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Rick Senger
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Posted: 24 February 2013 at 12:06pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Yeah, Crawford has a pretty low shooting percentage and isn't known for his defense; Wall is certainly better.  Still, Boston is starved for scorers and guards right now, so it's a no brainer, especially at such a low cost.  And 1-11 doesn't mean much for a team that is already 28th out of 30 teams in win pct... it's not like Wash. played better without him.

LeBron and Miami are turning it on now... another triple double for LJ, 30+ for Wade and their 10th straight win.  They'd love the playoffs to start today, but there's still almost 30 games to go.  Better be careful not to peak early!
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Michael Thompson
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Posted: 24 February 2013 at 6:12pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Hoping Tim Duncan wins another title. This could be the year. In Greg Popovich I trust. If San Antonio gets to the finals, they will be an excellent match-up against the Heat.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 24 February 2013 at 7:25pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

My hope is the Rockets figure out how to play together better by the end of the season and win it all.  They have done well against the Heat and Thunder.  Still haven't beaten the Spurs yet.

How about the Lakers?  People don't even think they will make the playoffs.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 25 February 2013 at 1:21am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The Lakers are my favorite team, and they have had too
many problems:

Injuries to Nash & Gasol, in addition to bringing in
Dwight Howard who still hadn't recovered from his back
troubles and now has a shoulder injury.

Chris Paul is wearing the wrong Los Angeles team's
uniform thanks to David Stern.

Mike D'Antoni shouldn't be their head coach. He was a bad
choice, and I don't think he'll get to finish his
contract.

They probably should have tried to trade Dwight Howard.
He might decide to re-sign with the team, but right now I
don't think its likely.



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Rick Senger
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Posted: 26 February 2013 at 3:10pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

How about the Lakers?  People don't even think they will make the playoffs.
*****
Wilson, even though they've been playing better in the past 15 games, I'm beginning to come around to that position.  In their favor is their realization they have to step it up.  They seem to be doing so.  The problem for me is that the push will take a big toll on the key personnel like Kobe (old), Nash (old), Metta (old) and Dwight (injured) such that even if they do sneak in there at the end, it will have cost them much of the energy they need for the much heightened intensity and competition that the playoffs bring.  Before the season, they were the favorite to win it all and anyone saying they wouldn't make the 8th seed would've been laughed out of Vegas.  At this point, I think you're right and most people see it like that (or see them losing badly and quickly if they get in.)   If ever Kobe wanted to really enhance his legend, this is his shot.  Problem is, I don't even think Jordan could do it at this point.


Edited by Rick Senger on 26 February 2013 at 3:13pm
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 09 March 2013 at 12:35pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

If ever Kobe wanted to really enhance his legend, this is his shot. 
*****
As a Celtic fan, it pains me, but Bryant of late is doing it.  Two straight crazy heroic games where he got 40+ points with 12 assists and singlehandedly took control in crunch time.  He's playing out of his mind, distributing generously, shooting the lights out when it counts and driving/dunking like no 34 year old should be able.  He has long seemed selfish and prickly so I've grudgingly admired him through much of his career, but the way he's willing and carrying this team (which has little chance to go far) to wins in this stretch is awesome.  Utah seems to be falling back, too... only one game ahead in the loss column now.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 14 March 2013 at 7:25pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Kobe Bryant severely sprained his ankle after landing on Dahntay Jones' foot after a shot in last night's game.  Kobe says Jones "Jalen Rosed" him, referring to an incident when Rose intentionally stepped under him after a shot in the 2000 finals resulting in Kobe's 2nd worst sprain in his career.  Jones also has a history of dirty play versus Kobe, having intentionally tripped him in the playoffs in 2009.  Was this play dirty?

link

Edited by Rick Senger on 14 March 2013 at 7:26pm
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 15 March 2013 at 9:41am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Considering the prior incident between the two and the fact that Jones knows that he has to give the offensive player room to land, I would say YES, it probably was intentional.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 15 March 2013 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Yeah, me too.  I feel bad for Kobe and the Lakers, who were just finding their rhythm and making a good move.  Still, I wouldn't count out him out... conventional wisdom says at least a week or more but the Black Mamba has eerie voodoo powers not to be underestimated.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 15 March 2013 at 10:25pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Kobe showed he has a lot of heart...or pride to play today.  Not effective though.  Only the 15th time in his career that he didn't score in a game.  I am glad the rest of the team was still able to come through with a win over a tough opponent like the Pacers.

The Knicks are falling apart at the seams with injuries.

What do you think of Denver and Memphis' prospects?  I haven't been following them.

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 16 March 2013 at 1:32am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

What do you think of Denver and Memphis' prospects?
*****
Denver has an incredibly balanced offensive attack... 9 players are viable scoring threats so nobody has to dominate on a nightly basis.  Lawson is their top scorer at a mere 16.8 PPG but Gallinari is right behind as well as Chandler, Iguodala and Faried.  They give up over 100 points a game, though, and despite having a good winning percentage and an 11 game winning streak, I'm not sure they're ready for prime time against the best teams.  Super young... we talked about the Lakers and Celtics and Heat and Spurs and Mavs all being over 30... Denver only has one player over 30 (Andre Miller) and he's not vital.  If the team stays intact, it's going to get better each year. 

Memphis is not quite as good offensively (though they have six players averaging double figures) but they play the best team defense in the league (they allow the fewest ppg in the league.)  They're an
amazing 20-0 when they score 100 or more points.  I tend to favor defense over offense in the playoffs (you can't always rely on your jump shot but you can always D up)  so I have a feeling Memphis may surprise people. 
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 16 March 2013 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Thanks, Rick.  It will be interesting to see how deep these two teams with no "superstar" players (maybe Andre Iguodala?) go in the playoffs.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 19 March 2013 at 9:07am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

As much as I hate to say it, LeBron and the Heat played well last night.  I really thought the Celtics would be able to stop the winning streak.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 19 March 2013 at 8:20pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I watched it too, Wilson.  I was impressed how Miami never lost composure when Boston got their big lead in the first half and still had a good lead into the fourth.  The Heat just systematically, methodically clawed their way back.   Green played out of his mind and defended decently too but LeBron would not be denied.  I thought Pierce's shot looked good at the end, but it wasn't to be.  The rest of the league's best hope would seem to be that there are still 15 or so games left for the Heat to get injured or out of sync. 
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 27 March 2013 at 3:58pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Solid win by the Knicks in Boston last night without Chandler (Boston didn't have Garnett to balance things.)  The Knicks are showing signs of life with five straight wins.  Lakers again can't buy a break... now Metta is out until at least the playoffs if they get that far.  Miami's looking for 28 straight tonight versus Chicago, whose 72-win team is drawing comparisons with the current Heat.  Way too soon to even bring up such a comparison, though I admit if they break that previously unthinkable record and dominate on the way to another title, they earn some bragging rights with me.  But we're not there yet.  link
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 27 March 2013 at 4:47pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I agree.  The 95-96 Bulls were much more dominating back then compared to this Heat team.  I don't recall the Bulls ever getting blown out as the Heat have in the early part of this season.  If the Miami wins the rest of their regular season and Playoff games, then I might give them credit.

Re the Knicks/Celtics game, it was a good win, although Boston was at a disadvantage without Kevin Garnett.  Kenyon Martin has helped the Knicks tremendously on defense.  My only problem with him is that he wastes time showboating after a dunk instead of getting back on defense, which sometimes leads to an easy layup by the opposing team.

Re the Lakers, I like that they almost won that game with the Warriors after a ~20 point deficit.  Too bad about Metta.


Edited by Wilson Mui on 27 March 2013 at 4:48pm
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 30 March 2013 at 1:03pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Instead of complaining about hard fouls, LBJ should do what Michael Jordan used to do.  He would look for the players after the game and beat them up.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 01 April 2013 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I liken LeBron to Shaq in that often he gets hammered on the way to the hoop but is so physically powerful, you don't always register the hits he takes.   But LeBron needs to take a cue from Shaq and shut up about it because he does get the benefit of calls from the officials (as most superstars do) at times, too.  I have gained a lot of respect for LeBron, who is still much hated but has absolutely elevated his game in recent seasons (people forget he didn't really have the great post up moves he now has until the year before he won his championship-he works hard at it.)  He rebounds, steals, dishes, scores, shoots blisteringly. There isn't an aspect of his game I don't like - except his whining.

Kobe takes hits too but has become such a complainer that I think the refs often tune him out and don't always give him the benefit.  One of the underrated player skills to have is the ability to work officials and productively get in their heads when it's important.  Bird had it, Russell had it, Magic had it, Phil Jackson had it.  Jordan had it.  Kobe and LeBron - not so much.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 01 April 2013 at 11:36pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Are you in the camp that believes LBJ is a better player than Kobe ever was?

Could the refs today have become less intimidated by the superstar players?  According to Jayson Williams, Jordan used to yell at the officals and tell them not to call certain fouls and they would listen.  (Or was that something only Michael could do?)

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 02 April 2013 at 12:23pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

LeBron and Kobe are strangely similar yet strangely opposite. 

Both made the jump to the pros straight from high school.  Kobe was a low pick.  LeBron was #1.

LeBron has dominated the game from the moment he played whereas Kobe took years to get the minutes and become a superstar. 

Kobe was a proven winner from early on (three rings in his first six years) whereas LeBron took nine years to win one. 

LeBron has a history of unselfishness that he unlearned to win last year's championship.  Kobe has a history of selfishness that he's shown signs of unlearning but he's already got 5 rings. 

Over their careers LeBron is every bit as dominating as Kobe offensively; his shooting stats are miles ahead.  They're both great passers.  Kobe has the edge defensively, though LeBron is solid, too, so not a big deal.  LeBron is clearly a better rebounder.

From a statistical standpoint, Kobe is beginning to catch some of the all-time greats.  He just passed Chamberlain to move to fourth all-time scorer.  Kobe could catch everyone except Kareem (unless he keeps playing, which is possible). 

LeBron is 28 and Kobe 34, so LBJ has 6 years to catch up.  LBJ can easily do that because he is durable and was a superstar from the start whereas Kobe took three years to blossom.  If he stays healthy and keeps playing, I suspect LBJ will beat Kobe in just about every category to the same age (34).  The question is, how long will Kobe keep playing?  Kobe is currently playing at a higher level and doing more demanding things with his 34 year old body than I've ever seen in the NBA.  That's the X-factor.

The only real difference I see is achieving on the big stage and Kobe's done that consistently since the 90s.  LeBron has shriveled at times, though definitely not lately. 

The bottom line is, LeBron would need to win four of the next six titles in order to equal Kobe as a winner.  He is basically the equal or superior to Kobe in every other way.  I see Miami winning this year and having a shot at two more before this team requires another great or lucky move to get to five titles (which Kobe got when the Lakers got Gasol.)

So, to answer your question:  because of his advantage of extra years to excel and succeed, I think Kobe still has the lead, but LeBron has six years to catch up and I suspect he will wind up passing Kobe by.  
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 02 April 2013 at 12:38pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

BTW, I still think Jordan is better than either of them.  Better defender, better winner, and a better performer in the spotlight.  If Kobe could somehow win a sixth, he'd have an argument to stand on the same pedestal, but right now that looks like a longshot.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 07 April 2013 at 10:38am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

As usual, your analysis is spot on, Rick.

If the Lakers want to be a serious contender for the Championship again, what do they need to do?  Do they have all the necessary pieces already and just need Howard healthy again?
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 07 April 2013 at 4:22pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Another impressive win by the Knickerbockers... at OKC. 

Right now NY appears to be the only real competition for Miami in the east... they won three of their four meetings with the Heat too, so they're certainly capable.

As far as what the Lakers need, man, that's a good question.  When they got Nash and Howard and Jamison this summer, it certainly felt like an immediate if temporary upgrade, but that didn't turn out to be the case.  Injuries were a big hindrance, but I think they would have been in trouble anyway.  We knew they were old, but while veterans often don't exceed expectations, they are usually far more consistent.  This group has been wildly unreliable and has only fleetingly found chemistry.  The Lakers' defense has been pitiful.

So first, obviously they need to reverse the aging trend and get some young, athletic types to defend the pick and roll, enable the fast break and pick up the defensive tempo.  Howard was supposed to be the second scoring option and defensive monster/rebounder and he may yet get there.  He's rebounding much better since the all star break.  I don't see him ever becoming the big scorer the hoped.  He has the body but not the post up moves and his foul shots are never going to improve.  Metta is still a good defender and spot scorer, though he's at that age where it can all go anytime.   Much like Kobe and Jamison and Nash (who is clearly pretty eroded already). 

The Lakers are way over the cap, so I don't see them doing anything dramatic in the short term.  In the medium term, however, it's all up in the air.  The only one signed through 2014 is Nash.  Kobe is done next year, as are Gasol, Metta, Blake, Hill and Meeks.  Everyone else (including Clark, whose contract is going to go up) is only signed through this year.  If Howard leaves, it will free up space but the Lakers don't have their pick this year (Phx got it), and it wouldn't be a good pick anyway if they make the playoffs.  So the main players except Howard are signed through next year but after that it's the wild wild west and anything could happen.
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 12 April 2013 at 5:25pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I think if JR Smith continues to do well, the Knicks have a chance to go deep in the playoffs.  They need him as a second scoring option to Melo.  Also, Tyson Chandler has to be healthy again.  The team has no more bigs left who aren't injuried.

Re the Lakers, they definitely to revamp the team and add players who can execute D'Antoni's offense.  Otherwise, what is the point of having him as coach?

Looks like Derrick Rose is going sit out the rest of the season and playoffs.  I am surprised the Bulls are not putting more pressure on him to return.

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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 13 April 2013 at 9:15am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

More bad news for the Lakers with Kobe out with a probable torn Achilles tendon.  Hopefully, Howard and the rest of the team can step up and get into the playoffs without him.  I actually think they can pull it off and may even win a couple of games after that.
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