NBA notes: LeBron’s 4th MVP nearly unanimous

Posted Sunday, May. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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LeBron James is the overwhelming choice as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

The Miami Heat star took 120 of 121 first-place votes in this year’s balloting, giving him the award for the fourth time. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant finished second and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony was third.

James’ selection was not unanimous, despite plenty of suggestions from people around the league in recent weeks that he was worthy of that honor. Anthony received the only other first-place vote from a panel of broadcasters and sportswriters who cover the league.

The NBA released the results Sunday, when James was presented with the award.

Shaquille O’Neal had been the closest to sweeping every first-place vote, taking 120 of a possible 121 in the 1999-2000 balloting.

James becomes the fifth player with at least four MVP awards, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. All four of James’ awards have come in a five-year span, something only done by Russell.

James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists this season, leading Miami to a league-best 66-16 record while shooting a career-high 56 percent. It was no surprise that he won the award, given that it had been expected for months, with the lone questions being “When?” and “Was it unanimous?”

The first of those answers came Friday, when it was learned that Sunday would be the day. The other came not long before James was honored on the floor of the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, where the Heat will open an Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday night against the Chicago Bulls.

“The guy is as good as it gets,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.

Carlesimo canned

The Brooklyn Nets said Sunday that P.J. Carlesimo wouldn’t return as coach, hours after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Carlesimo helped the Nets finish 49-33 after replacing the fired Avery Johnson in December, earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

But they spotted the Chicago Bulls a 17-point halftime lead and lost 99-93 on Saturday night.

“The Brooklyn Nets organization would like to thank P.J. for his efforts with the team in his roles as both head coach and assistant, and for his contributions to the team’s success both on and off the court. We wish P.J. and his family only the best in the years to come,” general manager Billy King said in a statement.

King received a contract extension recently but the Nets quickly decided they wanted someone new on the bench, even after Carlesimo went 35-19.

The Nets spent hundreds of millions on contracts last summer in hopes of being a contender in their first season in Brooklyn, but were just 14-14 after a December slump, prompting owner Mikhail Prokhorov to fire Johnson.

The Nets won 12 of their first 14 under Carlesimo and went 10-3 down the stretch to earn home-court advantage in the first round. They fell behind 3-1 against Chicago and their comeback came up short Saturday as they tried to become the ninth NBA team to overcome that deficit and win a series.

Briefly

• Pacers forward Jeff Pendergraph was fined $5,000 Sunday by the NBA, becoming the first player punished for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules in the playoffs. He was caught flopping in the first round against Atlanta.

• The Knicks hope to have reserves Amare Stoudemire (right knee surgery) and Steve Novak (back spasms) back for Game 3 on Saturday.

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