Bruins in the NBA - Westbrook Advances to NBA Finals
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)
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
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).
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