Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol contributed greatly to the Lakers series-deciding victory against the Nuggets, but the Thunder are next for Los Angeles.
LeBron James had 32 points and 15 rebounds as the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers, 95-86, despite Chris Bosh leaving the game with an abdominal injury.
The Heat outscored Indiana 25-16 in the fourth quarter, with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combining for 22 of those points in the first game of this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Chris Paul played with an aching right hip and Blake Griffin’s sprained left knee stiffened up during the game. If the Clippers were truly a two-man team, then they would have been in trouble facing elimination by the Memphis Grizzlies.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade carried the Miami Heat offense in the second half. With Chris Bosh gone, they had no other choice.
Kyrie Irving began his first pro season as the top pick and ended it as the top rookie.
Oklahoma City General Manager Sam Presti has built the Thunder into an N.B.A. power through the draft.
Despite a momentary slip three days earlier, the Heat, led by LeBron James’s 29 points, left no doubt about their superiority in clinching the first-round series over the Knicks, four games to one.
Addressing the media for the final time of the season on Thursday, Tyson Chandler said there’s not a big gap between the Knicks and the Heat and Bulls. He called his team “explosive,” but said they just need some fine-tuning to compete with the beasts in the East.
That fine-tuning includes Chandler wanting to return stronger and become more of an offensive threat next season.
“I want to come back in better condition and I want to be more of a force on the block,” he said.
“It was a crazy year, man,” Amare Stoudemire said after a Knicks practice before the team faced the Heat. “This year, it’s going to go down with an asterisk mark because it was a roller-coaster year with the lockout. A lot of injuries across the NBA, so many games.”
That was a few days before NBA commissioner David Stern gave his annual pre-playoff conference call, in which he said that significant injuries, such as ACL and Achilles tears, were not as prevalent during the season as in previous years.