Archive for the ‘miami heat’ Category

It’s the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Miami Heat for all the marbles. A world championship is on the line. The NBA couldn’t have dreamt up a more sexy match-up for the finals.

LeBron James is 27 years old. He a three time NBA regular season MVP. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant is 23 years old. He is a three time scoring champion.

Two of the NBA’s bright young stars are on the big stage and have a chance to win their first rings to help cement their legacies in NBA history.

For the Miami Heat, it is their second trip to the Finals in as many seasons after the Big Three came to South Beach and promised not one, two, but as many as eight championships. (I don’t think LeBron was thinking of Eastern Conference championships, either. He has two with the Heat, and one with the Cavs.)

Miami got up 2 to 0 on Boston, then fell behind 3 to 2 before winning the next two games to advance to the NBA Finals. Not to mention, it was all behind the King or Chosen One, LeBron James. James played with that look in his eyes. That look of a champion.

If you like James or am a hater, either way, you had to be impressed by his historic game 6 performance where he had 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. His game 7 wasn’t too shabby either. He has silenced his critics for now. However, were are on the big stage now, the NBA Finals. Last year, LeBron couldn’t finish, he would play well for three quarters and disappear. It was like a magician’s act. Is this his time?

You can’t give James all the credit either. Before Game 6, people were questioning James, Erik Spoelstra, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat. Is James capable of bringing the Heat back? What if they lose to the Celtics, is Spoelstra done? What’s wrong with Wade? Will Chris Bosh play again?

All of those questions got answered. James had two big games to finish the aging Celtics. I have to think his three pointer in Game 7, which felt like it was from half court, was the momentum killer. Don’t forget Bosh’s huge defense and three pointers in Game 7 either or Shane Battier’s performance.

So, can the Heat win a ring now?

Out in the wild west, as Garth Brooks once sang, the Oklahoma City Thunder are rolling. They are formerly the Seattle SuperSonics, and are led by Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. In fact, Westbrook and Harden are 23 and 22 years old. So, could this be the start of a dynasty in Oklahoma City? Don’t forget role players like Serge Ibaka (I-block-a), Kendrick Perkins, Derek Fisher (he wants to one up Kobe Bryant and get his sixth ring).

For the Thunder, I am most intrigued by is the job that head coach Scott Brooks is doing. His team was down 2 to 0 to the San Antonio Spurs. They had won twenty games in a row. They’ve won championships. Yet, defying odds, the Thunder hand the Spurs four consecutive losses. The Thunder got nasty on the Spurs. Now, can they get nasty again on the Miami Heat?

All I can say is that this NBA Finals is going to be a heck of a series. Television ratings will skyrocket. Having two of the game’s best young stars in the Finals will make people excited about the NBA again. I know I will be in front the television screen every time these teams square off for the NBA finals!

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CHICAGO, IL - MAY 26:  Carlos Boozer #5 and Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls looks on against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Heat

 Boozer is still searching for a ring. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Carlos Boozer wasn’t (a much bigger) Robin that Chicago had hoped might pair with their “Batman”—Derrick Rose—to lead the team to their first Championship since Jordan’s 1998 curtain call.

This inability to produce in crunch time has led to speculation of how the Bulls might look to trade the All-Star forward, only a year removed from signing on as a free agent.

Boozer helped the Chicago Bulls reach the Eastern Conference Finals, but struggled mightily against the Miami Heat’s forward bruisers Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony.

The native Alaskan averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds per game during the series. Solid numbers, but not anywhere near what the Bulls’ brass expected after dishing out a five-year,  $76 million contract on the powerful forward. Boozer struggled with his defense, failing to stop a reborn Chris Bosh, and a transcendental LeBron James. The Heat defense snuffed out Boozer, and disrupted his chemistry with teammate Joakim Noah.

But could the Bulls trade Boozer? Boozer’s only one year into his five-year contract.A reason for a trade could be to unload his hefty contract to sign younger players who could help the Bulls. Namely, another big-time scorer to help take the load off Rose.

Here are five trade targets that the Bulls could swap Boozer for:

1. Miami Heat: 

Although this seems unlikely, it would be a perfect fit for Boozer. With the addition of Boozer, the Heat would immediately improve their low-post scoring, which outside of Bosh, is practically non-existent. Boozer would be better scoring options than Joel Anthony or Udonis Haslem, but is not in the same league as those two defensively.

He’s not as dynamic a scorer as Bosh, and he’s not as good on defense as Anthony. Seems like he’s in a bit of a limbo should he make the jump to Miami.

The final hold-up in this potential deal is Boozer’s hefty contract. He would have to take a pay cut if wanted to accept a trade and join the Heat.

2. Golden State Warriors: 

Carlos Boozer to Golden State for Monta Ellis. This trade would be good for the Bulls, as it would give Derrick Rose a running mate on the break, and a pure scorer to turn to with the shot clock winding down. Defenses would have fits trying to contain those two guards from getting into the paint. Kyle Korver would be in heaven, sitting out on the three-point line waiting for kick-outs.

The Warriors already have two other big men, David Lee, and Ekpe Udoh (they paid a lot of money for Lee, and Udoh was their 2010 lottery pick). Suffice to say, they’ve invested in those two, and it would make little sense to bring another big man in to stunt Udoh’s development, and cut into Lee’s touches on the ball down low.

For the Bulls, it would give them one more dynamic scoring guard to complement Rose. Ellis averaged 24.1 points per game, 3.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists a season ago.However, the Bulls would lose a solid rebounder, and big post player who can bang around with the NBA‘s best.

3. Detroit Pistons:

How interesting would it be to see Ben Gordon back with the Bulls? Very.

Gordon’s best years were with the Bulls, when he was instant offense off the bench, scoring with abandon in the half-court set and on the break. Rose would jump at the chance to add another premium scoring option in his side. Gordon was a sixth man who provided the scoring off the bench, but now, he could, and should, start. Gordon would complement Rose nicely at the shooting guard.

Throw in Kyle Singler or Austin Daye and the Bulls have a forward in the future to pair alongside Noah.

4. Sacramento Kings: 

This might seen far-fetched, but I believe it could work. Here’s why? Power forward (and, like Boozer, a former Cavalier) J.J. Hickson may have not played yet for Sacramento, but is he really a good fit there?

Hickson would be a solid player to complement Noah. Hickson’s season averages were similar to Boozer’s playoff averages, where Hickson averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Considering his contract is a pittance compared to Boozer’s, that’s not too bad in the way of production.

Hickson is only 23, and still has plenty to learn. Bringing him to the Bulls would give him the chance to play with Rose and Noah, as opposed to his current situation in Sacramento, where he has Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, and Jimmer Fredette.

The only thing that holds back Hickson is his hands. Hickson must work on getting his hands fundamentally better.

5. Orlando Magic: 

Carlos Boozer for Dwight Howard? Now, that would be intriguing, right? The odds are likely against it.

Howard wants to stay in Orlando, but also wants to win a title. Chicago has more pieces than Orlando—especially after that failed mid-season trade that brought Agent Zero to the land of Disneyworld.

I think Howard would forget about wanting to stay in Orlando once he gets out on the break with Rose.

Howard would have an elite point guard, and two rising superstars in Luol Deng and Noah. The latter in particular would take some of the defensive burden off Howard, and allow him to focus more on his offensive game.

The only question standing in the way of this potential deal is the Bulls’ inability to give up enough value to merit a move. Also, would Orlando want to take on Boozer’s hefty contract?

If the Bulls were to get Howard, they might have to trade Deng too.

What will and what should the Bulls do with Carlos Boozer?

Keep him, trade him? That’s the question.

It’s only been one year since they got him. They’ll probably hold onto him, and see if he can help Rose bring a title back to the Windy City this season, even if there is a season.

What do you guys think?

 

Hey guys and girls, it has been a while since I’ve blogged, and I thought I share my thoughts about what’s been going on in the sports world the last few days.

Well, first, the NBA Finals are tonight in Game 5 and the series is tied 2-2 after Dallas came back to win Game 4 against the Heat. In the last game, the Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki battled a 101 degree fever and still led the team to the win. However, it was the bench and Tyson Chandler that really stepped up. Chandler was huge on the offensive glass, and scored key baskets down the stretch. Deshawn Stephenson had three three pointers, and 11 points off the bench. What did he do yesterday? He called out Lebron. C’mon man. Just play the game. Jason Terry also stepped huge and will have to do again tonight.

More on Lebron. He didn’t show up last game with only eight points. As far as I am concerned, maybe he is tired. We’ll see if shows up tonight and gets the Heat the win.

The game is at eight Central time, and nine Eastern time on ABC. Be sure to watch.

Second, I am not much of an hockey fan, but the Boston Bruins have outscored Vancouver 12-1 the last two games and evened the series. Wow. That’s all.

Third, Terrelle Pryor and the Ohio State program continues to go down a bad road. Who’s gonna be the quarterback now that Pryor hopes to be drafted in the supplemental draft? Braxton Miller? He’s young, but has a lot of potential. I’m starting to believe my Wolverines actually can beat their most hated rivals next November. That would be fun and awesome.

Fourth, keep reading my blog, follow me on Twitter @samtastad, and I’ll leave you with some cute kid videos that SI Hot Clicks featured that are just awesome.

I’ll blog tomorrow. Be sure to come back! And be sure to watch the Mavs-Heat tonight! I promise it won’t let you down.

 

It’s already June, and Game 2 of the NBA Finals is tonight in Miami. The Heat have a 1-0 series lead after a great game on Tuesday. The big question tonight will be how will Dirk’s finger hold up? Will it affect his shooting? Also, another big question is how can Dallas stop the Big Three? Will they play more zone defense or man to man defense?

The NFL owners and players are talking for a third straight day. That’s good news, right? Let’s hope so. Demaurice Smith and Roger Goodell are at least talking again. There will be a hearing Friday.

The NCAA is still looking into the Terrelle Pryor situation, and all the cars that he has shown up to meetings in. Interesting to say the least. I wonder if Pryor will enter the supplemental draft or weigh out his five game suspension and come back? I mean the Big Ten is really winnable this season, as Michigan State and Nebraska are the top contenders. Wisconsin lost a few players, as did Iowa. Michigan is adjusting to Brady Hoke, but could win 9 to 10 games, too. Penn State could give the contenders some competition as well.

Ricky Rubio is finally coming to the Timberwolves next season, barring that there will be a season. The NBA needs a new collective bargaining agreement. I mean it’s about time, Rubio. Will he be a bust? We’ll see. I’ll say just a starter.

Did you guys see Orioles center fielder Adam Jones over the shoulder catch yesterday? Here’s the link:

Central Arkansas has a grey and purple turf now. Here it is:

 

Shaquille O’Neal retired yesterday. Here is a tribute to the man who won 3 NBA championships, and scored over 28,000 points:

Finally, to end our blog post, this video is going viral right now. I’ll give it a week and it will have a million views. Check it out:

 

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks goes up for a shot against Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 23, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals when the Mavericks went up 2-0, then
faltered in six games losing the next four. It was none the less Dwyane Wade’s
heroics and game changing plays that won the series for the Heat. Wade was the
Finals MVP. He had Shaquille O’Neal, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and Udonis
Haslem.

Nowitzki had Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, Devin Harris, Erick Dampier, Josh
Howard as his sidekicks.

Now the two teams have still the same players, but many new faces as
well.

For the Heat, they are finally living up to the hype when James and Bosh
announced they were South Beach bound. In Miami, Wade has a LeBron James, Chris
Bosh that make up the Big Three in Miami. Other sidekicks are Mike Miller, Mike
Bibby, Mario Chalmers, Eddie House, Zydrunas Ilgaukas, and James Jones. Haslem
is back for the Heat again, and this time Dampier is playing for the Heat
too.

Each game a different Heat player stepped up in leading them to victory over
the Bulls. Bosh had great games in game two and three. In Game 5, Miller stepped
up like the player the Heat thought they were getting, but injuries got to
Miller during the season. Haslem had a solid Game 2, and gave the Heat a solid
low post.

For the Mavericks, it’s been all about Nowitzki during the playoffs. Nowitzki
has played re-energized, and hungry for a title as he gets older, but has shown
that he can still play and is on a mission. His most notable game was in Game 5
against the Thunder when he had 40 points to lead the Mavericks to a huge
comeback and win in overtime.

// Nowitzki still has Terry to kick it out too on the wing and to get buckets,
hustle, and great defense out of. Nowitzki also has veteran Jason Kidd is
playing great basketball as Kidd is re energized and his game has soared during
the playoffs. Kidd’s three in overtime in Game 5 against the Thunder was huge
for his confidence. Tyson Chandler, and Shawn Marion have also stepped up and
been huge for the Mavericks. Other playmakers to watch for the Mavericks
are point guard Jose Barea, who has filled in great when Kidd is on the bench.
DeShawn Stephenson, Brendan Haywood, and Peja Stojakovic all have stepped up as
well.

Another huge aspect has been the jobs of Erik Spoelstra with the Heat and
Rick Carlisle with the Mavericks. Both Spoelstra and Carlisle have instilled
leadership into their teams, and given their teams the correct game plans and
motivation to beat their opponents in these playoffs.

Anyway, here are five keys for the Dallas Mavericks to have a successful
series and to beat the Heat:

First, don’t give up in the fourth quarter.

This is the most important thing the Mavericks can do. They didn’t against
Portland, Los Angeles, or Oklahoma City, and they definitely can’t against Miami
because Wade, and LeBron are just too good. Remember Game four against the
Thunder, the Mavericks were down 99-84. I’ll admit, I shut the TV off, but I
shouldn’t of.  The Mavericks were huge in the final five minutes and in overtime
as they fought right back into it and won. They made Durant and Westbrook
uncomfortable. Exactly what Nowitzki and company will have to do to the Heat.
They’ll have to bring that extra guy to put a arm in Wade, James, or Bosh’s face
or cover the lane extra tight with big bodies like Chandler, Marion, and
Haywood.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Also, In this series, they won’t be facing inexperience in Durant and
Westbrook. Wade and LeBron have ice in their veins.Start strong in games and
don’t falter when games get tight. Play smart offense and strong defense.

Second, get to the free throw line.

Dirk Nowitzki was excellent at making free throws against
the Thunder. He shot 97% from the line in that series. He was 24 for 24 in Game
1 when he dropped 48 points. In the series, he went 59 for 62. That’s incredible
to say the least. Also, in that series the Mavericks did a great job of getting
Westbrook, Harden, Perkins, Ibaka in foul trouble. Do that to the Heat early on
in each game in the series.

Third, don’t give Lebron, Wade, or Bosh get open looks and play up on
them.

Any one of the Big Three, Wade, LeBron, or Bosh are scary in the open floor.
Whether it takes double one of them or just playing up and in their face every
possession and the whole game, that is what it take to stop them and get wins in
this series for the Mavericks. The Heat are 40-5 when the Wade, LeBron, and Bosh
score at least 70+ points. Don’t let them do that and the Mavericks will give
themselves chances to win this series.

Fourth, make Jason Kidd  a factor.

Kidd was the spark in overtime with his go ahead three pointer in Game 4
against the Thunder. In the last series, he averaged 9.6 points per game,
8.6 assists per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 3.4 steals per game, and just 2.0
turnovers a game. Kidd is getting old, but can still contribute on the floor.
His defense was also a huge factor for the Mavericks as he guarded Westbrook and
limited him to bad shooting games. If Kidd can keep this up, he can be a force
and another weapon for Nowitzki to use to beat Miami.

Fifth, spread the ball around the perimeter, and
make three point shots.

The Mavericks have plenty of three point shooters. Jason Terry,Jason Kidd,
J.J. Barea, Peja Stojakovic, and Dirk Nowitzki. Spread the ball around and use
it as a counterattack when you cannot get inside the lane.

There you have it! Game One tips off tonight in Miami at eight. It should be
a thrilling ride for both teams, and fun to watch.