Posts Tagged ‘lakers’


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.)


For all those interested, I found the video for the Los Angeles Lakers’ ring ceremony that took place last night. It was something for all Lakers’ fans, as they managed to raise their 16th banner and collect the 2010 championship rings, which were made out of 2010 NBA Finals Game 7 ball’s leather that crowned the Lakers champs.

What’s special about this ring ceremony is how the Lakers’ players all introduced one another after receiving their rings, which made them look more of a family rather than a team (and it also brought back the attention to the champs, not the wannabe champs).

Interesting points I noticed:

  • If you pay attention when they are introducing the team staff, you’d notice that Tanter (the announcer) skips over an assistant coach and jumps off to Kareem Abdul Jabbar. That guy’s name is Rashard Hazzard and he happens to be another special assistant coach (He got to thank the announcer, Hazzard is now like 100 times famous because of that and is being searched over the Internet. Like they say, any publicity is good publicity).
  • Adam Morrison getting booed when Phil Jackson said his name (Well, after all, the guy literally did NOTHING in the Finals).
  • At first, it sounded like Luke Walton was getting booed for some reason when coach Jackson introduced him. Turned out the crowd yelled “Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuke”. Makes sense.
  • They showed Khloe Kardashian when Lamar Odom received his ring, but it seems Maria Sharapova wasn’t there to witness her fiancee Sasha Vujacic’s second ring ceremony. It looks like the relationship is not TMZ material just yet.
  • Andrew Bynum introduced Pau Gasol as the “greatest all around big” in the game (Bye bye Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki), Shannon Brown introduced Derek Fisher as “El Presidento”, Derek Fisher introduced Kobe Bryant as the “greatest basketball player in the world” (Take that LeBron!) and Kobe Bryant introduced Dr. Jerry Buss as the “greatest owner in team sports history”.
  • Ron Artest is giving out his ring in a raffle to raise metal health awareness (like the cause, but seriously dude, the ring?).
  • Gotta love those that are called as “Special Assistant coaches”. Just say what they do!

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)