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NBA – Golden State Warriors dominate the LA Lakers

by on Mar.27, 2013, under Basketball, Sports News

Golden State was able to open up a 23-point wining margin by the halftime break. And they never looked back. The Warriors were able to rely heavily on Steve Curry and his healthier ankle as he guided the team with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists to take a 109-103 win over the Lakers. LA gave it all they had, including a phenomenal second half effort from Kobe Bryant, who guided the Laker with 36 points and 8 rebounds. But it certainly wasn’t enough. The Lakers got 21 points, 9 rebounds and seven assists from the veteran Steve Nash, but that was about all these two guys got from the rest of the Lakers. Coming back from a foot injury, Pau Gasol was non-factor all game long. He could have easily won the least valuable player award for his lackluster effort. The Spaniard finished the night with seven points in a below average 3-for-8 shooting effort. He also recorded eight rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes.

It seems as if the Lakers go into real trouble when they start all of their stars. At least in paper a team that plays with Bryant, Gasol, Nash and Howard as starters should be a powerful and dangerous squad. Well, it seems that individually these guys are phenomenal, together, however, it just doesn’t work. And this is something that by all means has to be figured out by the Lakers head coach Mike D´Antoni. Even Kobe Bryant acknowledges the issue. “We just got to maintain our poise and just think about execution and what we’re going to do,” Bryant said in the postgame press conference after the Lakers dropped their third straight game. “You got to look at what teams are doing against us in terms of spreading us out and rolling the big, and now we collapse and we’re releasing the shooters. This is about the third game in a row that that’s happened to us. Not get overly emotional. Just look at what’s going on and just make adjustments.”

The Warriors also got a great performance from David Lee who chipped in with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Klay Thompson scored 22 in a game were the Lakers were going up-hill since the start and never got closer than 6 points. The Warriors are now 41-31 for the season and are on a game ahead of the Houston Rockets at 39-31 for the season and 4½ games in front of the Lakers (36-35) for sixth place in the West. The Lakers, however, are now only 1 game ahead of the Utah Jazz, which took a 107-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Salt Lake City earlier Monday night.

The Lakers big men were a non-factor. We already talked about Gasol, but Howard was not that much of a threat either. He finished the night with a technical foul, a bloody nose and only 11 points and 15 rebounds. He got in  a small fight with Lee and said that he would seek revenge at some point. D’Antoni, on the other hand, knows quite well what’s at steak here. “We’re trying to get into the playoffs right now. That’s more of a disappointment,” D’Antoni said. “But we still have time to figure it out. Still have time to get into the playoffs, still have time to make an impact. But time is running out.”

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A – The Oklahoma City Thunder defeats the Dallas Mavericks in OT

by on Dec.29, 2012, under Basketball, Sports News

At 12-17 for the season, the Dallas Mavericks are very far away from been the team that two seasons ago reached the pinnacle of professional basketball. Most of the pieces that saw the Mavs win the National Championship are still there, but either because of injury or trade, things are not exactly the same, and it is those slight changes that make the overall result be this different. The league, on the other hand, has also changed. Teams that just a few seasons ago were not expected to make much of themselves are actually been dominant and holding their ground, while, teams that were legacy, are now doing what they can to catch up. There’s an upside for all of this: the league is not only more competitive, it is very entertaining as well.

The Oklahoma City thunder were eager to keep on their momentum and rhythm while playing at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, winning their 11th consecutive game at home, and even though they had to go into overtime to do so, the Thunder outplayed the Mavericks behind Kevin Durant and his 40 point effort to take a 111-105 win. This time, however, it was going to be up to Russell Westbrook to bring on his A-game down the stretch. He has a very mediocre first three quarter, but he sure came out strong in overtime.

Westbrook took control of the game scoring 8 of his 16 points in overtime including a phenomenal streak were he scored six straight points after the Mavs had gone up 104-101 on Chris Kaman basket halfway into the extra period. Just to get them into the right rhythm, get them ahead and never look back Westbrook singlehandedly had a layup, scored a beautiful jumper over Dirk Nowitzki and then made a leaping steal of an O.J. Mayo pass that led to a fast-break layup. This was so outstanding and so nerve breaking for Dallas that the Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, was seen on television shaking his head in his seat near his team’s bench.

He had a phenomenal finish. Westbrook himself knew that he was out of this world in the last minutes of the game. “Sometimes there’s nights like that,” Westbrook said in the post game press conference. “You’ve just got to continue to play, fight through it and play your game.” His head coach, Scott Brooks knows that the player with whom he has had sort of a up-and-down relationship saved them on this game to improve their season record to 22-6. Brooks asked Russell to keep on fighting, to keep on been aggressive. And he delivered. “I love Russell. I love what he does. I love what he’s about. He competes every time. He’s a big part of why we’re a good team.” Said brooks about Westbrook after the game.

Dirk Nowitzki is coming out of injury and wasn’t nearly as aggressive and accurate in clutch time as we have grown used to. He wanted to keep the ball away from his hands in the final minutes and that could have cost the Mavericks the game. “I didn’t really want the ball that much,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t really feel like I’ve got the stamina, the lift to do something out there with the ball, make a one-on-one move.

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NBA – Houston Rockets take big risk to bring in Dwight Howard

by on Jul.13, 2012, under Basketball, Sports News

Do you really need a superstar to win the NBA Championship? Straight front answer, no, you don’t. And yet, if I do get a second chance to answer this one, I’ll just go ahead and say it: of course you do. In a league dominated by two players who hold down a very talented and prominent supporting cast, it is hard to believe that a small target team such as the Houston Rockets holds a chance unless they go out there and get themselves a big name. At the end of the day one has to realize that Kevin Durant with the Oklahoma City Thunder and LeBron James with the Miami Heat both have one heck of a supporting cast, and that seems to be the winning formula nowadays. Of course just last year it was the Dallas Mavericks who took the title with a combined effort, but then again, Dirk Nowitzki is as closed as you get to a star without really been a star.

So here is the tricky part: the Houston Rockets are willing to take huge risks to bring Dwigh Howard to play here. But to clear space and be able to make this offer something to which the Orlando Magic could be somewhat interested in, they have had to cut down on some talented players. According to the reports we’ve been able to recall, the Houston Rockets plan to release starting power forward Luis Scola. They will have to rely on the NBA’s amnesty clause to pull this one off. This is actually the third above-average starter that the Rockets have been willing to sacrifice in orter to absorb the contracts of Jason Richardson, Glen Davis and Chris Duhon, players who the Rockets would have to bring in from Orlando while also sending the magic a few first-round picks and some recently drafted players. Whtat is really going on is that the Rockets are willing to give the Magic a virtually clean slate in the payroll department so that the Magic can get their post-Howard rebuilding effort.

The tricky part here is that this is really not going to drastically change the situation for Dwight Howard. He believed that he needed a stronger team than the one he had in Orlando, but it seems at least from the start that all they he is really getting in case he goes over to Houston is a change of venues. That is unless the Rockets can really move things around with the players they will get and build up a little something new around Howard.

Now, this is just the beginning. Drogan Dragic, another taleted player in the rooster was traded to Phoenix as a free agent. It seems that in order to make space in the salary cap for Howard, the Rockets were unwilling to pay Dragic $34 million over four seasons.  As if that was not enough, point guard Kyle Lowry, was sent to the Toronto Raptors for only a top lottery pick. The thing here is that this risk could all go terribly wrong. So far there has been no real interest shown by Howard and at the end, they could very well lose plenty of promising players for a star that might just not make it there at all.

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NBA – New Orleans Hornets snap thee Knicks’ 5-game winning streak

by on Feb.19, 2012, under Basketball, Sports News

Jeremy Lin can’t win them all. At least not if he plays like he did on Friday at the Madison Square Garden against the New Orleans Hornets. Sure enough, Lin had been the responsible for what we could call the Knicks Revival, as he guided the New York Knicks, sans Carmelo Anthony, back into a .500 season, winning 5 consecutive games and breaking a couple rookie records. Sure enough, he has scored more points than any player in the first three NBA starts, but he was just awful against the Hornets. Lin finished the night with 26 points, but his 9 turnovers were almost doubling his assists. This 89-85 win on the road should certainly come as a motivational boost for New Orleans. Trevor Ariza guided the Hornets with 25 points, to help the franchise win three straight games after a 4-23 start.

Now, at 15-16, the Knicks are going to have to get their act together for their next matchup on Sunday, as the face the NBA defending Champions, the Dallas Mavericks, and it is quite certain that despite showing improvement over the groin injury he’s been suffering, Carmelo Anthony isn’t going to start. So then again, it will be up to Jeremy Lin to prove that he could actually make it work for the Knicks and that once Melo get’s back on the court, it would be Anthony who’s going to have to adjust to the Lin strategy.

But to be realistic, despite what Lin himself says about it, it wasn’t his entire fault. The Knicks shooting was just awful. Sure enough, Lin puts all the blame on himself: at least that’s what he said in the postgame conference. “Just a lackluster effort on my part coming out and careless with the ball, and so nine turnovers is obviously never going to get it done from your primary ballhandler,” Lin said. “It’s on me in terms of taking care of the ball and also the game in general (…) I think everyone wants to credit me for this last seven games, then I definitely deserve this one on my shoulders and so that’s fine with me.”

Amare Stoudemire took over the commanding roll with 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks. And even though it’s still uncertain what’s going to happen with the Knicks once All-Star Carmelo Anthony comes back from what has already been a 6-game recovery, one thing is for sure: they need to find a decent three-point shooter. Just consider for a second that the Knicks missed 20 of their 24 3-point attempts Friday night against the Hornets. As if that was not enough, New York was only 19-of-29 and looked as if they couldn’t get their rhythm going.

So, the bottom line is that Lin has been doing great things for the franchise and for his career. But there is still lot of work to be done to make the Knicks a true championship contender. Sure enough, Jeremy Lin has a whole lot of positive record-breaking stats, but he has struggled greatly with turnovers. His 45 turnovers are the most in a player’s first seven career starts since individual turnovers were first recorded in 1977-78.

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