Lakers Win the In-Between Game
Category: NBA

It's as simple as this...

The Celtics aren't as bad as they were in game one...

Ray Allen isn't as good as he was in game two...

The truth of this series lies somewhere in between...

Game three was the in-between game...

And the Lakers now control the series...

The sky hasn't fallen just yet for the Celtics...

But the Lakers wasted no time in getting the road monkey off their backs...

It'll go seven...



Mr. Lebron, Fill Out the Application. No College Transcript Required.
Category: NBA

 Great leadership is a quality born and not learned. Sure, there are numerous artificial leaders that embark on NBA careers with high expectations. There are also those players who attempt to lead only through example. But to truly become a celebrated leader a player has to take every aspect of his team under wing and teach it the way. In this regard, Lebron isn’t nearly the leader that Jordan, Johnson, Bird, Olajuwon, or Kobe have been over the course of their careers. The argument can even be made that Lebron isn’t in the same stratosphere as these Hall of Fame players, at least not yet.

Having recently read a substantial amount of commentary on the argument arouse from the ashes of the Cavalier season that Lebron’s inefficiencies can easily be traced back to his absence from college ball. Not having a firm introduction to professional coaching Lebron has adopted the notion that he runs the show, and Cavalier management seems pretty content in adopting the idea. Thus, thanks for playing Mike Brown, but see you later. According to some there lies the problem. In college Lebron would have been able to hone his leadership qualities, demonstrated them on the court and then brought the refined version to the NBA. Instead he took the easy road and has been questioned for not meeting expectations. But would a college career saved Lebron’s Cavaliers anyway?

 The argument can go either way. At first glance a Cleveland fan might suggest that an incredible college career hasn’t done anything for players like Carmelo Anthony. However, Carmelo’s off court issues and his team’s inconsistencies are more to blame for Denver’s lack of success. Cleveland fans might also point to team inconsistencies as the primary cause for failed championship runs. Realistically this argument is as trust worthy as a politician's wedding vows. The Cavaliers only played as well as their iconic leader. That being said, it would be hard to dispute the fact that a more disciplined and experienced Lebron might have managed the game a little better. Instead, one gets the aura that Lebron feels owed success based on an over glorified high school championship.

 Adversaries to the idea that a player must attend college first allude to Kobe Bryant as the biggest example of how a player can succeed without college instruction. Kobe is an exception to the rule not the standard. And like I said, “the best leaders are born not made.” While some of Kobe’s personal ethics remain questionable there is no doubt about his determination and expectations on the court. In this regard Lebron doesn’t stand a chance. Lebron’s a pure talent, but so is Carmelo Anthony, and neither have harnessed long-term success at the professional level. In the end Lebron James isn’t an effective leader, and it shows at the most crucial moments.

 Lebron fans might argue that Mike Brown or Cleveland were the actual reasons for playoff flaking. But here again it must be understood that Lebron feels he runs the show. Playing college basketball might have given Lebron and better understanding of the game or the tools to better lead his teammates but it would have done nothing to humble his ego or increase his talent. Therefore, I honestly don’t believe playing college basketball would have had any real effect on the path Lebron has travelled since coming into the league.


Quote of the day:  "This game wasn't about what it means for the current series as much as it means about the next one."

ESPN.COM - John Hollinger on the Celtics 

Hollinger expressed concern about Celtic flaws but what does that say about the Magic if it took an overtime to get the job done? The Celtics just need to remain focused!



Category: NBA


Chancellor Stern has once again imposed his will against one Mark Cuban. The NBA’s ever present transparent policies strike again as Cuban was fined some 100k for mentioning Lebron James’ name prior to the free agency deadline of July 1. Cuban, being the devils advocate, probably weighed the cost of the media attention and found it to be more profitable then any fine the league could impose. However, even more important then the fine is the question currently surrounding Dirk Nowitzki. Is Cuban’s perceived pursuit of Lebron James any indication that Dirk isn’t going to be retained? The fact that Nowitzki opted out of his contract might also serve as a prime indicator. Based on these speculative facts Dallas fans must ask themselves what life after Dirk would be like. More importantly, can they win a championship when no longer cast under a Nowitzki shadow?

 In my perception the Mavericks are in need of total change and that means starting with keystone players such as Dirk. As I am not trying to take anything away from Nowitzki’s efforts in creating a basketball resurgence in Dallas, there comes a time when a change of scenery benefits all parties. If you need an example take a look at Phoenix Suns MVP Steve Nash. Sadly enough, a few years ago I would have been choking on the idea of Nowitzki not being able to finish his career in Dallas but with so much focus being on their inability to win championships it is hard to deny a need for something fresh on both ends. Plus, can Nowitzki really opt out at a better time? From the looks of it Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angles, Miami, New York, New Jersey, and Phoenix might all be looking to add at least one keystone player back or to their roster. How iconic would it be to see Dirk and Nash reunited in Phoenix?

 Anyway, the NBA offseason is shaping up to be more dramatic then the games being played on the court. And with Lebron James potentially yielding the power to change the whole topography of the NBA why not buy into the hype a little. That being said, I think that Nowitzki made the proper choice, but Dallas may be not so lucky with their ill advised dismissal of Dirk’s talents despite the apparent need for change. The problem in Dallas has always been the team’s inability to win games when they count but as this year proved it isn’t as easy as filling up a roaster with hypothetical stars. As the Lakers and Celtics have proved it is more about front office management and deep role players then one originally anticipates.

 Furthermore, after Lebron’s nonchalant approach to the final two games of the Boston series one cannot help but question his commitment to excellence. While all super stars can fill their diapers from time to time the great ones at least care enough to leave their sweat on the court. James’ post game antics turned a growing fan into an unabashed adversary. How can you achieve greatness when you don’t instill a sense of urgency, passion and leadership in others? You can’t. Therefore, if the Mavericks and Mark Cuban think that a $100k ploy can help cajole an apparent indolent then so be it. However, Dallas fans shouldn’t expect Lebron to fill Dirk’s shoes in terms of heart, determination and leadership because he hasn’t earned it. And need we all remember that Lebron hasn’t proved he can win the big either.

 Of Course this entire post is based pure assumptions with a probability rating of around 5%.

Thanks for the read.


James And Co. Simply Up And Quit!
Category: NBA

They chanted NY KNICKS, NY KNICKS, every time Lebron James, the self-anointed King was at the foul line, they cheered when he turned over the ball nine times, they celebrated the 27 points on 24 team turnovers. The Cavs, who were predicted to go to the finals and win the whole enchilada were sent on yet another early vacation, disappointing every talking head from Bristol to the city by the Bay who were banking on a Lakers - Cavaliers finals. .
The last camera glimpse of James following the game was him peeling off the jersey and walking into the locker room with his shorts almost at his ankles. Clearly not the sign of a man who was readying himself to gather with teammates to wonder what could have been. That wasn't even demonstrated on the bench during the game, as James sat alone, silent drinking Gatorade, not participating in gearing up his his team for a final push. That was evident with just inside of two minutes left on the clock. When most teams are fouling, stopping the clock and forcing teams to go and earn it at the charity stripe, the Cavs simply watched the clock tick away and the question I have is WHY?
I've never seen a team quit with that kind of time on the clock, especially not a playoff team facing elimination. It begs the question of whether there was more going on in that locker room than a sore elbow. Was James already packed seeing the writing on the wall? I don't have that answer, but I know what I saw and as I watched with Steve D he asked the same thing to me..."what are they doing"? "why are they just standing there"? There's no way that we were the only two people asking that question when they were down by 9 and Van Gundy had just got done saying on national TV that a couple of fouls and a couple of three pointer's and your back in the game. How many times have we watched 2 minutes of basketball last 20 minutes? Plenty, but that wasn't what the Cavs had as a game plan. Mike Brown is questionable at best for some of his decisions during this series and I'm banking he'll be sending out resumes starting tomorrow! Last year losing in the Conference Finals, this year a round earlier is a step backwards and coaches aren't rewarded for going backwards!
Well I'll watch for the rest of the takes on the debacle that is the Cleveland Cavaliers and just maybe somebody will be able to explain what it is that happened tonight, because I don't get it. Maybe it will come from a Cavs fan!
Greatest 4th Quarter Performance Ever?
Category: NBA

Phoenix seemingly has overwhelmingly eradicated the domination of its arch-rival San Antonio in this NBA Western Conference post season match-up, taking a 3-0 lead in this best of 7 series. After being ousted from the playoffs by the Spurs 4 times since 2003, the Suns now are within a game of eliminating their arch rival. No team has ever won a post season series after trailing 3-0, but San Antonio has been so dominate in this series that the Suns and their fans will hold their collective breaths until the Spurs are finally dispatched.

The irony is how the end of the game unfolded. Behind by 1 point entering the 4th quarter (after erasing an at one time 18 point first half deficit), Suns stars Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, and Jason Richardson headed to the bench for a blow, sending in a very confident 2nd team, including second year point guard Goran Gragic. What Gragic did the last 12:00 of the game is the stuff of legend, scoring 23 points during this time-span on 9-11 FG shooting, including 5-5 from 3 point range. Goran completely dominated the Spurs' starting 5 to the point that Nash, Stoudemire, and Richardson NEVER returned to the game. The result of the 2nd year point guard's unlikely run culminated in a 110-96 Suns win.

The grand irony of the situation is that Gragic was drafted as the 45th pick of the second round of the 2008 NBA draft by the SPURS, who promptly traded him to the Suns. Gragic's performance is certainly historic and, perhaps, the greatest individual 4th quarter in the history of the NBA playoffs. Needless to say, it was a totally Jordanestic effort and completely unexpected


This has been reprinted verbatim from my SN Blog, I am very excited about the new list of featured writers that this site has been promoting, it is certainly a great move.  Please know that, although SN is my primary site, I read this site DAILY and encourage interaction between the two blogging communities.  After all we all come the same roots, the wonderful old The Sporting News site.  Thanks for all of your well wishes and prayers in helping me recuperate from my heart bypass operation.  I am back at home now and on the mend.

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