Posts Tagged With: Brooklyn Nets

Athletes Take a Stand

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and what better way to start back up than talking about athletes with a cause, right?

These past couple of weeks have been filled with a lot of police-civilian tension because of two incidences where officers weren’t indicted for killing two black males, Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner of New York. Many have spoken out about it and professional athletes are no different.

It all started with a few St. Louis Rams players, who came out before a game with the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture, made famous after Brown’s murder. Following that, other football players wore shirts that said, “I can’t breathe,” the now infamous words spoken by Garner, who was strangled on camera by the police.

NBA players began to do the same thing, with Derrick Rose being the first person to wear an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt. It then caught on and teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets (pictured above) wore the shirts together. Though it has drawn some controversy, and whether you agree with the decision or not, the fact that athletes are using their platforms for a cause is respectable. It isn’t unpopular to see them promoting clubs, alcoholic beverages and other products, so why not stand with and promote a cause?

This isn’t something uncommon for athletes of old to do. In 1968 during the Olympics, as they received their medals, track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos bowed their heads and lifted their fists as a way to promote black pride. Though the two were suspended, they stood for something. Other athletes like Muhammad Ali also made their political views known without worry or care.

So often athletes are looked to as role models and even idolized for their performances on the court or field, but their behavior outside of that is less than flattering. But now, there are those who choose to make their views known by supporting a larger message. They can score all the points, get all the touchdowns and score as many home runs as they can, but being able to use their fame to promote justice and social change (or at least conversation about either two), is nothing less than admirable. That’s something to look up to.

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Categories: basketball, football, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking it to the Next Level: NBA Semifinal Predictions

 

I don’t know which is sadder: the NBA season almost being over or my undergraduate years wrapping up. Since basketball picks up again in a few months, I’ll have to go with the latter. But, for now, I’ll stick with talking about the NBA.

If you’ve been paying attention to the playoffs, you know the playoff series have been amazing (with the exception of the Heat/Bobcats #swept). From clutch three-point shots to unexpected adversity, the best teams have prevailed and are one step closer to the NBA title. The conference semifinals start tonight with the Washington Wizards facing the Indiana Pacers, followed by the LA Clippers going up against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tuesday night’s playoff games consist of the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat going at it with the underdog Portland Trail Blazers trying to make it past the San Antonio Spurs after that. Only four teams can make it to the conference finals. Here are my predictions:

Wizards/Pacers: Wizards. The Pacers are somewhat of a train wreck and were extremely fortunate to get past the Atlanta Hawks, but I don’t believe they have what it takes to win four games against the Wizards. The last time the two teams played each other was after things started going downhill for Indiana and the Wizards were able to win by a 13-point margin. Despite the Pacers’ misfortune, the Wizards seems to be doing the right things and are hungry to stay in the playoffs. Between Bradley Beal’s scoring and Marcin Gortat’s presence under the basket, Washington shouldn’t be slept on. That’s why they’re my pick in six games.

 

Nets/Heat: Heat. Although the Nets were able to sweep the Heat in the regular season, everyone knows Miami is a different beast in the playoffs. With Dwyane Wade back and healthy, Miami has all of its pieces in place to do some serious damage. Plus, losing those four games during the season will be all the motivation the Heat need to get into full beast mode. Miami has also had more time to rest and prepare after sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats. This can either work for or against them as Brooklyn played a full seven games and have momentum on their side. All things considered, I think Brooklyn will have to try again next season for a better shot at the title. Miami in five.

 

 

 

 

Blazers/Spurs: Spurs. The Portland Trail Blazers have had a good run and I like what I’m seeing from Damian Lillard, but he’s still young. The Blazer team, in general, has potential, but the Spurs are more experienced. They’ve been in this situation before and know what it takes to get back to the finals. San Antonio is also bitter about last year’s game six in the finals and are trying to right all of their wrongs. Portland will put up a good fight, but they need more time to be able to beat a team like the Spurs. I’m going with San Antonio in six.

 

Clippers/Thunder: I saved this one for last because I battle with my  personal feelings versus my basketball opinion. Keeping everything in mind, I think that the Clippers can win. In my opinion, they’re more of a loaded team than Oklahoma City. Between Jamal Crawford and JJ Redick, shooting won’t be a problem for the Clippers. A point guard matchup between Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook is interesting, but pound for pound, Paul is a better facilitator than Westbrook. The biggest challenge to the Clips will be Kevin Durant, obviously, but LA is known for making some clutch shots as well. While OKC has good players, I believe the Clippers is a better overall team. LA in seven.

Categories: basketball, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Sports, Washington Wizards | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Christmas Match-up Predictions

       Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, but not for the reasons that some may think. Other than spending time with family and 24 hours of “A Christmas Story,” there are back-to-back basketball games on all day, starting at 9 a.m. PT with the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets. Here are my picks for each game:

  • Bulls vs. Nets – Bulls. The Nets are having a hard time this season with all of the new adjustments and are 5-8 at home. They are also having a hard time putting the pieces together to win and have yet to get over .500. With the absence of Derrick Rose, the Bulls have also struggled in the season. However, they have key players like Joakim Noah who have stepped up to help. Noah averages 10.6 points and leads the team with 9.9 rebounds per game. Another reason why I think the Bulls will win is because they are more familiar and have better chemistry with each other than the Nets do, especially with all of the drama surrounding the team, most recently including Kevin Garnett’s recent remarks.
  • Thunder vs. Knicks – Thunder. I think this one is self-explanatory, but I’ll explain anyway. The Thunder are one of the best teams in the league right now, while the Knicks are one of the worst. It also doesn’t help that Carmelo Anthony is a game-time decision after rolling his left ankle against the Orlando Magic Monday night. With both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook healthy and ready to play, I don’t think a Knicks blowout  is anything less than realistic.
  • Heat vs. Lakers – Heat. The Heat are on a five-game winning streak and coming off of an overtime win against the Atlanta Hawks. LeBron James is only improving and leads the team in points, rebounds and assists per game. The team has all the weapons it needs to beat a restructuring Lakers team. Not only are they still rebuilding, the Lakers are an inconsistent team. Some nights Nick Young can shoot the lights out in the Staples Center, while other times, it looks like the lights are out while he’s shooting. It’s also important to mention that Kobe Bryant will be out, so they have no real dominant force on the court. They may put up a good fight being that they’ll be at home, but I don’t see the Lakers beating the fiery Miami Heat.
  • Rockets vs. Spurs – Spurs. Both teams are doing well, as Dwight Howard seems to be adjusting better to Houston than he did to LA. It should be a good game, but I think the Spurs will be able to get the win over the Rockets. As the best team in Texas, the San Antonio Spurs have the experience and skill to defeat the young team. They also have the home court advantage, only losing three at home so far this season.
  • Clippers vs. Warriors – Clippers. This will probably be the most competitive game. Although Steph Curry has been a dynamic shooter for the Bay Area team, the Clippers have several clutch shooters and are improving defensively. The Clippers are also first in the Pacific Division, while Golden State is third. The two teams are tied for most points allowed with 99.1, but the Clippers average more points per game. After the Clippers’ outstanding comeback overtime win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, there’s no telling how far this team can go (NBA Finals maybe?).

Merry Christmas, everyone, and let the games begin!

Categories: basketball, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, National Basketball Association, NBA, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NBA releases 2013-2014 season schedule

On Tuesday, the NBA released the schedule for the 2013 regular season.

On opening night, the Miami Heat will play the Chicago Bulls at home, but the Bulls may be adding another person to their starting five.

There is a chance that Derrick Rose may return for this game, making this the first game he will play in since tearing his ACL in the 2012 playoffs. In March, Rose was cleared by doctors for full contact play, but he said he would not play until he was able to dunk off his left foot.

If Rose does, indeed, play for this game, ticket sales are sure to increase and this will be one of the biggest games of the season to watch.

Opening night will also consist of three games, including a battle of the two-team city, as the Lakers take on the Clippers and the Indiana Pacers facing the Orlando Magic.

After all of the trades and free agent signings that have occurred in the off-season, there will be a lot of interesting games and boo-ing during those games. The first one will be when Dwight Howard comes to Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Nov. 7 as a Rocket.

However, nothing will compare to the response of Boston Celtics fans when Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce show up on Jan. 26 for the first time in Boston as members of the Brooklyn Nets. I am personally interested in how Rajon Rondo will respond to each of the above mentioned men, especially after what Garnett did to Ray Allen after signing with the Miami Heat last season.

There has been several changes to each team (not to mention the addition of the rookies) that will make this season very interesting to watch. For a list of each team’s schedule, click here.

 

Categories: National Basketball Association, NBA, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett headed to Brooklyn: Fair trade?

Last night was a very exciting night for the NBA. The draft was much different than what many had thought. However, there was a disturbance in the draft and it had nothing to do with the newest additions to the league.

During the draft, it was announced that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett would be traded to the Brooklyn Nets after rumors of them planning to leave.

The Nets would then give up three first-round draft picks (one each in 2014, 2016 and 2018), Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks.

With two future Hall of Famers headed to Brooklyn, it seems that the Nets are getting a good deal, but who really has the upper hand?

When it comes to the numbers, the Nets have the upper hand. Garnett and Pierce outscore the three 33-19 and are better at rebounding, according to their numbers from the past season.

Another thing to consider is how both Garnett and Pierce will respond to former player Jason Kidd as their coach. Humphries, Wallace and Brooks are younger guys that would have learned a lot from Kidd.

Garnett and Pierce, however, are closer to Kidd’s age and played extensively against him.

Will they be able to see him as a coach and give him the proper respect? Pierce may not have a problem with this because he is somewhat mild mannered. Garnett, on the other hand, may be more vocal about any objections that may come up, which could cause problems.

As of now, the Bostons Celtics do not have a head coach. The bright side is that they have all of their players. As a result, they can evaluate each players’ talents, see who will fit their system and be the best coach for the team during their rebuild.

Additionally, there have been problems in the past between Kris Humphries and Rajon Rondo that resulted in both getting ejected. Will this have an effect on how they act as teammates?

Rudy Gay and Quincy Acy also had tensions during a game that resulted in both getting technical fouls. After they became teammates, however, they put aside their differences and are cordial as players on the Toronto Raptors. Perhaps Rondo and Humphries can do the same? Advantage: Boston.

Both teams must also consider the longevity of their newest team members. Brooks is the youngest at 24 and Garnett is the oldest at 38. In a few years, Garnett and Pierce will be retiring. They have been playing for a long time and are set in their ways.

Humphries, Brooks and Wallace, on the other hand, are younger and are not as set in their ways. There is still time to cultivate their talent and could, ideally, win a championship. With Garnett and Pierce, there’s less time. Advantage: Boston.

Next year’s draft is projected to be better than this year’s. The biggest sensation is Kansas’ newest guard, Andrew Wiggins. He is drawing comparisons to LeBron James because many professional teams expressed interest in him, but Wiggins is required to play at least one year in college before declaring for the draft.

Other top players projected to be in the 2014 draft include Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, James Young and Andrew Harrison.

Part of the trade included that Boston would get one of the Nets’ draft picks next year. Depending on where Brooklyn places, this could be huge for next generation of Boston. Advantage: Celtics.

Even though both teams and the NBA have agreed to the terms of the trades, it will not be finalized until July 10.

At first, it seemed crazy for the Celtics to give up two of their franchise players. Both will be hall of famers and put up good numbers for the team. However, it is Brooklyn that seems to have received the short end of the stick.

Despite Boston not having a coach, they are slowly but surely organizing their pieces to make a better team. Looks to me like they’re headed in the right direction in doing so.

Categories: basketball, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, National Basketball Association, NBA, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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