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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 16 March 2013 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 1 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 | 2 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 | 3 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 | 4 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 | 5 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 | 6 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 | 7 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 | 8 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 | 9 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 | 10 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 | 11 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 | 12 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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