Posts Tagged ‘NBA playoffs’

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.

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.

LA is Going to Be Crazy This Weekend

It’s been an all-LA spring in the sports world.  All three major teams that play in the Staples Center have advanced in the playoffs, meaning those security guards that work there will be getting lots of OT, especially this weekend with games everyday, including two doubleheaders.  So which team is the most likely to advance beaten the veteran Lakers, the upstart Clippers, and the surprising Kings in hockey?  Put your money on the ice squad.  Why do I say that?  Keep reading my NBA Western Conference playoff recap and look ahead to Round 2.

1 San Antonio Spurs vs 8 Utah Jazz (Prediction – San Antonio in 4, Actual – Same): They have the best coach and play the best team ball. I know they were watching the Memphis-LA Clippers series thinking “we’re gonna smoke whoever we play next.”  And Tony Parker said “nous allons battre celui que nous jouons.”

2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs 7 Dallas Mavericks (Prediction – OKC in 5, Actual – OKC in 4): This series ended so long ago, I forgot what happened in it.  From what I remember, the Thunder didn’t really play a good game in this series.  Dallas put up a strong effort in the series.  That should go to show how good the Thunder are this season.

Yes, I was Shocked that Javale McGee was Outplaying Andrew Bynum

3 Los Angeles Lakers vs 6 Denver Nuggets (Prediction – LA Lakers in 6, Actual – LA Lakers in 7): Everyone thought the problem in this series would be Kobe jacking up shots and not getting the Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol involved.  So the big men decided to just skip the middle man and check out of the 3 losses in the series.  Who would have thought that it would take Metta World Peace to restore order in Game 7.  But really, this Lakers team has a serious talent deficiency outside of the big three.  And more important, the heart is lacking outside of Kobe.

4 Memphis Grizzlies vs 5 Los Angeles Clippers (Prediction – Memphis in 7, Actual – LA Clippers in 7): Two virtually even teams.  But let’s not fool ourselves: this series was settled in Game 1.

So let’s move on to what promises to be quick work in this 2nd Round of the Playoffs

1 San Antonio Spurs vs 5 Los Angeles Clippers (Game 1, Tuesday 9:30pm, TNT): The Clippers have no chance in this series if we see stat lines like this again: 8 pts, 4 rebs, 2 blk, 2 TO.  No that’s not Caron Butler, that is Blake Griffin in Game 7.  He’s going to have to have a bigger impact against a team that is not as offensively challenged like Memphis.  But if there is a series that Chris Paul wanted, it would be this one, if that counts for anything. Spurs in 5

This Second Round Might be Cheesecake

2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs 3 Los Angeles Lakers (Game 1, Monday 9:30 pm, TNT): Why was Denver so successful against the Lakers in the last series?  Lightning quick and dynamic point guard play, big men not yielding in the paint, and outhustling the Lakers on loose balls and transition plays.  I think Oklahoma City can double-check all of those boxes.  But here is hoping to the basketball gods that Bynum and Gasol get it and come to play this series because if the Lakers can make this a half-court game I love their chances. Out of respect for Kobe and the fact the Lakers still have two seven-footers I will make this pick. Thunder in 6

3pt Play: As the Playoffs Roll On…

Posted: May 11, 2012 by dontbeskerritt in Must See TV, NBA
Tags: , , ,

Derek Fisher Likes What He Sees in this Lakers-Nuggets Series

Well, well, just a week ago the NBA Playoffs 1st Round had as much drama as an episode of favorite sports wives show: horrible and contrived.  But as we approach the weekend and the 2nd round of the playoffs, things are looking up, especially in the Western Conference.  The Nuggets have fought back to even the series with the Lakers at 3 games a piece, and the Grizzlies finally looked like they figured out how not to choke on big leads against the Clippers.  But I am going to hold off until those series wrap up this weekend.  But I will say this, when Javale McGee is outplaying Andrew Bynum consistently in the series, you know the Lakers have a problem.  Also, Chris Paul has ended the “best point guard in the league” argument with his playoff performance, but will it be enough?  The Grizzlies should be up 3-2 in the series instead of the other way around.  But enough of all that, lets look back (cringe) and look ahead (double cringe) at the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

The Moment When the Playoffs Became Anti-Climatic

1 Chicago Bulls vs 8 Philadelphia 76ers (Prediction – Bulls in 5, Actual – 76ers in 6): I asked 76ers fans on twitter before the playoffs if the team was even going to make it after a series of terrible performances.  A majority of fans replied back and said they would rather not make the playoffs than get swept in the first round.  This series is easily a lesson in playing to win the games, no matter how bad you think you team performs.

Now I’m not saying that the 76ers can make noise in the next round.  Heck, the Bulls almost (and probably should have) forced a Game 7 without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.  But hey, if there is a favorable matchup in the next round, it’s playing the Celtics.

2 Miami Heat vs 7 New York Knicks (Prediction – Heat in 6, Actual – Heat in 5): A series that should have been way better than it turned out to be.  Part of it was Knicks injuries.  Most of it was flawed team construction on the Knicks part.  But can Miami get some credit for having the best talent on the court at all times.  Talent alone is going to get Miami to the Finals, unfortunately, but as we saw last year, talent is never enough.  Let’s see if the Heat can get that killer instinct playing in the rest of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

3 Indiana Pacers vs 6 Orlando Magic (Prediction – Pacers in 6, Actual – Pacers in 5): I don’t think I watched one minute of this series.   Roy Hibbert looked like he played well.  That’s all I got.

Good Defense Hawks

4 Boston Celtics vs 5 Atlanta Hawks (Prediction – Celtics in 7, Actual – Celtics in 6): How long do we have to go on with this Hawks team?  Can Josh Smith pull out a gun and get himself off the team?  Can Joe Johnson go somewhere and be Robin to someone else’s Batman because that is the role where he is best?  Why is Marvin Williams making so much money? The Hawks are just a better 2004-2008 Wizards team and I am tired of them taking playoff space.

So here is the next round.  Hopefully we hurry to the Boston-Miami Eastern Conference Finals that won’t be as good as it will be hyped.

2 Miami Heat vs 3 Indiana Pacers (Game 1, Sunday 3:30pm, ABC): We tweeted out earlier this week that Indiana has no chance vs Miami.  I hope Indiana channels their inner Miguel Cotto: perform well enough to give a good, respectable show, even blood up your opponent making him look mortal, but in the end the outcome is never in doubt.  I’m praying for that.  I don’t think we will get it. Heat in 5

4 Boston Celtics vs 8 Philadelphia 76ers (Game 1, Saturday 8pm, TNT): This was the prominent rivalry in the early days of the NBA up until the 1980s.  On Boston’s side you have names like Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Dave Cowens, and Red Auerbach.  The Sixers had Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, Dr. J, Andrew Toney, and Maurice Cheeks.  Yeah, those type of guys aren’t in this series, especially on the 76ers side.  Celtics with their experience should take this in 6.  But I am proud for Andre Iguodala getting Sixers fans off his back, at least for one night.

If this article wasn’t exciting for you, then you pretty much figured out the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

3pt Play: And Now..the Rest of the Playoff Teams…

Posted: April 24, 2012 by dontbeskerritt in NBA
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Team You Hate to Talk About

We’ve finally made it to the end of this 66-game rush job that is the NBA season.  You know what, for bearing with often terrible, lackluster, uninspired play for most of the season, the league was actually pretty entertaining this year.  The playoffs, especially in the West, look to be wide open.  The East promises to have great matchups.  If Sunday’s Lakers-Thunder game is any indicator, this year’s playoffs will be BIG.

But we still have a couple of games and some playoff spots to decide before the festivities begin.  We here at the Mancave have talked about Chicago’s injury woes, Linsanity making way to Melosanity, the Heat’s dominance and LeBron’s hairline receding, the Lakers still being the King of the west, Blake Griffin needing to play some interior defense, and Russell Westbrook still cooking for the Thunder.  But there are other teams that need some love.  So our 3 point play this week is about 3 teams that are under the radar.

#1: So About That Window of Opportunity – Where did the Spurs come from?  Remember when you probably last saw Spurs, they were getting it handed to them by the Grizzlies in last year’s playoffs.  Yeah, don’t lie and say you watched the Spurs this year.  The team that loves to lie low are back as the #1 seed, and no one seems to notice.  It’s all about the Thunder (who have fallen off slightly), the Lakers (who has a softee and a knucklehead as their 2 7-footers), and the Clippers (who will go as far as Chris Paul will take them).  There is no room for the boring Spurs.  But now they are the supposed favorites out the west.  How did this happen?

A Real NBA Boxscore

Sacre bleu, Tony Parker may be the best point guard in the league.  He is averaging 18.3 points, and 7.7 assists per game, hardly MVP-type numbers but consider the Spurs.  Manu Ginobili has played just over half of the games this season.  Coach Popovich sat Tim Duncan one night because he was ‘old.’  Parker has had to carry the Spurs by himself for many games.  And who else is on the team to help him?  Don’t worry, I’ll wait.  Parker may have an MVP case with how the Spurs have performed.

Coach Popovich has managed this season brilliantly.  He has made Tim Duncan into a double-double machine again (15, 9).  Ginobili is still a premier player despite his injuries.  Guys like Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard are making contributions.  He even has fat Boris Diaw running the floor! You may not like the Spurs, you may find them boring, but they still win and win a lot despite having that crippling injury called ‘old.’

#2: Speaking of Point Guards – I can’t go on without paying homage to Steve Nash.  Maybe I don’t love the NBA as much as I say I do, but other than Jared Dudley, I can’t name another Phoenix Sun.  And yet, tonight they can make a gigantic step into the playoffs, when they face the Utah Jazz with the 8th seed on the line (don’t worry I won’t mention the Jazz in any 3pt blog post, it’s a Mancave Rule).  But the Suns shouldn’t even be in this position.  But nothing is impossible on the basketball court for Nash.

Nash has led a cast of cast-offs within a game of the playoffs.  Amazingly, he averages over 10 assists with their roster.  Six guys average over double figures in scoring; it helps that your point guard gets you the ball where it is the most comfortable for you.  Not bad for a 38-year-old playing a young man’s position.

Nash Made Shannon Brown Relevant

I remember when I fumed when Nash won back-to-back MVP awards, citing conspiracy.  I wanted Nash to be traded to a contender so he could win a ring and retire and coach the Canadian basketball team.  Now, I just stare in awe that this guy is still going at a high level despite not having any help.  Please Steve, beat the Jazz tonight so we can watch your marvelous works on the court in the postseason.  Actually, I just don’t want the Jazz in the playoffs.

#3: The One-Year Away Wonder – Everyone knew that the Indiana Pacers would be a fun team to watch this season.  We even knew they would make noise in the playoffs after last years series vs the Bulls.  But could the Pacers help decide the Eastern Conference Finals.  Right now, the Pacers are third seed, and it looks like it will stay there.  If they get through the Magic (who won’t have Dwight Howard), that means they would most likely play the Heat after they dispatch the Knicks.  The Pacers are 3-1 against Miami, but their last two games against the Heat were an OT loss and a 15-point win.

Now I’m not saying that the Pacers have the horses to win 4 games in a series vs the Heat.  Their best player, Danny Granger, has had a down year (18.7 PPG compared to 20.5 last season and 25.8 at the end of the 2009 season).  But like we have seen with the Nuggets and the Sixers, the Pacers play and win as a team.  Six guys are averaging double-figures scoring.  They are a rugged team on the boards as they are 3rd in the league in rebounding.  All they need is one more big piece next year, and they could take that next step.  But as for this year, do you think the Heat want to face this bruising team in the 2nd round when they need to get ready for the Bulls?  The Bulls get a better matchup with the Celtics or Hawks while the Pacers could beat up the Heat enough to make the Eastern Conference Finals a little bit tougher for the defending Eastern champs.

But after all of this, I am still predicting a Miami Heat Championship (cross my fingers).