Current Tiers of the NBA

26 07 2013

Championship contenders: Heat, Pacers, Nets, Bulls, Thunder, Spurs, Clippers, Grizzlies, Warriors (Fringe: Knicks, Rockets)

Playoff contenders: Hawks, Bucks, Pistons, Wizards, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Lakers, Mavericks, Blazers, Timberwolves (Fringe: Celtics, Bobcats, Raptors, Pelicans)

Lottery contenders: Sixers, Magic, Jazz, Suns, Kings

Ignite the Site!





2013 NBA Season Excitement Preview

31 10 2012

The NBA season is finally upon us. No lockout – just basketball. With a multitude of story lines inundating this league, there are many reasons to be amped about this season. I will give you the main reasons to be excited about watching each team in the NBA.

 

 

Atlanta HawksAl Horford will quickly develop into the focal point of this offense as this franchise moves into the post-Joe Johnson era. At the point guard position, speedy Devin Harris will get the chance to get back to the player – a better player –  he was before Utah. Will a sixth consecutive playoff appearance go along with this? Josh Smith‘s decision to stay or go next summer will be effected based upon the answer to this question.

Boston Celtics – With the acquisitions of Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa along with a healthy Jeff Green, Rajon Rondo might finally have the athletic pieces to allow him to completely take the reins of the offense. Correction: he will take the reins of the offense. Once breakout rookie Avery Bradley comes back in December, this team has a good chance to be the Heat’s best competition in the East as so many have already claimed.

Brooklyn NetsDeron Williams. Black and White jerseys. Brooklyn. Jay-Z. What is not exciting about the newest team in the NBA? If they continue to win at the same rate as they did in New Jersey, though, they will quickly become old, bland news. Joe Johnson won’t let that happen.

Charlotte Bobcats – After finishing the lockout season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106), there’s only one place this franchise can go: up. As we move into the era of washed up veterans (Ben Gordon and Brendan Haywood) and Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, they might finally move out of the last spot in the East all thanks to Dwight Howard.

Chicago Bulls – The eventual early return of superstar Derrick Rose will rank as one of the most emotional moments in NBA – if not sports – history. When he comes back, we will see less Nate Robinson, but we will see an inspired team that can compete in the playoffs.

Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving. This kid is about to elevate himself into the upper echelon of the league and become a superstar for his team. As one of the youngest and potential-filled (Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller) teams in the NBA, the city of Cleveland can finally have hope for their franchise’s future.

Detroit Pistons – If you like tough big man play, this is the team for you. Budding soon-to-be All-Star Greg Monroe along with already impressive rookie Andre Drummond (two men that are both one inch away from being seven-footers) will provide Detroit with a chance to squeeze into the playoffs – if Rodney Stuckey finally takes his point guard game to the next level.

Indiana Pacers – Following the Thunder’s footsteps by making it into the bottom-half of the playoffs two years ago followed by the top-half of the bracket last year, can they continue to follow suit and take the next step into the NBA Finals? With a healthy Danny Granger, always improving Paul George and dominate All-Star seven-footer Roy Hibbert, a generous playoff route could direct them to the promise land. At the very least, Gerald Green will provide casual fans with plenty of jump-off-your-couch-in-excitement slam dunks.

Miami Heat – What is next for LeBron James? What’s next is an unimaginable season. With a relaxed attitude toward the game of basketball, the King (he has a ring…) will collect his fourth MVP award as the Heat will have a commanding season (along with Ray Allen hitting many three-pointers), making it to the Eastern Conference Finals at the very least.

Milwaukee Bucks – Finishing ninth in two straight seasons, this team has been scraping the edge of the playoffs. Monta Ellis getting a full NBA season with the team beside fellow guard Brandon Jennings makes this yet another exciting East backcourt duo. This will be a very scary group that could beat any team on any given night when both of these players are having solid shooting nights.

New York Knicks – Yes, they are the oldest team in NBA history. But they have quality old veterans that still know how to use their intelligence to play the game (Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas). Since Amare Stoudemire will be out 6-8 weeks, Knicks fans get to see Carmelo Anthony at the position he plays best (power forward), making this group the best team in New York.

Orlando Magic – They might not win many games this season, but this fan base can finally let out a sigh of relief as their baby center finally got his wish. Keep an eye out for Andre Nicholson, who could become the surprise rookie of the 2012 class.

Philadelphia 76ers – When Andrew Bynum finds a way to get healthy, that’s when the excitement can start. This Sixers season is all about their new pure center. Fitting Bynum into Doug Collins and Jrue Holiday‘s system could lead to a challenge for the much smaller Miami Heat once the playoffs roll around.

Toronto Raptors – Even though it would have been nice to bring Steve Nash back to his hometown, this franchise got a stat-stuffing guard in Kyle Lowry, who will record multiple triple-doubles this year. Rookie center Jonas Valanciunas will find his way onto many SportsCenter Top 10’s throughout this season.

Washington Wizards – Once John Wall recovers from surgery, Bradley Beal will be an exceptional shooting guard to compliment his game and Nenê will continue to be the offensive force he has been since he entered the league. Just like the Pistons, this young team could find themselves in the playoffs if Wall does not continue to plateau as a basketball player.

 

 

 

Dallas Mavericks – For a team that doesn’t have Jason Kidd, Jason Terry or Dirk Nowitzki playing in their season opener, it’s difficult to get a grasp on this team’s identity. If they can establish their identity, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo can wipe away last year’s regressed season and Dirk can play like a healthy and hungry Dirk, they will make the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season.

Denver Nuggets – Easily the funnest team in the league (Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried both having styles of play that any fan would enjoy watching), this group of pretty-good-to-great players has the most potential in the league. For this potential to turn into something legitimate, Andre Iguodala must become that go-to guy they have desperately been searching for since Melo left for New York.

Golden State Warriors – For the first time since 1997, the Warriors will have an All-Star in Stephen Curry – if he stays healthy (yes, that is indeed a big “if”). Putting him in a lineup with Klay Thompson, who will drastically improve this year, and Andrew Bogut, who will be a force down low, this new and improved California team will fulfill Mark Jackson’s prediction from last year that his team will make the playoffs.

Houston RocketsJames Harden. We have only known Harden as that sixth man on a team with two bigger and better stars. Now it’s his time. Putting the bearded man next to Jeremy Lin will improve both of their games, and with Omer Asik setting picks for these two guards, they now have a foundation for the future.

LA Clippers – Los Angeles does not know the future of superstar point guard Chris Paul with his contract soon coming to a close. But while they have him, this is still lob city. With one of the deepest benches in the league and Blake Griffin improving his low-post game, Paul can take this team as far as his clutch play desires.

LA Lakers – The two most important positions on the court are point guard and center. The Lakers traded for two of the best at those positions in Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. They also have that guy named Kobe Bryant. They are officially “Hollywood” with undoubtedly the best starting lineup in the league once they find their chemistry. Since the Thunder also need to gel themselves with Harden gone, the Lakers have a legitimate chance to go all the way yet again.

Memphis Grizzlies – Is it possible to be the dark horse for three consecutive years? The Grizzlies are in the running for this title again. A healthy Zach Randolph takes this team to an extra playoff series – just look at 2011. If they get a better passer in Mike Conley Jr. to lead the exact same core – other than O.J. Mayo – from last year, you can’t forget about this team when making your playoff predictions.

Minnesota Timberwolves – The injury bug just won’t go away in Minnesota. First Ricky Rubio. Then Kevin Love… because of some knuckle push-ups. Even without their best two players, this team still has a lot of depth, and if Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko produce like the players that we used to know, they could still grab that eighth seed.

New Orleans Hornets – Inevitable Rookie of the Year Anthony Davis brings to the court everything you want in a center. Throw in a flashy Austin Rivers along with a healthy Eric Gordon and you have three players that could lead this team for years to come. (And don’t forget about the reigning Most Improved Player of the Year Ryan Anderson spotting up behind the three-point line.) The fans might soon forget about Chris Paul when Davis has his first 20-20 game.

Oklahoma City Thunder – This small-market team gave up a core for the ages in order to avoid the penalties of the new CBA. Durant/Westbrook/Harden could have been a trio for the ages. But now there is a new trio in OKC with a second Kevin in Kevin Martin that will be running off ball screens and drawing fouls. Even if he can’t be a distributor like Harden, he will get his fair share of points. Whether or not they are the favorites to come out of the West does not change the fact that they will be an electrifying ball club with plenty of highlights from Russ and Durantula.

Phoenix Suns – Discovering what the Suns new identity will be is a scary yet exciting thought. They don’t have Steve Nash anymore, but they have a solid frontline in Michael Beasley, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat that all have not yet reached their ceiling as NBA players. How can they reach that ceiling? Goran Dragic. If their point guard works with these big men, all four could have respectable seasons.

Portland Trial Blazers – The Greg Oden-Brandon Roy era is officially over. Finally. Even though LaMarcus Aldridge still remains as the cornerstone of this franchise, how quickly Damian Lillard, who could make the Rookie of the Year race closer than people think, develops will determine just how soon this team moves out of the pits of the West. Oh, and Nicolas Batum? Just wait until he breaks out this season.

Sacramento Kings – The last pick of the 2011 draft will soon become the most exciting little man to watch in the entire league. Isaiah Thomas statistically improved in both scoring and assisting in every successive month last season and doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon. If DeMarcus Cousins continues to improve his game along with his attitude and Marcus Thornton quietly maintains his average of 18-20 points, they could become the sporadically hot team you never want to face.

San Antonio Spurs – The good news for the skeptics is that Duncan/Ginobili/Parker are now all over 30-years-old. The bad news is that Duncan/Ginobili/Parker have never let age get in the way of winning. Every single season we are reminded that the Spurs are “one year older” and they continue to make it to the playoffs. Thanks for that, Pop. We should expect nothing less this season.

Utah Jazz – Devin Harris is finally gone. And they still have the best quadruplet of big men in the NBA with Favors/Jefferson/Kanter/Millsap leading the way. Every single one of these players can pound the ball down low and actually be a conventional power forward or center. (Shocking, right?) They made the playoffs last year and can now build on this experience.

Ignite the Site!





What Do You Really Want, Dwight?

30 06 2012

This NBA player might honestly be the most perplexing player in the entire association.

Dwight Howard – the man that just opted in for one more year with the Orlando Magic this past season – met with new and confused Magic GM Rob Hennigan on Friday. Why? He told him (as if he is the general manager himself and has the authority) that he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, according to sources close to this bizarre situation.

Hennigan did not tell Howard what his plans were with the All-Star center.

This story isn’t over. Those close to Howard have reported he feels as though his team blackmailed him into signing the “opt-in” clause by threatening to trade him to the Los Angeles Lakers and that he might even go as far as to file a case with the NBA Players Association (NBPA) which would allow him to be an unrestricted free agent this summer rather than the next. However, this would be a case far from Howard’s reach; he would have a better chance of creating a time machine back to March 15 – when he opted in – than winning this possible case.

Discussing Howard’s immaturity level would simply takes too much time with the free agency period that will soon begin. He has flip-flopped, whined, laughed, cried and LeBron-ed his way through his inevitably last stint with the Magic. There is not a single “good vibe” left between these two parties, especially since Howard practically forced the Magic to fire a high-quality coach in Stan Van Gundy. Whatever franchise ends up signing this enigma to a long-term contract will have to deal with a long-term big man with a little kid’s attitude that is influenced by those in his immediate vicinity…

With the Magic Superman superstar doing a phenomenal job in making even more NBA fans dislike him and forcing his will and way on his own team after proclaiming his loyalty to them just a few months ago, this could mean many things in regard to Deron Williams. Howard might be pushing for this trade because Williams plans to re-sign with the Nets which would allow the ever-so-discussed “dynamic duo” to finally be established in Brooklyn. However, this could also be an attempted move by Howard to sway Williams back to the Nets if he has begun to be inclined to sign with the Dallas Mavericks. (Williams is leaning toward either Brooklyn or Dallas, according to Chris Broussard.)

What is set in stone, though, is two separate meetings that will take place Monday. Williams will meet with the Nets and Mavs, giving them each an opportunity to present a succulent offer.

With free agency being just around the corner, much more will become apparent soon enough.

Ignite the Site!





Budinger to Wolves; Howard to Rockets? Orlando Should Say Yes

26 06 2012

And before we even get a chance to take in that one big-time, self-important superstar got his ring, another one might soon be on the move.

After both teams started their 2011-2012 season blazing hot only to cool off down the stretch, the Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to send their 18th pick in this year’s draft to the Houston Rockets for 3-point specialist Chase Budinger and the draft rights to Isralian professional basketball player Lior Eliyahu, according to two league sources.

Budinger finished his second year with the Rockets averaging 9.6 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 40.2 percent from 3-point range. These numbers don’t provide a just representation of his potential or lack there of; the former Arizona Wildcat had moments throughout the season when he looked to be on the verge of breaking out of his NBA shell and others when he needed to sit right back down on the bench. His last two games provide an appropriate representation. After putting up five points in the second to last game of the year, he followed that up with 27 points to finish the season. Changing scenarios could push him in either direction, but one thing is certain: Kevin Love will no longer be the Timberwolves’ leader in 3-point attempts.

It is clear what the Rockets want: Dwight Howard.

Currently in possession of the No. 14, No. 16 and No. 18 picks in the draft and also pushing to trade Kyle Lowry and everyone else on the team (literally everyone) for even more draft picks, they are attempting to put together an offer that the Magic just can’t pass up. General Manager Daryl Morey has quickly become aggressive and determined to bring the big man to the franchise.

However, the big man would be a part of the franchise as long as Tyson Chandler lasted with the Dallas Mavericks, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com.

“A source with knowledge of Howard’s thinking said Monday that there was ‘not a chance’ Howard would be persuaded to remain in Houston if traded there, and would leave next summer to sign elsewhere,” Aldridge reported.

Will any of these players be back in a Rockets uniform next season?

The Rockets shouldn’t be surprised since Howard wants to go where he will receive a great deal of attention and where his name will be plastered all over the news media. Houston is not the place to go for that.

But Houston doesn’t care. Why?

9th place and 14th pick. 9th place and 14th pick. 9th place and 14th pick.

The Rockets have driven themselves into basketball irrelevancy, finishing each of the past three seasons literally in the middle of the pack in the exact same spot with the exact same draft pick. As management, this is the point where you must make the conscious decision to “shake things up” no matter the cost or risk.

Bringing in Howard has it’s cost. It has it’s risk. But it puts them right back on the NBA map as they will undoubtedly become somewhat important, increase revenue by simply winning and make the playoffs – finally.

The biggest consequence this could have on the league is it could change Deron Williams’s statement that he will only be going to either the Dallas Mavericks or staying with the Brooklyn Nets.

As he has made clear in one way or another the past few years, the enticing idea of playing with Howard is high on his bucket list. Why shouldn’t it be? These two All-Stars have become good friends through Olympic play and would both love to play with each other. With barely any roster spots currently guaranteed and with enough cap space to sign two max-contract players, the Rockets could do the unthinkable and bring in two game-changing players that play the two most important positions on the floor – if Williams doesn’t mind rooting for the Texas Rangers a few hours outside of Arlington.

Whenever a blockbuster trade is on the verge of taking place, people can’t help but analyze the situation from the perspective of the team that will be getting the main blockbuster piece. Orlando shouldn’t be forgotten since they couldn’t be asking for a better situation.

Obviously, the Rockets are planning something big. They want Howard badly and will gift-wrap just about every single piece that relates to the “future” in their organization. By the time Thursday’s draft arrives, they will most likely have attained a top 10 pick that they have been eyeing – in order to hook Howard, of course. In a draft so deep that Draymond Green and Royce White are projected to go in the 20s, this is the perfect year to stockpile as many picks as possible. They can get just that by working with Houston.

D12 does not know what he wants. In fact, he doesn’t know how to handle not knowing what he wants. As he has shown countless times throughout last season with his wavering attitude literally from day to day and his reliance on others telling him what to do, he is a detriment to a team’s atmosphere. If he wasn’t the best center in the league and didn’t have an larger impact than every other player in the league not named LeBron James or Rajon Rondo, he would already be out of Florida. Orlando should rid themselves of this interminable problem as soon as possible.

The biggest problem in getting this deal done is Rob Hennigan. Since he has been the Magic general manager for less than a week, he wants to do what he wants do. (Clear enough?) He hasn’t even been given the chance to be stressed out with his Howard problem and figure out what type of offers are out there.

But the stress doesn’t need to be there. Sometimes, the first offer is the best offer. Making a trade with the Rockets as soon as possible and getting this monkey off their back couldn’t be better for their organization. After the Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) traded away Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, who averaged a combined 48.8 of the team’s points during the 2006-2007 season, following yet another disappointing year, they brought in an abundance of youthful pieces. I would say that has somewhat worked out for them…

Unless the Magic enjoy killing their locker room atmosphere, hope that their current All-Star will walk this next offseason or don’t want start anew with some fresh, young talent, they should send Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets.

 Ignite the Site!





Van Gundy and Smith Ousted by Magic

21 05 2012

Van Gundy can finally move on with his coaching career and Smith can stop making bad moves for Dwight Howard’s Magic.

After a few weeks have passed since being knocked out of the first round by the Indiana Pacers, The Orlando Magic have decided to let Head Coach Stan Van Gundy go after five years in which he went 259-135. His team won three division titles during this time period. General Manager Otis Smith and the Magic organization will also be parting ways after this frenzied season.

Oddly enough, Van Gundy made it clear he wanted to return as the head coach of Orlando next season.

“Yeah, I want to come back, but that’s not up to me,” he said during one of the most awkward encounters caught on film. He desired to lead the Orlando Magic – even if a certain superstar center seemed to want him out.

Well, that superstar got his wish. Howard, yet again, succeeded in playing a role not fit for all players but only for the elites of the elite. Even though Van Gundy has found a way to constantly work with the odd pieces Smith has thrown at him and consequently bring about successful season after successful season, a player with one year left on his contract removed him from his duties.

This is why Van Gundy should be considered one of the hottest free agents of this offseason. He has a great understanding for the game and is currently the best option a team can find in a coach. If he finds the right organization and the right system to fit his coaching style, he can do some real work for a ballclub.

So, what does this mean for that guy by the name of Dwight Howard?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

There is the notion out there that these firings (or partings if you want to be politically correct) gave D12 just want he wanted to sign an extension in Orlando. This is fool’s gold. Yes, this happy, optimistic point of view is probably and could end up taking place as early as this summer.

However, that possibility actually justifies why the next move by Howard can not be foreseen. When it comes to a player that has been more wishy-washy than a presidential candidate, that has shown an inability to agree with what his agent is feeding to the media and that has no sense of what loyalty to a franchise truly means, no one can legitimately predict what Dwight Howard will do in the near future.

Howard once said that the Magic and their fans will have to “roll the dice” when it comes to him staying or leaving. Whoever steps in as the next general manager and coach of the Magic will not only have to strategize for the game of basketball but also for a convoluted game of dice.

What fun.

Ignite the Site!





NBA Playoffs Preview

27 04 2012


EASTERN CONFERENCE

 

(1) Chicago Bulls (50-16) vs. (8) Philadelphia 76ers (35-31)

Chicago won regular season series 2-1

There probably won’t be much drama in this one. Even though Derrick Rose might not be at one hundred percent, the defensive mindset of this team that led the league in opponent points per game (88.2) should help them cruise into the second round. And when backup big men Omer Asik and Taj Gibson step onto the court, the defensive intensity actually rises. They have too much depth and too much defense for the Sixers to have a chance in this series. Evan Turner said he preferred playing the Bulls over the Miami Heat… he is about to realize both of those scenarios do not end well for his team. Last year, the Bulls were stomping through the Eastern playoffs, but ran into the Miami buzz saw in the conference finals. Will America see a repeat this year?

 

 

(2) Miami Heat (46-20) vs. (7) New York Knicks (36-30)

Miami won regular season series 3-0

A lot of celebrity power, but not much substance. Miami is on a mission to avenge last year’s loss in the NBA Finals, and the Knicks just don’t have enough talent to keep up. The soon-to-be three time MVP LeBron James has had one of the most astounding statistical seasons (so far). Yes, he has his constant fourth quarter LeBron haters, but this is not a series where he will choke. He loves playing in New York’s arena, so road games will be just as nice as home games for him. Moreover, New York still isn’t sure just what their identity is. Where does Jeremy Lin fit in? How do they use Amare Stoudemire? (Will they ever figure out that last question?) How much should Carmelo Anthony carry the team? Melo has been playing the best basketball in the league the past month, but he won’t be able to play another month with his point guard-less team. Last year, the Celtics swept the Knicks in the first round, and it is very possible that Miami could unleash the same embarrassment on the guys from Madison Square Garden.

 

 

(3) Indiana Pacers (42-24) vs. (6) Orlando Magic (37-29)

Orlando won regular season series 3-1

No Dwight Howard, no chance. Pacers move on.

 

 

(4) Boston Celtics (39-27) vs. (5) Atlanta Hawks (40-26)

Boston won regular season series 2-1

Even though this matchup has two teams with similar records, there couldn’t be more disparity. This aging Boston team has found some life behind the athleticism and vision of Rajon Rondo as they finished the season 23-10. Rondo’s 24 straight games with double-digit assists is amazing in an era that values point guards scoring over distributing. He provides an impact similar to Dwight Howard and LeBron James: even with his solid statistics, his influence on the team can’t be contained on a sheet of paper. Even with Ray Allen’s injury, the Celtics have a breakout player in Avery Bradley that can temporarily fill in for a hobbled Allen. As long as the Hawks keep their core of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, I don’t see this team ever emerging out of the middle of the East. The championship experience on the C’s is going to overwhelm a Hawks team that always manages to underwhelm in the playoffs.

 

 

 

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

 

(1) San Antonio Spurs (50-16) vs. (8) Utah Jazz (36-30)

San Antonio won regular season series 3-1

Utah and all of the team’s blue-collar players clawed their way into the final playoff spot in the West, and they have been rewarded with a matchup against one of the hottest teams in the league. The Spurs finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak and two of their big three are finally healthy and fitting into the system. Very similar to last year, out of nowhere, San Antonio logged the best record in the league (tied with Chicago) with Tony Parker having another great season. The Spurs need to be careful, though. They were in this exact same position last year and got stunned by the eighth seeded Grizzlies in the first round. However, it won’t happen again. The experienced Spurs won’t let it happen twice. Even though the Jazz will be exiting the playoffs early after a hard fight, making the playoffs is huge step for this up-and-coming squad that could soon emerge in the West with their overwhelming frontline of Jefferson-Millsap-Favors to challenge some of the best.

 

 

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder (47-19) vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks (36-30)

Oklahoma City won regular season series 3-1

This is an interesting re-match of last year’s Western Conference Finals. However, neither team really has any momentum as both teams went 7-7 to finish the season, although Dallas has been playing some very uninspired basketball recently. However, it can’t be ignored that Jason Kidd hasn’t played basketball in a week, which should be a huge boost for the 39-year-old point guard. Last season, after a well-rested break before the first round of the playoffs, he scored 42 points in the first two playoff games. There’s enough veteran leadership on this team to potentially give the Thunder a tough series. As long as Dirk Nowitzki is playing basketball, the Mavs have a chance to do something in the playoffs. The players to pay attention to in this series are Delonte West and James Harden. West has come back from his broken finger injury and been the spark for the Mavs that they lost when J.J. Barea left the team. He utilizes picks very well and knows how to get into the paint. He brings some play off the bench that will be necessary since their opponent has the soon-to-be Sixth Man of the Year. However, if Harden is not himself after a certain Laker’s elbow assaulted his face, a shaken up Harden completely changes the outlook on this series. One weakness the Mavericks might exploit is the fact that Oklahoma City sits next to last in the league in assists. If they can get the ball out of the hands of All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Dallas could pull the upset. A lot has to go the Mavs way, though, as the league’s leading scorer might just burn the defending champs.

 

 

(3) Los Angeles Lakers (41-25) vs. (6) Denver Nuggets (38-28)

Los Angeles won regular season series 3-1

The Lakers will be without Ron Artest Metta World Peace, but Los Angeles should still have enough firepower to handle a Nuggets team whose highest paid player is Arron Afflalo. Initially it seemed like a great story that George Karl had a group of players that didn’t have an egotistical superstar. Every player bought into the team’s system and fed off each other. However, this is the time when superstars emerge. This is the time when big shots have to be made and championship contending teams know exactly whose hands the ball should be in when the game clock is winding down. The Nuggets don’t know whose hands should have the ball. Furthermore, the Lakers have just too much size in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for skinny Javale McGee and breakout rookie Kenneth Faried to handle. The Lakers will move on, but if they do so too quickly, their suspended fighter will miss some crucial games in the second round.

 

 

(4) Memphis Grizzlies (41-25) vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers (40-26)

Los Angeles won regular season series 2-1

Both teams are coming off regular seasons that were improvements on previous years, and both teams are ready to take that next step. Most of the attention this year focused on Los Angeles with the acquisition of Chris Paul and the continued highlight-reel plays by Blake Griffin. Don’t overlook Memphis, though. Seriously. This is a team that held their own in a very tight Western Conference. With a healthy Rudy Gay (missed the playoffs last year) averaging 19 points and a healthy Zach Randolph (missed 37 games this season) helping a versatile Marc Gasol down low, the Grizzlies are bound to move on into the second round with their raucous fan base pushing them on. The only way the Clippers win this series is if Paul decides to string together a round similar to any of Dirk Nowitzki’s rounds from last year’s playoffs. The Grizzlies have the home-court advantage and have the advantage in this series. Also, last year this squad showed that they know how to perform under pressure when they won Game 6 in San Antonio to knock the top-seeded Spurs out of the playoffs. (Wait, and they might be playing the top-seeded Spurs in the second round…)

 

Ignite the Site!





To Fire, or Not To Fire, That is the Question

5 04 2012

The question you didn’t hear at the beginning of this video was if Dwight Howard truly did say he wanted Stan Van Gundy fired.

Wow… I’ll let the rest of this video speak for itself as you watch the epitome of awkwardness take place at the 2:40 mark.

Ignite the Site!