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NBA playoffs: One series settled, others still up for grabs in weekend action

NBA playoffs: San Antonio is through to the Western Conference finals, awaiting the Thunder-Lakers winner. In the East, it's going to take a little longer between the Heat and Pacers and Celtics and Sixers.

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Wade, for his part, took some time on Friday to travel up to Bloomington from Indianapolis to visit with Tom Crean, his former coach at Marquette University. Wade, who calls Crean his “mentor” and a “father figure”, visited with the now-Indiana University coach in IU’s Assembly Hall, chatting with Crean and his team, watching film and clearing his mind. Wade had what could be called an historically poor game with only three points in Game 3 – in the process missing seven of eight field goals – and inspired by Crean’s thoughtful counsel, he seemingly couldn’t miss a shot in Game 4.

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In a post game interview on Sunday, Wade said it was all about “making adjustments." If the Heat continue to make the necessary adjustments, and grab a couple of wins in the process, they’ll be on to the next round.

Lakers on the ropes against surging Thunder

After winning their first game comfortably at home, the Oklahoma City Thunder have won two of the succeeding three games by a total of 10 points. But it’s the way in which they won their last game played on Saturday night that should give the Los Angeles Lakers grave concern. In losing 103-100, a Lakers team very uncharacteristically gave up a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter for the first time since 1983 – and on their home floor, no less.

Even so, the Lakers had more than one chance to win in the game's closing seconds, but errant passes and shooting decisions prevented that. Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant's performance, as usual, was sparkling – scoring 38 points and pulling down nine rebounds. And all told, all five Lakers starters scored in double figures; but coach Mike Brown, who played only an eight-man rotation in this game, could only get a total of ten points from his bench.  

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant was close behind Bryant with 37 points – he and guard Russell Westbrook combining for a total of 68. And NBA “sixth-man of the year” James Harden, though contributing twelve points off the bench, was only two for eleven from the field. Lingering effects from his regular-season run-in with the Lakers’ Metta World Peace? Perhaps. Regardless, Harden needs to have a stronger shooting performance in Game 5 to get the Thunder comfortably into the next round. Oklahoma City, now returning to their home court Monday night, should be rolling into the next round against San Antonio after this week.

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