Knicks Select Their Next Victim

The search is over!!

The New York Knicks officially have another career to ruin. Since parting ways with Jeff Hornacek, on April 12th, the Knicks have conducted the wildest interview process known to man. But Thursday, the madness came to an end.

David Fizdale will be the next head coach of the New York Knicks.

David Fizdale’s coaching career began in 1998 at his alma mater, the University of San Diego. There, he was an assistant coach for four years before moving on to Fresno State. After calling Fresno State home for two years, Fizdale got his shot in the NBA. He worked as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and Miami Heat (with LeBron). That opportunity catapulted him to his 1st head coaching position, with the Memphis Grizzlies. Fizdale led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in his 1st season (2016) but was bounced in the 1st round. And just 19 games into the 2017 season, Grizzlies’ star, Marc Gasol, followed in the footsteps of the NBAs prima donna’s and had Fizdale fired. He’s been doing broadcast work for ESPN ever since and will be 44 at the start of the upcoming season.

And now, the ultimate challenge lay at his feet; turn the Knicks around. Turn the Knicks around could be the four scariest words in the English language. A concept that has spread fear internationally and has been passed down from generation to generation. It often sends grown men and women running for the hills. You laugh, but if you think I’m overstating the pressure, anxiety, and fear that comes with being the Knicks’ head coach, you’re sorely mistaken.

knicks coaching search

As you know, the list of coaching candidates was long, but distinguished….(let’s see if my movie buffs figure that one out):

David Fizdale, David Blatt, Mark Jackson, Mike Budenholzer, Mike Brown, Jay Larranaga, James Borrego, Mike Woodson, Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard, and Kenny Smith.

Long, but perhaps not as distinguished as you’d think. The fact that Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard, Mike Woodson, and Kenny Smith were interviewed is absurd. The rest are reasonable candidates, however, Fizdale is the right man for the job.

Fizdale has shown he can relate to players, as evidenced by his work with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. LeBron and Wade actually endorsed Fizdale when he was in consideration for the Grizzlies job.

The question is: Will James Dolan keep his greedy, stubby, little fingers off Fizdale’s leash, giving him ample time to turn this broken ship around??

 

Did the Knicks get this right?? Post your thoughts, feelings, and snarky remarks in the comment section below. 

You can find me on the Radio as well. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’m on live, every Wednesday from 6:10 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. Each show is also broadcast on Facebook Live via: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.

Since you LOVE my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! NOW GO TELL ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!

LeBron James Does His Best Superman Impersonation

One day I’ll be gone.

We always think we have more time, and then, it’s up. Too depressing?

Michael Jordan dunks

We thought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would play forever. Magic Johnson. Larry Bird. Michael Jordan. But their time came to an end.

LeBron James will not play forever. His game will decline. And he’ll retire. We have no idea when, but that sad day will come.

So, appreciate me while I’m here, for one day I’ll be gone.

LeBron James

LeBron-Hero-Comic-Book

Wednesday night, LeBron James did ‘Superman’ things. Hell, he did Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor things. 13-0. Through 3 minutes and 31 seconds of the game, the score was LeBron James 13, Indiana Pacers 0. LeBron scored his team’s first 16 points, and finished with 20 points in the first quarter.

LeBron’s final stat-line: 46 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals

Despite LeBron’s Herculean performance, his Cavaliers won by just 3 points; 100-97. His supporting cast is NOT GOOD. Kevin Love is either hobbled or streaky. The Cavaliers’ trade deadline acquisitions, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., and George Hill are utter disappointments. And J.R. Smith, well, you know….

All season, I’ve proclaimed LeBron James and the Cavaliers would represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. While I still believe that, I’m less confident than I was  three months ago. This supporting cast isn’t 2007 Cavs bad, but it’s close.

There’s virtually no way to overstate LeBron’s greatness. He’s a transcendent talent who should be appreciated every step of the way. While he contributes to nearly 60% of his team’s total offense, uncertainty is natural.

MJ had Pippen. Magic had Kareem. Wilt had Oscar. And Kobe had Shaq.

Shaq-Salute

When LeBron won his titles, he had Wade, Bosh, and Kyrie. But who does he have now?!

LeBron can’t win an NBA Championship by himself. I mean, he’s only human….

 

How far can LeBron James take this Cavaliers team?? Post your prediction in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:10 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

One Liner Fridays

tanaka

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the end of the work week (for most of us).  Every Friday, I like to infuse a little humor into everyone’s lives.  Here you will find the past week in sports wrapped up in one line, and one line only.  Enjoy!!

 

No no no, it’s okay Lebron take your time, your decision probably doesn’t effect anyone else but yourself…..

 

Do you think that Chandler Parsons wakes up every morning and throws darts at a picture of Lebron James’ face?

 

Side note that is almost related to what we are talking about: Do you think Chris Bosh knows he is the ugliest man in the world??

bosh-face

 

All you could muster up was 41 consecutive scoreless inning pitched, Clayton Kershaw??

 

Man do you suck.

 

I just want to say something, I’m gonna put this out there, if you like it you can keep it and if u don’t just throw it right back, “I am ready to take Masahiro Tanaka’s spot in the Yankees rotation.”

 

Still wondering how someone can win a fight in just 16 seconds???

 

I would explain it to you, but I figured I’d just let Ronda Rousey show you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kp1iYmbWCo

 

Wait, you are going to subject us to more soccer??

 

NO!!!!!!!!

 

Which was worse, watching a 7-1 rout or watching probably the most poorly played World Cup Semifinal match in history resulting in 0 goals in 120 minutes??

 

Surprise Surprise, MLB has changed the format of The Home Run Derby….again.

 

They change The Home Run Derby more times than Richard Pryor changed wives (this guy got married 9 different times)!!!!

 

No story was more entertaining this past week than the fat bastard Yankees fan who is suing the Yankees and ESPN for $10 million because he decided to take a nap at a baseball game.

 

I’d continue to make fun of him, but I think his picture says it all:

fat man

 

Well this has been another edition of One Liner Fridays.  I hope you enjoyed them.  If you have a One Liner of your own you’d like to add, please leave one in the comment section below.  Thanks for reading!!

 

 

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!     

 

Any Day Now……

NBA: All Star Game

 

It’s funny how in the world of Social Media and the instantaneous reaction it feels like we’ve been enduring the process of NBA Free Agency for forever now, but in reality, teams have only legally been allowed to talk to players for 9 days.  And players are only allowed to officially ink deals as of today, July 10th at 12:01 a.m.  It only seems like forever since Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James opted out of their contracts because we talk about it every second of every day.  Between sports talk radio, twitter, and the nonstop “updates” from Chris Broussard, Brian Windhorst, and Marc Stein on ESPN every 4 minutes, we have had Lebron speculation shoved down our throats all day long.  And that’s all this is; speculation.  Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and the rest of this years free agents are taking their time with their decisions, and rightfully so, as this is potentially the biggest decision of their lives. 

 

We all know the rumors swirling around Lebron, Melo, and Chris Bosh:  Lebron could return “home”  to Cleveland (believe it or not Akron and Cleveland are not the same place), Chris Bosh could return “home” by going to the Houston Rockets (he’s actually from Dallas), and Melo can do the only thing he was ever going to do and stay in NY.   There are many other outside possibilities of what is going to transpire, but I unlike the rest of the world, am going to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.  That show should start today when Melo re-signs with the Knicks.  I mean, cbssports.com already prematurely broke the story that Melo will be re-signing with the Knicks, but hey maybe he’ll go play for the coach-less Lakers (because that’s a real option).

 

The most unfortunate part in all of this is that when someone wins (as in winning their free agent of choice), someone else has to lose.  And this is the part where you can bust out your violin for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Cleveland is probably being duped once again.  Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice……you know how the rest of that one goes.  Not only is Cleveland banking on Lebron’s desire to return home, but they are clearing cap space to ensure that they have enough money to sign Lebron James.  Let me just say that the only way Lebron is going back to Cleveland is if Kevin Love somehow gets traded there this week and agrees to sign a long term deal.  Good luck.  As much fun as all this speculation is, we are just going to have to take a chill pill and wait out these decisions.  Once again, if you actually pull out the calendar, we haven’t been waiting that long.  The funniest part to all this is we are most likely going to watch all of this hype suddenly fizzle out when every major free agent ends up staying put.  That would be funny wouldn’t it?   

 

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!     

 

Eastern Conference Finals Recap: Game 1

Image

 

Well, who saw that coming?  Who expected an offensive explosion from the often anemic Indiana Pacers offense?  I know I didn’t.  The Pacers starting five averaged just shy of 38 minutes each and all scored in double digits (yes, even Roy Hibbert scored in double digits).  This helped lead The Pacers to a 107-96 win Sunday afternoon over The Miami Heat.  History usually dictates that when Dwyane Wade plays well, the Heat win, however, it appears that just Lebron James and Dwyane Wade isn’t enough to beat a Pacers team when firing on all cylinders.  With that being said, let us talk about what The Pacers accomplished in Game 1.

 

The Pacers managed an astounding 42.1% shooting from 3-point range.  Their regular season average from downtown was only 38.2%.  They also only averaged 92.5 points per game during the regular season, so the 107 points they put up in Game 1 was also somewhat of an anomaly.  The entire Pacers roster played well, and they do have the size to counteract The Miami Heat’s smaller, more athletic lineup, however, I don’t foresee The Pacers sustaining this level of offensive efficiency.  I also don’t believe that Chris Bosh will score only 9 points per game and continue to go 0 for the century from downtown (he went 0-5 from 3-point range in Game 1).  The Heat also have a very solid track record when losing the 1st game of a playoff series.  In the 2013 playoffs, they lost the 1st game in 2 out of their 3 series (against The Chicago Bulls and The San Antonio Spurs).  The Heat went on to sweep the rest of The Bulls series and they went on to beat The Spurs as well to capture their 2nd straight NBA Championship.

 

Today, most people will be overreacting to The Miami Heat’s Game 1 loss, but I, as I’m sure you have already figured out, will not be.  As much as I would enjoy The Heat losing in The Eastern Conference Finals, not only for my own personal enjoyment but for the mass hysteria that would cause, I just don’t see it happening.  I believe Lebron James (aka the best player on the planet) will put his team on his shoulders, and on Wednesday morning, everyone will be seated (with arms and legs inside the vehicle) securely BACK on The Miami Heat bandwagon.  You can catch Game 2 of The Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night @ 8:30  P.M. on ESPN.  Can’t wait to watch more basketball until then?  Then tune into TNT tonight @ 9:00 P.M. to catch The Oklahoma City Thunder take on The San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of The Western Conference Finals.  That should be a highly competitive, fun series to watch as well.  Enjoy!

 

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! 

     

Heat Steal Overtime Thriller

If you fell asleep before the end of this game last night, I feel bad for you. It was one of the best basketball games that has ever been played. The San Antonio Spurs came into Miami with the momentum from a solid victory in game 5 and they looked like they were well on their way to another championship. They outplayed the Heat for the first 3 quarters and all they had to do was play 12 more solid minutes of basketball and the championship was theirs. And then, seemingly in a blink of an eye, someone knocked off Lebron James’ headband and knocked some sense into his head. He flipped that switch that everyone in the world (other than himself apparently) knows he can. He physically took over the game at both ends of the floor and singlehandedly brought his team back from the brink of elimination. I don’t care what Lebron’s final stat line turned out to be though, he did not play well until the 4th quarter. Now, despite his dominating play in the 4th quarter, the Heat still found themselves down 5 points with under 30 seconds to play. While the 2nd to last minute of the game was filled with Heat mistakes, the last minute (and overtime) was filled with Spurs mistakes. And Gregg Popovich deserves the majority of the blame for these blunders. Yes, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard both missed free throws down the stretch, but it was the benching of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker at the most inopportune times that will stick in my mind. For those of you who missed the end of the game let me give you a quick rundown of what I’m talking about. The Spurs were up 4 points with 28 seconds left in regulation and Manu Ginobili was heading to the free throw line. He had the opportunity to put the game nearly out of reach. Instead, he misses the first free throw and makes the second. Then after a Heat timeout, Tim Duncan was left on the bench for Boris Diaw. On the ensuing possession Lebron misses a 3-pointer but Mike Miller grabs the offensive rebound, swings it back out to James, and bang he nails the shot. Would Duncan have gotten that defensive rebound if he was in the game? There is no guarantee, but I would have bet money on it. Now, down 2, the Heat send Kawhi Leonard to the free throw line on a phantom foul by Mike Miller. He follows in Ginobili’s footsteps and proceeds to miss the first and make the second free throw. Inexplicably, Popovich decides to take Duncan out of the game AGAIN. This obviously leads to yet another offensive rebound by the Heat, which in turn leads to the game tying 3-pointer by Ray Allen. Popovich may be one of the greatest coaches of all time, but how do you explain these tactical errors?

Now what occurred immediately following Allen’s monumental 3-pointer is the fact that the game was stopped to review whether the shot was in fact a 3-pointer. No one is talking about this today, and this angers me to a level that I don’t have a word for, and Popovich was pretty livid with the referees as well. As seen in overtime, Popovich likes to take the ball and push it (off makes or misses) in hopes to catch the defense off guard for an easy basket. He will do this no matter the situation, and if the Spurs were able to inbound the ball and push it right away no one knows what could have happened. The game was stopped and while the Spurs did get time to set up a play, so did the Heat’s defense. In turn, the final possession in regulation failed miserably and it was off to overtime we went. I’ll fast forward to the last 31 seconds because that’s where it gets interesting. The Spurs were down by one and Gregg Popovich, for no sane reason, decides to take Tony Parker out of the game. Common sense would dictate, and even the commentators mentioned that Popovich would most likely be bringing Parker back into the game on the next timeout. So, the Heat miss their shot attempt and the Spurs grab the rebound with just under 10 seconds to play. Instead of calling a timeout to bring Parker back in and set up a play, the Spurs decide to push the ball up the floor. Manu Ginobili (who played one of the worst games you’ll ever see) tries to drive the lane against 3 Heat players and gets stripped/fouled and the ball lands in Ray Allen’s hands. Allen is fouled with 1.9 seconds left on the clock and knocks down both free throws (of course). The Spurs then call a timeout to push the ball past half court. With one final effort, Tim Duncan inbounds the ball across the court to Danny Green who is blocked/fouled by Chris Bosh as time expires. The Heat force a game 7 in dramatic fashion, and if it is anything like game 6 it will not disappoint.

The big question at this moment is: how can the Spurs possibly bounce back from a crushing defeat to win game 7 on the road? It is a tough question to answer, but I believe if any team can do it, it would be this years Spurs. They have shown their resiliency in this series, always bouncing right back immediately following a defeat. Tim Duncan will need to use his two greatest inventions to do it though; his time machine and his cloning machine. In order for the Spurs to win game 7, Tim Duncan needs to play like he did back in 2003, and he needs to clone himself from the first half of game 6. Duncan was masterful in the first half, scoring at will and putting on a rebounding clinic. Duncan took Chris Bosh to school last night, dominating him in every aspect of the game. It is so impressive to watch Duncan play at such a high level after so many years, and Chris Bosh is no match for Duncan’s greatness in the low post. The Spurs could also use a slightly better effort from Manu Ginobili if they plan on celebrating on Miami’s home court Thursday night. But the most important task for the Spurs in game 7, is to contain Lebron James. Lebron continues to move from the most important game of his career to the most important game of his career. He should look to take control early as he did in last night’s 4th quarter. However, I’m sure the Spurs would love to see him come out flat again with 9 points in the first half. Think about that, Lebron scored 9 points on 3-12 shooting in the first half. That’s horrible! And while Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard deserve all the credit in the world for their defensive job on Lebron, no one should hold him to those kind of numbers, ever.

Game 7 should be another epic chapter in the history of the NBA. Take a nap Thursday afternoon, throw water on your face at halftime, or drink 3 coffees and red bull because you won’t want to miss this game. Tune into game 7 on ABC at 9:00 p.m. to catch all the action. Oh, you want a prediction? How could I forget? I would love for the Spurs to win, but I see the Heat winning a tight one; 99-96. I have my fingers crossed right now (yes I’m typing) and I’ll be on the edge of my seat rooting for the Spurs Thursday night, but that’s how I see it going down. Enjoy! Leave your predictions below in the comment section.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

The Heat Get Beat Down

Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not ahhhh you know the rest. That is one sentence I bet Lebron James wishes he could take back. As you all know, the big “3” assembled themselves to embark on a quest. That quest was to win multiple championships. However, the way they look right now they might have to settle for just the 1. Dwyane Wade is dealing with injuries and Chris Bosh is playing like a soft 6’2″ shooting guard inside a 6’10” body. Lebron James has been left to pick up his entire team and carry them on his back (a la Cleveland 2007). I doubt this is what Lebron was anticipating when he signed with the Miami Heat. Maybe, just maybe this is karma’s way of saying, “Hey Lebron you shouldn’t have done that bad thing that you did”. Obviously that’s just a joke, but even if the Heat get past the Pacers in game 7 do you really expect them to beat the San Antonio Spurs? The way they are playing right now I highly doubt it. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though and let’s take a look at where we are and how we got there.

The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers are deadlocked at 3 games a piece and will play a decisive game 7 on Monday night. The Heat, yes the Heat, are lucky to be in this position. The Pacers have been the better team in this series, and they were just 2.2 seconds away from winning this series. Now, there are vital questions that must be answered. How will the heat respond to this beat down? Will Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh show up to play Monday night? Will the Pacers carry the momentum from this big win into game 7? I’m going to answer all of these questions for you (just hold your horses), but first I will tell you how we got here.

Game 6 was a prime example of how the Pacers can beat the Heat. They out rebounded the Heat 53-33, and they out scored them in the paint 44-22. That my friends is a recipe for success against the vertically challenged Miami Heat. As a whole the Pacers played an efficient offensive game shooting 50% from the field. A fair question to be asked following the game is, who owns the 3rd quarter now? The Pacers came out of halftime on a mission. They out scored the Heat 29-15 in the quarter and completely turned the game around. The 3rd quarter onslaught was led by Pacers up and coming superstar Paul George. Dwyane Wade clearly can’t guard George as he went off for 28 points, and Roy Hibbert was his usual dominant self down low adding 24 points and 11 rebounds. Hibbert also had the play of the game by drawing an offensive foul on Lebron James as he drove the lane late in the 4th quarter. This was like the meeting of the unstoppable force and the immovable object. Point goes to the immovable object on this one. Also, what kind of cry baby is Lebron James? After being called for the foul he ran the full length of the floor in disbelief. Needless to say he was hit with a technical foul (hahahaha). Anyway, let’s get back to the task at hand. The real positive the Pacers should take away from this game was their defense. They held the Heat to 77 points! They also held Wade and Bosh to a combined 15 points on 4 of 19 shooting from the field (that’s a whopping 21%). Good stuff guys! You know you’re in trouble when Lebron misses having Anderseon Varejao and Boobie Gibson on his team. I have one question for whoever believes they have a reasonable answer: if Dwyane Wade is so hurt, why does he continue taking so many shots? I mean the Heat’s box scores have looked a lot like a Carmelo Anthony led squad lately. Whatever adjustments the Heat decide to make, they will not win if Lebron is left to beat the pacers singlehandedly. And this brings us to the most important question of all. What is going to happen in game 7?

The Pacers are going to win game 7 in South Beach. They are going to continue to impose their will on the interior. They will be too tall, too strong, and too physical. And most importantly they are going to come together as a team and will their way through the finish line. Lebron will post his usual phenomenal stat line, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will continue their struggles. This offseason will be a tumultuous one for Lebron and the Heat. Many questions will arise about the disappointment of this big “3” and their failed union. And questions of what the future will hold will follow. I am personally looking forward to their demise. That is what you get when you are cocky, and arrogant, and think you’re better than everyone else. Now all I have to do is hope my game 7 prediction is not wrong. Tune into TNT @ 8:30 p.m. for what should be a riveting game 7 in Miami. Enjoy!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Lebron James Is Really Good

The biggest stages usually bring out the best in people. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Lebron James. Thursday night’s pivotal game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals showcased Lebron James’ talents. We saw his scoring ability, we saw his passing ability, but most of all we saw his will to win. You know those movies that start somewhere in the middle and then rewind to the beginning? Yea, I’m going to do that now. The outcome of this game was decided by Lebron James’ performance in the 3rd quarter. Lebron James out scored the Indiana Pacers 16-13 by himself in the 3rd quarter (yes you heard that right). Yes, he did receive some help from his friends (no not Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh), however this victory rests on the shoulders of Lebron and Lebron only. Think about it this way: if I told you that Wade and Bosh would combine for 17 points, you would have told me that the Pacers would win this game. But then again, the Heat do have the best player on the planet. If you didn’t watch the game, his friends who did show up last night were Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem. Chalmers and Haslem scored a combined 28 points on 13 of 21 shooting from the field including 6 consecutive jump shots made by Haslem in the all important 3rd quarter. But, like I said earlier, this game was won by 1 man.

Nope, you don’t need to get up and check your TV, the movie just cut to black and rewound itself to the beginning. This game was the most important game of the year for both sides. From the opening tip, we clearly saw an intensity and urgency from both teams that you’d expect from a game of this magnitude. The Pacers came out playing their style of basketball. We saw hard nosed defense, solid rebounding, and offensive efficiency around the basket. On the other hand, while the Heat’s energy was up, their play was not in the 1st quarter. Offensively, Lebron and the Heat came out flat, scoring just 19 points in the entire 1st quarter. Lebron started the game with 2 straight turnovers, and the Heat were lucky they weren’t run off the court in the 1st quarter. If it wasn’t for 3 missed layups in the quarter by the Pacers, they could have carried a 10 point lead into the 2nd quarter.

As for the 2nd quarter, the game became slightly more entertaining. With 3 minutes gone in the quarter, Chris Anderson decided he didn’t like the way Tyler Hansbrough was standing, so he gave him an intentional shoulder from behind that sent Hansbrough to the floor. Hansbrough (a man of better self control than I) got up and simply stood his ground without retaliating. Anderson walked back toward Hansbrough and after bumping chests angrily shoved Hansbrough with two hands. Now in no way am I blaming this loss on the referees, but I am simply pointing out that it is LUDICROUS for Anderson not to have been ejected from this game. Don’t agree or haven’t seen the incident? Click here:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MeBNEQE4RT0&feature=relmfu

In most cases I would say that Chris Anderson being ejected wouldn’t effect the outcome of the game (because he’s a bum), but in this series he actually serves a purpose. He is basically the Heat’s only physical presence down low, and he plays that gritty style of basketball that no one else on this team can. Against the Pacers he is a plus, unlike his usual role as a drain on society. After the skirmish was sorted out, Anderson was hit with a Flagrant-1 Foul while Hansbrough received a Technical Foul. In all seriousness, what in the f’in world did Hansbrough do to deserve a technical???? He didn’t open his mouth, he didn’t instigate any further action, and he didn’t even retaliate. So, after watching numerous replays, how is it that the referees still get the call 100% wrong? And how is Anderson not ejected from the game? I can’t come up with one valid reason for him not being tossed from this game, so if you can come up with something please let me know. Anyway, I digress.

Lebron James must have spent his halftime in the locker room staring at a blank wall just thinking to himself or something. He must have been mentally preparing himself for what was about to happen. He most likely had one of those moments where the intense workout music comes on and Rocky goes through some crazy training to prepare himself for the fight of his life because he came out of that locker room like a changed man. He looked his teammates in their eyes and screamed at them. Then he grabbed hold of the reigns and said hold on for the ride. Good for you Lebron. Way to man up and take charge when your teammates are playing like crap. Lebron literally did it all. Defense, offense, intangibles, and the list goes on and on. I think he even flew the plane to Indiana and cooked dinner for the team last night too.

Now, it is on to Game 6 in Indiana. The heat lead the series 3 games to 2, and will find themselves in the NBA Finals for the 3rd consecutive year with a victory Saturday night. However, a gritty Pacers team still stands in their way of that. The Pacers are a much better team at home than they are on the road, and I’m going to assume they will get more than 5 points from their entire starting back court. I think they punch back with a solid win in Game 6 and force a decisive Game 7 in Miami. What do you think? Do the Pacers have one last push in them or will they fold and go down in 6 to the Heat? Leave me your thoughts and comments below. Thanks.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

I Think I Left My Clutch Gene At Home Today

When your team wins you get all the accolades, and when your team loses you get all the blame. Thats how it works in superstar land. Today, Lebron James is shouldering 100% of the blame for Friday night’s loss. It was an enormous loss for James and the Heat as the Indiana Pacers secured home court advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers will travel back home with their confidence at an all time high after coming within inches of stealing both games in Miami. The biggest question after their heartbreaking Game 1 loss was how would they respond? Well I think we all found the answer to that question. The Pacers stayed true to themselves and they continued to highlight their strengths on the floor. They stayed physical with Miami, they used their length and size on the defensive end, and most importantly they utilized Roy Hibbert early and often. In turn he responded with another career game in these playoffs. He put in 29 huge points while grabbing 10 rebounds. While Hibbert was a big part of their victory, the Pacers showed that you don’t need to rely on one superstar to win. The Pacers starters all scored in double figures and their bench only contributed 5 points. This shows you how balanced they are, and that they all subscribe to the “team” concept. At the same time I must not overlook Paul George’s effort last night. He is truly solidifying his ranking as one of the best all around players in the NBA. He has the daunting task of guarding Lebron James, and at the same time is being asked to contribute 20+ points every night. Yes, Lebron’s stat line was godly (as it always is), but when it mattered most what did “king” James do? To find out you gotta keep reading…

With the game on the line, Lebron committed two consecutive turnovers!! Ouch!! This was not one of his brighter moments. The first turnover was really bad. Let me set the scene for you: George Hill had just knocked down two clutch free throws to put the Pacers up 95-93 with 48 seconds left. As Lebron brought the ball up he attempted to lob a pass over David West across the top of the key. Instead West stuck his arms up as if he were a cornerback who didn’t turn back to play the ball and stole the ball. The Pacers went on to turn the ball right back over on a shot clock violation. So despite the Pacers trying their darnedest to give another game away, Lebron just wanted to not win it even more. He got the ball just inside half court with the clock running down. Everyone was holding their collective breaths wondering if Lebron could pull some more heroics out of his you know where, but NOPE. He drove the lane and attempted to swing the ball outside, but the pass was intercepted by George Hill. Hill calmly walked down the floor and knocked in two more clutch free throws. This put the game nearly out of reach with the Pacers going up by four with 8 seconds to play. Chris Bosh threw up a last effort 3-pointer but it missed and the Pacers held on to win 97-93. Now in just 48 short minutes the momentum has completely shifted and there is a new question to ask today. How will the defending champion Miami Heat respond to losing on their own floor in the playoffs? I, like most, think that the Heat will still win this series, but Indiana is a difficult place to win basketball games. The road to the finals has been slightly tilted uphill for the Miami Heat, and now it is their turn to stare adversity in the face. To see what happens in the next chapter of this story, tune in to TNT on Sunday @ 8:30 p.m.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Not Your Everyday Buzzer Beater

When you think of buzzer beaters, you usually see someone hitting a three pointer or someone hitting a jump shot with a hand in their face. Well, how does making an uncontested shot in a layup line sound to you to win a playoff game? Yeah, that sounds ideal to me too. Well, for those of you who couldn’t stay awake to watch the closing minutes of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals last night, that’s what happened. Lebron James drove down the lane for an uncontested layup to beat the Indiana Pacers 103-102. Now, the majority of the blame is being placed on Pacers head coach Frank Vogel for not having 7 foot 2 inch Roy Hibbert on floor for the final possession of the game. Yes, some of the blame rests on Vogel, (and I’ll get into why in a minute) but the majority of the blame should land on Paul George and his “defense” on the final play.

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, click below to watch Lebron’s game winner:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GqSXLCuANiY

There are 2.2 seconds left on the clock and everyone and their mother knows who’s getting the ball. The problem you normally have in attempting to guard Lebron James is that you never know if he’s going to shoot, drive, or pass the ball. However, with 2.2 seconds left, whoever gets the inbounds pass is going to either shoot it right away, take one dribble into a jump shot, or if he magically gets an opening he’ll take it to the hoop. So the excuse that Paul George hesitated to get out to Lebron James because Ray Allen happened to run through the lane is ludicrous. George needs to chase the best player in the world around and let Allen’s defender worry about Allen. The biggest problem with George’s defense though is that he overplays James, so when he gets the ball he already has a step on George. This horrid defense allows an unprecedented wide open layup for the game winner. Now the other hot topic is why in the world Roy Hibbert was not on the floor for the final possession?!?! To that question I have no rational response. Coach Vogel had a response, but his didn’t make much sense either. He said he left Hibbert on the bench because Chris Bosh was in at center for the Heat. Since bosh can shoot from the outside he stretches the floor and in turn pulls Hibbert outside (where he is mostly useless). This is why Roy Hibbert, the Pacers best interior defender was watching Lebron drive down the lane from the bench. Yeah, good idea Frank. His explanation is all well and good during the 1st quarter, but with 2.2 seconds on the clock it’s almost physically impossible for Lebron to get the inbound pass, drive the lane, draw a double team from Hibbert, and then hit Bosh for a wide open 12-footer. No one thought Lebron could get to the basket that fast by himself let alone pass off to someone else. Now, if Bosh somehow got the inbound pass and was to take the game winning shot, I think Vogel would have lived with a somewhat contested shot from 15-18 feet. Hibbert might by 7’2″ and not very mobile, but I’m sure he could have gotten a hand in Bosh’s face if that was the case. But that was not the case. James scored, the Heat won, and it’s only a matter of time to see how the Pacers respond.

Will they be demoralized after losing a heartbreaker on Miami’s home court? Will they bounce back and play Miami to another close game? I always thought this series was going to go 6 hard fought games, so I don’t believe this loss is the beginning of the end for the Pacers. Look for Hibbert to stay out of foul trouble early in game 2 and play the Heat tougher down low. He’ll need to play well for the Pacers to have a chance, but more importantly the Pacers, (a solid defensive team) need to play tighter defense, especially down the stretch of games in order to win. You can catch Game 2 on TNT, Friday night @ 8:30 p.m. Enjoy!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!