Sunday, 26 December 2010
TOP 10 NBA MOMENTS OF THE YEAR
#1. MAKING IT A DOUBLE: Nothing quite says 'we did it' like winning the NBA championship after an up and down season, injuries, hard fought series' and an epic 7 game duel with the Boston Celtics. The Lake Show made it a double by successfully defending their 2009 NBA Championship. Trophy two was sweet as the Lakers are now spurred on for a three peat conclusion to the trilogy. Do back to backs make dynasty's? Just like Magic said in the 80's after his "Yeah, YEAH!"
#2. PHOENIX SUNS BECOME LOS LEADERS: Those limited edition 'Los' Spanish NBA jerseys are no new thing. Everyone wears them (it gets especially confusing when the 'Los Lakers' wear them) They are as almost as common place as throwback jersey game nights. Still, when the Phoenix rocked them for a Western finals game against the San Antonio Spurs they had something more to say then simply that the NBA cares. Talk about great, meaningful stories in the NBA filled with heart. Showing pride and passion in their support Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and the rest of the Phoenix squad repped hard in their protest against Arizona immigration laws. The Suns burnt a message into the public consciousness and the powers that be (and we aren't talking about the NBA governess) and their playoff win just made it even more potent. Now who says politics has no place in sports? Phoenix showed that the camaraderie of sports can be a great medium to help bring people together even more. In a strict league the Suns broke down barriers and illuminated the down trodden and forgotten. Now what's bigger then that?
#3. DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Loathe or hate it, LeBron's decision was one of the biggest and most defining moments of the year. He changed business and sports in the space of a one hour television show...and people said it was pointless. As LeBron took his talents to South Beach he joined forces with fellow big free agents Chris Bosh and Dywane Wade for the Miami Heat. He formed a big three set to dominate the league and the trophy cabinet. At the same time 'Bron showed he was the king of self promotion and marketing ushering in a new way for free agents to deal with themselves. He may have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way but at the same time he more than scratched the surface of how dominant one man could be in all fields with real, power player moves. I guess he really can throw that Roc sign now. Basketballs Jay-Z is his own dynasty.
#4. THE FISH THAT KEEPS SAVING L.A.: Derek Fishers always been as good as Robert Horry was in the clutch but this year he's been as good as Kobe. Most recently he even switched it up, driving in for a game winning layup against the Clippers away at Staples last month. Still it was Derek's fourth quarter heroics in game 3 of the finals at the Celtics garden that defined his year and kept L.A. in a series they where losing grasp of...fast. This momentum changer steered the course for his team and kept hope alive. It felt like last year in Orlando all over again. Sure this guy isn't as quick as other guards but who in the league is clutch like him. He may not be as big a player as Kobe, Gasol or even Shaq but when it's all said and hung up, one things for sure this number 2 jersey has to be retired.
#5. GEORGE KARLS 1,000Th RETURN: Every year there are always great comeback stories in the NBA but none where sweeter then George Karl's. After successfully beating cancer, Coach Karl made a triumphant return to the sidelines and dry erases for the Denver Nuggets. Then as if that wasn't enough, Karl reached his 1,000Th career win putting himself in real prestigious company. Phil Jackson, Pat Riley type company. Sure Denver still have no idea what will happen with Carmelo Anthony but one things for sure, their coach isn't going anywhere but the record books. Don't call it a comeback, Karl's been fighting for years
#6. THREE ROOKIE RACE: With yet another great rookie class this year, the race to the rookie of the year award was wide open. Still three of the leagues finest stallions galloped to the finish line, but only one could win, (it's been a long time since Elton Brand and Steve Francis shared the award). This year, (after avoiding league age limitations in Europe the previous season), Brandon Jennings returned to America in a big way, manning the point and Milwaukee's postseason chances. The youngster played like a season vet and after standing up himself he delivered like Karl Malone dishing assists. Step Curry of the Golden State Warriors also had a triumphant year, despite battling injury. The star proved he was just as good in the backcourt as Monta Ellis, who himself proved seasons prior that he was just as good as Baron Davis. Despite all being deserving of the throne, the real Rookie of the Year was Tyreke Evans. The new 'Big O' and Mitch Richmond is already a star. Need proof? How about statistics of 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assist at least per. The only others to average these as rookies were Oscar, LeBron and Mike. Now you no 'Reke belongs with esteemed company.
#7. THE THUNDERS STORM: It's criminal that we at 'BASKETBALL 24/48/82' neglected to put Kevin Durant in out top 5 players of 2010, let alone out top 10. Still all we can say is sorry and charge it to our minds and not our hearts, mistakes happen. You see Durant and his Oklahoma City team have had such a great year, that even die hard Sonics fans have to be left thinking, Seattle who? You see, the young K.D. has moved himself right between LeBron and Carmelo as the heir to Kobe's throne. Plus with the underrated (because they play alongside him) but undeniable talent of Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, the Thunder have extended their reign to the contender park. They even almost knocked Kobe and his eventual champion Laker out of a series that was nearly as thrilling and arguably as tough for the Lakers as their final one against a championed, seasoned Celtic team. With this the young talent of Durant and his young team proved they could hang with the big, older boys. All that's left for top player K.D. is for him to become one of the best all time and all that's left for his top team is to gun for a championship. Now isn't that a lot to look forward to and we're sorry Kevin, we hope this makes up. Oh yeah, and let's not forget and look foolish again, Durant led the league in scoring this year, taking the trophy with 30.1 per. The youngest to ever do it at 21, need we say anymore?
#8. THE NEW, NEW YORK KNICKS: No longer are New York's basketball franchise a rotten apple, playing the worlds worst basketball in the worlds most famous arena. It almost became an enjoyable addition for MSG fans to be frustrated with their beloved, for worse, Knickerbockers. Still Mike D'Antoni began ushering in a new reign seasons ago that didn't start and end with Eddy Curry. With dead weight being dropped and shipped and talent being brought in things looked better for the Knicks last year. From former N.C. guards making N.Y. points to Italians suiting up nicely. Still it was when the new Big Apple favourites hit the free agent market that they hit big. Sure they may have missed Wade and James but they landed Amare Stoudemire early and boy has he been a game changer, for the win column that is. It can even be argued that Amare was more of a player this team needed as he has given the previous donut franchise some STAT's upfront. Now the Knicks are finally looking at playoffs and maybe even Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul two. Even with New Jerseys move to Brooklyn still up in the air, things are looking even better for New York basketball.
#9. RECORD BREAKING ALL-STARS: Sure it was great to see Paul Pierce win the three point shot contest and despite what critics said the dunk contest was good, (always amazing watching Nate's hops). Still the best thing about the 2010 All-Star Weekend in was the game itself. The American Airlines arena may be nice but Dallas opted for their NFL teams Cowboys Arena to have a court put in it to showcase the event. In the Superbowl of the NBA this game broke records. 108, 713 fans took their seat for this game which was the largest crowd ever for a basketball game. The game wasn't all style two as this landmark game had substance. Sure Kobe may have missed it but everyone was on hand to watch an East, West, 141-139 thriller (it wasn't just the attendance that was high). The leagues best put on a back-and-forth, competitive show for a change in a dream game. Dywane Wade took home the MVP honors, leading his team to victory. Even so, however, on this special night every athlete playing reached their own milestone in becoming a part of history.
#10. P's DOUBLE KEEPS HIM TRUE: Everyones championship favourites are always the Lakers, or now Miami, or perhaps the Magic. Still people keep doubting the brilliant Boston Celtic team, writing this talent off as old, even if they add a couple of O'Neal's to their Celtic Irish mix. Still, however Boston continue to defy age and critics, with Garnett playing like 'Da Kid' and Ray Allen dropping miracles like Jesus and let's not get started on how good Rondo is. With all this said and done it's the current Celtics longest serving member that's remained the truth. Paul Pierce is still one of the most, talented, dangerous and smart players in the league. During the preseason Pierce put a hole in the rejuvenated New York Knicks as his buzzer winner at Madison Square Garden sealed the victory for Boston. Back in New York in the regular season, during a classic game for the ages, P made it a double. Same situation, same shot, same buzzer beater and same celebration. This time however it counted even more and not just for the box score. Paul proved that he and his team had a lot more than just a little life and fight in them. Now let's see just how much come June. TIM DAVID HARVEY.