8 Things Learned After Game 2 of NBA Playoffs

Game 2 has come and gone and although it may not seem like a lot, we are that much closer to seeing the last team left standing. For teams like Memphis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, Milwaukee, and Boston their chances of advancing are looking bleak after their 0-2 start in this years postseason. For the Bulls and Warriors they are in perfect position to pull of an upset as they go home all tied up at 1 a piece. I’m sure everybody took something different away from each game but here are my 8 thoughts from game 2 – one from each series.

usp-nba_-playoffs-boston-celtics-at-new-york-knick_001-3_4_r536_c534

1. Pay all your attention to Carmelo’s 34 points or J.R’s 19 off the bench but what I’m looking at as a die hard Knicks fan is 1 thing only. The Knicks have held Boston to a total of 45 points in the 2nd halves of game 1 and 2. Put two halves together and if my Kindergarten math teacher Mrs. Nuremberg taught me right they make a whole. The Knicks have held Boston to 45 points in the 48 minutes of 2nd half play so far. That’s a sexy stat, especially for all the haters telling us we can’t play defense.

Stephen-Curry-30-e1366806873683

2. Here is my bold statement of the year. Stephen Curry is the best shooter the world has ever seen, period. There has never been a better jump shot in the history of the game of basketball. Did you see the shots he was making from literally everywhere on the court? Here’s the poet in me – ready? Watching Stephen Curry release his shot is like watching Picasso paint a white canvas. It’s going to be a work of art. Shout out to Harrison Barnes for his career high, and a tisk tisk to the Nuggets for letting Golden State steal a game from them at home without David Lee. They’re buzzing with confidence now, so well done.

CT Bulls07220.JPG

3. According to an ESPN source, the Bulls were treated thoroughly for, “Depressive Sleep Disorder,” that they were diagnosed with after they slept-walked through Game 1. They were as awake as ever in Game 2 and Joakim Noah toughed it out on his plantar fascitis..ed foot? Yeah that sounds okay, maybe Derrick Rose will grow some kahunas and come back next game in Chicago after seeing Noah put it all out there. I’ll be refreshing Waka Flocka Flame’s twitter regularly for any updates on Derrick Rose’s return.

la-sp-clippers-grizzlies-20130423-001

4. The Clippers are proving me wrong. I’ll hand it to them. Chris Paul is taking over and pushing off and the Clippers are showing Memphis how it’s done.

130424220209-0424-george-award.main-video-player-1

5. Did anybody really watch the Pacers-Hawks game? But I will shout-out to Paul George because he’s definitely lived his whole life wishing for a shout-out from a schmuck like me. Anyway, good for him becoming a star this quickly in his career.

Lakers Spurs Basketball.JPEG-0f22e

6. The Lakers are really just a train-wreck. I mean Steve Blake is now out – the only guy who was doing anything on the perimeter, Steve Nash is questionable as is Jodie Meeks. The Lakers also aren’t going to get anywhere with Dwight getting 16 and 9. It’s crazy to me because at the beginning of the year if you had said I’ll give you a team of Steve Nash, Dwight and Pau along with some other nobodies you’d say Western Conference Semis at least. Guess not. Good news? They’re heading back to Los Angeles where they’re 29-12… but something tells me they’ll make even Jack Nicholson leave early.

hi-res-156812447_crop_650x440

7. Guys! Milwaukee could still win in 6!

22070832_SA

8. I took a lot of things away from this. Some more important than others. First, did you realize Terrence Jones and Thomas Robinson are sitting on the same bench together after playing one another in the National Championship game last year. I found that really cool… Second, Kevin Durant scored 5 fourth quarter points last night. That’s pretty lame if you ask me and not characteristic of a superstar trying to win a championship. Third, Chandler Parsons needs more arc on his jump shot. The things a line drive. Fourth, their late game execution was absolutely god awful.

Fifth…

*Per 48 Minutes.

Player A: 15.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 7.9 APG, 3.0 TPG, 2.5 SPG, 41.8 FG%, 37.5 3P%,                                   Player B: 19.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.0 APG, 4.3 TPG, 2.4 SPG, 44.1 FG%, 33.9 3P%,

Now looking at that comparison, you could really debate for hours on who the better player is. Player A is a well rounded scorer, passer and rebounder while being efficient from the field and with the ball. Player B is a stronger scorer, a weaker rebounder, more reckless with the ball and a poorer shooter. Now what if I were to tell you Player A is Jeremy Lin and Player B is Patrick Beverley, his backup. So with this in mind, and the fact that Beverley was superb last night in his first start I conclude that if Beverley was a 32 minute a night player he’d be better than Jeremy Lin who is averaging 13 and 6 this season.

The Loss of Linsanity

The life of a Knick Fan is a roller coaster ride. This season has been nothing different. First, Linsanity emerges and the entire world begins to believe in a miracle. Then, D’antoni quits under the bright lights of Broadway’s media. Then New York starts winning again, and finally New York begins to think they have a contender. Then Amar’e gets injured for 2-4 weeks and Lin gets injured for the rest of the year. So as of now New York is content with their season. They’re just above .500 and after an up and down season, winning is a pleasant antidote for their anxiousness.

To the average fan New York will do great for the rest of the season. The team is responding well to Mike Woodson, Carmelo is back in his groove and Amar’e will be returning just in time for their projected matchup with Chicago in the playoffs. However, being the realist and experienced Knick fan that I am I can see through it all. The Knicks have just hit their peak, I see them finishing the regular season off well, but when they reach the playoffs they don’t really stand a chance. That’s all thanks to the loss of Lin. Image

Jeremy Lin was more then a point guard in New York. He was the player who brought the team together, who encouraged the team to share the ball and play together. He also gave the Knicks much needed depth. Especially if they face a team like Chicago who are 14-7 without Rose on their team, where depth is essential. Without Lin the Knicks have to give Baron Davis huge minutes for the rest of the season, and you have to wonder if he will hold up, considering his injury riddled season. Besides Baron Davis, Shumpert is the only combo guard on the team who can really run their offense. With Lin out, that means more time for Bibby and Douglas players who aren’t used to minutes.

Besides the loss of depth they also have the hardest schedule for the remainder of the regular season and that means other guys are going to have to step up. Never mind Amar’e who has been below average all season will be coming back from injury and will be extra rusty.

I just don’t see things going well for New York anymore. The ride’s been fun but unfortunately it’s time to get off. Maybe next year they will be blessed with a healthy team, because with a fully healthy team. This team is dangerous and can go far in the playoffs when given the chance.

Excuses Running Low for D’antoni

New York anticipated a big season this year, with all their big signings, their good looking rookies and their two superstars. New York being New York expected HUGE things from their team straight out of the gate, which isn’t unreasonable considering the personnel on the team. And when the team began in 10th place in the East everyone looked down the bench at the coach. They look and wonder what the hell is he doing. He has all the pieces, now put them together.

Then as the fire on D’antoni’s seat slowly rised we got this little Harvard Grad who lit up the NBA for two straight weeks. Putting an end to the hot seat. A relief to D’antoni who knows he had nothing to do with Lin’s emergence as a key player on the team. He thought he was okay for the moment, he thought everyone had forgot about his job security.

It was cute in the beginning, the little Linsanity. I mean beating useless teams like New Jersey, Minnesota, Toronto, Sacramento and Utah. They had some big wins against L.A, Dallas, and Atlanta without two stars. But then the schedule turned around and guess what happened.  Linsanity starts to cool down, the knicks blow 3 in a row to playoff caliber teams, all to former champions. As the Linsanity begins to cool down, as the team begins to blow leads like to Boston, and then dig holes like to the Spurs and Mavs you begin to wonder who to blame now. I don’t know how to blame the players, they’ve been playing great. Which leads me to believe D’antoni has to be the one to answer the questions now.

Image

He has nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, no excuses to make. If you look at the Knicks’ roster you’ll realize they have all the pieces to be a championship team. They have two superstars, a top defensive center, a budding star at the point, two solid rookies off the bench, an intangibles guy at the 2. Then you look to the bench, where you have two guys who can put up 20 every night in Baron Davis and J.R Smith. There’s Steve Novak who is arguably the best 3 point shooter in the league. You have Jared Jeffries one of the best dirty work players in the league. That’s a solid 11 man rotation full of talent and pieces that should win a championship on paper. Or at least compete for one.

The Knicks aren’t even competing for a championship as of now. They’re not even in the running. They’re 8th in the East and don’t seem to be making a fight for 7th right now as the Celtics are on a 5 game winning streak and the Knicks on a 3 game losing streak.

What else does D’Antoni need? He has all the pieces, this is arguably the best team he has coached. What else does he want from a team? He certainly can’t ask for too much patience anymore because this is getting exhausting.  It doesn’t make sense. Here’s a tip for D’antoni. Play the second unit one game as starters one game. Right now their playing better defense by far then the first unit. The first unit are a scoring unit. Get some stops, then bring in the stars to blow open the game. Maybe even teach the whole team to play defense. I mean giving up an average of 109 points in three games is disgusting.  Even in one went to overtime.

There’s nowhere to hide for D’antoni. Especially under the bright lights of Broadway. He’s gotta do something to turn this team around soon or he’ll be out of here before he can say Linsanity.

Chandler and The Knicks

Report:  According to ESPN.com Tyson Chandler confirmed he will sign a 4 year 58 million dollar deal. “It just really happened over the last, like, 48 hours,” Chandler said. “I just think the future of the team, being able to play alongside Amare Stoudemireme Carmelo Anthony and the young talent that we have, I feel like puts us in contention over the next four or five years.” They will have to release Billups for cap reasons. The Knicks have the player they were looking for but are now financially limited for a long time. They are now limited from the 2012 Free Agency Summer Frenzy. Was getting Chandler for this price a smart move? What do you think?

It seems like up till now the only names involved with the Knicks have been CP3, Superman, and Grant Hill. Now it seems like Tyson Chandler is going to end up in the Big Apple. Although, he’s not a superstar like Cp3 or Dwight Howard he is the key to the Knicks’ success. Let’s examine why they are the match made in heaven.

Chandler:

* Brought toughness to “soft” team in Dallas

* Brought size, and presence to the paint

* Was the X-Factor in Dallas’ win

* Influenced whole team to shift focus to defense

Now let’s think about the Knicks’ weaknesses…

* No real big man

* Sloppy on defense

* Nobody guarding the paint

* A generally “soft” team

* Inconsistent rebounding ability

Honestly, we have the perfect couple. It also seems like New York is Chandler’s number one destination. According to an ESPN.com source, “New York is Tyson’s first choice.” It was also mentioned that, ” It’s 98 percent sure that Tyson is going to wind up with the Knicks.”

Up until now, the Golden State Warriors seemed like the favorite for Chandler, but finally the Knicks came to their senses and starting thinking practically. They have been lacking a true center since Patrick Ewing left the garden. CP3 was their main priority but it seems like they don’t have the assets to trade for him, and the Hornets are more then likely to get the most value out of Paul before it’s too late. They also might be making amends for the rushed Melo acquisition last season. They are aware that Paul wants a bite out of the big apple, and they are aware that he won’t sign an extension for any teams except the Lakers if they were to get him. Sources are also reporting that there is an Amar’e for Paul trade being mentioned. Don’t do it. This relates directly to that saying. If it was meant to be it will happen. Well if Paul and New York are destined for each other, then trading your star player for someone who will come in the summer seems pointless.

The only downside to this whole idea is that the Knicks will most likely lose Mr Clutch A.K.A Chauncey Billups in the process. There would also be a hole at the point guard position, however Toney Douglas showed true potential last season and could fill the spot if given the chance. As well as Ronny Turiaf who can be replaced more easily.  They could use the amnesty clause on Chauncey Billups and trade Ronny Turiaf. However, there is another option that seems more lucrative for the future. They could involve Billups and Turiaf in a sign and trade with Dallas which could bring over Tyson Chandler as well as free up space for the summer of 2012 when CP3 will be a free agent, considering he doesn’t sign an extension with whatever team he ends up on.

Wait it gets even better. It is reported that Chris Paul badly wants to reunite with Tyson Chandler, whom he played with in New Orleans. So with Tyson Chandler, you could guarentee short term success and long term success if CP3 really wants New York and Chandler he will come next summer.

Exciting Moments Ahead

Only 22 more days till the most anticipated NBA tip-off in recent memory. The excitement is indescribable, already rumours are beginning, teams are practicing and fans are biting their nails, anxiously awaiting Christmas day. Exciting moments are on their way. In the spirit of Christmas I bring to you the 12 most exciting things to look forward to this season.

12. NBA Tip-Off

Although, the NBA tip-off is only one day of a 66 game season. It will begin the domino effect of exciting games. The match-ups all consist of star players and exciting teams. Boston’s Big Three takes their talents to New York to match up against the Knicks Big Three.  A finals rematch in Dallas. Former MVP’s match up as the Bulls take on the Lakers. Superman is flying to Oklahoma as the Magic take on the Thunder. And Bad Blake will begin the hundreds of mind-blowing dunks as the Clippers take on the Golden State Warriors. Merry Christmas indeed.

11. Celtics Too Old?

After the Celtics lost to Miami’s Big Three in the conference semi-finals last year, a lot of people said they didn’t have the young talent to compete with the upcoming teams in the league. Such as, Miami, Oklahoma, Chicago and so on. The Big Three in Boston have a title and know how to win and what it takes to win. Something that is taken for granted through the eyes of fans. Garnett still has his toughness, and maybe he isn’t as quick as he used to be but he still has a killer shot and knows when to step up. Ray Allen, hasn’t aged at all. His three is still lights out, as well as his mid range jumper. And people can say nothing about Paul Pierce, after all his exciting plays this season. This play in particular….

There is no need to even watch past 0:24. I’m just saying, the Celtics still got it and although they may be looked upon as the old timers in a new generation they have some tricks up their sleeves. The Celtics may play with a chip on their shoulder and that means terror for other teams in the league.

10. KD Not Kidding Anymore

After barely beating the Grizzlies last year and losing to the Mavericks in the conference finals, KD knew he could never go through anything like that again. He was done losing, after getting his heart broken by the Lakers in the 1st round in ’10 and losing to Dallas in ’11 he knew he had to change. This summer he has wasted no time improving his game. Here is proof…..

I cannot wait to see Kevin Durant develop more as a player and as a scorer and bring Oklahoma City their much deserved ring.

9. Grizzlies Back on Their Grizzly

When the Grizzlies defeated the number 1 seeded Spurs in the west I was shocked. Heck, the whole world was shocked. The Spurs had been having a picture perfect season. 60 wins and the 1st seed in the West. They thought they had a legitimate chance at a title. Then the young, scrappy, Grizzlies came along and silenced San-Antonio and the NBA world. Then when they forced a game 7 against KD and the Thunder we began to really take them seriously. Unfortunately, they couldn’t push past the Thunder. However, they exited the playoffs with nothing to be ashamed of. They gave two of the best teams in the West a run for their money. They may have failed in the playoffs but succeeded in imprinting their game in everyone’s mind. Now that Mike Conley, Z-Bo, and Rudy Gay are back, the Grizzlies will enter this season as legitimate competition. I can’t wait to see more of their electrifying game.

8. Rookie Class

This year’s rookie class is nothing special. There are no Lebron’s, no Kobe’s, nobody that is an obvious star. However, that’s what makes it interesting. Anyone of the  rookies can jump out and surprise us, almost like Blake Griffin did with his first  NBA dunk. The favourites for Rookie of The Year are Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. However, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette and Ricky Rubio may want a piece of the spotlight. Maybe this rookie class isn’t filled with future stars but they are filled with exciting players.

7. Knicks Gelling

The new look Knicks played 42 games together last season, Melo and Amar’e brought  a glimmer of hope to the one city that needed it most. Now they hope to develop upon that and expand that glimmer of hope into a championship.  Due to Amar’e’s back injury during the 1st round of the playoff’s last year the Knicks didn’t have a chance. I believe if Amar’e had been fully healthy they would’ve played Miami in the 2nd round. The big question heading into this season, is how will Amar’e, Melo and Billups work together. Last season there was definitely some miscommunication on the court, but when these guys learn how to work together. Miami better watch their back.

6. D-Rose 2 Time MVP?

After D-Rose’s breakout season last year and the Bulls surprising success, I’m intrigued by what they will bring to the table this year. Lockdown defense is for sure. But can Derrick Rose match the stellar performance he gave last year.  He clearly has tricks up his sleeve, and if you haven’t seen his highlights from last season then prepare to be astounded….  

 The question is what will he surprise us with this season? A 50 point game? More killer crossovers? Unbelievable hops? D-Rose is unpredictable, but what we do know is that he will be eager to show everyone that last season’s success was no fluke. And that the Bulls and himself are here to stay among the elite.

 5. Lakers Redeem Themselves  

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Conference semi-finals to Dirk and the Mavs. Phil Jackson will try to forget his last series as a coach. He will try to forget Andrew Bynum throwing an elbow of frustration to J.J Barea. He will definitely try to forget being swept by Dallas. Now with a new coach, and a hungry Kobe, the Lakers can start on a clean slate. Everyone knows Kobe is angry and wants back on that throne. NBA fans everywhere, brace yourself for a Kobe overdrive.

4. Miami Back With a Vengeance  

Miami suffered at the hands of greatness last season when losing to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks in the finals. Everyone, including themselves called the season a failure. This summer Lebron, and D-Wade didn’t waste time sulking or lowering their heads. They’re focused on greatness and focused on championships so they’ve been hard at work preparing for this season….

 Now that Lebron, D-Wade, and Bosh have additional criticism and motivation from last season it will be interesting to see how they come back this season. I’m predicting full on domination.

  3. Blake Show is Back  

If you ask any fan what team was most exciting to watch last season I bet you more than half would say the Los Angeles Clippers. This young and talented squad showed true potential last year when the Blake Show came along. They even made the Lakers a little nervous about being the top team in Los Angeles. But, Blake Griffin and the rest of his crew are back with more experience and more flavour this year. I’m eager to see them in action and to see Blake throwing down monster jam’s this season.

 2. Dallas 2-Peat

 After winning a title last year, Dirk and the Mavericks must be careful about their throne. The Lakers will be back and ready to redeem themselves, Miami will have more firepower than ever, and every other team in the league wants a seat on top. Dallas are prime targets this season and the fact that Tyson Chandler hasn’t signed an extension should worry them more. They’re veteran roster must be ready for the new guys in town who will do anything to defeat them. I wonder if J-Kidd, Dirk and Jason Terry will have what it takes this year. It will be more than exciting to see them in the finals once again.

 1. CP3 and Superman

 The best center in the league and arguably the best point guard in the league are free agents next summer. CP3’s agent has released statements that he wants a bite out of the Big Apple and there is speculation the Dwight wants out. We know the Magic and Hornets will try to improve their rosters around their stars before it’s too late. We also know they will trade them to get the most out of them if their stars don’t agree to an extension. This will be the most exciting part of the season due to the impact that these players will make on any team. Imagine CP3, Melo and Amar’e in New York. They’d instantly be best in the East. Or if Dwight went to Los Angeles, the Lakers would instantly be best in the West. After the Melo-Drama and the free agent frenzy of 2010-2011 we have all grown to love stars teaming up. It will be exciting to follow the drama that surrounds these players all season.

Back in Action

Thank goodness! The NBA is back and threatening to overshadow Santa himself. There could be no better Christmas present than to see the revival of the NBA after a very dark couple of months.

When that first whistle blows in stadiums across the country, the return of the NBA will be official. The crowds will gather from MSG in the East to Staples Center in the West. The thrill of basketball will re-energize the nation and bring back something that his been dearly missed in our lives.

So this is cheers to a new season and let the games begin!

A Second Chance

What if the NBA lockout, everybody’s nightmare, might be a blessing in disguise for a handful of players who haven’t played up to their hype.

Pressure is a double edged sword – it can motivate a player to great heights or it can cause players to choke under the spotlight. Could overhyped players have a second chance playing overseas where the pressure isn’t as intense and the players not as talented?

Take Darko Milicic for example.

Getting drafted 2nd behind Lebron James in a draft full of future stars put a lot of pressure on his shoulders. His inexperience and lack of maturity didn’t help him deal with the situation either. His game has shown no improvement since 2003, only averaging 6 points and 4 rebounds in 8 years. His mentality is soft, his post moves are weak and his jump shot and rebounding are inconsistent. He is the perfect example of an overhyped player who didn’t live up to his expectation. Playing overseas could definitely give him a second chance at becoming the star he was supposed to be. If he went overseas he would be taking 8 years of invaluable NBA experience and a height of 7 feet. One of the problems with his entrance to the was his inexperience, he could recreate his entrance to professional basketball overseas and make an immediate impact to a league where the players are less talented and the pressure less intense.

Another example is Marvin Williams.

He was drafted second in 2005 by the Hawks. Once Deron Williams and Chris Paul made immediate impacts with their teams more pressure was put on Marvin, to prove he deserved the number 2 pick. For 6 years Marvin Williams has averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds solid numbers for a role player. Not an all-star which is what Marvin was supposed to be. Playing in Europe could mean a second chance to be a star. In European leagues players like Williams are rare. Europe is known for their crafty big men and quick, true point guards. We don’t often hear about 6’8 athletic shooters on sportcenter in Europe.  Playing overseas could be the perfect fit for a player like Marvin Williams.

Jordan Hill also fits this group of disappointing players.

In college he was an extremely hard working player, he was determined and that showed when he raised his points per game from 4 in his first year at Arizona to 13 in his second year and 18 in his third year. At 6’10 he showed off his aggression around the hoop but also his midrange and three point shot that he proved so effective for someone his height. He averaged 11 rebounds in his third year in college showing that he could not only score but rebound effectively. The Knicks selected him at 8 in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft. The Knicks were in the middle of the Isiah era and were hoping Jordan Hill was going to be their saviour. We all know how the New York media is and that proved to be too much pressure for him to deal with, he was traded in the middle of the season to Houston. Since his impressive years at Arizona he has yet to show his worth in the NBA. He has averaged just under 4 rebounds and just under 5 points in 2 seasons in the NBA. He hasn’t demonstrated his confidence in the NBA. He hasn’t been getting to the rim as effectively and hasn’t been grabbing boards. This disappointing play has caused him to come off the bench. It’s very disappointing considering the kind of dominant college performance. Europe, Turkey or China could be the thing he needs. The level in college in my opinion is closer to the leagues in Europe, Turkey or China then the NBA. This was proven when Duke and Georgetown beat Chinese teams this summer.

Although the absence of the 2011-2012 NBA season is a tragedy, it doesn’t mean some players can take advantage of this opportunity to play overseas.