Anyone still doubting the Black Mamba?
Archive for the ‘A Bit of Basketball’ Category
Tags: Andrew Bynum, Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans, New Orleans Hornets, Pau Gasol
Tags: 2011, Aaron Gray, Amare Stoudemire, Andrew Bynum, Atlanta Hawks, Carl Landry, Chauncey Billups, Chicago Bulls, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, David West, Denver Nuggest, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Indiana Pacers, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA, New Orleans Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Pau Gasol, Philadelphia 76ers, Playoffs, Ron Artest, San Antonio Spurs, Shocks, sixers, Surprises, Thaddeus Young
What a way to kick off the Playoffs. I have never seen, rather, the NBA has never witnessed this type of surprises.
For the first time in NBA Playoff history, the top 2 seeds of a conference lose their Game One’s. The Memphis Grizzlies lived up to their words, and beat the Spurs without Rudy Gay for a 101 – 98 thriller. What was not thrilling though was the loss of my beloved LA Lakers, which I still don’t understand how, but they somehow found a way to lose to the New Orleans Hornets, 109-100.
Anyway, let’s take a look at how, for a change, there was no game that was one sided:
Indiana Pacers  vs Chicago Bulls  (99-104)
Derrick Rose said that it wouldn’t be easy.
He was damn right.
With the critics and analysts saying that the Pacers’ record isn’t good enough to be in the playoffs, they proved otherwise. Putting up a challenge in the entire night, they just weren’t able to finish the game right as they started it. Derrick Rose showed why he should be the league’s MVP (39 points, 6 assists), leading the Bulls to end the game on a 16-1 run after trailing 98-88 with over 2 minutes left.
What to expect in Game 2: Expect Carlos Boozer to have a better game, and the rest of the Chicago Bulls to take the Pacers more seriously. Game Two should be Chicago’s.
Philadelphia 76ers  vs Miami Heat  (89 – 97)
As expected, the Heat beat the Sixers. Also, the Sixers didn’t give in easily. With a mediocre shooting game from LeBron James, and finally taking into the decoy role that he should have been doing all season in the last two minutes of the game, Dwayne Wade managed to score five of his 17 points in the last 2 minutes, securing the win for the Heat. The game kicked off with Philly leading 25-11, yet the Heat bounced back and managed to pull a 12 point lead in the fourth quarter, only for the Sixers to rally back one last time and cut the deficit to 1 point, yet Wade showed them who’s boss, ending the game in favor of the upper seed. Let’s not forget Chris Bosh putting on his A-game with those 25 points and 12 rebounds. The Sixers in general had a good game, but they simply can’t match up with the Heat.
What to expect in Game 2: Another Miami Heat victory unless the Sixers find a way to stop both LeBron and Dwayne at the same time.
New York Knicks  vs Boston Celtics  (85-87)
I had a feeling this series would be good. I just never thought the games would be this good.
As great as the rivalry was Game 1. Carmelo Anthony didn’t impress as much, Amar’e Stoudemire was awesome, and I’m worried about that Chauncey Billups injury. The New York trio weren’t good enough to beat the Celtics, where Ray Allen shone again with 24 points on 15 shots, including that late 3 that won them the game. It was an exciting game, yet the series took an unfortunate turn for the Knicks with Billups’ injury at the end of the game and is questionable for Game 2.
What to expect in Game 2: If the Knicks don’t feed the ball more to Stoudemire, and Billups not coming back (no offense to Toney Douglas), expect a Celtics victory again.
Atlanta Hawks  vs Orlando Magic  (103-93)
I haven’t seen a one man performance like Dwight Howard’s in a while. 31 points in the first half? One would think the Magic were dominating the game! *Annoying buzz* Wrong answer. Despite those 31 points, the Atlanta Hawks were outplaying the Orlando Magic.
Other than Dwight Howard’s 46 points and 19 rebounds, there was nothing really to see in the Magic. And they said that Jason Collins was going to bother Howard. Jameer Nelson had a slow start in the first half, but finished strong with 27 points. But that’s about it.
Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford and co. put on a strong game, and seem to be confident about themselves given they won the season series 3-1. Why not? They played big after a not-so-good first quarter.
What to expect: The Defensive Player of the Year for the third year in a row can’t go any bigger than those 46 points, but his teammates assumingly would step up their game. Orlando tie the series.
Memphis Grizzlies  vs San Antonio Spurs  (101-98)
Memphis rested their starters for the last 4 games to make sure they are ready AND end up with the Spurs in a playoff matchup. They could’ve went up to sixth and played the Dallas Mavericks, who they owned in the regular season. Yet they chose to stay 8th.
They lived up to it. Big time.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol put on a show, and despite the game taking lead changes at the end, the Grizzlies were able to get their first playoff win for the franchise. As an eighth seeded team against the best team in the West. Now that’s good.
Yet no need to worry, I still think that, despite my hatred for the Spurs, they’ll still win this series in six games.
What to expect: San Antonio bouncing back like they always do. Spurs win. Very hard for the Grizzlies to pull off another stunner at the AT&T Center.
New Orleans Hornets  vs Los Angeles Lakers  (109-100)
I watched the game the other night, and I still couldn’t understand. Why would Pau Gasol play so horribly like that? Kobe Bryant was the man for LA with those 34 points and those amazing shots, and Ron Artest put up a decent game with that double-double, but seriously Pau Gasol, WTF?! 2 from 9, 6 rebounds?! And you wonder why championship-less center Stoudemire calls you soft? Get your act together! Andrew Bynum had 13 points and 9 rebounds, but wasn’t as good as he was in the streak. Kobe couldn’t pull it off by himself this time. And LA’s defense sucked big time.
Chris Paul, the player who came second to Kobe in MVP voting back in 08, scored 33 points, had 14 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals and played around the Lakers defense at free will. The way the Hornets were knocking down those one handed layups was as if they were playing alone. THE LAKERS SHOULD HAVE DOMINATED THE DAMN GAME! The Hornets don’t have David West. Emeka Okafor had a bad game with more fouls than points. Aaron Gray and Carl Landry outplay Pau Gasol???!!! IN WHAT WORLD?!
It’s a good thing Kobe called out Gasol today. He seriously has to start playing like a 2 time champ.
What to expect: I still think the Lakers are going to win this series in 5. So expect a Lakers win.
Portland Trail Blazers  vs Dallas Mavericks  (81-89)
It felt so good to see the Mavs win. They got such a good team that I’ll never understand why they just can’t win in the playoffs and play the way they play the regular season. Everyone undermines Dirk Nowitzki and thinks he chokes in the playoffs. Really? He’s one of 4 guys in NBA history to average 25 points and 10 rebounds in the playoffs. Don’t forget those performances against the Suns and Spurs back in the day. And whoever tells me that he choked in the 06 Finals, we all know what happened then. So enough about that.
I enjoyed more than anything my favorite non-Laker player being the X-Factor of the game. That’s right, 38-year old Jason Kidd had 24 points, including 6 3-pointers, and with Nowitzki’s 27 points, the Mavs were finally able to quiet those who are foreseeing an upset in this series and pull off a well deserved win.
What to expect: This series is puzzling, and I’m not expecting Kidd to have another 24 point game. But I still think the Mavs are going to win both at home. So another Mavs win.
Denver Nuggets  vs Oklahoma City Thunder  (103-107)
This could easily be the most exciting series in the playoffs. Why not? The youngest and most athletic players in the NBA going at each other? The leading scorer? The team that the Ewing Theory seems to work perfectly on? Yeah, I want this series.
Kevin Durant (41 points) and Russell Westbrook (31 points) combined for one of the best guard performances so far and were able to overcome the winningest team since the All Star break.
Kendrick Perkins had 4 points, but 2 of them gave the Thunder the lead for good.
Denver had a good game, and despite dominating the NBA since the Carmelo Anthony trade, they just can’t seem to beat the Thunder. What I like about Denver is that they had eight players with at least 8 points, led by Nene Hilario’s 22, which makes them a threat given you can’t tell who is going to dominate the game at any given night.
What to expect: I honestly don’t know. This is one of the series where any team can win on any given night because they are so young. I’ll go with the Thunder on this one, although the Nuggets are going to give them hell again.
Tags: 2011, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, matchups, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Playoffs, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, schedule
As you all know, the NBA regular season concluded its games last night. With the San Antonio Spurs holding on to the top record all season, they will remain the #1 West seed but will have to settle for #2 overall after losing last night to the Phoenix Suns. The overall #1 seed went to the Chicago Bulls, who put on their best season since the Michael Jordan days with a 62 win season. If the Spurs won last night, there would have been a tie between both leading teams, and a rare feat would have happened, as all tiebreakers would have been useless and there would have been a random draw to determine who holds home court advantage all the way. But, that won’t happen anymore due to the Spurs loss last night, who will end up playing eighth seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
Back to the topic, after the Eastern conference was decided as early as Monday night, the Western conference was decided in the final seconds of last night with the Los Angeles Lakers playing what could be the last game in Sacramento vs. the Sacramento Kings, as the Kings may be moving to Anaheim. The Lakers won the game in OT, and claimed 2nd seed to face the New Orleans Hornets, who lost to the Dallas Mavericks last night, hence the Mavs claiming the third seed and will face the sixth-seeded Portland TrailBlazers. The final matchup of the Western conference may be one for the ages, which will feature two of the most athletic and versatile young teams in the league, fourth seeded Oklahoma City Thunder against the Denver Nuggets.
The playoff schedule will be as follows:
Saturday, April 16
Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls Game 1, 10 AM PT/1 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN3D
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat Game 1, 12:30 PM PT/3:30 PM ET, ABC
Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic Game 1, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, ESPN
Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Game 1, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, ESPN
Sunday, April 17
Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Game 1, 10 AM PT/1 PM ET, TNT
New Orleans Hornets at L.A. Lakers Game 1, 12:30 PM PT/3:30 PM ET, ABC
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics Game 1, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, TNT
Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder Game 1, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, TNT
Monday, April 18
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat Game 2, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, TNT
Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls Game 2, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, TNT
Tuesday, April 19
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics Game 2, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, TNT
Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic Game 2, 4:30 PM PT/7:30 PM ET, NBA TV
Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Game 2, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, TNT
Wednesday, April 20
Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder Game 2, 5 PM PT/7:30 PM ET, TNT
Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Game 2, 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET, NBA TV
New Orleans Hornets at L.A. Lakers Game 2, 7:30 PM PT/10:30 PM ET, TNT
Thursday, April 21
Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers Game 3, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, NBA TV
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Game 3, 5 PM PT/8 PM ET, TNT
Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Game 3, 7:30 PM PT/10:30 PM ET, TNT
Friday, April 22
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks Game 3, 4 PM ET/7 PM PT, ESPN
Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks Game 3, 5 PM ET/8 PM PT, ESPN2/ESPN3D
L.A. Lakers at New Orleans Hornets Game 3, 6:30 PM ET/9:30 PM PT, ESPN
Saturday, April 23
Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers Game 4, 11:30 AM PT/2:30 PM ET, TNT
Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Game 4, 2 PM PT/5 PM ET, TNT
San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Game 3, 4:30 PM PT/7:30 PM ET, ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets Game 3, 7 PM PT/10 PM ET, ESPN
Sunday, April 24
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Game 4, 10 AM PT/1 PM ET, ABC
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks Game 4, 12:30 PM PT/3:30 PM ET, ABC
Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks Game 4, 4 PM PT/7 PM ET, TNT
L.A. Lakers at New Orleans Hornets Game 4, 6:30 PM PT/9:30 PM ET, TNT
Monday, April 25
Oklahoma City at Denver, Game 4, 7:30 PM PT/10:30 PM ET, TNT
Times to be determined
San Antonio at Memphis, Game 4
Portland at Dallas (*), Game 5
Tuesday, April 26 (times to be determined)
New York at Boston (*), Game 5
Atlanta at Orlando (*), Game 5
Indiana at Chicago (*), Game 5
New Orleans at LA Lakers (*), Game 5
Wednesday, April 27 (times to be determined)
Philadelphia at Miami (*), Game 5
Memphis at San Antonio (*), Game 5
Denver at Oklahoma City (*), Game 5
Thursday, April 28 (times TBD)
Chicago at Indiana (*), Game 6
Orlando at Atlanta (*), Game 6
LA Lakers at New Orleans (*), Game 6
Dallas at Portland (*), Game 6
Friday, April 29 (times TBD)
Boston at New York (*), Game 6
Miami at Philadelphia (*), Game 6
San Antonio at Memphis (*), Game 6
Oklahoma City at Denver (*), Game 6
Saturday, April 30 (times TBD, games on TNT)
Indiana at Chicago (*), Game 7
Atlanta at Orlando (*), Game 7
New Orleans at LA Lakers (*), Game 7
Portland at Dallas (*), Game 7
Sunday, May 1 (times TBD)
New York at Boston (*), Game 7
Philadelphia at Miami (*), Game 7
Memphis at San Antonio (*), Game 7
Denver at Oklahoma City (*), Game 7
Tags: Charlie Villanueva, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, National Basketball Association, NBA, Rodney Stuckey, Ryan Hollins, Tom Gores
In a meaningless game for two teams not in playoff contention (that wasn’t the case 4 years ago), the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons were playing one of those games to end the season with the Cavaliers leading (yeah, can you believe that?) the Pistons by 11 points with 5:47 left in the game.
Now watch this:
As you see, Charlie Villanueva of the Pistons and Ryan Hollins of the Cavs go at each other. It doesn’t seem to be known who started the altercation, but the Pistons player was WAY TOO PISSED at him, and that showed later on when he was briefly interviewed, saying that Hollins “got smart” with him, and that he would ” kill him” and “didn’t give a fuck who he was.”
And they say the NBA season doesn’t get interesting for non playoff teams.
NBA Playoffs 2011 Matchup Preview: Eastern Conference Round 1:  Miami Heat vs.  Philadelphia 76ersPosted: 12/04/2011 by Tom in A Bit of Basketball
Tags: 76ers, Andre, Anthony, Arroyo, Atlanta, Bibby, bosh, boston, Brand, Bulls, Canadian, Carlos, celtics, Chalmers, Chicago, chris, Collins, Conference, Doug, dwayne, Eastern, Elton, Erik, Evan, Hawks, heat, Holiday, Howard, Igoudala, Ilgauskus, Indiana, James, Joel, jones, Jrue, Juwan, Knicks, lebron, Louis, Magic, Mario, miami, Mike, Miller, NBA, New York, Orlando, Pacers, Philadelphia, Playoffs, sixers, Spoelstra, Thaddeus, Turner, wade, Williams, Young, Zydrunas
After the unexpected turn that the games on Monday night took, the Miami Heat locked up the second seed of the Eastern Conference for the playoffs this year after beating the currently fifth seeded Atlanta Hawks while the Boston Celtics surprisingly lost on the road to the Washington Wizards in overtime. After last night, the Eastern Conference has been mostly determined, where the top seeded Chicago Bulls will play the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat will face the Philadelphia 76ers, the old rivalry of the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks opens a new chapter while the Orlando Magic and the Hawks will have another playoff series.
Once again, another first round series, given the fact that the Heat are starting to develop that team chemistry that everyone has been talking about. But hasn’t this happened already? When the Heat beat the Cavaliers the first time, and they went on that long run where they were unbeatable, didn’t everyone say that they finally clicked? Then they went on that losing streak and the “Cry-Gate” incident, and their eligibility to be contenders was questioned again. Now they seem to be on the right path, and the Heat along with their fans are hoping that this may be it.
Meanwhile, after a 3-13 start where most critics thought that will be another disappointing season from Pennsylvania’s lone representative in the NBA, Philadelphia’s coach Doug Collins was able to switch their fortunes around, giving them one of the best records in that period since the disastrous start despite the fact that they don’t even have a current Top-40 scorer in the NBA and no “legitimate superstar”.
From the beginning of the season, this man has always been on the rumors page and on the hot seat. Everything seemed to be pointing that Miami coach Erik Spoelstra will be fired. The 9-8 start, the five game losing streak that included a loss to the Chicago Bulls (whom eventually swept the Heat in a three game series), losing the season series 3-1 to Boston Celtics, blowing leads in the stretch, unable to win close games in the last minute, and other things worth noting. Yet team president Pat Riley never said that Spoelstra’s job was in danger, although there seemed to be conflicts at times between team star LeBron James and the coach. I still have doubts that the Heat will win it all this year given that they have a lot of inconsistencies to work on.
The season series that took place between the two teams was one sided, where the Heat won all three games at a margin of at least 9 points, but not more than 12. Yet if you take into consideration when the games took place, two of them which were very early in the season, you cannot judge how this playoff series will play based on the season. The Heat got their first win of the season in Philly, and the Sixers’ 13th loss was in Miami before they had that massive turnaround. Coach Collins, first year with the team who formerly coached the young Michael-Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, somehow managed to work things out with the team, and was able to put them on a huge run from that point on, after the second loss to Miami.
Winner: A little nudge to Doug Collins
The Big Three of Miami are doing a great job considering this is their first season and all the scrutiny and criticism they had to go through, although they are unable to execute down the stretch against the big teams (which matters most). After the second worrying losing streak that the Heat endured during March, Chris Bosh wanted the ball more and made it clear publicly, and when they played the Los Angeles Lakers next, despite how “soft” he is, he was still able to make a difference. These three, on any given night, are able to put up between 70 to 90 points easily. The third game of the season series indicated so, was one of a kind, where the Miami’s Big Three had 91 points, including a monster game by Dwayne Wade (39 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals) that has a very unlikely precedence of happening again.
When the highest scorer on your team averages 15 points a game, you know that these players are all about the team. There is no really one star on this team, since every night, someone seems to play star when he’s on a roll. Elton Brand is one of six players on the Sixers that averages double figures (10+ points a game). Andre Igoudala is finally playing the lockdown defense on the perimeter that he should have been playing ages ago. Yet after seeing them throughout the season, the Sixers still lack a true star, a center I believe, that can play next to Brand in order to compete against the big guys.
Winner: Miami’s Big Three
At the beginning, Miami had James Jones knocking down all those threes for them. Then he got kicked out of the rotation. Udonis Haslem went down early in the season and has yet to play since. Mario Chalmers has been ineffective. Carlos Arroyo was released, and eventually signed with the Celtics. Zydrunas Ilgauskus has diminished a lot this year, Joel Anthony is Canadian, and Juwan Howard, well he’s Juwan Howard. Mike Miller has yet to play a decent game since he recovered from an injury, and Mike Bibby is starting to clearly look his age, although he is having some good games. When your fourth best player is some old veteran that has his ups and downs, that has to be worrying enough.
As mentioned above, the Sixers may not have the best players in the NBA, but they are full of role players that know their position on the team. Having four starting players that are under the age of 24, they have a very promising team in the future and although they won’t be able to compete now, one should have an eye out for them in the future. Jrue Holiday, Louis Williams, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young are all look-out-for players that should be taken into consideration.
It’s true that you cannot win with your stars only, but this series is likely to indicate otherwise. The Miami Heat are definitely winning this series, just don’t expect the Sixers to go down without a fight.
Final (Projected) Result: Miami 4 -2.
NBA Playoffs 2011 Matchup Preview: Eastern Conference Round 1:  Chicago Bulls vs.  Indiana PacersPosted: 09/04/2011 by Tom in A Bit of Basketball
Tags: 2011, 76ers, angeles, Boozer, boston, Brien, Bulls, Carlos, celtics, Chicago, Collision, Danny, Darren, Frank Vogel, Granger, Hansbrough, heat, Hibbert, Indiana, Jim, Joakim, Kurt, lakers, los, miami, Minnesota, MVP, NBA, Noah, Pacers, Philadelphia, Playoffs, predictions, rajon, rondo, roy, season, Thibodeau, Thibs, Thomas, Timberwolves, Tom, Tyler
With the NBA playoffs starting a week from today, there is only one matchup that is certain until now after the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night helped them clinch the number one seed in the Eastern Conference since the great Michael Jordan’s last year with the Bulls. The road to the NBA Finals for the Bulls will kick off with the eighth seeded Indiana Pacers, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2006.
I normally don’t get excited about first round series, since a lot of sweeps take place, and this series may happen to be one of them. Given how the Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics Thursday night, I highly doubt with that consistency any team in the East can take them down. The Indiana Pacers, who are going to have another losing season this year, should be grateful to be found in the Eastern Conference, as teams like the Houston Rockets and the Phoenix Suns would have easily taken their places had they been in the East. Also, the race for the eighth seed was a disappointing one, as the Milwaukee Bucks and the Michael Jordan-owned Charlotte Bobcats never manned up to the situation or played with the necessary power given what was at stake, making the Pacers’ road to the playoffs not match the intensity.
Everyone knows who coaches the Chicago Bulls :Tom “Thibs” Thibodeau. This is the guy who, as a coach assistant, instilled the word “defense” in the Boston Celtics ever since they acquired their Big Three back in the 2007-2008 season and led them to play with such intensity. And if it comes to me, I believe he deserves more credit than Doc Rivers for the Celtics’ success in the past few years and that focus on D. So it was no surprise to me that so many teams, including the Chicago Bulls, wanted to land him as a coach after he decided to give interviews. From early on in the season, Coach Thibs had his leader, MVP candidate Derrick Rose, bought into the concept of defense, and when you got your leader in, the whole team follows, which was the Bulls’ case. I would have Thibodeau as a candidate for Coach of the Year, given what he did to this team and how he made the most out of what he had given the absences of power forwards Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah due to injuries for extended periods during the season.
Before the All-Star break, no one really saw the Indiana Pacers fighting for the eighth seed, given that at a time they were 10 games below .500 and things weren’t going smoothly. Then the Pacers kicked off coach Jim Brien and put assistant coach Frank Vogel instead, and suddenly the team took on a whole new identity and had a strong start with Vogel. Given also his first coaching year after serving as an assistant fo
r the Pacers since 2007 after serving with teams like Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics as an assistant or video coordinator or even scout. Vogel maximized seldom-used center Roy Hibbert’s abilities and got the Pacers on a whole new run. Yet, the Pacers’ 8-10 record in March, which included a 26 point loss to the cellar ranking Minnesota Timberwolves, also makes you question how much he can get out of them.
Winner: Tom Thibodeau
“MVP, MVP, MVP!” That’s the kind of chants you’d hear if you were at the United Center in Illinois or rather any game that the Chicago Bulls are playing in. Why? It’s simple. Derrick Rose, who questioned at the beginning of the NBA season why wouldn’t he be considered in the MVP race, is playing like an MVP all right. Averaging 25 points and 8 assists a game, Derrick Rose has carried the Chicago Bulls on his shoulders despite missing both Noah and Boozer for over 60 games combined and had his team slowly rise in the standings to eventually take reign of the East. Sweeping the Miami Heat 3-0 and beating the Celtics in the last two games, including playing around Celtics’ guard Rajon Rondo all night, I can’t see how he can be stopped.
Danny Granger has been the leader the Pacers needed, but let’s face it; nobody’s playing like Rose is playing right now, including him. Granger’s 20 points a game can be easily outmatched by any other Bull, and not necessarily Derrick Rose. Also, I’m expecting small forward Luol Deng to make Granger’s life a bit hard on defense.
Winner: Derrick Rose.
The other 11 players:
What else could you want more when you have a front line of Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Kurt Thomas? Add to the mix Luol Deng, and you got one hell of a long team. One has to admit that the shooting guard position in Chicago is a bit weak compared to the rest, but the other 4 players on the floor will definitely more than compensate for that. The chemistry that both Boozer and Noah are slowly developing on the floor and the fact that they got the average-defender Rose’s back on defense makes this team seem like an unstoppable unit with the team first mentality.
In the last game vs the Bulls on March 18, the rest of the Pacers team had to step up in order to earn that lone victory vs the Bulls in overtime. How often will Tyler Hansbrough be able to knock down 29 points against the Bulls? Darren Collision doesn’t really have much of a chance overtaking Derrick Rose at the point guard position. Given also that the Pacers aren’t that consistent, although in that particular March mentioned above, they were also able to knock down teams like the Boston Celtics. Yet I still have to give my nod to the Bulls here.
Winners: The rest of the Bulls.
In conclusion, given that the season series ended 3-1 for the Bulls, with the lone Indiana victory coming as previously mentioned in OT, I hardly doubt to see a Cinderella story, much less an Indiana win in any of the 4 games, given how consistent the Bulls have played all season and not letting their guard down.
Final Result of series: 4-0 (A 4-1 is feasible, given that the Pacers may win the first one at home.)
Tags: 3rd, 70s, boston, Cosby, From, James, lebron, Liverpool, Miami Heat, Red, rock, Roseanne, Show, Son, Sox, the, Tom Wener
With the playoffs coming nearby and the Miami Heat vying to secure the second ranking in the Eastern Conference, reigning two time MVP and superstar LeBron James wants to take his talents to another place. And we aren’t talking about basketball.
Joining forces with hedge-fund manager John Henry and veteran Hollywood producer of The Cosby Show, Roseanne, 3rd Rock from the Sun and That 70s Show Tim Werner, James now owns a minority stake in one of the biggest English football clubs, Liverpool FC.
Bringing one of the biggest North American and worldwide superstar athletes and two of the most famous teams in the world, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) also happens to own the Boston Red Sox of the Major League of Baseball, uniting with LeBron James’ sports-marketing firm LRMR Branding & Marketing to be a worldwide representative for the Miami Heat star.
This deal is a first of the kind, as no professional athlete at his prime has purchased a stake in such a powerhouse club as big as Liverpool, easily magnifying James’ image in the world of sports.
The nine year old Boston-based Fenway Sports Group purchased Liverpool for $488 million dollars last October.
A winning move for LeBron and a winning move for Liverpool. Only if they were both actually winning in their leagues.
Liverpool is valued as one of the most valuable soccer franchises in the world and has won 18 top division championships in its storied history.
“Eighteen championships,” the 26-year-old James told the Journal. “I see myself trying to do the same things they have.”
Yeah, right. He’ll get them all in 4 lifetimes.