Posts Tagged ‘Heat’

NBA: Finals-San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat

NBA: Finals-San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat (Photo credit: completely deck)

 

There are moments in sports that prove larger than life. For the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat that moment approaches in San Antonio, Texas.

 

After two games in Miami the Spurs and Heat have each drawn blood and drawn even.

 

Many now see this series as a “best-of-five” situation, where perhaps they should see it as a “best-of-the-next-three,” and here’s why: the winner of the three-game series in San Antonio will win the championship.

 

Let’s just take a look at the three possible scenarios at stake – either team sweeps, the Spurs win two of three, or the Heat win two of three.

 

The first scenario is obvious and needs no expounding upon. If either team sweeps the San Antonio series they will have won the Finals series 4-1. What may not be obvious is the answer to the question, “which team has a better chance at accomplishing said task?”

 

It may be tempting to give the Spurs the benefit of the doubt, seeing as it is their home court and, surely, the thought of not having to return to Miami for either Game 6 or 7 must give quite a lot of motivation. History, however, would lean towards Miami.

 

Since forming the Miami “Big Three,” the Heat have lost Game 1 four times (including this series). They did not lose another game in any of those three prior series, including the Thunder Finals series last season. It’s highly unlikely that that trend should continue, however.

 

So which, then, of the other possible scenarios is more likely to occur? – San Antonio or Miami winning two of three games?

 

To answer this, one must determine which team is more likely to win Game 3.

 

Miami will enter Game 3 with an anticipated higher confidence. The fact that Tim Duncan didn’t play a minute of the 4th quarter and the rest of the Spurs starters hit the bench with 7:43 remaining in the game could have done nothing but dampen the confidence level of San Antonio.

 

Hope is not lost, though, for Spurs fans. The best coach in the NBA is at the helm of the Spurs in Gregg Popovich and, as many coaches will agree, it is easier to make adjustments and thus improve after a loss than a win. Popovich will have a big task in front of him as turnovers were the Spurs downfall and forcing turnovers the Heat’s biggest strength. If the Miami Heat can continue to pressure the Spurs into turning the ball over with their stifling defense, the Spurs may have no chance at victory apart from stellar defense of their own and lights-out shooting from behind the arch.

 

Game 3 is also a must-win for the Spurs for the fact that Miami is 11-0 following a loss. If Miami wins Game 3 and follows their trend of no-back-to-back losses, the Spurs cannot make up the difference.

 

If San Antonio wins Game 3, and split Games 4 and 5 with the Heat, they force Miami’s back to the wall and force them to win Games 6 and 7, a feat that is not impossible by any stretch but certainly daunting.

 

If Miami wins two of the three games in San Antonio, you can all but kiss the Spurs’ chances at a fifth title goodbye.

 

 

 

***  Historical Tidbits  ***

 

In all four of the Spurs’ prior championship victories, they had home court advantage in the best-of-seven series.

 

Only once have the Spurs split the first two games 1-1 in the Finals – against the Nets in 2003. Spurs won in 6.

 

Miami’s “Big 3” is 8-3 in Game 3’s

In the last seven Finals series when started 1-1, the team that won the next best-of-three-games series won the title six  times.

 

 

 

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It’s time once again for postseason greatness in the NBA.

Here are the Eastern Conference series:

(1) Miami Heat vs (8) Milwaukee Bucks

(2) New York Knicks vs (7) Boson Celtics

(3) Indiana Pacers vs (6) Atlanta Hawks

(4) Brooklyn Nets vs (5) Chicago Bulls

Break Downs and Predictions:

(1) Heat vs (8) Bucks:

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This series hardly requires any breaking down. Simply put, the Miami Heat are out of the Bucks’ league.

It’s possible that the Bucks may come within ten points of the Heat in one or two of the games, but even that is being optimistic.

Prediction – Miami wins series 4-0

(2) Knicks vs (7) Celtics:

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Much like the “2-vs-7” match-up in the West between the Spurs and Lakers, this series is very likely going to the final seventh game.

The New York Knicks have seen MVP level play from star Forward Carmelo Anthony and stellar support from J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler.

The Celtics have been coping with the loss of All-Star Point Guard Rajon Rondo to an ACL injury. Stepping up to fill the void has been Avery Bradley. Forward Jeff Green has provided much needed scoring and will likely be the “X-factor” in the Knicks series.

Because both teams have formidable scoring threats as well as defensive abilities, I would give the edge to the better head coach. Doc Rivers is one of, if not the best coach in the East.

Prediction – Boston wins series 4-3

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(3) Pacers vs (6) Hawks:

They should call this series the “under-the-radar” series.

Both the Indiana Pacers and Atalanta Hawks have done simply just enough over the course of the season to make the playoffs without turning many heads or making any waves.

This strategy worked well for the Pacers last season as they proved the first real test on the Heat’s road to their championship, nearly stealing the series while Dwyane Wade struggled and Chris Bosh recovered from injury.

The Hawks pose no such threat to the Pacers who, even without Danny Granger, should handle Atlanta without much issue.

Prediction – Indiana wins series 4-2

(4) Nets vs (5) Bulls:

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The Chicago Bulls surely thought they’d be going into the first round of the playoffs this season with a healthy Derrick Rose, who tore his ACL in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

That, however, is not their reality as Rose continues his rehab months after being cleared by team doctors to return to action.

The Brooklyn Nets pose a large challenge for the shorthanded Bulls with All-Star Center Brook Lopez and elite Point Guard Deron Williams enjoying home court advantage.

The biggest chance the Bulls stand at beating the Nets is by exploiting their physical play. The X-factors for Chicago will be Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson.

Prediction – Chicago wins series 4-3

That wraps up the Eastern Conference first round match-ups. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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Back in the late 90’s, the Knicks and Heat played with intensity vying for top spot in the East.

Patrick Ewing, John Starks, and Coach Jeff Van Gundy vs Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, and Coach Pat Riley.

Enter Miami’s “Big 3”; LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh squaring off against New York’s “Big 2” (will be 3 after summer); Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.

This is the future of the East with Celtics “Big 3” getting older and slower.

New York’s victory at Miami Sunday night proves even more that the rivalry is back.

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What a year 2010 turned out to be in sports. From the Alabama Crimson Tide winning the national championship to the Giants winning the World Series.

2010 saw Tiger Woods’ first full calendar year without notching a single victory, neither in majors nor non-major events.

2010 was host to both the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the World Cup in South Africa. Surprisingly, South Africa seemed to handle the role better with seemingly less to work with. Really, the only negative throughout the World Cup were those Vuvuzelas (they haunt my dreams).

2010 was the year of the media. Endless talk of where LeBron James would play the ’10-’11 season and beyond hijacked every sports radio station, column, channel, etc. until finally, it built up to “the Decision”, a poorly thought out plan by the LeBron James group to publicly announce his contract plans live on ESPN.

“The Decision” badly backfired when James chose against returning to Cleveland, where he was drafted 6 years ago, and left to play in Miami with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The backlash was instant in Cleveland and soon even the media, which profited greatly from “the Decision” threw James under the bus, calling his actions classless, selfish, and pretty much all the things the audience was wanting to hear.

Nearing the end of the year, and with the season under way, many of the media are forgiving of James and are more focussed on his play on the court.

2010 was a shaky shaky year for college football. It started with expansion rumors out of the Big East and the Big 10. The Big 10 fired first, inviting Big 12 member Nebraska into their ranks. Nebraska accepted the invite. The PAC-10, not to be outdone, fired next. They invited Colorado, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M. Colorado was the only school to accept. They later invited the University of Utah, who gladly accepted.

BYU, being passed over and no longer sharing a conference tie with rival Utah, left for far greener pastures as an Independent in Division 1A football, and far browner pastures in everything else, joining the West Coast Conference in all other sports.

TCU left for the Big East, and the top half of the WAC in football shifted over to the Mountain West Conference, to fill the holes left by the power trio that had, for nearly a decade, ruled the top of the conference.

Cam Newton burst onto the scene, dominating all in his way to winning the Heisman trophy and leading the Auburn Tigers into the national championship game. Looming over his accomplishments, however, were allegations that he was involved in a pay for play scheme with his father and an agent. Cam was ruled eligible for lack of evidence that he knew anything about the scheme. Let’s hope 5 years from now that we don’t have another Reggie Bush situation.

2010 was the year of the pitcher in the MLB. Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, and numerous others were in the spotlight this season. The Giants’ pitching staff received praise all season and they showed why. Solid pitching and late season play from Rookie Buster Posey led the Giants into the playoffs and hot bats at perfect times in the World Series sealed the deal for them.

The Lakers won their 2nd straight title, beating the Celtics and avenging their 2008 defeat in the finals to that nearly identical Celtics team.

Jimmie Johnson won his 5th straight Sprint Chase for the Cup title in a row (first ever to do so).

The UConn women’s basketball team broke the once thought impossible win streak record of 88 wins, set by the UCLA men’s basketball team under coach John Wooden. The lady Huskies’ record ended at 90 games.

All in all, a very crazy year. Can’t wait to see what 2011 brings.

The “King” for a reason

Posted: October 12, 2010 by Dan Condie in LeBron James, NBA
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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LeBron James’ disapproval rating skyrocketed this summer to the point where he was in the top 5 most hated athletes up with Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, and Michael Vick.

When NBA fans with a negative opinion of James are asked to explain themselves and their hated, many answers include, “I didn’t like how he went about the whole ‘decision’ thing”, or “he thinks he is the best thing in the world”, “he stabbed his fans in the back”…the list goes on.

Most all of the people I know that hated on LBJ before this Summer were Lakers/Kobe Bryant fans.

Kobe Bryant fans had a great time watching the “LeBron James Show” this Summer because most all the fence sitters on the Kobe/LeBron issue either swayed towards Kobe or at least strayed from LeBron.

Kobe fans, there’s nothing I hate worse than the sports fan that won’t credit the opposing teams’ successes along with cheering their failures, so I’ll start by saying Kobe Bryant is one of the best players in the NBA. He has more finesse than anyone to play before him and can score at will against any player one on one…when his shot is on.

You cannot call LeBron’s game graceful or full of finesse, but he is the most athletically gifted and highest caliber talent in the NBA. Kobe may have nights where he goes off for gaudy numbers, but LeBron James phones in triple doubles.

James said himself, in an interview last season, that he could won the scoring title every year, if he wanted to.

The fact is, LeBron James has one solitary goal in mind and it isn’t scoring titles, money, or media love. It’s winning championships. Yup, multiple.

Lets be realists for a second. LeBron gave Cleveland more than a fair shake. He did not choose to be drafted by Cleveland. (speaking of giving up on the court, the Cavs have been accused of throwing games in 2003 in order to raise their lotto pick chances). LeBron could have left the Cavaliers after his second year, but he signed a 4 year extension and received no solid #2 guy to help him out.

Everyone knows LeBron has more money than he knows what to do with. But if ESPN pitches the idea to run an hour long special for making his decision and would pay millions for something you were going to have to do anyway, you’d do much worse things than accepting a promotion on live TV and you all know it. I would do more offensive things for less money.

Bottom line is, LeBron hasn’t been a distraction off the court, hasn’t been in legal trouble, hasn’t been a sex-crazed idiot, has really only ever performed every single night at a level no one ever has.

So when the reasons why people are hating on the guy are all seemingly based on the way he did his job, that’s when I have issues. Cuz lets not forget, you go to the office, make sales, whatever your job may be, and LeBron plays in the NBA. He was a free agent and he chose to relocate and work in A. A better location with B. Better surrounding talent.

Know why I dislike the above athletes? Rape, steroids, cheating, and killing dogs. Do I love watching them play their respective sports? Absolutely. But I’m one of those sports fans that can separate the game from the drama. So should everyone else.

Bryant, Jordan, and James

I can admit it, along with millions of other fans, I fell victim to the conceived marketing ploy of King James and found myself in front of the TV watching ESPN’s, “The Decision.” Not only that, I found my heart thumping a little bit as they came back from each commercial, wondering if this would be the moment we’d all been waiting for. Moments later my heart sunk as my fears became reality, LeBron James would be taking his talents down to South Beach.

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