One Giant Leap for the NBA

With Four remaining teams left in NBA playoffs, my support is going to the underdog Cavaliers, who cut the Pistons’ series lead in half yesterday with a 88-82 victory. If the Cavs rally past the Pistons, and the Jazz somehow manage to steal the series from the Spurs, LeBron could conceivably capture his first ring, maybe. Crazier things have happened in sports lately right? And what could be better for the NBA after a relatively miserable season than the young King James getting his first ring and making the more reluctant older fans want to watch the NBA again. It would create a need to see if this guy holds a candle to the stars of the golden age of the NBA, which I was unfortunate to barely catch the tail end of. And seeing as Stern has no problem rigging various aspects of the NBA, mainly the lottery to screw the Celtics, the Cavs taking this thing down should seem more likely than it does.
But to get back on topic, it was in last night’s game that phenom LeBron James took his first step towards maturing into one of the best players in the game. He was out of his mind down the stretch. What makes it more amazing is that he made the Namath-esque prediction that it would be the biggest game of his life. I just can’t wait for 25 years from now when LeBron is being interviewed at a Cavs game, absolutely wasted, hitting on Cheryl Miller. You just have to love this guy though, the prediction, nailing a 92 footer in pre-game warm ups, hitting step-back, fade-away 3’s down the stretch in a must-win game 3, and finally, his clutch jumper to seal the deal.
I’m sure he will spark whispers about another basketball player who wore the number 23, but I want to say right here that I don’t think he is the next Jordan. He is a hand and a finger’s worth of rings, and about 99 monumentally clutch playoff performances away. That isn’t meant to take anything away from LeBron. In this era I don’t think any team can recreate the dynasty the Bulls had. Also, take a look at Jordan’s supporting cast. Pippen, Rodman, Kerr, incredible all-around player, rebound machine, and dirty 3 point shooter respectively. Guys like Luc Longley, Toni Kukoc, and Bill Wennington were all great role players. Jordan was an incredible leader, crunch time player, and overall one of, if not the most unstoppable offensive players ever to play the game. But he did have a lot of help. It’s not that hard for a professional driver to look good flooring it in a high performance well-oiled machine. LeBron could grow to become as good of a leader as Jordan, but with his supporting cast his best analogy would be Jeff Gordon driving a 1971 4-cylander Ford Pinto, there’s only so much he can do with it. In the current state of the NBA, imagine Bron Bron with a supporting cast similar to MJ’s. There is no one quite like pippen, but call Josh Howard LeBron’s Pippen. Jason Kapono is his shooter waiting on the elbow, a big upgrade from bricklayer Donyell Marshall. Give him some big men who, unlike Zydrunas Ilgauskus, my mom couldn’t box out and out rebound. She played her college ball at St.Michael’s in Vermont thank you very much. Think how scary that team would be. My point is the Cavs need to get this guy better help for him to get some rings. And don’t even get me started on Eric Snow and Larry Hughes.
So instead of drawing Jordan comparisons, take this clutch performance for what it is. I mean he was out of his Gord last night. Let’s all cheer for James to get his first ring with a less than ideal supporting cast and join Wade as the second of the next generation of superstars to win a championship. And if he does that, then maybe we can start calling him the air apparent. Maybe we can start to put the Silhouette of LeBron throwing it down over Rasheed Wallace on jump suits. Crazier things have happened in sports, right?

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News Around the Leagues

Before we take a look at the NBA playoffs (again), lets take a look at whats going on in sports. Clemens looks like either between Mel Clark before Roger and JP brought him angels or the other rocket Chet Stedmond before gardenhosen rejuvenated his spirit. He just couldnt find the strike zone. Against THE PAW SOX. I can’t wait til we see what our boys are gonna do to him. Also in baseball, Ichiro told reporters that when he reaches age 40, he wants to take up pitching. This guy is an animal. I’d take him over Clemens right now. He has also said in the past that if he hit for power he would easily have 20-25 Jacks a year. Maybe pitching could “revive the dormant fire in his soul.”
In the NBA, the Knicks are showing interest in pursuing Vince Carter should he become a free agent. Absolutely shocking that the Knicks want to overpay an underachieving, over valued semi-superstar. A lot of over unders in there, huh?
In other news, Mike Vick just purchased Paris Hilton’s dog, Tinkerbell.

NBA Draft Lottery Dissapointment

  • Well so much for tanking the second half of that season. So long to Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Goodbye to an overhyped 2007-08 season for the Celts. So much for the luck of the Irish. Somewhere deep inside of me I knew that this would happen. Now the Celts are left to choose 5th, and all of their tanking efforts of 07 got them nothing at all. Maybe Ainge secretly knew this before the lottery was shown on ESPN and therefore gave Doc an extension so he could tank us right on through next season to try to get the #1.
  • I need therapy.
  • Looking on the bright side (if there is one) the Celts can still get a decent player with the 5th pick. They have a young team already (doesn’t need to be any younger), and a few veterans that can get it done. So what do they do with the 5th pick? I think it is pretty simple. You have to go with Noah. Let’s face it he is a WINNER. Shouldn’t we be talking about him as the next Russel instead of Oden. After all he is the one with back-back titles. He does all of the little things that Russell did. Rebounds, blocks shots, and comes up with all of the big hustle plays. He can play the center position, and pass from the high post in Doc River’s offense. He fits perfectly alongside Al Jefferson who will see the majority of touches in the low post, but Noah can post up once in a while too. The thing that you have to love about Noah is that he is soooo intense when he is out there. He is going to give you 110% each time he is out there. There really isn’t a better fit for the Celtics in the draft. He passes, scores when you give it to him in the right spots, wins, rebounds, plays D, plays hard, and fills the spot that the Celts need to fill.
  • That being said I still think that the most talented overall player in the draft is Corey Brewer, and he will be an absolute steal for someone.
  • Besides Oden is like 28 years old, and Durant is bound to be a bust. Right? (banging my head on desk).
  • The real question here is……who is the uglier human Oden or Noah?

The Playoff Blog is Back

  • First off thank you Jason for the in depth research on that former Team USA-er Nick Collison. I think it comes as a surprise to us all that he is still in the NBA.
  • Not much to say about that opening game between NJ and Cleveland. Donyell Marshall was hitting threes? and the Nets couldn’t throw it into the ocean. Not really much to say in general about the Eastern Conference playoffs. I wish Miami was still playing, because at least they would shake things up a little bit and make me watch. Although there is something that I have been meaning to mention. In game 3 in NJ Jason Kidd pulled down a rebound, then preceded to throw a perfect lead pass to Vince Carter who then dunked it. What was so great was how Kidd came down with the rebound then without hesitation threw the perfect lob pass. Carter was smiling, and just appreciating his teammate as he caught it and went in for the dunk. Just a really cool moment to see. Carter knew how great Kidd was playing, and could only marvel at it with the rest of us. Also in Game 6 Kidd threw an incredible “thread the needle” pass to Mikki Moore. Really have to love Kidd averaging a triple-double in the playoffs. Hoping to see him on Team USA.
  • Now for the big show. Spurs/Suns in SA tonight for game 6. Very anticipated game with Stoudemire and Diaw coming back. Pretty much everyone that I talked to during the day was excited to watch this game.
  • Bowen is playing unbelieveable defense on Nash, and should be congratulated. Parker dominated the first half, and Ginobli had 10 pts in his first 11 minutes. Then Duncan got it going towards the end of the half. That being said you would think that the Spurs were in total control, but it was just a two point game at the half. Nash is being followed by Bowen and an extra defender wherever he goes yet he is still able to deliver to his teammates. Just when I thought I had definitely seen the best pass of the night from Kidd, Nash throws a wrap-around pass as he is flying through the lane around Duncan right to Stoudemire. Just a remarkable pass.
  • Big run for the Spurs in the third quarter. They weren’t missing from the perimeter. Phoenix just isn’t on their game tonight. Nash is frustrated and no one can make shots. I think we can all say that these are the two best teams left in the playoffs playing.
  • Suns come into the 4th down 81-67. San Antonio wasn’t looking back, still making everything. Then Nash decided to finally take over. After scoring 10 points in a row by himself, the Suns found a few rare defensive stops. Then a few more hoops and Nash crossing up Bowen and making him fall over on his ass (that’s more like it Steve). The ensuing basketball by Nash cut the SA lead to just 9. The Suns gave us one last great spurt. Showing what great team basketball they are able to play. Nash was immaculate in the 4th quarter, but to no avail. I’m just sad that we won’t be seeing the game 7 that we should be seeing on Sunday. Just sad that the NBA did that to the Suns in game 5. Still though a great series played by the dirty Spurs.

In Case You Were Wondering

Just to erase any lingering curiosity, turns out Nick Collison still does play basketball in the NBA. He is on the Sonics and averages 9 pts in 29 mpg… I wonder what he’s doing during the summer of ’08?

Just a thought

Just wanted to use this time to say that I am the man because I wrote about Timmy Duncan being underrated and then a more well known sportswriter named simmons wrote about the same thing, that is all on that note.

On a more sensitive note, the team SZ is pulling for GOLDEN STATE baby went down sadly 3-1 to the Jazz last night. As you can see, we are all in a state of depression and discontent during these difficult times. Alliteration aside, we won’t give up hope until it’s all said and done. Nor will we write about anything else.

Also, The NBA lottery is looming a mere 8 days away. My prayers go out to the Celtics who need the first or second pick. If not because we won 24 games, but because we just extended Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers’ contract. It would just be too much if they didn’t. As I watch Duncan systematically dismantle the defenses of the best teams in the league, while playing some pretty damn good D on the other side of the court, I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if he was doing this in a green jersey. It brings tears to my eyes.

Playoff Blog

I wasn’t planning on adding to the playoff blog tonight, but after watching this Golden State game I couldn’t possibly not write about the incredible game that I saw. First off I think I need to say that it will be a nearly impossible task for anyone to beat Golden State in Oakland. That crowd just pushes these guys to new limits. You can’t say enough about the noise level and the overall togetherness of this crowd. Also you have to love how ESPN needed to install the sound level meter to give the fans an idea of how loud that place is. Mike Tirico had to say how the crowd in Utah was loud too just to keep the Jazz fans happy with ESPN’s coverage, but we all know that Tirico wasn’t in Utah for either of those games.

A great start to the game for the Warriors who were connecting on everything early. Then they went through a dryspell at the end of the quarter and let Utah back into it. Then came a huge outburst in the second quarter. Just incredible shooting and energy by the Warriors. Really special to watch. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it is to watch this team play with this atmosphere. Utah is counting their blessings for GS blowing that game 2, because if they hadn’t then this series would be all but done. I was riding a huge high after that second quarter, but it would only get better. Baron Davis’ performance in this game was absolutely incredible. He is unstoppable right now. The funny thing is that everytime I talk about GS I find myself saying how great Baron Davis is right now. He hit some of the most difficult shots and layups that I have ever seen. Oh yeah and that rediculous posterizing dunk on Kirilenko. Not bad for a 6’2 guard with bad knees right? Kirilenko had been dominating the series on the defensive end, and Davis still went right at him. Davis’ performance in these playoffs has been one of the greatest ever, and it will only get better by the looks of it. The sky is the limit for this Warriors team with him leading the way. Did Deron Williams even play tonight? Mehmet Okur? They might have, but I didn’t see them because I was too busy being amazed by the Baron.