Posts Tagged ‘Pau Gasol’


Kobe Bean Bryant just turned that clock back to 2001 and that number 8 jersey and just banged the shit out of Emeka Okafor with that dunk (and the win of course).

Anyone still doubting the Black Mamba?


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.


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)