69 posts tagged NBA
Second Unit Success Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams put aside their future borough rivalry for a huge spark off the bench for the USA side on Tuesday evening against a 55 point underdog in Tunisia. After Coach K yanked the entire first team after a lack luster performance in the first quarter, he quickly went to his entire second unit in Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguadala, and Kevin Love whose high energy, defensive aggressiveness and physical dominance helped to wake up the American side and once again bring notice to the rest of the world of which team is here to win gold.
Coach K was so pleased with the performance of this unit that he even went with them to start the second half and it payed massive dividends as Team USA opened the half on a 21-3 run to blow the game open and get back to a comfortable position. Kevin Durant, the USA starting forward had this to say, ”That was a great lift, man. That’s the best thing about this team, there’s no drop off,” said Durant. “We’ve got All-Stars off the bench. Those guys did a great job for us.”
To me, this is why this team is unbeatable, regardless of the lack of size, because on any given night someone is bound to take off for a high scoring performance. On this given evening it showed how even when the brightest stars in the sports world may not be on their A game, there are perennial all stars who are ready to fill right in and take the reigns as leader for the night.
Durant Showing Kevin Durant led the USA national team over rivals Argentina 86-80 yesterday afternoon in Barcelona while sporting the 92’ Dream Team jerseys. Besides a late push from the veteran Argentinian team late, which presents many NBA players such as, Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino, Andres Nocioni, and newly acquired New York Knicks point guard, 35-year-old, Pablo Prigioni, the Americans really handled this game well and were in control for most of it behind Durant’s lights out shooting from beyond the arc as he finished with 27 points.
Many of the players for Team USA were satisfied with the game and happy they got some real competition before enterting the London games as Bryant said after the game, ”It’s tough. Argentina’s a very good team, very tough-minded,” Kobe said. “They continue to play hard and for us it was a big challenge to try to put the game away, we could just never do it.”
Team USA will face its toughest competition yet on Wednesday when they have their final exhibition game vs the #2 ranked Spanish side that will definitely give Team USA some trouble with their size as they play behind both Gasol brothers and Serge Ibaka. It will be interesting to see what type of line-ups are presented and how this game plays out between these two teams as neither side wants to show too much before the real games but both sides want to send a message before the London Games begin. Be sure to tune in to that one.
Houstanity The “Lin” era is officially over in New York as of 11:59 E.T. last night the Knicks did not match the offer sheet that Jeremy Lin signed with Houston which officially makes him a Rocket. Since free agency began all signs pointed to the fact that the Knicks were going to match any offer that was presented to them for Lin, however, when they made the surprised sign and trade with Portland to receive veteran point guard, Raymond Felton, eyebrows began to be raised.
As it turns out for any reason that we are unsure of yet, James Dolan, the Knicks owner, and the rest of the front office decided for whatever reason to go down a different path as they feel that the duo of Kidd and Felton is more then enough to compensate for the loss of Lin.
After being silent for quite a while, Lin tweeted last night, ”Much love and thankfulness to the Knicks and New York for your support this past year…easily the best year of my life#ForeverGrateful.” This will defiantly be a side story all year and I’m sure every New Yorker will be following his every step this year to see what he truly is capable of for a full season.
Presidential Mandate One of the highlights of the night in Washington when the United States basketball team took on Brazil was the presence of Barack Obama. Through his halftime speech which was amazing, the President talked up his skills and knowledge of the game of basketball and even gave his two cents on the heated debate this country has been having the past few weeks. Obama stated on the matter of the ‘92 team vs the 2012 team the following, “This is a generational thing. I was around in ‘92, I was a Bulls fan, so I’ve got to go with the original Dream Team.”
Who do you think would win the game?
(Go to espn.com for more coverage)
Some Mayo For the Mavericks The Dallas Mavericks and free agent, O.J. Mayo have come to an agreement on a one-year deal with a player option for the second year that will bring Mayo to Dallas. Mayo has averaged 15.2 points a game for his career, but has been slowed down by his reduced bench role on the Grizzles. He will be eager to show his full arsenal in Dallas and definitely has the potential to blossom into a star down in Texas.
Mayo tweeted, ”I will be signing with dallas! #Mavsnation.” Not long after, Mavs owner Mark Cuban tweeted: “Welcome to the family OJ. We are fired up !! MFFL Mavs/Mayo Fan For Life.”
Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have quickly turned around a disastrous offseason in which he lost pretty much every key piece to the championship team from two years ago besides Dirk, into a team that can definitely compete for a playoff spot this year with young and up and coming point guard, Darren Collison, veteran big men, Chris Kaman and Elton Brand as well as Dahntay Jones. On top of all these signings, he has also managed to save a lot of cap space for next years free agency period where they plan to go after some big name players.
Addition By Subtraction? The New York Knicks officially announced their sign and trade with the Portland Trail Blazers last night that will send Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric whose deal is not guaranteed this season, to Portland. Also included in the deal was Kostas Papanikolaou, the Knicks’ 2012 second-round draft pick, Giorgos Printezis and a protected future second-round draft pick.
The Knicks will bring Felton back to the Garden under a contract of three years and $10 Million, hoping that he brings back some of the magic he had in his last stint in New York before the Carmelo sweepstakes when he averaged 17 points and 9 assists a game.
The flip side of this whole deal is that many people believe this means the end to “Linsanity” in the Big Apple. The Knicks have until 11:59 E.T. tonight to make a decision and this story has been swirling around the city for weeks now. It has gone from a automatic resigning to a likely departure for the Knicks and Lin.
Many questions are making this to be one complicated issue, such as, Do you believe Lin is as good as he was last year? Is he worth all of that money, including the luxury tax that the Knicks will have to pay? Is he a tradable asset down the road if he doesn’t work out? How much of a difference will Lin be compared to Kidd and Felton? Today is the big day for the Knicks organization and it will be interesting to see what road they choose to go down, stay tuned for more news…
Presidential Performance The USA basketball team got off to a sluggish start last night against a strong Brazil side, which features a number of NBA players such as, Anderson Varejao, Nene, Leandro Barbosa, and Thiago Splitter. The slow start had the crowd a little worried until midway through the 2nd quarter, when recently crowned MVP, Lebron James, decided it was his time to take over. Through his stifling defense and aggressive play, Lebron dropped a devastating 30 points on the Brazilians, including 14 in the final quarter and a performence that wowed the only man in attendance who could steal the thunder from these players, U.S. President, Barack Obama.
Obama kept his promise and was present at last nights game with his family, alongside, Vice President, Joe Biden. Lebron went on to add, ”You have dreams about being in the NBA. You have dreams about making the game-winning shot at the buzzer. You never have dreams about having the president actually watching you play, because you don’t think it’s possible,” he said. “It’s definitely humbling, to see him here, the first lady and their kids here to watch us play. Really, it’s amazing.”
With help from Durant adding 11 points and another 10 from Chris Paul, the U.S. team will travel to Europe to continue it’s warm-up games as the Olympics are slowly creeping up on us. Hopefully this team will continue to work out any other cobwebs they have as the sloppy first half play from last night will not fly in the knockout stages next month.
Coming Out Party Austin Rivers made his debut in professional basketball yesterday as his New Orleans Hornets took on the Portland Trail Blazers. Although Rivers put on a solid display with 14 rebounds and three steals, his team fell short, and the Blazers came out victorious by a final score of 85-82. Fellow lottery picks, Damian Lillard finished strong with 25 points and teammate Meyers Leonard was big down low with a double double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
It’s always great to see the lottery picks play up to their potential so it’s definitely nice to see the three big names in this game leading their teams. The Hornets and Blazers are relying heavily on Rivers and Lillard to take their teams to the next level this year, and this isn’t a bad way to start.
(For more coverage of summer league, go to espn.com)
Lin Some You Lose Some After reports all offseason indicated the Knicks would resign Lin at all costs, matching even the biggest possible offer, it now appears that they will let the young point guard leave and join the Houston Rockets. The luxury tax costs of 42 million dollars to keep Lin were too much for the organization to bear, especially for a player with only 25 games to judge his game on. For Knick Fans, the only confusing piece must be that if the Knicks knew Lin would be too expensive to keep, why did they not try to trade him when free agency began and get something out of a player who could be especially attractive because of his marketing strength. Well, its all a moot point now, and the Knicks will have to do their best with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd running the show. The high costs of keeping Lin made the decision a clear one for Knicks management, but only time will tell if it was the right one.
(For more, go to espn.com)
Road to Gold Starts Now The 2012 USA Men’s National basketball team will officially kick off it’s run at a gold medal tonight when they take on the recently disappointed, Dominican Republic side. Coached by John Calipari, the Dominican Republic were just ousted out of qualification by a surprising Nigeria side but will take on the USA tonight at 9 PM on ESPN in a exhibition game to help get the Americans ready for real action. Carmelo Anthony went on to say that “this is a statement game for us” as he wants everybody who is going to compete at London this summer to know what’s coming for them when they get there. It will be interesting to see how well this team meshes together after only a few days of practice after being selected. Word is that Chris Paul will not play due to his injury even though he says he is capable of playing, Coach K does not want to rush him, so in his absence, Deron Williams will take the reigns as starting point guard. It will be intriguing to also see if Coach K will go with Kevin Durant, the rising start and NBA scoring champion or Carmelo Anthony, who seems to shine at international basketball and is a Olympic veteran at this point. I believe you go with the veteran and you go with stability, as the trio of Carmelo-Lebron-Kobe worked in 2008, so there is no reason to go away from it. On a side note, rumors have it that Kyrie Irving has been tearing up games for the USA Select team in scrimmages, check out what he’s been doing starting at 0:16 in the video. Looks like will be seeing him on the other team shortly…
Max Man Brook Lopez hit the NBA jackpot on Wednesday night as he officially inked a max contract with the Brooklyn Nets worth 4-years and $61 Million. This pretty much has taken the Nets out of the running for a potential trade with Dwight Howard and now are committing to Brook Lopez as the centerpiece big man for this team moving forward. This has got to be one of the worst deals in a while in the NBA since Lopez couldn’t manage to even get on the court last year and even when he was playing a high level two seasons ago, his level of play was nowhere near max contract worth. Lopez was adamant about the fact that he didn’t want to be a trade pawn any longer and how he wants to settle in with this team and start working towards championship contention and this move helps him do that. As for the Nets franchise and front office, they now have to hope that Lopez reaches his full potential and that this deal doesn’t come back to haunt them in the future.
(For More coverage, go to ESPN.com)
July 12th 1996: On this Day in Sports History… Michael Jordan signed a record one year 30 million dollar contract. That was a hefty amount at the time and still is today, but damn he was definitely worth it, leading the Bulls to the title that same season. Now a days, guys like Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert get the max for basically no reason, so even though 30 million seems like a lot to spend on one player, this was a bargain for the Bulls compared to what modern teams spend on mediocre talent.
Not So Dreamy Anymore Kobe Bryant is making some headlines with a bold choice of words at Tuesday’s USA men’s basketball practice by claiming that this 2012 team would pull out the victory if they were matched up against the 1992 “Dream Team.” I know people will attack Kobe for these comments, but I am one of those guys who actually has to agree with this as even though they don’t matchup with the size of the 92’ team, the Dream Team had a lot of aging players. This 2012 team is young, athletic, and extremely skilled. Lebron James guarding Michael Jordan and vice versa…? Who do you think would win this game?
Benedict Allen Ray Allen was officially introduced today as the newest member of the Miami Heat as he joins is old teammate Rashard Lewis as the latest signings for this team. His skill set will be perfectly applicable for this team and to see Allen work with the best passer on the planet, (Lebron James) will definitely be a must see this year. This press conference was definitely a little tough to watch as you hate to see families fall apart and this Boston team sure did take a little hit by this. As for the Heat, they continue to load this team with outstanding outside shooters to work with the drive and dish abilities that Wade and James displayed in the playoffs that seemed to work so well. Hate to say it, but the best team in the league continues to get even better. I’m sure all NBA fans can’t wait to see the first matchup between these teams and to see how both sides react. Hopefully will get to see some elbows thrown.
Human Highlight Clip Blake Griffin made news today by agreeing to a 5 year 95 million dollar contract extension today, the maximum amount for a player his age. Griffin is one of the more exciting young players in the league with his monster dunks and acrobatics. But until he has a more complete arsenal, the Clips aren’t going anywhere and the most electrifying player since Dominique might have the same career fate: never escaping the second round.