June 11, 2012
Each week, uclabruins.com will update and highlight UCLA players' progress during the current NBA season. Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the last Bruin standing in the NBA Playoffs. He and the Thunder will face the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Ryan Hollins and the Boston Celtics were eliminated by the Heat in the conference finals in seven games.
Player Highlights, Games Through June 4, 2012
Ryan Hollins, C (sixth NBA season, first with Boston Celtics, started the season with Cleveland Cavaliers, Eastern Conference/Atlantic Div., 39-27 regular season, first-place/fourth seed in Eastern Conference, beat No. 5 Atlanta Hawks 4-2 in their first round playoff series; beat No. 8 Philadelphia in semifinals, 4-3; lost to No. 2 Miami in conference finals, 4-3)
Hollins played in five of the seven Eastern Conference final playoff games.In Game 7 in Miami on June 9, in a game that was tight throughout (10 ties) with numerous lead changes (20), the Heat used a 20-6 scoring advantage in the game's final 8:48 to defeat Boston, 101-88 and advance to the 2012 NBA Final (Game One at Oklahoma City Tuesday). The Heat will play in the NBA Final for the second year in a row, winning the Eastern Conference (4-3) over the Celtics. Down 3-2, the Heat had to win two consecutive games, including a 98-79 victory at Boston in Game Six, to win their second consecutive Eastern Conference final. For Boston, Hollins set or equaled his Eastern Conference final highs in minutes (eight), points (two, 1-1, 0-0, 0-0), rebounds (two), assists (one) and blocked shots (one).
On June 7 in Boston, the Celtics' home court advantage was not enough and they could not overcome Miami's LeBron James' 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists as the Heat defeated Boston, 98-79. The Heat win snapped the Celtics' three-game winning streak and it was Miami's only second victory in their last 17 trips to Boston. Miami has nine playoff road victories the last two seasons, highest in the NBA. The Eastern Conference finals series is now tied at 3-3, with Game Seven set for Saturday in Miami. For Boston, Hollins, who did not play in the previous two Eastern Conference final games, got seven minutes of playing time, with two points (1-1. 0-0, 0-0).
On June 5 at Miami, the Celtics overcame a 42-40 Heat halftime lead, outscored Miami 25-18 in the third period and held on during a tight final quarter to defeat the Heat, 94-90, to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final. Even with the return of forward Chris Bosh to the Miami lineup (missed last nine playoff games with a strained abdominal muscle), the Heat suffered its third consecutive finals defeat to Boston. In NBA history, teams that have won Game 5 of a best-of seven series tied at 2-2 have gone on to win the series 83.5% of the time. For the Celtics, Hollins did not play (coach's decision) for the second consecutive Eastern Final contest.
Hollins' Final Playoff Stats: 17G, 10.0MIN, 1.6RB, 1.5PPG
Hollins' Final Regular Season Stats (Celtics): 15G/1GS, 10.7MIN, 1.7RB, 2.8 PPG // (Total, including Cleveland stats): 39G/8GS, 13.4MIN, 2.1RB, 3.4PPG
Eastern Conference Finals Playoff Series (series tied, 2-2) - No. 2 Miami vs. No. 4 Boston (Boston won regular season series, 3-1) - Game 1 - May 28 at Miami (M 93, B 79); Game 2 - May 30 at Miami (M 115, B 111 OT); Game 3 - June 1 at Boston (B 101, M 91); Game 4 - June 3 at Boston (B 93, M 91 OT); Game 5 - June 5 at Miami (B 94, M 90); Game 6 - June 7 at Boston(M 98, B 79); Game 7 - June 9 at Miami (M 101, B 88).
Semifinals Playoff Series (Boston wins series, 4-3) - No. 4 Boston vs. No. 8 Philadelphia (Philadelphia won season series, 2-1) - Game 1 - May 12 at Boston (B 92, P 91); Game 2 - May 14 at Boston (P 82, B 81); Game 3 - May 16 at Philadelphia (B 107, P 91); Game 4 - May 18 at Philadelphia (P 92, B 83); Game 5 - May 21 at Boston (B 101, P 85); Game 6 - May 23 at Philadelphia (P82, B 75); Game 7 - May 26 at Boston (B 85, P 75).
First Round Playoff Series (Boston wins series, 4-2) - No. 4 Boston vs. No. 5 Atlanta (Boston won regular season series, 2-1) - Game 1 - April 29 at Atlanta (A 83, B 74); Game 2 - May 1 at Atlanta (B 87, A 80); Game 3 - May 4 at Boston (B 90, A 84 OT); Game 4 - May 6 at Boston (B 101, A 79), Game 5 - May 8 at Atlanta (A 87, B 86), Game 6 - May 10 at Boston (B 83, Atlanta 80).
Russell Westbrook, G (fourth NBA season with Oklahoma City Thunder, Western Conference/Northwest Div., 47-19 regular season, first-place/second seed in Western Conference, defeated No. 7 seed and defending NBA champions Dallas Mavericks 4-0 in their first round playoff series, won series with No. 3 LA Lakers in semifinals, 4-1, won series with No. 1 seed San Antonio in finals, 4-2, will play Miami in NBA Final, starting Tuesday in Oklahoma City)
On June 6 in Oklahoma City, the Thunder overcame a late first half 18-point deficit to defeat San Antonio 107-99 and win the Western Conference finals, 4-2. Oklahoma City outscored the Spurs in the second half 59-36. After losing the first two games in San Antonio, the Thunder won four consecutive games to win their first Western Conference championship, have an 8-0 playoff record on their home floor (Chesapeake Energy Arena) and are in the NBA Final for the first time since 1996 (when the franchise was in Seattle). The Thunder are the third team in NBA history (2007 Cleveland and 1993 Chicago are the others) to win four straight games in the conference finals after falling behind 0-2 in the series. For the Thunder, Westbrook started and played 41 minutes, with 25 points (9-17, 1-1, 6-7/has scored 20 or more points in 10 of 15 playoff contests, including two consecutive), eight rebounds, team-high tying five assists and one blocked shot. Oklahoma City will host the first game of the 2012 NBA Championships on June 12 and will have the home court advantage.
Heading into the NBA Final, Westbrook in Top 10 NBA Playoff Statistics is No. 7 in scoring (21.7ppg) and steals (1.73spg) and No. 9 in assists (5.6apg).
Westbrook's Playoff Stats: 15G/15GS, 37.1MIN, 5.1RB, team leader 5.6AST, team leader 1.73STL, 21.7PPG (No. 2 team scorer).
Westbrook's Final Regular Season Stats: 66G/66GS (has started every game), 35.3MIN, 4.6RB, team-leading 5.5AST and 1.7STL, 23.6ppg (No. 2 team scorer).
NBA Finals (Oklahoma City vs. Miami) - Eastern Conference Champion No. 2 Miami vs. Western Conference Champion No. 2 Oklahoma City (regular season series was tied, 1-1) - Game 1 - June 12 at OKC; Game 2 - June 14 at OKC; Game 3 - June 17 at Miami; Game 4 - June 19 at Miami; if necessary, Game 5 - June 21 at Miami; Game 6 - June 24 at OKC; Game 7 - June 26 at OKC.
Western Conference Finals (Oklahoma City wins series, 4-2) - No. 1 San Antonio vs. No. 2 Oklahoma City (S.A. won regular season series, 2-1) - Game 1 - May 27 at S. A. (S.A. 101, OKC 98); Game 2 - May 29 at S. A. (S. A 120, OKC 111); Game 3 - May 31 at OKC (OKC 102, S.A. 82); Game 4 - June 2 at OKC (OKC 109, S. A. 103); Game 5 - June 4 at S.A. (OKC 108, S.A. 103); Game 6 - June 6 at OKC (OKC 107, S.A. 99).
Semifinals (Oklahoma City wins series, 4-1) - No. 2 Oklahoma City vs. No. 3 Lakers (OKC won regular season series, 2-1) - Game 1 - May 14 at OKC (OKC 119, LAL 90); Game 2 - May 16 at OKC (OKC 77, LAL 75); Game 3 - May 18 at Lakers (LAL 99, OKC 96); Game 4 - May 19 at Lakers (OKC 103, LAL 100); Game 5 - May 21 at OKC (OKC 106, LAL 90).
First Round Playoff Series Series (Oklahoma City wins series 4-0) - No. 2 Oklahoma City vs. No. 7 Dallas (OKC won regular season series, 3-1) - Game 1 - April 28 - at OKC (OKC 99, Dallas 98); Game 2 - April 30 at OKC (OKC 102, D 99); Game 3 - May 3 at Dallas (OKC 95, D 79); Game 4 - May 5 at Dallas (OKC 103, D 97).