Assassin

May 30, 2009

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One of my best basketball buddies says to me this morning, “Kobe looked good last night.”  My response was simply, “He knew what time it was.”

The best closer in the game stepped it up to finish the Western Conference Finals against a game Denver Nuggets team.  A night after LeBron willed the Cavaliers to stay alive, Kobe put Carmelo Anthony and Denver to rest.  Kobe has that Jordan-esque quality of hammering the nail when the job needs to be done.   Like blood in the water, Kobe will hit the jumper, silence the crowd with a ferocious dunk, even block a shot or two.

No, Kobe is not Michael Jordan for various reasons.  2 of the most glaring are that Mike would routinely guard the best offensive player on the other team and Kobe has lost 2 NBA Finals (1 with Shaq), not Jumpman23 at all.

But currently, the NBA is fantastic and Kobe is definitely carrying the flag.  I think he will win his 4th tittle, but more importantly, his 1st title as “the guy”

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USA Olympic Basketball

May 19, 2009

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The 2008 “Redeem Team” was a refocus to the fundamentals and talents of the normal US Basketball player.  Coach K was brought in and taught defense and teamwork.  Team CEO Jerry Colangelo brought a sense of importance and value to being part of the team.  The players are now regarded as the cream of the crop and the next generation of superstars in the world of basketball.  Now as we are down to the Final 4 of the NBA playoffs, all 4 teams are led by an Olympian.  Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers, Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.  All 4 players were vital parts of the Gold Medal Team.

Now the US Olympic Team has begun the process of its next batch of National Team players.  I believe that out of the 2008 Gold Medal Team, Kobe and Jason Kidd are probably 2 guarenteed players that won’t return.  The nucleus of LeBron, Melo, and DWade should stick around to win another gold medal.  

One player that I believe should be invited to the camp is Rajon Rondo.  The exciting Celtics’ Point Guard is the perfect choice as a replacement for Jason Kidd  and is comparable to what Chris Paul or Deron Williams bring to the table.  Rondo knows how to lead a team of superstars, spread the ball, and fill in where he can.  Arguably the best defensive point guard, Rondo will lock down Patty Mills of Austrailia and Ricky Rubio of Spain.  This year, Rondo added his ability to finish around the rim to make him a complete team player.  Not a complete offensive basketball player yet, but with all that scoring on the Olympic Team, he won’t need to.

LeBron James signs his Olympic Jersey #6 more then his NBA jersey and has been quoted as saying that the Olympic Medal is his most important accomplishment.  Once again the refocus of the USA on the Olympic Basketball Tournament will make the World’s other powers better, so the USA team can not rest.  Rondo will help keep the momentum.


NBA 2nd Round

May 4, 2009

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It has been a minute since I posted.  My folks were in town and I was just on a trip to San Francisco, killin’ it with the crew.  What a time of year it is!  Both the Second Rounds of the NHL and NBA playoffs are set and the NHL’s second round is in full swing, with every series 2 games deep. 

The first round of the NBA was highlighted by the Chicago-Boston series, as it should have been!  A million overtimes, big shots by the UCONN guys and intensity for the ages.  I thought the Celtics would win, but it was vital for the C’s to get out in front, because I didn’t believe the Bulls could come back against Boston, they had to keep it close.  Cleveland looks great, Orlando looks good, and Atlanta won its first series in 10 years.  LA rolled, Dallas shocked my second favorite team, the Spurs, Denver looks great, and Houston got out of the 1st Round, finally. 

As for the Second Round, I see another sweep for LeBron James and the Cavaliers, they are so deep and so committed to defense, I don’t know how the streaky Hawks will keep it close.  Maybe they will steal one game.  Orlando and Boston may have the best match-up, Kendrick Perkins must stay out of foul trouble against Dwight Howard, I see Orlando winning in 7 games.

The West, I can see a Los Angeles – Denver Conference Final match-up.  Both teams are far superior to their Texas Counterparts.  Kobe vs. Ron Artest is a good match-up, but I don’t think that the Rockets can score enough points.  Denver has too much energy, scoring, and finally defense for Dirk and the Mavericks.

Can’t Wait!


Madison Square Garden!

February 9, 2009

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So I made my first visit to the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden in New York City.  It was wonderful.  As a basketball junkie, I am a little disappointed in myself it took 26 years to get to MSG, but I have made the rounds to gym after gym, so the wait made it all the more special.

We walked to the game from our hotel in the brisk winter air, I loved it.  The air really invigorated me and built my excitement for the game.  Just so many people everywhere and, oh my, the lights.  New York is definitely the city that never sleeps.  Bright lights and as you enter the plaza where MSG is, there is a certain energy that takes over.

Into the arena, just escalator after escalator took us to what seemed like the top of New York and boom!  Always the best part of going to a game, the first vision of the playing surface.  I took a moment to soak in the history, MJ dominating, Willis Reed out of the tunnel, the Big East tournament.  All of these great moments unfolded right in front of me.

Looking out over the court, seeing Spike Lee made me realize one thing, LeBron James will be in a New York Knicks uniform in the year 2010.  James’ desire to be a world-wide superstar cannot be achieved unless he takes over Times Square and Manhattan.  I can just see and feel the hype.

The Celtics, by the way, won a great game.