Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest player’s in the history of the NBA, but there is no denying that his career is on the down swing. Already with 5 NBA Championship trophies as well as an NBA MVP award, Kobe has proven that he is a glorified winner. Bryant turns 34 in August and unless you are the New York Knicks organization, you think that is getting too old for the NBA. In my estimation, Kobe has two great years ahead of him and then possibly 2-3 average years, but his window for winning his coveted sixth Championship is closing fast. The 14 time NBA all-star knows this and is all for his management putting together a Championship team for this season.
Jerry Buss and crew started their off-season magic with the best Free Agent signing of the year in Steve Nash. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they were more than just a quality PG short of winning the Championship last year. After acquiring Nash, Buss continued to look for the pieces that helped his team win 5 Championship’s since 2000. With some rumors flying, it seems as if the Lakers are about to sign Free Agent Antwan Jamison which will give them more great veteran leadership and a chameleon SF who pulls off the PF roll as well as anyone. While the former UNC Champion Jamison will bring a quality perimeter shot to the Lakers and add 7-9 rebounds a game depending on his minutes, his lack of defense will be a cause of huge concern for a team that prides itself on tenacious defending.
Nash has also been known for splotchy defense throughout his career and while Kobe has been named to numerous amounts of NBA all-defensive teams and Metta World Peace is literally willing to elbow someone in the face to stop them, the Lakers need more defense to win it all. Andrew Bynum might be one of the best up and coming Centers that the league has seen in a while, but his skill set still can not match up with Superman Dwight Howard’s. To win a Championship, you need big men defenders and while all the haters out there will say that Miami just won it all without a big man defender I will say that Lebron defends as well as anyone ever has…he is a freak and a player like him only comes around once every 20 years. I mean there hasn’t even been a PG Defensive Player of the Year since Gary “The Glove” Payton won it in 1996.
There is no better defender in the league than Dwight Howard and he will fit in perfectly with Mike Brown’s Lakers. Although Howard has stated multiple times that he only wants to sign an extension with the Brooklyn Nets, maybe he would be comforted knowing that signing with Kobe and the Lakers would pretty much guarantee him a trip to the NBA Championship. The loss of Bynum would be tough, but if Howard were to sign for at least 4 years than I’m pretty sure the Yellow and Purple will be able to cope with it. Howard can defend not only the opponents Center but he would also be able to shut down the players that coast past Nash and Jamison on a regular basis. Anyone that tries to say that Bynum has more potential than what Howard has to offer is a buffoon.
If Kobe combines forces with Nash, Gasol, Jamison and Howard, than there will be absolutely no one that has a starting 5 who can match up with them. If this team does form this superhero alliance than they will be ancient in 3 years, yet still younger than the Knicks current roster. The Lakers had to be planning on restructuring their entire team once Kobe’s career comes to an end anyway, so why not go out with a bang and win a couple of more Championships. For the NBA’s sake I hope this happens because I would like to see someone capable of putting out the Heat’s fire. If this move doesn’t happen than you can expect no more than a second round exit from the playoffs for the Lakers once again.
Let’s get something straight, I understand that the New York Knicks have not made it easy on their fans over the past 12 years but all the whining is getting old. There are two types of Knicks fans in the world, one that bleeds orange and blue while keeping faith and supporting their team all the time, and the other is a pouting little bitch that complains about any move the organization makes and pulls their vintage Starks jersey out of the closet once the team starts winning again. I understand the Knicks have been awful in recent years and they have been the comedic punching bag of the NBA for over 10 years, but unless you are blind you can’t deny the organization has been working their asses off to turn things around.
It seems that all of these bootleg Knicks fan’s minds have been permanently tainted by the horrid dark years that the moron Isiah Thomas was responsible for in the early 2000’s. The fact of the matter is that the Knicks are not far off from becoming a contender once again in the Eastern Conference. Sure in the last two season’s, the Knicks have been eliminated embarrassingly from the first round of the playoffs but there were outstanding circumstances that definitely were not in their favor. Between Stoudemire’s stupidity and an endless array of injuries, the Knicks really didn’t have a chance in either of those series.
In the Knicks most recent attempt to bring success back to the world’s most famous arena, they came to terms with Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks. The second I heard this news I knew that every Knicks “fan” that has been drinking their ‘Hater’ade on a daily basis was going to come out of their shell to criticize this signing without thinking the move over. What they see is a washed up point guard at the end of his career, what I see is one of the greatest point guards that the NBA has ever seen who is only 2 years removed from winning the NBA Championship as the starting PG. I understand Kidd is not the player he once was, but if you honestly don’t think he can help improve the Knicks than you should take your head out of your ass.
Let’s put it into perspective. The Knicks have one of the most talented scorer’s in the world in Carmelo Anthony. They have the second best defensive Center in the NBA in Tyson Chandler, who just won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year by the way. They have a highly talented and young Iman Shumpert, who definitely proved he can play with the big boys last season, and they are most likely going to retain the young phenomenon, Jeremy Lin. Now I can mention Amare as a formidable player, but he has given me no reason to do so.
With all that being said, I have a few reason’s why this Jason Kidd acquisition will work in the Knicks favor. If nothing else, Jeremy Lin will be able to play out his most impressionable years in the NBA under the tutelage of one of the smartest players to ever step foot on the hardwood. Kidd also has proven chemistry with Tyson Chandler, as they were both integral parts around Dirk Nowitzki during the Mavericks championship run just two years ago. Another positive that comes with Kidd is that he demands absolutely no offensive possessions, and in the isolation style of basketball that the Knicks play, that is very good news. Those should be enough reason’s to get some of these haters to shut up for a moment.
Now I am sure some of you will come at me with rubbish like, “well Melo and Amare can’t play together,” or “Lin was a flash in the pan and will suck now,” or even “Kidd is just going to be another Baron Davis.” All I can say to that is that you should just wait and see because nobody knows for sure what’s going to happen. I’m not an idiot, of course I would have rather had Steve Nash at the point, but once he was scooped up by the Lakers, Kidd was the next best choice and not such a bad one at that. Unless you wanted the Knicks to resign Raymond Felton, they went with the right choice. Mike Woodson will now have a complete off-season to get his team together and maybe build some chemistry that has been nonexistent for the past two years and if everyone can stay healthy the Knicks will be a team to fear. Will the Knicks be on the same level as the Miami Heat? Of course not, but no one will. So all I ask is that all of you crybaby supposed Knicks fan’s just shut up and roll with the punches because I see good things ahead.
NBA Rookie of the Year, 8-time NBA All-Star selection, 2008 Scoring Title, 3-time NBA MVP, and 6-time NBA All First Team selection would seem to be enough accolades to be considered one of the best ever. Well, for Lebron James it wasn’t until last night when he led his Miami Heat to the NBA Title and picked up his first ever Championship ring and Finals MVP award. The dark cloud that has been following over Lebron’s head since he decided to take his talents to South Beach has finally gone away and now the best player in the world can get the credit he deserves. I can’t say I was rooting for James to win it, but as a basketball fan and they way he won it was absolutely remarkable.
From the opening tip in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, James seemed determined to finish the series in Miami and not have to travel back to the most hostile environment in the NBA, OKC. Fittingly, Miami’s first two points were from an emphatic slam by James and from that point on you just felt that his talents had finally surfaced in South Beach the way he promised his fans back in 2010. Throughout the playoffs I was cheering against Miami for no other reason than I am a huge supporter of the underdog. I mean I am a Mets, Knicks and Jets fan. In this game, as the minutes slowly diminished and Miami was rapping up their rout of the Thunder, 121-106, I found myself smiling and slightly impressed with what Miami had accomplished.
There’s something to be said about winning a championship, but there is a lot more to be said about a team that wins a championship when most of the world is rooting against them. As much as I would like to not give any credit to anyone except Lebron, I can’t. This Championship run was a legitimate team effort. From consistently strong games from Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, to surprising shooting performances from Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers, there was really no chance for OKC. The second that the Thunder developed a game plan, Miami seemed to have their counterattack ready to go.
In the clinching game 5, Miami’s surprising star was non-other than “Sir Limps A Lot,” Mike Miller. Like a robotic zombie, Miller limped up and down the court and just drained 3-pointer after 3-pointer. Miller entered the game 0-3 from downtown, but after game 5 finished he was an astonishing 7-11 for the series. For all you math whizzes out there, that means he went a lights out 7-8 from beyond the arc in an NBA Title clinching game…that is amazing! I hate to say it but even Miami’s undeserving coach seemed to of run a few plays that actually looked like he knew what he was doing. I find it remarkable that a team that has basically been together for 2 years waited till their final game of the NBA Finals to show the world their best stuff.
Sure Miami won their second Championship ever as a franchise and it was a total team effort, but what the fans of basketball will always remember this series as is Lebron’s first title. Now, will it be the first of many like Lebron promised us two years ago? In my opinion I think it is. If last night’s game, and all of the playoffs for that matter, is any indication of how Lebron’s game is improving then the rest of the world should step aside. Michael Jordan didn’t win his first Championship until he was 28 and the now 27 year-old James has a platform to measure the rest of his career against. Congratulations to the Miami Heat for winning the NBA Championship and a special congratulations to Lebron James for not only proving the haters wrong, but proving that he is the best player in the world.
It wasn’t Lebron James, it wasn’t Dwayne Wade and it wasn’t Chris Bosh, so who pushed the Miami Heat to a 104-98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in game 4 of the NBA Finals? His name is Mario Chalmers and he was absolutely marvelous. When the Heat were down and needed a place to turn, Mario took a note out of Russel Westbrook’s book and focused more on scoring rather than passing. Now that is not typically the mentality you want from your starting point guard but there are many times when it is effective. Chalmers scored 25 points which was only 1 point behind James for their team high. There were times late in the game where Chalmers looked as dominant as he once did when he played for the Kansas Jayhawks.
OKC came out to a blazing start and seemed to have complete control over the game. Unfortunately for the Thunder, they really only had one player show up and that was Russel Westbrook. Westbrook had a performance that I can only describe as one of the most impressive offensive outbursts I have ever seen in an NBA Finals game. Russel had a stat line of 43 points, including 17 in the fourth, and 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Westbrook’s PIC (Partner in Crime), Kevin Durant, seemed a little flat during the game and although he finished with 28 points he never seemed to make the big shot that shifted momentum back into the Thunder’s favor. Sixth man of the year, James Harden, was pathetic all game and if he doesn’t turn it around then the Thunder have absolutely no chance to beat Miami Thursday.
Now I don’t like making excuses, especially in the Finals, but something is getting out of hand. The refereeing in this series as well as every one of Lebron James’ series, has been inconsistent and unfair. Westbrook had 43 points, he took 18 shots from within the painted area and seemed to get hacked nearly every time. He accumulated 3 foul shots. Lebron and Wade had 51 points combined, they took a total of 17 shots from within the painted area and got to the line 17 times. That stat seems a little off because there is no way the calls can be that lopsided. OKC went to the foul line the second most amount of times out of every team in the NBA during the regular season but only made it there 16 times in game 4. That is a fucking joke because the refs seem to cradle Lebron James’ testicles in their hands as he hacks players without whistles on a regular basis. Even my PIC, NYBobby, called me during the game to say he noticed what I and the basketball world have been saying all year.
ESPN analyst Steven A. Smith has been criticizing the refereeing all playoffs long and said this morning that one of the reasons that Durant is getting the shit end of every call this series is because he is too skinny. That really pisses me off because with that logic I should be in the NBA because my fat ass would be getting every call in my favor. Now I will stop bitching about the refs and give some credit where credit is due. Lebron James is the best player in the world. He can dominate whenever he wants and in game 4 he even proved that he can score without being able to use his legs. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game that James was cramping because he was dehydrated. Well Erik, maybe you should grab the man a cup of water once in a while because he is about to win you your first of many undeserved championships. The series seems to be slipping away from OKC and now Thursday’s game will determine if these two teams are going to travel back to Oklahoma. If OKC can win Thursday then its anyone’s series from there on.
Last night was the perfect description of what Pat Riley and the Heat organization envisioned when they put together their team of all-stars in 2010. Fluid ball movement and precision passing for easy baskets inside the paint is the only way Miami can succeed and they did it nearly flawlessly last night in their 91-85 victory. Led by 29 points and 14 rebounds from James, Miami found different ways to hurt the Thunder throughout game 3 of the NBA Finals last night. Wade, although he had a poor shooting performance, finished the game with 25 points and 7 boards and 7 assists, which was without question his best game of the Finals thus far. Chris Bosh also provided his second straight double-double since being reinserted into the starting lineup that seems to have the Thunder flustered.
So where did the Thunder go wrong last night? Durant finished with a respectable 25 points with over 50% shooting, while Russel Westbrook added a hard-fought 19 points. The key missing piece to the puzzle was James Harden. The sixth man of the year shot a pathetic 2-10 from the floor and finished with a dismal 9 points. The Thunder can not beat the Heat in Miami without the spark off the bench that has made them such a formidable team throughout the year.The loss might also be attributed to the fact that Shane Battier, Miami’s former sixth man but now starter, is having one of the best 3-point shooting Finals of all time. Through the first three games of the series Battier has made at least four 3-pointers. No one in the NBA has done that in four straight finals games since Dennis “3D” Scott did it back in 1995 for Florida’s other team, the Orlando Magic. It’s amazing because Battier is coming off career lows for field goal percentage as well as 3-point percentage, but he has absolutely been Miami’s x-factor this series. I’m sure NYBobby is thrilled with my shout out for Shane based solely on the fact that I am a UNC Tar Heels supporter, while he goes for their rivals the Duke Blue Devils, Battier’s alma mater.
Maybe the reason that the Thunder lost isn’t because Miami’s “Big 3” got their shit together, or because James Harden was building a house with his bricks last night, or because Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra has a striking resemblance to a Tarsier Monkey from his native lands of the Philippines (I don’t know why I feel the need to trash him, but I do). Maybe the reason the Thunder lost is based solely upon their lack of execution when it comes to basketball fundamentals. OKC shot an out-of-character 15-24 from the foul line and committed 6 fourth quarter turnovers. They also finished the game with a minuscule 11 assists on 33 field goals made. While the Thunder went most of the season lacking an assist man, they were also the best foul shooting team and they committed the second fewest turnovers, so these two stats are inexcusable. If OKC has any hope of making it out of Miami alive then they better get their act together. And maybe Scott Brooks shouldn’t ever have his two best players, Westbrook and Durant, on the bench for the same time for 5 minutes like he did at the end of the third quarter where Miami made their comeback.
P.S. NBA referees please know that it is acceptable to call fouls on Lebron James!
In a thrilling NBA Finals game 2, the Miami Heat were able to hold on to be the first team this postseason to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder on their home court. With a 100-96 victory against OKC, the Heat travel home tied 1-1 in their best-of-seven series. Miami came out firing on all cylinders and scored from wherever and whenever they wanted to. Dwayne Wade found his shot early and Shane Battier once again proved why he was one of the better off-season pickups by draining three quick 3-pointers. Lebron was dishing with ease and Chris Bosh manhandled both Perkins and Ibaka for the first 3 quarters. The Heat led by as many as 17 points and looked as if they were going to run away with the game.
That’s when Lebron James got to enjoy his favorite part of every game, the fourth quarter. As if it were rehearsed, the Thunder cut Miami’s 13 point lead down to 4 with just 5 minutes running off the clock. It was quite incredible the way that Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook were able to tear apart a defense that was able to keep them relatively quiet through three quarters. Durant’s performance was even more impressive with the fact that he was playing with 5 fouls with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game. Lebron James had an overall great game and he seemed to be the little life the Heat had in the fourth, but he was nearly not enough. Wade looked as if he was nonexistent towards the end of the game and Scott Brooks seemed to devise a defensive plan that completely took Miami out of their rhythm.
The Thunder kept chipping away and it started to look like Miami was losing control. With their lead cut to 3, Lebron took the ball and made a beautiful fade away bank shot over Thabo Sefelosha with just under 96 seconds remaining. After a clutch three pointer by Durant followed by the stereotypical missed three by Lebron in the closing seconds, the Thunder possessed the ball just under 20 seconds. Westbrook quickly got the ball into the fiery hot hands of Durant. Durant made a stylish cross over dribble and pulled up for a routine 12-foot jumper when Lebron seemed to have raked his arm and leg for what should have been a foul call. Unfortunately for the Orange and Blue, the whistle wasn’t blown and Miami gained possession and the win.
The most impressive play for Miami was probably from the newly inserted into the starting lineup Chris Bosh. With 16 points and 15 rebounds, Bosh finally provided those big man numbers that the Heat have been missing all playoffs. Even with Bosh and Battier having great games and Lebron and Wade both filling the stat sheet as usual, the Heat still almost found a way to lose. Mr. Inconsistency, a.k.a Erik Spoelstra, couldn’t find a single lineup that worked in the fourth quarter and like usual seemed to defer all of his decisions to King James. Well Spoelstra, it seems as if your brilliant coaching tactics have once again led Miami to a victory. I would like to thank the NBA referees for once again proving their infatuations with Lebron James.
Miami came out of the gates scorching hot and the Thunder looked in trouble from the get go. Lebron was shutting everything down that came his way and role players like Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier were hitting their open shots on every James or Wade doubled pass out. OKC’s real 6th man, their fans, were removed from the game quickly and the advantage that has helped the Thunder remain perfect on their home court during the postseason was no longer present. Coach McFly called multiple time outs and made earlier than usual substitutions to try to answer this Miami Heat onslaught. Trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, OKC did everything they could just to stay alive in the game and keep themselves within a small run to mount a comeback.
After slicing the Heats’ lead nearly in half and trailing only by 7 points going into halftime, the Thunder looked as if the momentum in the game was falling in their favor. At this point in most Miami Heat recaps of games, I would usually find a way to insult coach Spoelstra but I think I can leave him alone for this one. Clearly the Thunder had a halftime plan and they executed it perfectly.
Their plan of, “pass the ball the Kevin Durant or Russel Westbrook and score,” seemed to work flawlessly as the two players single-handily out scored the entire Miami Heat team in the second half 41-40. Add that with the support they received from Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha and you have a half of basketball completely dominated by the home team. It seemed as if every time that OKC had an offensive possession, they scored. Durant scored 17 of his 36 points in a true anti-Lebron fashion…he did it in the fourth quarter. Westbrook nearly had a triple double with an impressive stat line of 27 points, 11 dimes and 8 boards.
With their 104-95 loss in game 1 to OKC, Miami is going to have to develop a game plan to see if they can weather the Thunder’s storm leading into game 2. Step one should be helping Dwayne Wade find his old form that made him the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Wade started the game sluggish and finished even worse. He scored a meaningless 19 points on 7-19 shooting, which is only as good as it was because of a few nice dishes from Lebron that made for easy layups. Miami stands no chance of beating this young and talented Thunder team without exceptional games on a nightly basis from both Lebron and Wade. The same goes for OKC’s Durant and Westbrook. These teams lean heavily upon their stars and in game one, Miami’s two scored a combined 49 points compared to the 63 scored by Duranbrook or Westurant…you choose. I also think that for Lebron and Wade to find themselves open more often, Miami’s worthless coach Erik Spoelstra (I knew I couldn’t make it through the whole article), is going to have to start Bosh. I don’t think it’s rocket science, I mean this guy is paid $20 million a year and is one of the best perimeter PF/C shooters in the game. Game one is over and I am sure all the basketball fans in the world like myself are craving game 2 but we will have to wait until Thursday night to see it. I predict that the Thunder will remain perfect in the sea of Blue that fills the Chesapeake Energy Arena on a nightly basis.
Elgin Baylor, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Pete Maravich, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing…Lebron James. What do all of these names have in common? They all have had Hall of Fame careers, but always fell just short of that elusive NBA Championship. Lebron James has a chance to remove his name from this list as he makes his 3rd trip to the NBA Finals and second in as many years. The 2012 NBA Finals has one of the most exciting matchups of all time, featuring the most hated man in basketball versus one of the most loved. Lebron James and Kevin Durant are headlining what is sure to be an epic duel of good vs evil.
The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder make their way to the NBA’s biggest stage having traveled completely different paths. OKC, formally the Seattle Supersonics, drafted Durant back in 2007 and spent years building around him to find the proper championship fit. The Miami Heat drafted Dwayne Wade back in 2003 and followed the New York Yankees philosophy of “if you can’t beat them, buy them,” to get their championship squad. Regardless of how they got there, we have a great matchup to watch over these next 2 weeks. Both of these powerhouse teams finished 2nd in their respective conferences, but were the favorites from most to make it to the big dance.
Even though they are playing in the same series, the pressures for both teams are on totally different levels. For Oklahoma City, this is the first trip to the Finals for pretty much everyone outside of role-playing center Kendrick Perkins and long time veteran back up point guard, Derrick Fisher. As for Miami, this is their second consecutive trip to the Finals and if you ask anyone in the organization I can assure you that they are playing by the mantra “win or the season is a failure.” OKC is bringing the 3rd best offense in the NBA this season to the Finals to matchup against the 4th most stingy team when it comes to giving up points. Miami, or should I say Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, bring a level of intensity on defense that they will need every second of each 48 minute game just to stay in contention with OKC. The Thunder lack the defensive abilities that the Heat portray, but more than make up for it by draining shots from pretty much anywhere.
This might be an NBA Finals matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, but the world will be paying much more attention to a very specific battle…”The Durantula” vs. “The King.” The 3-time NBA MVP, Lebron James, and the 3-time scoring champion, Kevin Durant will fight for the most coveted award in basketball. I can assure you that either one of these players would sacrifice all of their previous accolades to get their hands on that 14.5 pound sterling silver hardware with a 24-karat gold overlay. Lebron, who turned the whole state of Ohio as well as most of America against him as he decided to bring his “talents to South Beach,” has more to prove than anyone. James’ birth certificate might say he is 27, but his receding hairline that requires a double headband to cover it up, says that he is closer to 60. Over the past 2 years since joining Miami, James has suffered through more high pressure situations than former president George W. Bush would in a Boggle tournament.
Like many others, I have given Lebron James and the rest of the Miami Heat a hard time throughout this season and there really is only one way they can all shut me up…WIN! The mightier pressure might be on Miami but my pick is OKC in a thrilling 7 games. Let me know if you agree or not.