Sunday, December 30, 2007

Like Sands through an hour glass

The Celtics early season run has been quite nice. Only three losses, a good start to their road trip, what's not to love? For me, it's Doc Rivers insistence on continued shitty coaching. What we know about the newest incarnation of the Celtics is that they are built for the postseason. They could get 50 wins in their sleep. And that's how it should be. The Boston Three-Party is all 30+. This means that their MPG shouldn't go much above 35. Right now though Doc is relying on his superstars far too much to win meaningless games in December. For instance, let's look at Paul Pierece's last 6 games:

12/30 vs. L.A.: 37 Minutes
12/29 vs. Utah: 43 Minutes
12/27 vs. Seattle: 43 Minutes
12/26 vs. Sacto: 41 Minutes
12/23 vs. Orlando: 41 Minutes
12/21 vs. Chicago: 27 Minutes

Other than the Chicago game, Doc is maxing out Pierce's minutes. This is unacceptable for a player who is over 30, has logged a boat load of minutes already, and is coming off of an injury plagued season. The Lakers game is probably the ideal amount of minutes for Pierce and his running mates to play.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Let the new Superstar Era Begin

It goes without saying that the League offices have to be overwhelmingly satisfied with the results of the Eastern Conference Finals. Lebron James, Boobie, and some other guys are representing the Eastern Conference. Better yet, they're doing so with the blessing of the Basketball Moses himself, Bill Russell (he presented the trophy that James holds aloft). Most amazing of all perhaps is that James changed the way he is portrayed and probably the way he will play in a single game. In game 5 Lebron certainly put on a great performance. I'm not among the chorus that would consider it one of the best performances in NBA history. Nonetheless, this performance showed that Lebron is capable of taking over a game and winning it single handledly. Given the sorid state of affairs in the Eastern Conference, it almost guarantees that we can expect to see Lebron in this position for the next 8 years at least. And thus he's starting to realize the massive promise that has been pushed in our faces since he first came into the league.

Can Lebron continue his ascent to the heights of the league by conquering the Spurs in this series? The reaction of Kenny, Charles, and Reggie on Inside the NBA after Lebron and Boobie vanquished the Pistons when asked this question by Ernie was telling. They all laughed and said no way. And this is not an indictment of Lebron at all. It's an indictment of his team, which is poorly constructed. If not for the very compelling emergence of Daniel Gibson, a second round draft pick this year, the Cavaliers would likely be at home right now. The Spurs are simply the better team and it shows in every facet of their game. Their passing, their defensive rotations, and their unselfish play. Lebron is too physical to be stopped by Bruce Bowen alone, but the Spurs will play disciplined team defense against Lebron and the Cavs. They will not take their opponent for granted, like the Pistons did and have frustratingly done for the last four seasons.

What do I predict for this series? I'm compelled to think that San Antonio will sweep the Cavs. I'm reminded of Shaquille O'Neals first appearance in the finals where he met the veteran Hakeem and his well rounded Rockets. These Cavs are less talented than those Magic as O'Neals team was not as entirely dependent on one player as the Cavs are. It's nice to have a fresh face in the finals to be sure, but the Cavs are not ready to threaten the Spurs for basketball dominance. Spurs 4-0.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Warm and Fuzzy side of the NBA Playoffs

There has been much to like and dislike from this current NBA playoffs. But watching Cleveland win the other night, I was reminded of one of my favorite things about the NBA playoffs. The emergence of a young player. Cleveland has that young player right now. Daniel Gibson. A second round pick out of Texas who is playing at a very high level right now. Gibson was averaging about 4 points and 10 minutes of burn in the previous two rounds. Larry Hughes goes down (surprise) and Gibson has emerged as the additional outside shooting threat and point guard that Cleveland has been hurting for. His game 4 performance was simply amazing for a rookie. On 7 shots (4/7) he scored 21 points! He was 12/12 from the free thow line as well. And he played a very steady role as the point guard. Kenny Smith noted that Gibson was showing point guard like instincts (the way he spaced the floor on a break where he threw an alley-oop to Lebron) and play (maintaining his dribble while getting bumped). He even changed his game from the third game where he was mostly a spot up shooter. In game four he was aggresive in driving to the hoop, as evidenced by his free throw numbers. As much as I don't really like Cleveland as a cohesive team, I've enjoyed watching Daniel Gibsons play. If Cleveland is able to upset Detroit, he's going to be one of the biggest reasons why. Kenny and Chuck said he's a veteran now with this performance, but that he has the chance to be a star if he does this on the road. I wouldn't go that far, but it's fun to watch.