This time last year all anyone could talk about is how the Miami Heat were the clear cut favorites to win an NBA Championship. Most of the experts had declared that the Miami Heat were going to cut down the net and hoist up a banner at the beginning of this season. That plan was derailed by the Dallas Mavericks last season and this year does not look like the Miami Heat’s year either.
Last season NBA teams were scared when the Miami Heat came to their city. Opposing NBA teams did not know what to expect and by the time a team adjusted the game was over. The Miami Heat looked like a good team during the last NBA season and turned the corner into a great team during the NBA playoffs.
This season the tide has turned for the Miami Heat. No NBA teams are in awe of the Miami Heat anymore. The fear has subsided and the majority of the NBA teams have adjusted to the Miami Heat’s style of play. Some NBA teams still cannot muster a victory based on pure talent but other teams like the Chicago Bulls have no problem “Putting the Smack down” on the Miami Heat.
Any game the Miami Heat played, last season, was the hottest ticket in town. Now the Miami Heat have lost a great deal of their shiny luster and sizzle. The Miami Heat games this season are maybe the third or fourth hottest ticket in town. The team is no longer the favorite to win anything. The best the Miami Heat will do is make a deep playoff run.
The Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics will make it hard for the Miami Heat to make it out of the Eastern Conference. Moreover, even if the Miami Heat do make it out of the Eastern Conference the team will most likely be playing the Oklahoma City Thunder or the San Antonio Spurs. Both of these teams should have no problem handling the Miami Heat. The Oklahoma City Thunder would be the tougher matchup out of the two teams though. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden make for a tough matchup for any team in the NBA, including the Miami Heat. Not to mention, the bench of the Oklahoma City Thunder is much deeper than that of the Miami Heat. Over a long series the Oklahoma City Thunder chances of obtaining victory over the Miami Heat is very good.
The Miami Heat have yet to prove that they have the Championship formula and this year does not look like one that will confirm that the Miami Heat will be World Champions. The Miami Heat have too much to overcome to accomplish that goal. The Miami Heat depend solely on their “Big Three” to win the majority of their games. Without a real bench to speak of, the Miami Heat will be in trouble all Playoff Season long. The Miami Heat may very well end up being a team with a legacy of having great talent but one without a Championship.
The question that everyone wants to know that watches NBA basketball is, how good can the New York Knicks be? The answer is that the Knicks can be very good. The New York Knicks, once they figure out how all the pieces fit together, could challenge the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference dominance. With the addition of J.R. Smith and the discovery of Jeremy Lin, the sky is now the limit for the New York Knicks.
The problem that the New York Knicks face is that no one knows how all the pieces will coexist. Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin, Carmello Anthony and J.R. Smith all have to form some semblance of team chemistry. The main problem that was apparent in last night’s game versus the New Jersey Nets was that Carmello Anthony was not sure where to fit in within the Jeremy Lin run offense. It was easy to see that Anthony was trying to find his place on the team. I cannot remember the last time that Carmello Anthony played 37 minutes and only had 11 points.
Can Jeremy Lin and Carmello Anthony coexist in New York?
Until Carmello Anthony finds his place on the team and fills his scoring role, the New York Knicks will be just another good team. However, once everything clicks for Anthony, the Knicks will become one of the great teams in the Eastern Conference. No one doubts that Carmello Anthony can score and put up some spectacular performances. The real dilemma is how long will is it going take for Anthony to figure out how to do the same without being the main focus of the offense? Carmello Anthony has to become a role player, who is willing to sacrifice his own personal numbers for the good of the team. I am not sure if Anthony can accomplish the feat, no matter how much Anthony claims he can. Carmello Anthony for most of his career has been a shoot first and ask questions later kind of player. This is definitely one of the most anticipated “wait and see” stories of 2012.
The sooner Carmello Anthony becomes another working part of the Knicks machine rather than driver, the better off the New York Knicks will be. The problem is that time is running short. The shortened NBA season gives the New York Knicks a limited amount of time to make everything fit together before the playoffs. The New York Knicks are going to have work overtime to develop the kind of team work that wins a championship in less time than many of the other top playoff contenders, including the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Miami Heat took almost all of last NBA season to finally come together and start playing like a NBA championship contending team. Even after the Miami Heat were deep into the NBA Playoffs, we still saw some lapses in team chemistry. The New York Knicks can only hope that their learning curve is much shorter and the team comes together before the NBA playoffs begin. If the New York Knicks are able to accomplish the task, the Knicks could ride the Lin-Mello-Stoudemire-Smith wave far into the playoffs.
By now the World is enraptured by the next great thing and that next great thing people are clamoring about is Jeremy Lin. Lin has generated all sorts of buzz leading the New York Knicks on an impressive win streak. The more impressive part is the Jeremy Lin has done it without any help from the injured stars Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Jeremy Lin has had five games of scoring more than 20 points. Lin has become the go to guy on a very limited New York Knicks roster.
In addition, Lin is dishing out an impressive amount of assists, averaging eight assists a game . Jeremy Lin is drawing comparisons to a lesser impressive Steve Nash clone. While Jeremy Lin does not nearly have the resume of Steve Nash, Lin is catching the attention of all the critics with his improved play. Everyone is wondering is this some fluke run that will end abruptly as teams begin to figure Jeremy Lin out?
The answer to that question is inevitably yes and no. To explain, what Jeremy Lin will do will change as Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony return. His role will change from being the go to guy for every play to being much more of a facilitator. Instead of Jeremy Lin having to try to knock down as many shots as possible as he did in previous games, Lin will share the wealth so to speak with Stoudemire and Anthony.
Can Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemore coexist with Jeremy Lin?
This does not mean Jeremy Lin will not score. I can easily see Jeremy Lin continuing to average 20 points and 8 assists a game even with Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony back in the lineup. Lin may even average greater or less numbers depending on what the team needs him to do to win. With the defensive attention Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony will receive when on the court, opposing teams will have to allow Jeremy Lin to roam free. Having to lessen the pressure on Jeremy Lin will definitely cause some defensive mismatches to fall Lin’s way.
None of the signs are there to say that Jeremy Lin will be a one week wonder. Lin did not suddenly acquire some, “Space Jam Michael Jordan”, basketball skills. Jeremy Lin is just a diamond in the rough that needed the right coach to make him shine. The New York Knicks may have found the missing piece and created their own “Big Three.” Only time will tell if the pieces will fit together. My best guess is that Linsanity will continue as Jeremy Lin continues to help the New York Knicks Win! Win! Win! or should I say Lin! Lin! Lin!
Yesterday was a sad day for two reasons. Steve Jobs the owner of Apple, died today after his fight for cancer, a truly sad event. I look at my I-Phone and just marvel at how much Steve Jobs influenced society and how far we have come in innovation. In addition, another troubling event continues as we still have no answer to whether we will have an NBA season. The NBA lockout is still in effect and no one knows when it will end.
From all reports an agreement between both the NBA Owners and Players is not even close to being reached. This means that regular season games are going to start being cancelled soon and the complete cancellation of the NBA season is a possibility. NBA fans can only hope that before a full NBA season is cancelled, the NBA will decide to shorten their season. While that would be a small constellation prize, even that option is looking more and more unlikely as negotiations continue.The pre-season is already cancelled and more cancellations are sure to come the longer the negotiation takes.
The NBA Lockout comes at a horrible time as NBA television ratings are at an all time high after the way last season ended. The Miami Heat, the favorites to win it all, against the upstart Dallas Mavericks went at it in a knockdown drag-out fight to the finish. The Mavericks came out victorious and proved they were the best team of 2011. I am ready to see which team has similar drive, passion, and grit.
In a perfect world, the NBA season would be ready to get under way and NBA fans would be ready to watch some great basketball games. Unfortunately, every NBA fan is left wondering when their favorite team will take the court. The majority of the NBA players are planning to play basketball professionally overseas while the lockout is in effect. The list includes Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Tony Parker, just to name a few.
I just do not understand how major sports organizations ever reach the point where they do not have a plan for an agreement. I know that sometimes a good plan falls apart. However, this is two major sports organizations in the same year dealing with the same problem, if we include the NFL. One would think that the NBA would learn from the mistakes of the NFL’s negotiation and take some precautions to prevent a similar situation from occurring.
We may not see a single NBA player take the court this year because the NBA season has a good chance of being cancelled. I know I am not the only one who wants to see if the Miami Heat can win the whole thing in their second year. Moreover, I want to see if the Dallas Mavericks can repeat or do the Los Angeles Lakers recover from all the team drama of last season. I am ready for some blockbuster trades that will shake up the East and the West NBA conferences. Unfortunately, we will get to see none of these events if the NBA Team Owners and NBA Players cannot reach an agreement.
This is a sad day indeed for all basketball fans. The only thing that every fan can take comfort in is that college sports do not have the same issues. College basketball will still be as exciting as ever and it is looking like March Madness may be bigger than life this year. I will probably be able to get my bracket done much earlier this year. I would rather not be in that situation. We are pleading, “Come on NBA Players and NBA Owners, we have faith in you!” Get the deal done so we can see some great basketball.
I sat down to watch the NBA draft the other night and realized something. The draft did not have the excitement of previous years. Missing was a sure fire star that could instantly give a team playoff hopes. However, two players did interest me more than all other players in the draft. The two players I speak of are Kemba Walker and of course Jimmer Fredette. Kemba Walker is the main reason for UCONN being a contender and NCAA champion in 2011. Kemba Walker ended up going to the Charlotte Bobcats with the number nine pick. Walker is exactly what the Bobcats need in a player. I am not talking about his skill set but his mindset. We know one thing about Kemba Walker that separates him from the majority of the Bobcat current roster. That one thing is Walker is a winner.
While most NBA players have been winners at one point or another, most have not accomplished a National Championship title. Kemba Walker has something better than just being a winner, he has heart. When the game is on the line, Walker pushes through to do whatever it takes to get the job done. We saw it all season long as UCONN played different opponents. No matter what UCONN needed to assure the win Kemba Walker would come through in the clutch. That is something that cannot be taught. A player just has to have it in them to be able to dig down deep and come up with the big play. In addition, if anyone has been to a Charlotte Bobcats game lately, it is easy to see no player on the team has this kind of heart. I have watched multiple games where the Bobcats would be up in the fourth quarter by double digit points. However, by the end of the fourth quarter the team would end losing. The Charlotte Bobcats need someone like Kemba Walker on their team. I loved the pick for Charlotte.
“Jimmer Fever” is still rampant in Utah and around the nation. Most of the talk before and during the draft was about which team Jimmer would land on. Even though Jimmer has officially graduated college, he is still a hot topic on all sports channels. The Jimmer topic received more discussion and airplay than the discussion about all the other NBA draft prospects combined together. Finally the wait is over; Jimmer is officially a Sacramento King after a draft trade, where the Kings moved into the tenth draft position. Sacramento received their college sensation, but can he live up to all the talk? The biggest question is whether Jimmer Fredette can be a great NBA player. Everyone agrees that Fredette can shoot and can be a good role player. However, no one knows if he can be that “special” player that takes a team to the next level.
The main issue with Jimmer is that he is not a great or even good defender. Fredette hardly played any defense in college. Jimmer’s job and only job, during his college career, was to score. The problem with this play style in the NBA is that a majority of NBA rookies do not have the ball in their hands for the majority of the game. Jimmer Fredette will not get the opportunity to shoot 30 times a game in the NBA. I predict Jimmer will most likely come off the bench and have his shot opportunities limited to 10 to 15 shots a game. That prediction of shot totals may even be a bit on the high side. If and when Jimmer proves that he can do the great things he did in college, his shot opportunities will go up. Jimmer has a long way to go before he reaches that level. Moreover, Jimmer will have to show that he can play defense. No team wants a defensive liability, especially the Sacramento Kings, who are in a rebuilding phase. Only time will tell if Jimmer is over-hyped or the real deal. The Kings may have gotten a steal or they may have obtained another draft bust.
The Mavericks were crowned NBA Champions as they finished the Heat off on Sunday. It was a great series to watch and renewed the NBA excitement for some people. Dirk Nowitzki proved he is a true all star. The Heat proved talent can only take a team so far. A team needs teamwork and mental toughness. The Mavericks had both with a conglomeration of players that were considered past their prime.
Dirk Nowitzki was the leader, but every person on the team chipped in. Shawn Marion found energy he didn’t have since his days as a Phoenix Sun. Jason Kidd proved why he is going in the Hall of Fame. J.J. Barea delivered an offensive spark at many needed times throughout the Mavericks playoff run. Brian Cardinal became a household name as the announcers mentioned his college nickname, “The Custodian”, many times. Jason Terry had fans talking about he is the new version of Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. The story of the Dallas Mavericks is a feel good story that any serious or casual basketball fan can fall in love with.
Everything was against the Mavericks being successful and the team managed to overcome every obstacle put in front of them. Watching the Dallas Mavericks was like watching a hero in a movie taking on villain. The villain in this series and basically all season long was the Miami Heat. The Miami Heat became the villain when their confidence became arrogance. Stating how many championships your team will win without ever playing a game is like a big slap in the face to every other team in the league.
Lebron James was the most vocal one of the Miami Heat, “Big Three”. James turned the majority of the public against him not only by his move to broadcast “The Decision”, but also by his attitude throughout the whole year. I have often said pride and arrogance will destroy people who have great potential and Lebron James is no different. It was apparent, in the Playoff Finals; Lebron James thought he should be dominating every Dallas Maverick player guarding him. James face showed shock every time he missed a shot or did not get a foul call his way. With every mistake Lebron James became more frustrated and confidence faltered. By the time the fourth quarter of each game rolled around there was no coming out of the hole; Lebron James had built for himself. I am confident more people were happy to see King James fail, rather than the people actually happy for the Mavericks.
The majority of people did not want to see the Miami Heat win and about ninety percent of the reason was due to Lebron James being on the team. The Miami Heat “Big Three” came together because they believed that they would win a Championship this year. They were confident that no team would be able to stop a team with their talent. When the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated, the Heat believed that this year would be the year they win it all. The Miami Heat were wrong.
When people talk about having the “Heart of a Champion”, they are referring to an athlete or team’s ability to persevere in bad circumstances. True champions overcome bad circumstances on a regular basis. That is what separates the champions from all the others. Seems like lately we are seeing less championship athletes, teams, and coaches. We are only seeing more of the teams that are hoping to get there. I hope that the trend will not last and professional sports will take a turn towards a brighter future.
In professional sports, two types of athletes represent the majority of the players. The first type is a professional athlete that is good but never a champion. The second type is the championship athlete who can win “The Big Game.” The main difference between each type of athlete is how they handle adversity.
Adversity is defined as state of hardship or affliction; misfortune. Professional sports athletes deal with adversity all the time and recently, we have seen quite a few good examples. In the NBA playoffs, we can see clear examples of not only players, but also teams that handle adversity in a bad way. In addition, we can see examples of teams that handle adversity in a good way.
The NBA Playoff Finals start today and how the two teams managed to win their last playoff series is by overcoming adversity in multiple games. Both the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks had games where they had to overcome double digit deficits in the 4th quarter to win. Both teams accomplished the comeback with a little more than five minutes left. The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks could have seen the deficit as impossible to overcome. Instead, the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks buckled down and rose up to meet the challenge.
The Heat and Mavericks showed they have a heart of a championship team. Their two opponents were the Oklahoma Thunder and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls and Thunder did not know how to handle adversity. When things started to go south for both teams, the Bulls and Thunder panicked.Oklahoma City and Chicago froze under the pressure of the Conference Finals. With each play, the Bulls and Thunder watched their chances slip away. We can see that neither team had experience in how to “right the ship” so to speak when they were sinking.
Another good example that just came to a conclusion recently is the current situation going on with Jim Tressel, who coaches Ohio State Football. Tressel and some Ohio State football players were involved in a scandal. The Ohio State Football players, which included Terrell Pryor, the star Quarterback, sold Ohio State memorabilia for profit and also received special benefits from car dealerships. The result for their actions was the NCAA suspended the five Ohio State players for five games for the upcoming college football season. Tressel took it upon himself to make sure all of the Ohio State players were going to return for this new college football season. It looked like Tressel was handling the adversity well. That was until yesterday when Tressel resigned as the head coach. The pressure became too much for Tressel and he folded under it.
The battle has ensued in the NBA Playoffs. Last night the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls took to the floor. This game is the critical game two of the series and is generally the determining game to the momentum of the series. If Miami can win, the Heat even up the series. If Chicago wins they have stranglehold on the series going into Miami. At the beginning of the year no one could of predicted these two teams to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. Most people thought Miami would be here, but no one thought the Bulls would be here. Derrick Rose blossomed overnight and became one of the true elite players in the NBA. When it was announced these two teams would meet in the finals, most people thought Miami would dominate the playoff series.
How wrong the majority was about the Bulls as an opponent. The Bulls have put together quite a game plan to give Miami a significant challenge. The first game the Bulls ran away with the game. The second game last night was much closer and competitive battle. The Heat came back and achieved some redemption. The game was a defensive battle for both teams. However, in this game Miami had the more stifling defense.
Watching the game, anyone could see how hard it was for the Bulls to get the same good looks they got in game one. The Heat employed a great deal of double teams in every area of the floor. Miami was able to keep Chicago off the boards and out rebound the Bulls 45-41 throughout the whole game. In addition, The Miami Heat held the Chicago Bulls to 3-20 from the 3 point line. This is an area where Chicago dominated Miami in the first game. Derrick Rose was held to only 7-23 from the field, finishing with 21 points. Open shots were at a premium and good defensive schemes took its toll on both teams.
An unexpected difference maker was Udonis Haslem who came in and gave the Heat a spark. Haslem entered the game, having only played 13 games all season. Haslem scored 13 points, one block, five rebounds, one steal, and two assists in 23 minutes. Udonis Haslem hustled like he had been playing all season. Haslem definitely had no rust to shake off, as he made play after play. At the end of the game, though it was Lerbon James, not Haslem that put the game out of reach. Lebron James came through with 9 points in the 4th quarter to give the Heat the final lead of the game.
The series is by no means over and is just beginning but now the Heat have the momentum as the next game is in Miami. Another down to the minute game is expected and the battlefield is Miami. Each team has one victory but the war is far from over. Sunday we find out who will take the lead in the series. The Heat are ready to defend their home court. The Bulls are ready to come into Miami and steal a game. The excitement is building and every NBA fan should get ready for a great series ahead. This Bulls-Heat series will be one for the ages.
The Eastern Conference Finals started on Sunday and The Miami Heat had all the momentum coming into the game. The Heat had closed out theBoston Celtics in a hard fought series and it looked as if the Heat were finally coming into their own. The Miami Heat have three of the top players in the league on their team in Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh. Those three players should give the Miami Heat a distinct disadvantage over every team. The Heat should be blowing teams out by 20 or 30 points no matter which teams they play.
Very few teams can match the talent level of the Miami Heat’s top 3 top players. The problem is that is where the exceptional talent on the Miami Heat’s team stops. Below the top 3 players on the team is a mish mash of players past their prime and some so-so role players. James Jones, Mike Miller, Jamal Magloire, Juwan Howard and a slew of others who hardly contribute anything to the team. It is safe to say that eighty percent to ninety percent of the Heat’s scoring each game comes from the ”Big 3″.
This is the exact reason the Heat started the Eastern Conference Finals with a loss to the Chicago Bulls. While some look at the Chicago Bulls and say all they have is Derrick Rose and if a team can shut him down, they can beat the Bulls easily. This is not the case concerning the Bulls at all. The Bulls have one great advantage over the Miami Heat and that is bench depth. Not only do the Bulls have the top point guard in the league in Derrick Rose but they also have players like Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Loul Deng, and Kyle Korver. Each of these players plays a vital role in each game the Bulls play. They Heat have no players who compare after their “Big 3”. Wade, James and Bosh have to play the majority of the game to be competitive with the Bulls and over a series of games; this will take its toll on Wade, James, and Bosh.
Chicago has enough depth that over a series, the Bulls can rest their players, bringing in other players to lighten the burden of playing time. While the Bulls may not have the “Big 3”, the Bulls have more players who each fit a specific role on their team. Derrick Rose may be the one who makes the team’s engine run so to speak, but even a railroad needs a team of people to make the train run properly. While many thought once the Heat defeated the Celtics the team would cruise into the NBA Finals. This is going to be far from the truth.
The Miami Heat may have just walked from stove into a frying pan. Only they are not the ones sizzling now. The sizzle is all in the city of Chicago and Derrick Rose is the perfect ringleader to dash the dreams of the Heat and the “Big 3”. The Bulls-Heat series will be another intriguing series. We have not seen the last of the surprises of this series. Keep in mind the West Series has not even started yet and that looks to be a great series as well with the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklohoma City Thunder. With all the major basketball powerhouses gone including the Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs, this year an unexpected champion will be crowned. No clear cut favorite has emerged thus far. We can only sit and enjoy the show, the drama, and the fantastic plays.
Sometimes it takes quite a while for professional sports teams to find a winning formula. The players on a team can have all the talent in the World but they have to be able to cooperate with one another. We have seen championship teams that have less talent than other teams, but somehow they still win. Then we have seen teams with a great deal of talent and they fail to win. When a team has both great talent and the players know how to play together, the sky is the limit.
Jordan, Pippen, and the Chicago Bulls fit this mold. Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and the Los Angeles Lakers also fit into this category. Now we have the Miami Heat finally living up to the hype and doing the same. During the regular season, the Heat looked lost as times. The Miami Heat could not finish games or beat opponents with records above .500 on any consistent basis. Now in the playoffs, things seem to have come together for the Miami Heat. The Heat are finally playing at the level many predicted before the season started. The roles on the team are now very clear. Dwayne Wade is the go to or first option. Lebron James is the second option and Bosh is a great complimentary role player. The roles had to be defined for the Miami Heat to be successful. Watching the Miami Heat is pure poetry in motion. The team is almost next impossible to stop.
Moreover, without the pressure of carrying the team on his shoulders, Lebron James plays a better game. Lebron plays with more freedom and is accomplishing feats He never did when playing in the regular season. At the end of the fourth quarter in last night’s play off game versus the Boston Celtics, Lebron James hit a three pointer with 2:10 left in the game. James then hit another three pointer with 40.4 seconds to put the game out of reach and clench the playoff series. Earlier in the year and even last year, Lebron James would not come through in these game-deciding situations. In this new role, Lebron James is beginning to excel and find his place.
Dwayne Wade has taken his proper place in running the offense and being the catalyst that gets the Miami Heat engine going each game. Wade is not only great at creating his own shot but also making other players better. Furthermore, if teams do not respect Dwayne Wade’s abilities to take over a game. Wade can do just that and make his opponents pay for their mistake. If teams try to double team Wade then that leaves either James or Bosh open to knock down some shots. When it all comes together watching the Heat is exciting and anyone can see how truly dominating they can be.
The Miami Heat’s biggest enemy in the playoffs is themselves. If they stick to a good game plan and everybody stays in their defined roles than the Heat may win a NBA championship this year. On the other hand, if the Miami Heat revert to their old ways they could be sent home.The Big Three of the Heat are beginning to play like champions and defeating teams that beat them in the regular season such as the Celtics. We are seeing the Heat finally rise up and take their rightful place among the elite teams of the NBA. No teams have any more pure talent than the Heat. The NBA playoffs are the Miami Heat’s to lose. The NBA Playoffs can be painful or rewarding for each team. The Miami Heat have a good chance to claim the ultimate reward this year. Even though history tells us, the Heat have a chance to experience sadness instead of joy. We can only hope the days of sadness are far behind them.
We were worried for a long time; they would never come around to their full potential. Everyone watched during the season as we saw them choke at the most critical times. Every fan knew they would make it to the playoffs, but some projected they may not even make it out of the first round. The team has shown flashes of greatness and then at other times have shown how disorganized they can truly be. The team I speak of is the Miami Heat.
Something has happened in Miami and it is a wonderful thing. The Miami Heat are finally showing what they are truly capable of. The Miami Heat made it through their first playoff series and Miami now leads their second playoff series 2-0 over the Boston Celtics. The Heat won their second game against Boston in convincing fashion with a final score of 102-92. The final score does not tell the whole story as the Boston Celtics were dominated in the fourth quarter, allowing the Heat to go on a 14-0 run late in the game to seal the deal.
In previous games, during the season, the Heat would of lost the game. During the regular season, the Miami Heat would blow double digit leads and could not regularly beat any teams with a record over .500. Now the Heat have changed the way they do things. The Heat are actually closing out games. They are finishing their opponents with the precision of championship teams that have come before them. The Heat still have to win at least two more games against the Celtics, but no matter the outcome, the Miami Heat have learned the lesson. The team has learned which players are to take on which roles. Bosh needs to be a defensive and rebounding force. Lebron James needs to be a catalyst to get the offense started. Dwayne Wade is the closer of the team and puts the exclamation point on each victory.
It may have taken the Miami Heat all season to figure out which players need to fill which roles, but the Heat have finally found a working game plan. Moreover, the playoffs will urge any team to overcome their faults or crumble under the pressure. The Super Team of James, Wade, and Bosh have taken what was once a major fault and turned it around. The Miami Heat have gone from the league’s best team that cracks under pressure to a team that welcomes pressure. It may seem to some people that this is an overnight transformation but the team has been trying to find balance all season. The Miami Heat have finally found the right winning formula.
How far the Miami Heat can go in the playoffs depends on the team maintaining the balance they have found. Only time can tell if they can maintain this team harmony. Whether the Heat do accomplish this feat or fail, each series they play in will be some of the most entertaining basketball to watch. It will be a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. In addition, every fan will be on the edge of their seats to see whether they win or lose. The best drama on television continues every game the Miami Heat step on the court. Will this be the year King James and company reach the Promised Land? On the other hand, will the nerves of the NBA playoffs get to the Miami Heat and stop their dream? The Playoffs are upon us, the Heat are proving more, and more they are the team to watch.
The playoffs started this past weekend and it has been quite an eye opening experience. We have learned so much about the teams. We have seen the some superstars be truly super and other be so ordinary we wonder why they have the superstar status. We saw some upsets and then we saw some true blowouts. As always, we even saw some bad officiating. This post is about what we have learned watching the playoff this year. Below are some of the important things we have learned as the playoffs have begun.
1: We have learned that records mean nothing. Usually in a playoff series, the regular season record means a lot. In previous years when a #1 seed played a #8 seed or a #2 seed played a #7 seed, the games were so lopsided most people did not even watch. This year we have had # 7 seed the New Orleans Hornets defeated the #2 seed Lakers. In addition, the #8 seed Memphis Grizzlies shocked the # 1 seed San Antonio Spurs. This reminds me so much of the NCAA March Madness Tournament this year, with one distinct difference the NBA teams play a series and not just one game. This means that winning one game does not mean that team will win the series. However, this turn of events does give us hope for more exciting beginning playoff games.
2: Heart means everything. What I mean is that some teams have been written off as the lesser teams and having no chance to win a series, let alone the whole NBA championship. These are the very teams that are playing at their highest level. They are playing to prove they belong in the playoffs. These teams are playing to take down the NBA programs that are considered the “Playoff Giants” such as the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Bulls, etc. Every game is a David versus Goliath story and when David wins its done in spectacular fashion. Therefore, I give props to the Pacers, the Grizzlies, The Hornets, The Knicks, and the Hawks. They have their underdog cape on and are doing all they can to obtain victory. Even if they do not achieve their ultimate goal, we can be happy they gave their best effort.
3: Derrick Rose can carry the Bulls to the Finals. Rose is the most exciting player in the playoffs. I can say this without any doubt in my mind. Kobe Bryant is exciting but we have seen it before. The Heat with Dwayne Wade and Lebron James are fun to watch but playing the Sixers they will coast into the next round of the playoffs. Even the Celtics or Magic have no one who compares to watching Rose put together performances that is a beauty to behold. Rose has been carrying the Bulls on his back throughout the first two games. He has developed that “killer instinct” all great closers have and the shots he creates for himself are just amazing. While the rest of the Bulls team has some decent role players, they are all just hanging on the coattails of “Super Rose.” While I do not think, Rose can maintain the level of play he has demonstrated in the first two games. I do believe he will do enough to keep the Bulls winning to make it the Bulls first NBA Finals since the Jordan Era.
The Playoffs are just starting and I am more excited this year about them than in previous years. The games have had more last second finishes. The superstars have showed up and the majority of the underdog teams are playing their best basketball. It will definitely be interesting to see how the playoffs pan out. The best teams will win, but this year that is not so clear.
The NBA season is almost over and the playoffs are right around the corner. Every team that is going to make the playoffs wants to hoist the trophy at the end. Some teams have a better chance than others to accomplish the goal of winning it all. Many teams have already clenched their perspective spots.
The Lakers and Bulls are making a case for their own run at the title. Derrick Rose is playing at an extremely high level recently. He is showboating and throwing down double clutch reverse slams. Kobe is quietly throwing down 30 points a night and the Lakers are cruising into the playoffs. The Spurs have the best record in the West and are making some noise. The Celtics are always a threat no matter what year it is. Then there is the Miami Heat, the proposed Super-Team, is living up to their potential. The Heat are still optimistic for the post season. With all that being said, which current playoff team will come out on top?
I am favoring the Lakers to win it all again and there are some very good reasons. The three reasons I believe the Lakers will repeat are below.
Reason #1: The Lakers have size and length. With Lamar Odom, and the Twin Towers of Pao Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Lakers can match up with anyone size wise. They can dominate the center, with blocks, rebounds and just straight up presence. Bynum averages close to 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Pao Gasol averages 18.8 points a game and 10.2 rebounds a game. Lamar Odom averages 14.3 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. Most teams do not have such domination in the middle, which is why teams hate to play the Lakers. In addition, during playoff time the Lakers play at a much higher level. This means the Odom, Gasol and Bynum can even be better in the middle and that is just plain scary.
Reason #2 : The Lakers have the experience. They have been here before and have had success. The Lakers have faced adversity, the team has learned to win hostile arenas and overcome the home field advantage. The Lakers have even had to find ways to win when their superstar player was having a bad night. They have persevered no matter the situation. They have a great leader on the floor in Kobe Bryant. The Lakers have the best coach in the league in Phil Jackson. One thing the Lakers know how to do is win championships.
Reason # 3: Kobe Bryant. Despite all the bad publicity Kobe achieves from various off the court activities, he is possibly the best player in the league. Kobe Bryant is not only a prolific scorer who stays atop the leader board in scoring but he is a true closer. Even if Kobe Bryant does not score 30 points in a game, when the game is on the line any coach could depend on him to come through and get the win. In addition, Kobe Bryant knows what it takes to go through the playoffs and win the NBA Championship. He uses that experience to keep his teammates motivated, inspired, and overall play better. Kobe Bryant is one of the best leaders in the league and he brings out the best in his teammates.
For these reasons, I am believing that the Los Angeles Lakers have the best chance to become NBA Champions. They can make the run through the playoffs all the way to the end. The Lakers will have their three peat and we will see them spraying champagne once again.
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