Thursday, June 20, 2013
Sunday, June 9, 2013
LeBron James talked to the media on Saturday and it became clear he was frustrated with his team. Waiting three days to play game two can have that effect.
"You think about it a lot and it eats away at you," James told Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com on Saturday. "But at the same time it allows you to really pinpoint ways you can get better."
As the Miami Heat players walked out for practice they were shooting long jump shots and James was the first to tell them it was time to shoot free throws.
Then, after the team began to shoot free throws, James noticed they weren’t focused. Within seconds Doyel said Lebron yelled at the team: "Hey, c'mon man." Stop f---ing around."
|LeBron James needs to be in attack mode if the Miami|
Heat are going to defeat the San Antonio Spurs.
This is the NBA Finals and the Heat are James’ team. He will take the criticism if they lose and the glory if they win.
He was the first to call out his teammates. He’s told the media that Chris Bosh needs to play in the paint and not outside.
"Wherever [Bosh] demands the ball in the post, we'll give it to him," LeBron said after game one. "We need that paint attack from him."
Oh and what about Dwyane Wade? He was supposed to be the Robin to James’ Batman? James knows he needs more from Wade.
"Even if sometimes you're not in the rhythm, I need to see your face that you're in tune and you're ready for the next possession and ready to move on from whatever is going on,” James said referring to Wade.
James knows he needs his team to step up. After posting a triple-double in game one where James tallied 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists, does he need to do more?
James is the best player in the world. It isn’t a secret. This is when the best player takes over. It’s the NBA Finals and if the Heat are going to beat the Spurs, his teammates will have to play better. However, James is going to have to take his game to another level.
In game two, James will have to guard Tony Parker early and often. Parker did hit the game winner with James on him in game one, but it took one of the most clutch plays we’ve ever seen in the NBA Finals for Parker to do so. James will slow Parker down.
In game one there were times when James passed the ball instead of shot. That needs to change. James taking a 10-foot jump shot is better than Bosh throwing up a 25-foot three pointer.
James needs to raise his game, which may sound like a crazy statement. After all, he did have a triple double. But, it’s not, because he is the greatest player on the court. His presence needs to be felt on both ends of the court.
James needs to attack the rim. There isn’t a single player that can guard him on the Spurs if he is attacking the basket. He needs to be aggressive and run. If he has the ball in the open floor and there are three Spurs back on defense, most players should bring the ball out and set up the offense. Not James. He should attack the rim and make a play for his team.
After four MVP’s one may assume James has reached the height of his powers, but he has more in the tank. He can dig-deeper and become even better. These are the moments he needs to shine brightest.
The King must be in attack mode in a must-win game two tonight in Miami. He clearly wants his team to be focused. But, LeBron, it is your team and it’s time for you to lead them to the Promised Land.
Maybe you should look in the mirror, before you tell your team to: “Stop f---ing around."
Thursday, June 6, 2013
|Will the San Antonio Spurs win their fourth NBA |
Championship or will the Miami Heat repeat?
LeBron James said he believed the Miami Heat would win multiple championships after he joined the team in the summer of 2010. Now, the only thing standing in his way is one of the most dominating teams in the past decade.
The San Antonio Spurs are the definition of success. They have won four World Championships since 1999 and defeated James’ Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0 in the 2007 NBA Finals. Since then, James has won four Most Valuable Player Awards and has ascended to the top of the NBA.
Can The King lead his Heat to victory against a Spurs team that has never lost in the finals? Will Spurs point guard Tony Parker continue playing at the level he has played at during these playoffs? The answer to both of these questions is yes.
Parker will play great against the Heat and will lead his team to multiple victories in this series. He will help Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili get open looks around the basket. After the Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals, my mind was made up. They were going to win the championship. But, as I write this less than 90 minutes before tip-off I have changed my mind.
James is The King for a reason and he isn’t going to lose his spot at the top of the basketball world right now. Not at the age of 28 and in his prime.
The Heat are just too good. Everyone talks about the depth of the Spurs. How about the depth of the Heat? They have a Hall-of-Famer coming off the bench in Ray Allen who is deadly from behind the arc. James will have help in this series. The help people were clamoring for in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Chris Bosh will play better. He was outmatched physically against the Indiana Pacers. There isn’t a player on the Spurs who can do what David West physically in the Eastern Conference Finals. Bosh will be more comfortable and become a big-time contributor in this series.
|LeBron James will lead the Miami Heat to back-to-back championships in |
a grueling seven game series versus the San Antonio Spurs.
Dwyane Wade has struggled in these playoffs. But, when it’s time to win he always seems to deliver in the clutch. The 2006 NBA Finals MVP knows how to win and wants to win as bad as anyone. Even though he is battling injuries, he will still outplay his counterpart Ginobili.
The Spurs have a real advantage at point guard with Parker. But, after that they don’t have any tremendous advantages. Is Duncan better than Bosh? Sure. Will he dominate Bosh in this series? The answer is no.
Both teams have three stars and have surrounded them with great role players. But,
who is the best player on the court? That is the one question that needs to be asked in a series like this. The answer is James. The Heat have the best player in the world and the Spurs don’t.
This will be a great series that we will talk about for many years, but The King will return to his throne in seven games, after the Heat defeat the Spurs and repeat as NBA Champions.
Prediction: The Miami Heat will defeat the San Antonio Spurs 4-3.
Game 1: Miami Heat: 102 San Antonio Spurs: 99
Game 2: San Antonio Spurs: 97 Miami Heat: 91
Game 3: San Antonio Spurs: 110 Miami Heat: 93
Game 4: Miami Heat: 110 San Antonio Spurs: 103
Game 5: Miami Heat: 110 San Antonio Spurs: 93
Game 6: San Antonio Spurs: 92 Miami Heat: 83
Game 7: Miami Heat: 96 San Antonio Spurs: 89
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The buzzer sounded and the San Antonio Spurs were NBA Champions for the third time in five seasons. They swept LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tony Parker thought this was just the beginning. He had just been named NBA Finals MVP at 25 years old.
|Can Tony Parker lead Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and the |
San Antonio Spurs to another championship?
Parker was going to be the next superstar of the league. He had three world championships and was on a team that was built to win more. But, the victories never came.
In 2012, they had their best chance, but lost four-straight games to the Oklahoma City Thunder after taking a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. Parker promised teammate Tim Duncan that they would reach the finals once again.
"I'll get you back to the NBA Finals," the point man told Duncan (via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports). "We aren't done. You aren't done."
Parker has delivered on his promise, averaging a team-high 23 points, 7.2 assists and shooting nearly 48 percent in the playoffs.
Now he finds himself against a familiar foe. Parker’s Spurs are set to face James again. A lot has changed since they last met. Since then, James joined the Miami Heat and is considered to be the best player in the NBA. The Spurs have stayed consistent. They are still led by the trio of Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili. They continue to fly under-the-radar and once again find themselves on the biggest stage, just four wins from another championship.
This is a challenge the Spurs embrace. They are the old heavyweight boxer that wants to win the belt one more time.
"Every team wants to beat you," Parker said (via J.A. Adande of ESPN.com). "And that's why it makes it even more special to go back after all those years playing at a high level with the same coach, with the same Big Three."
They are facing the young guns that came together for one reason: to win championships.
If there is one team that can beat the Heat, it’s the Spurs. They have a mastermind in Gregg Popovich, a hall-of-fame power forward who has found the fountain of youth in Duncan and Ginobili is as crafty as they come. But, the 2013 Spurs begin and end with Parker. He is their leader and the oil that keeps San Antonio’s engine running.
"He (Parker) was the best player in the Western Conference playoffs each game and we're well aware of that," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "Every time he stepped on the court, he was the best player, the most impactful player, and he was driving their success. They have obviously Hall of Famers and a well-oiled system, but he creates so much offense for them. What you have to respect more than anything is his engine and he's tireless to work for those opportunities."
|Tony Parker has beat Lebron James in the NBA Finals|
before. He will need to play well if the
Spurs are going to do it again.
If Parker has a great NBA Finals so will the Spurs. If he is average, it will be tough to win their fifth NBA Championship. In fact, it won’t happen. The pressure of earning his fourth ring has set in. This could be Parker’s last opportunity to win with the Spurs.
The most underrated player in the league has to be great if he is going to take down the king on his own court. Parker realizes how much effort he puts into the game for the Spurs to be successful.
"I took it as a challenge to improve my game and get better every year," Parker told NBA.com. I got a great example in Timmy (Duncan), who has been unbelievable all those years. I want to try and do the same thing. I want to try to improve my game, as the responsibility and the ball came in my hands. I try to do more and try to deliver."
Thursday, May 30, 2013
|It's time for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh|
to step up for the Heat.
The final buzzer sounded. The crowd was cheering and Roy Hibbert was ready to do his best Bart Scott impression during the postgame interview. The Indiana Pacers just defeated the Miami Heat 99-92 to even the series 2-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Pacers outmuscled and outplayed the Heat. They won the rebounding battle 49-30 and shot 50 percent from the field. They were more physical and held the Heat to just 39 percent shooting.
With the series tied and the teams headed to Miami for game five, it is now time for the stars to come out. Does that mean Lebron James has a vintage 40-point game or posts a triple double? Maybe. But, ultimately game 5 will come down to Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
The winner of Thursday’s game will be guaranteed a chance to win the series on their home court. It will be about the stars. Who will step up? Can Wade shake off his knee injury that has plagued him throughout the playoffs? He has only reached the 20-point plateau once in the playoffs when he scored 21 points way back in game two of the first round. Wade scored 16 points in game 4, but wasn’t his normal self, shooting just 5-15 from the floor.
Bosh was also ineffective shooting just 1-6 from the field and finishing with 7 points. Bosh has battled down low with Pacers center Roy Hibbert all series, but only grabbed three rebounds in game 4. When Ray Allen leads your team in rebounding (7), you aren’t going to win many playoff games.
|Lebron James has been consistent in the series, |
but he needs help from Wade and Bosh.
When the Heat are focused they are virtually unbeatable, but aside from game two versus the Chicago Bulls and game three against the Pacers, they have looked very ordinary so far in these playoffs.
It is now time for the mighty Heat to show why they’re the defending NBA Champions. They need to win game five and take the momentum back. If they lose game five they would be forced to win game 6 on the road. The Pacers have posted a 7-1 record at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the playoffs.
Now the Heat are headed home and face the pressure to perform well. After all this is the team that was going to win “not one, not two, not three…” and now they find themselves in a must-win situation.
Wade is averaging a career worst 14.3 points per game in the playoffs. The Heat need him to play well tonight if they’re going to win. Can he regain his old pre-injury form and lead this team to the Finals? Probably not, but they need more out of him if they’re going to win another NBA Championship. Wade is a superstar and the playoffs are when the stars come out. It’s his time to shine.
After posting a dud in game four, the pressure is on the Heat and their stars to perform. Can they do it? Who will step up?
The stage is set and the world will be watching. The action starts at 8:30 ET on TNT.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
The phrase "just win baby" became relevant when former Oakland Raiders Owner AL Davis was still coaching. He knew what mattered in the NFL. For Davis, it didn't matter how his team won, as long as they did. On a day like today, I find myself saying the same thing, but it's directed at a different team. I am saying it to an organization that hasn't won a playoff game in my lifetime. I'm 21-years-old and have yet to see a Cincinnati Bengals playoff victory.
I've read, watched and listened to hours of analysis this week on what the Bengals should do to win their eighth game in nine outings. I've tweeted my opinion on what the Bengals need to do in today's game to be victorious against the Houston Texans. However, I started thinking about the years of heartbreak that Bengals fans and players have faced over the years. Whether it was Carson Palmer's knee injury versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005, the Rex Ryan led Jets completely outplaying the Bengals in 2009 or last season’s meltdown versus the Texans it seems like the Bengals just can’t get over the hump.
The Bengals have been in this position before and they have failed. I know the players don't want that feeling of failure, neither does the media or the fans. Originally, I was going to write about what the Bengals need to do to win this game, but I don't care how they win it. It doesn't matter to me and it shouldn't matter to you.
People remember Al Davis for irrational personnel decisions when he was an owner, but before that he was one heck of a coach. He had a motto that he asked of his players and that motto is something all Bengal fans, players, coaches and personnel should have on their mind today: “Just win baby.”
|Can Andy Dalton lead the Bengals to a playoff victory?|