Bring On The Noise Bring On The Pain ………. It’s Now Time For The NBA
OK folks , the NFL conference championship weekend is here and with all due respect once both the AFC and NFC championship games has given us a result. We’ll have to wait two weeks before we’re all be entrenched once again, riveted in front of our tv sets or whatever watering hole we may well choose to watch Superbowl XLIV from. And with the venue once again being South Florida and that of Sun Life Financial Stadium ,formerly Landshark Stadium , in Miami, Florida. We can only hope that the game itself lives up the perceived hype and expectations.
Now don’t get me wrong, as I’m just as much an avid fan of the NFL as the next person. But once the lull has quietened down after the events of this weekend. For all sense and purpose , my mind will be wrapped around the events of the NBA at present and its goings on. I know that the broadcast outlets such as ESPN and Foxsports will do their ‘damndest’ to make sure that every story possible that can be evoked, will be told and that no stone will be left unturned in the pursuance of a story. But by my way of thinking, there are only so many stories that can be told about Brett Favre and as to whether or not he prefers going commando or wearing briefs. Am I jumping ahead of myself here in thinking it will be a ‘Favre envisaged Superbowl’ , with the Minnesota Vikings being the NFC representative in the NFL’s showcase event ? I hope not ! Because to me a Brett Favre Superbowl would be the ‘worse case scenario’ possible. I admire him as a player but as an individual, he does leave a great deal to be desired. Now all of the naysayers and admirers of Favre would no doubt like to admonish me , if not have me castrated for saying such things about their favorite NFL player. Be that as it may , I’m just speaking my mind here and that’s it !
Well the NBA season has reached its midway point in terms of the 82 game regular season schedule. Most teams have played in excess of 41 games while others have yet to reach that mark. And at present sitting atop of their respective conferences , in terms of having the best records in the league, are the Cleveland Cavaliers (33-11) and the Los Angeles Lakers (32-10) of the Eastern and Western Conference. And with the game’s top two players in the guises of Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and LeBron James of the Cavaliers leading their teams with a great deal of aplomb. There’s now talk that there could be a ‘Kobe and LeBron NBA Finals’ match-up’ ? Let’s not get ahead ourselves too soon. As good as that event could be and the fact that NBA Commissioner David Stern would be licking his lip with glee at the thought of such a match-up. We ought to remember that there’s still a great deal to play for and that nothing in this game is ever scripted. Well at least I’d like think so ! And that’s with due respect to the ‘often dubious officiating’ within the NBA during the regular and postseason. And these are the very same officials who David Stern implicitly trusts and neither he or Stu Jackson, Executive VP of Basketball Operations for the NBA will hear any criticism of them under any circumstances , whether they be valid or not. Which begs the question what ‘right of recourse does a team have’ when there’s been a blatant mistake made on the part of an official ? As we already know there are no do-overs in the NBA. So if you’re team hasn’t got its sh_t together don’t start to blame the referees. Your complaints and that of the teams will be falling on deaf ears when it comes to the NBA’s front office and hierarchy.
Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports
By Tom Withers , AP Sports Writer
Cleveland (AP)—As chants of “M-V-P” filled the electrified air, LeBron James(notes) locked his thumbs under his maroon jersey and made it pop off his chest.
The Cavaliers had beaten the NBA champions again, and James soaked in every second.
“This,” he said, “is what I live for.”
Cleveland showed its Christmas Day win over Los Angeles was no gift as James scored 37 points, including 12 straight down the stretch, and the Cavs, playing their first game without injured Mo Williams, beat Kobe Bryant and the Lakers 93-87 on Thursday night.
J.J. Hickson(notes) grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and Anderson Varejao(notes) made three free throws in the final 20 seconds as Cleveland swept the season series between the league’s top two teams. That could give the Cavs home-court advantage if they meet the Lakers in June’s finals.
A lot can happen between now and then, but the win gave Cleveland confidence it might be able to survive despite losing Williams, their All-Star point guard, who will miss at least one month with a shoulder sprain. Williams scored a team-high 28 in Cleveland’s Dec. 25 win at Staples Center.
Williams will be missed. But with James around, the Cavs have little to fear.
“He willed this win for us,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said of his star. “He has been doing that for us down the stretch, no matter who our opponent is.”
Bryant finished with 31 points but was only 4-of-15 in the second half as the Lakers lost the opener of an eight-game road trip. Pau Gasol(notes) scored 13 for Los Angeles, which shot just 33 percent in the final three quarters.
Bryant surpassed 25,000 career points, but he was unable to match James in the fourth quarter as both teams turned to their superstars. Earlier, Bryant was looking forward to a physical game and was eager to see how the Lakers would respond to playing “smashmouth” basketball against Eastern Conference squads like Cleveland and Boston.
Afterward, he wasn’t so sure the Lakers are rough enough.
Click on the above link to read the article in its entirety
Well last night the league’s two best teams in the Cavaliers and Lakers were pitted against each other in a regular season game. As to how much of an indicator as to what we ought to expect should the two teams meet in an NBA Finals series contest. Well, let’s just say based on last night’s evidence we could be in either for some glamor and entertainment or it all could turn out to be a downright bore. The Lakers for their part showed that without Kobe Bryant at full health, they’re pretty much open prey to any team with a mind to knock them off. It’s almost as if without the guard this Phil Jackson coached team becomes a ‘legion of walking zombies’ , not knowing how to play the game with any deftness and lacking someone to take up the reins once Bryant is down. And if you’re of the opinion that the likes of Pau Gasol, Ron Artest , Lamar Odom or Andrew Bynum for the matter , ‘can lead the team ? Then think again, as they couldn’t lead a group of pre-schoolers out of a playpen , much less lead a professional NBA team with any great aplomb ! It’s just not within their DNA structure or psyche. Talented ? Definitely ! Leadership qualities ? There’s no else on this team besides Bryant who possesses those prerequisite traits or skills. Without Kobe Bryant playing anywhere near 100 % the ensemble becomes a mere shell of themselves. Is it any wonder at times this season that Bryant has vocally chastised his teammates for not pulling their weight ?
Last night’s 93-87 victory by the Cavaliers was essentially about the roles of the two premiere players in this game. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James played their part in this game. With Bryant scoring 31 points and becoming the youngest player to amass 25,000 points at this stage of their NBA career. Yet another illustrious milestone attained in a remarkable and a certain ‘Hall of Fame career ‘ by Kobe Bryant. James for his part scored 37 points, in leading all scorers for the game. But in terms of team assistance from the Lakers’ front-line starters and from off the bench. Well let’s just say it wasn’t visible at all. The next highest scorer for the Lakers on the night was 13 points contributed by Gasol. Other than that it was a minuscule offensive effort and output by this Lakers’ offense. And defensively they weren’t that much better either. By now one would’ve thought that the ‘Zen Master’ as in Phil Jackson would be castigating his players after such a poor display. But as we all know Phil is the kind of coach that lets lapses such as this just fall by the wayside without paying it all that much attention. And any coach in the NBA might be having a fit or capitulating under the pressure being brought to bear by their front office. Not Phil Jackson, as he marches to the beat of a different drum.
Cavaliers’ coach , Mike Brown has got to be pleased by his team’s effort last night. Though it has to be said that there has to be a greater contribution coming from other players on the roster , as well as from off the bench. Much as in the same way that the Lakers are reliant on Kobe Bryant for his leadership and offensive presence. The same can be said of LeBron James and his value to the Cavaliers and their offensive productivity. With center, Shaquille O’Neal now in the waning days of his career , it has to be said that the same voracious explosiveness that we all too often witnessed in Shaq’s early years, is now no longer there. We now only get momentary flashes of what once made him the most feared center in ‘the entire’ NBA. As to who now assumes that particular mantel , l’ll leave that all up for you to decide.
This Cavaliers’ team will only go as far as James can take them on his broad shoulders. But teammates such as Zydrunas Ilgauskas , Delonte’ West , Mo Williams , Daniel Gibson, Shaquille O’Neal and Anderson Varejao will have to be more of a contributing factor in the success that the organization seeks. Cavaliers’ owner, Dan Gilbert and the team’s GM, Danny Ferry certainly have a great deal riding on this season. With the prospect of quite possibly losing LeBron James to ‘free agency’ at the culmination of this season. This last ditched attempt ‘to win an NBA championship’ might just be the only chance that the organization has to retain the services of the player. And amongst the desired ‘crop of free agents’ that will come to the market, LeBron James stands out amongst them all. And amongst those who’ll be there, are elite players such as Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Steve Nash and Manu Ginobli. All of whom will become unrestricted free agents. Many of these players will be the desired choice of a number of teams around the league of some star power as well as someone can contribute to that organization’s desired success.
Now we know that some of the aforementioned players more likely than not will re-sign with their prospective teams. But there continues to be growing speculation that LeBron James will bolt from the Cavaliers for ‘greener pastures’. As to where that final destination may well be , who can say ? But it’s clear that teams such as the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat will make a full court press to obtain the player. In the Knicks’ case, money may not be an object , as General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, Donnie Walsh seeks to replenish a roster that’s devoid of talent and creativity. The team’s coach , Mike D’Antoni still struggles to have this roster playing as a cohesive team unit. And this is mirrored in the team’s somewhat moribund 17-24 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
As if we needed another reason why not see that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are ‘the most marketable faces’ in all of the NBA. Then these series of Nike commercials should be all the reason you need to know why. Watch them each in their entirety and enjoy hilariousness of each of the ads in question. The comedic aspects are to be appreciated in their essence alone ! Especially the ones featuring ‘Lil Dezzie’ .
As to whether or not LeBron James leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers will be very much be predicated upon the success that they can attain in the postseason. Anything short of raising the Larry O’Brien trophy and we may well see the Akron , Ohio native hearken the calls of undoubted millions that he’ll no doubt be able to earn elsewhere. The bright lights of ‘The Big Apple’ and Madison Avenue beckons. And the lure there continues to be all the more appealing for the young phenom. The Knicks’ fans there, are more than willing to welcome him with open arms. But the caveat here will be …..’one man cannot a team make’ ! LeBron James is a very talented player but he’s certainly no Michael Jordan !. And that’s essentially what the awaiting fans there in New York are indeed expecting ‘ ……..the second coming of MJ’. Jordan that is , not Michael Jackson . ‘The Gloved One’ , I don’t believe was ever that athletic to begin with but he had some great dance moves !