There came a time as a kid when you knew that dunking the basketball was not going to be the most effective way for you to score. In order for you to have an impact on the court you would need a dynamite jump shot. As a kid watching late 80′s early 90′s, NBA there was one clear inspiration when it came to shooting, and that was Reggie Miller. I had the luxury of being the only kid I knew in Houston, Texas that was rooting for the Indiana Pacers and their slim two-guard. Of course I was elated when the Rockets won titles, but a part of me wanted to see Miller get his shot at a title. My parents knew of my love for the Pacers and also noticed that the Pacers had a tough time making it to the Finals. When Pacers games got under two minutes my Mom would make a human barricade between me and any object I could hurl at the television. In 2000 when Reggie and the Pacers made the Finals, I was interning in Washington D.C. and had the pleasure of being banned from the ESPN Zone after a tough Game 4 loss to the Lakers. Reggie Miller was always my basketball idol, and watching him enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame was needed closure (for me) on an 18 year journey.
Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category
After what felt like an eternity of rumors, and sources saying this and that, the Los Angeles Lakers did what they always do, and that is trade next to nothing for the best center in basketball.
The Lakers received Howard, the Denver Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala, the 76ers will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the three teams. The Lakers also will acquire Earl Clark and Chris Duhon. Draft picks the Magic will receive are the Nuggets’ (2014), 76ers’ (2015) and Lakers’ (2017). In addition, the Magic will be getting other pieces, including 76ers first-round draft pick Moe Harkless.
The Lakers traded Andrew Bynum and their 2017 pick to acquire Howard. The question now is will Howard indeed stand firm on his intent to play out the 2012-13 season without extending his contract so he can become a free agent on July 1, 2013. Going that route will enable Howard to decide how comfortable he is in Los Angeles before deciding whether to re-sign with the Lakers.
The Dwight Howard that everyone has come to love, or resent, will now be forced to change his playful ways. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol, are consummate professionals and the silly antics that Howard manifested in Orlando will not accompany him to Los Angeles.
Also their has to be some cause of concern for an All-Star coming off back surgery.
Howard joins a stellar list of Lakers centers including Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabber, Shaquille O’Neal, George Mikan, and the forgotten Clyde Lovellette.
Last night during the 2012 NBA Draft I was pleasantly surprised the Houston Rockets stayed put. There had been sources saying all sorts of trade scenarios the Rockets were involved in. But when it came time for the Rockets to draft at #12, Jeremy Lamb sitting in the green room was to overwhelming to miss. The next pick was Royce White, a type of player Daryl Morey and the Rockets have fawned over for the last couple of years. Undersized power forward, has decent handles, can shoot from 15 feet, high basketball IQ. The third pick Terrance Jones played at Kentucky, and the Rockets have a contract with Kansas, and Kentucky guaranteeing them they will draft their players. It’s true, has to be.
Here are highlight mixes for Jeremy Lamb, and Royce White. Enjoy the insane difference in music selections.C?
After the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming with the number one pick in the 2002 NBA Draft they chose Bostjan Nachbar, and then the Rockets fell into an abyss of injuries, bad trades and role players.
The Rockets had no picks in 2003, No picks in 2004, Luther Head in 2005, Rudy Gay in 2006 (traded for Shane Battier), Aaron Brooks in 2007, Nicolas Batum (traded for Donte Greene Sam Young and Joey Dorsey) in 2008, No picks in 2009, Patrick Patterson in 2010, and Marcus Morris, Nikola Mirotic last season.
Looking back there wasn’t one draft where you had any idea that any of the addition would blossom into a star you understood there necessity to the team. The current Houston Rockets have every known necessity a basketball team could possibly need.
Jeremy Lamb, Royce White, and Terrance Jones are just what the Rockets needed. Three young “accomplished rookies” inserted into a lineup that includes Luis Scola, maybe Kyle Lowry, Marcus Camby and you don’t wanna know, has to be a step in the right direction.
Of course the Rockets were attempting to “rent” Dwight Howard for the season, its what desperate teams do. Dwight would have been an All-Star for the Western Conference, Houston Rockets. The 2013 NBA All-Star Game just-so happens to be in Houston. Dwight would have filled the seats all season while the Morey would have fooled some owner out of a player of equal (okay slightly less) talent to join him.
“It Doesn’t Hurt To Try” a new book by Rockets GM Daryl Morey
What Houston, and the Rockets need are exceptional players that are entertaining to watch and attract national attention. The Rockets 10 years ago sat on the mountain top as the ambassador to China and a television revenue that no one was allowed to count. This years draft doesn’t match the hype or the reward from then, but the reward may be more closely related to precious metals the Rockets earned in 94-95, AND 95-96, then the back stabbing reward of media attention. Houston will get there All-Star, just not this year.
Twenty-three months after LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh combined their talents in South Beach, they are NBA champions. Unfortunately it comes at the expense of the young dynamic Oklahoma City Thunder team and their talented forward Kevin Durant.
On a night where Mike Miller hits 7 three-pointers and the Heat as a team connect on 14 three pointers, the inevitable finally arrived as the Heat won going away in Game 5, 121-106. The Heat became the 11th team in NBA history to win a title after losing in the NBA Finals the previous season and the seventh champion to sweep four straight after losing Game 1.
The Heat become the 31st team to go up 3-1 in a series and win the championship. After being up at the half, the Heat smelled blood in the 3rd quarter, and LeBron’s first triple-double of the season didn’t hurt. LeBron becomes the fifth player all-time to earn a triple-double in a series clinching game.
James averaged 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists this postseason. It was the second time he has averaged a 30/9/5 combination in a single postseason. He also did so in 2009. The only player to hit those plateaus even once for a postseason was Oscar Robertson for the 1963 Cincinnati Royals.
The Heat also tied an NBA Finals record with 14 3-pointers in the game, matching the mark previously set by the 1995 Orlando Magic and 1995 Houston Rockets, who each did it once in that series. The Heat were 14-for-26 from 3-point range in the game after combining to go 14-for-39 in Games 3 and 4.
Kevin Durant had 32 points and 11 boards, thus earning the “It Ain’t My Fault” award.
Bosh and Wade, the other members of the Big Three who sat alongside James as he promised titles at his Miami welcoming party, both had strong games. Bosh finished with 24 points and 7 boards, Wade had 20 points and 8 boards.
Enough with the numbers, the most important aspect is that a 3-time MVP has the piece of jewelry that silences a large number of critics. In his third attempt at a championship, LeBron played the way we all wanted, and knew he was capable of playing. Not settling for fall away jumpers, not constantly deferring to teammates, but instead taking the ball to the basket, and of course there is the NEW* post game.
But LeBron’s story is still in its infancy, at 26 he has another 10 years left in the league. We have always and will continue to *witness.
The summer of 2007 brought about a life-changing moment for myself and miles away the NBA’s most celebrated franchise the Boston Celtics.
I had been in a long distance relationship with a beautiful young actress in Los Angeles for over a year and the time had come for us to see each other on a more constant basis. I packed up all that I had remarkably in three suitcases and flew to Los Angeles, where I would be living with my girlfriend and her younger sister who was in her sophomore year at nearby Woodbury University. The scenery of Los Angeles coupled with being in the presence of someone you truly love makes for a dream scenario, but there was one problem, neither my girlfriend or her sister wanted anything to do with basketball. Day after day the television would showcase Young & the Restless, Gossip Girls, Sex and the City reruns, The Biggest Loser, Law & Order: SVU, or So You Think You Can Dance, to name a few. How was I going to live in an apartment with two females and not have the opportunity to enjoy NBA games?
August 1st, 2007 arrived, and the Boston Celtics gave me an idea that would completely alter the complexion of my household to this day. On that remarkable day the Boston Celtics sent the Minnesota Timberwolves forwards Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Gerald Green, guard Sebastian Telfair and center Theo Ratliff, two first-round draft picks and cash considerations for former MVP and 10-time All-Star Kevin Garnett. The NBA’s biggest trade for one player was not only huge for the NBA but for my sanity. The Celtics had already added Ray Allen to the roster and the Big Three including Rajon Rondo was born. There was little doubt that the Celtics would be a shoo-in for the Finals, and the plan to takeover the television was under way. Of course they would love the team, but if they won a championship it would solidify my authority. Authority in a household with two females is greater then gold.
In order for them to understand basketball, I didn’t waste time with rules or X’s & O’s, I got them familiar with the team on a somewhat personal basis. The best way it turned out was to explain each player as if they were watching a soap opera. I started with each players background. I told them about them about Pierce being all alone in Boston for years, how he was stabbed in the club, and how he was deserving of some good times. They recognized Ray Allen from Spike Lee’s “He Got Game” and liked him immediately. It also helped that Allen’s mom was as cute as can be. Rajon Rondo was also an easy win, because he was young and cute, and girls like young and cute basketball players. I broke down Doc Rivers story, and the complexities of Tony Allen (defense), Glen Davis ( Big Baby), Eddie House (Mascot), Leon Powe (Hard-Worker), and Kendrick Perkins (Mean Mug). Kevin Garnett was the player that was most fun to explain. He was selected out of high school, “Look how skinny.” He used to live with Jimmy Jam. (my girlfriend loves Janet Jackson) Look at his prom picture:
Now that I had the team they would follow I had to make a heel, the bad guys the team they would root against and despise. Unfortunately when you root for the Boston Celtics there is only one team that comes to mind and that was the Los Angeles Lakers. Living in LA and rooting against the Lakers can be considered suicidal, but we lived in Burbank and where miles from anyone really scary. Almost overnight they developed a hatred for Kobe Bryant, that frightens me to this day. I never expected their disdain for the Black Mamba would be so deep, at times wishing for his legs to break or worse. When females choose who they are rooting for or against they go all in.
The Celtics contributed perfectly to my plan, making it all the way to the NBA Finals against none other then the Los Angeles Lakers, who they annihilated in Game 6, earning their 17th championship. After that season they were hooked, basketball was on television even when I wasn’t home. I would get texts asking who Kevin Durant was, and how many kids Derrick Rose has. Of course they cry when the Celtics lose, and yell at the television as if the players hear them, but they have become full-fledge fans of the Celtics, the NBA and it’s players.
On Saturday, in Game 7 against the Miami Heat the Celtics fairy tale run may come to an end, both Allen and KG have expiring contracts. Regardless of the outcome, I will be forever indebted to the players and the franchise that made my life a better one.
If there was ever a NBA team that was in need of a book depicting the ongoings of a season, this years New York Knicks team is a prime candidate.
From the beginning of the season the New York Knicks “on paper” appeared to be a formidable team. The signing of Tyson Chandler away from the Dallas Mavericks in the off-season meant a strong defensive presence in the paint, and Tyson made good on that belief winning the Defensive Player of the Year. Also bringing in Baron Davis, and Mike Bibby meant that rookie Iman Shumpert, and Landry Fields had veterans that could help their development. All-Stars Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony would get their first full season together, and the combination of the two would put the Knicks in the same league as the Lakers, Heat, Boston and Thunder (teams with multiple All-Stars).
The Knicks season got off to a slow and confusing start. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni shuffled the lineup throughout the first twenty games playing nearly everyone on the roster, including Bill Walker. The Knicks went 7-13 in the first 20 games complete with a 4-game winning streak, and a 6-game losing streak. Toney Douglas ran the point as long as he could before everyone noticed that he probably shouldn’t, and the Knicks promptly signed a castaway from the Warriors,and Rockets, point guard Jeremy Lin.
But it wasn’t until a back-to-back-to-back at the beginning of February where the Knicks hopes swayed in a new direction. On the night of the last of the back-to-back’s D’Antoni decided to give Jeremy Lin more minutes and he responded with 25 points, and 7 dimes against the Nets. The win from that game became contagious, and the worldwide phenomenon known as Linsanity began. The Knicks would lose Carmelo Anthony to injury in the next game, and also Amar’e Stoudemire due to the death of his brother. Losing both All-Stars would be devastating to most teams, but thanks to the schedule, and the sudden Linsanity the Knicks rolled off 7 wins in a row, bringing their record to .500.
Only in New York does anyone go from nobody to somebody overnight, and thats whom to blame for Linsanity. Don’t get me wrong Jeremy Lin is a good basketball player, and in D’Antoni’s system he flourished, but when the hype met true talent in the Miami Heat and their 3 All-Stars, Linsanity dissipated.
The Knicks All-Stars finally returned but the rotation of players caused confustion on the court, not to mention the signing of J.R.Smith. Following an ugly start to March where the Knicks lost 6 straight head coach Mike D’Antoni decided to resign.
According to interim general manager Glen Grunwald, D’Antoni came to him on Wednesday morning (3/14) and said he was thinking of making a change. When asked what that was, D’Antoni told him he was thinking of resigning.
Grunwald said he and assistant general manager Allan Houston then spoke to Dolan, who went to the Knicks’s practice facility and spoke with D’Antoni. According to Grunwald, Dolan and D’Antoni then worked out the details leading to the resignation.
D’Antoni had given no inkling of what was to come when he put the Knicks through what he said was a good a morning shotaround Wednesday. “You battle against it and I think we’re cohesive enough to battle through this and we expect to do that,” he said then. Only hours later, he resigned.Mike Woodson, the defensive coach, was named the interim coach and the Knicks finished the season 18-6.
If that wasn’t enough, after the March 24th game against the Detroit Pistons, Lin complained about a sore knee, and an MRI later revealed a small meniscus tear in the left knee. The Knicks announced on March 31 that Lin opted to have knee surgery and would miss the rest of the regular season.
The Knicks tumultuous season culminated in the #7 spot in the Playoffs, putting them up against last years Eastern Conference Champs the Miami Heat. In Game 1 rookie Iman Shumpert blew out his knee, ending his season, and in Game 4 Baron Davis blew out his knee, maybe ending his career. After three beat-downs by Miami including a 100-67 win by the Heat in Game 1, Amar’e punching a frie extinguisher and nearly losing full use of his left hand the Knicks avoided being swept in Madison Square Garden winning Game 4, ending a 13 year winless streak in the Playoffs.
On Wednesday the Heat finished their gentlemen’s sweep sending the Knicks home 106-94. The Knicks lost all four games by double digits and were outscored by a total of 70 points for the series. Carmelo Anthony did accomplish something relatively rare in the Knicks defeat becoming the third Knicks player to score 30+ points in 3+ games of a single playoff series. Patrick Ewing and Bernard King were the only other Knicks to accomplish that feat.
The Knicks might have an offseason decision to make if another team’s interested in Amar’e Stoudemire. Over the last 2 seasons including the playoffs, the Knicks have gone just 31-40 with BOTH Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in the lineup, including 1-7 in the postseason. Next year will probably bring a new coach, and a slew of new faces but Knicks fans can fall back on the old adage “There’s Always Next Year.”
Whether you love him or hate him, and let’s be honest it has to be either one, or the other, there is no doubting that LeBron James is one of the leading players in the game right now. He is a player that has polarized the opinions of many in the game. Even the fans of Miami Heat have divided opinions on their star player. Certainly for the majority of fans outside of South Beach the preference for MVP would be anybody but LeBron, but there is no arguing the fact that he is in the front running for the Most Valuable Player award 2012.
A glance at the statistics and it seems inevitable that the league’s top honor must one again be heading in Bron Bron’s direction. Having missed just four games in the season he has managed to rack up some pretty impressive numbers. Of the four matches he did miss three were in the last four of the season and those were due to the fact that Coach Erik Spoelstra chose to give him a well-earned rest.
James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 boards, 6.2 dimes and 1.9 steals per game. Which place him ahead of all other players for the top award. It is also worth pointing to his simple rating. This is a measure of a player’s stats against his counterpart player from the other team while he is on court. Calculated out James has earned a simple rating of +18.7. This is 3.8 points above Chris Paul the second place finisher this season.
If stats are the driving force in the decision, which they are, then there is just no doubt that LeBron James will pick up the third MVP trophy of his illustrious career. The award has been so clear cut that even the experts have not gotten involved in the debate and the perceived wisdom is that the trophy is James’ to lose during the final weeks of the season.
It has not been entirely a one horse race however and his closest rival, Kevin Durant, has put up some pretty impressive statistics of his own including 28 points and 8 boards per game, which is better than LeBron’s tally on both counts. The key stat for Durant is his number on assists which is a lowly 3.5 almost three whole points lower than LeBron’s 6.2 in this respect. This stat points to the fact that, throughout the season, Russell Westbrook, and other Thunder players consistently needed to create his own offense.
Durant can take some solace from the fact that in the head to head between their two teams the Thunder ended the season with one more win than Miami Heat. Durant is philosophic about the award and has come out in support of LeBron himself. In a recent interview he stated, “He deserves all the love (for MVP). He’s playing phenomenal basketball. I’m just trying to get better every single game and trying to help my team as much as I can. I’m just blessed to be in that conversation.”
Category 2012 Playoffs, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, NBA
Over the last four years there have been many blowouts by many teams. Most of those blowouts have been directed at Toronto, or Charlotte, but regardless of the team, few rival the fun and theatrics of a Boston Celtics blowout. Since the Celtics joined Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, with Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo at the beginning of the 2007-08′ season the Celtics have won 49 games by at least 20 points. Most notably Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals where they beat the Lakers 131-92, to clinch Banner #17.
Boston has the rare luxury of a playmaking point guard coupled with two future Hall-of-Fame shooters, and a 6′-10″ future Hall-of-Famer that loves 14 to 18 foot jumpers.
On Sunday in Game 4 of the first round matchup between the Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks, the Celtics held a 37 point lead early in the third quarter. 37 point lead. The Celtics won the game 101-79 to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series.
Ray Allen has a hurt ankle, Avery Bradley has an injured shoulder, Paul Pierce tweaked his knee during shootaround limped off the court favoring his left knee midway through the second quarter, but he returned for the start of the third, and Kevin Garnett surpassed 50,000 total minutes in the regular season and playoffs in his 17-year NBA career. With a team this banged up, and well-aged the performance they put on Sunday was tremendous.
Pierce scored 24 points in 18 minutes, and Rondo added 20 points and 16 dimes. Ray had 12, and KG finished with 15. Gino Time began early in the 4th Quarter and whenever it’s Gino Time you can guarantee the Celtics and the Garden are having a good time.
Category 2012 Playoffs, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, NBA, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder
The New York Knicks have not won a Playoff game since 2001. Coming into Game 3 there was little expectation that they would get that win with All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined with an injured left hand. Without Amar’e the Knicks showed signs of maybe getting that elusive W, as both the Knicks and the Heat shot poorly throughout the game. Then the 4th quarter came and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra put LeBron James back in after he had sat nearly 9 minutes due to foul trouble.
The 4th quarter has not been fond to James, but he single handily kept the Knicks from getting the win, and gave his Miami Heat a commanding 3-0 lead. James scored 32 points, including 17 in the 4th quarter, the Knicks had 14 points in the 4th quarter. On Sunday the Knicks will attempt to stop their 13 game playoff losing streak and hopefully send the series back to Miami. HEAT lead series 3-0.
The Knicks tied the NBA record for the “shot-clock era” of 38 straight playoff games with fewer than 100 points.
Meanwhile in Dallas, the defending NBA champs were also faced with a 2-0 deficit placed upon them by the Oklahoma City Thunder. If there was any indication that Tyson Chandler made the wrong decision this offseason, it is made clear by his current situation with the Knicks and the fate of his former team.
The first two games in OKC were close games that came down to the last possession, but Game 3 was an exact opposite. Kevin Durant got off to a hot start finishing with 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting, and an easy OKC win 95-79.
The Mavericks are one loss away from becoming the fifth defending champion in NBA history to fail to win a playoff game the following season. The 2006-07 Heat are the only defending champs to be swept in the first round under the current best-of-seven format. THUNDER lead series 3-0.