive end in the draft.
Could play in a 3-4 or 4-3. Also, as a outside linebacker in a 3-4.
13. Arizona Cardinals: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
DeCastro is 6’5″ and 315 pounds, and provides an offensive line that had Kevin Kolb on the ground a lot last season.
With Michael Floyd is available, the Cardinals could be tempted to go that route as well.
14. Dallas Cowboys: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Barron is clearly the best safety in the draft and a great pick for a Cowboys secondary that is on the rise, especially with acquiring Brandon Carr via free agency.
Barron is a physical All-American, great in zone coverage, good in acceleration and with great straight-line speed.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Brockers really only had one good season at LSU, but was excellent recording 54 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and two sacks.
Jason La Canfora says the Lions are looking trade up to get Gilmore. Again, with Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, then Jay Cutler with Brandon Marshall, you need a good cornerback.
Plus, they lost Eric Wright.
The Jets will swap picks with the Lions. However, both teams have been open to trading back per Adam Schefter.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Bengals love SEC players, as they have picked at least one the last 14 years.
Kirkpatrick is 6’2″ and 186 pounds, and had no interceptions last year. He played in Nick Saban’s defense, and knows both man and zone coverage.
Kirkpatrick has some off-field questions, so he needs a good system that can help him stay on his feet.
The Broncos also like Kirkpatrick, so a trade might be possible.
18. San Diego Chargers: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
San Diego has taken a defensive end out of Illinois the last three years, and haven’t seen the production. They will go with a draft riser in Jones, who is 6’5″ and 266 pounds, with burst and flexibility to be a 10-plus sack producer, according to Rob Rang.
19. Chicago Bears: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
The Bears add a weapon on the other side of Brandon Marshall and are surprised he fell this low. This is a steal at No. 19.
20. Tennessee Titans: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
He had 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 2011.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn, G/OT, Georgia
As I mentioned earlier, they love SEC players. Glenn is versatile, as he has played every position on the line except for center.
22. Cleveland Browns: Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
The Browns get a running back and a solid one. He ran for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2011, in a pass-first offense in Boise. Plus, he can protect the pass.
23. *New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The Jets have been rumored to be interested in Trent Richardson, but would require giving up a lot, much like the Falcons had to do last year.
Instead they select Courtney Upshaw, 6’2″ and 272 pounds, who supposedly wants to play for the Jets and coach Rex Ryan, telling Jenny Vrentas of NJ.com, “The way he comes out basically every time and (says), ‘I’m going to guarantee a championship,’ I kind of like that because he’s confident in his team. I’d like to play for a coach like that.”
Upshaw had 15.5 sacks and was Defensive MVP of the BCS title game.
Like Nick Saban, Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded coach.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
An athletic freak goes to a defensive-minded team. He has been compared to Haloti Ngata.
25. Denver Broncos: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Worthy is 6’2″, 308 pounds, All-American, had 10 tackles for a loss and helped lead Michigan State to the No. 1 rushing defense in the Big Ten. He had 11.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for a loss over his career at MSU.
26. Houston Texans: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Hill had a great combine. He is 6’4″ and 215 pounds, ran a 4.36 and has a 39.5-inch vertical. A vertical, big, fast wideout like Hill opposite Andre Johnson would make them tough to cover. Rob Rang says he needs to work on his route-running and hand-catching.
27. New England Patriots: Nick Perry, DE, USC
The Patriots lost Mark Anderson and need a pass-rusher. Perry is 6’3″ and 271 pounds. He fits best as a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker. His strength is rushing the passer.
28. Green Bay Packers: Shea McClellin, OLB/DE, Boise State
The Packers need a pass-rusher opposite Clay Matthews. He is this year’s Brooks Reed.
Boise head coach Chris Petersen on McClellin:
You know Shea McClellin’s a trained assassin on the football field. That guy’s been such an unbelievable player for a long time for us and completely and totally underrated, I think maybe, in the public’s eye. I don’t think so much in our opponents’ eyes, certainly not on our coaching staff. And, I just think that’s coming to light right now. (KBOI2.com)
He is 6’3″ and 260 pounds, and is explosive with a great motor, plays with his hand on the ground and can stand up and rush the passer. (National Football Post)
Also, with the release of Nick Collins, drafting safety Harrison Smith out of Notre Dame is possible.
29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Ravens linebackers aren’t getting any younger.
30. San Francisco 49ers: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
Coach Jim Harbaugh used to coach Fleener, and he has great upside with the potential of replicating the Patriots’ two tight-end set, with Fleener and Vernon Davis.
31. New England Patriots: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
Smith is 6’2″ and 213 pounds. He is athletic, smart and has shown ability to step up in the run game as much as the pass game.
32. New York Giants: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Best available player on board.