Thursday, May 31
The Spurs won again. What's new? They always win. They'll probably win the title too anyway. In all of their trips to the NBA Finals since 1999, they never lost the series. I don't think this is the year where they will let up on that. They'll probably want to increase the NBA Finals series-win-streak to maybe 20, or when Duncan finally loses his legs (around 60 years old). I've already stated in one of my past posts on some theories as to why the Spurs are labeled as boring, but I think it's time to give credit now that it is due. Hey, love them or hate them, the Spurs are going to the Finals; what better time than now?
Tim Duncan has just been amazing and the whole team has just been DEEP. I'm talking about really DEEP. I'm not even saying knee-deep, I'm saying neck-deep. However, when Tim Duncan is in the mood to cruise for the night maybe because of lack of sleep from partying real hard the night before ("really?!"), there has been one consistent force that has been pushing the Spurs' dominance in all the games. Can you take a guess? Correct! I am talking about Tim Duncan's Dark Knights: Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. I've actually thought of a moniker for them already: Parkobili!
Actually, I'd like to clear things up. Tony Parker has just been so consistent this whole playoffs. There is not a single player of the Spurs I can say the same about. Without Tony Parker, the Spurs should have been out a long time ago. However, Tony Parker thrives from his partner, Manu Ginobili. Manu has had some inconsistencies, but Tony needs him nonetheless. Think of it this way: Tony Parker is a well-oiled-well-tuned Dodge Viper SRT10 and Manu Ginobili is the NOS Turbo. Without Manu, Tony is still fast, smooth, and deadly (with the ladies); but if you add Manu to the mix, the force created is so destructive that the opposing teams fear the back-court of the Spurs far more than they fear Duncan himself. I said it once and I'll say it again, Tony Parker is FAST; and he isn't afraid to go inside and get clobbered under the rim despite his French body, something that happens almost always. Manu Ginobili on the other hand is really an explosive player. It doesn't show in his face, more so on his bald spot; but he is very fancy with his moves and is unstoppable when he has his offensive groove on high gear. One thing I would like to mention is the ball-sharing and the passing game between Manu and Tony; it is just beautiful. This guard combination of the Spurs is just or more valuable than Tim Duncan himself. This guard combination is the reason the Spurs have pushed this far in the playoffs. This guard combination is the reason for the last Spurs Championship back in 2005 (even without David Robinson), and will be the reason for the next Spurs Championship in 2007 (still without David Robinson). Take one of the two, then you'll have "so-so, sure, you're good, whatever", but put them together and you'll have your fourth title in nine years. Eat that.
So what do you get when you combine fast, explosive, and fancy? Parkobili!
Parkobili Playoff Averages: 36.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 10.4 apg, 3 spg, 33.85 mpg
Not bad. Did I mention Tony Parker can speak French?
Tony look out! That exotic European twat is hitting on your fiance!
Check them out in the NBA Finals. Watch havoc ensue.
Wednesday, May 30
April 21, 2007 - May 30, 2007
Sure, Carlos Boozer was awesome as usual, but he already received his recognitions and praises; move over for Deron Williams. Deron Williams finished his playoff rise to point-guard-supremacy with only 11 points and 2 assists in a loss; he was game-time decision on playing on a sprained foot, but he gave it a go anyway. It wasn't such a great way to go for Deron Williams however, considering he has been a monster this series averaging almost 30 points per game before tonight's stinker. Series by series, Deron Williams has elevated his game to new heights with each challenge that is thrown in the way of his team. He had a good series in Houston, a great series in Golden State, and domination in San Antonio. This is definitely a stepping stone that Deron Williams has crossed to being named as one of the best point guards in the NBA today.
Check out his averages per series:
Against the Rockets: 16.2 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.8 rpg
Against the Warriors: 16.8 ppg, 8.9 apg, 6.4 rpg (20.5 ppg if not for the Game 3 stink bomb)
Against the Spurs: 25.8 ppg, 8.7 apg, 3.6 rpg (29.5 ppg before tonight's stink bomb)
Deron Williams is GOOD. The best thing about him is the way he elevated his game in to the "dominating" status when his team couldn't do it themselves. This is most evident against the Spurs as all of Deron's teammates but Boozer disappeared; thus, needed to turn his game up a notch. He can dominate if he needs to, and play passer when the opportunity is created. Considering that San Antonio is one of the best, if not the best, defensive team in the NBA, I am surprised the Spurs were not able to find any way to contain Deron Williams in all but one game in the series with a little help from the sprained foot of Deron. I want to say it again, Deron Williams is GOOD. He has quickness, he has strength, and he is a winner.
Tonight, Deron's first playoff appearance lays dead in the Western Conference Finals in 5 games against the Spurs. Next season, be prepared for the resurrection of arguably one of the best point guards in the league today. Never again will the former Fighting-Illini's name lie under Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Baron Davis, or anyone else for that matter.
Tonight, despite the loss, Deron Williams is Gold and Glory; and he will always be remembered as one.
Gee. Kobe Bryant is PISSED.
I just read a bunch of news articles all saying the same thing: Kobe Bryant is furious with the front office. Kobe Bryant just went off on a rampage a few hours ago opening-fire on the Lakers' front office through the radio stations.
The story is that Kobe Bryant signed a 7-year deal with the Lakers back in the summer of 2004 when Shaquille O'Neal and Phil Jackson were let go because he was promised that the Lakers' priority was to build a championship-contending team around Kobe Bryant IMMEDIATELY. Personally, I think the 7-year deal is crazy. I know everybody wants to become the "face of the franchise" by sticking to a team their whole career, but come on man, give yourself some breathing room. After a couple of playoff disappointments, Kobe Bryant had a conversation with Phil Jackson which "opened his eyes". The highlight of the conversation that lit Bryant's ass on fire? Phil Jackson told Kobe Bryant of the reason why he was let go a few years ago: The Lakers wanted to cut back on the payroll and prioritize long-term rebuilding. In other words, considering Phil Jackson's statements were 100% accurate, the Lakers lied to Kobe Bryant. If I was asked to put the words out bluntly, I'd say the Lakers screwed Kobe Bryant in the ass. Personally, I think Kobe Bryant is just frustrated. I don't really think he's angry directly towards the issue of "rebuilding". I don't think he's dumb enough not to realize that the drafting of Andrew Bynum meant waiting for another 5-years of development and playoff disappointments. Kobe is extremely frustrated at another disappointing season, and frustration leads to finger-pointing and wrongful accusations. Although I do agree that the Lakers front office has been a joke, you can't blame them for all that has gone wrong for the team in the past few years. Oh wait, yes you can.
I think this almost guarantees some blockbuster moves in the off-season. Will we be seeing the likes of Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest in the Lakers with Kobe Bryant? That looks so damn good on paper. I doubt Kobe can stand another disappointing season after this one. He is spent, and this tirade shows evidences of it.
As of this moment, Kobe Bryant is on a rampage. He already came off two radio stations earlier, at this rate, he'd be on the headline of the United Nation's priority list. Before we know it, Kobe Bryant will be going Chuck Norris in the Lakers' front office.
I admire Kobe Bryant's eagerness to win, but I'd suggest that he take a break. The playoffs aren't even over yet and he's already heating up the off-season talk. Save some steam Kobe, chill out at the beach, or better yet, lie naked in the north pole for a few days to clear your head.
You've got to give credit to the current Lakers roster though. If Kobe Bryant had legit teammates, he wouldn't have made history with 81 points or a few 50-point barrages. I applaud Smush Parker. Bring him back.
Read more on Kobe:
Kobe: Lakers Lied To Me
Bryant States Case
Plan Apparently Changed
Bryant Isn't Bottled Up On Radio About Lakers
With the off-season just around the corner, and speculations regarding Vince Carter's future have been rapidly increasing; so have the speculations regarding the endless limit of LeBron James' capabilities are as a future-basketball legend (if possible) with his sudden surge in this year's playoffs.
Everybody likes to be "Like Mike", but nobody understands that there's only one "Mike", a million "Vince Carters", and one emerging "King". Our buddy site 100% Injury Rate analyzes the turnout of the once "closest thing to Michael Jordan" and his fall compared to the rising-superstar LeBron James.
Check it out, here's the direct link: LeBron: Future NBA Champ, Vince "the Anti-nique" Carter: Future NBA Chump
No, he didn't say it. But he thought it. I guarantee.
He never said it. He should have. But he didn't.
Through all the criticisms and the doubts, LeBron James held is own and looked straight forward; no where else, only forward. Following a 2-0 series deficit, LeBron James has played his best basketball in this series for the past two games to tie the series 2-2. The audience of the Eastern Conference Finals questioned LeBron James' "over-hyped" ability and his leadership after two losses with sub-par games; highlighted by the Game 1 pass-up on a drive and gave the biggest shot of the game away to Donyell Marshall, who missed. However, in the past two games, LeBron James has just been phenomenal in bringing his team back to knot this series. Time and time again in the past games, it looked as if Detroit was finally going to stop fooling around and ruin' the Cavalier-moment, only to find LeBron's foot down their throat. After two painful losses with ugly sequences in the closing-seconds, and only up by two points with only over 30 seconds left in Game 3 and in-danger of watching the Pistons steal another game from the edges of their fingertips, LeBron James just thought to himself, "Dear world, kiss my ass." and rose above every single soul in the Quicken Loans Arena and drained the dagger to ice the victory.
I watched in awe as he drained that jump-shot; erase the Game 1 pass and the Game 2 muffs in the dying seconds, LeBron James owned the Pistons in Game 3. When I finally moved on from the awesome Game 3 victory, I started to wonder how the Cavaliers will fare for Game 4. Will they be a tease and lose Game 4, practically ending the series; or will LeBron do a repeat of a phenomenal performance and knot the series 2-2? First of all, Larry Hughes was questionable for Game 4, not that he contributes squat. Second, the loss could have served as a wake-up call to the Pistons to finally start playing some basketball and make some adjustments to the Cavalier's game.
Tonight, the questions were answered. LeBron James was not as spectacular as he was in Game 3, but the results were just as sweet. James, grown stoic of pressure, iced the game with his almost impeccable free throw shooting in Game 4; often criticized for his awful free throw shooting, LeBron James shot 8/9 FTs, with every single point being as big as any other shot this whole series.
Hands down LeBron James, eyes off Detroit Pistons. The King has arrived.
LeBron James Game 3: 32 points, 9 assists, 9 rebounds, 2 steals
LeBron James Game 4: 25 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals
Daniel Gibson and Drew Gooden ONLY, to Full Court: "Kiss our asses."
They didn't say it. I doubt they even thought it. But I'd like to believe that they would if they knew what I had said of them.
I still believe that the Cleveland Cavaliers is a one-man-team and the rest of LeBron's teammates are either mediocre or trash, but at least for tonight, Daniel Gibson and Drew Gooden proved their worth and displayed one hell of a performance for one of the biggest games of their careers (only for the moment).
Daniel Gibson played one of those games that somewhat creates careers for the second-round draft picks. Big performance on a big game. Gibson scored 21 big points for the Cavaliers and was perfect from the charity line. If their season ended today, I doubt anyone would over-look Daniel Gibson anymore.
Drew Gooden on the other hand, scored seven big points in the decisive fourth quarter, and became instrumental in the 12-2 Cavs run to rally and take the lead for good in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. I applaud you Drew Gooden.
However, I don't know why Mike Brown insists on Larry Hughes. He was horrible enough healthy, how horrible can he be when injured? I don't even think he can be put in the same class as Willis Reed to expect the Cavs to pull off a "Willis-Reed". If LeBron James went down, pulled a "Willis-Reed" and the Cavaliers won the game with totally no statistical contribution from James, I would personally rip off the Willis-Reed-moment from the history books and replace it with the LeBron-James-moment. It's an exaggeration, you've got to love Willis Reed, I'm just making a point.
Now that it's down to a best-of-3 series, will the Cavaliers pull off a win in Game 5 to take the series lead? Can LeBron James overcome his greatest obstacle yet and lead the Cavaliers to a win on the road? Will the Pistons finally play like a playoff team? All that and more in Game 5 of Pistons-Cavaliers.
Monday, May 28
I was surfing around the NBA Fanhouse when I came across a video of Dirk jumping around and hugging a man; wherein I saw a link to a post that contained this video. I just had to post this up too.
This is just something hilarious, thanks Dirk. Dancing and singing like a goof alone is funny; but imagine one of the best players in the NBA, a 7-foot German whom everyone is accustomed to seeing sport an angry face and plays intense all the time. It just makes me cringe, it totally doesn't suit him in any way whatsoever: That's why it's so damn funny.
It is the age old question of all NBA fans from all generations across the wide globe and even under it: Why are the Spurs boring?
Think about it. Why? The Spurs can run, they showed that in the Phoenix series. They can score high, once again showed in the Phoenix series. They can adapt to different styles and play in all kinds of levels; be it physical ball with the Nuggets, finesse but quick with the Suns, or the 'ol bumping and grinding with the Jazz. The team statistics for the regular season are actually very telling; the Spurs is an extremely versatile team, and the statistics show that: They are at the middle of all teams in the league in points per game, I'm saying that they adapt to their opponents' playing style and beat their ass regardless. They have one of the best guard combos in the league when Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili play side-by-side; a very flashy pair in passes and quickness. The San Antonio Spurs are very good in everything. There is nothing bad about them. They own the basketball world, and is at the brink of capturing their 4th NBA Title in 9 years. So I have to ask this question again.
Why are the Spurs labeled boring? Why is it that the Spurs did not sell out a home game at this time of the year, in the Western Conference Finals? Why?
It's a mystery. However, I came up with four theories as to why the Spurs are labeled as boring; in hopes of easing the curiosity and the burning questions deep within every NBA watcher's heart. Let's take a look and see:
1.) None of the Spurs have any tattoo/s.
I don't know if anyone has noticed, but none of the Spurs have any tattoos. I literally do not see a single player from the active Spurs roster that has any tattoos (I don't count Melvin Ely, he doesn't play, and I don't count the peeping tattoo of Duncan unless he takes his shirt off). Heck, who knows? Bruce Bowen might have a gigantic tattoo of Tim Duncan up where the sun doesn't shine, but we're not talking about the hidden tattoos. We're talking about the image that the viewers can see from their television sets or through the internet. None, nadda, zip (save for the earlier stuff mentioned once more). Check out Matt Barnes, he has a load of fans. You can call him thuggish, dirty, or cheap, but never boring. Manu Ginobili can whoop Matt Barnes in 1-on-1 in a million ways, but I bet Matt Barnes will have twice as many ladies running towards him to wipe his sweat. But then again, we can't count out the exotic European twat.
2.) Their team color is too dull.
Coincidental? Their color is black and white. Everybody loves the gray area, but the Spurs just HAD to be black and white. Even the figure of speech 'black and white' refers to stagnancy and linearity. Great. Their team color is so dull indeed. On road games, they look like pallbearers running back and forth transporting huge oranges between two holes. It's hard to stay lively and cheer for the Spurs when their color forces you into a mourning mood. It makes me want to cry. In home games, the Spurs' white duds complemented with the black stripes make them totally disappear from your line of sight and makes you focus on the away team's players even more. It's like wearing a black shirt if you're fat to make yourself look thin; it's like wearing a horizontally-striped shirt to make yourself bloat if you're scrawny; it's like wearing a turtleneck to make yourself look taller if you're vertically-challenged. It's a different thing, but the concept is there. I'd still go for baby blue and apple green for the new Spurs uniform, no contest.
3.) The Spurs have no emotion.
Flashy plays and thunderous dunks. Yet, the Spurs are stiff in the face. Special mention to Tim Duncan, the captain that leads this Spurs force. Tony Parker is FAST. Manu Ginobili is FLASHY. Tim Duncan is UNSTOPPABLE. But the emotion Derek Fisher showed in Game 2 of the Jazz-Warriors series totally out-emotionizes the combined emotions of the Spurs' 'Big Three' this whole playoffs run. When Baron Davis stepped over-and-back in the dying seconds of Game 2, Derek Fisher threw his whole body and soul in a fist pump to celebrate the turnover; when Fisher hit the dagger three-pointer in overtime in that same game, he pointed both hands upwards in recognition of God and the high heavens. Come on, that single game actually totally out-emotionized the whole Spurs team this whole playoffs. Somebody scream out loud following a thunderous dunk, somebody show an angry face in the intense moments of the game, somebody WOO every other minute that passes to make sure everyone's heart is still beating, somebody shout "That's what I'm talkin' about!" every dead ball no matter who the possession points to. The Spurs sport zombie faces; something the fan-base wouldn't mind passing on when looking for a new fad.
It's basically planted out like this: Same old faces on the same old team doing the same old stuff and accomplishing the same old things. I was watching the Pistons-Cavs game earlier in somewhat of a sports bar; and a friend of mine had nothing else to say but his despise of another Spurs-Pistons finals. First, he screamed "Kalbo! (bald)"at Chauncey Billups after he made that big shot in the dying seconds to trim the Cavs lead to two; next he screamed "Umuwi na kayo! (Go home, screw yourselves)" at the Pistons when they were all but done; and then summed everything up by saying it has to be Jazz-Cavs in the finals, otherwise he'll have to watch a bunch of "lolo (grandfathers)" play in the NBA Finals, again. I'm sure a billion other people share the same sentiments. All in all, that was pretty hilarious.
Overall, the Spurs are practically the most beautiful basketball players you will ever get to know in your whole lifetime, but it's too bad the media doesn't buy pretty; because the world doesn't as well, and this is basically one of the greatest proof of all.
If you want to rant on some things or share your own contribution or reason as to why the Spurs are boring, just send me an e-mail and I'd gladly post it up.
Have a nice day Spurs fans.
Special thanks to Niño and TJ.
Sunday, May 27
The Jazz won this one easy, 109-83. It looked as though the Jazz were going to lay down dead at halftime, but they gave San Antonio quite a beating in the second half where everything went Utah's way, and crap went to San Antonio's way. So this is what they call home-court advantage.
- Duncan was having a great shooting night and was on his way to stomp on the Utah Jazz, if only he didn't get into foul trouble and turn the ball over 8 times. Too bad.
- Tony Parker has been the only consistent Spur throughout this whole playoffs. He kept them alive with 25 points and 7 assists; unfortunately, his partner-in-crime Manu Ginobili didn't do so well.
- The Utah Jazz beat the Spurs in all statistics except for three: Personal Fouls, where Spurs had 4 more; Turnovers, where Spurs had 7 more; and 3-point attempts, where the Spurs had 12 more but only made 1 more than the Utah Jazz.
- Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur were horrible once again; maybe we can give some consideration to Kirilenko even though he scored zip, because he brings a million other things to the court for the Jazz.
- Yellow is a much better color than blue; if they had to eliminate the Warriors, at least adapt the color. Then I'd be much livelier watching Jazz home games.
- Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer carried the Jazz once more with monster performances. Too bad they'll fall short on the road, as long as their other starters don't contribute squat. Their bench was tremendous tonight, but I doubt they'd keep it up for the next games.
- Jacque Vaughn is a human wrecking-ball. If he keeps this up by the end of the playoffs, I'll make a Jacque Vaughn Tribute post remembering all those tackles, dives, and hits he has done for the opposing teams in the past.
- Does Matt Bonner have piercing elbows? I think they stabbed Deron Williams when he ran into them late in the fourth quarter. I was surprised with Deron sprawling on the floor with such minimal contact. I don't believe Deron to be a flopper nor an actor, so I'll believe that Matt Bonner does have sharp elbows. Or maybe a rock hard body. Nah.
- I hope Deron was just shaken up, so he can continue demolishing the Spurs next game.
- Was this the first time in Eva Longoria's career when she was booed by a capacity crowd? I hope they didn't throw nuts and candy at her.
- Maybe this is deja vu of the Jazz-Warriors series. We'll all be teased into thinking that Utah has a chance to come back after blowing out the Spurs in Game 3, but will later learn that they should have just let Game 3 go to save us all precious time.
Spurs in 6.
Saturday, May 26
Everyone loves LeBron James. He might have some haters who will be hatin' all the way, but it's not about being liked at all. It's about respect as a basketball player. LeBron is turning out to be a likely pioneer to a new age of basketball, and I am sure everybody realizes that, whether they love him or hate him.
I just wanted to clear that up, now on to the main issue: Should LeBron James be suspended?
LeBron James "inadvertently" elbowed Chris Webber right between the eyes and through the skull with his follow-through after rising over a couple of defenders to take a shot. Have a look see:
That is a funny scene to use as an example to describe the word "inadvertent". What's even funnier is LeBron James' follow-through. After watching it for the first two times, the only thing that entered my mind was if James did the elbow on purpose. When I slowly realized that he did do it on purpose and with much force, I couldn't help but find it hilarious. Damn that's got to hurt.
In your face Chris Webber!
I'm not supporting a gangster-type of basketball nor am I condemning LeBron James for his actions. For all we know, Chris Webber deserved every inch of that and more. But I am in no position to judge, and neither is everyone else: That hit was between LeBron James's elbow and Chris Webber's brain cells (if he had any, or have any left if he indeed had some in the past). Let's leave it at that. Let's go deeper into the situation.
But first, watch this:
Does everyone see the similarities of those sequences between Kobe and LeBron? No? They both flung the arm closest to the nearest defender and targeted it right on the tip of the defender's nose. It's brilliant. Kobe must be giving LeBron lessons, but as they say, the student will surpass the teacher in time and LeBron did. As you can see, Kobe's elbow missed on both occasions and had to settle for only a forearm-smash-to-your-damn-face for both Jaric and Ginobili. However, the third time's the charm, and LeBron did it right and crisp; a sign that LeBron will be greater than Kobe, he gets the job done.
Here's the main problem: Kobe was suspended for each of the elbow flings in the regular season. Now that LeBron has done the exact same action, plus much more effective results, why is he getting a pardon with only a flagrant foul 2 penalty? You gotta love LBJ, I'd hate to see him get suspended especially in this part of the season; but I can't help but be reminded of the Stoudemire and Diaw incident. Why has Stern, who has been so consistent in enforcing the rules and handing out suspensions mercilessly, gone soft and pardoned LeBron for the elbow? I'm suspecting that David Stern can't handle any more stress from the backlashes of suspending key players in the post season. Of course, another player-suspension issue would cause larger cracks in the NBA, but his inconsistencies prove much more damaging to his image as the NBA Commissioner. He might be trying to make up for the past suspension moves regarding Stoudemire and Diaw: Go ahead Stern, sweep it under the rug. Either Stern is the new league janitor, or all the conspiracies everyone have been theorizing lately have been true all along.
Conspiracy: The league is fixed! No, not fixed, but FIXED. I'm talking about the connotation of fix. Fix, one of the worst words in sports history. It disrespects sportsmanship and the integrity of the game. Despicable. Maybe Stern is actually afraid to suspend LeBron James. Since LeBron James is slowly becoming the face of the association, as opposed to Stoudemire, he fears punishing him severely and risk harming the worldwide fan-base. LeBron James is UNTOUCHABLE. Hypocrisy. LeBron James is hidden under Stern's right pocket. I know Kobe Bryant is old news and LeBron is your boy, but people aren't so stupid.
Of course, all of the conspiracy talk is just stupid. If you ask me seriously, David Stern just screwed up. He should be thankful that the worldwide interest and ratings of the Eastern Conference Finals has dropped far below being pitiful, that only a handful of people can notice this shortcoming. For a man that has been consistent in implementing the rules and suspending players without mercy or care for stardom, this hasn't been his brightest moment. If he suspends Kobe for throwing those elbows, he should suspend LeBron as well. If he suspends Stoudemire and Diaw despite the stupidity of the rule and the playoff situation, he should suspend LeBron as well. Come on, even if you combine Stoudemire and Diaw's offense with Kobe's offense, LeBron's offense still kicks them in the nuts from all angles; but I don't see LeBron being suspended.
This is just stupidity by David Stern. His inconsistencies in decision-making have led to a few million more possibly-true conspiracy theories. I'm turning off my TV for all the following NBA Games! I hope Stern gets the message when he sees a decrease of 1/5,843,732,493 in his ratings. Take that Stern!
"So depending upon what will put the most fans watching our games and the most money in our pockets, we should bend our rules," Stern said. "OK, I'll put that as a second point. Let me write that down."
We all thought he was sarcastic. It appears that he had us all fooled, he was dead serious.
Hypocrisy From the NBA and Stern, What Else is New?
Friday, May 25
I came across a post in the Fanhouse earlier commenting about how LeBron James threw the ball at the feet of a few ladies in the front row. The sequence follows as: Carlos Delfino tips the ball out of bounds when James caught the ball; then as James picked it up, it SEEMED like he threw it at the ladies in the front row.
I only have one thing to say and that is everyone loves controviersies and instantly buys into these things without watching the video. First of all, if LeBron did hit the ladies, I think Stern would have suspended him already for the entire playoffs and the whole of next season. Why wouldn't he? He's on a roll.
It was a fake pass. He threw the ball to the floor in a certain motion so that when it hit the floor, it would bounce right back. It was a streetball move; kind of scaring the ladies in the front row a bit. Come on, at least LeBron is providing some entertainment right? With the way things are going in the Eastern Conference Finals, only the last 3 minutes of the games are worth watching.
The pass was best described by a certain SrR who commented on the post: You start to pass the ball forward, then you slide your hand on top and flick your wrist, sending it straight down instead of at the person in front of you, totally faking them out.
Great stuff. LeBron should do this more; and people need to chill out. Jeez.
Random Athlete Encounter: Chris Gatling
I'm sure not everyone is enjoying the NBA Playoffs, and I can't blame them. First of all, 26 out of the 30 teams have gone fishin', which means the fans of those 26 teams could care less who won the NBA Title; especially the die-hard fans: "Screw the world, my team got eliminated!"The match-ups also haven't been friendly for the average neutral NBA watcher, and the ratings seem to show it. So what can we do about it? Nothing! What can I do about it? Wish the NBA merged with the WWE and hope that everyone shares the same sentiments even just for now.
A couple of years ago, two of the NBA's most famous superstars have already crossed the border and performed in sports entertainment. These two players are the NBA's very own: Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman. The two performed in the WCW for one match, and shared headlocks and grapples. Karl Malone even had the pleasure of body-slamming Hulk Hogan, and Dennis Rodman was able to score a take-down on Diamond Dallas Page. You've got to be proud about our players, who knew they had potential in sports entertainment? Overall, it was quite dull for a match, I think they were too concerned about how Malone and Rodman would be able to keep up with the moves and speed of the match.
Check this out:
Based on those insights, I have now come up with something innovative: Since we put NBA players in sports entertainment, why not put sports entertainment on NBA? I scanned through all the current WWE superstars in search of the perfect NBA prospect, and I happily found one wrestler who could create a huge impact on an NBA team. No, I'm not talking about John Cena, although he could spice up the locker room and the NBA entertainment scene like Gilbert Arenas has. Carlito would be great, especially after spitting on the faces of people who don't want to be cool, but not him. I was thinking of someone who could create an impact on-court, someone like: The Great Khali. After tapping out to the FU by John Cena last week, I think Khali should save face and join the NBA draft this year. And who better player to compare him to than one of the most dominating players in NBA history, the Great Shaquille?
Let's compare them head-to-head:
This aspect is a no-brainer. First of all, the Great Khali stands at 7'3, 2 inches taller than big-daddy Shaq. Another reason is that Shaq has a shiny bald head with his famous goatee complemented by that sly grin of his. I think that's no contest when compared to large ridged-eyebrows and messy long-hair covering the eyes which makes Khali look like a serial killer. Shaq has a deep voice, but Khali can barely be understood when speaking which makes him sound like a monster. The Longest Yard can vouch for that.
Winner: The Great Khali
2.) On-Court Play
Let's analyze things shall we? Once again, let's bring up the height comparison: Shaq stands at 7'1, while Khali stands at 7'3. What about weight? Shaq weighs 325 lbs, while Khali weighs 420 lbs. That is a difference of almost 100 lbs in weight, and 2 inches difference in height. Talk about the size advantage on Khali. How will they fare on the court? No contest. Shaq is much faster and can miraculously finish on the fast break at times, but on a half-court set, Khali will own Shaquille.
If it was 'Khali vs. others' against 'Shaq vs. others', we can safely call it Khali's advantage. Think about it, Khali can just walk in the middle of the paint, and the point guard can just toss him the ball for a no-jump dunk. The opponent will have to throw seven of their players (the five on court plus two from the bench) just to box out Khali. This leaves the other four teammates of Khali wide-open for shots, not to mention the benefit of the technical foul being called against the opposing team for having too many players on court. An '01 version of Shaq however, can be contained easily when the opposing team throws three of their players at him. This is a landslide for Khali.
What about 'Khali vs Shaq'? Shaq can easily out-maneuver Khali with his low-post moves, and I think Khali is too slow to block any of Shaq's shots, so Shaq easily wins on his side. On Khali's side however, I think he can walk over Shaq straight to the front of the basket and no-jump dunk the basketball.
Winner: The Great Khali
I think everyone knows Shaq gets in to fights every now and then. And a lot more people know that The Great Khali gets into fights weekly, it's his job. Now what if there was a brawl involving two teams? Who would you rather have? Shaquille O'Neal? Or The Great Khali? Shaq is feared in the world of NBA fights. I think everyone is aware of the infamous altercation between Brad Miller, Charles Oakley, and Shaq, a few years ago. If Shaq's punch landed, Brad Miller would have been OUT COLD. Khali gets in to fights every week, although they are orchestrated. If Khali went against five men, he would fare better than if Shaq went against the same five men; however, if Shaq and Khali went at it, I think Shaq's advantage in speed would win out (I said Shaq and the word 'speed' in the same sentence).
Winner: I wanted to say draw, but you've gotta give credit to Shaq. Shaquille O'Neal! I applaud the man who can take out O'Neal in a fist fight (UFC fighters and heavyweight boxers are not allowed).
Over-All Winner: The Great Khali!
Of course, this is all impossible. It's just an insight of what we could expect if a WWE superstar as large as the Great Khali would actually come play for the NBA. It's possible that he might not have any knowledge of basketball, but he'll be fine in a year, I think. Either way, The Great Khali can create a dynasty and win numerous NBA titles, and can even outnumber Michael Jordan's rings. Yeah right, dream on. Take that NBA!
No history of heart-problems
NHL coaching experience
No NBA coaching experience
Take losing in stride.
Bear with a team which has no direction.
Main entertainment the fans come to see.
Smoking crack during the game as to avoid cardiac arrest.
I think it's obvious now what I am talking about. I'm talking about the Indiana Pacers. I've been doing my homework recently and noticed that AT LEAST 5 coaches have rejected the Pacers' offer and wanted nothing to do with coaching the team. It is such a tragic tale, NOBODY wants this team. None of the league officials actually want anything to do with the Indiana Pacers and their landslide right now. How can they? When it is guaranteed failure.
"We need you to take over this team. You will mostly lose all your games, but you'll eventually win a few in break-out games. I'm talking about almost 60 losses for each of the next 2 or 3 seasons. It'll damage your coaching-career; but hey, we'll still pay you millions for it."
What you just experienced above is the subliminal message that the organization has been injecting towards the coaching candidates; only these candidates can read between the lines, unfortunately for Walsh and Bird. Not Stan Van Gundy, not Jeff Van Gundy, not Brian Shaw; heck, we could even joke about the Pacers scaring Sam Mitchell into signing a contract extension with the Raptors because of the coaching invite to Indiana. Not even one of the franchise's most respected player, former NBA-player Mark Jackson, wanted to coach the team. Do you want the punchline? Not even Bird himself wants to coach the team. I guess those are benefits of top management: hire other people to do the dirty work. I think Bird knows his principles.
"But Why?" is everyone's question about how horrid the Pacers are, here's why:
- The Pacers' roster is horrible. They missed the playoffs for the first time in a long long time. Seriously, what can you do with a roster that contains two uberly-soft-over-paid-mediocre players, along with the epitome of inconsistency in a point guard, and an unhappy star player? Nothing really.
- The Pacers have no draft pick this year to ice the roster pain. That's right. They lost this year's draft pick to Atlanta dating back to the Al Harrington trade. No new talent this year guys, just the same old grumpy faces.
- The Pacers have no money to sign any free agents. Thanks to the humongous contracts of two sorry excuses for basketball players, the Pacers are going to be hooked for quite a while. I doubt any team is interested in the two, so trading them is out of the question. I guess this means no free agents and no rookies.
- The Pacers have no direction. Will they be rebuilding? Or will they still be trying to push for contention despite being unprivileged of new faces on the team? The answer is right between the eyeballs of every knowledgeable basketball fan, and that is to rebuild; but the management doesn't seem to realize that. This has got to be one of the worst management performance of any organization since the Timberwolves were WAY over the salary cap and were forced to concede their draft pick for quite a number of years; not to mention having girls pose as KG's teammates as he single-handedly brought them to the playoffs each year.
- With a horrible roster, no draft pick, no money, and no direction: the Pacers seem to be headed downhill for the next few years guaranteed. What kind of coach would want to take a job that guarantees major losing seasons? Desperate ones are all I can think of.
Same score. Same outcome. Same struggles. Same disappointment. Same ending. Different day.
Talk about deja vu. Rasheed Wallace hit a big shot to take the lead for good in the final 24 seconds of the game to boost the Pistons up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals. After being criticized for passing up the shot in the dying seconds of Game 1, LeBron James finally took it upon himself to take the ball strong to the hole and take the shot himself; and missed. Larry Hughes corralled the offensive rebound and missed a wide-open 10-footer (I wasn't surprised), and another opportunity came along for the Cavs as Varejao grabbed another offensive rebound but missed the ensuing tip-in. Mike Brown was called for a technical foul contesting that Rasheed Wallace fouled Varejao which gave the Pistons three free-throws for the cushion. Rip Hamilton missed the last free throw and Varejao grabbed the defensive rebound and threw a prayer to tie the game; unfortunately, the prayer was not answered (does the last sequence involving Varejao sound familiar? Game 1 ended exactly the same way).
Final Score: Detroit Pistons 79 Cleveland Cavaliers 76 -- The exact same score from Game 1.
Another hard-to-swallow game for the Cavs. They had all the opportunities in the world to take this game right from under the Pistons' nose, but the were not able to capitalize on it:
- A 12-point lead after halftime, but scored 26 points the rest of the way. Not only does Detroit play hard perimeter defense, the Cavs are offensively challenged.
- Tayshaun Prince had another great night of hounding LeBron James, although shooting 0/8 FGs. He now has a total of 1/19 FGs for the series. I think the Pistons can live with that considering they are up 2-0.
- The Cavs had three great shots to win the game in the final seconds, but missed all of them. I'll just call them unlucky.
- Chauncey "Mr. Big Shot" Billups refused to take "small shots" for the second game in a row and only attempted 7 shots.
- Larry Hughes was horrible once again.
- Maybe the people criticizing that James should have kicked the ball out this time?
Wednesday, May 23
Reports have stated the Roy Hibbert will be pulling out from the draft and will be returning for his senior year in Georgetown. Hibbert will be eligible to return to play for Georgetown because he did not acquire an agent, in which if he did, he will be forbidden from playing in Georgetown.
Great move Hibby. You represent the brilliance in patience for investments.
Hibbert will be returning to Georgetown alone without his forward Jeff Green as Green decided to stay in the draft. This means extended responsibilities for Roy Hibbert as Georgetown still has a legit chance to make a run in the NCAA Tournament with the continually-improving Roy Hibbert still around, along with increased minutes, opportunities, and major improvements in statistics. That means major value increase in the prospected draft for next year.
I think Hibbert was waiting for the outcome of the draft lottery to observe which teams would actually need him in their roster. Being a prospected top 10 pick, none of those 10 teams, save for Portland and Seattle since we already know who they're drafting and Sacramento, will actually need Hibbert in their roster. At least not right away. That would indeed hurt his value as an NBA player A LOT. The same scenario happened with Joey Graham and Shelden Williams, who were both drafted by teams already overloaded with the position they play. Now they're stuck in the bench with limited minutes. We don't want that for Hibbert, now do we? Major career roadblock. Such wasted potential, we don't see much 7-2 players around anymore.
Going back to Georgetown and improving his game could actually make him a shoo-in for the top 3 picks next year. That way, it wouldn't really matter if either of those teams actually need him, especially if that specific team is a rebuilding team. They'd practically shake up their own roster to adjust to Roy Hibbert. That's a big plus to his value as a player compared to settling for being drafted around the 4th to 10th pick this year. Being selected as a top 3 next year could mean getting a team built around him. He will be a superstar with loaded contracts for years to come.
Very sly Hibby, very sly indeed.
Roy Hibbert Is a Smart Man
Roy Hibbert Staying at Georgetown; Jeff Green Leaves
The rich get richer, and the poor only get poorer.
After this year's draft is over, the Western teams will only become greater juggernauts while the East will have to settle for hoping for draft steals.
I can't say I was too ecstatic about the outcome of the draft lottery, mainly because my favorite team didn't get the first pick; but you have got to be happy for the winners anyway, especially knowing the fact that it's about time that they were able to hit the jackpot and jump up the NBA rankings as others take their place as NBA losers.
Let's talk about the top three winners and how their draft picks will create the future NBA dynasties.
The first overall pick goes to: The Portland Trailblazers
You have got to be happy about the Trailblazers here. Throw out the 'jailblazers' moniker, and bring back the glory days brought upon by Clyde Drexler, Bill Walton, Jerome Kersey, Steve Smith, Scottie Pippen, Rod Strickland, Dale Davis, Arvydas Sabonis. Brian Grant, Rasheed Wallace, Detlef Schrempf, Damon Stoudamire, and a bunch of other old guys that we have forgotten. Too many names? Well, they had too many playoff appearances, I'm talking about the NBA-record of 21 straight post-season appearances, there were just too many guys I wouldn't dare to leave out. If you can catch my drift, I'm talking about a Trailblazer reappearance in the Playoffs. Why? Because of this year's jackpot, that's why. The obvious OBVIOUS obvious pick the Trailblazers need to snag without any discussion whatsoever is none other than GREG ODEN.
Take a look at this line-up: Brandon Roy, the 2006-07 Rookie of the Year, will run the point guard position. Roy may be a point guard with a dominant forward inside (Randolph), but he isn't afraid and isn't incapable of lighting up the scoreboard. He led all rookies in scoring with almost 17 points per game as well as a decent number of rebounds and assists. Roy playing as a shooting guard is another option, similar to the position shift of Dwayne Wade and LeBron James. On the other guard position, Portland can choose between Martell Webster or Jarrett Jack. If they pick Jarrett Jack as the other main guard, he can run the point, and Roy can move to the shooting guard. Either way, it doesn't matter. Just ask Roy's back-court partner, whether Webster or Jack, to practice shooting 50,000 three-pointers and 20,000 free-throws after practice daily. That's it. It's an exaggeration but you get what I mean. On the forward positions, the Trailblazers have LaMarcus Aldridge (expecting he fully recovers from the Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome) and Zach Randolph. LaMacrus has shown in some occasions during the season that he is indeed a monster underneath the basket, and he will only get better, trust me. Zach Randolph on the other hand, is Zach Randolph. No explanations needed. The middle will be manned obviously by Greg Oden. If he adjusts properly and adapts quickly enough to NBA basketball, his low-post play will become a feared asset. In the West, where the big men rule, wouldn't you love that line-up? It is complete, you couldn't have asked for anything more: Oden, Randolph, Aldridge, Jack/Webster, Roy. Everyone loves it. I know I do.
What if the Blazers pick Kevin Durant? Well, let's put it this way: The Trailblazers will become an underachieving team filled with middle-sized players who will have horrible team chemistry on the court. The Blazers need a center, not a forward. No matter how much better Durant is compared to Oden, taking Durant is just plain wrong. Remember that it's not all skills, it's a battle of match-up, chemistry, and will.
The second overall pick goes to: The Seattle Supersonics
One team that I am not too happy about getting one of the top picks. Why? Whichever of the two top-picking teams pick Durant, is on the raw end of the deal. Personally, I don't like it. I like Durant a whole lot more than Oden, the guy has some mad skills; unfortunately, the two top-picking teams don't need Durant, they need Oden. That is why I was hoping for a team like Sacramento, a long-shot though, to have gotten 2nd. Sacramento can and will use and abuse with Kevin Durant and Mike Bibby running the pick-and-roll, no doubt about it. What can I say, I'm a guy who likes everyone to win. One example of why I don't like Durant going to Seattle: I doubt Seattle will re-sign Rashard Lewis if they can get their hands on Kevin Durant. I just wish he would go to a team and FILL THE MISSING PIECE, not cause the puzzle to jumble up once more trying to adjust to him. So back to Seattle, what can we see them do with this pick? The only way for Seattle to utilize their top-pick to its fullest potential is if Portland makes a mistake and drafts Durant. Here's the bright spot anyway for Seattle if they pick Durant: Acquiring Kevin Durant is like re-signing Rashard Lewis, only he is much cheaper, not as seasoned but has some great skill, and has potential to grow even better than Rashard if given time; sadly, Ray Allen doesn't have time. If they can replace Rashard Lewis with Kevin Durant, then they'd have all the salary cap space in the world to sign a big-time free agent. Maybe Chauncey Billups? Yeah right.
IF the Sonics can miraculously pick Greg Oden, then well and good. Maybe Rashard Lewis would like to come back and try his luck with the Sonics one more time. Check it out, Greg Oden in the middle with two wing-players: Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. You can't forget about Chris Wilcox crashing the boards. What do you think?
The third overall pick goes to: The Atlanta Hawks
Why do I love this pick? First of all, Atlanta won't have to pick Durant or Oden because they were already picked earlier (The media will DISMANTLE you if you pass up on Oden or Durant no matter how horrible they fit in your line-up, damn the hype). Second is they can pick ANYONE ELSE in the draft. It's like having the first overall pick in a draft that doesn't include Oden or Durant. Finally, the Atlanta Hawks can draft a POINT GUARD! The Hawks have already proven their drafting-incompetence by selecting Sheldon Williams, but at least they have a chance to redeem themselves this season. If the Hawks pick Al Horford or Brandan Wright, I will personally go to Atlanta, go slap-nuts, and run the Hawks' management out of the NBA and I will take over the Atlanta Hawks(I'd like that). Not another forward, please! I beg you! An interesting scenario: Since the Hawks have two draft picks (poor Indiana), they can gamble on the draft. The Hawks can get Horford or Noah on the 3rd pick, then HOPE and PRAY that nobody picks Mike Conley until the 11th pick. If someone actually picks Mike Conley before the 11th pick, then the Hawks are screwed. All I'm saying is, the Hawks can never go wrong with Mike Conley. He is the absolute best choice for the Hawks. He is young, he is skilled, and he has nuts of steel, something he has shown too many times in the NCAA Tournament. Mike Conley Jr. Hands down. By now, the Atlanta Hawks should have already realized that the missing pieces in their line-up are: a point guard and a decent center. I'm leaning towards getting a point guard first. They can probably pick a solid-contributor of a center in the 11th.
Mike Conley Jr. Hands down.
Atlanta can't go wrong.
If they do, they are screwed for another season.
Here are the results of the draft lottery:
1.) Portland Trailblazers
2.) Seattle Supersonics
3.) Atlanta Hawks
4.) Memphis Grizzlies
5.) Boston Celtics
6.) Milwaukee Bucks
7.) Minnesota Timberwolves
8.) Charlotte Bobcats
9.) Chicago Bulls
10.) Sacramento Kings
11.) Atlanta Hawks
12.) Philadelphia 76ers
13.) New Orleans Hornets
14.) Los Angeles Clippers
Atlanta Hawks, draft the damn point guard!
If anyone has their own opinions and suggestions and comments and rants and discussions and other things about the draft lottery, please e-mail me. Thank you.
Not a good day for the NBA
Well We Suppose This ruins Pitino's Master Plan
Celtics Lottery Bitterness...And Crushing Conspiracy Theories
How Will The Hawks Blow It?
Tuesday, May 22
Okay, seeing that the one measly shot (or pass rather) has created shock-waves in discussions, I think we should tackle the issue. Here's what everyone is crying about: With the Cavs down 78-76 and under 10 seconds to go, LeBron drove to the lane and kicked the ball out to Donyell Marshall for a wide-open 3-pointer. He missed.
My apologies to Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson, but I have to disagree with you guys about this. Yes, it's the Eastern Conference Finals and LeBron is the best player in the building, but no, he should not have taken the shot. And he didn't, I think that was the right play.
LeBron James made the right play.
Come on, if the shot had come in, everyone would be comparing that play exactly to the dish Michael Jordan gave Jim Paxson to win clinch the championship against Phoenix, who was coincidentally led by Charles Barkley himself. It's okay Charles, we are all bitter about something. What about Steve Kerr's shot against the Utah Jazz? Someone argue against that please. However, if LeBron had indeed taken that shot and missed, I'm sure everyone would persecute LeBron for going 1 on 12 in the lane when there was a wide-open Donyell Marshall behind the arc and compare unselfishness between him and Michael Jordan.
Get over it everybody, it was the right play. If you can't go on living without placing the blame on someone, put it on Donyell Marshall for missing the game-winner. Heck, it wasn't just a right play, it was a GREAT play. A million dollar play and a two dollar shot, dang. What better shot could you have asked for aside from a wide-open three? The same shot Stephen Jackson took when Baron Davis kicked it out to him for a wide-open three, but also missed it.
Come on, decide what shot you'd rather take: LeBron James going 1 on 500 in the lane or a wide-open Donyell Marshall for the win? If this question was brought up even before the play happened, majority of everyone would choose the latter. The only reason everyone is so grumpy about James passing up the shot is because it missed; but before the play even happened, I'm sure everyone would take the wide-open 3 especially after Marshall dropped 6 3-pointers the last game. Even LeBron.
If you think about it, the aspect that seperates LeBron James and the wanna-be Michael Jordans is the so called superstar mentality. Michael Jordan never had superstar mentality, he just had superstar skills, but developed a team mentality. A player can't win the game all by himself, he needs his teammates in no matter what situation. He doesn't go and try to do everything himself and acts blind as if there are no other players on court wearing the same color of jersey he is. LeBron plays with a team mentality, not a superstar mentality. Don't expect him to force up that shot if it isn't there. That would be dumb. What makes Jordan so great is because even if he has team mentality, he still has enough skill to drop on the opposing team. Imagine what he would have done if he had a superstar mentality, he would have the capability to drop 50 points a night; the sad part is: he won't win as much titles. He trusts his teammates enough to let them take the title-clinching shot. In a team, you trust.
Now we are on the verge of seeing what LeBron James is really capable of. Come on everybody, he has the killer instinct to go for the win. Something we haven't seen from anybody of the players in the NBA right now, except for Gilbert Arenas pulling up 3-pointers to win a tied game, since Reggie Miller retired. He has trust, and he has will. Too bad he is surrounded by mediocre underachievers. Maybe we'll have to wait a few more years then. The good news is: we caught a glimpse of Michael Jordan in tonight's game.
Even if they lost.
Monday, May 21
Let me rephrase: after the tiny droplets have stopped dripping from the sky.
Game 1 results:
Utah Jazz 100 @ San Antonio Spurs 108
Cleveland Cavaliers 76 @ Detroit Pistons 79
Looks like the higher seeded teams won, as expected. We are right on course.
I'm not going to write recaps for the games, not exactly. I think everyone has grown tired of recaps, especially after reading a thousand recaps; then arriving here to find more recaps. Let's do something new: I'm going to write about the one biggest thing that caught my attention from each of the four teams in the NBA's Final Four. Let's get started.
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan's dark knights. Yes, you got it right, I'm talking about the guards of San Antonio: Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. I understand these guys have been great all season long, but I guess the world has a tendency to overlook the San Antonio Spurs; it could have something to do with their team color, maybe we could see them sport apple green and baby blue next season (That would snatch some viewers). However, now that there are only four teams remaining in play, it's time for the Spurs' guards to take the spotlight. Sure, the Spurs could be called boring, but isn't it awesome to watch Tony and Manu when they're on the court together? Tony alone is awesome to watch but pairing him with Manu is just great, especially the way Manu is stepping up his game as of late. You'll see what I mean here. Those guys are remarkable together. They are a highlight-tandem. Tony Parker has been in the league for a long time and has been through so much. Here's the scary part: he's only going to get better for the next SEVEN or EIGHT years. Why? He just turned 25 years old 5 days ago. Talk about hitting the jackpot for the Spurs. Look for these two guys to put on more show for the following games, it'll pacify everyone's rage about the outcome of a disappointing playoffs.
Tony Parker: 21 points, 6 assists, 3 steals
Manu Ginobili: 23 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 block, 1 steal
Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer need help. Deron Williams needs to continue his breakout playoff performance to have a fighting chance against the Spurs, but take note, they'll only have a fighting chance. What do the Jazz need to do then? The rest of the team needs to contribute. It would be unlikely for Deron Williams to continue his dominance for the rest of the series, especially if he is worn down by Bruce Bowen. Carlos Boozer will also be meeting the toughest challenge he has ever faced this playoffs: the San Antonio big men. Carlos will have to work harder than ever down low in order to deliver a punch to the Spurs. Where does this leave the other 3 starters of Utah then? This leaves them wondering what they can do for the team. Utah WILL NOT win if their other 3 starters shoot 7/27 FGs, and 21 total points in 98 total minutes. If Utah can play the way they did in the 10 games prior to the last loss to the Spurs, they might have a chance of winning. By the way, that dunk by Deron was reminiscent of the Baron Davis dunk against them last series.
Deron Williams: 34 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists
When the Detroit Pistons said that they have a plan to stop LeBron, they meant it. How did they do it? When the ball is in the King's hands, marvelous things happen. Here's how: do not let the ball go to the King's hands, and marvelous things do not happen. Props to Tayshaun Prince, that guy can lock anyone down. If ever LeBron did have the ball in his hands, throw the whole damn team at him. Anyway, even though the Pistons did contain LeBron, they still dodged a bullet there. Actually, they didn't dodge it, the shooter missed. Talk about a lucky break. Mr. Big Shot kind of bailed them out of that one. The Pistons need to execute much better on offense; one of these games, LeBron will light it up and explode and the Pistons need to be prepared to counter that. Actually, the Pistons overall didn't really miss too many shots, it only looked that way because Tayshaun Prince missed 10 of his 11 attempts and Chauncey only attempted 6 shots, I'm expecting Billups to produce a whole lot more next game and Tayshaun to just stick with defending LeBron. Who needs Ben Wallace if you've got Rasheed Wallace? Personally, I'd prefer to use my strategy against LeBron, but maybe that's why Flip is coaching and I'm here writing about him.
Rasheed Wallace: 15 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks
Here's an overused understatement that should be overused more and more but with no intentions of undermining anybody: LeBron James is a one-man-team. If he doesn't produce, no one else will. If he doesn't score, no one else will. If he doesn't play, no one else will. Okay, those are exaggerations but I think I made my point. The Cavs can't rely on LeBron to do everything for them, some of them have to step up and take charge at times when LeBron James is unavailable. It isn't every night that the Pistons will be turning the ball over 9 times more than them, and it isn't every night that the Pistons will give up so much offensive rebounds. This was probably the best chance the Cavs had of winning a game with both teams not really playing good basketball. Once again, the OTHER Cavaliers need to step up. The Pistons will be all over LeBron the whole series and this could be the best chance for any one of the Cavaliers to step up his game and be the hero of the series. Too bad Donyell Marshall missed the wide-open potential game-winning three-pointer. Maybe next time. Anyway, despite the Pistons' plan of slowing down LeBron was quite effective tonight, the one-man-team was still quite productive no matter what people say.
LeBron James: 5/15 FGs, 10 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals, 1 block
Here's the rest of the Cavaliers:
Larry Hughes: 4/13 FGs
Aleksandar Pavlovic: 4/14 FGs
Eric Snow: 0/4 FGs
Daniel Gibson: 0/4 FGs
You get what I mean.
Pistons To Face Cleveland in Conference Finals
Conference Finals Preview: It's Looking A Lot Like 2005
That Didn't Go So Well
Playoff Musings: Spurs v. Jazz
The Bad Pistons Jump Out Infront
Stay tuned for more Playoff ACTION! See you next time.
I was reading an article earlier about the NBA's need to be fixed because of all the hurt the association has been facing, and all I can say is: This is a very dark moment for the NBA. If you're interested, you can read it here.
Now if you're still interested, you can continue reading below:
Yes, the NBA needs to be fixed, but I doubt they'd need any help from the NFL to do so. Do you know what the NBA is right now? The NBA is sick. No, the NBA is not a sick, but the NBA is sick. Much like a little child with the flu. He feels horrible, he feels like the world's ass is sitting right on top of his face, and to add to the insult, his doctor gives him wrong medication which in turn makes the sickness worse. So he is left with nothing else to do but to just leave it alone and wait for it to pass. If he lives, he becomes stronger; if he dies, well.. he's dead. This is the NBA; and this is what the NBA is experiencing. You get the analogy, you should. After watching hundreds and hundreds of painful NBA basketball this year, everyone should understand what the NBA is going through. Come on, it's been an awful year for sports this past year, and the NBA is no exception.
So what went wrong with the NBA this year?
It's a surprising turn-around, but I caught a term that can possibly describe this phenomena that the NBA is experiencing. Do you guys remember the classic game between the Suns and the Mavs this year? The game which went Double-OT with Steve Nash being proclaimed the hero. I'm sure everyone remembers that. Then the Suns went on to lose two straight games after their victory. I think somebody called it 'emotional-exhaustion' (Let's call it EE shall we). The EE lasted for two games, but after extracting all the bad elements, the Suns went back to their dominant play. This is what could have possibly happened to the NBA this year, maybe all the concepts are wrong and nothing is related and everything is intertwined, you have to admit that they have similar outcomes: After the most exciting playoffs in decades and probably the most in history at that, it is followed by a let-down season where nothing seemed to go right.
Let's discuss the sighs, groans, and pains of this year's NBA season (with playoffs):
1.) Injuries. No team was safe from the injury bug. It affected each and every team one way or another and created at the least an adequate impact on the team's overall performance for the season.
The injury which bumped Michael Redd off the map for a few months cost the Bucks the possible playoff appearance, everyone saw how horrid the Bucks were without their star. Even when he returned, there was no stopping destiny. The Bucks played a few games without FOUR of their FIVE starters. Michael Redd was occasionally out even after his comeback, Mo Williams went out for a few games with the shoulder injury, Andrew Bogut never finished the season, and Bobby Simmons never even started the season. Harsh.
A team which was tortured and shown no mercy by the injury bug: New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets were without four key players for a long period of time. Chris Paul was out with the sprain for a few weeks, Peja Stojakovic was out for almost the entire season with back problems, David West and Bobby Jackson were also out for a significant amount of time. It was surprising to see them surging for a playoff seed, only to fall a few games short. Harsh.
The Washington Wizards, a playoff team, will not be an exception. The Wizards ruled the east with their 'Big Three' of Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, and Gilbert Arenas. Too bad it was short-lived. One by one, the stars came down for the Washington Wizards. Each member of the 'Big Three' fell to injury, but not simultaneously, that would just be a painful hit. What happened was more of irritating rather than painful. Here's what happened: When Antawn Jamison would go down, the Wizards would start to win some and then lose some. After some time, Antawn will be back, and then it would be Caron that will go down. The Wizards again will win some and then lose more. The cycle will continue between Caron and Antawn until the painful part finally caught up with them: Caron breaks his hand as Arenas injures his knee. The Wizards went on a losing party and eventually lost in the 1st round of the playoffs despite a valiant effort by Antawn Jamison. From mighty Wizards early on to performing magic tricks in a kid's party. Harsh.
There are A LOT more injury stories which stifled a team's success this year, but I can't write about them all. What would be great is if you guys can e-mail me of more injury tragedies and maybe I would write a part 2 for this issue.
Moving on to the next reason why the NBA was just no good this year.
2.) Imbalance. This year's conference match-ups have got to be the poorest excuse for the word "balance" I have ever seen in my entire life. It's not even actually an excuse, it's a blatant spit to the face that the West and the East are the eternal opposite of basketball skills for this season.
Check out the Eastern Conference's #1 seed, the Detroit Pistons. Cheers to Detroit, a great team, but has anyone thought about what would happen if they were actually placed in the West? They would drop to the #5 or #6 seed. That is just horrible. It reminds me of the 2000-01 season where the #1 seed of the West up to the #7 seed had 50 or more wins, but at least the #1 seed of the East was not far off from the #1 seed of the West. Are you confused? If yes, just read on.
The Western Conference teams OWN the Eastern Conference this year. The 5th seed of the West could have very much played the 1st seed of the East. This was just a horrible year for basketball, just pitiful.
Special mention and no thanks to the defending champions Miami Heat. Miami Heat is the biggest contamination of EE (Do you still remember EE?) this year. As NBA Champions, they were supposed to carry the battle of the Eastern teams on their back. Yet, they slack off and we easily forget about them after two hours and seven minutes. As champions, they were supposed to be the face of the NBA for this season, and I guess they completed their obligations well; since their performance rubbed off on the rest of the Eastern Conference. Thank you Miami Heat for carrying the Eastern Conference. We are ever grateful.
Can anyone please tell me what happened? I don't really have a clear idea. Why in the world has the league become so lopsided this year?
Can someone e-mail me what they think about the NBA-dominance by the Eastern Conference led by then-defensive juggernauts Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers back in 2003 and how it has slowly declined through the years? Could it be related to band-wagoning the running game? Someone e-mail me their thoughts!
3.) Lousy trade deadline. The whole NBA world was watching and waiting for someone to pull off a blockbuster trade on the wanning moments before the trade deadline; maybe a trade that will turn a mediocre team into an instant NBA Champion, those kinds of big trades (AKA Detroit Pistons and Rasheed Wallace). Seconds, minutes, hours passed. Until it was hours, minutes, and seconds that remained before the trade deadline. The only trade that occurred was Fred Jones for Juan Dixon. Thanks for the consolation.
That was dull. I was expecting Pau Gasol, Jason Kidd, or Mike Bibby on the move. But then, there was nothing. There was silence, a foreboding of what was to come for the NBA in the second part of the season.
The biggest trades that happened in the season are: 1) The acquisition of Allen Iverson, another player movement which turned the West into basketball paradise and the East into golf-lovers; Iverson and Melo need to fix some on-court chemistry issues though, only minimal. 2) 8-man trade which sent Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington to Golden State and Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy to Indiana. The soft East just got softer. What a move by Larry Bird.
4.) Tanking. I'm not in a position to say if some teams (Boston Celtics) were purposely tanking or just coincidentally tanked by resting their star player due to some "soreness" and "injuries". They're the only ones who actually know for sure, but either way, they now have pretty decent chances of landing those top 3 picks in the draft. Congratulations to them, whoever they are.
Bah, screw the subtleties. Screw you Boston Celtics for tanking.
Look at that smug on Doc Rivers' face. Danny Ainge must have just blown the news to him that he was going to get a contract extension for being such an awesome coach.
Let's call in Jermaine O'Neal for an interview.
Me: Jermaine, how long has the cartilage in your knee been torn?
(Let's imagine this is just the end of the regular season and the Pacers lose their final game).
JO: Around 2 months, since February.
Me: And you have been playing on this torn cartilage the whole time?
JO: I'm hoping we can make a playoff push, so I'll play in order to help.
Me: Now that your season is over, are you going to get that long-overdue surgery?
Me: It was nice talking to you.
JO: The pleasure is all mine, I love your blog.
Okay, maybe I made the interview up, but all the information there is true. All the tankers should be ashamed of themselves. You might say that the Pacers still had a legit chance of making the playoffs but your team was already 30 wins out of reach; but the Pacers were headed that direction anyway, what's the difference?
5.) Others. I decided to put the remaining issues under others, so it doesn't get really really long.
Has anyone ever thought about what could have happened if the Dallas Mavericks actually defeated Golden State? Sure, everyone rooted for Golden State to win. Everyone loves underdogs, and everybody loves history-making, but let's look at the long-term effects here (specifically now). Given our situation now, had we known Golden State was going to be thrashed by the Jazz anyway, wouldn't it have been much better to have the Dallas Mavericks here now? Come on, paint a brighter picture.
The Suns-Spurs controversy really hurt the NBA Playoffs big time. That was just a foul move by David Stern to have a series decided by suspensions. I am not saying the Spurs do not deserve to be up there in the Western Conference Finals. By all means they have the right to be there with the level of basketball they have been playing as of late, but here's the problem: we never got to see them truly get past the Suns. The Spurs were a better team for 3 games, but a series should be won with 4 games. Had the Spurs defeated the Suns in full strength even in Game 5, then the Spurs were undoubtedly just the better team. Too bad we'll never know.
These and some reasons more are why the NBA got derailed this year. We'll have to wait next season and see if the NBA can get back on track and provide us with intense and legit basketball action. If any one of you guys have more ideas as to why the NBA was derailed this season, send me an e-mail. I'll post it up for you guys.
'Til next time.
Sunday, May 20
Eastern Conference Finals: Detroit Pistons (1) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (2)
The Underdog: Cleveland Cavaliers
Ladies and gentlemen, the Cleveland Cavaliers (The man in the picture to your left) have (has) arrived in the Eastern Conference Finals (Hold for applause). This is the farthest Cleveland has ever reached in the post-season since 1992 (15 years) and the farthest LeBron James has ever reached in his life (22 years, a much longer drought). Actually, it wasn't much of a surprise for Cleveland to be here and now. Everyone kind of expected them to even get here much quicker, to the expense of the Washington Wizards and the New Jersey Nets. The closest Cleveland has ever got to the Eastern Conference Finals before this moment was last year, when they faced Detroit Pistons and lost in 7 games. Just for a little taste of history: The Cavaliers were leading the series 3-2 and ALMOST pulled out the Game 6 win. The victory was sitting right at the tip of the tip of the tip of their fingertips, but Detroit had both hands and a leg clasped to it; then thrashed Cleveland in Game 7. This year, the stage is set for a rematch and we will see if LeBron James can get his revenge and finally dispose of the long-time contender Detroit Pistons who will look to once again stifle LeBron James' chances of advancing deeper in to the playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers are led by their 22-year-old leader (Yes, 30-plus year old men looking up to a 22-year old boy) LeBron James, accompanied by his supposed complement Larry Hughes, along with the Cavalier giants in Drew Gooden and Zydurnas Ilgauskas (Did I spell that right?). We have yet to see the Cleveland Cavaliers play to their fullest intensity and potential, courtesy of the short-handed Wizards and the ice-cold Nets, so bring on the Detroit Pistons: The King has arrived.
The Favorite (Heavily): Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are once again on familiar ground, much like the Spurs, as this is the 5th straight year that they have reached the Eastern Conference Finals and look to advance to the NBA Finals for the 4th time in 5 years, where the one missing year was contributed by the Miami Heat which went on to win the title last season. The Pistons have been a target of numerous criticism throughout the years since winning in 2004: mainly about their diminishing focus on winning; especially last season where they garnered a league-best 64-win season, only to fall easily but not-so-easily to the Miami Heat. The Pistons are now driven by hunger as the one-time-wonder was short-lived, and look to repeat their title run of 2004. To get to the big stage, they will first have to steamroll through LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that gave them quite a scare in last season's Conference Semi-Finals. The Pistons will be facing an opponent quite opposite of their last, the Chicago Bulls, as the Cleveland Cavaliers are more of an inside-dwelling team on offense compared to the perimeter-shooting Chicago Bulls. Now without Ben Wallace, can the Detroit Pistons defend the interior as well as they used to or will Cleveland finally be able squeak out of Detroit holding their hands in victory? Newly-acquired Chris Webber, who is a much better offensive piece than Ben Wallace ever was, will do his best to make sure that the Pistons will never ever miss Ben Wallace in this series. Steamroller coming through.
This series looks to be lopsided on paper, but we will never really know until they start going at it. We have yet to see the Cleveland Cavaliers play playoff basketball because I can't really say they totally fought with their souls to get here. The Washington Wizards were easily disposed of in a sweep mainly because Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler were both out for the series. The New Jersey Nets on the other hand were just plain cold. We even caught a glimpse of disinterest in the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Nets series, probably because of the lack of a formidable opponent. The same can be said for the Detroit Pistons who rolled through their first 7 games and then lost the next 2 games because of sloppy play until they finally closed the series out the next game. Now that you think of it, the West isn't the only one with a mirror match in the Spurs and the Jazz, the East has one too: a battle of two disinterested teams. Kidding aside, we can't use "freshness" as an advantage because both teams are completely fresh, both teams have not encountered any team to actually give them a scare (Yes, not even on paper, only until the Bulls game back).
This is probably the first time this series that the Pistons and the Cavaliers will be hyped-up and ready to play some real basketball. The series leans heavily towards the Detroit Pistons for two(2) things: 1) Cleveland relies heavily on LeBron James to create ALL the plays, so Detroit knows that only ONE player on the Cavaliers can beat them. 2) Uhm... Er... You know what? The first aspect is actually the one-and-only knock out punch. Unless Cleveland can get major contributions from all players not named LeBron especially on the offense (since I don't think Cleveland has any problems with banging bodies), then the Cavs will LOSE.
What the Pistons can do: Let LeBron James attempt at scoring 70 points. He's bound to come up short because of fatigue and score maybe around 54 points only. As long as they don't allow LeBron to create plays for his other teammates, this is a sure-shot. Oh yeah, if the Pistons get bored with themselves again, then they are screwed. If not, final score for Game 1: 95-54.
What the Cavaliers can do: Play LeBron James for 40+ minutes per game. I think the Nets series brought out the Cavaliers' weakness, and that is they rely heavily on LBJ to make their plays. Defensively, they are adequate, especially paired with the Nets throwing bricks last game, so defense is not an issue. Offensively, they are very mediocre. Larry Hughes has to step up his offense and drain his shots. If he shoots 3/17 FGs again, the Cavaliers are DOOMED.
Final Call: Detroit will get bored one game and throw one away. Detroit Pistons in 5.
Getting Pumped For the Conference Finals