Posted by briesen on 31st May 2012
The Spurs have won 20 games in a row. They’ve won 31 out of 33. They are currently 10-0 in the playoffs. But what is so amazing about this run is how San Antonio has managed to stay under the radar throughout it. Maybe that’s because the Spurs themselves are so quiet. While teams like the Heat, Lakers and Knicks seem to be in the news everyday, the Spurs just continue to win. Where they play certainly has something to do with it, but its more then that. It’s a head coach who is able to communicate to his players that winning is all that matters. It’s star players like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker who understand it’s not that name on the back of the jersey that matters; it’s the name on the front.
Only three teams had ever won twenty games in a row before the Spurs recent streak: the 1972 Lakers who won an NBA record 33 in a row, the 2008 Rockets who won 22 in a row and the 1971 Milwaukee Bucks who won 20 in a row. The most the Jordan led Bulls and the Bird led Celtics ever won in a row was 18.
What’s so remarkable about the Spurs streak is when they’re doing it. The lockout shortened season crammed 66 games into 122 grueling days. It was supposed to all but eliminate veteran teams (just look at the Celtics limp their way through the Eastern Conference Finals). As if that wasn’t enough, the Spurs are doing this during the Playoffs. Sweeping a team once in the playoffs is difficult enough, winning 10 in a row? Nearly impossible. The longest win streak by a team in the playoffs is 12 (ironically by the 1999 Spurs). These Spurs still have a ways to go before this can be considered the greatest streak of all time, but at this point it doesn’t seem so far fetched.
Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Playoffs, San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan
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Posted by briesen on 24th May 2012
Before the season began, this match up would have heavily favored the Thunder. But as the old sports adage goes: that’s why we play the games. This was supposed to be the year that young teams like the Thunder and Heat finally took the reigns from older teams like the Spurs and Celtics. However, it doesn’t look like the old guys are ready to pass the torch quite yet. The Spurs come into the Western Conference Finals riding an 18 game win streak including an 8-0 playoff record. The Thunder also come in hot having lost just one playoff game, but they haven’t looked quite as invincible as the Spurs.
The Thunder are familiar with this situation. Just last year they faced a similar scenario when they squared off against the “supposed to be too old” Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs made easy work of the young Thunder eliminating them in five games before eventually winning the NBA Championship. The Spurs seem likely to follow the same path as the Mavs as they could certainly make quick work of the Thunder before eventually beating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Tags: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Playoffs, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs
Posted in Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Playoffs, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs | No Comments »
Posted by tfoley36 on 23rd May 2012
Down at the Wells Fargo Center the Sixers are officially in “Win or Go Home” mode. For the first time this playoff year the Sixers are facing elimination at the hands of the Boston Celtics. There is plenty of motivation for this Sixers club to come out firing on all cylinders and to have a sold out crowd in their corner. Kevin Garnett called all the Philly fans “Fair-weather fans” riling up a fan base that is very temperamental to begin with. There are some statistics that point to a Sixer victory and a game 7 up in Boston. The teams have alternated wins in this series with no team winning back to back games (Boston won Game 5). Philly is 4-1 at home in these playoffs with an impressive come from behind win in Game 4. The Sixers have a lot to prove tonight and there should not be a lack of motivation.
Meanwhile the veteran Celtics have every reason to end this tonight. Rondo is playing unbelievably (just ask Chris Webber) and Pierce and Garnett are both capable of having huge nights. With the Miami and Indiana series looking like it will end tomorrow night the Celtics need to win to maximize the amount of rest and be able to run with the youthful Miami Heat. All that being said I think the Sixers pull one out tonight and force a Game 7. Jrue Holliday and Andre Iguodala will rebound from an off night and put the Sixers in position to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Tags: Andre Iguodala, celtics, Elimination, Kevin Garnett, NBA Playoffs, Rajon Rondo, Sixers
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Posted by briesen on 21st May 2012
When Chris Bosh went down in Game 1 of the Heat’s second round series vs. Indiana, most people thought the Heat would still roll through the Pacers. After losing Game 3 by 19 points and falling down 2-1 in the best of seven series, it looked like one team may roll, only it wouldn’t be the Heat. With only two other players scoring in double digits the entire series (Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony in Game 3), there was no question that both Lebron James and Dwayne Wade would have to each have a monster game for Miami to win Game 4 in Indiana.
And that’s exactly what happened. James had one of the great NBA playoff performances of all time with 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists, numbers that have only been matched one time in playoff history by Elgin Baylor. Wade dropped 30 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 6 assists. They combined to outscore Indiana in the second half by themselves, 43-39. They became only the 5th set of playoff teammates to have 40 and 30 points in a road playoff game in the last 20 years.
Despite losing Game 4, the Pacers should still feel very confident about the position they’re in. The Heat again got little help from their supporting cast with only Udonis Haslem scoring more then 8 points. Both of Indiana’s big men, Roy Hibbert and David West, were in foul trouble the entire game and were never able to get their offensive games going, scoring just 8 points each. Unless James and Wade are capable of super human performances two more times in this series, the Heat will likely fizzle out early.
Tags: Chris Bosh, David West, Dwayne Wade, Indiana Pacers, Lebron James, Miami Heat, Roy Hibbert
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Posted by briesen on 18th May 2012
The Heat are beginning to unravel at the seems and may be out of the NBA Playoffs soon. In the midst of last nights shellacking, Dwayne Wade began to take his frustration out on head coach Eric Spoelstra. Spoelstra’s been in a no win situation since this whole thing started: if his team wins he’ll get no credit and if they lose he’ll receive plenty of blame. If the Heat duck out to the Pacers in round two, Spoelstra will most likely be fired and Pat Riley will have to think about breaking this team up. And maybe it’s for the best.
We all know Dwight Howard is looking for a new home and the Magic are desperate to get something back for him. If the Heat were to offer Wade and Bosh, it would be impossible for the Magic to turn that down.
Combining Lebron and Howard would be putting together the two most athletically gifted players in the game (and possibly the two most athletically gifted human beings of all time). While this seems like a lot to give up for Howard, it would free up plenty of cap space for free agents such as Steve Nash and Jason Terry who have already expressed interest in joining the Heat.
The Heat are learning a hard lesson: that you can’t just combine talent and expect it to work. You must build a team to win. It’s why the Spurs are now the favorites and it’s why we may be looking at an entirely new Heat team next year.
Tags: Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, dwight howard, Eric Spoelstra, Jason Terry, Lebron James, Miami Heat, NBA, Orlando Magic, Steve Nash
Posted in Eric Spoelstra, Jason Terry, LeBron James, NBA, NBA Playoffs, Orlando Magic, Steve Nash, dwight howard | No Comments »
Posted by briesen on 17th May 2012
The 2011-2012 NBA playoffs are only in their second round. Yet injuries have already put a large asterisk on whoever will be named champion this year. What’s been surprising about the injuries is not necessarily that they’re happening, but who they’re happening to. Old teams like the Celtics and Spurs have stayed relatively healthy, while younger teams like the Bulls and Heat have lost key players.
This injury saga started before the playoffs when Dwight Howard attempted to give Stan Van Gundy a piggy back (just kidding) and herniated a disk in his back. He would elect to have surgery that would cause him to miss the rest of the season.
Then came Derrick Rose whose injury was reminiscent to that of Boobie Miles from the movie Friday Night Lights. In Game 1 of their series vs. the 76ers, the Bulls led by twelve with 1:20 to go. It’s not over until it’s over. But this game was over. Rose drove to the basket to attempt to extend the lead to fourteen and fell awkwardly on his knee tearing his ACL. The Bulls were the only team that could challenge the mighty Heat so the Eastern Conference had an asterisk on it from Game 1. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bulls would go on to lose Joakim Noah to an ankle injury and then become the 5th number one seed to lose in the first round.
Then came the Knicks slew of injuries which included Iman Shumpert doing his best Rose imitation by tearing his ACL and Amar’e Stoudemire showing he is in fact capable of crashing the glass. While the Knicks posed no real threat to the Heat, they at least could have momentarily slowed them down.
Finally, two days ago Chris Bosh went down with an abdominal strain that will sideline him indefinitely. Bosh has often been referred to as the half man in Miami’s “Two and a Half Men” but his absence was clearly noticed as the Pacers beat the Heat in Bosh’s first game out.
Many fans are glad to see something bad happen to the Heat, but at least they made things exciting. Just wait until we’re watching Indiana play San Antonio in the NBA Finals.
Tags: Amare Stoudemire, Chicago Bulls, Chris Bosh, Derrick Rose, dwight howard, Iman Shumpert, Joakim Noah, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks
Posted in Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Derrick Rose, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks, dwight howard | No Comments »
Posted by briesen on 14th May 2012
For 75% of NBA teams the season is over and that means its time to look ahead to next season. 2012 free agency isn’t full of stars, but it is full of important players who could turn good teams into contenders and contenders into even more powerful contenders. Here’s a quick look at the top five from each position and where they could be headed:
1. PG- Deron Williams (player option), Steve Nash (unrestricted), Andre Miller (unrestricted), Jason Terry (unrestricted), Jameer Nelson (player option)
- It seems inevitable that Williams will end up in Dallas so the most coveted free agent point guard becomes Steve Nash. Nash has expressed interest in joining a contender and they’ll most likely be lining up at his door to offer him a contact. Miller is a nice consolation prize for whoever ends up not getting Nash. Terry will most likely demand the largest contact other then Williams because he still considers himself a top scorer. Nelson seems likely pick up his player option and stay in Orlando for one more year of the Dwightmare.
*Special Note: Many see Jeremy Lin’s name on the free agent list and assume he will leave the Knicks for a big contact, but thanks to The Gilbert Arenas Rule (that’s seriously what it’s called, and yes that makes two NBA rules that involve Arenas) he will most likely have to stay. The rule was created in 2005 and it prevents teams with restricted free agents that have been in the league for less then two years from being outbidded. If you want more details you can Google it, but the bottom line is he’ll be on the Knicks for one more year.
2. SG- Eric Gordon (restricted), O.J. Mayo (restricted), Ray Allen (unrestricted), J.R. Smith (player option), Louis Williams (player option)
- The free agent shooting guards are represented by many players who may have the ability, but haven’t had a chance to be a primary scorer. It’s possible Gordon gets a max offer from a desperate team like the Nets, but it depends on his health. Like Nash, Allen will be looking to join a contender on what will likely be a short deal. Smith, Mayo and Williams will most likely leave their respective teams for more money. They’ll all likely join sub par teams unless they’re willing to take a pay cut.
3. SF- Gerald Wallace (player option), Nic Batum (restricted), Steve Novak (unrestricted), Grant Hill (unrestricted), Matt Barnes (unrestricted)
- Small Fowards are the weakest of the free agent position. Batum is an underrated player due for a large contact. He’s a restricted free agent and it seems likely that the Blazers will match whatever another team offers. Wallace has a player option and could stay with the Nets and possibly (and sadly) be the initial face of their Brooklyn franchise. Novak earned his place in the NBA this season by leading the league in three point shooting and should get multiple offers. Hill and Barnes are respected veterans who will most likely become bench players for contenders.
4. PF- Kevin Garnett (unrestricted), Tim Duncan (unrestricted), Brandon Bass (player option), Ryan Anderson (restricted), Kris Humphries (unrestricted)
- Power Forwards are the most intriguing of the free agent positions. The only one that is surely resigning is Duncan who will probably sign his last contract and retire with the Spurs. It’s hard to imagine Boston losing both Garnett and Bass so it’s likely that one will stay. They’ll probably attempt to sign Garnett first. Anderson is coming off a stellar season where he won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award and will probably be leaving Orlando for a large deal. Humphries couldn’t find an offer he liked last year but now that he’s shed the Mrs. Kardashian tag, he should be sought after by many teams.
5. C- Roy Hibbert (restricted), Javale McGee (restricted), Brook Lopez (restricted), Spencer Hawes (unrestricted), Chris Kaman (unrestricted)
- With the center position rather thin right now, Hibbert becomes a rather coveted free agent. He’ll be sought after by more teams then any other free agent, but is restricted so the Pacers would have a chance to match any offer and most likely will. At the beginning of the season McGee was considered a raw talent better known for his mistakes. After being traded to Denver he has gotten his act together and turned himself into a legitimate center; its hard to imagine Denver letting him go. Lopez is coming off an injury ridden year and it seems unlikely he’ll leave the Nets. With the lack of centers there is certainly a market for both Hawes and Kaman and both will likely leave their teams.
Tags: Andre Miller, Brandon Bass, Brook Lopez, Chris Kaman, Deron Williams, Eric Gordon, Gerald Wallace, Grant Hill, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, Jason Terry, JaVale McGee, Jeremy Lin, Kevin Garnett, Kris Humphries, Louis Williams, Matt Barnes, Nic Batum, O.J. Mayo, Ray Allen, Roy Hibbert, Ryan Anderson, Spencer Hawes, Steve Nash, Steve Novak, Tim Duncan
Posted in Basketball Stuff, Deron Williams, Jeremy Lin, Kevin Garnett, NBA, Roy Hibbert, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan | No Comments »
Posted by briesen on 10th May 2012
Despite the Lakers outscoring the Nuggets by eight in the fourth quarter and despite 43 points from Kobe Bryant, the Nuggets found a way to stay alive in L.A. But was this loss actually a good thing for the Lakers?
On April 2, Metta World Peace’s elbow connected with James Harden’s beard in a move that would have made Hulk Hogan proud. He was suspended seven games by David Stern meaning he would miss the last regular season game along with six playoff games. Tonight will mark the last game of his suspension.
Once the Lakers win this series they’ll move on to play the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team the Lakers match up terribly with. The Thunder are one of the few teams that can deal with the size of the Lakers and no one on the Lakers can match up with Russell Westbrook. The Thunder also have Kevin Durant, the NBA’s three time scoring leader. Metta is the only Laker who has a chance of containing Durant.
Whether or not the Lakers win tonight, Metta will be back next game. Whether or not he can stay on the court is up to him.
Tags: Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, lakers, Metta World Peace, Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder
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Posted by briesen on 8th May 2012
Late in the season Steve Nash finally decided Marcin Gortat being the second best player on his team was unacceptable.
“Hopefully the opportunity falls upon me to play with a team that contends,” Nash told USA Today Sports as the 2011-2012 NBA regular season neared its end.
The Suns certainly won’t be contenders next year so Nash will almost certainly be leaving to play somewhere else. But where?
The most likely destination could be Orlando where the Magic have desperately looked for a partner to pair with Dwight Howard. If they’re smart they’ll do anything they can to avoid the circus of last season and that most likely means landing a big name player this summer.
There have been rumors that Nash would consider the Heat, but that would involve a large pay cut and make people hate the Heat more then they’re already hated. This scenario seems unlikely.
The best situation for Nash that I haven’t heard mentioned yet is (drumroll please…) the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks crave a leader like a fat kid craves cake. Again, this would involve Nash taking a large pay cut, but he’d be surrounded with loads of talent. The Hawks could finally make amends for passing on Chris Paul and Deron Williams for Marvin Williams in the 2005 draft and Nash to Josh Smith would become the second best alley-oop combo in the league (behind CP3 and Blake). A starting line up of Nash, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Al Horford would be among the best in the East.
Tags: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, Deron Williams, dwight howard, heat, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marcin Gortat, Marvin Williams, Orlando Magic, Steve Nash, suns
Posted in Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, LeBron James, Marcin Gortat, Marvin Williams, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Draft, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Steve Nash, dwight howard | No Comments »