Tag Archives: NBA

The Sad Case of Donald Sterling (Or how everyone missed the point).

If I’m Donald Sterling I’m confused. I’m confused because I said some extremely racially charged things, in what I thought was a private conversation with my girlfriend, and now everyone is killing me over it. I’m confused because in my 33 years of owning the Los Angeles Clippers, nobody has ever had a problem with my bigotry before. After all I was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the NAACP in 2009 and was about to receive another this year.

Donald Sterling, Clippers owner, banned by the NBA for life. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

However, I’m not Donald Sterling and while I’m certain nobody wants to be in his shoes right now I can’t help but feel that all of this must be extremely confusing for the man. The reason of course is how inconsistently we treat racial issues in this country, and everyone is responsible. The journalists, analysts, viewers, and in this specific case the NBA. The truth of the matter is that Donald Sterling’s bigotry, his racism and sexism, predate this internet age that we live in. He was racist long before this, and you know what? Nobody cared. Well, almost nobody cared. It wasn’t until Donald Sterling’s Clippers were actually good and in the limelight, couple with the fact that we live in the sound bite era of the internet and you realize that Sterling’s downfall was years in the making. What is sad about this, the truly regrettable thing, is that everyone should have seen it coming. A few did but more people shouldn’t have been shocked by this.

Sports Illustrated writer Franz Lidz wrote a story on Donald Sterling 14 years ago. The story mostly details the eccentricities of the Clippers owner but was originally supposed to have more bite to it. It was edited down because it “demonized him(Sterling)” which as we know now is ridiculous. If anything, he’s being demonized now because we allowed him to get  away behaving like this for years before we finally had a sound bite of him saying it that we could play over and over. The “we” that I’m referring to by the way is a collective “we”. We fans, writers, and the NBA allowed this to continue.

As Bill Simmons poignantly points out in his (vastly superior) column, Sterling was attempting to settle housing discrimination lawsuits in 2003,2006, and 2009. The real world application of Donald Sterling’s outdated beliefs in which he tried to keep Latino-American and African-American tenants from living in his apartments. In his sworn statement of those lawsuits he unleashed some of his most direct racism dropping such bombs as, “it’s because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day” and “that’s because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they’re not clean.” 

Where was this outrage then? The people that are all up in arms right now, which is most of America at this point, are more delusional than Donald Sterlings wife who at this point is orbiting Pluto in her attempt to distance herself from her husband (like she didn’t know the man she was married to for 50 years was capable of such despicable behavior).

Actually, an a side tangent, Rochelle Sterling wife of Donald Sterling posed as both a health inspector and a government official in an attempt to  ascertain the race of her husbands’s tenants. Of course she knew he was racist, because she helped. This is a woman who pretended to be both a health inspector and a government employee, so as to find out exactly what ethnicity her husband’s tenants were.

More to the point, this whole story from beginning to end, has become a depressing ouroboros situation. The joke is on us, as told by us(collective “us” because that’s how I roll). Doc Rivers and Chris Paul forced trades to the Clippers, Blake signed an extension, the fans showed up to the games, and the NBA knew for years that this man was a bigot. All of the outrage is completely reactionary. The constantly recurring sound bite is the reminder that everybody messed up.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

None of this is to say that the league’s actions aren’t just. They are. Racism is a hard thing to get out of sports once it’s in. Just look at soccer in Europe, we still have fans throwing bananas at players and other kinds of nonsense. There’s no room for it. It just seems like the NBA is trying to distance itself from the racism of a man it knew to be racist with disproportional outrage and shock that seems like it could come straight out of an Onion News headline. “Racist Man Says Racist Things, League Is Stunned!” Yet here we are pretending like this is a bright day, while we sweep under the rug the sins of the past that could have been averted if only we cared enough. The NBA is a business and it just didn’t care when profit margins weren’t being affected. Now, with sponsors dropping like flies, it seems like a good time to give Donald Sterling the boot that he should have been given years ago.

The next time, and I promise there will be a next time, let’s be prepared to do the right thing. Money and good basketball be damned.

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Doc Rivers Kills Lob City (Inadvertently).

Okay, so Doc didn’t really kill Lob City, not that you could tell by the way Blake Griffin was talking about it. In an interview with Shelly Smith of ESPN he said,

Lob City doesn’t exist anymore. Lob City is done. We’re moving on and we’re going to find our identity during training camp and that will be our new city. No more Lob City.

The last time something this beloved was mercilessly killed off, FOX cancelled Firefly (sorry Browncoats). Blake Griffin sounded like he was in mourning. To be fair any time you have to kill your team’s identity and trade it for a new one over night, it’s never an easy task, but in this instance the Clippers are better for it.

That’s right. Better.

Lob City can’t completely die. Blake and DeAndre Jordan are too athletic to not throw lobs. Hell, for all his size, strength and athleticism it’s not like Jordan can do anything else. He has no post moves, no reliable interior shot and absolutely no desire to play defense. It’s this kind of attitude that gave the team formerly known as Lob City another moniker with it’s old nickname.

Soft.

The one word every professional athlete tries to avoid being tagged with. Being soft means you’re weak willed and that you can be broken. Everyone thought Lob City was soft, Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin, believe the Clippers won’t be. In order to get to that point, they’ve decided to erase everything associated with their old identity. Doc Rivers teams play defense. They just do, and while that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t be abused by the Grizzlies some more, it does guarantee that they’ll put up a fight. That’s exactly what Doc Rivers wants.

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Young Teams Rise In The East

The thing about the NBA is that, very much like pop music, it’s all about star power. That, and depth I suppose, but mostly star power. Almost always in the NBA, the team with the best stars win. You could build a band with Ringo Starr and Ronnie Wood if you wanted to but, I’d imagine that Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger sell the tickets. Likewise, it’s not impossible to build a good team with Chris Bosh and Joakim Noah but, the star power lies with Lebron James and Derrick Rose.

The NBA’s eastern conference has had a bit of a shake up in the last couple of years. A few stars have changed teams, and hopefully a few future stars have been drafted into the league. This has given some teams in the east the ability to, for the first time in years, make it to the playoffs.

Wizards point guard John Wall (left) and Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (right).

The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be in post season contention if they can stay healthy. They have a number of pieces at their disposal and some potential stars. They’ve made some moves that give them an opportunity to be in the post season for the first time since Lebron James left.

Two years in, and Kyrie Irving is an emerging star. He’s an extremely reliable scorer, has handles for days, is great in crunch time and has court vision to boot. Apart from making Jason Kidd, Brandon Knight and Damian Lillard look silly; Kyrie specializes in shooting. He shoots the ball very well from basically everywhere on the floor. While he does lack a strong defensive presence, he always a threat on offense getting easy shots for both himself and his teammates.

Andrew Bynum is an all star caliber center who averages a double-double when healthy. His biggest problem being, of course, that he is not always healthy (or ever; in the case of the Philadelphia 76ers who never once saw Bynum play a regular season game in their uniform). Andrew Bynum is the perfect example of a player that is worth the risks taken on him. He’s a legitimate 7 footer with a variety of useful and often times crafty post moves. While Andrew Bynum may have red flags concerning his maturity but, he is worth the risk if he plays up to his potential.

Anthony Bennett is the number 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. This came as a surprise to many but, not too surprising since Cleveland general manager Chris Grant tends to be, shall we say, unconventional in his moves at times. The Cavaliers hope that Bennett can bring the athleticism that he showed when he played at UNLV. Bennett is explosive and is capable of finishing above the rim. He’s got a quick first step and speed when running the open floor. Anthony Bennett is not a consistent jump shooter and doesn’t play active defense, those are coachable issues however. Look for Bennett to contribute right away.

Not to be forgotten: Dion Waiters 14.7 ppg 2.4 rpg

The Detroit Pistons are ready to put their previously disappointing seasons behind them. General manager Joe Dumars through some form of magic (most likely) has found a way to keep his job despite putting together a myriad of bad teams. These bad teams directly preceded the  team that won an NBA Finals in the 2003-2004 season and had four other conference finals appearances, that Dumars also built. In a return to form, Joe Dumars has made a number of shrewd moves in the offseason in an attempt to bring the Pistons back to prominence.

Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond have a lot in common. They are both versatile big men. Both are 6’10” and are both highlights waiting to happen. They move well on the fast break. They are both smart and willing passers. Greg Monroe has 3 NBA season under his belt while Andre Drummond just wrapped up his rookie season. Monroe played 33 minutes a game to Drummond’s 20 minutes most likely because they occupy roughly the same place on the floor, and Andre is a rookie. Both show a lot of promise and skill.

Josh Smith is more than capable of being an all star. He isn’t but he could be. Josh Smith has strength not unlike a bull. When he attacks the basket he’s difficult to slow down. On the low block, he’s a nightmare to defend. He’s athletic and has tremendous leaping ability. The Pistons were able to acquire the former Hawks forward for a relatively affordable 4 year $56 million. If Josh Smith had a downside, it would be his tendency to settle for jumpers. He’s big, strong and fast yet is completely satisfied with taking some bad 10-15 foot jump shots.

Brandon Jennings (since we’re on the subject of bad jump shots) joins the Pistons roster via a sign and trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange the Bucks got point guard Brandon Knight. In Brandon Jennings the Pistons get a bit of a boost in scoring ability. Jennings is more of a volume shooter but he has his nights where he scores extremely well. He’s left handed and unsurprisingly goes to his left a lot; he avoids finishing with his right hand almost to the point of phobia. Brandon Jennings is a much better passer than he gets credit for, even averaging 6.5 assists per game on a team with Monta Ellis on it. Jennings is an improvement at the point guard position and is a better fit than Brandon Knight for this team.

Not to be forgotten: Chauncey Billups 8.4 ppg, 2.2 apg

The Washington Wizards believe this is the year they can make it to the post season. They’ve dealt with everything from bad injuries to just having bad players. This year their roster is stronger than it’s been in a long while giving them hope that they can end a very long drought. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t won a playoff series in about 25 years.

John Wall signed a 5 year $80 million deal with the Wizards earlier this summer. This is the maximum amount of money that he could have been paid. While Wall’s career numbers thus far do not justify this pay day, the Wizards believe that he can be an all star caliber point guard in the NBA. 2013 saw a marked improvement in Wall’s jump shot, which is still a work in progress. Wall at 6’4″ is a big point guard yet, he has incredible speed and is capable of going baseline to baseline in under 6 seconds. His jumper is his biggest barrier. At this point nobody takes it seriously. What is taken seriously is his court vision, passing ability and speed that leaves defenders standing still. Wall is also a very good defender.

Bradley Beal just finished his rookie season and it was very impressive. He’s an accurate shooter who, if given any daylight at all, can score at will. Beal can attack the basket both on the fast break, and in the half court. He runs through screens effeciently. Bradley Beal’s biggest draw back is ball handling. He’s not bad but when John Wall was injured earlier in the season he did not seem comfortable in the position of primary ball handler. However, his off ball skills are not to be over looked.

Otto Porter the rookie from Georgetown is a player in development. He looked like the most anemic of the rookies drafted this year when he participated in NBA Summer League play. He is adapting to a new offense and a new role. The Wizards re-signed veteran Martell Webster who plays the same position as Porter, so Otto shouldn’t have too much pressure on him early. He will likely not start. Otto Porter is extremely long and his huge wingspan gives him a defensive advantage. Otto was a good defender in college and an extremely scrappy player diving on the floor for loose balls, actually boxing out and sticking with broken plays.

Not to be forgotten: Nene 12.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg

All of these teams are either trying to develop stars or acquire them. That’s what it takes to win in the NBA. They are on the right track to get to the playoffs and to maybe one day compete for a title.

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A Tale Of Two Cities: Examining Derrick Rose and Robert Griffin III

In two different cities, two young leaders of two burgeoning franchises, playing two different sports suffered two separate ACL injuries. These young men, both possessing the most important knees in their respective cities have one more thing in common. A single question that haunts them, and their fan bases.

When do I return?

The Season Derrick Rose, the Bulls point guard, is known for his quickness and devastating crossover. He tasked himself with carrying the offensive load of his team in his fourth season. He also became a solid defender as well. In the 2011-12 NBA season, Rose led his Bulls to the league’s best record and the number 1 seed in the eastern conference. That season, Rose 21.8 points per game and 7.9 assists per game. While not career highs, these are extremely impressive numbers all the same.

The Injury When the playoffs began, the Bulls faced the surging Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia was inconsistent all season but, had won four out of their last five games heading into the post season. Still, the Bulls were heavy favorites going into the matchup with the upstart eighth seed 76ers. Then it, happened.

With 1:22 left in the game, Derrick Rose jumped off his left in the lane as he attacked the basket. This is a routine move for Rose but, this time, he didn’t finish the play. Lacking elevation, he fell to the ground and crumpled in a heap. He attempted to stand but simply could not. Rose had torn his ACL.

The Return Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls in the 2012-13 season, are playing playoff caliber basketball. Not quite at the level that they were a season ago, when they were considered championship contenders. With a current record of 39-31, the Bulls sans Rose are more than capable of holding their own. They displayed their mettle when they ended the Miami Heat’s historic winning streak at 27. The Heat with the best player in basketball, playing the best basketball of his career are all but a shoe in to return to the finals. The kicker? They did it without the team’s second best player, Joakim Noah.

There are obvious downsides to Derrick Rose missing games. Prior to the injury, Derrick Rose was the focal point of the offense. Since then, his Bulls have had to find ways to win in his absence. There will definitely be chemistry issues when he returns. However, by not playing, Derrick Rose and the Bulls staff are hoping to  prevent further injury. This is a great decision. It hurts the Bulls now, but if Derrick Rose is the player that everyone believes he can be, and reaches the heights that fans believe that he can reach, Chicago has everything to gain.

Which brings us to Robert Griffin III.

The Season Fresh off of his Heisman winning season at the University of Baylor, the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft was ready to take the league by storm. He did exactly that. Griffin passed for 3,200 yards and completed 65.6% of his passes. He threw 20 touchdowns and accounted for 7 touchdowns on the ground. He threw 5 interceptions, all season. The Redskins began the season an underwhelming 3-6 but, won 7 straight games to win the NFC East title for the first time since 1999 and make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

The Injury The week 15 matchup between the Redskins and eventual Superbowl champion Baltimore Ravens marks the beginning of a two part tale. In order to get a first down Robert rolled out of the pocket and scrambled upfield. As he attempted to get down he was hit by Raven’s tackle, Haloti Ngata. The weight of the 330 lb Ngata hit the leg of Griffin causing his knee to bend momentarily in the opposite direction.

Griffin led the Redskins down the field twice in the first quarter of the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Twice they scored but, on the second drive, Robert’s knee buckled in an attempt to elude defenders. It is at this point that Robert Griffin III should not have been in the game. Whether the coach, staff or player is at fault is the question that still needs to be answered.

The Seahawks rallied and climbed back into the game. The Redskins were deep in their own territory with 6:15 to go in the 4th quarter, and they needed a drive to hold off the Seahawks. The ball was snapped low and as Griffin reached to pick it up, his knee gave out. The Seahawks recovered the ball and scored.

The Return Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who is overseeing the recovery of Griffin had only great things to say about his recovery so far.

He wants his recovery to be fairly private, but I can tell you he’s way ahead of schedule. His recovery has been unbelievable so far.

– Dr. James Andrews

This statement and the an interesting Adidas ad almost make it seem like Robert is trying to come back for week 1 of next. This is not smart. When a team trades two first round picks and a second round pick to take a guy, they expect to build around that guy for the next ten years. Robert is that guy. He’s got to be smart and learn from Derrick Rose. Comeback 100%. If that’s week 1, which is unlikely, then it’s week 1. If it’s week 7 then so be it. However, if  Griffin needs to miss the whole season, he needs to accept that that’s just how it’s got to be. Everyone is wondering if he, and the Redskins will make the same mistake twice. If the Redskins make the wrong decision and set him back, then it won’t matter if he’s superhuman or not.

Two young players, two big decisions, and two very bright futures on the line.

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In LeBron’s Shadow.

For years, LeBron James has lived in the shadow of Michael Jordan. All great players, especially those with an aptitude for scoring, usually wind up there. This is a testament to how larger than life Jordan is. However, this season is different, LeBron James has found his style and hit his stride. One NBA season after his first ever championship, LeBron has found a way to slide from behind the shadow of Jordan. By playing his own game. LeBron with his size and new found agression, is playing in a style that Michael Jordan never could. He’s scored 30 points in his last 6 games while shooting 60% from the field. This has never happened in NBA history. His efficiency is staggering. The tear that LeBron is on has him garnering consideration for a second consecutive MVP award. Deservedly so, but with this attention going towards James it is leaving an unlikely player in his shadow.

Kevin Durant.

Yes, Durant. LeBron has been playing at such a high level that it’s easy to overlook what Kevin is doing with the Thunder. It’s also easy to miss the fact that statistically, James and Durant are nearly identical. I don’t mean identical in some statistical categories, I mean almost all of them.

Typically in a Kevin Durant versus LeBron James debate, LeBron always gets the edge because he, like no one else in the league, is capable of filling out a stat sheet. Except, that isn’t quite true. Durant is more than able of filling out a stat sheet himself.

Comparison

Points Per Game – James: 27.1 Durant: 30

Rebounds Per Game – James: 8.1 Durant: 7.4

Assists Per Game – James: 6.9 Durant: 4.4

Steals Per Game – James: 1.6 Durant: 1.6

Blocks Per Game – James: 0.9 Durant: 1.2

Field Goal Percentage – James: 56.% Durant: 51.9%

3-Point Percentage – James:42% Durant: 43.2%

Kevin Durant is more of a shooter than LeBron is, attempting more shots and scoring slightly more points but, LeBron maintains a higher shooting percentage. This is likely because he takes higher percentage shots, especially since he has put more of an emphasis on attacking the basket and playing in the low post. They are both proficient on defense averaging the same amount of steals per game and a high number of blocks.

This is not to say that Kevin Durant has been getting no consideration or that he’s “underrated” or anything along the lines of those cliches. Far from it.

The point is that LeBron is playing more dominantly than he has ever played. He has elevated his game to such a high level that he  has actually managed to out shine a fellow all star and a player with stats comprable to his. Durant and James play the same position and are both dominating at it in very different ways. The race for MVP and an NBA title may be one in the same, and it’s a race that is much closer than it looks.

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Brandon Roy, Welcome Back Man.

Anytime a player has to retire before his time it’s heartbreaking. This was especially the case with Brandon Roy. Plagued by knee injuries for much of his career he decided to retire ending what would be a five year career. Nobody doubts how talented he is but, the game took it’s toll on him. Brandon Roy has no cartilage in his knees. He had no choice, the sixth pick of the 2006 NBA Draft and 2007 rookie of the year, had to retire last December at the age of 27.

Portland fans loved Brandon Roy but, so did NBA fans in general. Roy has extremely high work ethic as a result he has left us with some great memories after he retired. Who could forget his 52 point game against the Suns? It was an incredible display of efficient basketball. That night he was 14 of 27 from the field and 19 of 21 from the free throw line. Roy’s most memorable game has to be game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs of the 2010-11 season. Brandon Roy scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Trailblazers erase a 23 point deficit.

Now Brandon Roy is back. “The Natural” has returned to the league, to the Minnesota Timberwolves to be specific. Can Brandon Roy be the impact player he was? The Timberwolves hope so. They hope that he can push them into the playoffs and provide them with the fantastic performances he used to put on. If he can, then along with the development of Ricky Rubio, and the rise of Kevin Love Minnesota can be a team that has the ability to make a playoff push.

When Brandon Roy retired, his teammate at the time Marcus Camby, said his jersey should be retired. Many Blazers fans agreed because Brandon Roy literally gave that team everything he had and he’ll do it again in Minnesota.

Welcome back to the league Brandon Roy. We’ve missed you.

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-John Wall talks to Dime magazine about the expectations he has for himself  and the Washington Wizards this coming NBA season. The last time the Wizards made the playoffs was the 2007-2008  season and they have never made the playoffs with John Wall at point guard. An improved roster and, for Wall, an improved jump shot gives the Wizards a bit more hope to make a playoff run.

You wanna do it all, You wanna be an All-Star. You wanna be one of the top five best point guards. You wanna make the playoffs, and get this city back to where they know they can be. When you have the playoffs, I heard how crazy it could be when everybody is wearing all white. That’s what I want to get to. I want to be the savior.

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Golden State Warriors Offseason Moves Make Them Playoff Contenders.

It may have been easy to miss what the Golden State Warriors are building. It may have been easy to miss the Warriors fortifying their bench by acquiring, Jarrett Jack, drafting Draymond Green, and re-signing Brandon Rush. You may have even missed the drafting of Harrison Barnes and the signing of rookie free agent Kent Bazemore. The one thing you shouldn’t miss is the big picture.

 

The big picture is this, the Warriors have put together a solid team. When you add to all the offseason acquisitions to an already solid base that includes Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson, and Klay Thompson.

The Warriors have had trouble staying healthy in the past. Especially Bogut and Curry who both battled more than their fair share of injuries last season. That’s another reason why this offseason was good for Golden State. They now have the depth to sustain injuries with quality backups at every position. When they lost Curry last season they didn’t really have a person to go to. Nate Robinson, now with the Bulls, was to erratic and unreliable.

If Andrew Bogut can stay healthy and Draymond Green provides production inside the paint that could open up Curry and Thompson to shoot three-pointers from long range. This is crucial for Thompson because he is a very good shooter and he didn’t exactly show a propensity for getting to the basket. Kent Bazemore of Old Dominion University averaged 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He’s adds depth to the shooting guard and small forward positions.

At worst Golden State is a very deep playoff team at their best they could do some damage in the west and even put themselves in position to take another huge step next offseason.

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Not So Fast! Steve Nash won’t save the Lakers

On Independence Day the Phoenix Suns agreed to a 3 year/$27 million sign and trade deal that would send him to the Lakers in return for LA’s first and second round picks in 2013 , a second round pick in 2014, and a first rounder in 2015. The message is clear. The Lakers want to win now. Can they?

Nash is certainly the upgrade at the point guard position the Lakers have been seeking. He brings great passing ability, court vision, and consistent 3 point shooting. Even with all of this the Nash won’t make the Lakers championship contenders. Here’s 4 reasons why.

The previously mentioned passing ability and court vision on display.

4. Mike Brown is still the head coach. 

When Mike Brown became the head coach of the Lakers he found implementation of his offense . . . difficult. The Lakers, especially in the playoffs, were plagued by poor spacing and terrible shot selection as a byproduct of the aforementioned poor spacing. If a system is broken putting another player in it doesn’t make it better. If the Lakers still struggle with these issues next season, even Nash’s production could suffer.

3. The Lakers aren’t a running team and Nash is a running point guard. 

Steve Nash spent the majority of his career under Mike D’antoni a most widely know for his uptempo offensive system with emphasis on fast break scoring. The Lakers have been and still are a dominantly half court team. Kobe Bryant is aging, and Bynum and Gasol have never been fast (though Gasol runs the floor pretty well). Stylistically this isn’t a perfect match. There will definitely be growing pains as both Nash and his Laker teammates are acclimated to one another.

2. Steve Nash doesn’t play defense well.

Nash is for all intents and purposes a defensive liability. In a league full of young point guards with speed and quickness Nash, who is 38 years old right now will not only be a hindrance defensively, he’ll be worse defensively than he has ever been in his career. Nash’s size and (lack of) speed means that there aren’t a lot of other people he can guard well, if at all. On the plus side though, Nash is a pretty good help defender.

1. The Thunder still exist.

As long as this is still a fact I don’t see the Lakers getting to an NBA Finals with their current roster. The Thunder are a younger more solid team with experience. They have been playoff tested, they are supremely talented, and they are certainly more athletic than the Lakers. Gasol and Bynum are the keys to that possible match up and they don’t play transition defense well enough to slow up Oklahoma City. Nash can’t change that. It’s out of his control.

The Lakers need to believe that none of this matters because they mortgaged their future for a 38 year old point guard in the hopes that he makes them championship caliber. It’s a lot to ask of one player to do and that’s exactly why it won’t work.

 

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Daily Rain 5-18-12: Pacers Crush Heat, Chris Paul Stopped Again In San Antonio & Kings Keep Rolling

Dwayne Wade and the Heat Lay Get Stomped In Indianna

To say that the Miami Heat miss Chris Bosh would be like saying a construction worker misses his hammer or a singer misses her voice. It seems that important. Bosh apart from being the glue guy that makes many of Miami’s play work, is the closest thing that they have to a big man. This easy to notice in the difference in rebounds. Miami got their clock cleaned on the boards. They were outrebounded 52-36. An unencumbered Roy Hibbert contributed 18 rebounds alone.

George Hill played a great game with 20 points and 5 assists. He really stepped and easily played his best game of the series. While that was happening though, Dwayne  Wade scored just 5 points. Just 5. He was outscored by fellow teammate, non-superstar, and non-franchise player Mario Chalmers who scored 25 points. Wade and Spoelstra also had an argument in the huddle as the team unraveled. The Heat lost and for once the blame should be place no where near Lebron.

Wade was 2 of 13 from the field and seemed to be an offensive liability but, the Heat have no other options. Especially when fellow starters Dexter Pittman and Shane Battier combined for 0 points in total. They were 0 of 9 between the two of them.

Miami needs a more efficient way of scoring than 3 point shots of which they were 4 of 20 as a team. The Pacers out rebounded them and these bad shots are a part of the reason why.

San Antonio Wrote The Book On Basketball, Apparently.

If there is a kid that you know that wants to play basketball, make them watch the Spurs, specifically the Spurs in these playoffs. The Spurs play the game of basketball the right way. They move the ball to all the right places. They San Antonio plays, its just cool to watch because everything makes so much sense. Every shot they take is the result of an offense that has moved the Clippers out of place defensively that most of their shots are nearly uncontested.

With Tim Duncan looking like the 2007 version of himself the Spurs really do look unstoppable. Duncan had 18 points making 9 of 14 of his shots. Once Tim gets going it opens up things for Tony Parker who scored 22 points and the rest of the Spurs. Duncan was also a presence to be reckoned with defensively. He deterred many would be Clipper shots. He didn’t block any but just being there makes Los Angeles really think twice about going inside.

There’s been a lot of Blake Griffin hate lately. Not from me but it has been around. I like Blake as a player. I think he’s a better and more well rounded player than people give him credit for. He doesn’t have that many post moves or a consistent shot but, he is better on the low block than he’s given credit for and his mid range jumper, though not great, is a whole lot better than people give him credit for. Blake scored 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting and it wasn’t all just dunks. Offensively he played well. All of that being said though, Blake Griffin needs to rebound. His team needs him to. Griffin grabbed a single rebound. Just the one. This is nearly as shocking as Dwayne Wade’s 5 points. A big man must rebound. It should be a law. A guy with Blake’s size and jumping ability grabbing a single rebound in a playoff game is nothing short of a heinous sin. Especially when Chris Paul the team’s highest scorer is fighting multiple injuries. Having a few extra possessions could come in handy.

“All the King’s horses and all the King’s men kicked the Coyotes butts all over again.” — Barry Melrose

That about sums it up. In a game Phoenix had to win they didn’t. They weren’t able to stop the Kings in almost any capacity. The Kings out shot them 28-19. This is despite the fact that Los Angeles had more giveaways than Phoenix did.

If anyone still has doubts about how good Anze Kopitar is they should probably let go of them now. The guy is legit. At the beginning of the playoffs I didn’t know the guy from Adam but, in the postseason he’s really come on and is proving to be a threat that must be watched.

The eight seeded Kings are one game away from shattering expectations. I didn’t have them making it this far. The level of parity in the NHL is unreal. Even in the Playoffs its hard to know who can turn it on and compete and who can’t.

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