Archive for June, 2012

When I saw LeBron James take off his dishtowel, or whatever type of headband he had on, I knew that we all had crossed a threshold.  As this article so eloquently put it, it’s all about basketball now.  No more ringless King comments, the clutch gene has been removed from our sports biology books.  Even hairline jokes now become a little hollow.  All of commentary about LeBron that had now become noise during a playoff run where he averaged 30.3 pts, 9.7 reb, and 5.6 ast, could now be sopped up by that headband, tossed aside, and be replaced with the 2012 NBA Crown.  Even as a LeBron hater, especially last year, I found myself wishing he could just win the title (or at least hit a game winning shot) just to end the boring insults that James constantly gets despite superhuman performances night in and night out.  For LeBron, you can see that what people say won’t matter too much anymore; you have receding hairline, so what?  You are the greatest basketball player on the planet and now an NBA champion.

It’s back to basketball now.  We can talk about Miami’s great defense against an offensive juggernaut in the Thunder.  We can talk about how reports of Dwyane Wade’s demise were greatly exaggerated.  We can talk about the Thunder showing their youth in this entire series, looking a lot like what the Heat did last year against the Mavericks.  We can talk about the defiant stare Kevin Durant gave the camera after he wept on his mother’s shoulder.  We can talk about Russell Westbrook, and how he is the Fire to Durant’s Ice, a man who when the chips are down, will still compete with a will to win like none other.

Let’s talk about Pat Riley (“the greatest leader of Black Men” – Chris Rock) and his vision for this day 2 years ago.  How he trusted Erik Spoelstra and the Heat even though everyone else said that Spoelstra would be gone and the team broken up while they were still playing playoff games!  Let’s talk about the role players who finally came through, making Game 5 look like a cakewalk.  Mike Miller has been saving those shots since he was a Wizard!

Finally, we can talk about LeBron James.  Not about sports psychologists or his mom or whatever else used to be cool to talk about.  Let’s talk about how he may have been the most underappreciated athlete of all time, in an era when we have the most access to athletes.  But for the majority of us now, that changes.  Because everything else doesn’t matter anymore.  It’s just basketball from here on out; and it’s about damn time.

Actually, I have to say one thing.  Chris Bosh what are you doing here?  What a minute, you know what?  You just won the NBA Title.  Just be yourself and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise lol.

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We picked this Finals series and picked Miami to win earlier in the year so we’ll stick by our guns.  Heat in 7, LeBron James finally gets the monkey (namely Skip Bayless) off of his back.  But what we truly are rooting for is a great, hard-fought series.  What we fantasize for is the birth of a new decades-old rivalry between Kevin Durant and LeBron, similar to the 1980s rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  What we anticipate is basketball at its best; not worried about clutch genes, being a closer, and other made-up media storylines which take away from the fan’s enjoyment of the game.  What we predict is an electric two weeks of ball.  See you on twitter at 9pm.

It doesn't matter that he gets punched in the face numerous times.

W

T

H?

There is nothing else we can say.

UMMMMMMMMMM

3pt Play: The Heart of Champions

Posted: June 4, 2012 by dontbeskerritt in Must See TV, NBA

What a difference a weekend makes.  The Conference Finals both looked like they were going to be duds going into Thursday night’s game 3 in the Western Finals.  San Antonio looked too dominant for the young Thunder and in the East, Miami seemed to athletic for the old Celtics.  But after a couple of nights, both series are tied at 2 and it would not be shocking if the Thunder and Celtics win for a grand ol Kendrick Perkins reunion.  So how did we get here and who is in bigger trouble?  Let’s look at a couple of things in both series:

1. Kevin Durant is going to another level: The Game 3 blowout was expected.  The Thunder is too good to not defend their homecourt.  But Game 4 is was something else.  Russell Westbrook only scored 7 points (2-10 FG).  The Spurs had trimmed a 15 point lead to 4.  Durant only had 18 points midway through the 4th.  Then all of a sudden, Suitland’s finest went off, scoring 18 points in the final 7 minutes of the 4th.  It was so quick, I didn’t even realize what he was doing until the highlights after the game.  In this playoffs, we’ve seen guys keep their team in the game with magnificent performances (Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook) and duos willing their team to win (LeBron and Wade, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum).  But could this be the first performance in the playoffs where you say one guy put his team on his back to hold on to win.  This is LeBron versus the Pistons in 2007.  This is countless games with Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson.  If Durant plays at this level for the rest of the playoffs, without much help from his partner in crime Westbrook (Ibaka picked up the slack with his 11-11 performance).

2. I have to lay the lackadaisical performances I saw in Game 3 and the 1st half of Game 4 with the guy who I actually like on the Heat; Coach Erik Spoelstra.  Game 3 is forgiven.  Game 4 is insufferable.  The talent on the Heat, even without Chris Bosh, should have made for a more competitive first half in Game 4.  The talent on the Heat should have allowed for a better play call on the last shot in the 4th and in overtime.  To have shooters like James Jones, Mario Chalmers, and Mike Miller, to go along with slashers such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade makes watching the bumbling that goes on in these situations annoying.  Norris Cole should have gotten playing time a lot sooner in this series.  Kevin Garnett should not be killing the Heat in the paint.  How can a team that can’t rebound have a guy that can’t jump averaging 11 rebounds in this series like he’s Kevin McHale?  It’s called heart; Coach Spoelstra needs to make adjustments to negate that.

3.  So who is in bigger trouble?  The Thunder seemed to have figured out the Spurs pick-and-roll.  The Celtics are willing themselves with heart and experience.  I think it’s the Spurs.  The defensive adjustments by the Thunder have contained Tony Parker’s damage.  The offense may have to go through the post.  The frontcourt of the Thunder may have found its groove, that’s why DeJuan Blair (who?) is getting playing time.  After Parker and Ginobili, there really isn’t a wing player that can shoot off the dribble.  If you run at Gary Neal, Daniel Green, and Kawhi Leonard and make them take a dribble, can they hit the shot?  Also, there’s that guy named Kevin Durant that has emerged and another guy named Russell Westbrook that has not been unleashed yet in this series.

As for the Heat, their weapon is sitting on the bench making weird faces.  Chris Bosh looks like he will come back for Game 5.  That should negate Garnett’s impact in the paint.  It provides more offense for the Heat, and it is doubtful that the Celtics can match that, even with Jesus Shuttlesworth’s shooting coming back from the dead (see what I did there).  But you cannot count out the heart of champions.  The Celtics have used that to carry them to a 2-2 series which could be a 3-1 series.  You don’t want to bet against the Spurs either who are 4-time champs and still have Gregg Popovich making adjustments on the bench.  These new best-of-series are going to something to watch.  It’s not recommended for the faint of heart.