Posts Tagged With: San Antonio Spurs

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!

Advertisements
Categories: basketball, NBA, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay or Go? LeBron’s Next Big Decision

It feels a lot like 2010 (except now I have a college degree and am job hunting). LeBron James must, once again, decide whether to stay with his current team or leave. Teams like the Houston Rockets, LA Clippers and even the Cleveland Cavaliers have all been brought up in the discussion of where the King will reign next.

The difference between 2010 and 2014 is he’s got two championships under his belt and has a better supporting cast. Keeping in mind the differences between the two teams and the events that took place while LeBron was with each one, it would be a big surprise if he actually left South Beach.

The way the season ended was a major disappointment for King James and the Heat. The team lost the chance to three-peat after the revenge-seeking two-time Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs took the series 4-1 to win the ‘ship. Despite this, LeBron seems satisfied with his current team. There have been some reports mentioning how Mrs. LeBron James loves LA or how LeBron should return to his home team. According to James, he won’t make a decision until after his family’s vacation. In fact, he says he hasn’t even thought about it, but does feel more at ease about the decision-making process.

At this point in his career, it would surprise me if LeBron left Miami for another team, especially after the fanfare behind his original decision to come to South Beach. He’s playing with a better team and coach and has a good chance of winning at least another two championships (granted, everyone is healthy and plays). There are very few teams out there that can offer that chance. Virtually any team he goes to will have to be built around him, which will cause him to have to carry the team.There were times when James had to do that with the Heat, but more times than not, there was always at least one other person that steps up with him.

Additionally, LeBron’s two rings allow him to be a superstar and truly seen as a contender to be one of the greats. Greats like him don’t have to move around every few years because players will want to come play with him, not vice versa. How often did Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson or even Kobe Bryant have to switch teams to play with other superstars? As a result, Bron should settle in and let new talent come to him.

Over the next few weeks (or however long it takes), all eyes will be on the king to see what he decides. It’ll be interesting to follow the various reports and stories, but when all is said and done, I believe LeBron James will stay right where he is.

 

Categories: basketball, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One More Time: Spurs and Heat Back in the Finals

It looks like deja vu happened in this year’s NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are, once again, competing for the championship. As a result, both teams have something to gain (other than winning a title): if the Heat win, they three-peat; if the Spurs win, they’ll get the revenge they long for after what happened last year. It will be a battle of wills, but will the same team win?

In my opinion, no. I think the Spurs are still bitter from last year’s game six and are going to come back harder than ever. Despite dealing with an ankle injury in Saturday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Spurs guard Tony Parker is expected to play in the first game. Normally, this would be a weakness because the Heat can exploit Parker, the Spurs have proven they can play well without Parker (although they play so much better with him).

Injury or no injury, the match-up between Tony Parker and Mario Chalmers is a no-brainer. Chalmers does well in his position, but I believe Parker will be able to make more plays.

The level of talent the Spurs have had to play against in the playoffs also gives the team an advantage over the Heat. Miami’s playoff run consisted of playing against the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Bobcats. There were some very physical games, but the level of competition isn’t the same as what the Spurs had to face (Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks).

The Spurs also have a different team than last year, not in the sense of players, but in player development. Small forward Kawhi Leonard is a much more developed player and plays a bigger role for the Spurs than last year, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds so far in the postseason.

One advantage the Heat do have is if and/or when center Greg Oden plays. Oden hasn’t played much this season, but did see the court Friday in Miami’s win against the Pacers. He managed to get a rebound, assist and steal in the five minutes he played. At seven feet, Oden gives the Heat more height and dominance in the front court.

Another advantage for the Heat is, of course, LeBron James. The Heat will go as he goes and rally around him. The game will truly be the best player against the best team.

Categories: basketball, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

The Current State of the NBA

After a long hiatus from writing (school obligations), I figured it was time for me to get back on my sports writing horse. I wasn’t sure what to write about at first, as both NCAA and professional basketball have been going on for about two months now. Then, noticed a topic that has been talked about frequently in the last few weeks and decided to look into it for myself.

That topic? The latest NBA standings. In case you haven’t seen it, click here.

It looks fine if you focus on the Western Conference. However, when you take a look at the Eastern Conference, there’s a clear dividing line between the better Eastern teams and the… not-so-great. On the East, only two teams are above .500 and one team is right at it. All other teams have a record of .440 or below.

For a while, I thought about why the standings have turned out this way. The answer lies in looking at the teams in the conferences:

Eastern Conference – The only teams above .500 are the Indiana Pacers (.870) and the Miami Heat (.739). This comes as no surprise, considering these two teams faced off in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Pacers-Heat series was arguably the most physical and challenging series of the playoffs.

After the Heat, the Atlanta Hawks are right at .500, followed by the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons who are both currently 11-14. When looking at these teams, an important thing to remember is that many are in the rebuilding stages. There are new coaches and players that the returning players must get adjusted to.  During the off-season, many trades took place that were for rebuilding purposes. This includes trades to the Celtics, Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls. True, trades do happen, but there wasn’t as much stability after the trades occurred.

The teams are also teams that have stand-out players, instead of being stand-out teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving, the New York Knicks have Carmello Anthony (and arguably JR Smith) and the Chicago Bulls have Derrick Rose (when he’s healthy). However, when it comes to playing as a team to win games, they’ve often come up short. Certain players may feel the need to be the team’s “savior” and want to be the one to lead them to a win. Sometimes it works, while other times it doesn’t, especially when your opponent is a good TEAM (not just a team with good players).

Now, to the West –

One of the biggest surprises is  that the Portland Trail Blazers have the best record in their conference. But after watching Damian Lilliard hit a 14-foot fadeaway in overtime, leaving one-tenth of a second on the clock, it’s not hard to believe. Right behind the Trail Blazers at .826 are the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. Next, are the LA Clippers with a 16-9 record.

These teams are all very competitive, play well as a team and, for the most part, have been unaffected by trading. The most recent trade occurred within the Western Conference, sending Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to the Sacramento Kings from the Toronto Raptors. The only major player in this trade was Gay, who was the gold nugget in the Kings’ win against the Rockets Sunday night.

Western Conference teams also have working parts and stand-out players that make up the team, as a whole. While they don’t generate much public attention, the Spurs, for one, have a key player at every position. They play well together and have exceptional bench depth.

Because this is the NBA and the season has just started, each team’s record may change and Eastern Conference teams have a chance to improve.

The question is: Will they do it?

In my opinion, probably not. Based on their upcoming schedules, it doesn’t look likely, unless they put it in high gear and can will themselves to win the majority of their next 5-10 games.

 

Categories: basketball, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, Sports, Uncategorized, Washington Wizards | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tracy McGrady retires after 16 years

After coming close to winning his first ring this past season with the Spurs, Tracy McGrady announced on ESPN’s First Take that he is retiring.

McGrady has been in the league for 16 years and was originally drafted by the Toronto Raptors. During those 16 years, he has also played with the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic,  Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks.

Despite his deciding not to play in the NBA, the option of playing overseas is still open for him. McGrady previously played in China for a while, averaging 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

On a Chinese social media network earlier this month, McGrady stated that he would post on his website whether he would continue in the NBA or go back to the CBA. Although he has not yet said that he would, indeed, go back to playing in China, chances that he will are 50/50 right now.

McGrady had just come back from playing in China this season when the Spurs decided to pick him up in April. With the Spurs, he only play for five minutes during the playoffs.

Growing up watching players like Allen Iverson, Darius Miles and Tracy McGrady, it is sad to see him retire. However, it is now time for a new generation of players to rise, beginning with players like LeBron James, Chris Paul and Paul George. Luckily, there’s YouTube, so we can still watch some of the highlights of past players’ time in the NBA.

Here’s a highlight reel of McGrady:

Best of luck to Tracy McGrady in whatever he decides to do!

Categories: basketball, National Basketball Association, NBA, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Miami Heat become two-time champs, LeBron named MVP

After an amazing series against the San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat win 95-88 and become the NBA Champions for the second year in a row.

This was by far the best game of the series. It was apparent that each team was tired, but they gave all that they had.

The game started out close with the Spurs taking an early lead. Miami, however, didn’t let that affect them. Slowly but surely, they were able to catch up and take the lead by the end of the first quarter.

San Antonio then came back and led briefly late in the second quarter, with the help of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Despite their attempts, Miami regained  and held on to the lead to end the half.

The Spurs came out a little more rejuvenated and a little more energetic to start the second half. Budding superstar Kawhi Leonard was big in the third half, scoring nine points and ending the game with 19. However, it wasn’t enough to deter the Heat from going.

Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers each had a three-pointer to end the third quarter, putting the Heat up by one. Both players put forth their best efforts and made big plays in the win.

Battier, who ended with 18 points and went 6-8 from the three-point line, began the fourth quarter with another three-pointer, which gave the Heat the energy and motivation they needed. The Spurs, on the other hand, did not come back out with the same will to win.

Leonard and Duncan still did what they can, scoring 12 of the Spurs’ 17 fourth quarter points. Their efforts were overshadowed by their low shooting percentage (38 percent from the field) and costly turnovers.

They could have caught up as they were only down by four points with 27 seconds left in the game, but Manu Ginobili had a turnover and a missed shot,  causing the Spurs to have to foul. Unlike San Antonio in game six, Miami made three out of the four shots (LeBron James made both while Dwyane Wade only made one).

The Miami Heat now have two NBA titles under the “Wade-James-Bosh Era” and James was named the MVP for the second year in a row. He joins Bill Russell and Michael Jordan as the only players to win consecutive regular season and NBA Finals MVP titles.

So, congratulations to the Miami Heat on another championship.

Categories: basketball, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miami fights to win in OT, forces game seven

The Miami Heat survive and extend the series for another game after forcing overtime.

The game started out very close, with each team going back and forth. Mario Chalmers had 10 quick points by the end of the first quarter, but Miami was only up by two.

By the end of the half, San Antonio Spurs were up  by six and Tim Duncan had the most points with 25.

During the third quarter, though, the Spurs began to take off, going on an 11-0 run. They played their usual basketball and did exceptionally well on both ends of the court. Their strength was rebounding. San Antonio was able to shut out the Heat from crashing the boards and took advantage of every possession.

Although the Spurs led at the end of the third quarter, Miami didn’t give up. They made big plays and closed in on the Spurs’ lead.

The biggest game changer was at the end of the game when Miami had no choice but to foul. Manu Ginobili only made one of his free throws, giving the Heat a chance to catch up. Lebron James, who ended the game with another triple double (32 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists), responded with a three-pointer, bringing Miami’s deficit to two.

Again, the Heat are forced to foul. This time, they sent Kawhi Leonard to the line and just like Ginobili, he only made one. Just when it seems like the Spurs are going to end the series, Ray Allen threw up a clutch three-pointer and tied the game. San Antonio is not able to get up a shot with less than five seconds left and the game goes into overtime.

Overtime was much like the last few minutes of the fourth quarter in that each team is fighting and giving it everything they have: the Spurs were trying to close it out to prevent another stressful game and the Heat were struggling to get a game seven.

The Spurs had the lead for most of overtime, with the help of Duncan and Tony Parker, who was visibly drained. By the end of the five minutes, Miami was able to gain the lead and hold it, thanks to a block on Danny Green by Chris Bosh.

The biggest question was Manu Ginobili. After a great game on Sunday, it seems that he did not show up. He only had nine points and four rebounds, missed major free throws and did not have a helpful presence offensively or defensively for the Spurs.

Heat fans can now rest easy and Spurs fans, it’s okay. There’s one more game coming up on Thursday. Judging on how the last few minutes of this game went, game seven should be a good one.

No matter how each team plays, this will be the last game. The team that is victorious will be the NBA Champions.

Categories: basketball, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consistency is the key: Spurs win their last home game of the season

Manu Ginobili had his best game of the playoffs in the Spurs win against the Miami Heat 114-104, scoring 24 points and 10 assists. He played with a fearless, confident attitude and was a major key to the Spurs winning. They are now up 3-2 in the series.

San Antonio came out strong and never gave up the lead throughout the whole game. Miami went on a few runs, but San Antonio made the proper adjustments and maintained their lead.

At one point, the Heat went on a 12-0 run, which did not get much further than that. Even when they trimmed their 20-point deficit to 12, the Spurs did not allow the leverage for Miami to get too close.

Danny Green played an excellent game, going 6-10 from the three-point line, ending with 24 points. He also set the record for the most three-pointers in a series, previously held by Ray Allen.

The main reason for the Spurs success in this series (and Miami being down) is due to their consistency. San Antonio has played their usual basketball throughout the whole series and playoffs in general.

Nothing about their game has changed, except the resurgence of Ginobili.

For some reason, Miami Heat has a problem with everyone being on the same page at the same time for all 48 minutes of a game. There were times when the bench will save the team and get the win (game two) and other times it’s their Big Three that saves them (game four). However, it’s never all parts of the team during the same time.

San Antonio, on the other hand, knows how to play a full game and get everyone going at the same time. Despite their number of turnovers, they don’t panic. They keep going and make up for it on defense and/or during the next possession.

Many people have said that whoever wins game five will win the series and ultimately be the champions. I am inclined to agree with this. The Spurs have played well in the playoffs and will be the NBA Champions.

The only way that the Heat can win the next two games is to get everyone going, tighten up their defense and play fast basketball. They must keep their cool against San Antonio and take advantage of every possession.

The series heads back to and will wrap up in Miami this week. Game six will be played at 9 p.m. Tuesday at the American Airlines Arena.

If necessary, game seven will be played on Thursday.

Categories: basketball, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.