Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Last week we had four teams still alive in the Playoff picture. Still the window was closing on half of the teams at the brink and then this week there where two as the this years playoffs gave way to the 2011 NBA Finals. So for your basketball Jones, how about one last sip from the 'Playoff Punch'? We know your thirsty for more.
...so what did Dallas get up to this week? Well not much apart from beating the hottest young team in the game, advancing to their long-awaited NBA Finals and exorcising their demons of 2006 all in one game...Game 5 to be exact. Westbrook's stellar 31 points and 23 from Durant and Harden were not enough points poured from the Thunder as Dallas edged them 100-96. Marion and Nowitzki had 26 apiece, while the best closer this year had plenty of help off the bench as Terry (12 points) and Barea (14) heated up and cooled off Oklahoma's thunder. Despite the loss however, this before it's time OKC team will be back and even better in the future as Durant said, "The only way to get better is to keep pushing.'' "I was already thinking about the finals,'' Dirk told press also. "This is nice for a day, but we set our goals in October to win it all. We haven't done it yet.'' Another player who notched 26 points; Shawn Marion added, "Lots of guys never go, so I'm going to make the best of it." It's evident that even in their new success the Mavs haven't lost sight of that Rick Carlisle dubbed, "laser-like focus". Time to take aim and fire at their next opponent...
...they'll need it against a hot-like-fire Heat team with their focused big three. Last week Miami took a 2-1 lead in the series with only two more in a row needed to go to the show that is the NBA Finals. Still if Chicago could have roped things up, they would have avoided being one game away from elimination, tieing the games up and making it a series. In the pivotal game four it was Miami's wish that was granted with a 101-93 win. LeBron had a huge 35, while the big three rounded out with 22 from Bosh and 14 from Wade. Deng and Boozer where beasts for the Bulls with 20 apiece, while MVP Derrick Rose had 23, but that was off 8 for 27 shooting to go along with 7 turnovers...
...in the go hard or stay home crucial Game 5 in Chicago, Miami did not want to take advantage of a three game cushion, they wanted to seal their trip to the finals. With a 83-80 win they did that too putting the lid on the 'Windy Cities' basketball season. Despite Deng's 18, Rose's 25 and a hard-fought battle from the Bulls the final box-score read 'James 28, Bosh 20, Wade 21' and a 'W' for Miami. This prompted Heat president Pat Riley to say "You can see that we have two, three players that have no fear.'' The fearless, face of the franchise King James however told press, "There's no sense of relief right now. We've still got work to do." LeBron, Miami nor the Bulls "took nothing for granted" as Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau lamented, "Hopefully, we learn from that, move on. I think you use this experience to drive you so you can improve for next year.'' Still this year it's Miami's first experience of the Finals since '06 as they take on a team that has a monkey clawing at their back from that year...
...so as 'The Finals Countdown' (http://basketball244882.blogspot.com/2011/05/finals-countdown.html), who's name will be engraved in history after this 'Final Chapter'(http://basketball244882.blogspot.com/2011/05/final-chapter.html)? The maverick Dallas team? Or the heating up Miami? Keep it 24/48/82 as we take our last hit from 'The Playoff Punch' and get ready for 'The Finals Fix'. It's going to be an amazing June. Stay tuned. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 29 May 2011
The Last Chapters About To Be Wrote.
By Tim David Harvey
So we're here already. The greatest stage of the worlds greatest basketball league and there's no sign of purple and gold, or even green. The Lakers and the Celtics historical legacy has been put on ice. Right now-despite strong cases from Oklahoma and Chicago-the deserved NBA finalists are the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. Two teams ready to answer the critics and the doubts that they've already addressed. Two teams about to go head-to-head. Lets take a closer look.
Despite the cooling down all the Miami haters gave this team the Heat got white hot in these playoffs, from the T-shirts handed out to the fans to the losses dealt to the opposition. The 58-24 Miami team had little at stake in Philly, eliminating the battling Sixers in five. Then a big test came in the Eastern semis as Miami faced the reigning champions of the East; Boston. Despite the Celtics resilience in games 4 and 5, Miami took the series in less then 6 or 7 games. Miami also took Chicago in five despite being Bull-ridden and blown out in Game 1.
Out West the Mavericks blazed an impressive Portland side in round one looking hotter then ever but then they faced the defending NBA Champion and their bogey team; the Los Angeles Lakers. Still the unexpected happened and Dallas didn't just give the Lakers a series they swept them 4 games to nil. Talk about 'Beat L.A.' Then facing a rising Oklahoma Thunder side and their rain man Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and his Maverick Dallas team weathered the storm and cloaked the Thunder in five. Now reaching the finals when no one thought they could the Mavs have exorcised those first round demons of 2006. Even though the Heat have efficiently dealt with all comers in five (and look to do the same to Dallas) the Mavs have arguably had the better run thanks to the incredible blow-out of the Lakers three-peat celebration candles. Sorry Phil.
POINT GUARD: Miami's Mike Bibby comes with a lot of playoff experience and pedigree (see Sacramento and big shots) but so does Maverick and legend Jason Kidd. He quarterbacked the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals at the beginning of the last decade. This will be a great match-up between the two veteran, old-school, traditional points, passing and popping their way through consistency and hey at least there's no Lakers team for either guys to lose to this time. Still thanks to form and reputation this Kidd still has the edge.
SHOOTING GUARD: LeBron will almost want to guard this guy for personal reasons (they've had playoff drama before, just ask Jay-Z) and DeShawn Stevenson definitely matches his strength. With a tough game to boot Stevenson is a great find lost among Dallas big names. Still he has to deal with one of Miami's three-headed monster Dwyane Wade and with his offensive and defensive ability to take over games and series' Flash owns this match-up. DeShawn's going to need some help, it's a good job Dallas bench can answer the call.
SMALL FORWARD: If only the Mavericks had Caron Butler back, you might be looking at the winner of this series for certain in Dallas. Caron's strength has been able to contain LeBron in the past but still Shawn Marion does have the height, weight, along with the offensive and defensive prowess to keep up with James for at least a few quarters. Still James strength, dominance and star power will strong arm this match-up on both ends of the court. Dallas should touch wood though, Butler's been on the practice floor. X-Factor anyone?
POWER FORWARD: In the one head-to-head match-up between two true stars Bosh may have this forward positions power and passion edge but Dirk has the finesse and determination, which may well be the determining edge. Bosh better play at his best and bring the thunderous slams and stormy energy because Dirk could take Chris out his zone and kill him from the perimeter. Sure Miami's third option has range, but nobodies shot is like Dirks, no...body! Chris Bosh may be the true definition of a power forward but because Dirk isn't-going figuratively and literally out the box-he has the edge.
CENTRE: Miami may bring 'Big Z' back in because right now the size, strength and sheer energy of Tyson Chandler edges out the Heats young, 6, 9 big Joe Anthony. Sure Anthony has hops and helps his Miami teams impressive running game but Chandlers got sprints and lifts too. Both teams are capable of keeping up with each other, but in the middle the Heat will have to find some way to cool down Dallas' core.
BENCH: The Heats Mario Chalmers, Eddie House, Mike Miller and James Jones can start hot streaks with their ability to take more shots then Lil' Jon and guys like Dampier, Howard and Ilgauskas have experience in abundance. Now if Udonis Haslem returns strong this surviving '06 champion could be just as much as an X-Factor as Butler would be. With that being said however the Mavericks Barea and Terry are tone and series changers with their sensational speed and shot and how about Stojakovic's resurgence, bringing a three ball renaissance with Terry and Dirk? The lights won't know what hit them. Plus with Cardinal's all-round toughness, Haywood's ability to match the Heats bench and starting centres, Dallas has it all. Miami's mob looks better on paper, but in the playoffs Dallas' goodfellas have been the real gang of warriors. Miami's subs better come out and play.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: Now this is the head-to-head that determines this match-up and series. LeBron's super strength versus Dirk's sublime shot. Both are defensive match-up nightmares for the other from Nowitzki's height to James' weight. Is Dirk gets hot the German gunner will shoot down the King, but with 'Bron, 'Brons ability to get to the basket he can get easy baskets and draw fouls. Who has the edge? It's going to be determined by the night, game, quarter and minute. Whoever has the final edge however will tip the other team off the championship scale. Beware the franchise form however, we haven't even mentioned the fact that the Heat have Wade. Two against one is no contest, until you realise Dirk regularly draws triple teams.
THE COACH: Rick Carlisle is the coaches coach, he's not old-school, he's old-testament. One of the greatest and most under-rated of this generation he took the generals men (still an outstanding job Avery) and turned them into soldiers. Still Erik Spoelstra is still an incredible young coach. Taking this new Miami team in it's rookie year to the promised land where critics guaranteed they wouldn't reach. Erik's given Pat Riley a reason to stay upstairs. Still the edge on the floor goes to Carlisle.
THE FANS (The Real Sixth-Man): Both American Airline Arenas are some of the best places to watch Basketball and the fans some of the best company. Getting behind their team with an electricity and excitement that spark plus their sides on there's little between Dallas' and Miami's base of fans. Miami's white collar hot fan base ignite their team to the 'tee' but there's just something about these Dallas Maverick fans. As these Texan titans wish for more, dominant success in this sport these fans get in all sorts of states to get behind their team. From body paint to never taking the expensive seats they brought these fans are like no other. It's almost like your watching another sport in support in Dallas and that's why the Mavs have the edge. Game 1 in Miami could prove a crucial, tone-setting factor.
THE FINAL EDGE
Miami or Dallas? This one is a tough call. Maybe it's because few people expected these two to make it here. Or maybe it's because these sides have both greatly exceeded their expectations. Or maybe it's because Dallas has the edge in most, important categories but that Miami have the best player in the league today in LeBron James. Maybe it's because the Heat's strength is too hot for any team to handle beyond 5 games. Or maybe it's because when it comes to late in the game or a series no one can out shoot the Mavericks guns. Or maybe it's because NBA basketball today is more like college basketball. With all these talented, dynamic, differently evenly matched teams the playoffs has been determined and conquered by the team that sets the tone. Just like Dallas did on L.A. or Miami did on Boston. There was no way back for those former East and West champs and with these ones it's who starts that will finish. Put it this way if Miami can take Game 1 and homecourt advantage then this series probably won't go past the Heats realm of 5 games. Still if this goes the full seven, which looks likely no player with Heat can close out the game like Dirk and the Mavericks. All bets are off. Just watch.
It Was All A Dream.
By Tim David Harvey
A women's worth was on full display this evening as the WNBA travelled to England to show the nation what you should expect from this league; great. In what looked like a tune-up game on paper the United Kingdom's Team GB took on the second best team and the reigning Eastern Conference Champions the Atlanta Dream (they where 2010 finalist runners up to the thunderous Seattle Storm) but for who? The WNBA in it's 15th anniversary made it's first live appearance in England and Europe playing the best of a talented country in this hot warm-up to the 2012 Olympics next year in the the capital city London. With a lot of exclamation points this game promised a lot and with cheerleaders, dribbling experts and an excitement and exuberance outside the 'Worlds Best' M.E.N. Arena it looked to deliver on it's expectations.
Before the game there was a fitting tribute and moments silence for Margo Dydeck (1974-2011) one of the best and nicest WNBA professionals ever ("to know her was to know love" fellow players said) who we lost at the young age of 37 last week. People began to stand in respect for this wonderful woman. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Margo and the Dydeck family.
After the two teams exchanged some gifts we received some great basketball as club and country shared the floor. Team Great Britain drew first blood as their big Kim Butler scored off an impressive turn of the playbook. Then, however it was Miller time as Coco and her ATL team looked to give the Brits a nightmare evening. As Coco popped for another basket, it was clear that her hot streak was about to make it a real long night of burn for the British side. Still the first period started a little scrappy with some airballs, but that didn't take the atmosphere out of the half full, but all in it crowd, who remained electrified all game. This quarter was defined by the back and forth between Atlanta's Miller (21 points) and GB's Butler (12). After Kim beat the shot clock, Coco beat the break at the other end of the floor. Great Britain had to watch their assignments as the Dream where writing a basketball dissertation. After an easy Miller lay-up on another break Britain called time, 22-8 down. Harding hit right before the buzzer as the Dream continued to clock up the points.
Some 'Crazy' French dunkers really ignited the crowd with a one-of-a-kind spectacle which ATL mascot Star could not match physically, but he sure brought the entertainment in many other ways. Still, not that there wasn't any of this on the floor. Atlanta's Lemming hit a nice lefty layup as Britain fell behind further. Then a nice steal from Atlanta's number '0' (Brittainey Raven) stopped G.B's tempo but came up with nothing but a charge charged on the Dream team. Then a swooping three from Raven-who was knocked on the play-still saw the twine and a 33-17 lead. Great Britain then hit back as Erving hit a 2 off the roll. Then however some excellent defensive pressure by the American side spoiled G.B.'s offensive cooking. The score was 37-19 and as Nas said 'it's halftime'.
Following a nice performance from Irish girl-group Wonderland it was back to the Dreams world. Great Britain turned their signs of life into signs of promise in the second half as they tried to steal the ball and opening moments off Atlanta. Coco Miller cleaned up the mess however, but then some British intelligence lead to a bucket for the home team. As the U.K. came back Butler ushered in some sweet spins for the lay in to show that Britain were not lying down, taking it and thinking of England. Still they had nothing for Coco Miller who cocked her number nine and gunned down the host teams onslaught. G.B. couldn't contain the Dreams rapid movements as Price broke away for a costly lay-up. Then another break-away lead to a hay maker, deep two from Bales. Britain tried to hit back by slowing the game down, but it was clear that Atlanta where controlling the game with their own pace as they hit 50. This game was still competitive despite the scoreline and that's what made it so enjoyable. With a timeout called over half-way in the third, there wasn't long left in a brilliant night that seemed to go all too quickly. All sort of music is playing in the arena from hits by Prince to songs from 'Uncle Buck'. Still it was Miller who rung out, unbreakable with every smash in the basket. She couldn't miss. Coco was automatic like Folgers in the morning, heating up in an instant.
As we fast-forward to the fourth quarter fast play began this last period. Great Britain played a little erratic but still the passion and buckets where still there. Butler was still in it and even though the Dream where running away with the lead like the Harlem Globetrotters where still in town, G.B. Where not playing like the New York Rens. Despite the sleeve on her knee the Dreams Raven looked quick starting and finishing the break with speed and style putting G.B. in the black. The home-firm tried to strong-arm their way back with some skillful passing but it didn't result in a set of offence. Still at least Britain put on a show as time was about to be called. As the game came to a close the Dream lulled the British team to rest with a goodnight of 82-51.
Despite their loss to the Atlanta Dream you shouldn't sleep on this Great Britain team. They just gained some valuable experience and a tune up against an accomplished American side. Despite the blowout the home side did their country proud with heart and resilience in the face of immeasurable, certain defeat. This thrashing still showed hope for Great Britain, they look ready for the Olympics. As for Atlanta now that was one hell of a road win. What a way to start their season putting on an exhibition. The dream are real. It's time we all woke-up to women's basketball.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
As the NBA playoffs come hurtling towards 'The Final Chapter' this years postseason really is a page turner and ratings winner. With Boston and L.A. out and not much between the four teams still in it, amazing really is happening. It's still anybodies ballgame. So let's see how it's all going down in this weeks edition of 'The Playoff Punch'.
...Picking up from where we left off last week Miami had just dropped their first game in the Eastern Finals to Chicago after dethroning the reigning Eastern champs Boston. Game 2 was a different story as Miami won by 10, 85-75 thanks to LeBron's 29 and D-Wade's 24. The Heat took the wind out of the United Arena as they tied up the series in Chicago's city. Then in Game 3 them and the enthusiasm and passion of Chris Bosh seemed too much as the Heat cooled off the Bulls en route to a 96-85 win and a 2-1 series lead. Still with Game 4 tonight and no team looking like their ready to go home it's still a series. the Bulls will look to tie it up tonight away from Illinois, but with home-court advantage the Heat could take a 3-1 lead and put Chi-City on the ropes...
...meanwhile out West the ropes looked tied around Oklahoma as even their best efforts couldn't help the steaming Mavericks from rolling over them. Last night Dallas took a 3 game to 1 lead that Miami are looking for. In this thriller the Thunder rained a 15 point lead on the Mavs, but thanks to our MVP of the playoffs Dirk Nowitzki (40 points and 12 in the fourth quarter) overtime and a loss was forced. 112-105 as the final box-score scribe and if Dallas continue this run of form tomorrow it could be all she wrote for OKC town. In game 1 the Thunder themselves had 112 bu that wasn't enough as Dallas had 121 points to flip the score in their favour. This series has been about Dirk versus Durant but the German gunner has been shooting the best with 48 in Game 1 and 29 in Game 2. Still as he was contained Oklahoma showed that they where at their best when holding their opponents to 100 point or less. Beating Dallas 106-100 in Texas they tied the series going back home. Then with a 93-87 win the Mavericks lassoed the series back in their favour and pulled away in more ways then one as they headed to their Game 4 slugging. Unless the Thunder are playing the rope-a-dope they better roll with the punches because right now Dallas is Ali and they are Foreman about to get knocked out. Tomorrow will tell...
...so who will meet in 'The Final Chapter' (http://basketball244882.blogspot.com/2011/05/final-chapter.html)? Will Dallas overcome the Thunder's storming success and reach the finals exorcising all their demons from 2007, going to the place that the reigning champion Lakers they dethroned where last year? Or will Oklahoma fight back and reign supreme? In the east will Miami take control of the series tonight in their boiler room at American Airlines, helping them be one game away from the (free-agency) promised land that critics said they'd never find? or will the Bulls run down the hometown Heat, making this a series and possibly their first finals since the infamous, basketball legendary Jordan era? Find out more next week for your next hit from 'The Playoff Punch'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 22 May 2011
How Many Days Are Coming?
What does early June mean to you? That last exam? The end of school or college maybe? A couple of weeks from that holiday you've been working towards all year? It could be anything but what does early June mean to an NBA player?
It means the final destination of the year for two NBA teams out of sixteen who endured the tough, long season and a play hard or go home playoff campaign. It means that one of these two teams will write their names in the NBA history books where the other team will merely remain an afterthought. It's about the NBA Finals and it will end with the champion team reaping all the glory and the success that every team worked hard for but that only one team can obtain.
It means more than the commercials, no matter how hot they are. It's truly amazing. It means more than the sneakers, no matter how nice those hyperdunks may be. It means more than all the big trades and news stories that dominate the 82 game long season instead of just being a sidebar. It means more than the state of the art, awe inspiring arenas, coupled with the money made off merchandise and the concessions, although there's not much that beats a Friday night big game with a brew and your closest. It means more than the emphatic player introductions, fireworks and in game entertainment, although that does get you fired up. It means more then the cheerleaders, although they do look real nice. It means more than the celebrities in the Jack Nicholson seats, dominating the first rows, although there's not much cooler than seeing Larry David sitting next to Spike Lee.
It means more than the expensive suits, and grown up, dress code envelope pushing fashions of the players arriving to the game. It even means more than the multi-million dollar endorsement deals and recession defying bidding wars for advertising space between timeouts. IT MEANS MORE THEN THE LOCKOUT! It even means more than any single player gracing the court that night. With all respect to the elite superstars of the league. It means more than almost every home fan wearing the same players jersey, this is all about every player on the floor and on the bench giving their all-as one-for a common goal. This is because what all it comes down too is the game itself, which for the majority of players, coaches and personnel will be the biggest game of their lives.
It's deeper then the midseason grind of a 10 game road trip. Its more vivid then the dream of a kid emulating a Jordan buzzer beater on the streets, his friend by his side assuming the role of the commentator, line for line like it was an infamous quote from a movie. For the two teams that make it you may have come close and tasted it before, but now you have first class reservations. It doesn't matter how long you've dreamed and waited for this moment you better be ready, because its here now.
No matter what happened this season, no matter how many games previously you won or lost it doesn't matter. No matter which journalist wrote you off or which pundit championed you it doesn’t matter as its all about now. It's all about the next four to seven games. It's about every second from the tip to the buzzer. It's about every loose ball, every hustle, steal, charge, foul, free throw and every point whether made on the scoreboard or on the tone of the series. It's about the game as strategic as chess and as unpredictable and free as Jazz (word to Utah). It's about your heart, your enthusiasm your drive. It's all about how much you really want to win, because if your desires not as strong as your opponents then you simply wont win.
It's all about your chance to go down in history, it's all about those 'amazing' moments. It's all about Magic's junior sky-hook or his playing centre and leading his team to the 'chip in the absence of Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Its all about “Who caught it?”, “Havlicek”! It's about warriors of the game like Willis Reed carrying his team on one leg. It's all about playing hard and prevailing over Bill Laimbeer and the rest of the Detroit Pistons who fight so tough. It's all about balloons falling on your floor with no one there to celebrate because you tempted fate to much in the face of Celtic pride.
It's about defying expectations, breaking rules, going against the grain. It's about not caring that no team has come back from a deficit of so many games, because your not going home tonight. It's about being wrote off completely and ignoring all put downs. It's when a strong team and unit defeats and almost sweeps a team with four Hall of Famer's on it. It's about every game counting. It's all about David beating Goliath at least once, draining it from deep whilst stepping over Tyronn Lue. It's about after a decade of never touching glory crying tears of joy one year to not one year later sitting in a suit and watching your team being eliminated. It's all about worst to first, best to least.
It's about Larry O'Brien, its about those fingers on your hands waiting for those rings. It's all about the same dream you had as a kid. It's all about working on your dream all day long and then bouncing your worn out Spalding against a poster of Larry Bird when it got too dark and cold to play outside. It's that dream that you would of spent all day as a kid chasing if it wasn't for knowing if you didn't respond to the next time your mum called you inside there would be hell to pay. It's about what means the world to you, what gets you out the bed, to the gym, to the court or just even what gets you to subscribe to the NBA League pass. Then again this is just basketball right? After all this is just the NBA Finals, just what you've been waiting all year to watch and just what the two teams have been waiting their whole lives for to play.
Monday, 16 May 2011
With four weeks into the NBA Playoffs we are now left with four teams after a month of some incredible action that has left us with the fact that their will be a new champion on both coasts and eventual winner, but who will have their name scribed next to Larry O' Brien this year? 'The Playoff Punch' continues...
...after Dallas buckaroo'd Los Angeles out of the playoffs the champion dethroners had a lot of time off following their sweep. This was because Memphis and our new favourite to win it all, Oklahoma engaged in an epic seven games. It was a close call like this years referee's but in the end the Thunder looked more gnarly then the Grizz, whetting them 105-90 en route to a 4-3 series win. We told you there was a storm coming (http://basketball244882.blogspot.com/2011/02/theres-storm-coming.html)...
...Chicago and Atlanta also got into the dramatics searching for their own epic. This one went to six games however as Chicago bull-rided the Hawks four games to two. In the crucial last game the Hawks looked to pull a game back and make it a series but Chi-town took out their talons with a 20 point, 93-73 blowout...
...on the other hand the epic Boston/Miami matchup turned out to be more straightforward for the Heat as they cooled down the Celtics four games to one. The reigning Eastern champs fought hard but they where done after five once Miami beat them by 10 (97-87). Now can the Heat go all the way...
...well they are certainly going about it the wrong way as Miami are down 1-0 to Chicago in the Eastern Finals after the Bulls rode them 103-82. As the Windy City team changed the tide of the Heat's flow they did this in Miami. A crucial win at Miami's homecourt disadvantage means that the Bulls are one win away from taking this series by the horns. Still the Miami have a lot of Heat left in them, so the fans better keep those white-hot t-shirts on...
...so it's Miami and Chicago and Oklahoma and Dallas out West which starts tomorrow, but who will meet in the finals. We like Chicago and Oklahoma, but right now it's anybodies game and trophy. All these teams look so good and that's why the NBA this year is so great, it's hard to pick a champion or a finalist, but we may find out the second by next week. Be sure to check back then for your next hit from 'The Playoff Punch'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 14 May 2011
Like father, like son.
By Tim David Harvey
Picture the scene if you will. It's a couple of weeks back and the families all together. Still after dinner in a study illuminated only by television and lamp light Coach Glenn Rivers is busy studying videotape. He plays, pauses, rewinds and plays again as he watches Dwyane Wade pick, roll and pick apart his Boston Celtics team. He rewinds and watches again, making note after note, never stopping, always working. A constant thudding sound however distracts him (and it's not the stress). Doc looks up.
Meanwhile upstairs a young man is lying in bed pounding a Spalding against his bedroom wall that is adorned by two jersey's; one labelled 'Winter Park' the other coloured blue and white. On this kids laptop the same Miami/Boston game plays as this young man laps up the highlights. He studies hard watching the moves, practicing the handles. He sees a movie he likes and rewinds, plays, pauses, rewinds and plays again, leaning forward taking mental notes absorbing like a sponge. Pounding the rock even harder against the wall until a call from downstairs..."Austin, son", Doc calls; "can you come down and help me with something"?
Success, common factors like other traits such as talent, intelligence, hard-work and focus run in families like the other ties that bind. If they are instilled properly they don't skip generations. Right now the second-born son (the older Jeremiah plays hard as a Senior for Indiana) of NBA All-Star and Hall Of Fame ready coach Doc Rivers is coming straight out of high-school to take the prestigious alumni of Duke and college basketball by storm. The pouring stream of one Rivers to another runs rapid as Austin Rivers looks to be the next best thing in basketball, guarding the family name at the combo, making his point years before he'll even guarantee his place in the NBA just like his old man.
Right now Austin Rivers is in the top two of the nations College prospects, while his father Doc is in the top two of NBA coaches around today (if not the first now we say peace to Phil Jackson) and his Boston side on their best day are up there with the top two teams. Both Rivers men have also of late put ink to paper on very important deals. Doc' has signed on to take the reigns and extend the Celtics championship contention for the next five years, while Austin will make his name known in the country from New England to Texas as he has declared he will Duke it out with the Blue Devils this fall as UNC and Kansas can only watch in awe and envy. Looks like times are going to be great in the Rivers household for many moons to come.
It seems that Doc hasn't just coached successful men in Celtic green, he's also taught his son everything he needs to know, not just in life but on the basketball court too. You see Glenn 'Doc' Rivers the player was an underrated All-Star guard who like any great point (and of course coach) controlled his team like a true leader and had a high Basketball I.Q. Learning all these traits from the tutelage of all-round Basketball great and champion Rivers Senior, Rivers junior could be the next superstar in the NBA. Sure that's lofty expectations to put on an 18 year old kid, but Austin has already reached new heights and time flies. Before you know it Austin could be schooling his idols Wade and Brandon Roy, showing and proving he's the next thing like Derrick Rose and hey if we're dreaming he may even get to play under his father one day. Now how sweet an NBA story would that be?
This truly is what the Doc' ordered. The perfect prescription of young talent and old wisdom passed down like old clothes. This NBA suitor likes how this notion fits however as Austin has the ability to stunt even harder then his daddy like Lil' Wayne. This baby faced assassin scores in bunches, however you like or want it. With deadly shooting from long range and the ability to take it to your grill, driving hard and still dishing like a Point. Rivers flows between both guard positions without an off-day. Doc really cooked up a superstar in the making. Glenn Rivers was internationally known in the FIBA Championships as tournament MVP, while he was still at Marquette University. Then in the NBA he soared to double figures with the Hawks and joined the list of great Points in New York. Now we don't know what the basketball future of the Doc's son will be but be patient, this All-American has already won the 'Naismith Prep Player of the Year' award. Austin has the ability to power through the NCAA to the NBA possessing a better skill set then his father did.
Now picture this; many years from now after all he's done as a player and a coach Springfield beckons the Doc like his name was Hibbert. As the legendary player/coach takes his award who better to present it and reciprocate the pride then one of the NBA's best players and most dominant stars? As a 6 foot 4 inch man walks down the carpet to applause and awe, taking to the stage more mature but with a boyish look. The franchise player clears his throat before he leans towards the mic. "Good evening, my names Austin Rivers and we're here tonight to honor my father". TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Death Of A Dynasty Part 2?
By Tim David Harvey
Embarrassing...that was the only way to describe the Lakers exit from the 2011 NBA playoffs last week. The defending champions offended their throne as they crashed out of the second round 4-zip to a team that used to never beat them...at all. Still as the Dallas Mavericks showed their real worth and contention, the Lakers sent their beloved leader and the most successful coach in NBA history off to retirement with his first ever playoff sweep. So with no Jackson, a lot of action and questions to be addressed how will the Lakers 'Iverson' this post, postseason purgatory?
Jerry Buss looks to put a stop to this with the help of Mitch Kupchak getting his Jerry West on and bringing in new franchise, championship talent. Rumor has it that Buss plans to take a 'wrecking ball' to the team and if that's the case who will go and who will form the new bricks and mortar to cement a championship contender back together?
Obviously Kobe is untouchable like Kevin Costner and this leader-when healthy-is unstoppable like Denzel Washington. The best when at his best, Kobe can take the Lakers to the promised land again, but who will get there with him? Mitch's last big investment Pau Gasol, arguably is the reason the Lakers ever saw June to July again in the first place, but recently the 'soft' comments have come back to add to Gasol's hard times. If that wasn't enough the 'zen master' was even enraged by some of his plays. Meanwhile in Memphis his brother Marc (who he was partly traded for) still hasn't reached for his fishing rod. Still despite these problems Gasol has still been and is a great second option to Bryant.
Sure he couldn't handle like minded player Dirk Nowitzki, but the truth is on his day there aren't many post players better skilled or more passionate. Part of the trouble is Pau plays at his best at the forward positions and he has been banged up somewhat at times filling in at the centre position, where he is rightfully sized in height but inadequately so in weight. Which bring us to our next problem. As good and great as Andrew Bynum is becoming, one of the last, true centres in the association has the injury question mark looming over his head more then Greg Oden does. Still for the amount of times Bynum's gone down, he's bounced back with consistent double, double avengence. Now that's something to marvel at.
Still it's one of these players that looks like the bait that will reel in a trade for a real, big replacement. With trading big stars before they become free-agents becoming the new 'LeBron decision avoiding' trend, Dwight Howard could bring some Magic to Los Angeles like it was '85 again. Said to be interested in playing for the Lakers as much as the acting opportunities that Hollywood has to offer (what you say Jack?), the defensive superman of the league could usher in the next era of big legends in Lakerland. Just don't tell O'Neal that this is 'Shaq part 2' minus the legendary skills and assists. Could the potential of Howard's end in Orlando birth a new, fresh start for the raw feeling Lakers? Kobe and Dwight would be the perfect one-two punch, with their combined prowess on both ends of the floor and Dwight's sheer power that could make the Blake Griffin highlight reel a sideshow at STAPLES once again.
Surely some Laker fans will react like Kobe on hidden camera back in the Jason Kidd days to the possibility of keeping Bynum (or even Gasol for that matter) with Dwight alright to come over. Still as much as they may say "ship his a** out", it's important not to forget what each player has done for this team and is capable of doing. With all the Eddie Murphy style trading places, and decisions leading to top jersey's becoming throwbacks in a matter of weeks these days it's important for a team to regain some cohesiveness and continuity these days (as good as Miami are doing). It's important to realize that even when a reign ends it's better to fall together then fall apart (isn't that right San Antonio? Keep your heads up!). At desperate times like this, desperate measures aren't always needed. remember this is the team that still won back-to-back titles, just because bad things have happened before things came in threes doesn't mean this team are done. As good as a trade for Howard would be there is still a vital importance at rock bottom times like this for a team to regroup and picks themselves up together. After all this is a team game, and not a money one...or at least it used to be.
Let's hope some of these exit interviews don't result in real exits. Sure it'll get us talking but sometimes silence and work is the best weapon. Word on the court is that Shannon Brown could be part of a potential deal but losing him after all the Lakers did last year to keep him would take the spark out of a team that desperately needs a plug like budding stars (and Shannon's one too). Able to heat up like a microwave (we see you Vinnie Johnson) Brown could go down as one of the purple and golds best bench players ever and will serve as that extra bit of sustenance needed when the team goes cold (and it's been real chilly as of late). Besides at times like this only his 'out of your seats, on your feet dunks' can raise the spirits. Also after his Game 2 flagrant led to a Game 3 suspension a lot of unfair blame is heading Ron Artest's way and it was last year where he said you could blame him if they lost, not this one. Ron made a mistake but last year he made the engraving on Larry O'Brien. People should stop throwing 'bows at Artest in return because his passion was needed and he is still one of the best perimeter defenders the league has to offer and God knows Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks and the Lakers need him now.
Speaking of flagrants along with Gasol, Odom went out and 'hit the road Jack' more like a chump then a champ but still this 'Sixth Man of the Year' is one start and one All-Star away from being even more important to the Lakers then he already is. It was his consistency that kept this erratic Laker team going all year. The only wood he should be kept on is the pine and the floor, if the Lakers put this guy on the chopping block then they may as well stick the knife in their own backs. This versatile, dynamic talent is what's keeping the Lakers together. If only they could clone him five times over. Then you'd have a team. Speaking of the bench, it may be time for Derek Fisher to start coming off it more, as age is getting the better of him and the Lakers are in need of a new starting point. Maybe they shouldn't have let go of Jordan Farmer so easily (sorry Steve Blake, you still did good). Derek can still fish for clutch off the bench, he's still capable, but it's time for him to go ultra-Robert Horry come playoff time and be the man the Lakers know and love. Another straight 82 can wear out even the most durable of players...which Fisher is.
So what does that leave the Lakers left with? It's clear the Lakers need to keep their window open this Summer but as much as opportunity knocks it's easy to find it sitting right next to you at home. There may be some rust but seldom used forward Luke Walton could have been the assist over turnover king that the Lakers shouldn't have passed on. Right now Luuuuuuke; the STAPLES favourite staple has been receiving as many minutes as Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff and Walton is nowhere near being as old as those guys (although they are still effective, ready for another go round guys?). Luke could of been the Rick Fox actor that would have played his championship role to a tee. Besides this work hard, go hard talent is the only surviving Laker player from the older championship years sans Kobe and Fisher (and Fisher's Laker life comes with a North Californian and Northwest asterisk).
Still, obviously the Lakers are broke, so they are in need of some fixing. Aside from a big acquisition like Howard, there's plenty available on the free-agent market to play with. Guys like Jamal Crawford, Carlos Arroyo, Kenyon Martin, Shane Battier could help round out the team and give it the different dynamics needed for a fresh star. While there would be no harm in rekindling with former Lakers like Caron Butler, Sasha Vujacic, Vladimir Radmanovic or Ronny Turiaf for their experience and missed talents, but let's not go down the Kwame Brown road again. Sure the Lakers are in need of some fresh air, but at the same time they also need some breathing space and room to think things over before they make any drastic decisions.
Besides the Lakers have one pressing matter to attend to. As legendary, great and as grateful as it has been, like Jack Nicholson this is as good as it gets for Phil Jackson and bar asking the Lakers favourite fan to move over a few chairs, nobody is going to have as great an influence on the Lakers bench as the greatest coach of all time. Still as we show our appreciation to the greatest, we must remember the rule about all good things. For the Lakers to move on and get back up they must actually move on and Phil's mentoring to former Lakers championship great Brian Shaw could transpire into the next great, role player to head coach legacy. Still, even if that's not to be like Rudy T back in 2007, there will be many willing to pick up the dry erase left in Jax's place (Jerry Sloan anyone?) even if they aren't so willing to make shapes, or heads or tails out of the triangle.
So there you have it. It may have been all good a week a go and even better a year ago, but remember the Lakers have been here time and time again. Isn't that right Detroit? Kobe's walked off in a purple jersey, head down with ticker tape falling behind him before. Last week almost looked identical to 2008 bar the lack of green and the walking to the left like Beyonce. So don't think the Lakers glory days are irreplaceable. Honestly they've been humbled before. All they need to do is put this pride on rocks and this moment on ice and swallow it all together, most definitely and absolutely. For next season's a new year and the Mamba is ready to come out spitting with his venom. The doberman will be ready to get his team and reputation out the dog house and serve the critics and haters with their own helpings of humble pie. There's your food for thought. Now who's ready to do the dishes? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 9 May 2011
It's been a crazy seven days in the NBA as the third week of the NBA playoffs saw the end of a potential three-peat as we edge closer to the finals decisive third round. Time for another hit from 'The Playoff Punch'...
...there will be a new NBA champion this year as the Dallas Mavericks swept the Los Angeles Lakers season and Phil Jackson's (good luck and thank you for everything to the master of zen and winning) career away four games to nil. Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Bynum and Artest struggled to get it together as Dirk, Peja and Terry tore them apart. I guess the only three's L.A. believe in this year are the Mavericks three-balls...
...after ending San Antonio's reign Memphis are pouring and now weathering the storm of the Oklahoma City Thunder 2 games to 1. They where once a Cinderella team but now Randolph, Gay, Mayo and the Gasol known as Marc are looking to make pumpkins out of the orange, white and blues. Expect this series to be close and go down to the wire between these serious stacked squads. These teams are the future of the Western Conference showing that this playoffs it's no country for old men...
...in the East it's least cut and dry as the West. Right now you could cut the tension between the Hawks and the Bulls. There is no gap right now between Chicago and Atlanta as they are all drawn at 2 games a piece. Expect more thrills from an already exciting series. The MVP led Chicago look like new favourites for the title but those pesky Haws are swooping the boards too. Years ago the Hawks where that team that always did bad. Now their a postseason mainstay...
...while the new Eastern Conference rivalry between the big three's of Boston and Miami are hating up. After three games the Celtics trail 2 games to 1 after Miami took the first two down south. Still the Celtics are showing their pride getting back in the series and avoiding the Lakers syndrome. The reigning Eastern Conference champions are still in it, thanks to the play of Rajon Rondo. Still, right now he's playing through the pain of injury, will he and his team be able to keep going?
Find out all this and more in the next installment of 'The Playoff Punch' next week as the NBA playoffs moves into it's first month and what a month it's been. Oh and just if you where wondering about our choice for champion. Right now nobody deserves it more then the Chicago Bulls, but it'd be sure nice to see Oklahoma, Memphis, Dallas or Atlanta go far. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 6 May 2011
L.A., Minnesota, Orlando, Chicago.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER-DERRICK ROSE: Not just this years best player but arguably the best Point Guard in the league right now...not to mention top 5 of all players...at least. With his all-round game Derrick evened the score with Rajon Rondo and showed that the league wasn't just about Chris Paul and Deron Williams or Kobe Bryant and LeBron James for that matter. Without him sure the impressive Chicago Bulls could make a charge at the playoffs, but with him dishing, dunking and duking it out they could stampede the whole thing. His value could be weighed in gold...championship gold. That's how much he's worth. Chicago's first MVP since Mike and the NBA's youngest ever. You best believe history is being made.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR-BLAKE GRIFFIN: From the YouTube's to the playgrounds Blake Griffin owned the dunk psyche of every fan in the world. Part Vince, part Shaq, part Kemp, part 'Chocolate Thunder' this mans air diesel, sweet dunks reigned supreme. Still re-defining the dunk and excitement wasn't the only reason B.G. was the L's greatest rook, (with all due respect to the concrete tough John Wall). Blake's all-round game took as good a shape as his chiseled physique, besides those lay-ups are just as nice as those dunks...depending on how old school you are. Right now this Griffin is a monster, but when the rest of his game develops that's when he'll be really scary. This is why unquestionably and unanimously Blake is your Rookie of the Year.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR-DWIGHT HOWARD: The third times the charm and Dwight Howard became thrice as nice for his third straight defensive honor. The NBA's new Ben Wallace (with an offensive set) you would never know that the dude is such a take no prisoners beast with that award-winning, family-friendly smile. Dwight isn't just one of the associations best players he's also a no fly zone shot swatting machine able to change the tempo of the game with one hit. Big in Florida like Rick Ross this Magic man is a boss in his kingdom. They may call his team a Mickey Mouse one but next to our hip-hop generations, Bill Russell everyone else looks Minnie. Sure this defence didn't help much in their Eastern postseason assault by Atlanta but still at least Dwight kept one title on guard.
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR-LAMAR ODOM: If you really look at this award and the talent it rewards it really epitomises one thing; unselfishness. Lamar Odom is a testament to this. Technically the Lakers sixth starter just imagine what he'd be like if he went for self a bit more. NO! The team-first mindset of Lamar is what makes him the special, all-round, diverse talent that he is, that's why Laker legend Pat Riley said he was like Magic back in the day. This is no trick. He should have been an All-Star this year, no fiction, but in reality L.O. knew it wasn't all about him. Being team-first and unselfish is a quality the struggling Lakers need now more then ever. With the defending champs inconsistencies making a three-peat in Phil Jackson's final year look uncertain at least there's hope with their one constant, Lamar Odom.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR-KEVIN LOVE: Hate it or love it Kevin's always been this good. Sure he's getting better all the time but this year is where the league finally showed some heart and appreciation for Love seeing what he's really worth. Still this special K's vision has been 30, 30 in hindsight (we see you Moses Malone) and to go with those record numbers take a look at his 20 point, 15 rebound average. That's MVP numbers right there. Most teams would kill for a 20 and 10 guy but Love murders the opposition with 5 more boards (he could even wake up with 6 more). Plus, with his unselfishness you know those extra boards lead to extra points...for his team mates that is. You know Kevin could average 25, or even 20 and 20 and he'll sure better his best averages before his careers out and he wipes the glass for the last time, but that's a long time coming. Minnesota can now get over the mini Al Jefferson era as with Beasley and Love the 'Wolves have their best set of teeth since Garnett and Marbury/Sprewell/Cassell/Hudson (delete where appropriate, the control has now shifted). From now on expect Minneapolis to chase the West's best...Lakers that is and expect Love's numbers to Wilt...Chamberlain that is.
COACH OF THE YEAR-TOM THIBODEAU: After much analysis although T.V. guy Doug Collins stepped into the coaching rejuvenation machine with his Philly Sixers, the master of the dry erase this year was Tom Thibodeau, as the Chicago Bulls coach wiped the floor with the competition. I guess the legendary teaching of Rivers was just what the Doc' ordered. Still Doc Rivers may regret this as his former student and assistant may just beat his master. The Bulls have shown they can beat the reigning Eastern Champion Celtics and they are a clear contender to take Larry O'Brien even though all the talk is on the Lakers problems or trashed towards Miami. Thibodeau has shown he can harness the worth of his MVP Derrick Rose, the enthusiasm and passion of Joakim Noah, the rolling post deliveries of shrewd free-agent pickup, Carlos Boozer, the scoring of Luol Deng and the dynamics of the rest of the team and tie it all together to give the team it's first contention pull since a man named Mike Jeffrey took the air out of the United Centre. Now whose better then that? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
The others fell as Derrick Rose.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Nothing is stronger then the passion of the Rose...OK, it's over! You can can all that 'whose the best Point Guard in the L right now' off. Sure the Deron Williams/Chris Paul debate will rage even for years after they unlace and unstrap their ankles and sure in this new generation Rajon Rondo is the truer, purer point. Still, as of right now nobody in the league is better then Derrick Rose. No Kobe, no LeBron, nobody. Sure tomorrow is a different, new playoff day and yesterday may have told a different story but right now the National Basketball Association's 'Most Valuable Player' wears a Chicago Bulls jersey that doesn't carry the 3, or the 2. Instead this remainders number one in more ways then his jersey number. Point proven? Right now D-Rose is better then everybody in the league. After all that's what the awards for.
This Rose may not have grown from the concrete of a playground like other P.G. legends but you best believe you are watching a lasting legacy bloom in this league. Sure talent-wise Rose is only a thorn in the sides of Bryant and James, but still who's having the better year? OK, unquestionable 'Rookie Of The Year', Blake Griffin may have garnered more eyes, wows, league passes and replays, but don't say that Derrick's breakaway plays and two-handed flushes aren't entertaining...'aint that right Boston? Talking green, their guard Rajon Rondo may posses more basketball quarterback skills but Derrick's grid-iron play more then makes up for this, plus D's got the buckets of water wet jumpers that Rondo often can't find in the drought. Sure Rajon's Celtics, James' Heat and even more talent in the West effect things championship wise for the stampeding Chicago Bulls, but don't be surprised if this grown team ends up making the competition looking like matadors with Derrick leading the charge seeing red and championship gold. You can almost here another Chicago legend from another game, Kanye West exclaiming, 'can we get much higher'.
25.1 points per game, 4.10 rebounds, 7.8 assists to go with 1.10 steals and even higher playoff averages are incredible for any player (let alone a Point Guard) but know this, Derrick's worth is more then numbers. So over the years and lack of champagne tears these 'Baby Bulls' have had some teething problems but their all grown now. A taste of Curry and the Ron Artest and Jalen Rose eras birthed potential, but now Chi-town has planted the one Rose that refuses to let this franchise wilt. The Jordan years are over no matter how much this franchise or this league misses the G.O.A.T. but still these Bulls have a new animal now. A lion-hearted, shy cat, courageous but humble. A Point Guard wizard outside of Washington (word to the one that outruns cheetah's) who leaves opponents looking like scarecrow and tin men, taking his team up the NBA's yellow brick road. There's no place like Chicago. There's nobody like Rose. The Windy Cities first MVP and real franchise guy since Jordan is putting the air back into the United Centre building. It could be a banner year for the ballclub. Now nobody can doubt his worth.
Luol Deng may have been the catalyst, top scorer and Chicago's player of the future, and Joakim Noah brought his enthusiasm and cut down nets to be the most passionate player in the league. While Carlos Boozer was the top free-agent, Rasheed Wallace to Detroit Pistons esque, team completing steal but everything starts, ends and goes through Derrick Rose. With all overdue respect to these other top-tier talents this franchise leader is Derrick. He's more then the glue of this team, he's the sealant. Word is bond. When the best all-round player in the league Kobe Bryant was named MVP a couple of 82's Back rapper Lil' Wayne honoured him in a song and just like the Lakers mamba, Chicago's Rose never "takes a day or a J off"... or even a play off for that matter guiding the leagues most diversely talented and underrated team to the big leagues.
From music stars to movie ones Rose is gaining an entourage of high profile fans, just check actor and basketball aficionado Jeremy Piven's Tweet yesterday; 'A Rose by any other name is NOT MVP! Go my brother, now take flight....' All sorts of ballers love this b-baller and from the rap sheets to the broadsheets this one-time publicity shy guy is the headline. Check any magazine, front-cover to the back Adidas adverts, Derrick is in and published. Bookending the fact that right now-from the fans to the competition-Derrick Rose owns everything. The NBA's most-high and valuable commodity. A Point Guard of past, current and the next generation to come. One hell of a player. The youngest MVP in NBA history is about to be one of the greatest.
Monday, 2 May 2011
If you thought the first week of the 2011 NBA Playoffs was amazing, you'd be right, but the intensity has now stepped up a notch further with the second week as we move into the second round of the postseason. Let's check out how it all went down with the second bout of 'The Playoff Punch'...
...out in the East Indiana only managed to stop the Bulls charge with one game as Chicago's impressive herd stampeded the Pacers 4-1. No wonder Tom Thibodeau is coach of the year. Series like this show why he's earned it...
...Orlando's magic ran out in the ATL as the Atlanta Hawks beat them to a series of 4 games over 2. Questions about this stacked Florida team will now pile up. Are we near Howard's end in Disneyland? Meanwhile the Hawks keep getting better, sharpening their talons in preparation to claw their next victim...
...Boston brought the brooms out to the old Madison Square Garden in New York as they swept the Knicks up and away with the dust. MSG may be in need of renovation but this new N.Y. Knick team don't need refurbishment however, this experience should be enough...
...the Celtics put the brooms away in the Eastern semis however as the white hot Miami Heat took the first game. This Miami team furthered their impressive run after beating the Philadelphia 76ers band of brothers 4-1 in the first round. Still the Sixers have achieved so much getting this far. It will only get better for them from here on out...
...how about your first round upset in the West? The Memphis Grizzlies lost their glass slippers as they savaged the former league best San Antonio Spurs 4 games to 2. San An had a great season but in the end they mirrored their fellow Texan team Dallas of 2007 by having no bullets left in their gun come playoff time. Memphis also have primed themselves for another upset, putting the umbrellas up against the Thunder, leading them 1-nil in the Western Conference semi-finals. Memphis look to make the only rain be their opponents tears...
...still, the Oklahoma City Thunder showed in the last round that they where the West's best of present and future as they breezed past the Carmelo less-but still great-Denver team. Even in that Mile-High City air Durant, Westbrook, Perkins et al still mined the Nuggets...
...the Dallas Mavericks also blazed Portland's trail as Dirk and his hot shooters ignited the Oregon sides baskets. The Blazers are looking like a better, more balanced team but without Oden the Mavs owned them 4 games to 2...
...now it's time for the Mavs to finally show and prove that they can lasso the Lakers. The defending Los Angeles championship team where stung a couple of times by the Hornets in what could of been another 'where impossible happens' upset. The first game loss reminded the Lake Show of the A.I. led Sixers of 2001. While the next N.O. win in this (4-2, advantage Lakers) series showed us just how strong the team, fans and city of New Orleans really are. Perhaps Chris Paul and the Hornets aren't done after all...
...amazing right? Well we're just getting started. Keep it 24/48/82 for your favourite time of year for the sport you love and check back next week for your next hit from 'The Playoff Punch'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.