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Monday, April 28, 2008

Lakers Sweep Nuggets

The Los Angeles Lakers brought out their brooms in Game 4 of their playoff match-up with Denver as they beat the Nuggets 107-101. This series has been the only sweep of this season's post-season.

The Nuggets tried to get back into the game through the efforts of J.R. Smith. But Smith's efforts weren't enough. Kobe Bryant then took over when it mattered most scoring nine points in a row in the 4th quarter and lead the Lakers to a 107-101 win over the 8th seeded Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers didn't really have a good game, but the Nuggets didn't take advantage of the Lakers' sloppy game. Aside from J.R. Smith, none of the Nuggets seemed pumped up to win this game against L.A.

Hawks Stun Celtics...Again!

The Atlanta Hawks stunned the Boston Celtics once again by beating them 97-92. Joe Johnson, who gave much praise to rookie teammate Al Horford for their game 3 win, took on the leader's role in game 4. Johnson scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and answered almost every basket the Celtics converted down the stretch. Now, a game 5 is already in the works in a series that many experts believed would not go beyond the fourth game. The Hawks have the worst record among all playoff teams this season. But that didn't hinder them from showing the world that when playoff time comes, regular season records doesn't matter.

Josh Smith added 28 points and a franchise playoff record-breaking 7 blocks for the Hawks, who have the youngest roster in the playoffs today.

After getting blown out in the first two games, Atlanta became a different team on their home turf. Rookie Al Horford got into Paul Pierce's face after making a shot in game 3, prompting the Boston forward to flash a menacing gesture. Pierce was fined $25,000 before the start of game 4. Then in the second quarter of game 4, Kevin Garnett elbowed Zaza Pachulia that prompted a heated forehead-to-forehead argument.

The game started as if the Celtics would blow the Hawks away. But that all changed when Johnson unleashed his scoring prowess. Instead of heading back to Boston with a 3-1 lead, The Celtics go into game 5 - which I don't think Celtics fans had tickets to before game 3 - with the series tied. The most lopsided series on paper, is now the most interesting series in the playoffs. Beating the Celtics on their homecourt will be the ultimate test for the Hawks. They should expect that Joe Johnson will be a marked man. Other players should now step up and contribute if they want an upset to happen in this series.

Jason Kidd Ejected in Game Four

Jason Kidd was ejected in game four of their first round playoff series with the New Orleans Hornets for a flagrant foul 2 on Jannero Pargo. There has been a debate on wether or not the foul was intentional or not. Based on my analysis of the replay, I think Jason Kidd went first for the ball, but when he got hold of Pargo's neck, he slammed Pargo down to the floor. Was the foul premeditated? I don't think so. Did Jason Kidd deserve the ejection? Definitely. This is already a pretty heated playoff series and the NBA doesn't want it to get out of hand. They want it to be physical, but not dirty.

As for game five, I think the Hornets would wrap the series up. And after the final horn, Mark Cuban should think about all the moves he has to do this off-season.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What Should The Dallas Mavericks Do?

If the Mavericks do not survive their first round match-up with the New Orleans Hornets, what should they do in the off-season? Would Mark Cuban regret trading Devin Harris Away? For now, there are reports that the most obvious move Cuban would make is to fire Head Coach Avery Johnson. Would that be a wise move? Stats wise, it is. Avery has a record of 2-10 in his last 12 playoff games, which includes the 2006 Finals collapse.

Another thing to think about is whether or not to keep Jason Kidd. The move that brought Kidd to Dallas was supposed to be an upgrade for this season...nothing beyond this season. A rebuilding process might not be that appealing to team leader Dirk Nowitzki, so what other options does Cuban have? Can Dallas pull-off what Mitch Kupchak did in LA? Kupchak made the Lakers a contender in an instant. Does Cuban have the pieces and connections (some say this is how Kupchak acquired Gasol for virtually nothing from the Grizzlies) to be able to acquire the right pieces in the off-season for a legitimate shot at the Championship in the future?

Right now, the Mavericks are just hoping that they could still salvage this season and just win it all as to avoid any panic rebuilding. By winning the title, Mark Cuban can say that all the moves he has done has finally paid off. But until that happens, Cuban has to think of ways to bring back the Mavericks to the top of the NBA.

Manu is The Man!!!

Manu Ginobili, winner of this season's Sixth Man of the Year, has clearly been the best player on the Spurs' roster this season. I was watching game 2 of the Suns-Spurs series and it is just amazing to watch how Manu Ginobili just took control of the game when the Suns repeatedly tried to make a run. When the Spurs were having trouble scoring, they just give it to Manu, and he either scores, or creates plays for his teammates. Tony Parker is right when he said that Manu has been their Best Player the whole year.

Manu Ginobili isn't coming off the bench because he isn't starter quality. He just comes off the bench because it fits the Spurs' system better. By coming off the bench, the Spurs will still have a superstar even when Pop decides to sit Duncan or Parker after while. Plus, by coming off the bench, Ginobili is still fresh as compared to the other superstars on the other team who are probably worn out because of the running. The Spurs are known to be Tim Duncan's team. But I think as early as next year, it could be very well be Manu Ginobili's team. Or at the very least, it will be the Parker-Ginobili tandem that will be the face of the Spurs. This combo is very underrated. I think they are better than the Billups-Hamilton tandem in Detroit...

I don't think that Manu is close in contending for the MVP this year, but I'd love to see him win the MVP award once in his career.

Spurs Not Ready to Give Title Up

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Garnett Wins Defensive Player of the Year

Kevin Garnett won the Defensive Player of the Year for the first time by a wide margin one day before Boston takes a 1-0 lead into Game 2 of the first-round series against Atlanta.

He had 90 of the 124 first-place votes and a total of 493 points. Marcus Camby of Denver, last year’s winner, was second with 12 first and 178 points, just edging Shane Battier of Houston, who received 11 first-place votes and 175 points.

“Any award you’re able to acquire in this league is a big deal,” said Garnett, who would much prefer his first NBA championship. “At the end of the day, it’s about winning.”

The 6-foot-11, long-armed forward is the major factor behind the Celtics’ climb from a mediocre defensive team to perhaps the best in the league. They held opponents to an NBA-low 41.9 field goal percentage after allowing them to hit 46.8 percent of their shots last season. And they allowed just 90.3 points per game, second-fewest in the league, after giving up 99.2 last year.

No surprise, then, that Boston improved from 24-58 last season to 66-16, the NBA’s best record, after trading for Garnett last summer.

“He’s changed our culture defensively,” coach Doc Rivers said. “That’s the most important thing, just the team part of it. Individually, he’s been fantastic, but I think his presence for the team is what stood out.”

Garnett Saves Celtics

Bucks Hire Skiles as Head Coach

John Hammond, General Manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, announced today that Scott Skiles, former Chicago Bulls coach, has agreed to a multi-year deal to coach the Bucks.

“Scott is a proven NBA head coach who has shown an ability to win,” said Hammond. “He was a passionate player at all levels of the game and that thirst for success has served him well as a coach. We look forward to what he will bring to this franchise and we welcome him and his family to Milwaukee.”

Skiles was fired by the Bulls last December after leading the team to the playoffs the past three years.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Chuck Liddell suffers hamstring injury

Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell has torn his right hamstring and has been forced out of a scheduled fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 85. The fight between Liddell and Evans was previously set to headline the event, which takes place June 7 at the 02 Arena in London, England.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sixers Shock Pistons In Game One

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The Philadelphia 76ers rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 90-86 in Game One of their Playoff series. Andre Miller scored 20 points and dished out 5 assists to lead Philadelphia and Reggie Evans added 11 points and grabbed 14 boards. Rasheed Wallace had a big game with 24 points and 9 rebounds but fell short in leading the Pistons to a win.

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