Posts Tagged ‘Lebron James’

Where they’ll go from here

October 27, 2008

The NBA’s pre-season is now complete.

These are the final standings:

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2008-2009 Conference Preseason Standings
Eastern Conference
Eastern W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Orlando 6 1 0.857 0.0 4-1 4-1 3-1 3-0 6-1 W 6
Boston 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-2 3-2 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 2
Detroit 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-1 3-0 3-2 3-0 6-2 L 1
Atlanta 5 3 0.625 1.5 4-1 3-1 1-2 4-1 5-3 W 1
Philadelphia 4 3 0.571 2.0 4-3 4-1 1-2 3-1 4-3 W 1
Chicago 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-1 1-1 2-3 2-1 4-4 W 3
Indiana 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-0 1-0 3-1 1-3 4-4 W 1
Toronto 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-1 1-1 2-3 2-1 4-4 L 2
New Jersey 3 4 0.429 3.0 2-4 1-4 1-3 2-1 3-4 W 1
New York 3 4 0.429 3.0 3-4 3-4 0-3 3-1 3-4 L 2
Cleveland 3 5 0.375 3.5 3-3 0-1 2-3 1-2 3-5 W 1
Miami 2 5 0.286 4.0 0-3 0-1 1-3 1-2 2-5 W 1
Washington 2 5 0.286 4.0 0-2 0-0 0-2 2-3 2-5 L 1
Milwaukee 1 7 0.125 5.5 0-3 0-3 1-3 0-4 1-7 L 3
Charlotte 0 8 0.000 6.5 0-4 0-4 0-2 0-6 0-8 L 8
Western Conference
Western W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
New Orleans 7 0 1.000 0.0 2-0 1-0 4-0 3-0 7-0 W 7
Denver 5 1 0.833 1.5 3-1 2-1 3-0 2-1 5-1 W 2
L.A. Lakers 6 2 0.750 1.5 2-2 1-1 6-2 0-0 6-2 W 6
Minnesota 6 2 0.750 1.5 2-1 2-1 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 1
Houston 5 2 0.714 2.0 5-0 3-0 3-1 2-1 5-2 W 3
Phoenix 5 2 0.714 2.0 3-0 1-0 2-1 3-1 5-2 W 3
Golden State 4 2 0.667 2.5 2-1 0-0 3-0 1-2 4-2 W 2
Portland 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-3 0-2 2-2 2-1 4-3 L 1
Utah 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-2 2-1 1-1 3-2 4-3 W 2
Dallas 4 4 0.500 3.5 1-0 0-0 2-2 2-2 4-4 L 2
L.A. Clippers 4 4 0.500 3.5 2-3 2-1 0-4 4-0 4-4 L 3
San Antonio 3 4 0.429 4.0 0-2 0-2 1-3 2-1 3-4 L 2
Memphis 2 6 0.250 5.5 0-2 0-2 2-2 0-4 2-6 L 4
Oklahoma City 1 6 0.143 6.0 0-5 0-1 0-1 1-5 1-6 L 3
Sacramento 1 7 0.125 6.5 1-7 0-2 1-3 0-4 1-7 L 6
 x-Clinched Playoff Berth | e-Clinched Eastern Conference | a-Clinched Atlantic Division | c-Clinched Central Division |
 se-Clinched Southeast Division | w-Clinched Western Conference | sw-Clinched Southwest Division |
 nw-Clinched Northwest Division | p-Clinched Pacific Division | o-Eliminated from Playoffs contention

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Fans should take a close look at where their favourite team is at today … and, then, compare this reality to the final regular season standings which they’ll see in April, 2009, as the little bolded letters get placed beside the playoff-bound teams’ names in the far-left column.

Time to Let the games begin, in earnest …

———————————–

Mano a Mano

Mano a Mano

Certified

Certified

Bad Boyz II

Bad Boyz II

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise, Sunset

———————————–

2nd Coming

because this is going to be a terrific year, in the NBA!
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Taking on all comers

September 25, 2008

Reading this specific blog entry … precipitated the following thought:

If you could construct your ideal 12-man team of current NBA players, who would you select?

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Hmmmmmmm …

From that many possibilities, there would be some exceptionally difficult choices to make … and a lot of supremely talented and valuable players left out in the cold.

Regardless … according to these eyes,

these are the Dirtiest Dozen, in the NBA today:

[listed by position & role]

Starters
PG – Lebron James … far and away his best and most natural position
G/F – Dwyane Wade … the best, taking it to the rack, in the half-court
G/F – Kobe Bryant … Samarai Warrior
PF – Kevin Garnett … Rebounding & Energy are thy true names
C – Greg Oden [my, oh, my] … that’s right, before he’s played a game 

Key Bench Subs
PG – Deron Williams … well-balanced in every respect
G/F – Manu Ginobili … the best 6th Man in existence
PF/C – Tim Duncan … the best combo Big in existence

Reserves
PG – Steve Nash … still the best facilitaor in the business, bar none
G/F – Tracy McGrady … multi-purpose player
PF/C – Amare Stoudemire … multi-purpose player
PF/C – Rasheed Wallace … multi-purpose player

Coach – Philip Patrick Jackson Riley … ‘The Sacred Winner Hoops Within’

“Train them … Excite them … and, Turn them Loose … “

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There you go!

Now … Which 12 players would you choose for your team?

[PLEASE NOTE: Who you choose, in what positions & roles, and who you leave out, says a lot about your unique vision of the game.]

After the Gold: First-class comments from Team USA

August 24, 2008

Straight from the horses’ mouths …

Post-game comments from members of Team USA

Click the link ^ … and read each one.

What it means to be a TEAM.

USA vs Spain for Olympic Gold

August 23, 2008

19 days ago, this corner told you what was most likely going to happen in the 2008 Olympic Games’ men’s basketball tournament …

Upside and Motor: Team USA blogger roundtable [August 4, 2008]

It might not be pretty tomorrow during the final, from a USA perspective, but the ‘Stars & Stripes’ is going to win the Gold Medal.

Q1. What was wrong with USA Basketball in 2002, 2004 & 2006?

A1. Nothing which could not be fixed by the likes of Kobe Bryant & Jason Kidd.

NOTE: This corner’s favourite moment, thus far, in this Olympic tournament was the two-armed shiver delivered by Jason Kidd … to Carmelo Anthony when the latter was about to lose his head and physically combat an Argentinian player [Luis Scola?] in the heat of battle, in response to a hard foul which had been made on Dwight Howard, early in the 2nd half of yesterday’s semi-final with the defending champs still within strking distance. In effect, it said: “Smarten up kid, we have a Gold Medal to Win!” When a team gets on-court leadership like that … it is going to win the Gold Medal, if it also has (i) THE BEST PLAYER on the planet (i.e. Kobe Bean Bryant), (ii) the 2nd best player on the planet (i.e. Lebron James), and (iii) the 3rd best player on the planet (i.e. D-Wade), when healthy … not named Tim Duncan. American basketball was never ‘deficient’. Their very best players, weren’t playing in combination with one another.

Chris Bosh should be starting for Team USA

August 15, 2008

This is the answer which was given in this space [August 4, 2008]  to the following question:

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5. Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh will be fighting for the back-up Center minutes; who should win the job?

This is a silly question.

If Team USA wanted to dominate the international competition this year … the most potent line-up it could put on the floor would see Carlos Boozer at the 4/Power Forward AND Chris Bosh at the 5/Center positions, not ‘fighting for the back-up Center minutes.

For further explanation, see the link provided in the answer to Question #3. -)

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that was asked by the good folks at Upside and Motor, in their Team USA Blogger Roundtable [to which this corner had not received an invite 🙂 ].

10 days later …

Raptors’ Chris Bosh emerging as a leader for the U.S. team: Draws rave reviews from coach, teammates with strong showing on defense

and it is somewhat gratifying to see that one or two others in the basketball community [at-large] have at last begun to ‘see’ what this corner has known about this young man [Chris Bosh], as a Center in the NBA, for a VERY LONG TIME …

De-constructing the mystery that is Chris Bosh [April 21, 2008]

It never ceases to amaze what some so-called ‘NBA experts’ think they understand about the game.

Cavaliers: one step forward, one step back

August 14, 2008

Despite having the 2nd best basketball player in the world today on their roster, it’s as though the Management Team in Cleveland is still searching in the dark for a roadmap, detailing how to get their crew safely to the Land of Milk and Honey.

Cavaliers acquire Williams in three-team trade

It says in this corner that … the Cavaliers are no closer today to winning the NBA title, one day in the future, than they were yesterday, before this latest transaction occurred; or, than they were several months ago, when they last attempted (in vain) to upgrade the personnel on their team …

Cavaliers just went backwards

The immmediate take on the ramifications of this three-team trade?

Sam Presti & the ‘Oklahoma Whatsitsnames’ just improved their team, again.

Close but no cigar

August 6, 2008

Each game that goes by this summer the international teams playing against Team USA get a little bit closer …

Game 1 – USA 120 Canada 65
Game 2 – USA 114 Turkey 82
Game 3 – USA 120 Lithuania 84
Game 4 – USA 89 Russia 68
Game 5 – USA 87 Australia 76

Yesterday, versus Australia … Game Summary & Boxscore here … everything needed for an upset to occur, in the eventual Olympic Tournament (over the next 2 weeks), was on full display …

From Team USA:
i) Relatively poor 3FG% and FT%;
ii) Average Team Rebounding; and,
iii) Few set plays.

From Team Australia:
i) Relatively steady ball-handling from their guards;
ii) Solid 3PT Shooting;
iii) Solid Team Offense … i.e. execution of several of ‘set plays’ (Double High-Post; Single Pick & Roll/Pop Series; Princeton; etc.);
iv) Solid Team Rebounding; and,
v) Various Zone Defenses.

From the Game Officials:
i) Enforcement of the Rules [i.e. re: Personal Fouls & Violations].

In the end, however … when one team has a supremely talented multi-dimensional individual player, like Kobe Bryant [6-6] , PLUS a multi-dimensional side-kick, like Lebron James [6-8] … AND the opponent DOES NOT … ‘close’ is as good as it’s going to get during these Olympic Games.

Upside and Motor: Team USA Blogger Roundtable

August 4, 2008

Courtesy of Hardwood Paroxysm’s, Olympic Basketball Gets Feisty:

Team USA Blogger Roundtable!

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Here’s the take from this corner …

The REAL answers to the 8 questions asked. 🙂

1. Which single player is the most pivotal to the team’s success?

Kobe Bean Bryant. If you take the 2002, 2004 and 2006 Team USA’s that came up empty and add Jason Kidd to each of those squads, Does that team win the Gold Medal? Maybe; maybe not. BUT, go ahead and add Kobe Bryant to each of those teams, instead, and what’s the correct answer? A RESOUNDING “Yes, they do!”

Kobe Bryant’s all-around game … beginning with his COMMITMENT TO WINNING, then his individual ability to DEFEND his assigned check (positions #1-3) AND his ability to REBOUND his position AND his ability/willingness to SHARE THE BALL with his teammates on Offense AND his ability to SHOOT THE BALL FROM THE PERIMETER … would have made each of those 3 previous teams champions in their own right.

I am NOT an unadulterated (pardon the pun) Kobe admirer but … the facts ARE the facts … tha Man is (very simply) the best (individual) basketball player in the world today. PERIOD.

With Kobe Bryant defending the best Guard or Forward scorer on the other team … Team USA’s opponent (whoever it is) will simply NOT be able to score enough points to beat this American team this go around.

2. Is starting Jason Kidd over Chris Paul (or Deron Williams a mistake? Why or why not?

Starting Jason Kidd is the CORRECT decision for this version of Team USA.

Jason Kidd, at the PG-spot, has NEVER lost a game in international competition … and, NEVER is a long time.

J-Kidd is unselfish, to a fault … gets his teammates involved and is big enough to Check (and Rebound against) any Point Guard, Off Guard or Small Forward he might need to, in order to allow Kobe Bryant to defend whatever player he NEEDS to Defend (and Rebound against) so that Team USA established the CORRECT TONE, from a Defensive & Rebounding standpoint, at the outset of the game.

On the court, Jason Kidd is THE Leader of this Team. Period.

3. The lack of Centers on Team USA’s roster is well chronicled. But aside from that, what is this team’s biggest weakness?

Mike Krzyzewski.

For further explanation, see the following link:

https://khandorssportsblog.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/game-time-usa-vs-turkey-take-i-ii/

Nuff said.

4. If you had to pick one team to upset the United States and win the Gold Medal, what team would it be? Why?

There is NO TEAM, this year, which will defeat Team USA … as outlined in the answer to Question #1.

Several teams could come close … e.g. Spain, Greece and Argentina … but there’s a HUGE difference between ‘coming close’ and ‘winning’.

Isn’t there?

5. Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh will be fighting for the back-up Center minutes; who should win the job?

This is a silly question.

If Team USA wanted to dominate the international competition this year … the most potent line-up it could put on the floor would see Carlos Boozer at the 4/Power Forward AND Chris Bosh at the 5/Center positions, not ‘fighting for the back-up Center minutes.

For further explanation, see the link provided in the answer to Question #3. 🙂

6. Which is more likely to be the achilles’ heel of the American defense: perimeter shooting, high post play, or the pick & roll?

Between these three options (exclusively), it’s (deadly) Perimeter Shooting … originating from the Pick & Roll play, principally involving offensive players (in a 2-Man Game) that are not being checked by Kobe Bryant, while the player who Kobe Bryant is checking is being isolated in an offensive Corner position, either strong or weak side, depending on the specific set play which is being run … at least, that is, IF the international coaches have any clue at all about how to stay close AND maybe steal a win from this version of Team USA.

All teams, everywhere, are vulnerable to deadly Perimeter Shooting … at least, for specific stretches of a game.

7. Which of Team USA’s “big three” of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, or Lebron James will cause the most trouble for opposing defenses?

Kobe Bryant “will cause the most trouble for opposing defenses” … because when HE INITIATES a defensive sequence which results in a Team USA STOP the defense of their opponent has almost NO CHANCE to recover in transition to prevent Team USA from scoring easily in Offensive Transition Mode.

This is Team USA’s single most effective (efficient?) Offensive Scoring play. PERIOD.

8. W’ell do this last question Tiger Woods style: Who are you taking for the Olympics? Team USA or the Field?

Team USA will NOT lose a game this go round.

For further explanation see the answer to Question #1. 🙂

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Enjoy, one and all!!!

Game Time: USA vs Turkey, Take I & II

August 1, 2008

A collaborative effort thanks to David Wafer’s nbaroundtable.

Enjoy!

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Take I
by David Wafer

Missed the start of the game. We’re tuning in halfway through the second with the US leading 37-34.

  • LeBron James playing tonight. He just hit a midrange J off the dribble. Turnover Turkey, Deron leads the break, pass to the left wing to LeBron, touch pass, Kobe layup. Nice passing from Williams and James.
  • Erden is playing for Turkey tonight. He was the final pick in the draft this year, selected by the Celtics.
  • US looking very dangerous off of turnovers again tonight. Their halfcourt offense looks a bit disjointed so far though. A couple of sloppy turnovers haven’t helped matters but the main problem is that their offense doesn’t seem to be heading in any particular direction.
  • LeBron James with two steals in a little over a minute here. US are putting a lot of pressure on the ball and creating a lot of havoc defensively, primarily on the perimeter. Another turnover, Kobe leads the break, high lob to LeBron, one handed slam. US up 50-37 now. Turkey’s offense can’t get anything going. LeBron makes another steal, beautiful recovery play. The US’ zone was all over the place and left one of Turkey’s bigs under the left hand side of the rim, LeBron was defending his man out in the opposite corner, he sprinted a good 15 feet and soared through the air to deny that easy dunk. Great stuff.
  • Carmelo and LeBron have 25 of the team’s 52 points. Wade is the third leading scorer adding another 8. US are getting outrebounded ever so slightly (13-12) though. US outscored Turkey 23-7 in the second quarter to get their lead.
  • Chris Paul making another razzle dazzle play to end the half. He got a high screen and roll at the top of the key, he cut through the middle of the paint, sold the help defense on the ball fake (pass to right wing), sliced inside for a layup. He made that look simple.
  • Halftime
  • Looks like the Turkish team has thrown in the towel. They’ve started the second half with no intensity and they’re giving up easy shots right at the rim. They’re down 21 points now. This could get ugly. They’re getting very little going offensively also which seems to be effecting their levels of effort and confidence.
  • This is like a layup drill. US up 25 points after the powerful flush from LeBron. Turkey are faking it just enough to make you think they’re still trying.
  • Turkey hit a nice three there. The US almost stole the ball four times on that possession but Turkey made the most of the broken play and found an open shooter. What happens next? Wade leaks out and gets a wide open layup off the inbounds pass. Terrible defense by Turkey.
  • Nice play. Turnover Turkey, long outlet from LeBron up ahead to Kobe, right by the bucket now, Kobe pounds the ball hard and high off the floorboads, Melo goes up, collects it, flushes it. Creative alley oop.
  • Gonlum has given the Turks some good work tonight. He’s been a threat. A few nice moves and looks to go inside a little bit. He’s been their best big man. #13 the point guard has been decent too.
  • US up 31 points here in the fourth. Okay I’m going to call this one because the game is pretty much dead as a contest, all that’s left is the odd highlight type play here and there.

Great defense again by the US tonight. They’re terrific at creating turnovers and making teams pay on the break.

On the dubious side, I can’t help but wonder what their offense will look like when the opposition limits their layups and actually makes them create something in the halfcourt. They’ve gotten quite a few turnovers in the halfcourt and have mostly resorted to one-on-one plays rather than team orientated stuff. Anyway it’s too early to tell about that but it’ll be interesting to watch as the level of competition picks up.

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Take II
by khandor

Once upon a time (e.g. 50 years ago) the USA had major advantages over every international team in the world in every single facet of the game. Today, this is no longer the situation.

The major US advantage today is the individual Defensive ability of their very best players … specifically, to pressure and then steal the ball from their opponent, in effect, totally disrupting their opponent’s half and/or full court offense.

This version of USA Basketball is centered on the Defensive abilities of Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, and their respective capacities to wreak havoc on this side of the ball, both in freelance situations and within scripted defensive ‘plays’.

Jason Kidd’s unselfishness, as this team’s leader at the PG position is crucial, as well, but only as a corollary to the DEFENSE of Bean & The King.

Second.

Coach K. is simply an ‘average’ game coach. Has been throughout his career. His strengths as a Leader exist outside the parameters of the 48 (or, in this case, 40) Minutes of Live Action, and have to do with such things as interpersonal relationships, goal-setting, Command, communication, preparation, etc.

In contrast, making in-game adjustments and the application of specific X’s & O’s have never been hallmarks of his unique coaching style.

It’s not that he doesn’t know these things … because he surely does; he’s a veteran, solid basketball coach. It’s that he CHOOSES not to make these specific aspects of ‘coaching’ what he specifically emphasizes with his teams.

There is nothing wrong with this; it’s merely HIS ’style’ and it works … most of the time … especially when his teams are substantially more talented than their opponents (e.g. see when at Duke).

When his teams struggle, it is usually when (i) they are matched-up against an exceptional in-game coach, whose team can make the necessary adjustments to counter their opponent’s strengths and effectively minimize their own weaknesses, or when (ii) they are physically over-matched.

In international competition, as long as the USA sends a collection of their best players ’situation (ii)’ is not going to happen … but, depending on which team they are matched-up against, and who is coaching that opponent, at that given point in time, Coach K’s team WILL ALWAYS BE VULNERABLE to the type of situation the most recent version of USA Basketball ran into in Japan (at the 2006 World Championships) … i.e. situation (i) … where they were simply out-executed by a savy veteran team under the direction of a solid in-game coach that was (a) physically talented enough and (b) skilled enough (etc.) to cope with the strengths of that specific USA team … in other words, “They were/are Loaded for Bear.”

This year’s version of USA Basketball WILL win the Gold Medal and restore American pride in their basketball supremacy … but, as long as Coach K. is leading their team they will always be vulnerable in this way.

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What did others see?

An epic battle

May 19, 2008

The Boston Celtics, fuelled by the relentless Defense & Rebounding of Kevin Garnett … AND the heroic offensive production of Tha Truth

win a Mano-a-Mano, Plus One shootout vs ‘the King‘ (still-in-waiting).

PS. Watch this vid-clip. Listen to the accompanying lyrics, and think back to when Paul Pierce was fined $25,000 by the NBA, and stabbed multiple times. Must be nice to finally be The Truth for a day living large in Beantown, after all these years of Blood, Sweat and Tears.