Posts Tagged ‘nba

03
Sep
12

Kobe Bryant’s Best and Worst Playoff Series (Part 2)

In order to fully appreciate a player from a historical standpoint, one has to embrace both the highs and the lows of his career.

When it comes to Kobe, a player who entered the NBA as an 18 year old and has since entered the ‘top 5 ever’ discussions, looking at the highs and the lows is not only entertaining – it’s essential.

In Part 1, we looked at Kobe’s 5 WORST Playoff series. For Part 2, here’s a ranking of Kobe’s 5 BEST Playoff series:

5. Playoffs 2008 2nd Round vs. the Utah Jazz: 33.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.2 apg.

  • Before Game 2 of this series, David Stern handed Kobe’s his first (and so far, only one) regular season MVP Award. In all 6 games, Kobe demonstrated why he was the best and most valuable player in the league. The Lakers won in 6 games, and went on to face the Spurs in the WCF.

4. Playoffs 2009 NBA Finals vs. the Orlando Magic: 32.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 5.6 apg.

  • This is still Kobe’s best Finals series, in which he cemented his legacy and finally proved that he can “win a ring without Shaq,” something that idiots had been using to argue against Kobe’s legacy ever since LA traded Shaq to the Miami Heat.

3. Playoffs 2001 Western Conference SemiFinals vs. the Sacramento Kings: 35.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 4.3 apg.

  • Many people forget that LA’s best player in the 2001 Playoffs (up until the Finals) was not Shaq. Kobe dominated throughout the whole series, and he saved his best for last: 48 points & 16 rebounds in Game 4 to complete the sweep and move on to the WCF. In my opinion, that game is still Kobe’s best Playoff performance.

2. Playoffs 2001 Western Conference Finals vs. the San Antonio Spurs: 33.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.0 apg.

  • The whole 2001 Playoffs was Kobe’s coming out party. He completely demolished the team with the best record in the league, and carried the Lakers to the NBA Finals. He played so well that Shaq called him “the best player in the world” and “my idol” in press conferences between games.

1. Playoffs 2010 Western Conference Finals vs. the Phoenix Suns: 33.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 8.3 apg.

  • Kobe’s performance in this series was nothing short of brilliant. His averages, his efficiency (.521 FG%, .432 3FG%, .881 FT%), his clutchness, and the amount of ridiculous shots he hit were all off the charts. In a way, it was a payback for the 2 First Round losses by the Suns in 2006 and 2007.

Honorable mention (chronological order):

  • the 2008 First Round vs. the Denver Nuggets: 33.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 6.3 apg.
  • the 2009 Western Conference Finals vs. the Denver Nuggets: 34.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 6.2 apg.
  • the 2010 Western Conference SemiFinals vs. the Utah Jazz: 32.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.8 apg.

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These series are a true reflection on Kobe’s greatness, work ethic and longevity – his greatest series span anywhere from 2001 to 2010, which a LONG time for a basketball player.

02
Sep
12

Kobe Bryant’s Best and Worst Playoff Series (Part 1)

In order to fully appreciate a player from a historical standpoint, one has to embrace both the highs and the lows of his career.

When it comes to Kobe, a player who entered the NBA as an 18 year old and has since entered the ‘top 5 ever’ discussions, looking at the highs and the lows is not only entertaining – it’s essential.

So, in Part 1, here are Kobe’s 5 WORST Playoff series:

1. Playoffs 1998 2nd Round vs. the Seattle SuperSonics: 3.7 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.0 apg.

  • This is by far the worst series Kobe has ever played. He was sidelined for 2 games because of flu, and in the other 3 games the virus affected his performance so much that people started speculating that the Lakers were better off without him on the floor. Still, the Lakers handled their business and won the series 4-1.

2. Playoffs 1997 2nd Round vs. the Utah Jazz: 8.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.8 apg.

  • In Game 5, with the Jazz holding a 3-1 series lead, the 18 year old took it upon himself to bring LA to victory – and failed miserably. He shot a couple of airballs which gave the Jazz a 98-93 victory. According to Kobe, this series (especially the way Game 5 ended) was his main motivation for improving his game in the Summer of 1997.

3. Playoffs 1998 Western Conference Finals vs. the Utah Jazz: 10.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.0 apg.

  • While Kobe was sidelined with flu (see above), the Lakers were rolling and looked like title contenders, ready to challenge the back-to-back champions Chicago Bulls. Kobe’s return, however, pushed Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones back to their original roles, which ruined the team’s momentum. The Lakers were swept by the Jazz, who lost to the Bulls in 6 games.

4. Playoffs 1997 1st Round vs. the Portland TrailBlazers: 7.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.5 apg.

  • Though these averages are not any better than the ones mentioned above, considering his role and minutes played, Kobe had a decent series. His FG% was above .500, he didn’t turn the ball over (only 1 tpg), and had 22 points in a Game 4 loss, showing that he has a bright future ahead of him. The Lakers won the series 3-1.

5. Playoffs 1998 1st Round vs. the Portland TrailBlazers: 11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg.

  • Coming from a season that many considered worthy of a 6th Man of the Year Award (finished 2nd in the voting behind Suns’ Danny Manning), Kobe underperformed in the 1st Round of the 1998 Playoffs. Still, the Lakers won the series 3-1.

Honorable mention (chronological order):

  • the 1999 1st Round vs. the Houston Rockets: 18.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 5.8 apg.
  • the 2000 NBA Finals vs. the Indiana Pacers: 15.6 pgg, 3.8 rpg, 4.2 apg (got injured in the 1st quarter of Game 2 and was never the same).
  • the 2004 NBA Finals vs. the Detroit Pistons: 22.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.4 apg (a mix of Pistons’ terrific defense, the Kobe-Shaq beef reaching its apex, and the sexual assault case trial looming).

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These series shouldn’t be viewed as a stain on Kobe’s career – in all 8 of them he was either too young/inexperienced, injured/sick, or facing serious off court issues.

These bad performances should be recognized as something that fueled Kobe’s fire through the years, and made him strive to be the best basketball player he can be. Most all-time greats (MJ, Kareem, Wilt, Larry Bird, etc.) never had to go through a transition period where they weren’t “the man” on their teams. In that respect, Kobe’s career is truly one of a kind.

15
Aug
12

#ShowTimeBack

Summer is winding down and that means The Experience is back in action. It has been a crazy summer of sports including some major blockbuster deals L.A, such as Dwight Howard, to Steve Nash, to Hanley Ramirez. Also the Olympics in London were a huge hit, and a wonderful joy to watch. Here is a check in with my two teams.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers are well into training camp, but have been unlucky in the injury department. More than 20 Packers did not participate in the team’s first preseason game in San Diego which was pretty much a disaster. Desmond Bishop was lost for what is looking to be the whole year with a hamstring issue, and Davon House was lost for 2 to 3 weeks with a shoulder sprain. Also the team did not look as if they learned from their postseason defeat to the Giants, as the suffered a total of 4 turnovers. Aaron Rodgers backup Graham Harrell did not preform well to say the least. He struggled to hit any of his receivers, brining up the question of QB depth this season. But hey, no need to get worried, it’s just the PRESEASON.

Los Angeles Lakers

This summer Mitch Kupchack ensured his status among all time great GM’s in basketball history. The Lakers needed a revamp and boy did he deliver. Mitch started off the summer by executing a sign and trade with Phoenix Suns to bring hall of fame point guard Steve Nash to the rival Los Angeles Lakers to finish his career. With Nash the Lakers get one of the game’s all time great facilitators, who can exploit teams with the pick and roll, and outside shooting. Nash immediately turned the Lakers back into title contenders. Mitch however, wasn’t satisfied. Next, the savvy vet Antwan Jamison was brought in to provide a scoring presence off the bench. Like Nash, Jamison is in his late 30’s, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have anything left in the tank. This seemed to cap the Lakers offseason after about a 3 week time period went by with no more additions. There were rumors of Dwight coming to the Lakers, but no deal ever materialized.

But then on August 15th, when it seemed as if Dwight would be stuck in Orlando for another season, the Lakers shocked the basketball world by stealing another all-star center from the Orlando Magic for pretty much biscuits and gravy.

I know Andrew Bynum is a all-star, but looking at it from the Magic standpoint, the Lakers got a hell of deal for the 6 time all-star. Dwight will probably miss about a month, as he is still recovering from back surgery, but when he gets back I don’t see any team capable of stopping this Lakers team. Howard’s presence on the defensive end of the floor can not be matched by anyone in the NBA. Sure Andrew Bynum had some good defensive showings, but it seemed like it was a rare occurrence. This is what separates Andrew and Dwight, as Howard has more than enough of an offensive game to match Bynum’s. And finally the Mitch finished dinner by bringing in sharp shooter Jodie Meeks from the Sixers to add shooting and scorer to the bench.

All I can say is this,be afraid.

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Be very afraid.

28
Apr
12

NBA 2012 Playoffs predictions

Finally, it’s playoff time. The time where casual fans decide to show up and watch the games, while spewing their nonsense opinions so that the rest of us can get annoyed by their stupidity. Anyway, let’s get on with the predictions:

Philadelpha 76ers v. Chicago Bulls: Come on, Philly. You know whether or not you play Chicago or Miami you guys would still get eliminated in this round. It’s your own fault for slipping so hard when you guys were considered a top 4 East team and then lost the Atlantic division to Boston. Chicago Bulls in 5.

New York Knicks v. Miami Heat: The Knicks are the dark horse of the East and they have plenty of momentum, yet so many question marks such as Amare’s rebounding and defensive abilities. His offense has been slowly coming back, but still a minor question mark. It just so happens that the Knicks have to play the scariest team in the league, which is Miami. It’s hard to see the Heat losing in the first round when they’re one of the favorites to win it all. Miami Heat in 6. (God, I hope I’m wrong)

Orlando Magic v. Indiana Pacers: The Magic suck. They’re awful. They pretty much tanked the season already with Dwight opting for surgery. Indiana is the real deal. They’re not quite in the upper echelon like Chicago or Miami, but these niggas ain’t scrubs. Indiana Pacers in 5.

Dallas Mavericks v. Oklahoma City Thunder: This is a rematch of last year’s playoffs. However, this time around, the Thunder are the most dangerous team in the West and the Mavs lost a lot of key players from last season. Oklahoma City Thunder in 6.

Utah Jazz v. San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs came as a surprise to me, and many others as they took the no. 1 spot over OKC. At the start of the season, I saw them coming in at like the 5th seed, factoring age and lack of talent. Even with many injuries and age, Popovich has coached the shit out of what looks to be on paper, a team destined for first round elimination. San Antonio Spurs in 5.

Denver Nuggets v. Los Angeles Lakers: The Nuggets never really looked scary all season long. There are just a bunch of solid players with no standout superstar and that will hurt them in the playoffs. Al Harrington is also limited with his meniscus injury. With the acquisition of Sessions, the Lakers became a contender instantly and they’re looking pretty good. Also, Nuggets have no answer for Bynum. Los Angeles Lakers in 5.

Atlanta Hawks v. Boston Celtics: Probably one of the more repetitive matchups of recent years. Atlanta is good, but without Horford they’re really handicapped. The Celtics are banged up a bit too, but they found gems out of Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass. One more key thing, Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves decided to show up all of a sudden. This can be a great series. Boston Celtics in 7.

Los Angeles Clippers v. Memphis Grizzlies: The Clippers have so much talent on their team. Lob City, bitch. Lob Lob City, bitch. Okay, all the hype aside, Memphis is the real deal. At the start of the season I predicted Memphis being as good as no. 2 in the West. I was kinda off, but that’s probably because of the huge injury to Z-Bo and the surprising Spurs. Memphis Grizzlies in 7.

09
Apr
12

The Fall Of Lamar Odom part 2

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I just woke up and that’s one of the headlines on SportsCenter. I’m a little surprised, but completely shocked. I’ve followed this team for almost 11 years now and this is a pretty rare situation. Unlike most of the Mavs fans I’ve been around, I’ll be the first to say that I was the biggest Odom supporter when he was traded to Dallas. I felt like his game would help us a lot and really make us a dangerous team in the West.

However, I remember going to a game back in March against the Wizards and it was my first time hearing boos and harsh comments from the fans whenever he came in the game or missed a shot.

The opinion I had was that maybe the ball just wasn’t going in. He was missing open shots and it looked like Lamar lost all confidence in his game. Though his play was terrible, I still thought he would come around eventually and start to get things going in the last month of the season.

After showing up late to an eventual home loss to Portland on Friday, I think that was the last straw. (He and his wife Khloe live right across the street at The W Hotel, I’ve seen it.) Odom only played 4 minutes the next night against the Grizzlies.

Afterwards, both Coach Rick Carlisle and the typically media-accessible Dirk Nowitzki expressed how they felt about the situation.

“No Lamar questions tonight,” Carlisle said.

Dirk refused to answer when asked about Lamar: “I’m done talking about that.”

So, now I look at it this way. If a guy hasn’t shown any commitment to the team and it becomes clear that he’s not willing to go to battle with the guys in the locker room and play hard, then you have to cut ties.

Overall, it’s a calculated risk we’re taking but also a shrewd business move. Don’t release him, make him inactive. That ensures he can’t just clear waivers and go back to the Lakers or Clippers; two teams that are ahead of the Mavs in the standings.

It sucks that he couldn’t help us, but if it’s dragging the team down when they’re  trying to fight for a playoff spot and defend their championship, you gotta cut your losses and start fresh. Hopefully, with 9 games to go, it isn’t too late.

15
Mar
12

Thank you Mr.Fisher

Look, I was just as shocked as any Laker fan out there after finding out that Derek Fisher had been traded away.  I really don’t think anybody saw this coming.  Not any NBA scribe or “expert” analyst, not any of the Laker players themselves, certainly not Fish himself.  Heck, not even Miss Cleo could have seen this one coming.  Truly left field status man..  But I didn’t want to see him go.  I just figured dude should ride the bench and quietly bow out into a Laker front office or coaching staff job or something.

I mean…wow.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor and gathered my suddenly scattered thoughts, I tried to make sense of this trade immediately, right along with the other trade the Lakers made in getting Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga.  For the specifics on the Fisher to the Houston Rockets trade, he and a first round pick was being sent there in exchange for young big man Jordan Hill.  In the other deal made, Laker small forwards Luke Walton and Jason Kapono were shipped off to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the point guarded that they needed, Ramon Sessions, and athletic wing Christian Eyenga.

As stated previously, I’ve been on board with the Ramon Sessions deal ever since I caught wind of the Lakers showing interest in him.  He’s the young, quick, efficient point guard that the they have needed this whole season.  As for Christian Eyenga, he’s still far from being NBA ready and lacks much polish.  However, he’s a freak of an athlete and could make some contributions if he earns himself some playing time.  My guess is that he’ll be sent to the D-League for some more seasoning and the Lakers can evaluate him more from there.  But yeah, this deal right here is aces all around kids.  Mitch sent off two of the Lakers’ worst players (along with their worst contract in Luke Walton) and addressed their need at point guard.  Salary was shed, the point guard position was upgraded.  Bravo Mitch.

As for the trade that dealt Derek Fisher and a first rounder for Jordan Hill, understandably I found myself inherently against it.  But of course, that was just nostalgia and sentiment causing the knee jerk reaction there.  As soon as I sussed out the positives we could take from this trade, I began to soften my stance.  Basically we traded an unproductive, ancient point guard who was a defensive (and sometimes offensive) liability in Derek Fisher for a young player in Jordan Hill who can provide some front court depth and could contribute right away.  As for the first round pick, it would have been in the high 20’s anyway and I’m thinking Laker management figured that player still wouldn’t be as good as getting Ramon Sessions now anyways.  What’s more, Mitch was shedding even more salary here, thus giving them more flexibility in the future.

I’ve gotta give it to Mitch man, he’s got a tough job and I’m sure that separating his personal affinity for Fish from the business aspect of things was more than likely extremely difficult, especially with how big of a character guy and class act Derek is.

See the thing that doesn’t have me completely on board with this trade with Fish is that the Lakers are losing the only person who not only can corral Kobe’s emotions whenever they go by the wayside (along with his shot selection) but also had the complete trust of his.  This was an iron clad bond that was forged through the wars they’ve encountered together en route to 5 championships.  Derek’s championship caliber leadership and voice of reason on the court and in the Laker locker room cannot be replaced and most of all, neither can his knack for hitting the big shot when it came down to crunch time.

Logically speaking, both deals just made the Lakers younger, better and more flexible salary wise.  For basketball reasons strictly, I’m ecstatic about these moves and can only applaud Mitch for once again making some prudent and crucial moves to keep the Lakers contending for a championship.

But then things like sentiment and nostalgia exist and I start to think about 0.4, the driving and-one layup against the Celtics in the Finals and all the huge three’s Fish hit to seemingly save the Lakers each time.

But hey, showtime must go on and what we have now is a deeper, younger Laker team that’s suddenly back in championship contention.

Derek Fisher. 5 rings. Greatest role player of all time. The now former captain of the Lakers. You will be missed.

03
Mar
12

The Fall of Lamar Odom

Everything went downhill after marrying the ugly Kardashian.

From the Los Angeles Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks and finally, the NBA Development League.

The Mavericks said on Friday that Lamar Odom is headed to the D-League for one game so he can get his basketball legs back after a brief stint away from the team.

The former sixth-man award winner will reportedly suit up for the Texas Legends during the D-League team’s home game on Saturday night, though he is expected to rejoin the Mavericks when the team takes on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

Odom has been absent since Feb. 22, saying he had to tend to a family matter, causing him to miss four straight games after leaving the club. His basketball family is now left wondering if they’re going to get back the Odom who was a productive bench player for the Lakers, or the man who has only averaged 7.7 points per game in 32 games with Dallas.

“When he comes back, we’re going to find out very quickly where things are at,” Carlisle said on the ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Galloway & Co.” “He’s going to have to show us with his actions and attitude that he’s in.”

It doesn’t help Odom that even the gossip pages are reporting on his demotion to the D-League, which perhaps has a little something to do with his marriage to a Kardashian.

Odom’s numbers are down in mostly every statistical category this year.

He’s averaging 10 less minutes than he did a year ago with the Lakers, and he’s averaging half as many rebounds compared to last season.

“Our fans want to know that Lamar’s in,” Carlisle added on ESPN Radio. “Our players want to know that Lamar’s in. It’s not about how many points he’s scoring or rebounds; those things are a factor. Our fans, our players want to see the guy playing like his pants are on fire and we haven’t seen that so far and that’s got to change.”

Lamar Odom to D-League for 1 Game

They claim he will only be in the D-League for 1 game to get his “basketball legs back up under him”

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