Conference Finals Living Up to Billing

The 2012 NBA Playoffs has come down to four teams, all of which have a legitimate claim to a title.

With Game 5s complete, two teams are trying to complete comebacks after dropping the first two games of the series.

Handing the Spurs their first loss in 20 games probably felt like an achievement for the Thunder, but winning three straight and heading home for Game 6 can be the start of something epic for the franchise.

Boston meanwhile has figured out how to break down Miami, but in Game 5 it wasn’t enough to cool the Heat down in Miami. You can’t go five minutes at this time of year without finding a highlight so we’ve compiled the best of the best in this week’s highlight reel.

Team of the Week: Oklahoma City Thunder

After slipping into a 2-0 deficit, it was getting easy to write the Thunder off as a team that was going to struggle to get over the Conference Final hump. All signs pointed to San Antonio rolling into the finals on the back of their experience and veteran leadership, but Oklahoma City has taken the step in their long development by battling back to take a 3-2 lead. The key has been Kevin Durant, who is averaging 24 points, 5.4 assists and two steals per game. Serge Ibaka stepped up in Game 4 with 26 points while the Thunder second and third options have been inconsistent offensively throughout the series leaving Durant to carry the scoring load in getting them to within one game of the NBA Finals. Where the team has improved most notably is on defense and in the assist department where they are averaging three more assists than they did for the regular season.

                                                                                                                                                         

Player of the Week: Rajon Rondo- Boston Celtics

Averaging 20 points and 11 assists per game in this Eastern Conference finals, Rondo wins the player of the week award yet again for his exploits over the past three contests for the Celtics. Without him, this team is probably done already having fallen under the boot of the MVP instead of holding off the Heat comebacks and getting easy buckets at the rim. In Game 5, Rondo didn’t pack the scoring punch he has in the rest of the series scoring seven poitns, but look at how often he set someone up when you watch these highlights as he finished with 13 assists.

                                                                                                                                                        

Dunk of the Week: Serge Ibaka- Oklahoma City Thunder

With a defiant one-handed jam over Tim Duncan, Ibaka put a stamp on his Game 4 performance that won’t be forgotten any time soon. Known for his blocks, Ibaka shocked everyone with his 26 point outing.

                                                                                                                                                        

Block of the Week: Serge Ibaka- Oklahoma City Thunder

Wait, Ibaka is known for what? Oh yeah, Iblocka. With a nasty stuff of Tony Parker, Ibaka makes a statement that the Thunder has the defense to win a title.

                                                                                                                                                      

Assist of the Week: Manu Ginobili-San Antonio Spurs

They’ve been doing it for years and they don’t show much sign of slowing down. Here, the Argentine hits Tony Parker with a crafty behind the back pass for the wide open three pointer, all be it in vein as the Spurs would lose the game.

                                                                                                                                                         

Trick Shot of the Week: Paul Pierce-Boston Celtics

Dwyane Wade does it as well as anyone, but Pierce says he’s willing to give Wade a taste of his own medicine with a little and one flair of his own. Pierce has been quiet this postseason, but he’s still the man when the game is on the line.

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About David Rice

David Rice is a freelance reporter currently working in the Tampa Bay area for the Tampa Bay Times and is the NBA Editor of Opposing Views. He has written articles covering everything from sports and local music to local politics and business. Rice has also worked for Sam's Army, the official supporters group of the U.S. national soccer team for the last six years as a writer.
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