Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

Lebron Starts a South Beach Diet

July 8, 2010

I might be the only person on the blogosphere discussing this topic this evening, so I’ll try to hit all the high points.

I couldn’t help noticing that Lebron looked a bit uneasy this evening.  I don’t think he’s fully convinced he made the right decision.  Given that he had obviously given up on the Cavaliers situation for whatever reason.  If he considered them a valid option, he would have stayed there.

Given that was leaving Cleveland, I’m not sure that Miami was his best option.  Yes he, Wade, and Bosh make a great menage a trois, but there is no room under the cap for the Heat to go out and get the Robert Horry or Derek Fisher or Steve Kerr that is usually necessary to win a title.  Maybe the 3 superstars and 9 role players can pull it off.  They, assuming good health, should be in the upper echelon consistently.  But I fear the 3 of them will have to have a combined 80 points a game too often for it work between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

I think the best fit for him would have been Chicago.  Boozer, Rose, Noah, et al I think that team would’ve been the overnight favorite at least to win the East (I know my friend Nick disagrees).

Obviously with this decision Lebron is saying that it doesn’t matter much to him whether he’s Batman or Robin.  He was obviously Batman, would have been Batman in Chicago or New York.  In Miami Dwayne Wade is Batman.

This is a devastating decision for Cleveland.  I am a fan of the Cavaliers but its more tangential, being primarily a Pittsburgh guy that grew up a Bird-Celtics fan but always had loyalty to the Cavs being the most local team, so there are others better able to speak on the emotions of this.  The emotions will be very raw in Cleveland, especially if people notice how similar Lebron’s quote of, “My heart will always be in Cleveland” is to Art Modell’s, “I left a piece of my heart in Cleveland” when he took the Browns to Baltimore.    Speaking personally with a Pittsburgh analogy I was very angry at Barry Bonds when he left.  I disliked him strongly, and the last image of him as a Pirate being the failure to throw out Sid Bream trying to score from 2nd base certainly didn’t help him.  Only 15 years and a counter-reaction to the vitriol Bonds took from the overly-puritanical bender the national media has been on with regards to steroids in baseball got me to soften my opinion of Bonds somewhat.  There will be many Cavaliers fans that will never be able to forgive Lebron for betraying them.  At least for several years it could very well be true in Lebron’s case the old adage you can never go home again.  It will not be a pleasant scene the first time the Heat visit Cleveland next season that is for sure.

But in the long run Lebron made a business decision, pure and simple.  Obviously only time will tell on how it plays out for him.

NFL Goes to SCOTUS With Sherman Exemption Request

July 21, 2009

If successful, writes Lester Munson, they could radically re-wire the landscape of major American professional sports:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=munson_lester&id=4336261

I am no legal expert to be sure, but I think on a logical level one can make a substantial argument that the leagues are single entities.  I think its a bad thing if SCOTUS rules that way; players and fans alike will likely get the fuzzy end of the lollipop in a number of ways.  But, technically speaking, I think the NFL has a case.

East Liverpool Native Norm Van Lier Found Dead

February 27, 2009

In his Chicago apartment at age 61.  The Bulls standout guard of the 1970s was born in East Liverpool and grew up in Midland, PA, being a star member of the Leopards football, baseball, and basketball teams in the mid-1960s.  He played collegiately at St. Francis, PA before his successful NBA career which included several All-Star Game and 1st or 2nd team all defense team appearances.  After his playing career he continued to live in Chicago and worked in broadcasting.  Indeed, he was scheduled to work the pre and post games for the Bulls game with New Jersey Thursday.

Celtic Pride

June 18, 2008

Congratulations to the Boston Celtics, your 2008 NBA Champions after beating their old rivals the Lakers in 6 games.  I think quite simply the key to this series was defense.  The Celtics did a great job containing Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom didn’t the greates demonstrate of how to become invisible in plain sight since Jack Kemp in 1996.  The Lakers, on the other hand, did a great job containing precisely no one.  Whether it be Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen or your role player flavor of the night, the Celtics always had offense from somewhere.  That having been said it could’ve been a completely different series if the Lakers had finished the great comeback attempt in Game 2 and/or avoided the great collapse in Game 4.  But, of course, the Celtics pulled off that great comeback because of their defense.

Fortunately, though, the Patriots lost the Super Bowl.  Otherwise the City of Boston would be completely insufferable right about now.

Dick Beveta

June 16, 2008

Has been cause for a certain amount of talk because he was one of the 3 refs assigned by the NBA to work Game 5 last night in Los Angeles won by the Lakers to extend the series back to Boston.  Some seem surprised that the NBA would assign him given he is at the center of the allegations levied by Tim Donaghy that surfaced last week about the NBA fixing a playoff game in 2002 (he was one of the refs of said Game 6 between the Lakers and Kings that year).  A couple viewpoints that came to my mind:

1. Those are allegations the NBA vehemently denies.  So, from their viewpoint, why punish a ref, arguably the most recognizable ref in their stable, when he did nothing wrong?  He’s more than earned the right to work Finals games, so he gets to work Finals games.

2. Suppose the allegations are true, the NBA does engineer the result of games and have used Beveta in the past.  The NBA wanted the Lakers to win this game and extend the series for obvious reasons.  Beveta has stats showing him to be good news for the home team.  And, as I blogged a few days ago, I had little doubt this series would get back to Boston.  So they used one of their most trusted men to perform the task.  It doesn’t keep them from accusing those who believe Donaghy of wearing tin foil hats.  And, it worked, as Kobe got away with a clear reach-in foul on Paul Pierce in the final 40 seconds when Boston was trying to tie or go ahead.  Instead, the steal led to a dunk and a lead the Lakers never relinquished.

Either way, no one should be surprised they assigned Dick Beveta to work Game 5.

A Proposal for the NBA Playoffs Scheduling

June 11, 2008

Find a way to shave two days off the first 3 rounds of the playoffs, start them 2 days sooner, or some combination thereof.  This would allow for starting the Finals on the 1st Tuesday in June.  Reason?  Given that the Finals are played on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, there are a couple times that there are 2 days off between games.  It is also true that the NBA schedules the Finals on a 2-3-2 pattern of who is home, as that involves less cross-continental travel than 2-2-1-1-1.  If you start the series on a Tuesday, that lines up the two days off (Thursday to Sunday) with the two travel times.  You play Game 1 on a Tuesday and Game 2 on a Thursday in the city of the team with home court advantage, then you travel, play Game 3 on a Sunday, Game 4 on the 2nd Tuesday and Game 5 on the 2nd Thursday, then you travel, play Game 6 on the 2nd Sunday and Game 7 on the 3rd Tuesday.  I think that would more logically flow than the current pattern of starting on a Thursday, which causes them to play one game then take 2 days off, and to have 2 days off between the last two games in the 2nd city (in this year’s example, Los Angeles).  Both times only one off day on the travel.

And, while we’re tinkering, lets start the games an hour sooner.  Or at least 30 minutes sooner.  By not starting until shortly after 9pm, these games aren’t ending until almost midnight eastern time.  I realize that is an East Coast way of looking at things, but I think its best to have the game end at a reasonable hour everywhere, rather than begin at a semi-reasonable hour everywhere. {my apology to friends of mine who have heard that rant verbally for years, but I can’t help myself}

Tim Donaghy

June 10, 2008

Has put himself back in the headlines; likely no coincidence this story surfaced right in the middle of NBA Finals fortnight.  He is alleging that two referees slanted their officiating in Game 6 of a 2002 playoff series to favor the team trying to force Game 7, and that they did so because league offices had made it clear they desired said series go the distance.  The allegedly biased officiating worked and the series was extended.  I do not have perfect recall on past NBA Playoffs, but ESPN is reporting the only 2002 playoff series to go 7 games was the Western Conference Finals between the Lakers of Shaq and Kobe vintage and the Sacramento Kings of Chris Webber and Co vintage.  Stephen A. Smith was quoted on air this evening as saying he recalls the officiating of that game to have been an “abomination” as the Lakers attempted 27 4th quarter free throws, though it never occurred to him or the other media members at the time that the game was rigged.

Hmmm.  Stephen A. went on to say that this is self-serving by Donaghy, trying to, ahem, blow the whistle on corruption in the NBA, prove there was a conspiracy much larger than his gambling on games while reffing games, roughly a month before his sentencing hearing.  And this is all certainly true.  But it also feeds into the perception that the NBA is not always entirely on the up-and-up.  For example, I fully assume the Lakers will win Game 3 tonight and win at least 2 of these 3 at home; the Association does not want this series between flagship franchises to end quickly; its getting back to Boston.  What were the odds major market Chicago would win the Draft Lottery this year?  Indeed, how often does a team that “should” based on odds win the Lottery, outside the year the Cavaliers won because they basically had to have local product Lebron James to keep the team viable?  There is no tangible proof that things are rigged, but there are enough things that make you go “hmmm” that you go hmmmm.

Draft Lottery

May 21, 2008

Am I the only one wondering if this was fixed?  That rumor gets tossed around this time every year, but surprisingly I have not heard anyone in the media (maybe just not tuned to the right places) suggest it this year.  I mean, we did just have a major market team with a 1.7% chance of winning win.  Makes sense to me, fix it for the Bulls, bring them one more piece get them right back to prominence in the Association.  Any other tin foilers out there, or am I the only one?

If I Were in Charge of the NBA

May 20, 2008

Rip Hamilton would have to get rid of that idiotic mask.  Dude, your nose healed, what, 4 years ago now?  You look grotesque, you look stupid, its not cool, it serves no function, the magic ran out of it (as evidenced by the fact you keep losing every subsequent season somewhere in the playoffs), and it bugs the hell out of me.  Get rid of it!

Okay, I now return you to your regularly scheduled Detroit Pistons game, already in progress.

Spurs Win a Classic

April 19, 2008

Not a bad way to get must see TV, the NBA Western Conference Playoffs, started!  Tim Duncan for 3???!!!  Also excellent strategy on the final play after Nash hit the 3 in the corner to tie the game late in 2OT.  The Spurs knew that Shaq had been subbed out for the 3 point play offensive set, and Stoudamire was disqualified on fouls.  Further, the Suns were without timeouts, so their only chance to get Shaq back in was to commit a foul or have the Spurs call timeout.  The Spurs pushed the ball up the floor and Ginobli drove the lane lacking in tall Phoenix players for the relatively easy gamewinner.

The Suns could really end up rueing this loss.  They had leads late in regulation and in the 1st OT and could not make the key basket, the key foul shot, or get the key defensive stop.  Credit to the Spurs, played like a champion, and a game like this could really get them in Phoenix’s collective head.