Tag:Kobe Bryant
Posted on: January 26, 2009 2:24 pm
 

Raptors - Week 13 - Jose Returns

Week 13 saw the return of both Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon as the Raptors wallowed in the midst of a 7 game losing streak. Since I have discussed the Pistons game and the Hawks game, I will focus on the Bulls and the Kings games which saw Numero Ocho return and remind us of what was missing from this lineup.

 

 

Friday, January 23rd, 2009 Raptors @ Bulls

Raptors – 114
Bulls – 94

Jose Calderon returned to the floor and quickly provided this team some much needed balance and a steady hand in the back court. He was able to connect all of the pieces of this team that looked very unsure of what was to happen next on offense. With 23 points, 10 assists and 0 turnovers, he lead this team to a 20 – 2 run late in the game to pull away. Jermaine O’Neal played again and looked a lot stronger and more sure of himself playing off the bench behind Andrea Bargnani who has been brilliant this last month while starting for the injured O’Neal. On the game, Joey Graham scored 16 off the bench while Chris Bosh had 17 points, 6 steals and 6 rebounds in a game controlled by Jose and Andrea, who had 22 points on the night. Anthony Parker had 14 points and 7 assists as our back court was just a bit better than the Bulls who’s starter, Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose scored 19 and 12 points with Kirk Hinrich adding 17 points off the bench. The game was taken over by our front line who were no real match for the Bulls smaller front court. Jamario Moon had 6 points and 5 rebounds and 2 steals on the night. Overall, a very solid team effort against a Bulls team struggling to play a consistent level of basketball every night. We needed to win, and the guys went out on the road and got one.

 

Sunday, January 25th, 2009 Raptors vs. Kings

Raptors – 113
Kings - 97

I know, many of you will say “It’s just the Kings, everyone can beat them” and to a large extent, that is very true. We have seen this Raptors team struggle against the “weak” teams like the Thunder and the Wizards and the Clippers this season as their lack of defensive desire seems to allow teams to hang around all game and that lack of killer instinct has been sorely missed this year. Sunday, the Kings came to town 0 – 17 against the eastern conference with a road trip that will take them to games with the Cavaliers, the Celtics and the Bulls. The first quarter the Kings came out on fire hitting 6 – 9 from outside the arc, but only went 5 – 16 the rest of the way as they seemed to play the game far away from the basket while the Raptors pounded the ball inside all evening long and were rewarded with 29 free throws hitting 25. Chris Bosh scored his 11th 30+ game with 31 points and 8 rebounds while Jermaine O’Neal had 11 points and 10 rebounds off the bench behind Andrea Bargnani who continues to play at a much higher level at both ends of the floor scored his 15th straight 10+ point game with 24 points and 7 rebounds. The Kings were lead by John Salmons with 21, Francisco Garcia with 18 points, Brad Miller with 15, Kevin Martin and Jason Thompson with 12 each. For the second straight game, the Raptors shot over 50% from the floor as Jose Calderon found open guys who were hitting shots and attacking the rim all evening. Jose has recorded 18 assists and 0 turnovers in the past 2 games. Welcome home Numero Ocho! We missed you.

This week, the Raptors have games against the Nets and Vince Carter and Brooks Lopez and Devin Harris as well as the Bucks who are without Michael Redd for the rest of the season. The still have Richard Jefferson, Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions on the floor, but these are two games we must win before next week’s murderer’s row of games against Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and the Magic, LeBron James and the Cavaliers, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler and the Hornets and the Grizzlies the following week. It should be interesting to watch this team as they look to begin the climb back up the ladder in the east. Parts of the game are still missing, but not correctable. At 18 – 28, we are not out of the playoffs yet, but unless team play improves, the playoffs will be little more than fund-raising dates.

Posted on: December 7, 2008 8:58 pm
 

Raptors - Week 6 in Review - Transition Week.

This past week in the Raptors schedule saw the end of an era, the beginning of a new one, and 4 games this team will need to quickly forget to begin to build some sort of success with the rest of this season. Here is the week in review as I saw it!

After wins against the Bobcats and the Hawks, the Raptors embarked on a road trip which had stops against the Lakers, the Nuggets and the Jazz who are all at or near the top of the western conference and at or near the top of their game. Though they were coming off two wins, the Raptors had begun to develop nasty habits on both offense and defense that teams had begun to exploit. Defensively, the team was struggling to maintain leads and maintain any sort of consistent effort in the area of perimeter defense. Heading into games that feature some of the premier perimeter players in the league right now, the Raptors needed to find someone to step up and take that role to heart or find a way to play better team defense. With Jermaine O’Neal still nursing his sore ankle, prospects heading west were ominous at best. With the inconsistent play, it was clear that Sam Mitchell’s job was hanging by a very thin wire and he was on a very short leash at this point.

Heading into Los Angeles the Raptors started the tough 3 game trek against the Lakers looking to see if they could elevate their game to a new level. The first quarter was exciting and with a shoot out looming, the quarter ended 34 – 29 for the Lakers. After that point, the Lakers pulled away and over powered the short handed Raptors leading 61 – 51 at the half. The Raptors showed a lot of heart outscoring the Lakers 30 – 29 in the third, but the Raptors were never really able to mount any kind of sustained scoring as the Lakers would create a turnover or grab a rebound and run the floor scoring lay up after layup on the slower Raptors. The Lakers score 18 fast break points to the Raptors 7 and with Kobe on the bench for the 4th quarter they pulled ahead for good with their bench out playing the Raptors all over the floor.

Lakers game stats

Kobe Bryant - 23 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists
Pau Gasol - 24 points, 8 rebounds
Andrew Bynum - 18 points, 10 rebounds
Trevor Ariza - 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists
Lamar Odom - 3 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals

47/92 - 51.1%
15 offensive boards - 54 total
34 assists
10 steals

Team Rebounds - 10
Defensive 3-second violations - 1
Points Off Turnovers - 13
Fastbreak Points - 18
Points In The Paint - 58
Second Chance Points – 30

Raptors game stats

Chris Bosh - 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers
Andrea Bargnani - 14 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks
Jose Calderon - 12 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists
Anthony Parker - 19 points, 2 assists
Jamario Moon - 11 points, 3 assists, 3 steals
Jason Kapono - 11 points
Joey Graham - 7 points, 4 rebounds - 3 offensive
Roko Ukic - 7 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal
Kris Humphries - 3 rebounds, 3 steals

34/88 - 38.6% - 11/25 - 44% 3 points
36 rebounds - 11 offensive
23 assists
13 turnovers
11 steals
6 blocks

Team Rebounds - 7
Defensive 3-second violations - 0
Points Off Turnovers - 17
Fastbreak Points - 7
Points In The Paint - 32
Second Chance Points – 10

As we can see, this game was lost on the glass with the Raptors ending up -18 for the night but a more telling -4 on the offensive glass. We were -11 in assists, and -26 on points in the paint. The Lakers ran the ball at will and scored on open shot after open shot in transition. This game was a good effort, but it was very obvious to most observers that this Raptors team had no clue defensively both in transition and on the perimeter. It was too much to ask our thin front line to compete with the solid and deep Lakers squad who seemed to play as hard as they needed to until they got up a few in the 3rd, then let the very talented bench take over and finish this game.

Next up for the Raptors, the Nuggets were waiting. With Jermaine O’Neal set to return, this game offered a hope that the Raptors would have some strength inside again. Though he provided 12 points, it was no where near enough to slow down the Nuggets and this game was over very early and was the last game in the Sam Mitchell era for the Raptors organization. Here are the game stats.

Nuggets game stats

Carmelo Anthony - 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
Chauncey Billups - 24 points, 14 assists
Nene - 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks
Kenyon Martin - 11 points, 4 rebounds
Linas Kleiza - 12 points, 4 rebounds
J.R. Smith - 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Dahntay Jones - 5 assists, 9 points

49/82 - 59.8% including 13/24 or 54.2% from 3 point range
46 rebounds - 5 offensive
37 assists


Team Rebounds - 11
Defensive 3-second violations - 1
Points Off Turnovers - 16
Fastbreak Points - 27
Points In The Paint - 50
Second Chance Points – 10

Raptors game stats

Chris Bosh - 24 points, 12 rebounds - 5 offensive, 5 assists
Jose Calderon - 9 points, 7 assists
Jermaine O'Neal - 12 points, 3 rebounds
Roko Ukic - 13 points
Andrea Bargnani - 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals
Joey Graham - 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers
Kris Humphries - 4 points, 8 rebounds - 3 offensive
Jason Kapono - 0 points

34/93 - 36.6% including 5/17 - 29.4% 3 point shots
39 rebounds - 12 offensive
21 Assists
10 turnovers
6 steals
4 blocks

Team Rebounds - 7
Defensive 3-second violations - 1
Points Off Turnovers - 8
Fastbreak Points - 17
Points In The Paint - 28
Second Chance Points – 9

The Raptors were outplayed all over the floor and the lack of both creativity and any defensive pressure at all cost Sam his job, signaling the beginning of the Jay Triano era. We did see a vast improvement in the play of Roko, but again, this Raptors team was out rebounded by 7, but on a night when the Nuggets shot almost 60%, they had no real need to rebound to control the game. This game was ugly early and most turned it off by half-time, I watched Amadeus!

Friday took us to Utah to take on the Jazz who were as vulnerable as they have been all season long. With Carlos Boozer out and Andrei Kirilenko recouping from an ankle injury, the Raptors had an opportunity to control the game inside. That never happened. Mehmet Okur showed why he is considered one of the best shooting Center in the game today. He scored from inside and from outside, short jumpers, fade away, off the dribble and off the break. Jermaine O’Neal had no ability to stop him as he had no help any where. When Bosh was on him, he had shots from 7 to 10 feet and very little pressure from the weakside. I guess defensive bad habits and bad attitudes take more than 1 or 2 practices to correct. Most of the time teams that have a coaching change seem to take to the floor with a bit more energy and a bit more focus in response to the firing. This was not the case for the Raptors. They looked listless and helpless all night long. Not the type of response Bryan Colangelo was looking for and I am sure Jay expected more from his guys, but I guess we can excuse them for not wanting to compete, but the effort they played with was awful. Here are the game stats.

Jazz game stats

Paul Millsap - 17 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks
Mehmet Okur - 21 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks
Deron Williams - 14 points, 5 assists, 2 steals
Ronnie Brewer - 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals
Andrei Kirilenko - 7 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks
Matt Harpring - 14 points, 7 rebounds including 4 offensive
Kostas Koufos - 10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal

49/95 - 51.6%
13 offensive rebounds 52 overall
31 assists
12 steals
8 blocks

Team Rebounds - 6
Defensive 3-second violations - 0
Points Off Turnovers - 25
Fastbreak Points - 9
Points In The Paint - 66
Second Chance Points – 15

Raptors game stats

Chris Bosh - 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers
Jose Calderon - 10 points, 8 assists, 2 steals
Joey Graham - 13 points, 5 rebounds
Jermaine O'Neal - 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks
Andrea Bargnani -7 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks
Roko Ukic - 7 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Jason Kapono - 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
Jamario Moon - 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Will Solomon - 7 points
Anthony Parker - 8 points, 4 assists, 1 steal

36/82 - 43.9% - 4/17 for 23.5% from 3 pt range
38 rebounds - 3 offensive
23 assists
23 turnovers
8 steals
10 blocks

Team Rebounds - 3
Defensive 3-second violations - 0
Points Off Turnovers - 15
Fastbreak Points - 16
Points In The Paint - 44
Second Chance Points – 2

Allowing 66 points in the paint is inexcusable at an NBA level. The Raptors were beaten by a very good team, and they looked unable to run simple plays out of an offensive set. The coaching staff has a lot of work to do.

Sunday, the Raptors hosted the young Trail Blazers featuring 2 players that Bryan Colangelo MIGHT have drafted rather than Andrea Bargnani. With both the 2nd overall pick after Andrea, LeMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy drafted 6th in the lineup, one can only wonder what might have been. Here we have yet another game that the Raptors opened up a 16 point lead only to see it disappear as yet another team exploits this teams inability to guard on the perimeter. Steve Blake looked like Steve Kerr out there and the Raptors had no way to hold on to the lead. This game will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many Raptors fans as we seem to be seeing the beginning of a Chris Bosh meltdown underway. During a very tight third quarter that saw the Raptors recover from a 10 point deficit to take a lead, we saw Chris Bosh decide that he was the best option from outside the arc with Jason Kapono open to his left. Jay Triano seemed to bench him after that selfish play and he was on the bench for the first 8 minutes of the 4th while Joey Graham and Jason Kapono and Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon and Jermaine O’Neal were able to build a 5 point lead with 3 minutes left. Chris Bosh came in and although he did manage a block late, he scored only 4 points in the second half, was blocked twice and turned the ball over and took fade away shots over a much smaller defender too many times to consider it coincidence. I have never seen him play for himself so much and on the final inbound pass, he tried to dribble from outside the arc with a wide open Jason Kapono and Jose Calderon in his line of sight, he threw up a horrible shot over LaMarcus, looking for a foul I guess. I have not often seen him play so poorly when the team needed him to compete. I hope that they can work things out as he is too valuable to this team to watch him play this way. I hope this is not an indication of any more unrest within the walls of this locker room. Here are the game stats

Trail Blazers game stats

Brandon Roy - 15 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists
LeMarcus Aldridge - 20 points, 8 rebounds including 6 offensive, 2 blocks
Steve Blake - 19 points including 5/8 3 point baskets, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Greg Oden - 10 points, 10 rebounds - 5 Offensive, 2 blocks
Rudy Fernandez - 16 points, 8 rebounds - 3 Offensive

36/82 - 43.9% including 12/24 - 50% 3 point shots
48 rebounds including 18 offensive
19 assists
3 steals
5 blocks

Team Rebounds - 6
Defensive 3-second violations - 0
Points Off Turnovers - 12
Fastbreak Points - 2
Points In The Paint - 24
Second Chance Points – 20

Raptors game stats

Jermaine O'Neal - 24 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 6 blocks
Chris Bosh - 19 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block
Jose Calderon - 15 points, 13 assists
Jason Kapono - 10 points, 2 rebounds
Joey Graham - 10 points, 2 rebounds
Anthony Parker - 8 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals
Andrea Bargnani - 5 points, 4 rebounds

38/77 - 49.4% including 8/17 - 47.1% from 3 point range
31 rebounds - 4 offensive
26 assists
8 turnovers
7 steals
8 blocks

Team Rebounds - 3
Defensive 3-second violations - 0
Points Off Turnovers - 15
Fastbreak Points - 8
Points In The Paint - 34
Second Chance Points – 10

I think there were a few things that I really liked from this game and a few things that concern me greatly. Once again, the Raptors were -17 on the glass with only 4 offensive boards while giving up 18 offensive boards to a very active Trail Blazers team. Offensive boards reflect the heart of a team and the Raptors played this game with no desire to attack the offensive glass. That one fact alone keeps them in a very small window to grow as a team offensively as they could have sealed this game late with a couple of tough rebounds and a couple of loose ball plays that the Blazers seemed to be the only team wanting the ball most of the game. We gave up 12/24 or 50% from 3 point range to a team that is known as a good shooting team. Steve Blake, like Vince Carter, killed us with a huge 3 point shot on a very similar play that the Nets ran on us, maybe the Raptors are the only team that doesn’t dissect game film to figure opponents tendencies out before the game is played. Jay did a great job with the rotation after the team had lost the lead. They continued to work the ball around and a balanced offense was the result with 5 guys in double digits scoring. Watching the last 3 minutes and the meltdown of Chris Bosh as he was very much in the way the second half, was difficult after watching them battle hard to put themselves in a place to be one rebound away from beating this very good team. We did only have 8 turnovers which was great but our lack of perimeter defense killed us again.

As I started this by saying, it was a very difficult week for the Raptors and we played 4 very good teams and perhaps the western conference champion and we struggled in every aspect of the game. Some interesting facts I found this past week by the numbers.

1) 49.5 – average number of points in the paint given up in the past 4 games. This means that over the past week we have given up a lot of very easy baskets. With the Raptors averaging only 34.5 points in the paint a game, that is a huge disparity and one of many reasons why we struggle so much from game to game.
2) 181/351 - 51.5% - the combined opposition field goal percentage. You can’t let teams light you up every night. Not only are the Raptors getting beat inside, our lack of solid perimeter defense is reflected in the high shooting percentage. For a team like the Raptors that struggles on offense, we can’t continue to let teams score 1 out of every 2 shots they take.
3) 50 rebounds given up per game with 12.75 Offensive boards per game allowed. We can not expect to succeed on any kind of consistent basis giving up those kinds of numbers on the glass. Rebounding reflects the heart of a team defensively, from the numbers shown here, we have a long way to go.


Though it was a tough week, I think that the move to Jay was a step in the right direction and the game Sunday showed that the team does have the talent to compete should they chose to, but I am afraid the tendency towards mediocrity this team has displayed so far this season has become systemic in nature and will be very tough to overcome from the top to the bottom of this roster.

This week we also saw a much improved Joey Graham begin to reveal some character and some heart. I think he is ready to start as what we have had just isn’t good enough and we have some very tough games coming quickly. Roko Ukic has begun to show us the skill he has and as a young guard, has provided some much needed rest for Jose. Anthony Parker and Jason Kapono had some good minutes scoring this week as did Jamario Moon. Here’s hoping that those guys continue their improvement on both sides of the floor. Andrea Bargnani is becoming a force defensively but has paid the price offensively. It is a very difficult thing to balance, but this team needs him to score as well as provide tough defense, but the improved defense will provide him opportunities to score in transition more as the tempo of this team improves offensively and in transition.

If you made it through this, thanks and I hope you enjoyed the read.

Posted on: December 1, 2008 10:06 am
 

Raptors - Lakers - A Game in Review

14 – 1. The Lakers are for real. Not that I was a doubter, but that team is so much more than Kobe Bryant and some other guys this season. From Phil Jackson on down, this Lakers team looks focused on winning and has depth at every position on the floor. I knew that Andrew Bynum would have made last year’s final against the Celtics very different, but watching him shut down Chris Bosh at almost every facet of his game shows me how good he is, and how much work the Raptors have left to do to make the playoffs this season. Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Vladimir Radmanovic added to the starting 5 make this team strong up front and very active at both ends of the floor. But then, you bring in a very talented bench of Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton who is a very good passer in the low post, and this Lakers team will beat most teams as far as 10 deep most nights. I wonder if the Pistons feel fortunate to have caught them on an off night for their only loss.

The Raptors played hard for 3 quarters until Sam Mitchell surrendered and took his starters out, perhaps wanting the game to be over and looking to the Nuggets on Tuesday, he pulled them early in the 4th as Kobe didn’t play a minute in the 4th again. The Raptors several times pulled this game to within 4 points with solid ball movement and some well taken shots, but then the Lakers would grab a board and turn it into a transition bucket and be up 10 within 3 possessions. Jose Calderon and Derek Fisher went head to head and played hard nosed ball all night. It was good to see him play solid defense against a pretty good guard as he held Derek to 5 points and 4 assists while collecting 12 points and 12 assists himself. Andrea Bargnani, starting in place of still injured Jermaine O’Neal played a very good game on both ends of the floor with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but it was his play on defense that caught my attention. I counted 5 blocks for him though he only has 4 on record, but he was altering shots and rotating well all night. A very good game indeed by Andrea has given me some more to watch as he continues to grow at both ends of the floor. Anthony Parker looked much better last night as well scoring 19 points and not letting Kobe run free. Yes, Kobe scored 24 in 3 quarters, but Anthony actually did a good job making him take tough shots, but he is still Kobe and can make those shots. Parker had a nice rhythm on his stroke and hit a few critical 3’s. Chris Bosh was held in check all night as Andrew Bynum shut down any inside game the Raptors tried to establish forcing him outside where he is not as consistent. Bosh ended up with 12 points but was 4 – 13 on a night where near perfection would have been required for a victory. Yes, we miss Jermaine, but Chris at times looked like he was forcing his game too much and with no real consistent offensive rebounding, those misses usually resulted in transition baskets. The Lakers had 58 points in the paint to the Raptors 32. That, coupled with our poor rebounding game where we were -18 on the glass and – 4 on the offensive glass. That is just too much of an advantage to overcome shooting only 38% from the field.

Over all, the Raptors showed a lot of heart and played very good defense for most of the game. The fact is, this Lakers team is very good at all facets of the game and very deep on the bench. Although the Raptors shot 44% from outside on 11/25 shots, they had no ability to sustain any inside game to help the shooters. With 6 players in double digits, it was a well balanced offense as the ball movement looked great at times and good choices were made by the shooters most of the night. When Chris Bosh is taking that many shots from just inside the arc, you know it has been a long night for him. I hope that Jermaine returns 100% as this team needs to have him inside and Andrea starting on the wing. Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono played well, but I think this team is much better with 3 big front men, and I think Andrea has proven that his game is very close to what was anticipated.

Coming up next are the Chauncey Billups led Denver Nuggets then on to Utah to take on Deron Williams and the Jazz. Let’s hope the team can take this game as a positive learning experience and play better as the week unfurls.

Posted on: November 29, 2008 11:53 am
Edited on: November 30, 2008 11:02 am
 

Raptors - Lakers - A Game Preview

Next up for the Raptors on Sunday are the high-flying Los Angeles Lakers who bring a 13 – 1 record to the Staples Center. The Raptors are starting a short 3 game road trip and look to carry the momentum of two straight victories against the Bobcats and the Hawks to close out a home stand. The other games are against the Chauncey Billups led Nuggets in Denver and then against Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams and the Jazz at in Utah. Sunday night will be a very difficult game against one of the top 2 teams in the league. After a loss to the Pistons, the Lakers have won 6 in a row with wins over the Nuggets, the Mavericks, the Suns, the Kings, the Bulls and the Nets. After the game Sunday, the Lakers start their first road tour of the East with stops at the Pacers, the 76ers, and the Wizards, so they will look to roll on and keep the momentum and the pressure on any team they play right now to stop them.

Probable Lineups:

Lakers:

Kobe Bryant – SG
Derek Fisher – PG
Pau Gasol – PF
Vladimir Radmanovic – SF
Andrew Bynum – PF

Raptors :

Jose Calderon – PG
Anthony Parker – SG
Jermaine O’Neal – C
Andrea Bargnani – SF - With Jeramine declared as playing, i have moved Jamario off the starting 5
Chris Bosh – PF

With Jermaine O’Neal slated to start as of this writing, I think that Jamario Moon will get the start as opposed to Andrea Bargnani as he will be needed more inside to deal with Gasol and Bynum.

As I see this game, unless the Raptors continue the improvements made on defense, they will have a difficult time containing the Lakers starters let alone the solid bench play they get from Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza. Our bench will have to continue their improvement and step up their defensive contributions on the glass and on the wing as Kobe would love to drop another 81 on us, this time at home and not in Toronto. Anthony Parker and Joey Graham will have a long night if they can’t keep a lid on Kobe to some extent and the team defense will be critical as the Lakers bring a very balanced offense to every game. Chris Bosh and Jermaine or Andrea will need to try to out play and contain Bynum and Gasol. If JO plays and is healthy, his presence on the glass will be greatly needed.

I believe that Sam Mitchell is on the right track and the guys seem to be understanding how critical every play can be with so many games coming down to one or two possessions in the past couple of weeks. With Chris Bosh bringing 27.7 points every night right now, the team will look to him to continue his tear being second in scoring behind Dwyane Wade and just ahead of LeBron James right now. The game Sunday will require the bench to approach the 31 points it provided against the Hawks to give them the opportunity to win. I look for a very good game on both sides of the ball and I would love to see the Raptors knock this team off. It can be done, but will require ball control and ball movement on offense, some above average rebounding and a good shooting day by Jason Kapono or Jose Calderon.

Enjoy the game.

Posted on: May 14, 2008 3:10 pm
 

Kobe Bryant and his Lifetime Achievement MVP

here is a collection of posts discussing Kobe Bryant winning the MVP this season. I will say that he should have had at least one by now, but this was the wrong year to give it to him unless you are making it a compilation of the past 3 seasons with the slugs he had around him calling themselves Lakers. this might seem a bit random, but i am responding to other posts which i will try to separate when i can.

Please enjoy. Comments and hate always welcome and i will read it all.

here are some posts i have made in the past few days..

here is the first post and the original article

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/
8111712/How-Kobe-fina
lly-earned-his-first-MVP

i agree that Chris Paul probably was the more deserving winner this year over Kobe Bryant... but here is how i see the final weeks in the voters heads... humour me abit :-)

"ok, Kobe finally has a team and looks like he wants to play with Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar.. but this Chris Paul kid with the Hornets.. wow, he has taken a team that struggled for years to the top of the Western conference... young guys like David West, Tyson Chandler, vets like Peja Stojakovic and Morris Peterson sure have helped make him a worthy candidate... let's see.... o dear, it seems Kobe has NEVER won an MVP, we can't give one to this kid until Kobe gets one... maybe then he and his army of loving adoring homer fans will shut up and stop emailing us about how good he is..."

vote Kobe Bryant for MVP.... not saying he didn't deserve one this year or by now... but i am pretty sure he got more than a few votes that way... next year, it will be LeBron James who will win as he has to get one before anyone else new gets one... maybe the Cavaliers fans will stop whining about how great he is by then.. yes he is good... Bill Russell is was and always will be great. When LBJ can show us 11 rings, he can tell us how great he is.

then the guy responded

Kobe and Paul were clearly the clear-cut MVP candidates this season - both were equally deserving based on their cumulative merits based on this season's performances.  In the end, the balance of the scale finally tipped in Kobe's favor based on one key reality - the Lakers finished the regular season atop the hotly contested Western Conference.

 

so based on this statement, the MVP SHOULD have been Kevin Garnett since he was the Best player on the team with the BEST record, or is it only based on the best record in the west..?? it seems the playoffs have revealed to you western conference fans that the east is not as full of walkover teams as the west as the Nuggetts barely made the Lakers break a sweat yet were touted as a championship caliber team stuck in the tough west.. same for the Warriors.. the 76ers and the Hawks both put up a great first round battle to teams that had better records than both the Lakers and the Hornets in the Pistons and the Celtics.

Now, finally, in this season, it all crystalized for Kobe - he was finally able to become the team leader that the Lakers always needed him to be - the final result speaks for itself.  Trust in his teammates and ultimately being surrounded by the correct pieces to allow that trust to flourish into confidence and a winning team attitude was the difference in the Kobe of this season from season's past.  Paul was all that to the Hornets as well, but the bottom line is that Kobe was the best player on the best team in the toughest conference this season

i for one am tired of people saying the MVP went to the best player on the best team... if that was the only criteria, the voting would not be done after the regular season. As for the teams themselves.. the Hornets improved by 17 wins, while the Lakers only improved by 15 so that arguement favours Chris Paul not Kobe. and finishing 1 game atop of the pack when there are only 3 games separating the top 5 teams does not mean they are the best team in the division... that is what the playoffs are going to determine... what i have heard over and over again is how this is a team award... that is bs or it wouldn't be called the Most Valuable PLAYER award... i fear that the award has digressed from the days when it was given to the player who was consistently shown that his team is not as good without him in the lineup.. the Lakers can't say that this year.. but the Cavaliers can... LeBron James will win a few as will Chris Paul... Kobe deserved one, but i think he should have won 2 years ago when Steve Nash won his second... that year, he carried a bunch of slugs... this year, he can score or not and the team can win.

then he made the "best player on the best team" comment

i think that simply saying the MVP award goes to the most statiscally impressive player does the award a dis-service - also, then Kobe would have won a couple more as his numbers were more impressive than Steve Nash's except in assists per game both the years he won his MVP and he was statistically better than shaq the year he won. Kevin Garnett won his MVP for taking a bunch of slugs to the Championship round... not because he was the best player in the league or the top statistically in every catagory. this year KG's personal stats suffered as he melded into a system that rewards tough defense and unselfish team play, thus they won the most games of any in the league. i could make a case that Chris Paul means way more to this young Hornets team than Kobe Bryant does to a talented though hurting Lakers team. there have been periods when Pau Gasol has looked absolutely unbeatable and periods when Lamar Odom has been a beast.. Andrew Bynum was on his way to a career year and a possible MVP candidate before his knee said stop and he didn't.. LeBron James is one of the most impressive athletes in any sport. there is no question he IS the MVP of his team as he is about 75% of his teams offense and about the same defensively as well.

so why did Dirk Nowitzki win MVP last year? was he the best player on the best team? well his team did have 67 wins so he was the best player on the team so just give him the award? then Kevin should have got it this year.. the award has to be more than that since Nash did not have the best team in the west the years he won...

true, the last game of the season the Lakers and Hornets played, Kobe took the kid to school... but i offer that made little difference. the award was Kobe's to lose this year as a makeup for the 2 or 3 that got away...  is he the best player in the league? won't go there.. too many people love their team too much to debate that. is he the best player on his team? yes. is he the most valuable? yes, but it is very close as the team seems to be very well balanced and we won't know how beast like Bynum could have been... imagine him down low with Pau!!! wow

and one more for now

I'm really tired of hearing people say that Chris Paul took a WNBA team and turned them into a legit contender for the NBA championship. WIth or without CP3 the Hornets are a good team. Besides CP3 they have 2 allstars and a great defensive center. 

 i agree.. this team was a decent team last year.. 39 wins is decent, but the 17 game turn-around clearly is due to the fact that this year CP3 stepped up big time.. as well, the exact same could be said about Deron Williams who i think should not have been so quickly dismissed. head to head these two gave us a few very good games to watch and the Jazz are not out of the series yet because he has carried them on his shoulders... as he did most of the season... as did Kobe Bryant..

Tyson Chandler has always been a great defender and rebounder.  Before Chris Paul, Tyson  Chander avg 7ppg and since Chris Paul he avg 10 ppg in the last 2 seasons.David West is an allstar. He can create his own shot  and hit the mid range jumper. Before Chris Paul arrived the David West only started 9 games and avg 15 min per game over 2 years. The same year CP3 arrived David West became a starter and his minutes increased to 35 min per game. David Wests numbers and production went up as his minutes reflect.Peja S is one of the greatest 3 point shooters in the game. He is a 3 time allstar and in the 2003-04 season he was 4th in the MVP rankings. Enough said

 i won't disagree with any of this either red, but as we know about the NBA, it is a team game and one that the Magic are so quickly showing us, talented front courts NEED at least an average back court to be consistantly successful. the Celtics are proving how young Rajon Rondo is as he struggles in the few games and the Celtics struggle. David West has struggled this post season i suspect due to the lack of room down low for him to create those shots he made all season.. as Peja Stojakovic has struggled, the defense has packed in around him and Tyson creating a very small area for West to work. and being guarded by Tim Duncan will cause a lot of good players fits.

This team was destined to be a great team this year. Last year they had 3 allstars miss a total of 120 gamges. Peja missed  70 games, David West 30 games and Chris Paul 20 games. It is not a surprise the Hornets are in the second round of the playoffs.

 i understand the injury situation all too well.. the fact is, they won only 39 games last year, this year they won 56, only one behind the Lakers. the play of Chris Paul has been brilliant and that is why he was in the hunt. All i was saying is that i think that Kobe received this award this year to make up for the slight some people think he has received.. not that he doesn't deserve it, that is NOT what i am saying... i just think that his career weighed very heavily on his selection and the fact that the best player on the best team as many say should get the award, Kevin Garnett, already has one.

that of course, is just my opinion...

 
Posted on: April 29, 2008 5:00 pm
 

Raptors Post-Mortum

Well we have come to the end of a very disappointing 2007-08 Raptors basketball season with the loss and elimination to the Orlando Magic. Congratulations to the Magic and their starting five who dominated what should have been a closer series. Dwight Howard has quickly taken over the title Dominant Big in the NBA and I would love to see him and Amare Stoudemire go mano a mano for a 7 game series!! Hedu Turkoglu deserved his Most Improved Player award and Jameer Nelson seems to have recovered his form that made him so hard to handle a couple years ago in March. Rashard Lewis was unstoppable and this group will be hard for whomever they face next to stop.

 

Thus begins the dissection of a team that should have won 50 games this year but seem to lack the drive and intensity needed to put teams away. Here is my evaluation of the key parts of this team and how I assess the overall structure of this team for next year.

 

Chris Bosh – ALL discussions about this team must start with CB4. The franchise player had a year good enough to be an all-star, but with guys like Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace ahead of him he will have to wait to be consistently there. His stats for the year look like this:

GP  MIN/G  PPG  REB/G  AST/G  FG %
67   36.2      22.3    8.7        2.6      49.4

When compared to the league, he is the 8th ranked power forward, with 6 of the 7 ahead of him being from the west and the other being Antawn Jamison of the Wizards, pretty good company hanging with guys like Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks, Al Jefferson of the Timberwolves, Carlos Boozer of the Jazz, David West of the Hornets and Tim Duncan of the Spurs and the Lakers Lamar Odom. I think we have seen Chris SEE the next level, and now he is desperately waiting for his team to supply the support he needs down low to allow him to create the space he needs and raise his post play from the 4 spot not the 5. I see a lot of Amare in him, but not quite as strong physically. Bosh is very athletic and has the heart of a lion that is often ignored by his coach. More on him later!!

 

Brian Colangelo needs to go out and find a STUD center that can control the front end. Chris should not be expected to grab 15 boards a night as he plays 10 – 15 feet from the basket most of the game.

 

T.J. Ford – This team played it’s best team games with him in the hospital and in rehab. I am not sure why that fact was so hard to notice by Sam and Brian. I think T.J. would be a great guard on a team that needs a selfish ball hog who thinks he is Kobe Bryant or Tracey McGrady – wait, he WAS on this team at one point… wasn’t that Isaiah who traded him? Hmmmmm… wonder if the Knicks read any of the deals he made LOL… sorry, I digress! There are few players in this league who can suffer a severe neck injury and sit for 3 or 4 months and then come back and be as sharp as when he went out… Ford is not one of them. The Raptors held on to T.J. leading this team way too long. I think that fact alone is why they are out golfing or what ever it is tall guys do over the off-season. T.J. needs to listen more carefully to John Lucas who could teach him game sense and how to play with his team and rely on them. A lesson I think Kobe has finally caught!!

 

Andrea Bargnani – I love this kid’s talent, but his heart fails him. He does not have the grit to play an 82 game season with people who want to eat him for lunch… I am not sure you can teach toughness to that level. I think that he has to be a second line guy at best as the pressure of facing top centers on the opposing teams has completely demoralized this kid. He looks beaten up like after a school yard brawl, which is not a bad analogy for action in the post during an NBA game, let alone a playoff game. I know we paid him a lot and I would hate to see him become the next Sam Bowie as he does have NBA talent, just not sure he has the heart of a lion needed to survive there…

 

Rasho Nesterovic – how can a guy who STARTED for the Spurs when they won a title, sit on the bench behind Andrea Bargnani? Come on Sam; give your head a shake. When he started, he brought energy and a very complete inside game to the mix and he plays well as the second option low with CB4 free to play 10 – 15 feet and in, not the other way around. Am I the only one who saw this? When Rasho played well, they won, when he played ok, they at least had a shot, when he played very little, the got blitzed. MAKE THIS GUY THE STARTING 5 or trade him and the waste of space Primoz Brezec for someone they feel is BETTER… though I am not sure they will find a more consistant center than Rasho at those prices.

 

Anthony Parkerthis man has blossomed into a top level shooting guard over the course of the season with the following numbers:

<o:p>GP  MIN/G  PPG  REB/G  AST/G  FG %
82    32.1      12.5    4.1       2.2       47.6
</o:p>

Those numbers have him in the top 20 ranked shooting guards which is a vast improvement from last year. He is quick, has great vision and is usually able to provide decent outside defense. Tony needs to step up his perimeter defense and not be reluctant to take clutch shots.

<o:p> </o:p>

Jose Calderon – What this team needs is to decide what to do with perhaps one of the top 4 or 5 young guards in the game.

 

<o:p>GP  MIN/G  PPG  REB/G  AST/G  FG %
82    30.3     11.2     2.9        8.3       51.9
</o:p>

He comes in at number 8 in point guards, well ahead of T.J. Ford who comes in at 46<sup>th</sup>. I am not sure why the discussion over which guard to start is even thrown about as Jose has clearly demonstrated his ability to lead this team and make this team a winning team. After he gave his “T.J. will lead this team” speech, the whole team started to look lost and aimless as they had no floor leader that was committed to working all the players into the game. That is vital in a point guard and why Chris Paul and Deron Williams can play at such a high level even in this playoff season. They don’t expect to win games alone. That is the secret Jose brings. He had a couple great games but focused on making the game easy for the rest of the team and he was rewarded by a spot on the bench… nice move guys… I hope he stays, but I am pretty sure he won’t put up with that level of disrespect much longer. Jason Kapono, Carlos Delfino, Kris Humphries, Jamario Moon, all of these guys seem to drift the last part of the season as they were ignored by Ford and the “me first” or “ I just want to win so bad” attitude he brought. Which brings me to…

 

Sam Mitchell – Former Coach of the year in the NBA, 2007.

 

I could go on and on about how many lousy decisions he made that cost the team W’s so I won’t but I do know that this team should have won more than 41 games and it’s not the talent that was lacking. Sam’s “I love T.J.” attitude took a 4th seeded team to a 6th seeded team only because the teams behind them – 76ers and the Hawks were under .500 % teams. Sam has no sense of what to do with a bench as loaded as his and he showed that nightly as his subs were usually poorly timed and poorly chosen. His overall inability to manage his bench which had pretty good depth this year was frustrating to say the least.

 

I could go on and on and about Sam, but that won’t do much good. The bottom line is this: 2007-08 was at best very disappointing over all for the team. We saw bright lights in Jamario Moon and Jose Calderon, and very inconsistent play from T.J. Ford which ultimately cost them a higher seeding and an early exit from the playoffs.

 

What this team needs is leadership from above to make some very tough decisions about the direction of this team. I am sure some team would love to have Ford, toss in Primoz, though I don’t think anyone wants him… maybe add Joey Graham who can’t possibly be happy sitting on a team starved of forward play and acquire a solid 15 and 10 Center who can give Chris some real help down low. The Bench is very solid, and Jose SHOULD be the starter or he will walk.

 

Just a few thoughts…. I will add more as the playoffs roll on…

Posted on: April 8, 2008 12:37 pm
 

Playoff Preview 2008

As we near the last of the pre-season games, we are all aware that the real season is about to begin in the NBA with the first play-off games getting closer every day.

It has been a fantastic season with huge deals and bad deals and no deals to alter the landscape on both sides of the country. We have seen new contenders on the scene as well as the usual suspects. here is my take on the season so far the anticipation of what might be.

We started the season with the Celtics making the blockbuster of the decade by acquiring Kevin Garnett for Al Jefferson, giving Paul Pierce a huge power game to work with, then acquiring Ray Allen for the back court and later adding Sam Cassells to anchor off the bench, this team has won 60 games or 80% of the games they have played this season... good for 1st overall and looking very tough as they are the #1 rated defense in the league and have been most of the season. Most seem to question not the talent level of this team but the lack of playoff experience. With former NBA MVP Kevin Garnett so close to his ring, i am pretty sure this team will roll to the Eastern Finals where they will be a very tough team to beat in a 7 game series. This team is more than 3 players as we have watched guys like Rajon Rondo step up and play the point with confidence and skill... a good solid guard who is efficient and getting better as he gains more playing time. a very solid bench offers support from James Posey, Glen Davis backing Kendrick Perkins and Scot Pollard there as well, this team is at least 10 players deep... and can roll all ten when needed. As far as i am concerned, this is the team to beat this year as i have not seen much wavering in this team even while Kevin was out earlier this year...

The Pistons offer us the best option in the East to the Celtics train. With a very solid and mature (read OLD) starting 5 with Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess, and Richard Hamilton, this team can play a scoring game or a slow half court game and are very good at both. they are 1 -2 against the Celtics with all three games having the teams at 90 points or less and only one game more than a 10 point game... and they were all exciting to watch!! yes, defensive ball games are usually very good to watch. this team is basically the same team that won it all a few years back and without the distraction that Ben Wallace was, team chemistry is excellent and confidence is very high... this team will be tough to beat but i think the Celtics will win the ECF only because they will have the extra home game. the bench offers us Jason Maxiel, Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Afflalo who could probably start on most teams in this league.. they don't lose much to 10 players as well... that will make them a tough match for the Celtics.

the Magic are the wild-card as i see it in the East.  With Dwight Howard in the middle, this team has the explosive inside game vital to playoff ball, and with Jameer Nelson developing into the true point and Rashard Lewis on the front end with Hedo Turkoglu and Maurice Evans shooting, this team can run with the best of them but often find it hard to close teams out.. but are on a 5 game win streak which bodes well for the play-off run if they can sustain this.

Other than the LeBron's in the Cavaliers, i don't see any of the other East teams with a chance this year. Wizards are still recovering from that horrible injury, the 76ers just aren't deep enough to challenge at this point.. the Raptors have been discussed as well, but can't play defense to beat the Hawks or the Bobcats. i can't see any of the bottom 5 teams making a lot of noise in the playoffs unless the LeBron's ALL play like LBJ they just don't have enough to win a second round series.

Out in the Wild Wild West we have some fantastic teams made up of young studs and some old guys blending styles and great coaching to offer us the shootout we all were looking for with 9 teams fighting for 8 spots. i will start with the 8 and 9 spots and work my way up.

As of today, the Warriors and the Nuggets are tied with 46 - 31 records so both have 5 games left. the Nuggets games are against the Clippers, Jazz, Rockets, Warriors and the Bobcats. Losing Sunday to the SuperSonics was a huge blow as you MUST beat teams below you at this point in the western race. Thursday's game AT Golden State will tell us if this team with 3 all-stars will get in... Imagine at the beginning of the year being told that you as a coach have Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby and Carmelo Anthony starting with Kenyon Martin and Anthony Carter, you will win more than 50 games or so and NOT make the playoffs by a game or 2. this team scores, but is not committed to Defense and as we all know, you can't win letting teams back into games because you can NEVER score enough points.

the Warriors were a surprise last year as Baron Davis was just starting to be heard of nightly and Don Nelson knew that Mavericks team as he built it. this season, they will will 50 games again with the Kings, Clippers, Suns, Nuggets and Sonics left to play, they should win at least 3 and could win 4 or all of them as they are the hungry team and the Suns don't need the wins... Monta Ellis, Steven Jackson, Andris Bierdrins score.... LOTS... but until they decide to play defense inside, they will struggle in the half court as they are small up front against teams like the west seems to be full of this season.. strong, large front courts.. Can the Warriors end up #8 and run the West this year? I don't think so as they West is much stronger and more aware of Nellie Ball this season.

in 7th right now are last seasons 67 game winners, the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki, and now with Jason Kidd and Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Eric Dampier, this team has balance it has needed seen as they rolled without Dirk last week and a new attitude that Kidd brings of a calm confidence that they have not had before... With Juwan Howard  and Brandon Bass off the bench this team is at least 8 deep and might be more. this team can make noise in the playoffs and will end up with 51 wins or so with 2 against the Sonics, as well as the Hornets, the Trail Blazers and the Jazz who can't seem to win on the road. though they are in 7th, they are only 6.5 games out of first so to say they are an underdog is not quite accurate. if i was the 2, i would not want to play these guys...

in 6th, we find the Suns - a team given very little respect on this board, which is a shame because they do play exciting basketball, and now with Shaquille O'Neal in the middle, can play very well in the half - court too. since the trade, this team has not fallen apart as predicted, has not stopped scoring as predicted, has won games because Shaq is still one of the BEST rebounders in the game - which is the biggest thing they were lacking, Amare Stoudemire has gone back to the 4 spot and is proving to be pretty much unstoppable most nights as predicted. Steve Nash has not had to take over games, though he can still do it dropping 35 the other game, but with Shaq passing like he used to, Steve's total has dropped as predicted which is fine, since they are still winning. this team has 5 games left against the Bobcats, the Spurs, the Rockets the Warriors and the Trail Blazers... i wonder who they pissed off in the office to have that killer of a schedule the last 2 weeks of the season... with 3 wins, they could still catch the top spot in the division but a Lakers -- Suns first round match looks very likely... that will be fun to watch!!

in 5th we have the Rockets - the team that was to collapse when Yao Ming went down. the heart of this team IS Tracy McGrady and for a large part of the year, it looked like he finally had the team to take him out of the first round... then Yao went down... did they fold? NO they won the next 11 games without him to clinch at least 5th place or so with chance to end up with 55 wins with games against the Nuggets, the Suns, the Sonics, AT the Jazz and the Clippers. they look very Solid with Rafer Alston playing his best ball and Shane Battier becoming the beast we thought he could. Dikembe Mutombo i think turns  65 and will qualify for seniors discount later this year, but looks great in the middle. the bench is the issue with the Rockets as they aren't very deep, maybe 7 players, this is where injuries could cost them a playoff series victory.

the Utah Jazz are in 4th place right now with 51 wins, but will probably win the NorthWest division while being it's sole play-off representitive. though they are great at home going 35 - 4 at home, they are not a road team and thus have a short life expectancy in the playoffs as you MUST win on the road to win... ask the Cavaliers about that last year's surprise run as well as the 8th seeded Warriors last year winning HUGE games on the road. the Jazz starters of Deron Williams Andrei Kirolenko, Carlos Boozer Memhet Okur and Ronnie Brewer play Jerry Sloan balance on offense and solid defense which is why they are seldom blown out. this team will have to overcome a lot of bad losses on the road this year to have success in the first round but should take the Rockets out.

In 3rd right now we have the Lakers who are proving quite resiliant through an array of injuries that had them thin up the middle again. with the acquisition of Pau Gasol, this team with Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom Derick Fisher and Vladomir Radmanovic offers one of the most potent offenses in the league, but leaves them a bit weak on the defensive end of the floor. having a true point guard in Fisher and Jordan Farmer on the bench, this team moves the ball well and has adequate depth on the bench as we have seen them not lose much when Gasol went down... this team will be very hard to beat from the outside, but can be beat inside as they are a bit thin up front right now. But having Kobe is a great plus and this team MIGHT be able to beat the Suns this year... maybe...

in 2nd we find the team that was to be as extinct as the dodo bird this late in the season, the Spurs. everyone said they are too old, too slow, too fragile, too bland, boring, soft... you name it, they were called it. WHO knew the heart of this team was still beating. Tim Duncan again has brought his boring fundamental game to the top of the tight western conference with solid defense and an offense fueled by Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Michael Finley, and Fabricio Uberto - Bruce Bowen IS THE BEST DEFENDER in the game.. ask Kobe so anything he adds on offense is wonderful. this team has one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game in Popp and just keeps winning.

At the top of the heap right now, but only 1.5 games up, are the Hornets. with the Little Engine that Could named Chris Paul - who will probably win his 1st MVP this year - this team offers solid offense with Tyson Chandler and David West as well as Peja Stojakovic with a solid year from Morris Peterson - the Raps were foolish to let him go... - this team has beat teams they were not supposed to this year. the only question this team needs to answer is are they ready to play in the playoffs with what appears to be a very inexperienced team. i think after watching the style they play, this team will compete and make it to the finals.

so, what do i see going on in the playoffs... round by round, here it is

East

1) Celtics vs. 8) Hawks - Celtics play hard and sweep to rest for a week

2) Pistons vs. 7) Raptors - see above but say Pistons where is says Celtics

3) Magic vs. 6) 76ers - 6 games but Dwight is too much inside... Magic win

4) Cavaliers vs 5) Wizards - the Lebrons sweep

2nd round

1) Celtics vs. 4) Cavaliers - 5 games as the LeBrons win 1 at home to show he wants to stay there past 2010

2) Pistons vs 3) Magic - Dwight is not ready for this yet, Pistons in 6

Eastern Conference Final

1) Celtics vs. 2) Pistons - this will be a classic battle that we will talk about for years... Celtics just too strong to the 10th man, win in 7 as they will be home

Western Conference

1st Round

1) Hornets vs 8) Warriors - no magic run this year, this team is too good for Nellie Ball - Hornets in 5

2) Spurs vs 7) Mavericks - this will be great ball to watch with the Spurs winning game 7

3) Lakers vs 6) Suns - do you think the Suns did this on purpose? Suns in 7th game upset with Shaq dropping 34 and grabbing 25 boards

4) Jazz vs 5) Rockets - Jazz win game 7 at home

2nd Round

1) Hornets vs 4) Jazz - i don't think they reseed!! but either way the Hornets beat either the Jazz or the Suns

2) Spurs vs 6) Suns - Spurs will beat either as well...

Western Conference Final

1) Hornets vs 2) Spurs - as much as i love the Hornets, they just can't beat the Spurs in 7 games.

NBA Championship Series

1) Celtics vs 2) Spurs - this will be an instant classic with drama, great ball, tough defense, David Stern's goldenchild team, all the stuff a finals is made of. these two teams are very hard to dispute as the top two teams in the league right now.

i say the Celtics will win game 7 at home, and will win at the line as Kevin will just be too much to handle.

that is my opinion. thanks for reading it.

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com