Oklahoma City Thunder

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NBA: Has the Miami Heat Lost Their Sizzle?

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.

If the Miami Heat cannot finish games in the NBA Playoffs they might knock themselves out of contention.

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.

The Chicago Bulls have the talent to prevent the Miami Heat from reaching their goal

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.

Kevin Durant,  Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are the favorites to win it all this year

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.

Will the Miami Heat once again be defeated in their second attempt at obtaining an NBA Championship?

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.


NBA: This is the Year, but Who’s Year?

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 NBA Season Begins and the Predictions are Here!

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.

Christmas Weekend: NFL Football and NBA Basketball The Perfect Present

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 Oklohoma City Meltdown

Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Dallas Mavericks.Oklahoma City needed to win last night to tie up the series at 2-2. Dallas wanted to win to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Oklahoma City coming into the game had not lost back to back games all post season. Destiny was supposed to be on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s side.

Of course, Destiny is very fickle and sometimes changes sides. Oklahoma City came out on fire. The Thunder made their first 5 shots. Oklahoma City started the game out with all the fervor that everyone expected. The Thunder looked like a team that wanted to win and nothing was going to stop them.

Kevin Durant redeemed himself a little from his previous 7-22 performance from Saturday. Kevin Durant shot 9-22 last night, which was better than Saturday but not by much. The Dallas Mavericks ran constant double teams at Durant and limited the number of good shots he could take. Russell Westbrook did not fare much better as he went 7-22 of the field. The Oklahoma City role players played exceptionally well though. Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, and James Harden all had good games. Due to the play of their role players the Oklahoma City Thunder was able to build a good lead. The Thunder had a lead of 15 points with five minutes left in the 4th quarter and then it happened.

Dirk Nowitzki turned on his second gear. Nowitzki went on a run all on his own. He hit shot after shot to close the gap on the lead. It was amazing to watch as most of the shots were off balance and fade away shots. The Thunder tried everything they could muster to stop Dirk Nowitzki’s offensive onslaught. However, with each possession Oklahoma City looked more and more helpless to stop Nowitzki from scoring. The lead that was a 15 point lead with five minutes to go dwindled down to a shocking zero points all due to the game play of one player.

At the end of regulation, the Mavericks had a chance to win the game. Dallas failed to connect on the last second shot. The game went into overtime and was truly already over, before the first overtime possession. The Mavericks had taken the wind out of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s sails and the team looked lost. The Thunder looked as if they had no life or energy left. The team was shell shocked and they were not going to recover.

The dagger in overtime was a three point shot from Jason Kidd with 40.3 seconds left. The Thunder squandered their chances away to get a good shot. Kevin Durant attempted a long three pointer and the shot and fell short off the front of the rim. That shot was the last chance for the Thunder to try to tie the game up again. However, by this time the momentum was all on Dallas Maverick’s side. If the Thunder had gone into an additional overtime, the outcome would have been the same. The Thunder team had already given up.

The game was a good example of a team with no playoff poise. The Thunder did not know what to do when everything started to go south in a hurry. The team could not get into a rhythm or even run a play correctly.Oklahoma City can use the excuse they have a young team, but in reality the team just needs to learn what to do when things start to get out of control. The NBA Playoffs are all about handling the unexpected situations and momentum changes in a good way. The great teams persevere when the challenge presents itself. The good teams may and often times will fold when faced with adversity.

Last night Oklahoma City showed that they are a good team but lacking the qualities of a great team. No timetable is set for when Oklahoma City will reach the next level of being classified along with the elite teams. The fans can only hope its sooner than later. This playoff series is a learning experience for Oklahoma City. We can only hope The Thunder use the experience to help them grow and not take a step back.


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