With last night’s fourteen-point victory over the beat-up Boston Celtics, LeBron James and his Miami Heat are now on a four-game winning streak that goes back to Game 4 at Indiana. Despite the close halftime score (tied, after a Miami shot was overturned upon later review) the game never felt genuinely in doubt as LeBron coasted his way to a 32/13/3 performance that had his team leading by as many as 17 in the final period. The Celtics are without defensive ace Avery Bradley and might as well be without his partial replacement, Ray Allen, who suffers from bone spurs in his ankle that are so debilitating that he’s now even missing free throws. Obviously, Allen is hurting and the Celtics chances of upsetting a juggernaut look mighty slim. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: May 2012
For reasons that are at best irrational and at worst downright stupid, I don’t like Rajon Rondo. He plays for a team I root against, he once trash-talked Chris Paul for not having any rings, and he is, by my estimation, an overrated player who probably didn’t belong on the All-NBA team. I dislike Rondo.
But as much (sports) hate as I have for him, I can’t help but appreciate a move that Rondo frequently uses; one that I’ve always admired and even tried at times when my coach wasn’t in the gym. Continue reading
This coming October marks the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when President John Kennedy was faced with fresh knowledge of missile bases in Cuba. (Yes, I know I’ve now begun consecutive posts with “anniversary” sentences. Don’t ask me.) JFK quickly assembled a panel to meet in secret and decide on appropriate measures. The three basic choices were an airstrike on the weapons base, a full invasion of Cuba, or a naval blockade. After days of debate and internal struggle, Kennedy decided against an attack on Cuba, instead opting for a naval blockade. This was against the overwhelming consensus of his panel which included officials of intelligence, military and finance. Kennedy’s primary concern was that an attack on Cuba would be met with a nuclear response on Berlin, commencing an all-out nuclear war in Western Europe and possibly America. The prez’s decision could not have been more correct, as the blockade prompted talks with Khrushchev that resulted in the removal of weapons from Cuba. In his recently-published, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, Chris Matthews explained:
It was later learned that the Soviets had deposited in Cuba a disturbing cache of nuclear weapons in early October, well before the Kennedy administration had the photographic evidence that spurred it into action. There were ninety nuclear warheads in all. Thirty of them possessed sixty-six times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. There was an equal number of warheads with the firepower of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, plus an assortment of other, smaller ones.
Matthews, Chris. Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. Simon & Schuster, 2011 (p. 317-18).
Matthews then quotes from Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs:
“If a quarter or even a tenth of our missiles survived–even if only one or two big ones were left-we could still hit New York, and there wouldn’t be much of New York left. I don’t mean to say everyone in New York would be killed–not everyone, of course, but an awful lot of people would be wiped out…And it was high time that America learned what it feels like to have her own land and her own people threatened…
The Americans knew that if Russian blood were shed in Cuba, American blood would surely be shed in Germany.”
Kennedy’s foresight, courage and restraint prevented nuclear war and preserved world peace.
So what the hell does this have to do with Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations, David Kahn, you ask? Continue reading
…when this NYC playground documentary opens.
This coming Thursday is the tenth anniversary of the first time I watched Kobe Bryant play, in person. In rather odd circumstances (for me, at least) I was able to attend this game at Staples Center. While this playoff series (2002 Lakers-Kings) is one of the most-famous non-Finals in NBA history, this particular game is not a reason why. Rick Adelman’s Kings pounced on Shaq and Kobe in the 1st Quarter and never really let up. Chris Webber and Mike Bibby handled them from start to finish, extending the lead to 27 in the 4th Quarter. Looking at that box score, it’s interesting to note that Adelman only played seven guys in that playoff game. As you probably know, the Kings lost Game 6 largely due to horrible officiating and Game 7 (in overtime) largely due to missing free throws. Kobe and the Lakers went on to win a third consecutive NBA title. He was in his prime, closing out big games when Shaq and his free-throw shooting took a necessary backseat. Continue reading
Dwyane Wade played what must have been his worst ever postseason game tonight. With his team on the ropes in the second half, some might expect that his coach would be leaned on for leadership and advice on how to get things turned around. Not so. Instead, Flash berated Erik Spoelstra on the sideline, removing any semblance of authority that some may have kidded themselves into thinking his “head coach” title provided him. (Wait, what am I saying? Chris Bosh already made this CRYSTAL CLEAR, last season.) Continue reading
Andy G: It’s been announced that Chris Bosh will be out indefinitely with an abdominal strain. While “indefinitely” is ambiguous and Spoelstra says the MRI results were a pleasant surprise (no tear, apparently) it sounds like there’s a good chance that Bosh will miss multiple games and possibly even the rest of the Pacers series. We know how good the Pacers are.
What does this injury mean for the already-injury-riddled Playoffs?
If you've never once thought that Chris Paul could be your favorite NBA player, you are truly beyond redemption.—
Bethlehem Shoals (@freedarko) May 08, 2012
I guess I’ll just give up.
If I'm a non-point guard, I want to play with Chris Paul over everyone else in this league. Even LeBron.—
Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) May 08, 2012
I’d rather play with LeBron. He wins more, plays better defense, dribbles less, and until very recently didn’t flop so much.
Is Chris Paul bored by basketball yet?—
Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) May 08, 2012
I doubt it. He’s never played in a conference finals.
Baron Davis was one of my favorite players. His career ended yesterday in the nastiest of ways. I won’t post the video here. If you haven’t seen it, just trust me–it was gruesome.
I liked Baron for the same reason I like the NBA lottery: he was the ultimate tease. You knew you were seeing high-level talent, but you never knew if it was going to come together so that he’d achieve his full potential. Like most lottery picks, Baron didn’t end up meeting the expectations people had for him. He didn’t always play hard, he was frequently overweight, his shot selection was terrible, and he missed a lot of games. But you knew when the lights shined brightest, Boom Dizzle could hang with the best and be a difference-maker. There aren’t that many guys with his enigmatic swagger and who are as likable as Baron was despite all of his unlikable qualities. He’s a once-in-a-generation point guard of the rarest type–a forgettable one.
That said, I know I’m gonna miss Baron Davis.
The great Howard Beck wrote an interesting column in today’s New York Times, analyzing the struggles of Carmelo Anthony versus the Heat and in his entire postseason career. He points out Melo’s crappy shooting percentage in this series and his dismissive postgame remarks that suggest a lack of awareness. Beck drives everything home with this bullet:
In nine postseasons, Anthony is 16-36 — the worst record among active players with at least 50 playoff games. He has won a first-round series only once, in 2009. Since then, he has lost 11 of 13 playoff games. If the Knicks lose Sunday, it will be Anthony’s third time getting swept in five years.
As sixteen NBA teams do battle in the first round of the playoffs, the Timberwolves begin their offseason. Kahn had his presser (which was tragically-devoid of Kahnisms), we looked back on the season that was, and each player now departs for his offseason home. Over the next few months, Wolves fans will talk draft and free agency, and even spend some quality time with the trade machine. The team faces upcoming roster turnover for the umpteenth consecutive year that could range from cutting bait with their expirings (Miller/Webster/Beasley/Randolph) to more drastic changes like a Derrick Williams trade–which would probably involve contract fillers like Ridnour or Barea– for a high-quality but expensive wing.
No matter which course Kahn & co take, there will certainly be some incumbent Wolves on next year’s roster. Ricky and Love aren’t going anywhere. Barring an unforeseen trade, Pekovic will be back, and there’s no guarantees that the team will be able to give away Wes Johnson who remains under contract. And so with returning personnel comes the task of DEVELOPING that personnel. And that task belongs primarily to one Billy Bayno. Continue reading