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Tag:Lakers
Posted on: June 16, 2010 7:22 pm
 

Game 7 - NBA Finals

This is what every kid dreams of. The biggest rivalry in all of basketball coming down to a pivotal Game 7 in the Finals, for the biggest prize in the business.

Both team's centers are banged up, one (Andrew Bynum) will play through his injuries, while the other (Kendrick Perkins) will be forced to watch his team compete from the sidelines. Not to mention Kevin Garnett's knee, Kobe Bryant's finger and knee, etc, have made this 2010 NBA Finals a battle for the ages.

The Boston Celtics have owned the L.A Lakers in the past, leading their NBA Finals series 9-2. Celtics fans believe that history will repeat itself, Laker fans believe that their Laker team is one like no Boston team has ever faced. One can't argue that the players believe the same notion.

Still, every basketball fan in the world has to enjoy the climax of the NBA Finals: the Game 7 in Los Angeles. The series has been a see-saw battle from the start, the Lakers dominant win in Game 1, to Ray Allen's performance in Game 2, to Derek Fisher's heroic performance in the 4th quarter of Game 3, to the Celtics taking Games 4 and 5 from the Lakers in Boston, to another dominant Laker win in Game 6 to set up the showdown on Thursday night.

Each team has had their fair share of trash talk about eachother. Pau Gasol has motivated Kevin Garnett with his comments that KG has slowed down, and Paul Pierce has refused to acknowledge Ron Artest as a reason for his struggles in the Finals. Kobe Bryant has appeared calm at times, notably in his post-game press conferences, but if you watch closely, you can see the pure anger, frustration, and passion bursting through his face during games. And not the same emotion you see during the season, or in any other playoff series.

Somewhere, Bill Russell and Bob Cousy, along with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, reminisce over their finals battles. Magic and Bird must talk to trash to each other every day. Kareem and Bill Walton, both UCLA products, must hate each other. Think about it, with the heavily linked history between the Celtics and Lakers, how could the first finals of the new decade not include these two teams? How could the decade not start off with arguably the biggest game in both Laker AND Celtic history?

The keys for both teams are to play with heart like they have previously in their victories at home. The Lakers need Pau Gasol to assert himself, for Ron Artest to knock down open jumpers, and for their bench to provide a spark of energy in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. The Celtics Kevin Garnett to play 3 years younger, for Paul Pierce to score, and for Rajon Rondo to shred the defense with his playmaking.

The persistence of each team through the regular season and playoffs ends here. Both teams have clearly been on cruise control to get to this point. Now is the time for both teams to push their foot on the gas as hard as they can. They have nothing to save for, no game to look ahead to. Now is the time to leave it all out there on the basketball court.

The winner of Game 7 will not be determined through statistics. Kobe Bryant may score 50 points, but that won't be the real reason that the Lakers could win. Rajon Rondo could have a triple double, and that won't be the real reason either. It comes down to who wants that title more, who absolutely despises their rival the most, and who will put the most of themselves out there to win a game.

The Lakers have not overcome the doubts of their thorough defeat in the 2008 Finals, while it may look like a 6 game defeat, it felt like a 5 1/2 game defeat, as the Lakers still have a sour taste in the mouths over the 39-point embarrassment in Game 6 of the 2008 Finals. The Celtics have been the victim of doubts all season, winning 52 games, just barely recieving homecourt in the East, and critics crowning them as the old men of the Eastern Conference. Having been picked to lose every playoff series in 2010, the Celtics have proved that they are still the class of the East, despite their regular season struggles. Having been called soft and unmotivated, the Lakers have proved that they can beat anyone when rolling on all cylinders.

The popular theme for previous NBA Finals has been "David vs Goliath", but this series has proven to be a "Goliath vs Goliath" dream matchup that will likely play out until the last minutes of the last game.

On Thursday, June 17th, history will be made. In the biggest game for each team, and the biggest game for the NBA since "Jordan's last game", who will come out victorious? The Lakers are dominant at home, only losing one game at home this postseason, while the Celtics are decisively better on the road, with the second best road record in the league this season. It's a toss up, and I'm sure David Stern will be beaming regardless of the outcome.



Peace, and much love to you.
-Prophetic

Category: NBA
Posted on: July 28, 2009 8:06 am
 

Kobe & Michael - The Men in the Mirror

June 26, 1996.
Kobe Bryant - Freshly graduated from Lower Merion High School - Was drafted 13th by the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He was quickly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for starting center, Vlade Divac. At 17 years old, he was, at the time, the youngest player in NBA history.


Michael Jordan - 10 days prior to the NBA draft, won his fourth championship, on father's day, concluding in a memorable scene where he lies on his stomach in the locker room, game ball in hand, in tears. His own significance of winning on father's day was, and still is, a testament to his late father, who was murdered three years before, which many believe is the main reason why he quit the game of basketball following the 1993 finals. It also symbolized his return to greatness at the age of 33, which is considered to be the twilight of a player's career.


Ever since, the two have been constantly locked in comparison and greatness arguments. As Kobe, for years, has been labeled "The Next Michael Jordan", while MJ is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player to have ever graced the Earth. Michael is known throughout the league as the most dominating and morale-shattering athlete to ever play, while Kobe is know, arguably, as the most skilled player to ever play. Their similarities are remarkable, both play the same position, are roughly the same size, played the majority of their careers under Phil Jackson, won MVP awards, etc etc.

But now, it's time for my take.

Athletic Ability
Kobe came into the league as a lanky teenager, who was raved for his outstanding offensive game. Many said he would need time to develop, gain muscle and adjust to the physical game of the NBA. In his prime, though, he was an athletic phenomenon.

Michael came into the league as a stud player, and was dubbed a "can't miss". He weighed slightly less than Kobe when he came into the league, but he was four years older, and had college experience under his belt.

As far as their careers go, both have won slam dunk contests, and both have had their fair share of slam dunk highlight reels. Kobe is arguably one of the quickest and agile 2 Guards to have ever played, but Jordan was the stronger, tougher player, who didn't show signs of slowing down, like Kobe already has. It is obvious that Kobe isn't the same athletic player that he once was, and that may be due to 13 seasons in the league, but Michael, unlike Kobe, played 80+ games with the Bulls in all but two seasons, and was always the #1 man, the #1 target.

Edge: Michael. Longevity.


Offense

We all know Michael led the league in scoring damn near every season he was a Bull. He easily would have been first all time if he never retired in '94, and played through '98 until 2003. However, to me, his offensive game isn't as cerebral and skilled as Kobe's. Michael was a great finisher, and a good shooter, but his hands and athletic ability helped him a great deal in attaining multiple scoring titles.

Kobe's game heavily relies on his skill and awareness on offense, which makes him the most dangerous offensive players in the game today, and, to me, of all time. Playing basketball with pure skill is the ultimate testament to hard work, determination, and dedication to the game.

Edge: Kobe. Boy got SKILLS . As simple as that.


Defense

Should be obvious. This is what set Michael's legacy apart from all of the other great guards in history.

Kobe is a great defender, but lately, he doesn't play real defense until the last 5 minutes of the fourth.

Michael went out every night looking to score 30, and hold the opposing star perimeter to 10. Granted, he had Scottie Pippen's help, but winning a DPOY award says it all for Michael Jordan. His dedication and motivation to play defense

Edge: Michael. Can't argue without a trophy, Kobe.


Mindset
Kobe is the Black Mamba. He can score on anything, at anytime, and he believes that he can. Lately, his mindset is to win games, no matter what, whether it's scoring 40 or scoring 20 and facilitating. He has a thirst for the win more than any other player that I have ever seen, and as he gets older, his will to win grows larger.

Michael also was a player that wants to do whatever it takes to win. However, the difference between the two is that he has this almost sadistic desire to dominate the other team, and is hell bent on having the game in his control, while coming out with the W.

Edge: None. Your preference.



Finally, in my opinion, the two are pretty much evenly matched, however, it's Jordan's athletic body, which withstood 14-15 seasons of being the #1 man on a team, without missing much of a step, along with his superior defensive dedication and ability, gives him the edge over Kobe.


Just my Two Cents.
-Prophetic.

Category: NBA
Posted on: May 4, 2009 4:20 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2009 4:24 pm
 

Round 1 Recap

East


1.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs 8. Detroit Pistons
This was, essentially, something to occupy the Cavs in preparation for the second round. Now, the Cavaliers aren't the team of destiny, but the aged Pistons have clearly fallen off the map this year. The Cavs didn't allow the Pistons to crack 85 points scored in a single game in their 4 game sweep. Every victory was won by double digits, solidifying LeBron James' MVP season.

Respect to the Pistons backcourt players[Stuckey, Hamilton, Bynum] for not giving up on their season and scoring for their team in the hopes of a victory, but clearly, Detriot's time has passed and they were swept with ease.


4. Atlanta Hawks vs 5. Miami Heat
Two teams that finished off the season with completely different stories. The Hawks started off hot but coasted at the 4th seed for most of the season, and the Heat shot up into 5th place with the acquisition of Jermaine O'Neal.

This series wasn't as much of a dogfight as most of the 6 and 7 game series were this year, but it was a back and forth affair where they would both come out and get a double digit victory. But, the Hawks came out on fire in game 7 and put Dwyane Wade's Heat out of comission.


3. Orlando Magic vs 6. Philadelphia 76'ers
I thought this series was underrated. This series was a dogfight until game 6, where I think that the Sixers thought they had an easy win, but weren't expecting the Magic to come out in full force. They had a excellent chance to force a game 7, but most[including me] were already looking forward to a game 7 in orlando with all the marbles on the line for the Magic.

Philly is also a young team with a bunch of potential that could propel them to elite status within a couple of years, especially with a healthy Elton Brand next year, they can possibly grab homecourt in the first round, with the Celtics not getting any younger.

2. Boston Celtics vs 7. Chicago Bulls
One of the greatest first round series of all time. Mad respect to the Bulls for not backing down against the champs and giving them a serious run for their money until the final couple of minutes of the game 7. Ben Gordon has really proven himself as a big time performer and scorer, and I think everyone will agree when I say that the Bulls have loads of hidden potential. Some might say that if the Celtics had KG that it would have been a completely different series, but the Celtics are still an elite team without him, and it should not take away from the valiant effort that the Bulls put up.

Neither team had a glaring edge in this series, and this series is what playoff basketball is all about, neither team willing to give an inch, and the Celtics managed to prevail with their smart play and timely scoring/defense. Should be up there with the classics.


West


1. Los Angeles Lakers vs 8. Utah Jazz
Clearly not as easy of a matchup as Cavs-Pistons, but the Lakers still won this in 5, even though many experts thought this would go 6. The Lakers had a tough matchup, playing against a team that had a top 4 seed at a point in the season, and the Jazz are probably one of the top teams in the league at home, shown when they won their single game at home in Salt Lake City.

The Jazz proved to not be a cakewalk, and they exposed some of the Lakers' weakness, like holding leads and consitent defense, but their relentless hard play as a team helped keep the Lakers in gear as they moved to the second round.

Nice to see Andrew back, even though he looked rusty, getting into foul trouble and such, but the Lakers still have a great amount of confidence in their Baby Beast.

4. Portland Trailblazers vs 5. Houston Rockets
Mild upset. This was a good matchup, but I thought that the Blazers would prove to be just too talented for the Rockets to handle. Boy, was I wrong. Yao and Artest stepped up big time in a defensive series, and the Rockets managed to prevail in 6.

The Blazers may be a tad disappointed, but they are another young team who will be in the playoffs for many years to come, and they will most likely be in the second round next year.


3. San Antonio Spurs vs 6. Dallas Mavericks
I'm not used to this. The Spurs getting eliminated in the first round? In only 5 games? Much respect to the Mavs for being able to beat a dynasty in the Spurs, even without Manu Ginobili. With Josh Howard back in full force and averaging 18.8 PPG, the scoring trio of Dirk, Josh, and Terry, combined with their leadership at Point Guard, the Mavs can pull off an upset and make it to the WCF.

However, for the Spurs, like the Pistons, their time has passed. Tim Duncan is in the twilight of his career, Manu isn't getting any younger, and he's still injury prone, so even with Tony Parker in his prime, unless the Spurs get younger and more athletic, they're doomed until they get bad enough to pick up lottery picks.

2. Denver Nuggets vs 7. New Orleans Hornets
I'm honestly surprised that the Hornets won a game, and I'm more surprised at the play of the Nuggets. They are not playing around. The Hornets high in points in a game was 95, and that was their single win in game 3 at home. The next game, avenging their loss, the Nuggets came out and beat the Hornets 121-63, telling the world that they mean business and are ready for a championship.

On the Hornets side, they really need to get another piece for CP3, even though David West, an all-star should be enough, he doesn't contribute enough on defense, and apparently refuses to play center for his team. I look for them to be very active in the off-season, because they don't want a disgruntled Chris Paul causing a ruckus for a trade after getting embarassed in this series.



Posted on: October 21, 2008 6:38 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2008 10:57 pm
 

Lakers Season Preview

Guards:

Kobe Bryant

He is the greatest player in the league. We don’t need him to score as much this year, but even I have to admit that we’ll need him to bail us out time to time. I look for him to make a run for DPOY. I'm not joking. Should he be the Mamba or the Doberman?


Derek Fisher

I call him ‘old reliable’. He gives an amazing effort every night, and completes the most clutch backcourt in the league. He can hit big shots, and he is the rock to this team. I think he should start passing the torch to Jordan Farmar.


Jordan Farmar


One of the most gifted guards in the league. I’m serious. He has blazing speed, athletic, and a sick vertical leap. His game seems erratic at times, though. He needs to learn how to calm down and let the game come to him, and grow up essentially. I met him once, and he seemed pretty snobby, so Phil should start whipping some sense into him.



Sasha Vujacic

The Machine! I’m worried about him coming back from the sprained ankle too soon. Phil said that he’s still limping in practice. Take your time Sasha!
He brings a source of points and shooting off the bench, and he plays tenacious D, which comes back to bite him at times. See the Finals. He and Farmar both have to have that ‘growing up’ lesson.


Sun Yue

Long way to go for him. Doesn't look like a true PG. My guess is that it's the nerves that is getting to him.
Some seasoning in the D-League this year and some garbage time under his belt should fix him.
But I believe that he is a 2-guard.


Forwards:

Pau Gasol

We need the POW that showed up during the Olympics. Banging for boards, getting put backs, etc. He’s going to get that open 15 footer the whole season with Bynum clogging the paint, and he can knock it down. I also look for him to set up ‘Drew for some bangers while teams try to stop Pau. Question for him is if he can guard some of the smaller PF's.


Lamar Odom

He should be the starter. I don’t care if he can’t shoot or is out of shape. He is too versatile to keep that on the bench. If we start Vladimir, we have no passers on the floor, nobody to run the triangle, nobody on the perimeter who can cut and slip past the defense and get a pass from Andrew or Pau for a layup in traffic. If we start Trevor, we have nobody to knock down an open 15 footer while the defense is collapsing on the post, and we all know nobody is going to leave Kobe Bryant wide open. He can guard 3 positions, a bigger 2 guard, a 3, and even a 4. He would be a great matchup against Ray Allen, who can’t rain those 3’s over his long arms. If we start Luke, he would get nervous, turn the ball over, miss a layup, etc. He is our absolute best small forward. Don’t trade him either.

Since it doesn't look like he's going to start, welcome to the Bench Mob Lamar.


Trevor Ariza


Can dunk on anyone, guard anyone on the perimeter, and is fast. That’s all. Can’t shoot the ball or pass it. He should be our #1 backup to Lamar, and even sub in at the 2 if Sasha gets hurt again. Hit the gym and shoot a thousand jumpers Trevor!
We're going to need him to guard some of the better perimeter players in the playoffs.

Vladimir Radmanovic

Borat! Also a source of points off the bench, but can’t post up to save his damn life. Did anyone else see him unable to post a 6’0 PG by the name of Anthony Carter in the first round? How are you 6’10 and not able to post a point guard? That is embarrassing. He’s not a PF, he gets owned by bigger people in the box. If he stays 15 feet out and minds his business, we should be fine. And please, Phil, don’t put him on Paul Pierce again.

Looks like he's the starting SF. Let's pray for some improvements.

Luke Walton

I thought he would be one of the better all around players in the league a few years ago, when he was the 2nd leading scorer on the team. His problem is mental. He has the IQ, the skill, the ability, but he lost his drive and determination after getting hurt. I hope he comes back strong and makes the bench mob even better.

Josh Powell


He is the Lakers' replacement for Turiaf. A great rebounder, defender, and is going to serve as the backup for Pau. He can knock down a fifteen foot jumper, and look for him to get big minutes in the playoffs guarding big men like Amare, Shaq, Duncan, and even Garnett in the finals.



Centers:

Andrew Bynum


Completes the tandem named ‘Bryant’s Giants’. He’s the alpha dog of the paint, and sometimes that can be a problem. This preseason, he has shown that he will refuse to pass the ball once he gets it in the post. If he learns to pass the ball, we will be unstoppable, since they can’t double both Pau and Andrew, and if they do, Kobe is either open or in a one on one situation, which can be effective if he passes the ball. He’s going to dominate KG.


Chris Mihm

Good to see him back to normal. He’ll serve as Big ‘Drew’s backup, and he should bring about a new life and energy to himself after missing almost two seasons.

D.J. Mbenga


The absolute most hilarious player on the team. I'm thinking that they pay him for comic relief.
Well Mbenga is another much needed presence in the paint for us. Can rebound, defend, and is athletic.
He loves to score, too, which can help us some when teams ignore him to guard our other threats.



Our starting 5:
PG – Derek Fisher
SG – Kobe Bryant
SF – Vladimir Radmanovic
PF – Pau Gasol
C – Andrew Bynum

They are now the best starting 5 in the NBA. Even with or without Lamar Odom starting. If he doesn’t, he is not going to win the 6th man of the year. That is a scoring award, plain and simple.


The Bench Mob:


They should be the ones jumping up and down on the sideline, getting the crowd fired up and lighting a fire under the starters when they start slumping.

They're also a nice alterative to our starting 5, who has a slower, more powerful game.
While the bench loves to run and get steals, it can help push some leads while the starters are getting a breather.


Record:

I predict them to go 60-22 and win the west.
They’ll face the Hornets in the WCF, and win in maybe 5 or 6 games.
They will face the Celtics in the finals and win that in 6. It should be on our home floor.

My Blood Runs Purple and Gold.


Peace and much Love to You.
-Prophetic
Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com