Posts Tagged ‘celtics’


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”.

Coach

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

Star Power

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. Miami's Big ThreeThese 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

The Rest:

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.

Winner: Sixers

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.


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.

Coach power:

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

Soaring to the MVP

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

Star Power:

“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.)


After seven years, the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing their first game without LeBron James.

And they got their first one.

Playing back in the Q, the Cleveland Cavaliers got their first win in as many tries and delivered the first loss to the Boston Celtics, who defeated LeBron James and the Miami Heat one night ago.

With a packed arena that had the atmosphere of an NBA Finals Game 7, JJ Hickson led the Cavs with 21 points to their first victory, giving possibly a lot of hope to the fans of Cleveland that life may be good after all without LeBron.

Cleveland fans were grateful for Boston, since the Celtics beat LeBron one night earlier, and then lost to the Cavs. With this win, I don't expect to see much of these.

The game was a tight one for three and a half quarters, where no team was able to hold on to a good lead.

Until the last half of the 4th quarter, where Anthony Parker broke a tie at 86 with a three pointer shot at the last second of the 24 second shot clock. And it was all Cleveland from there, where Daniel Gibson, scoring all of his 16 points in the second half, scored 4 crucial free throws in the final seconds to clinch the first LeBron-less win 95-87.

Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo was in charge for Boston, scoring 18 points and having 9 assists and 3 steals. Paul Pierce had 13 points and Ray Allen added 12 points while Kevin Garnett collected 15 rebounds in the Celtics’ first loss.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat scored their first victory of the season in their second road game, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 97-87. Dwayne Wade had 30 points, LeBron scored 16 points, had 7 rebounds, 6 assists but turned the ball over 9 times. Chris Bosh finished with 15 points, but the real savior of the Heat was bench player James Jones, who scored 20 points, including six 3-pointers.


As you all know, less than 24 hours ago marked the beginning of the 2010/2011 NBA season where the opening day featured three games: the new look Miami Heat losing to the Eastern champs Boston Celtics, the Portland Trailblazers defeated the Phoenix Suns, and the defending champs Los Angeles Lakers rallying from a 15 point deficit to knock out the Houston Rockets.

Miami's center Joel Anthony and their lack of frontcourt made Shaquille look like he was 27

In the most watched regular season game EVER on cable, the Boston Celtics hosted the Miami Heat in the first game of the season. Everybody was waiting to see the Miami Heat in action, rather the presence of MVP LeBron James and Chris Bosh alongside to Dwayne Wade. As usual, the TD Garden’s crowd was merciless, shouting overrated everytime the Heat had the ball and booing LeBron James upon possesion. The Heat had one of the most sluggish and rusty first quarters in their history, scoring only 9 points in the first 12 minutes to trail the Celtics by 7. The second quarter started and the turnover party of the Miami Thrice, well basically James and Wade, kept on going on eventually helping the Celtics to gain a lead as much as 19 points and making Shaquille O’Neal looking younger than ever and Marquis Daniels play like a superstar, eventually ending the first half leading 45-30.

James started to make more of his shots, and slowly, he and Carlos Arroyo brought the Miami Heat back into the game, making the most anticipated game as interesting as it should be, with James scoring 15 of his 31 points in this quarter, with the Heat only trailing by six by the end of 3 quarters. However, Paul Pierce wouldn’t let his Celtics fall, and made one of the biggest statements in the game by standing in James’ way as he was running on the fast break, committing a blocking foul and making sure that the East champs are not ready to surrender their Eastern title yet. Pierce sat out a bit and came back in, knocked down two straight three pointers and drew a foul off a three point shot to kill the Heat, who were shooting abysmally throughout the game, starting with a miserable 23% in the first half and eventually only 37%, leaving the Celtics to hold off a late Heat charge and win the game 88-80. LeBron James had 31 points, yet 8 turnovers for the Heat, in addition to Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh having miserable games, with Wade’s 13 points off 4 for 16 shooting  and 6 turnovers and Chris Bosh scoring a measly 8 points. Ray Allen led the way for the Celtics with 20 points, getting help from Pierce (19 points, 9 rebounds) and an astonishing performance from Rajon Rondo (17 assists, most ever in an opening game). The Celtics fly to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers, while the Heat finish their first back-to-back in Philadelphia against their 76ers.

The opening night continued with another rematch of last year’s playoffs, this time in Portland with the Phoenix Suns visiting the Trailblazers. As expected, the game started as a really close one, with no team being able to get in control, despite the fact that the Phoenix Suns were playing their first official game without Amare Stoudemire since losing him to the New York Knicks in free agency. The Blazers led by 2 at the end of the first quarter, and finished the first half up by 4 behind the good play of Brandon Roy and newcomer Wesley Matthews. The Phoenix Suns started the third quarter strong, behind Jason Richardson’s excellent play, giving the Suns a ten point advantage in the third quarter and end up by 6. Pprtland came back from the dead in mid fourth, ending the game on an 18-1 run to win it all 106-92 behind Roy’s 24 points, Nicholas Batum’s 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Matthews’ 13 points off the bench. Steve Nash had 26 points, 6 assists, but 9 turnovers for the Suns as well as 22 points from Richardson.

The night ended with a ring ceremony where the Los Angeles Lakers received their 2009-2010 championship rings and started their title defense with a tough game against the Houston Rockets, who were playing their first game with Yao Ming, who eventually played 23 minutes as planned, after an absence over a year. The Rockets started out strong in the first half, leading by as much as 11 by halftime (62-51). Then the Lakers stormed back, behind a collaborative performance, starting with Kobe Bryant ( 7 assists, 27 points, 11 on free throws) and Pau Gasol (29 points and 11 rebounds) and eventually Shannon Brown going off like a loose cannon after the Lakers trailed by as much as 15, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and eventually Lakers new acquistion Steve Blake putting the icing on the cake, scoring three 3 pointers, including the go ahead, to win the game 112-110. Houston Rockets were led by Kevin Martin’s 26 points and Aaron Brooks’ 24 points, while Yao Ming had 9 points and 11 rebounds.

Kobe Bryant kissing his fifth ring - hopefully not last.

TnT’s Excellence of the Night: Paul Pierce (BOS, 17 points, 9 rebounds), Nicholas Batum (POR, 19 points, 11 rebounds), Shannon Brown (LAL, 16 points).

TnT’s Must-NOT-See Players of the Night: Miami’s bench, Dwayne Wade & Chris Bosh (44points on 15 for 49, 9 TOs)

TnT’s Leaders of the Night: LeBron James (MIA, 31 points), Luis Scola (HOU, 16 rebounds), Rajon Rondo (BOS, 17 assists)