Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

♫So who’s it gonna be him or me?♫…

Big rapper for a big game tonight. In tonight’s game  5 of the NBA finals (OKC Thunder vs. Miami Heat) does Miami wrap-up the championship, in the last home game in American Airlines arena (no matter who wins tonight) like most believe they will? Or does the Thunder prove that such “Big talk”  about  their demise is “Dead Wrong”?  

Biggie Smalls paraphrasing aside…the OKC Thunder truly have ONE MORE CHANCE tonight (and for the rest of the season).

So How does this one play out? Does Lebron finally silence all of the critics who have called him “The King Without a Ring”, “Lechoke” and stuff I can’t even post on my wild page? Does Kevin Durant prove that he isn’t about to accept the new “timid” tag , that the basketball world is trying to push on him (the “timid” tag becomes the “soft” tag very fast, Kevin…watch out). Does Harden ACTUALLY show up tonight in Miami tonight (Come on “BIG CUZ”, lol)? Will Westbrook have to Score 50 points grab 10 rebounds and dish 50 assists to FINALLY GET some respect for what he does/has done all year (Check out my “Lay off of Russell Westbrook” blog from DECEMBER)?

My hope and belief is that Lebron finally gets his ring in a Miami Heat coronation tonight…completing his “South Beach Redemption”. Lebron has been stellar in these playoffs and his team has follwed suit. Lebron has not only “come of age” in his “Superstar to Legend” quest, but the heat are finally becoming a team and Spoelstra is becoming an EXCELLENT coach.  Yeah, I just typed that…but he deserves it with his coaching in these finals (and I thought that he was going to need a “blindfold and a cigarette” against Scott Brooks in a coaching duel). The Heat have all rallied around Lebron’s brilliant play (the refusal to jump-shoot his team into a shallow lead and ultimately a devastating loss and his all-around (year round) brilliance). Now The stars are playing like STARS and the role players are playing their roles. The old talk (about the “hollywood as hell” Miami Heat) is about 48 minutes of championship basketball away from being SHATTERED.

Credit the trials and tribulations that the Heat have had to endure, if they pull this off tonight!  They have been through HELL in these playoff and have learned from it. More importantly though, they have learned about themselves (and how to play together).

Kevin Durant and the  OKC Thunder seem poised to go through the same thing. After an amazing playoff run, he and  his team of “upstart” OKC Thunder players are starting to see REAL NBA pressue.  He and Harden are now  running up against some rumblings of criticism, after some “less than agressive” games vs the Heat. That type of criticism was usually reserved for Russell Westbrook. Westbrook’s heroic attempt to get his team the win in Miami (ending with 43 points , 7 rebounds and 5 assists) absolved him of a lot of the UNFAIR criticism he had been getting. Even Magic Johnson apologized for his reckless comment about Russell playing the WORST point guard  play he had seen (in the finals). Meanwhile , the team’s true playmaker has been INVISIBLE in Miami. James Harden has been completely out-played by the “Heat Collective” that I described in my “New School vs Newer School” article.  Do Kevin Durant and James Harden (and I would even add Scott Brooks to the mix) redeem themselves and their team tonight? Or will they have the kind of 2012-2013  that the Heat had  to endure this year (before they found their true identity in these playoffs)?

In the end, it just seems to be the Heat’s “year”. Last year ended terribly for this team and they have been dying to redeem themselves.  We saw this with Dirk Nowitzki  in last year’s Dallas Mavericks championship run. The Heat  are playing the right way, at the right time and against a TOUGH team. 

Who will get their redemption tonight? Let’s play ball!!!!!!!

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What the hell is going on with Dwyane Wade?

Let me back up a little…

When the Heat acquired Lebron James last year (along with all-star Chris Bosh), it was seen as a REVOLUTION in Miami Heat basketball and that the next 5-7 years would see a new dynasty in the NBA. Well…a funny thing has happened on the way to prosperity for this Heat basketball team. It seems as though the Heat aren’t “jelling” quite as well as we all expected. Now the Heat are now in danger going down 2 games to 0 in their second finals appearance in two years. What happened to the expected  Jordan and Pippen 2k of Wade and Lebron? What the hell happened to Lebron in last years final’s and what is happening to Dwyane Wade this year?

Let me start off by saying I LOVE DWAYNE WADE. His play during this year’s playoffs…not so much. Dwyane is a future hall of fame player and at certain points in his career ( ’06 – ’07  when they won it all  when he averaged 27.2 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds with Shaq…30.2 pts, 7.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds in ’08 -’09) he has been THE best player in the league. Book it. Dwyane Wade has become a shell of himself recently and it has left everyone scratching their heads .

So why is Wade pulling a David Copperfield and disappearing right before our very eyes like the Statue of Liberty…or a New York Knick? Dwyane Wade has (since the Conference semi-finals) gotten progressively worse in these playoffs. His scoring, field-goal percentage and rebounds have all gone down during this stretch. Not so surprising (when you see those stats), his assists have gone up. Looks like Dwyane is Leaving Lebron out to dry…errr deferring to Lebron.

So what is up with Dwyane? Is he deferring to Lebron? Is Wade getting “lost in the shuffle’ of Lebron’s attempt at retribution (for ‘Bron-‘Bron’s own disappearing act from last year)? First off, I am tired of hearing this deferring crap from both of these players. It smacks of EXCUSES! “Oh I’m not kicking ass in these games because i’m worried about stepping on other guys’ toes!”. I play basketball in my local parks, community centers and L.A Fitness and that sounded very familiar to me when I heard it…

The way that Wade made unrelated excuses (as if they pertained to the real reason  why his team was losing)  echoed  the way losing teenagers (I’ve played pick-up basketball with) downplayed loses. It’s as if they both are more worried about taking away from the others on their teams or the opponent. This, instead of admitting that they played badly or the other team played better. Or speaking more broadly: If they win, they have all of the “cool” and sportsmanship you could ask for. If they lose, they become sore losers and excuse producing machines (with the “I’m not sure whose team it is?”, talk).  

Michael and Pippen famously called themselves “doo-doo” and “shit” after a playoff game, before. How is that for PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY?

Let’s Get real and let’s get in this series Dwyane Wade! Number one, it’s the owner’s team! Number two, if you are hurt…fess up (without giving up). Number three, help Lebron…he needs you and I know you didn’t drag him down to Miami to ditch him when it counts!! Lebron already played with Larry Hughes !!  Number four, we know Eric Spoelstra sucks but play beyond that…YOU HAVE A RING.

Is Wade gun-shy because of fear or injury and that’s why he stopped trying? Has seeing Lebron become a MONSTER in the playoffs made Wade get a little sheepish…standing at the proverbial playoff urinal feeling inadequate?  He has mentioned aging for the very first time…Mike and Kobe never started talking about “aging” when they were just turning 30 years  old. Dwyane needs to remember that he is in that league of greatness. The Heat need those answers. If not…the Heat are about to get swept or lose in 5. I think Wade can do it. If he isn’t injured.

Wade doesn’t seem to know what’s going on (with his game) either.

So, it’s  finally happening!

Starting Tuesday it’s the NBA Finals match-up that most basketball maniacs have been waiting for this entire season. On Tuesday we will finally have game 1 of the OKC Thunder vs. Miami Heat for the Larry O’brien trophy and league-wide bragging rights! Ooooh this one is exciting!

The Individual match-ups and stories for this year’s finals,  are some of the most compelling in decades. In the paint, we have the “forgotten men”  (who secretly keep it all together) Serge Ibaka vs Chris Bosh .  In the back-court we have “speed-limit” violators Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook in a “combo guard” battle for the ages (and maybe even for Westbrook’s name in the league).   We have the  the Heat’s collection of role players and bench pieces vs James Harden. And then there is is the BIG matchup…Lebron James vs Kevin Durant! MVP (Lebron) versus Primary competition for the prize. When you add in the  Glamour (Miami) vs. Grit (Oklahoma) of the cities involved this series starts to take on a near-mythical status. Is this the battle for basketball’s very soul? I may be exaggerating…but THAT’S HOW TRULY EXCITING this match-up is.

Let’s break it down:

Serge Ibaka vs. Chris Bosh

Often forgotten with all of the other star-power shooting off around the court, Serge and Chris have shown just how valuable they really are. It’s not exactly Russell vs. Chamberlain but the idea is surprisingly the same when you think about it. Chris’  main objective is going to be to S-C-O-R-E. We saw what happens when he isn’t a threat to score in the series with Boston…defenses collapse on Wade and make it tough for the Heat offense. Meanwhile, Ibaka has a role similar to Russell (the role is similar…not the player)…when he rebounds, defends and patrol’s the paint, he shuts the other team down while igniting the OKC offense. far from one-dimensional though, each will be required to work the opposite side of the court too.

speaking of both sides of the court, there are few in the league who get back and  forth  faster than…

Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook

Here is one of the “Main Events” of this year’s playoffs. Dwyane Wade vs. Russell Westbrook is very interesting. You have the (still very young) athletic Russell Westbrook going against who is essentially his player-mold in Wade. ‘Brooks has been very good in these playoffs, despite some spotty moments as the point guard for his team.  Wade experienced a tiny bit of scrutiny for his point-guard abilities when he first came into the league too. The Heat eventually realized that he was better as a BASKETBALL PLAYER and relieved him of the point duties like the Thunder did with Westbrook. The Thunder have Harden…the Heat got creative and brought in Lebron (after some hit or misses with Jason Williams , Carlos Arroyo and some guys we don’t even need to talk about). This battle will be a scorer/speed  master’s class and hopefully ‘Brooks will come prepared. If Wade demolishes him, offensively and/or defensively, those murmurs about OKC not winning it all with his unorthodox skill set (at his position) could get louder and run him out of town.

Harden vs The Heat “Collective”

This match-up could be the key to the entire series. James Harden has been AMAZING in these playoffs. As the primary ball-handler in some key situations and the second wave in the offensive attack, his importance can not be overstated. It has also been very celebrated among the basketball fans and analysts all over the country, while the Heat players have been slightly maligned. The Heat bench and role players have their work cut out for them…specifically Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers. Collectively these guys will have to defend (keeping him out of the lane and honoring his outside shot) and OFFEND (hitting the shots that Lebron and Wade get for them and pushing the ball when necessary). The Heat role players have shown to be capable of doing this, but now it is for all of the “marbles” (and everyone is watching and waiting to pounce on them if they fail).

Which brings us to the TRUE “Main Event”…

Lebron James vs. Kevin Durant

Lebron James vs. Kevin Durant looks to be an all-time great match-up with some serious undertones going on. These two are the  wunderkinder of today’s NBA and the similarities end there. Lebron straight form highschool (when the league still did that) was immediately anointed the NEXT BIG THING. Kevin Durant came to the league after (a sensational) one year of college basketball, with questions about how his game (and body) would translate to the NBA. Lebron  has been a flashy superstar over the years and moved his talents to another city to optimize his legacy. Durant is a quiet assassin and stayed with the team that drafted him in the most low-key re-signing of a superstar in recent memory (I won’t go as far as calling Kevin the anti-Lebron…he is more of an anti-Carmelo to me). Kevin is a deadly outside Scorer/athlete and has become the most CLUTCH player in the league. Lebron is nearly impossible to stop in transition and his rebounding and passing have no equal at his position (probably EVER). Whose will is going to be imposed? It’s going to be fun to watch…if Lebron doesn’t “Clyde Drexler” Durant. Remember what Mike (the BIG mike) did to his supposed “rival” and NBA legend in his own right? Or does Durant have “something for” ‘Bron?

Watching the major questions  about these teams and individuals being answered, should be a treat for basketball fans all over the world. Will OKC’s inexperience finally catch up to them (that’s why they brought in Fisher)? Will the Heat break under the finals pressure again (they seemed to handle themselves supremely in the semi-finals and finals)? Is it better for the league to see smaller market OKC win it all (through building organically with the draft/developing talent and minor free agent tweaks) vs Miami’s bigger city “slickers” (buying superstar talents from under other teams and promising titles right away)…?

If it comes down to coaching, give Spoelstra a blind-fold and a cigarette vs OKC coach Scott Brooks (yeah, I said it).

I am a Heat fan but I kinda think it would be better for OKC to win! I love Wade and ‘Bron-‘Bron from their underdog days, so I wanna see them get a title to take the targets off of their backs (ironically, because that usually puts the target on a player’s back). I also love the OKC thunder (ever since Durant came into the league with all of the doubts) and watching them beat all the former champions has been thrilling …it is simultaneously a can’t lose and can’t win situation for me.

Hopefully this is the start of a new rivalry!

But as a Harden, I should probably be siding with OKC! 🙂

“Big Three battle” takes top billing…but there’s more underneath the surface!

Deshawn Stevenson…tsk tsk tsk. Oh, Deshawn! 🙂

If you haven’t heard…he’s not Michael, Magic or Bird…oops, I mean DeShawn Stevenson put a damn ATM in his kitchen. Let me repeat DESHAWN STEVENSON PUT AN ATM IN HIS KITCHEN!

Well, since DeShawn opened the door for this, let’s talk about thenumber$“. According to NBA.com DeShawn (a 6’5″ guard for the Nets) averaged 2.9 points , 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists a game in this 2011-2012 NBA season. “All” in  18 minutes per game! Stevenson scored one more basket than you or I did and we never laced up our sneakers to play an NBA game this year (I’m still holding onto the hope that I will be picked up by a franchise next year…anyone need a 5’5″ point guard ?).

As a matter of fact, Stevenson has never even cracked the 12 point per game mark over an entire NBA season.

I thought you had to AT LEAST have 20 before the ATM would even “talk to you” (as Chris Rock would say). This was the ridiculous sports story of the day and I have to give it up to DeShawn for putting a smile on my face.

All kidding aside (well not all kidding), WHY does he need an ATM in his kitchen? Does he really have THAT many hookers coming through his front door (check the name of the blog)! That is the ONLY reason I can think of for a grown man to have an Automated Teller Machine in his kitchen!!  In the words of Chris Rock  “Have you ever taken $200 out of  the ATM at 3am for something positive!?” .

You know I’m right! 🙂

And If you see the picture (below) you will notice that he is dressed like the love-child of Nicki Minaj and Andre 3000 (but there is a paternity conflict because “Lucky” the “Lucky Charms” cereal  Leprechaun is in the mix).

Maybe it’s more innocent than I think. Maybe he gambles with his buddies and he is tired of them not paying him his money. There is only so muchI need to go to the ATM “dawg”…you live too far away from the city, man!” you can take from your “boys”. 

A  lost bet is the only way he could explain that outfit!  😦

Much like his awful shooting percentage this season and those pants…DeShawn is showing terrible decision making . He definitely missed the  mark again with his “household ATM” pics.

He has an “insane” obsession with money, though. He has a five-dollar bill tattoo on his trachea and dollar signs across his back! Maybe the answer is in the photo he took next to his home ATM…

If that kid in the pic on the right-hand side is DeShawn as a kid, I think we have the answer. It’s another case of “awkward kid builds himself up and shows off when he is a (no less awkward) adult”.

AN ATM!!! AN ATM!!!

As a banker (by trade), this was the perfect storm of silliness…almost tailor-made to make me die laughing.

Oh Man, I love the NBA…but what are you doing to me? I told you  that you were paying role players WAAAAYYYY too much money, NBA.

My silliest blog in weeks but it’s fun stuff .  A  more serious blog is on the way…

NBA All-Star Jam Session 2012

I recently responded to a great article by my new Blogger Buddy Chris Ross.

Here is His Article : http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/its-your-fault-pat-riley/

And here is my response…Check it out!:

“I completely agree with your assessment for the Miami situation.

There seems to be something in the water that surrounds the Florida peninsula . It’s like the GMs in Orlando (My hometown and where I currently reside as well) and Miami (My favorite city on the planet and one of the main reasons I stay in my hometown) historically try to get away with surrounding a couple of superstars with piss-poor players to fill out the roster.

Mike Miller wasn’t a great glue guy when they tried this in ORLANDO years ago with a young and healthy Tracy Mcgrady (not that Mike was terrible then by any means…but come on).

And Riley used to be smarter than this…He coached teams in New York and Los Angeles that were PACKED with talent. What made him change the TEAM approach to the game, in favor of this FANTASY LEAGUE GMing that he is doing nowadays? Plus, I’m starting to think that Spoelstra saw Riley kill a hooker or something…because how else can you explain him having this job?

You can’t surround a “Big Three” with aging vets on their last legs and one or two young players (whose mere presence in the league is perplexing). That is backwards from the “Big Three” formulas ANYWAY. You are supposed to get the three main talents and YOUNG talent with UPSIDE to fill out the roster…Ask the Celtics, Spurs, Mavericks, (and waaaay back in the day) Chicago (Pip and Horace was that young talent at one time) and Detroit etc. I don’t know what’s in the water down here in Florida but these GMs should probably get a Brita filter or have their water imported.

Or maybe it’s the stuff they are already importing down here that’s making them make these managerial decisions…”

Out Paced.

Posted: 2012/05/17 in Basketball, NBA, Uncategorized

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Now let’s never

speak of the game 3 Heat loss again! lol!

I am going to continue to back them but dammit if they don’t need some help. The  loss tonight was effing ridiculous. Indiana are no slobs . They (Indiana) do have some vets with playoff experience…and while Indiana is very underrated,  still, the Heat had no business losing this game or losing so badly. period.

My “favorite” part was when Dwyane Wade decided to fight his (lousy) coach instead of the Indiana Pacers. Scratch that…My actual  favorite part was watching newly crowned MVP of the league Lebron James brick jumper after jumper in the second half…trying to either get back into the game in a shallow way (instead of going to the basket and shooting your free-throws AND getting  the other team in foul trouble…oh and STOPPING THE CLOCK!) or shoot the team out of the game completely (so he could sit his ass down for the night). I’m not sure which one of those outcomes he really hoped for and that’s sad. Either way, the Miami Heat played poorly (to say the least) and they had better decide to bring the same passion and fighting spirit (against the Pacers) that they brought against Eric Spoelstra. They Had better do that or it will be a LONG game 4 in Indiana (if they are lucky) and they will lose.

But most of all they better come to play in game 4 because I never want to have to DEFEND ERIC SPOELSTRA *shudder* AGAIN!!

At least my favorite team in the West playoff picture is still doing well. GO OKC!

Let’s hope the Heat can get it together for that OKC vs. Heat Matchup I’ve been hoping for…That is , if the Celts and Spurs don’t have something to say about all of that .

Pat Summit!!! Any real basketball fan respects the hell out of this lady! I became a fan of hers when I was a teen, because of an HBO documentary about her team (awesome documentary btw.)! It’s a bittersweet day in basketball history with her retirement from coaching! Prowling the sidelines in her suits…she looked determined and deadly…indistinguishable from Pat Riley in those moments of intense competition.  Ferocious, tenacious, kind and dedicated… She was a great winner as a coach and helped her students beyond the hardwood (100% graduation rate!). In the end though, Pat Summit is more than a “coach” she is a LEADER in every sense of the word!

http://youtu.be/dI9FwgOfvXY Documentary trailer here!