Posts Tagged ‘Amare Stoudemire’


Wow.

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.

The other games were close, and only the Orlando Magic was the upper seed (#4) to lose to the Atlanta Hawks.

Anyway, let’s take a look at how, for a change, there was no game that was one sided:

Eastern Conference

Indiana Pacers [8] vs Chicago Bulls [1] (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 [7] vs Miami Heat [2] (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 [6] vs Boston Celtics [3] (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 [5] vs Orlando Magic [4] (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.

Western Conference

Memphis Grizzlies [8] vs San Antonio Spurs [1] (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 [7] vs Los Angeles Lakers [2] (109-100)

WHY?

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 [6] vs Dallas Mavericks [3] (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 [5] vs Oklahoma City Thunder [4] (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.


As you all know, at 2:30 AM Beirut time, the 64th NBA season kicks off with a rematch of one of last year’s first round playoff series with NBA East Champs Boston Celtics hosting the new look Miami Heat. Well, the Boston Celtics also had made a lot of adjustments, including adding the two O’Neals (Shaquille and Jermaine) to boost their frontcourt and former Cavalier Delonte West, now that starting center Kendrick Perkins is out until January due to an injury sustained in last season’s NBA Finals Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Miami's new Big Three vs Boston's not so new Big Three

The bigger story of the game however, is going to be the debut of the Miami Thrice, that includes Dwayne Wade in addition to Miami’s two new signings, 2 time reigning MVP LeBron James and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh. As you all know, LeBron James received a lot of backlash after his infamous ESPN special “The Decision”, where he decided to screw over the entire city of Cleveland by declaring that he is taking his talents to South Beach (the Miami Heat) rather than playing for his hometown Cavaliers.

This may be one of the most anticipated openers ever, due to having a lot of other storylines, including:

  • Shaquille O’Neal playing against his former Miami Heat after delivering a championship there in 2006 with D-Wade’s help. Shaq will also be facing Chris Bosh, who he called the NBA’s RuPaul.
  • Delonte West and LeBron James, both former Cavs, will be also playing each other, after rumors surfaced the internet that had something to do with Delonte West sleeping with LeBron James’s mom, which made many people think was the main reason LeBron turned away from Cleveland and “quitting” in the last 4 games of the East conference semis vs. Boston.
  • How well can the Miami Thrice function together? In the preseason, they only got 197 seconds of playtime together before Dwayne Wade injured himself against Detroit.
  • Could this finally be the year LeBron James gets to win his first title? If he does, will he be playing as many expected Robin to Dwayne Wade’s Batman?
  • This could be the last chance for the Boston Celtics to win it all, with their Big Three all hitting the twilight of their careers and may not get another crack at it in a while.

I am expecting it to be a historical opener, and think that Miami will beat the Celtics tonight.

The night continues with another rematch of last year’s first round series, this time from the Western conference though. Western conference finalists Phoenix Suns, playing their first season with Amare Stoudemire, will be visiting the Portland Trailblazers, who were hacked all year by their stars dealing with injuries.

Who will Nash find this time now that Amare is gone?

Despite reaching the Western conference finals last year, the Phoenix Suns have a very dim chance of repeating so, after losing Stoudemire in free agency to the New York Knicks, killing the Suns’ run-and-gun fast paced offense. Instead, they acquired Hedo Turkuglo from the Toronto Raptors and brought back Josh Childress from Europe. Meanwhile, the Blazers had a bit of dilemma with Rudy Fernandez during the summer, who was asking to be traded and even threatened to leave the NBA to play back in Spain. Yet all seemed to work out on both sides, with Fernandez showing up to training camp and everything back to normal. Portland also traded Jerryd Bayless to New Orleans for a future draft pick and signed Fabricio Oberto.

This should also play out to be an interesting game, and I pretty much expect the Blazers to win the game tonight.

The final game of the night will be the first game of the champions’ title defense. The Los Angeles Lakers will be seeking their third straight title this season by starting off their season hosting the Houston Rockets. Also, many storylines come into play with this matchup, making it also a very interesting one:

  • The Los Angeles Lakers have had a not-so-good preseason, including losing both games in Europe to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Euroleague champions FC Barcelona. I know, Kobe was injured and was having a couple of lousy shooting games and didn’t play much, and that is what worries all Lakers fans. Kobe Bryant says he is ready to play, but as he hits 32, one can only wonder if he is still as good as he was at 30 and even 31. I still have faith in Kobe, as he has built motivation off LeBron James joining his Super Friends in Miami and all the critics who are saying Kobe doesn’t have it in him anymore.
  • Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will be making his return after missing out a full year due to an injury sustained against the Lakers in the 2009 playoffs. According to the Rockets’ management, Ming will have a cap of playing no more than 24 minutes per game and will be monitored by team doctors. His playing time may increase, but all depends.
  • I am personally expecting the Houston Rockets to surprise the NBA with their great lineup. Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, Shane Battier, Luis Scola, and Yao Ming. They have a great team on paper, which makes the Western conference interesting, although I don’t see any team threatening the Lakers in the West, which brings us to
  • The Lakers have improved their team and according the team owner Dr. Jerry Buss said back in August that this may be the “greatest Lakers team fielded ever” since he owned the team. And no, Buss didn’t own the team five years ago, he actually has been in charge for over 30 years, in other words, the Showtime Lakers were on his watch and he still thinks that this team is better. I mean, they are returning 9 players from the team that won last season, and they added an amazing point guard in Steve Blake, another tough-minded defensive player in Matt Barnes, and a veteran back-up center in Theo Ratliff. With those three additions, their bench is all toughed up, in addition to the rookies drafted, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, who will be seeing some playtime this year according to 11 time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson, which leads us to our next point:
  • Will this be Phil Jackson’s last season? The only thing that seems to stop Jackson from coming back next year will be his health. After all, he’s collecting a very decent salary and is dating Buss’s daughter Jeanie. I think Jackson, like Bryant, is now more motivated than ever to coach this season in order to trump the masterpiece Pat Riley has created in Miami by adding James and Bosh.
  • One final point: Will Andrew Bynum be just a role player, or will he able to return a full time player? After suffering injuries in the past 3 years, many, including Jackson, are wondering if Bynum will be able to go through a full NBA season and play full minutes like any other NBA center and deliver performances as he did before hitting the injury bug. I hope he can, after all, he has a lot of potential and I hope him and Blazers’ Greg Oden get to finally get back on track and play amazing basketball without getting hurt.

    Are we going to see this for the third straight year? I think so

  • On an unrelated note, the Lakers will be receiving their rings for winning their 16th NBA championship, but not all of the players are keeping their rings. Why? Ron Artest decided to give away his ring, first in an auction but recently in a raffle (lottery), to promote the cause of metal health awareness and according to him it will serve as motivation to strive for another ring. Tickets for the raffle cost $2 and you can a buy a minimum of 5 at http://www.ronartest.com .

I expect the Lakers to start their title defense with a win despite the strength of this year’s Rockets.

I am really excited about this season, as David Stern said earlier this summer, this season we might be experiencing the “greatest basketball ever”. All 30 NBA teams are loaded, with teams being better than others of course. Every NBA team has at least one superstar and most have former or current All-Stars, which makes this season more tempting than ever. I advise everyone to watch the three games tonight, and if not all, at least the Heat-Celtics and Rockets-Lakers games.

NBA…Where Amazing (and a bunch of other cool stuff) Happens


The Miami Heat got primetime treatment from the NBA schedule-makers.

No shit.

With the release of their partial schedule, the new-look Miami Heat open their season October 26th on national television against the team that knocked them out last season, Eastern Conference champs Boston Celtics, while the NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant and his NBA champs the Los Angeles Lakers tip off their season after the ring ceremony against  last season absentee Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets.

Christmas day will have continue to have the “five live games”  with the main event being the awaited match-up between the trio of Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat vs. the NBA champs, preluded by a rematch of the ’10 Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic.

It is rumored that LeBron James will be making his long awaited return to Cleveland on December 2nd as the second game of a back-to-back games for the Miami Heat.

Other must- see games:

October 27th:

Chicago Bulls vs.Oklahoma City Thunder: Two of the top six teams in the NBA will be facing each other on Day 2 as the revamped Bulls with former Utah Jazz players Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver and new coach Tom Thobideau facing the stable Thunder who had a quiet offseason.

Portland Trailblazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Both teams had to go through the agony of seeing their #1 Draft picks miss their first season due to injury. Will Greg Oden of the Blazers and Blake Griffin of the Clippers play this game and how good will they be?

October 28th:

Washington Wizards vs. Orlando Magic: Two big reasons to watch the game: First, this will be the awaited debut of the 2010 #1 Draft pick John Wall for the Washington Wizards, and the second big reason will be the Orlando Magic’ debut in their new Amway Center.

Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz: After going through major makeovers, including both teams losing big-name power forwards this summer, this matchup could be an interesting one with the Suns acquiring Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress after losing Amare Stoudemire and the Utah Jazz trading for Al Jefferson after losing Carlos Boozer.

October 29th:

Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat: The Miami Heat will be playing their first home game against their state rivals Orlando Magic. While the Miami Heat have the Miami Thrice, they do not, however, have a big center to defend Dwight Howard. Will the Magic take advantage?

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns: Rematch of the 2010 Western Conference finals, although it won’t be the same after the departure of Stoudemire but with all that it will remain to be an interesting game.

Full partial schedule that was released (Note: Schedule taken off ESPN.com):

2010-11 NBA Opening Week Schedule

Date Matchup Coverage Time
Tuesday, Oct. 26 Heat vs. Celtics TNT, ESPN Radio 7:30 ET
Tuesday, Oct. 26 Rockets vs. Lakers TNT 10:30 ET
Wednesday, Oct. 27 Bulls vs. Thunder ESPN, ESPN3.com 8 ET
Wednesday, Oct. 27 Blazers vs. Clippers ESPN, ESPN3.com 10:30 ET
Thursday, Oct. 28 Wizards vs. Magic TNT 8 ET
Thursday, Oct. 28 Suns vs. Jazz TNT 10:30 ET
Friday, Oct. 29 Magic vs. Heat ESPN, ESPN3.com 8 ET
Friday, Oct. 29 Lakers vs. Suns ESPN, ESPN3.com 10:30 ET
Date Matchup Coverage Time
Saturday, Dec. 25 Bulls vs. Knicks ESPN, ESPN3.com Noon ET
Saturday, Dec. 25 Celtics vs. Magic ABC 2:30 ET
Saturday, Dec. 25 Heat vs. Lakers ABC, ESPN Radio 5 ET
Saturday, Dec. 25 Nuggets vs. Thunder ESPN, ESPN3.com 8 ET
Saturday, Dec. 25 Blazers vs. Warriors ESPN, ESPN3.com 10:30 ET

2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Schedule

Date Matchup Coverage Time
Monday, Jan. 17 Bulls vs. Grizzlies ESPN, ESPN3.com 1 ET
Monday, Jan. 17 Magic vs. Celtics TNT 8 ET
Monday, Jan. 17 Thunder vs. Lakers TNT 10:30 ET