This time last year all anyone could talk about is how the Miami Heat were the clear cut favorites to win an NBA Championship. Most of the experts had declared that the Miami Heat were going to cut down the net and hoist up a banner at the beginning of this season. That plan was derailed by the Dallas Mavericks last season and this year does not look like the Miami Heat’s year either.
Last season NBA teams were scared when the Miami Heat came to their city. Opposing NBA teams did not know what to expect and by the time a team adjusted the game was over. The Miami Heat looked like a good team during the last NBA season and turned the corner into a great team during the NBA playoffs.
This season the tide has turned for the Miami Heat. No NBA teams are in awe of the Miami Heat anymore. The fear has subsided and the majority of the NBA teams have adjusted to the Miami Heat’s style of play. Some NBA teams still cannot muster a victory based on pure talent but other teams like the Chicago Bulls have no problem “Putting the Smack down” on the Miami Heat.
Any game the Miami Heat played, last season, was the hottest ticket in town. Now the Miami Heat have lost a great deal of their shiny luster and sizzle. The Miami Heat games this season are maybe the third or fourth hottest ticket in town. The team is no longer the favorite to win anything. The best the Miami Heat will do is make a deep playoff run.
The Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics will make it hard for the Miami Heat to make it out of the Eastern Conference. Moreover, even if the Miami Heat do make it out of the Eastern Conference the team will most likely be playing the Oklahoma City Thunder or the San Antonio Spurs. Both of these teams should have no problem handling the Miami Heat. The Oklahoma City Thunder would be the tougher matchup out of the two teams though. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden make for a tough matchup for any team in the NBA, including the Miami Heat. Not to mention, the bench of the Oklahoma City Thunder is much deeper than that of the Miami Heat. Over a long series the Oklahoma City Thunder chances of obtaining victory over the Miami Heat is very good.
The Miami Heat have yet to prove that they have the Championship formula and this year does not look like one that will confirm that the Miami Heat will be World Champions. The Miami Heat have too much to overcome to accomplish that goal. The Miami Heat depend solely on their “Big Three” to win the majority of their games. Without a real bench to speak of, the Miami Heat will be in trouble all Playoff Season long. The Miami Heat may very well end up being a team with a legacy of having great talent but one without a Championship.
The Miami Heat this year are once again poised to win it all. The Heat have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are playing up to the level everyone expected. The Miami Heat look like a team that can make a deep playoff run and win the whole NBA Championship. Lebron James could very well achieve his first NBA Championship this year.
Hold on though, the road will not be easy. I am not even sure that the Heat will make it out of the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Bulls playing well and the emergence of the “new look” New York Knicks. I might even say that the Miami Heat may have had their best chance to obtain a Championship ring last season. While the Heat are not a pushover by any means, many teams are adjusting to their style of play. In addition, other teams are constructing their own Championship caliber rosters to challenge the Miami Heat.
Who wins the Eastern Conference this year?
The Dallas Mavericks can of course cause some trouble for the Miami Heat if they see them again in the NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs could pose some interesting matchups for the Miami Heat and may be able to pull off a miracle similar to the Dallas Mavericks improbable playoff run last year. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder could very well not only be a challenge for the Heat but be one of the only teams that can prevent the Heat from reaching their goal for a second consecutive year.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are two of the most dominant scorers in the game. Serge Ibaka is a defensive force in the middle and James Harden may very well be the new Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. The Miami Heat will have their work cut out for them if they see the Thunder in the NBA Finals. I am confident that the Thunder will have no problem finishing games this year.
We know which one has proven to be more clutch….
Kevin Durant is as clutch as they come when the game is on the line. Give Durant any sort of room and he will shoot “the dagger” that will put the game out of reach any time. On the other side we have Lebron James who has still yet to prove that he can finish important games. If James has a meltdown in the 4th quarter during playoff games like last year, the Miami Heat will have a hard time even making the NBA Finals. In addition, once the Miami Heat make the Finals, if Lebron James is still having the same issue, the curtain could fall on the Miami Heat show again.
It is a distinct possibility that the Miami Heat will lose in the playoffs again this year, and everyone will say the experiment has failed. The Miami Heat will have tried to bringing players with phenomenal talent together without the teamwork needed to be successful. If Lebron James does not win this year can he truly keep the name “King” James? All the kings I have ever read about have crowns and Lebron James will be lacking one. Maybe Lebron James will need to take on a new moniker. I am voting for “Knight” James until Lebron James can prove that he can deliver at least one of the many promised rings to South Beach.
The question that everyone wants to know that watches NBA basketball is, how good can the New York Knicks be? The answer is that the Knicks can be very good. The New York Knicks, once they figure out how all the pieces fit together, could challenge the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference dominance. With the addition of J.R. Smith and the discovery of Jeremy Lin, the sky is now the limit for the New York Knicks.
The problem that the New York Knicks face is that no one knows how all the pieces will coexist. Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin, Carmello Anthony and J.R. Smith all have to form some semblance of team chemistry. The main problem that was apparent in last night’s game versus the New Jersey Nets was that Carmello Anthony was not sure where to fit in within the Jeremy Lin run offense. It was easy to see that Anthony was trying to find his place on the team. I cannot remember the last time that Carmello Anthony played 37 minutes and only had 11 points.
Can Jeremy Lin and Carmello Anthony coexist in New York?
Until Carmello Anthony finds his place on the team and fills his scoring role, the New York Knicks will be just another good team. However, once everything clicks for Anthony, the Knicks will become one of the great teams in the Eastern Conference. No one doubts that Carmello Anthony can score and put up some spectacular performances. The real dilemma is how long will is it going take for Anthony to figure out how to do the same without being the main focus of the offense? Carmello Anthony has to become a role player, who is willing to sacrifice his own personal numbers for the good of the team. I am not sure if Anthony can accomplish the feat, no matter how much Anthony claims he can. Carmello Anthony for most of his career has been a shoot first and ask questions later kind of player. This is definitely one of the most anticipated “wait and see” stories of 2012.
The sooner Carmello Anthony becomes another working part of the Knicks machine rather than driver, the better off the New York Knicks will be. The problem is that time is running short. The shortened NBA season gives the New York Knicks a limited amount of time to make everything fit together before the playoffs. The New York Knicks are going to have work overtime to develop the kind of team work that wins a championship in less time than many of the other top playoff contenders, including the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Miami Heat took almost all of last NBA season to finally come together and start playing like a NBA championship contending team. Even after the Miami Heat were deep into the NBA Playoffs, we still saw some lapses in team chemistry. The New York Knicks can only hope that their learning curve is much shorter and the team comes together before the NBA playoffs begin. If the New York Knicks are able to accomplish the task, the Knicks could ride the Lin-Mello-Stoudemire-Smith wave far into the playoffs.
In a season where “World Peace” is actually a name of a player, we are seeing some fast starts from some expected and unexpected teams. We are also seeing some very slow starts from teams we expected to be much better. The new NBA season and the New Year will definitely be full of twists and turns. It is already easy to tell that the playoffs will feature some teams that traditionally are not playoff power houses. Since the season is shortened and passing us by rather quickly I am going to give out some predictions for the current NBA season.
Some love to state what their New Year resolutions are going to be but I am stating some New Year predictions. Below are some predictions about the NBA. When the season does end in 2012, we can look back and see how I did.
Prediction # 1 The Miami Heat will win the East. I know this is the easy pick and that most experts are picking the Heat to repeat. I think some teams will challenge Miami, like Chicago, and even Boston when they turn things around. However, I cannot see any team that can go win a seven game playoff series against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. Each team that can challenges the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference is missing a key player here or there to overcome Miami’s Big Three. A great deal of people will root against the Miami Heat all year long, including Dan Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers owner, but this story is almost written in stone.
Prediction # 2: The Los Angeles Lakers will be a low seed playoff team. The Lakers have been a team to be reckoned with for many years but this year is not their year. The Los Angeles Lakers have a new coach with a new system, lost one of their best players in Lamar Odom; just do not look like they have it together this season. In addition, if the Los Angeles Lakers manage to pull off a trade for Dwight Howard, they will give up many of pieces of their current team. Moreover, it will take Dwight Howard time to become acclimated to the team. If the Lakers decide to stay with their current roster, without out the “Real Deal” Phil in town I do not see them winning the majority of their games. The Los Angeles Lakers will make the playoffs but their chances of going all the way to the finals are very slim.
Prediction # 3 The San Antonio Spurs will win the Western Conference. Most people are already crowning the Oklahoma City Thunder the favorites but I believe the Spurs have one more good run left in them. In addition, Gregg Popovich is a master at getting his players to perform at their highest level each game. Tim Duncan is looking like his old self and not in the decrepit, needing a cane, sort-of-way. Manu Ginobli is still knocking down shots and Tony Parker is proving he retains the skills of a top league point guard. With all the other San Antonio Spurs role players contributing, the team is looking like a team that could give any team trouble in the playoffs.The Oklahoma City Thunder may have one of the best players in Kevin Durant. The Thunder also have good supporting players is Russell Westbrook and James Harden but I still do not believe their chemistry is there yet to make it to the NBA finals.
Prediction #4 The Miami Heat will win their first NBA championship this year with the Big Three. Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade by themselves will be too much for most teams. Add in the other players on the Miami Heat roster and the Heat should win the majority of their games this season. In the playoffs, we will see if the Miami Heat can finish games. I believe the Miami Heat are learning that Dwayne Wade is the finisher on the team and at the end of game Wade will knock down the game winner. As long as the Miami Heat allows Lebron James, Chris Bosh to contribute, and Dwayne Wade to finish, they should be fine throughout the playoffs. However, if the Miami Heat depends on King James to finish games we may see a repeat of last year. Lebron James just does not finish games well when it truly counts. Despite Lebron James having issues handling the clutch situations, the Miami Heat will overcome this and many other obstacles to hoist the trophy at the end of the season.
The above predictions may or may not come true, but that makes them very similar to normal New Year’s resolutions. Most people make New Year’s resolutions and about two or three months after they are made, the majority of them are not completed. On the other hand, some resolutions are actually seen through to completion. Whether I am right or wrong, a great season of NBA basketball is ahead. Only time will tell who will become the true champion in the end.
Well it is the season to be jolly, Christmas Day is almost here, and we get a double treat. We will not only have NFL football on Saturday but also finally we will have the start of the official NBA season on Sunday. I have to admit it will be nice to have two days filled with sports. It will also be good that we will not have to choose which sport to watch. We can see all the NFL action on Saturday and then watch all the NBA games on Sunday.
For the NFL, this is usually the week that NFL playoff-bound teams start to rest players. However, this year no teams have the luxury of actually having everything wrapped up like a good present. Some teams have clinched their playoff spot but each of these teams is now fighting for home field advantage. This is good news for football fans as every team will be still playing their starters, which means great football action for fans.
One of the games NFL fans will want to keep an eye on is between the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills.Denver should win this game as Buffalo is playing awful lately. When Denver does win the Broncos will clinch a playoff spot. I am looking for some more Tebow heroics that were missing from last week’s game. Another game that any football fan will love is the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams are on a hot streak and the game Saturday should be a shootout with huge playoff implications. Vick versus Romo should be a very interesting matchup. Both quarterbacks have had their ups and downs this year. However, We should get their best effort on Saturday because so much is riding on this one game.
The last NFL football game that I will say is must see television this Christmas weekend is the Detroit Lions versus the San Diego Chargers. Both teams have won big games this past weekend and each team is looking to claim a playoff spot. This game should be one of the best air shows around with two explosive offenses. Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson on one side of the field, Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson on the other side of the field, I am anticipating at least a few spectacular catches and touchdown celebrations. We may slow down a bit from all of good food over the holidays but Football is still going strong and in full swing.
On the NBA side of things, Christmas Day should be full of the first NBA action of the season. The majority of the first NBA games include teams from last seasons NBA playoffs. The Celtics and the Knicks will play and we can see if the Boston Celtics “Big Three” still has another playoff run in them. The Knicks on the other hand should have some better chemistry this year after being together for a year.
The Bulls and Lakers were the teams that most people thought would be in last year’s NBA finals. The on the court battle between Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose is always entertaining to watch. Even though Kobe has an injured wrist, I doubt that will keep him off the court. Injury has never stoppd Kobe Bryant before and Sunday will be no different. We should see one of the best guard battles all year long.
The “new look” Clippers take on the Golden State Warriors. I am not too excited to see the Warriors but with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin now on the Clippers I will be glued to the television set to see the show. Chris Paul throwing the ball to Blake Griffin an alley-oop should become a normal occurrence all year long. Showtime this season may have shifted from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The next game features the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Orlando Magic still are hoping disgruntled star Dwight Howard will decide to stay, but I believe the Magic are pulling at straws. Dwight Howard has already checked out and is just going through the motions. This game has everything in place to become a blowout. Kevin Durant will of course bring his best game and start the year off impressing us all again.
The most anticipated game of Christmas Day will be the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks and the Heat played one of best finals series in NBA history last year and this year both teams have improved their rosters. The game should bring back all the memories of the Finals last year and will hopefully have the kind of ending that will make our Christmas Day even more memorable. Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, Chris Bosh, taking the floor against Dirk Nowitzki and company is always a crowd-pleaser. I am excited for all the games Christmas Day but a NBA finals rematch is definitely worth watching.
Christmas weekend should be one to remember for the holiday celebration but also because it will be one of the best sports weekend of the year. I am ready to celebrate the reason for the season for Christmas and the reason why we love sports. Merry Christmas to one and all!
The Mavericks were crowned NBA Champions as they finished the Heat off on Sunday. It was a great series to watch and renewed the NBA excitement for some people. Dirk Nowitzki proved he is a true all star. The Heat proved talent can only take a team so far. A team needs teamwork and mental toughness. The Mavericks had both with a conglomeration of players that were considered past their prime.
Dirk Nowitzki was the leader, but every person on the team chipped in. Shawn Marion found energy he didn’t have since his days as a Phoenix Sun. Jason Kidd proved why he is going in the Hall of Fame. J.J. Barea delivered an offensive spark at many needed times throughout the Mavericks playoff run. Brian Cardinal became a household name as the announcers mentioned his college nickname, “The Custodian”, many times. Jason Terry had fans talking about he is the new version of Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. The story of the Dallas Mavericks is a feel good story that any serious or casual basketball fan can fall in love with.
Everything was against the Mavericks being successful and the team managed to overcome every obstacle put in front of them. Watching the Dallas Mavericks was like watching a hero in a movie taking on villain. The villain in this series and basically all season long was the Miami Heat. The Miami Heat became the villain when their confidence became arrogance. Stating how many championships your team will win without ever playing a game is like a big slap in the face to every other team in the league.
Lebron James was the most vocal one of the Miami Heat, “Big Three”. James turned the majority of the public against him not only by his move to broadcast “The Decision”, but also by his attitude throughout the whole year. I have often said pride and arrogance will destroy people who have great potential and Lebron James is no different. It was apparent, in the Playoff Finals; Lebron James thought he should be dominating every Dallas Maverick player guarding him. James face showed shock every time he missed a shot or did not get a foul call his way. With every mistake Lebron James became more frustrated and confidence faltered. By the time the fourth quarter of each game rolled around there was no coming out of the hole; Lebron James had built for himself. I am confident more people were happy to see King James fail, rather than the people actually happy for the Mavericks.
The majority of people did not want to see the Miami Heat win and about ninety percent of the reason was due to Lebron James being on the team. The Miami Heat “Big Three” came together because they believed that they would win a Championship this year. They were confident that no team would be able to stop a team with their talent. When the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated, the Heat believed that this year would be the year they win it all. The Miami Heat were wrong.
It’s official the Dallas Maverick have finally done it. They are officially the Western Conference Champions of the NBA. It is no surprise that the Dallas Mavericks were able to close out the Oklahoma City Thunder last night. The Mavericks won the series 4-1 and proved they are a team that deserves a shot at winning a Championship. The Mavericks clearly had the best player on the floor in Dirk Nowitzki.
The Thunder could not contain Nowitzki, he scored anytime he wanted to. When Oklahoma City did foul him, Nowitzki knocked down free throws unconsciously. I do not see a true weakness in Dirk Nowitzki’s game. He is seven foot tall and it is almost impossible to block his shot, because of his height and length. He often shoots off balance or off one foot and makes the majority of those shots. Dirk Nowitzki even is a great three point shooter and teams have to guard him out at the three point line. He is truly a player who cannot be guarded well.
It is almost a lock that the Dallas Mavericks will be playing the Miami Heat in the next series. The Heat have three all stars who can take over a game in Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The Miami Heat have surprised many people by dominating each of their playoff series. Normally, I would say that the Mavericks would have almost no shot beating the Heat. However, after seeing the Mavericks handle the Lakers, I believe they may actually have a good shot to upset the Heat.
The Heat have not had an opponent that has a similar lineup to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks are definitely the best three point shooting team the Miami Heat have faced. They have three of the best three point shooters in NBA League history in Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry, and Dirk Nowitzki. In addition, Jason Kidd has developed into a nice three point shooter as well. Moreover, Dirk Nowitzki still has all the intangibles that we mentioned earlier in this post. The Miami Heat have their work cut out for them.
I am not by any means saying that the Miami Heat is not an equally talented team. I am saying that the series is not going to be as lopsided as some people may think. I actually think the series will go the full seven games. The series will be a battle of the Miami Heat’s Big Three versus Dirk Nowitzki and the bench of the Dallas Mavericks. King James could have his first royal coronation or Dirk Nowitzki can solidify his legacy. The series is not an easy one to declare a winner but will be one of the most, if not the most exciting series of the NBA Playoffs.
The battle has ensued in the NBA Playoffs. Last night the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls took to the floor. This game is the critical game two of the series and is generally the determining game to the momentum of the series. If Miami can win, the Heat even up the series. If Chicago wins they have stranglehold on the series going into Miami. At the beginning of the year no one could of predicted these two teams to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. Most people thought Miami would be here, but no one thought the Bulls would be here. Derrick Rose blossomed overnight and became one of the true elite players in the NBA. When it was announced these two teams would meet in the finals, most people thought Miami would dominate the playoff series.
How wrong the majority was about the Bulls as an opponent. The Bulls have put together quite a game plan to give Miami a significant challenge. The first game the Bulls ran away with the game. The second game last night was much closer and competitive battle. The Heat came back and achieved some redemption. The game was a defensive battle for both teams. However, in this game Miami had the more stifling defense.
Watching the game, anyone could see how hard it was for the Bulls to get the same good looks they got in game one. The Heat employed a great deal of double teams in every area of the floor. Miami was able to keep Chicago off the boards and out rebound the Bulls 45-41 throughout the whole game. In addition, The Miami Heat held the Chicago Bulls to 3-20 from the 3 point line. This is an area where Chicago dominated Miami in the first game. Derrick Rose was held to only 7-23 from the field, finishing with 21 points. Open shots were at a premium and good defensive schemes took its toll on both teams.
An unexpected difference maker was Udonis Haslem who came in and gave the Heat a spark. Haslem entered the game, having only played 13 games all season. Haslem scored 13 points, one block, five rebounds, one steal, and two assists in 23 minutes. Udonis Haslem hustled like he had been playing all season. Haslem definitely had no rust to shake off, as he made play after play. At the end of the game, though it was Lerbon James, not Haslem that put the game out of reach. Lebron James came through with 9 points in the 4th quarter to give the Heat the final lead of the game.
The series is by no means over and is just beginning but now the Heat have the momentum as the next game is in Miami. Another down to the minute game is expected and the battlefield is Miami. Each team has one victory but the war is far from over. Sunday we find out who will take the lead in the series. The Heat are ready to defend their home court. The Bulls are ready to come into Miami and steal a game. The excitement is building and every NBA fan should get ready for a great series ahead. This Bulls-Heat series will be one for the ages.
Everybody has made a claim to accomplish some kind of hard feat at one time or another. Most of the time such claims are made in sports such as “We (input team name) will win tomorrow or next week”. Well some people make a habit at making claims. T.O. or Terrell Owens or even a coach namely Rex Ryan of the New York Jets is notorious for these types of claims.
However, people expect trash talking in Football but today we will speak on Basketball. I know my readers are probably wondering who has made some claim in basketball that they are going to have problems living up to. Well let me set the stage A huge basketball franchise player decide after winning 60+ games every season that he would be better off on another team. He proceeds to take us through some over glamorized television special just to hear what team he will play with. He even has the idea of bringing 3 all stars together to form “the Super Team.”
By now I am sure everyone has figured out I am speaking of Lebron James and the Miami Heat. Last year when Lebron James decided to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh the whole basketball world stopped. People had crowned them champions and they had never even stepped on the court as a team. People said “ Who cares who the other players are on the team, the Miami Heat may not lose a game” There was talk they would win 70+ games and may even break the record for wins in a season. Lebron James was so confident they would win He claimed the Miami Heat would win six, seven, or eight championships. Mr. James clearly thought a dynasty was about to begin in Miami. Players even came to sign minimum pay contract agreements just to play with the “Super Three,” because they also drank the ever so good kool-aid Lebron and the Heat was serving.
I will remind my readers this was last year and now let’s look at the present. Have the Miami Heat lived up to the hype? Have they dominated every team they have played? Are they close to reaching the infamous 70+ record breaking mark? Well none of the above is true. The Miami Heat are far from any of those goals. The Miami Heat are currently 43-20 and while that is not a bad record and they will make the playoffs. The Miami Heat cannot muster any consistency winning against the NBA top teams. Miami blows out the mediocre and bad teams in the NBA, but any time they have an actual challenge in an opponent they falter.
The Miami Heat have lost their last 4 games and the opponents were the Knicks, The Magic, The Spurs, and the most recently loss to the Bulls. In the Bulls and Magic, games the Heat were up by 20+ points going into the second half and squandered both leads. The Spurs put a good old fashioned beat down on the Miami Heat to the tune of 125-95. During the Spurs game it was evident that the “Super Trio” of James, Wade, and Bosh were all doing their best Clark Kent impression.
If we watched Miami Heat games all season, especially the last four anyone can see that the team is in disarray. Moreover, the players of this team do not even know who is going to take the last shot. One night its Lebron James, the next night its Dwayne Wade and occasionally its Chris Bosh. Any team will have a hard time closing out games when the team has no designated closer. I am just a fan and I can see this is a clear problem, but the coaching staff has not made any changes. When the end of the game comes, whoever has an open shot takes it. Lately, we can even see that even the last second shots lack confidence and accuracy each all star is so well known for.
In addition, all of the last 4 games are teams that will be in the playoffs. However, this problem is not one that has arisen recently. This problem has been going on all season long. In the beginning, the excuse was the Heat needed time to learn to play together. Then the excuse was that the Miami Heat was going through growing pains. Now they do not have an answer or an excuse. All we know is that something is wrong and it does not look like there is a quick fix in sight. It seems like the Miami Heat and many people spoke too soon. Just throwing talented players together almost never works. A team requires teamwork and right now the Miami Heat look like they have none.
Must I bore you with this NBA Superstar’s accolades? Absolutely, not!
On that note, I love that GQ has snatched Ryan Reynolds right from the cover of September 2010 issue and has placed the most relevant sack of muscles on the cover–Miami Heat’s Lebron James. He’s just America’s NBA sweetheart.
Don’t mess up that good guy image, Lebron. Until then, it’s your world!
GQ knows what sells. I’m getting this mag, just for the cover.