David Lee’s contributions once again saving Golden State Warriors, this time in NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr probably should have figured this out in the Western Conference Semifinals against Memphis, but the insertion of former Florida Gators power forward David Lee into his lineup late in Game 3 of the NBA Finals keyed a turnaround for the team that has resulted in the series now being tied at 2-2.

Lee, a two-time NBA All-Star relegated to a reserve role with Golden State this season, has taken his demotion in stride, buying into the team concept and helping the Warriors whenever possible.

Continue Reading » David Lee’s contributions once again saving Golden State Warriors, this time in NBA Finals

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Florida Gators in 2015 NBA Playoffs: 3 in Finals

Ten of the 11 former Florida Gators basketball players in NBA advanced to the league’s postseason for the 2014-15 season. The Gators were represented on nine of the 16 playoff teams with four starters and six reserves active for competition. The 10 total UF players in the postseason marked the most of any school this year.

Three have since advanced to the 2015 NBA Finals, representing both of the teams remaining in the field. As such, a former Florida player is guaranteed to win the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive season.

OnlyGators.com breaks down how each player fared during the Conference Finals as well as their respective outlooks going forward.

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Gators in the 2014 NBA Finals: Bonner wins

For the fourth-straight season and sixth time since 2006, at least one former Florida Gators basketball player has ended an NBA season as a champion as the San Antonio Spurs knocked off the Miami Heat 4-1 in the 2014 NBA Finals on Sunday night.

With San Antonio winning the finals for the first time since 2007, forward Matt Bonner captured his second ring (2007, 2014). Miami power forward Udonis Haslem was looking for his fourth ring (2006, 2012-13) but ultimately came up short.

A grand total of nine rings have been won by Gators since 2006.

F MATT BONNER, San Antonio Spurs: GP/GS (4/0), MIN (6.8), PPG (1.3), RPG (0.8), APG (1.3), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.0), TPG (0.0), FPG (0.5)
» Shooting: FG% (1.000), 3P% (.333), FT% (.750)
» Notes: Bonner did not play in Game 1 and only saw one minute of action in Game 2. He averaged 6.8 minutes off the bench in the final three games, all Spurs blowout wins.

PF UDONIS HASLEM, Miami Heat: GP/GS (4/0), MIN (3.3), PPG (1.0), RPG (1.3), APG (0.3), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.3), TPG (0.0), FPG (0.8)
» Shooting: FG% (.400), 3P% (.000), FT% (.000)
» Notes: Haslem did not play in Game 1 and only saw one minute of action in Game 2. He only played 3.3 minutes off the bench in the Heat’s three series-ending losses.


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Gators in the 2014 NBA Playoffs: Conference

The Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs concluded on Saturday with both of the two former Florida Gators remaining in the postseason seeing their teams advance to the NBA Finals

Former Gators were represented on two of the four teams in the conference finals with both moving on to compete for an NBA Championship.

OnlyGators.com has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Florida players accomplished in this round.

* Players names highlighted in orange have advanced to the NBA Finals.

PF UDONIS HASLEM, Miami Heat: GP/GS (6/2), MIN (13.2), PPG (4.3), RPG (2.8), APG (0.3), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.0), TPG (0.0), FPG (2.2)
» Shooting: FG% (.611), 3P% (.000), FT% (.500)
» Playoffs: The No. 2 Heat defeated the No. 1 Indiana Pacers in six games.

F MATT BONNER, San Antonio Spurs: GP/GS (6/2), MIN (10.5), PPG (2.3), RPG (1.5), APG (0.8), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.2), TPG (0.2), FPG (1.2)
» Shooting: FG% (.313), 3P% (.333), FT% (.000)
» Notes: Bonner played more than 15 minutes per game in the final three contests of the series, starting the final two. He went 5-for-10 from the field and 4-for-8 from three in those games.
» Playoffs: The No. 1 Spurs defeated the No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder in six games.

NOTES
» A former Gators basketball player is guaranteed to win an NBA title for the fourth-straight year and sixth time since 2000.
» Haslem is looking to three-peat and capture his fourth career title (2006, 2012-13), while Bonner is hoping to win his second NBA crown (2007).

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Brewer: “One decision made everybody happy.”

The only player in Florida Gators basketball history to win an NCAA Championship and NBA title, forward Corey Brewer signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the offseason and will return to the team that selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

After a three-year career at Florida that included the first triple-double in school history, two NCAA titles and the 2007 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player award, Brewer began playing as a professional with Minnesota but struggled after a torn ACL forced him to miss the majority of the 2008-09 season.

A trade resulted in Brewer being waived, but a subsequent contract signing brought him all the way to the 2011 NBA Finals with Dallas. He has spent the last three years with Denver following a second trade and raised his value by playing in George Karl’s up-tempo system. One of the most coveted free agents on the open market (after the top-tier players got snatched up this offseason), Brewer chose to reunite with Minnesota. But before that season can begin, he will return to Gainesville, FL, to host the fourth annual Corey Brewer Back-to-Back Basketball Camp benefiting the Corey Brewer Fight Diabetes Fund at Shands Hospital.

OnlyGators.com sat down with Brewer on Sunday to discuss his college legacy, NBA career and his charitable endeavors.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Growing up in Tennessee, what was it about Florida and head coach Billy Donovan that made you decide that playing for the Gators was the right choice for your future as a basketball player?
COREY BREWER: “First of all, when I came on my official visit and I saw the campus, I was like, man, this is so wonderful. The campus was beautiful. It was just amazing. Everybody was so nice. Coach Donovan and his style of play, playing up-and-down the court, it was perfect for me. Even though I wanted to stay close to home, Tennessee was playing slow at the time and I just did not feel like I fit into Vanderbilt’s system. Florida was definitely the place for me.”

AS: Did you know any of the other guys in your recruiting class before committing?
CB:Al [Horford] from Nike camps a little bit, and I knew Taurean [Green]. He was trying to get me to commit hard when we were at camps together over the summer. Taurean committed first and he was like, ‘Come on, we need you, we need you, you need to go ahead and commit.’ I heard that for a week straight and got to know him well. I didn’t know Jo[akim Noah] too well though.”

AS: What did you think about Jo the first time you met him?
CB: “This guy is just a free spirit, a good guy. When we first met, we were playing in the gym and he came in and started working hard. You could just tell he was a good guy.”

Continue Reading » Brewer: “One decision made everybody happy.”

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Gators in 2013 NBA Finals: Haslem, Miller win

For the third-straight season and fifth time since 2006, at least one former Florida Gators basketball player has won an NBA title as the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

With Miami winning the finals for the second-straight season, power forward Udonis Haslem won his third ring (2006, 2012) and guard Mike Miller picked up his second (2012). San Antonio forward Matt Bonner was looking for his second championship (2007) but ultimately came up short.

A grand total of eight rings have been won by Gators since 2006.

Eight of the 10 former Gators playing in the NBA during the 2012-13 season moved on to the playoffs with three advancing all the way to the finals. Below is how each of those three players performed during the final round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

PF UDONIS HASLEM, Miami Heat: GP/GS (6/3), MIN (10.7), PPG (1.5), RPG (2.8), APG (0.0), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.2) | FG% (.444), 3P% (.000), FT% (.200)
» Best Game: Five points (2-of-4 shooting), two rebounds in 16 minutes in Miami’s 103-84 win over San Antonio in Game 2.
» Game 7: No statistics; two minutes played

G MIKE MILLER, Miami Heat: GP/GS (7/4), MIN (21.9), PPG (5.3), RPG (2.7), APG (0.9), SPG (0.6), BPG (0.3) | FG% (.590), 3P% (.611), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: 15 points (5-of-5 from three) in Miami’s 113-77 loss to San Antonio in Game 3.
» Game 7: No points (0-of-5 shooting), two rebounds, two steals in 19 minutes.

F MATT BONNER, San Antonio Spurs: GP/GS (5/0), MIN (7.0), PPG (2.2), RPG (1.4), APG (0.2), SPG (0.2), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.400), 3P% (.250), FT% (1.000)
» Best Game: Four points (2-of-2 shooting), one rebound in seven minutes in San Antonio’s 109-93 loss to Miami in Game 4.
» Game 7: Did not play

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FOUR BITS: Moss, Carter, Miller, Bonner

1 » Less than two weeks after freshman guard Chandler Cooper announced she would be leaving the Florida Gators women’s basketball team and transferring to Lipscomb, two more members of the 2012-13 squad have decided to join her in exiting the program. According to The Alligator’s Phil Heilman, freshman guard/forward Sydney Moss will also transfer and junior center Vicky McIntyre, who transferred in last year but did not play the final eight games of the season, plans to leave the program. Moss, a star recruit for the Gators and member of the 2013 All-SEC Freshman Team, started 24 of 37 games, averaging 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. She was also dominant for Florida in the 2013 WNIT, leading the Gators in scoring (19.6 points), rebounding (9.0), assists (4.0) and field goal percentage (.571) during the event. Moss is an exceptionally big loss for head coach Amanda Butler, who was hoping to assemble for next season one of Florida’s most talented teams in years. The Gators signed their first-ever women’s McDonald’s All-American in 2013 five-star F Ronni Williams (Daytona Beach, FL) back in November.

2 » While transfer guard Eli Carter waits to learn if new Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann will sign off on his waiver to play immediately at Florida, he and head coach Billy Donovan have a decision to make. According to his father Dale Carter, who spoke with The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway, Eli has been provided with the opportunity to play for the Jamaican National Team over the summer, a decision the player will let Donovan make. Donovan allowed – and even encouraged – G Mike Rosario to play with the Puerto Rican National Team last summer, a move that helped Rosario improve and mature both on and off the court. Chances are, if Carter desires to spend part of the summer in Jamaica playing basketball, Donovan will approve.

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6 BITS: Bonner, Miller, Johnson, Simpson, Beisel

1 » In South Florida for about a week while his team participated in the first two games of the 2013 NBA Finals, San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner told ProBasketballTalk that he was getting a lot of support from Florida Gators fans in the area. “I’ve been getting ‘Go Gators’ everywhere,” Bonner said. “Even people with Miami Heat jerseys, walking down the street will yell at everyone else then see me, wait for no one to look and [whisper] ‘Go Gators.’ It’s the whole spectrum, older Gators, younger Gators. You know, it’s six degrees of separation, except here it’s like two or three degrees of Gator separation.” Bonner, who OGGOA noted last week is a big fan of sandwiches, also said that he enjoyed a few Cuban sandwiches while in town.

2 » Miami guard Mike Miller looks every bit of 33 years old most of the time, but his ability to drain threes in the playoffs has made him a hot name for the second-straight postseason. On Sunday during Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Miller went 3-for-3 from downtown, scoring nine points on the evening as his team pulled off a victory. Though he still looks old, Miller feels young for the first time in a while; during the 2012 playoffs, he could not run without limping. “I’ve got a lot of basketball left. It’s the best I’ve felt in five years,” Miller told ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez. “Sometimes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, even when you’re frustrated. I feel great. Knock on wood it stays that way.”

Check out four more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » 6 BITS: Bonner, Miller, Johnson, Simpson, Beisel

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