A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : ESPN.com . I'm a bit late to the party here, but this Kevin Arnovitz feature on the San Antonio Spurs — how the NBA couldn't figure out how to sell them, how the organization couldn't care less, and how the franchise's commitment to innovation, culture and process make them "the NBA's research and development division" — is the best thing I've ever read about the Spurs. And considering we could be 48 minutes away from them being crowned champions, now seems like a good time to get familiar with how they got here (and keep getting here). PF : USA TODAY Sports . A nice read from Sam Amick on how Danny Green went from "the guy for whom a D-League owner didn't want to give up Patrick Ewing Jr." to the cusp of a potential NBA Finals MVP nod . SF : The Onion . "'For all the chatter that’s surrounding tonight’s contest, when everything’s said and done, pens, John Cheever, and whether ferns require direct sunlight just aren’t going to come into play,' said NBA On ABC analyst Mike Breen."
Kobe Bryant has ranked among the most popular players in the NBA for more than 15 years now, as his legendary scoring prowess, on- and off-court charisma, affiliation with the glamorous Los Angeles Lakers and near-constant exposure to massive audiences through nationally televised games and deep playoff runs have combined to make him one the sports world's highest-profile figures. He's also done quite a bit of work over the years to extend his mega-star status into the massive and hoops-mad nation of China — he's made annual offseason trips there to meet fans and host camps, and appeared in commercials airing in the nation. He's participated in exhibition charity games and even reportedly briefly entertained the idea of playing in China during the 2011 NBA lockout . He's built a Chinese social media presence and launched multiple charitable initiatives in the Far East. And so on. Becoming the most popular non-native NBA player in the world's most populous nation isn't easy, but Bryant's done just about whatever he can to accomplish that goal. So it's not that surprising to learn, thanks to Lakers fan Eddie Robles , that there appears to be a sculpture celebrating Bryant in the Chinese province of Guangzhou: Now China has a full backcourt of stationary art champions. Stephon Marbury , you need no longer walk stand perfectly still forever alone.
The NBA Finals is often decided by one or two huge performances from role players, but San Antonio Spurs wing Danny Green's shooting against the Miami Heat is unprecedented. With 9:39 remaining in the third quarter of Game 5 , Green knocked down his 23rd three-pointer of the series, breaking Ray Allen's record for the most threes in an NBA Finals. [Related: Danny Green's ridiculous shooting could land him in a rare club ] Green ranked seventh in the league this regular season with a 42.9 percent mark from beyond the arc. His shooting in the NBA Finals has been considerably better. Through the first four games of the series, he had made 19-of-28 long-range shots (69.8 percent). At the time of his record-breaking shot, Green had somehow done even better in Game 5, hitting four of his first five three-point attempts. That means Green converted on 23 of his first 33 tries — just better than two-thirds — to get the record. Allen, the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history and now Green's opponent as a member of the Heat, set the previous mark of 22 threes in six games in 2008 as a member of the Boston Celtics against the Los Angeles Lakers. Allen needed 42 attempts for his record, which underscores just how amazing Green has been this series. [Y! Sports Fan Shop: Buy 2013 NBA Finals merchandise ] Directly after Green set the record, Allen expressed his dismay at losing the record. After the jump, check out a screengrab of Allen's face (via @ jose3030 ):
|Adrian Wojnarowski||Los Angelesin 6||The Lakers' most troublesome matchup could be behind them. The Jazz just aren't constructed to overtake L.A.|
|Marc J. Spears||Los Angelesin 5||If you thought Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook gave the Lakers some problems, wait until you see what Utah's Deron Williams does. With Mehmet Okur sidelined, the Lakers dwarf the Jazz and will make it tough on Carlos Boozer.|
|Johnny Ludden||Los Angelesin 6||The Jazz will give the Lakers a fight, particularly when the series shifts to Utah. But they just don't have enough length to dethrone the champs.|
|Kenny Smith||Los Angelesin 5||Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum will be tough matchups for Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap. Kobe Bryant will also be a more efficient scorer in this series than against OKC.|
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