Posted by briesen on 18th June 2012
The NBA Playoffs often serve as a stage for players to earn big contracts. Summer free agents like Roy Hibbert and Brandon Bass have surely earned themselves nice contracts from their post season play. But not everyone benefits from team advancing in the playoffs.
Serge Ibaka and James Harden are two players who looked destined to get huge contracts when their current ones run out in 2014. There’s even been recent buzz lately about Harden possibly getting a max contract somewhere, but if the season were to end today, that would be hard to imagine. Their play in the NBA Finals has been sub par to say the least. Now you don’t want to overreact to just 3 games, because after all they’re just 3 of 84 games the Thunder have played this year. They’re also playing one of the most versatile defensive teams in the league in the Heat. But it’s still worth noting. Harden’s had an especially tough time averaging just 11.6 ppg on 41% shooting. He’s struggled defensively getting benched in favor of Thabo Sefolosha for much of Game 1 (the only game the Thunder have won…).
However, in my opinion, it’s Ibaka whose been the bigger disappointment. He’s averaged just 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. What’s been so disappointing though is his paint protection. Ibaka has led the league the last two years in blocked shots, but has been completely infective stopping the Heat from getting to the rim. He has 7 blocks in 3 games, which isn’t bad stat wise, but considering the Heat have made just 38 shots outside of the paint, as oppose to 65 in the paint, Ibaka should have a lot more then 7. Luckily, neither is a free agent this summer, but both may be remembered this season more for what they didn’t do then for what they did.
Tags: James Harden, NBA, NBA Finals, Serge Ibaka
Posted in James Harden, NBA, NBA Finals, Serge Ibaka | No Comments »
Posted by briesen on 15th June 2012
Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals were oddly similar on paper. Both games the Heat played a solid first half and took a fairly comfortable lead into half time. Both games the Thunder were carried back into the game by Kevin Durant. The individual stats of each star player were also similar. Lebron, Wade, Durant and Westbrook all finished with very similar numbers in both games. Chris Bosh and James Harden, who are each considered the third part of the tricycle on their respective teams, had weak performances in Game 1 and strong performances in Game 2. The difference between the two games? The Thunder won Game 1, the Heat won Game 2.
So what happened? The biggest difference between the two games was what happened in the paint. Despite Bosh playing center for most of Game 2, the Thunder shot just 17-49 (35%) on shots in the paint. Compare that to Game 1 where they shot 26-50 (52%) on shots in the paint. In Game 1, they had 56 points in the paint; in Game 2, they had just 32. In Game 3, the Thunder will have to make the Heat pay for playing Bosh at center by continuing to get to the rim. Whether or not they can finish their shots will most likely decide the game and ultimately the series.
Tags: Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Finals, Oklahoma City Thunder
Posted in Kevin Durant, NBA Finals | No Comments »
Posted by edsalwaysright on 3rd June 2011
Down 15 points with a little over 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Dallas Mavericks ended Game 2 on a 22-5 run to stun Miami Heat and even the series at one game apiece. With the game tied at 93 with 24 seconds left, the ball went exactly where everyone knew it would go — Dirk Nowitzski’s hands. A few seconds later, after Nowitzski skillfully went around Chris Bosh, Dallas had a 2 point lead, and now head home for 3 straight games with the NBA Finals all tied up.
So what was the bigger story: the Heat’s collapse or the Mavs’ incredible comeback? Or was it the inexplicable three-point contest LeBron James and Dwayne Wade decided to take part in once Miami had a commanding 4th quarter lead? Mike Bibby making a jump-shot? So many options. Here are my notes and reactions:
—Before we go any further, let’s all promise ourselves to not do what we did after Game 1 and think this series is “over” because someone won a game. The Mavs will not win this series 4-1. The Mavs won’t win this series because of this comeback. The series is tied. That’s what 1-1 means. It also means Game 3 is a huge game, but one that will be as unpredictable as who the Knicks will hire as their new team president now that Donnie Walsh is out. I just sent my resume in. You should probably do the same.
—If I take anything out of Game 2, it’s that the biggest mismatch of these NBA Finals is one that’s gotten almost no attention: Rick Carlisle vs. Eric Spoelstra. I’m no basketball expert, but I’m pretty sure the Heat were running exactly 0 offensive plays in the last 4 minutes of Game 2. It was basically get the ball to Wade or LeBron, set a bunch of crappy screens, and then have LeBron shoot a fade-away 30 footer with Shawn Marion draped all over him. On the other hand, the Mavs in the fourth quarter ran some great plays to get Dirk open, they got the ball inside, found the open shooters, all the things well coached and disciplined teams do in crunch time. And this is just when I was ready to write a “Spoelstra proves all the naysayers wrong and is actually a good coach” post. So much for that.
—Speaking of Shawn Marion (and not to take away from what Dirk did last night – the guy simply has ice water in his veins and is as determined to win as anyone I’ve seen in a long time), if I’m most happy for how well anyone is playing in these Finals it’s him. Marion has basically spent his entire career in the shadow of other players on his team, whether it was Nash and Amare in Phoenix or Wade with the Heat, and is hands down one of the most versatile and underrated players in the game. He can play anything from the 2 to the 4, rebounds defends extremely well, and is a huge part of why the Mavs are even in the NBA Finals. He’s been putting up lines like last night’s (20 points, 9-14 shooting, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block) for 10 years and still gets very little respect. So start respecting my man The Matrix.
—I’m not even close to buying the “the Heat players celebrating in the 4th quarter sparked the Mavs’ comeback.” Give me a break. Don’t get me wrong — it probably didn’t hurt. What also didn’t hurt is the Heat offense completely disappearing, the Mavs not turning the ball over like they did the first 3 quarters, Jason Terry finally making a few shots, and Dirk being Dirk. If the Heat make 1 or 2 of the shots they missed in the last 4 minutes the series would be 2-0 and everybody would be crowning the Heat as the champions of the universe. So while I can understand why some of the Mavs players would say that after the game was over, I don’t think it was what sparked their comeback. Like Dirk said in the post-game, Dallas has a bunch of veteran players that have seen everything and been in just about every situation you can be in playing the game of basketball. They’ve been down in the 4th before and have come back to win games before. Just ask Oklahoma City.
—Bosh is shooting 9 for 34 so far in the Finals… He also had a huge turnover in the last two minutes of last night’s game when the Mavs had trimmed Miami’s lead to 2. And then Nowitzski absolutely abused him to win the game. Not good. Not good at all. And I thought Bosh was the best option to guard Nowitzski… Again, not good.
That’s all I got for today. Thanks for tuning in and make sure to check back in Monday morning for some Game 3 reactions. Also, it’s getting down to the wire in terms of buying your Miami Heat or Dallas Mavericks goods and memorabilia so you can impress your friends and your girlfriend’s dad by showing them how big of a fan you are now that your team is in the Finals. So definitely get on that. Peace.
Tags: 2011 NBA Finals, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Game 2, Jason Terry, Lebron James, Miami Heat, NBA Finals, New York Knicks, Shawn Marion
Posted in Basketball Stuff, Dallas Mavericks, EdsAlwaysRight, LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA History, NBA Playoffs | No Comments »
Posted by edsalwaysright on 1st June 2011
The much anticipated 2011 NBA Finals finally got underway Tuesday night, as the Miami Heat took Game 1 at home behind yet another strong performance by the Big-3, who racked up 65 points, 28 rebounds, and 14 assists. There was a lot to talk about pre and post game on Tuesday, and a lot of early questions about the Heat-Mavericks match-up got answered in Game 1, so let’s look at some quick reactions/notes from the opening chapter in the 2011 NBA Finals. (Which by the way TNT is trying to sell us as the apocalypse or something, and I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of working. Some of their promos/intros have been nothing short of epic. Like this one.)
—Boy was that first half ugly. 17-16 at the end of the first quarter? 27-26 with 5 minutes left in the first half? I guess it was to be expected with players’ nerves and both teams trying to get a feel for each other in the early goings. Both defenses obviously played a part in the low score — which I’ll get to later — but that was still a brutal half of basketball. When Shawn Marion is making the prettiest plays and shots early on you know things aren’t going well.
—It’s crazy to think that Game 1 was played at exactly the tempo Miami wants the game to be played at, and yet the Heat, who clearly have the better athletes, only had 7 fast break points. It’s also crazy to think that two of the Heat starters, Joel Anthony and Mike Bibby, combined for 0 points. So as much as the talk after Game 1 was about how “the Heat played the perfect game and completely dominated tempo,” let’s keep in mind that this Miami team can beat you in more than one way, and actually played far from a perfect game. So before you go ahead and think that if Game 2 is won in the 110-115 point range the Mavs are golden, remember that Miami has a few guys that aren’t too shabby in an up-and-down track meet type game. Even if only 4 Heat players score and Mike Bibby can’t make an open jump-shot for his life.
—Hate him or love him, LeBron James does things no one else in basketball today can do. That ridiculous fall away three-pointer at the half-time buzzer was inhuman. While any other player taking that kind of shot looks like they’re trying to heave a bowling ball 40-feet through the air, James looks like he’s taking a free-throw during warm-ups. Fact.
—Before I get crucified by the Mavs fans, let me say that Dallas is far from out of it. Everyone will want to jump all over the Heat and crown them champions (sorry they already did that after the Celtics series), but it’s still very early in this series, and as Wade would tell you from leading the Heat back from a 2-0 hole against these very same Mavericks, it’s not over till the fat lady sings. Or in his case it’s not over till the 40,000 people living in Miami who just this year started calling themselves “Heat fans” sing. That being said, the Mavs have a tough task ahead of them. Dirk Nowitzki’s finger injury on his left hand surely won’t make things any easier, and Dallas badly needs to find a way to crack Miami’s defense and get some better match-ups on the offensive end. Having Jason Terry going up against LeBron James is just cruel.
I’ll leave it at that for today, as I could very easily write a book or two on Game 1 and what we can expect to see the rest of this series. Make sure you tune in to Game 2 on Thursday at 9:00 PM Eastern on ABC, and order your jerseys and memorabilia before it’s all over so you can impress your friends and family and show them how you are a huge fan of whoever wins. And yes, that’s a direct stab at Heat “fans.”
Tags: basketball, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Lebron James, Miami Heat, Miami Heat basketball, Mike Bibby, NBA, NBA Finals, NBA Playoffs, Team-Superstore
Posted in Basketball Stuff, EdsAlwaysRight, LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA Playoffs | No Comments »
Posted by Decker on 15th June 2010
Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics come into Los Angeles, looking to capture the NBA Championship. Just two years ago, Boston was able to do it against the Lakers. And last year, the Lakers reigned supreme over the Magic to become NBA Champions. But this year, Los Angeles finds themselves in a 2-0 hole.
If the Lakers lose, it has other consequences. After the game five loss, Kobe Bryant looked like the old Kobe Bryant. The one who was very selfish and looked like he was unhappy with his teammates. While he played great and nobody else did, when has LeBron James vocally been displeased with his teammates?
The Lakers need to win tonight to stay alive. But they also need to win if they want to avoid an off-season of misery.
by David at the Sports Fan Blog Network
Tags: celtics, Kobe Bryant, lakers, NBA Finals
Posted in Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers | No Comments »
Posted by homerunheyer on 7th June 2010
Thanks to Ray Allen and late magic from Rajon Rondo, The Boston Celtics have tied up the NBA Finals at one game a piece.
Ray Allen owned the first half getting 27 out of his team leading 32 points for the game. Out of Allen’s 32 points were eight three-pointers, he was 8-11 on three point attempts. Allen’s eight three-pointers in the game was a NBA record for most three’s in a game.
The big story of the game was Rondo. Rondo only scored six points in the first half, but he did rack up eight assists. In the second half Rondo scored 13 points, and four more assists which gave him his second triple-double of the post-season. He finished the night with 19 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, and two steals.
With the performance by Allen and Rondo combined with poor shooting from Kobe Bryant who was only 8-20 shooting, The Celtics who commanded most of the game (except for a rough patch in the end of the 3rd quarter when the Lakers tied the game up), should look for more of the same to win the series. (NBA.com)
By Eric Heyer of Sports Fan Blog Network
Tags: celtics, lakers, NBA, NBA Finals, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen
Posted in Basketball Stuff, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Playoffs, Original Content | No Comments »
Posted by Decker on 1st June 2010
In the 2010 NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics will take on the Los Angeles Lakers. Yawn. This series will be big, but only for fans of these two teams. It is a historic rivalry, and both are top teams. However, for those who are not fans of these two teams, it is not exactly the world’s most fresh and exciting finals. The Lakers have been in the NBA Championship the past two years, and Boston won it in 2008.
Outside of actual fans of these two teams, these two teams are generally hated. Kevin Garnett is known for his corny “anything is possible!” quote, as well as his arrogant antics. Pau Gasol is someone who finds something to complain about every call made. Paul Pierce did the worst acting job in the 2008 Finals, actually leading people to believe that he was able to miraculously overcome a wheelchair to return to the game. Kobe Bryant is popular, but many envy him. Rajon Rondo is the flavor of the year to ESPN, and it gets on people’s nerves. Let’s not even get into Ron Artest.
The bottom line is that those in the NBA are probably happy with the fact that these two teams will duel it out for the Championship. But the average basketball fan simply does not want to see it happen.
by David at the Sports Fan Blog Network
Tags: celtics, lakers, NBA Finals
Posted in Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Original Content | No Comments »