Posts Tagged With: Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA on Christmas Day

Football is to Thanksgiving as basketball is to Christmas: they just work together. Throughout the day, five games will be played, starting at noon ET on ESPN with the New York Knicks hosting the Washington Wizards in Madison Square Garden. The NBA-filled day ends at 10:30 ET on TNT in Los Angeles as the Clippers take on their rivals, the Golden State Warriors, which will hopefully be a good game. Between spending time with family, I plan to watch as many games as possible. Here are my picks for each game:

  • Wizards at Knicks: Wizards. I think this one is a give-me game for the Wizards. The Washington team is doing well, with John Wall averaging 17.8 points, 10.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds. Their team gels well together and are currently 19-8, making them third in the Eastern Conference. The 5-25 Knicks, however continue to struggle and even though Carmelo Anthony is putting up big numbers, 23.7 points per game, it’s not enough. Wizards win 100-89.
  • Thunder at Spurs: Thunder. Even with Kevin Durant out, I give Oklahoma City the advantage. Kawhi Leonard is still out for the Spurs and Tony Parker may be out as well. Russell Westbrook seems to be running on all cylinders. If he plays the point, Cory Joseph is going to have a rough time trying to contain him. It will, of course, be a more competitive game than the one before, but I give the Thunder the edge 99-95.
  • Cavaliers at Heat: Cavaliers. Well, this will certainly be an interesting (and tense) game. It will be LeBron James’ first time back in South Beach since he decided to leave earlier this year. No doubt, he will be showered with boos, but still play well. The Cavs are still getting used to playing with one another, but at 17-10, I think they can arrange to do some good things on the offensive end to get the victory. With Chris Bosh out indefinitely, the Heat’s front court will take a hit. Kevin Love is currently averaging a double-double, making him a threat when it comes to shooting and crashing the boards. Kyrie Irving’s quickness will be too much for Mario Chalmers, allowing him to get the ball where it needs to be in a timely manner. Even with the home court advantage, Miami falls to Cleveland 94-110.
  • Lakers at Bulls: Chi-town. Derrick Rose is back. *drops mic* …*picks mic back up* But seriously, even if Kobe Bryant plays, it won’t be enough for the Lakers to get the win in Chicago. The Bulls have a good thing going and I don’t see the LA team messing that up. If Nick Young gets hot, he can put up some major points, but on the other side, there’s Rose and Jimmy Butler at the other end ready to fire at will with former Laker Pau Gasol getting it done in the paint. Being that Gasol is playing his former team and Carlos Boozer his former team, it will be interesting to see how each does. Chicago has the advantage 103-97.
  • Warriors at Clippers: Clippers. This is heart over head decision. The 19-10 Clippers have to keep it moving and get the win. Golden State is coming off a 115-105 loss to the Kobe-less Lakers, which could work in either team’s favor. The Warriors could use it as motivation to get the next win. The Clippers can be motivated by it because if a struggling Lakers team can win without Bryant, they should be able to get the job done with the squad they have. Being at home on Christmas Day, I trust that everyone will step up and put on a great show. Clippers take care of business and win 118-113.

Merry Christmas!

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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

Ryan Gomes moves to Oklahoma

Ryan Gomes and the Oklahoma City Thunder have reached a deal. Both parties have agreed on a one-year contract worth the veteran minimum, about $1.2 million.

Last season, Gomes played overseas in Germany after being released by the Los Angeles Clippers. During the 2011-2012 season, he averaged 2.3 points and played in only 32 games.

During his best season (2008-2009), he averaged 13 points and five rebounds.

Gomes has also played for the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves and was a starter for five out of seven NBA seasons.

Coming in as a forward, it is highly unlikely that Gomes will see much playing time. The Thunder have the talents of Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant and Nick Collison. If he does see any playing time, he will come off of the bench for one of the above mentioned players.

At 6’7, Gomes does offer the team more height, which can be helpful when playing a team like the Indiana Pacers whose roster includes 11 out of 15 players at 6’5 and above.

 

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NBA Summer League Standouts

There has been some time since the draft and occurred and the new rookies are getting their chance to prove their skills during the NBA Summer League. The summer league began on July 7 in Orlando and will end on July 22 in Las Vegas.

So far, here are a list of the rookie stand-outs:

  1. Kelly Olynyk: Boston Celtics
  2. Mason Plumlee: Brooklyn Nets
  3. Victor Oladipo: Orlando Magic
  4. Michael Carter-Williams: Philadelphia 76ers
  5. Solomon Hill: Indiana Pacers
  6. Ian Clark: Miami Heat
  7. James Ennis: Miami Heat
  8. Grant Jerrett: Oklahoma City Thunder
  9. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Detroit Pistons
  10. Phil Pressey: Boston Celtics

For more information on these rookies and more about the summer league, click here.

 

 

Categories: basketball, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Playoffs

     After a long hiatus (school work calls), I felt it was necessary to get back on my blogging horse.

The playoffs are heating up as the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies make their way to the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, respectively. Each series only lasted five games, but the losing teams were missing their key components.

After Russell Westbrook’s season-ending injury in the first round against the Houston Rockets, the  Oklahoma City Thunder has struggled to find a leader of the team. Westbrook also was an essential part to the Thunder’s scoring game. They were able to get past the Rockets, but the Grizzlies were too fast and physical to let the Thunder get through. Zach Randolph has been a focal point in the Grizzlies’ success during their playoff run.  Randolph averages 19 points and 9 rebounds per game. He’s been a dominant player and was able to shut Blake Griffin down in the first round of the playoffs and made big plays against the Thunder. The Grizzlies will go to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history and will face the winner of the Spurs/Warriors series.

The Heat were able to win in five games against the Chicago Bulls after two of the Bulls’ point guards (Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich) and forward Luol Deng were unable to play due to injuries and illness. Nate Robinson took over as the starting point guard. Robinson was able to come up big in the series, but it wasn’t enough. The Heat meshed well and were able to win decisively in three out of the five games of the series (they lost one). The Heat will go on to play the winner of the Pacers/ Knicks series.

My predictions for the remaining series: Spurs and Pacers.

The Golden State Warriors are a talented team and have been able to win two games against the seasoned veteran Spurs, but they are still very young. When Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson get hot, the Warriors are unstoppable. At the same time, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan are, for the most part, consistent and can make things happen on the offensive end. Kawhi Leonard also plays a major role on the Spurs’ team, averaging 14 points in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Warriors. Although I’m rooting for the Warriors (they’re the last team standing from my home state), I don’t think they’re experienced and prepared enough to win against the Spurs.

I pick the Pacers over the New York Knicks because the Pacers are on a hot streak. Paul George, George Hill, David West and Roy Hibbert are all big parts of the success of the Pacers’ team. They all contribute in a major way on both ends of the court. The Knicks have Carmelo Anthony and Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, but they are not enough to keep the rising stars of Indiana down. The Pacers are up 3-1 and with the way that they’ve been playing, it’s not likely that the Knicks will be able to win three back-to-back games against them. There may be a chance that the Knicks win this game, as they are 31-10 at home, while the Pacers are 19-21 away. Even with that in mind, the Pacers did manage to win one game in Madison Square Garden. They play game five tonight, which should be a good one: the Pacers will be playing hard to end the series, while the Knicks will be playing hard to stay alive in the playoffs.

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