JR Smith: “I Thought We Were Ahead.”

With the NBA Awards Show rapidly approaching, they’re going to need to add another category; Dumbest Person In The World.

There’s no need to keep you waiting in suspense. JR Smith is going to win by unanimous vote.

Thursday night, JR Smith took dumb, stupid, idiotic, moronic, mindless, senseless, and dense to a whole new level.

Watch….then we’ll talk:

WOW!! Just, wow.

So, let’s start with the game, which is getting completely overshadowed by JR Smith’s mind numbing I.Q. This game was a lot closer than anyone expected. Kevin Love played like a real guy (21 points and 13 rebounds) after being cleared from the concussion protocol hours before tip-off. And LeBron James was, well, LeBron James:

51 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block (in 48 minutes)

Even in defeat (124-114 F/OT), he continues to climb the all-time rankings.

The problem is, LeBron scored 51 points, shot 59.3% from the field, and his team still lost. We can hem and haw over “missed” calls and an overturned charge all day long, but the fact is, the Cleveland LeBrons are staring a 1-0 deficit in the face.

**Okay, let’s hem and haw anyway. LeBron James sacrificed his body to draw an offensive charge on Kevin Durant with 36.4 seconds remaining in regulation. The referees, however, determined they couldn’t determine whether LeBron’s feet were outside the restricted area.

lebron restricted area

Looks pretty clear to me….

Evidently, the referees have the prerogative to overturn the call, for any reason, under the guise of “we were checking if he was in the restricted area”. While that whole premise is bogus, they got the call right in the end. So, if the result is correct, does it matter how they got there??

AND NOW, without further ado, let’s dissect JR Smith’s (scary) thought process with 4.7 seconds left in regulation. **Clearly, the game was tied at 107.** Watch the replay again, and you’ll notice Smith, just prior to George Hill’s free-throw, has his hands in the air, looking in the direction of his bench, trying to figure out the score. So when he rips down a great rebound, and makes a bee-line toward half court, it’s because HE THINKS THEY’RE WINNING!!!!

HE THINKS HE’S SUCCESSFULLY DRIBBLING OUT THE CLOCK!!!!

You’ll also notice LeBron James absolutely lose his mind. When LeBron realizes Smith is driving a 6th of the way across the country in the WRONG DIRECTION, he vehemently points at the basket, as to say, “go that way idiot!!!!”

2018 NBA Finals - Game One

Yes, George Hill could have made the free-throw. And no, there’s no guarantee the LeBrons score in the final 4.7 seconds (even if Smith didn’t have that face/ass transplant surgery). And Yes, the LeBrons could have won the game in overtime. But JR Smith didn’t help their cause.

My favorite part was JR Smith’s post-game experience, after having time to collect his “thoughts”:

“No, I knew we were tied,” Smith said. “It’s just, I thought we were going to take a timeout because I got the rebound. And then I looked over at Bron [LeBron James], and he looked like he was trying to call a timeout. So I stopped. And then the game was over.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

While that story is completely fabricated, he did provide the rest of the world, outside of Cleveland, a wildly entertaining moment. Especially for Knicks’ fans. But hey, Knicks’ fans are entitled to a good laugh too….

troy

 

Is this the biggest blunder in NBA Finals History?? Can the LeBrons possibly bounce back from this??

You can find me on the Radio as well. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’m on live, every Wednesday from 6:00 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!!

If 7 Isn’t Your Favorite Number….It Will Be!!

7.

It can mean so many things:

7 days of the week. Lucky 7. The 7 Dwarfs.

7

But when 7 and Game collide in the same sentence, the world is a better place.

Eastern Conference Finals (NHL style)

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The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning spoiled us with a Game 7 Wednesday night. The winner, would face the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals. The loser, would get reacquainted with their couch.

It’s not often a game-winning goal is scored just 1:02 into a game. But Alex Ovechkin made sure of it. Check out his one-timed slap shot of beauty here:

Capitals’ goaltender, Braden Holtby, stood on his head for the 2nd consecutive game, posting another shutout, 4-0 (29 saves). The Capitals are heading to their 1st Stanley Cup Finals in 20 years, shedding the “choke artists” label one win at a time. The general public is now guaranteed a brand spankin’ new Stanley Cup Champion, as the Golden Knights continue their historical inaugural season.

The puck drops on the Stanley Cup Finals Monday @ 8:00 P.M. EST on NBC.

Eastern Conference Finals (NBA style)

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Stop me if I sound like a broken record….

LeBron James’ teammates SUCK!!!!

Oh, okay, I’ll stop.

It’s literally LeBron against the Boston Celtics. Now staring a 3-2 deficit in the face, LeBron MUST reach into his bag of tricks and pull out something amazing — again. If LeBron wants to see a Game 7, he’ll need to add to his list of 40-point playoff games.

Now, it’s hard to feel TOO bad for him, as he requested this band of losers:

J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and George Hill.

Outside of the occasional Kevin Love sighting, this is a REALLY BAD TEAM. Without LeBron, this is a 25-win team (at best).

The Celtics held serve (96-83), as both teams have done in this series, sending the series back to Cleveland. Last time I checked, you can’t win a basketball game with 83 points. Anyway, LeBron will do what he does, and will gift us another Game 7. And we all know what LeBron does in Game 7s….

 

Do you still have faith the Cleveland LeBrons will win this series?? If not, explain yourself!!

You can find me on the Radio as well. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’m on live, every Wednesday from 6:00 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!!

World 2, LeBron 0

Tuesday night fixed my relationship….with my couch.

See, my couch and I haven’t been spending a lot of time together lately. Oh, I’ve been watching sports, just not from the comfort of my favorite a** groove. Life, as they say, is getting in the way (a beautiful thing). Well Tuesday, thunderstorm and all, brought rest, relaxation, and a historic triple-double to my living room.

LeBron

LeBron’s teammates suck!!

LeBron gives everything, every night. Unfortunately, with this cast of characters he calls teammates, it’s (too) often not enough. Now, you can blame LeBron for that too (if you hate him), and assume LeBron constructed this roster. But let’s pretend (just until the end of this article) the general manager isn’t a figurehead.

LeBron James recorded his 3rd postseason 40-point triple-double Tuesday night. That’s a record.

record

42 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, and 1 block wasn’t enough to steal home-court advantage from the Boston Celtics. Maybe it’s because LeBron and Kevin Love combined for 64 points, while their nine teammates combined for 30 points. If only there was video evidence of an “expert” crowning the Cavaliers ‘Champs of the East’ at the trade deadline….

(Watch the first two minutes)

If Stephen A. Smith mentioned Rodney Hood’s length, athleticism, and defensive ability one more time I would have puked everywhere.

Tuesday night’s game, in a nutshell:

The LeBrons had three players score in double digits. The Celtics had six.

LeBron taking a Jayson Tatum shoulder to the face didn’t help either….

It’s LeBron against the world. Plain and simple. JR Smith had one of his classic 0-7 games. Larry Nance Jr. didn’t score. And Jordan Clarkson didn’t even play. The result: 107-94, Celtics. 2-0, Celtics.

This series, by no means, is over. As a wise man once told me, “A playoff series doesn’t start until a home team loses a game.”

Mediocrity Is A Way Of Life

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The NBA Draft Lottery was selected Tuesday night. My New York Knicks stayed put, in the ninth spot. Good, but not great. Even if they had the #1 pick, which went to the Phoenix Suns, they’d screw it up. The success of the Knicks is dependent on competent leadership, not high draft picks. As long as they’re devoid of the former, they’ll forever dominate the ninth pick in the draft.

Here is the complete list of the NBA Draft Lottery.

While the Suns are happy, they sported the league’s worst record, so they shot even-par Tuesday night. The big winner was the Sacramento Kings. The Kings, who finished tied for the sixth worst record, landed the #2 pick. Now, all they have to do is stay out of their own way.

 

Will the LeBrons still win this series?? Who should be the #1 pick in the NBA Draft?? Tell me 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 6:00 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

It’s LeBron James’ world, we’re just livin’ in it.

With his entire team securely on his back, LeBron took control. He took control of Game 5. And he took control of this series. And, in the midst of his utter domination, he reminded the world we haven’t seen this level of play in 20 years. Not since the ghost, Michael Jordan, has such greatness graced our eyeballs with its presence.

In a crucial Game 5, LeBron found himself down seven points at halftime, on his own court. He must have had some of “Michael’s Secret Stuff” during Tyronn Lue’s pep talk (haha), for he flipped a switch on his way out of the locker room.

LeBron’s 3rd quarter: 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists

LeBron James accomplishes in one quarter what mere mortals accomplish in an entire game. Up eight points heading into the 4th quarter, LeBron nearly coughed up another lead. But, with the game tied at 95, words can’t do the final sequence justice….

(Watch until the end of the video).

The block. The buzzer beating game-winner. And a mini, “Gatorade Bucket” celebration. Fitting for a King. 98-95. 3-2 LeBron. Since you clicked on that box score, you realized LeBron didn’t miss a free throw. 15-for-15. That’s the real reason they won (it certainly wasn’t JR Smith going 0-for-8).

Now, LeBron lovers, please don’t jump down my throat….

That block, by the rules, is goaltending. When the ball hits the backboard first, it’s goaltending. I know, I know. I’m a hater. I don’t like LeBron James. I should get my eyes checked by my doctor. OR, we can collectively understand that superstars get those calls (every once in a while). Did MJ push Byron Russell to free himself for the game-winner (the purest jump shot of all-time) in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals????

Of course he did!!!! But was it called?? NOPE. That’s this block. Sorry Victor Oladipo.

Like I said, it’s LeBron James’ world, we’re just livin’ in it.

 

Will LeBron close out this series, in Indiana, in Game 6?? Or, will it take Game 7 heroics to take down the Indiana Pacers?? Post your prediction 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!! NO 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!!

 

‘Cause You’re My Best Friend!

LeBron-james-Dwyane-Wade-Cavs-jersey

Brother.

Definition: A man or boy in relation to other sons and daughters of his parents.

Sometimes, definitions need not apply. Lebron James and Dwyane Wade don’t have the same mother or father, but they’re certainly brothers. Don’t take my word for it. Read Lebron’s words, “It’s kind of like when you start school and you walk into the classroom and you’re not quite sure who your classmates are, but one of your best friends is in there, you’re like, oh yeah, this is going to be fun. It’s going to be a good class.”

Not that Lebron is walking into a classroom of strangers, but he’s clearly giddy to see Dwyane Wade sitting next to an empty seat.

Wednesday evening, Dwyane Wade became the newest member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This move became possible when the Chicago Bulls agreed to buyout Wade. Wade walked away with $15.8 of his $23.8 million salary for this upcoming season. Hey, anyone want nearly $16 million to go away?? Yes, I’ll literally pay you to not work for me anymore.

By the way, the worse the Bulls get, the better the draft pick the Knicks received from the Thunder looks (via the Bulls). 

Following the buyout, Wade cleared waivers at 5:00 P.M., making him eligible to sign with any team. Wade agreed to a 1-year, $2.3 million contract with the Cavaliers, otherwise known as the veteran’s minimum (same as new teammate Derrick Rose).

I know what you’re thinking, that sounds like a really good deal for the Cavaliers. Duh! Dwyane Wade, at 35, is still a good player. If he hit the open market in free agency, he would earn upwards of $10 million per year. Dwyane Wade is coming to Cleveland for 2 things (not crab cakes and football), a chance at 1 more ring and to hang out with his best bud.

The question is, will the Cavaliers win the championship this season?? Everyone knows the road to the championship goes through Golden State. That’s the main reason we’ve seen an INSANE offseason. Every team is scratching and clawing to compete with the Warriors. The new look Cavaliers should waltz through the Eastern Conference — again. However, barring an injury, it’s hard to picture a world where the Warriors aren’t NBA champions in 2018.

The primary reason the Cavaliers lost to the Warriors in the finals last year, wasn’t the superstars faltering, rather their lack of depth and size. While adding Wade, Jae Crowder, and Jeff Green solves the depth problem, they still lack the size to compete inside and on the boards with the Warriors. Check out the Cavaliers roster here. There are worse situations than Crowder, Green, Rose, Jr Smith, and Kyle Korver coming off your bench, but I still don’t see a 7-footer on the roster. If Tristan Thompson is your only big, ‘Houston, we have a problem’.

 

What do you think of this trade?? Will the Cavaliers win the Championship this year?? 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. – 8:10 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!!

 

Lebron James Is Decent At Basketball

lebron

There is a short list of things better than sleep. Watching Lebron James play basketball is one of those things. So, if Thursday was your go to bed early day, I feel bad for you. In case anyone had forgotten, Lebron James is still the best player in the world. He reminded us by leading his Cleveland Cavaliers to the greatest comeback win in NBA playoff history. Thanks to his 41 point, 13 rebound, and 12 assist triple double, the Cavaliers became the first team to ever comeback from a 25-point halftime deficit. I knew the Indiana Pacers were in trouble when their 20-point lead shrank to 10 points in a 1:55 span of the 3rd quarter. The Cavaliers now hold a commanding 3-0 lead over the Pacers. And in case you hadn’t noticed, first round loss and Lebron James don’t often collide in the same sentence. Thursday night’s victory extended Lebron James’ winning streak in first round games to 20. That’s insane!

Side note: Can anyone guess the last team to win a first round game against Lebron James? If you said my 2012 New York Knickerbockers you’d be correct. Thanks Melo’.

This streak is tied for the longest since the 1983-1984 postseason, where the playoffs expanded to 16 teams. Last night’s performance also put Lebron in rarefied air. He passed Kobe Bryant for 3rd on the all-time postseason scoring list.

One of the most impressive things about last night’s comeback was Lebron did it by himself. Occasionally in the past, Kevin Love would grab a crucial rebound or JR Smith would decide it’s time to snap out of an 0 for 17 shooting slump. And of course there was the NBA Finals clinching 3-pointer hit by Kyrie Irving last year. However, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue decided to sit Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving for THE ENTIRE 4th quarter. So much for the Big Three. Of course, Lebron can’t win a championship by himself. We don’t have to look far to find proof of that. Insert cough here, 2015 Finals, cough again, 2007 Finals, cough cough.

As for the task at hand, I believe the Cavaliers are 1 of only 3 teams that can realistically win the Championship this year. The other 2 would be the New England Patr….oops I’m sorry, I’m just so used to them winning I figured they may win the NBA Championship too. The Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs are the only other teams who have a chance this year. Personally I don’t envision the Warriors losing more than 2 games to anyone en route to another Championship. But as long as Lebron James is still lacing up his Nike sneakers, I won’t be counting him out.

Who do you think will win the NBA Championship? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also 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!

Melo Scores So Much It’s Offensive

New York is home to the best show on TV, The Carmelo Show. Carmelo Anthony has been on fire as of late and he stayed lit Sunday afternoon. Carmelo Anthony scored 36 efficient points in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. Thanks to Melo’s offensive onslaught (and a little help from his friends) the Knicks pulled out a 125-120 victory. This win brings the first 50 win season to New York in 13 seasons. This also brings Carmelo’s astonishing scoring average to a blistering 41.75 points per game over his last 4 games. There is only word that can truly explain Carmelo Anthony right now; unconscious. He is now the leading scorer in the NBA, but more importantly the Knicks have now won 12 games in a row. As I’ve stated before, the Knicks are a streaky team who rely on the three ball. Right now they are shooting the ball well, and everything seems to be going in no matter where they shoot it from. The positive to be taken away is the types of threes that are being taken. When the Knicks were playing poorly they were jacking up a lot of contested three-pointers (ahem, JR). Now that they are winning again they are taking good open shots. These open shots aren’t created on their own, they are created from good ball movement and penetration. All of these things can be attributed to Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, and Raymond Felton’s ability to drive into the lane and kick the ball out to the open man. At the same time, when they decide not to pass the ball it’s because they have an open driving lane to the basket. This is a recipe for success for now and the future.

With the Knicks latest success, all the “experts” who wrote them off are all slowly making their way back on the bandwagon. As I see each of these flip-floppers try to sneak their way on to my wagon, I sound an alarm that has their seat eject them back to wherever they came from. I understand that this is New York and the media attention that teams receive here is unbelievable, but we need to avoid the knee-jerk reaction. Everyone should have realized that the Knicks were decimated by injury and had a ridiculously tough schedule in the beginning of March (which included that tough 5 game road trip). This coupled with the lack of chemistry between Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler contributed to the teams struggles. Also, I shouldn’t forget to mention that Iman Shumpert wasn’t 100% healthy until just recently, and Jason Kidd and Steve Novak went ice cold at precisely the same time. So, I’m glad I’m the only one out there that didn’t serve them with the death penalty. Anyway, the Knicks are playing great basketball, and we can only hope that this style of play and intensity continues throughout the playoffs. The Knicks still shouldn’t overlook anyone they face in the playoffs, but it looks like they can give the Heat a run for the money if it should come to that. Tune in to MSG network Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. to watch the Knicks take on the Washington Wizards at home. They will look to keep the good times rolling and attempt to extend their winning streak to 13 games.

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!

No Superstars No Problem

On a night where the Knicks got some devastating news, they stood up against adversity together; as a group. For those of you who haven’t heard, Amar’e Stoudemire is having a procedure done on his knee that will cause him to miss at least 6 weeks. It is the same procedure he had done on his right knee, only this time it will be done on his left knee. This news comes at a time where Stoudemire’s game was finally in full swing. He was showcasing possibly the best stretch of offensive efficiency of his career, and he finally looked like he was “getting” it defensively. However, with Carmelo Anthony already sidelined with a bum knee, the Knicks would be without both of their stars Saturday night. To that they said, no problem. They went ahead and mopped the floor with the Utah Jazz. They beat them by a score of 113-84. As usual, the Knicks started out slowly finding themselves in an early hole, 11-4. Before you knew it the Knicks went on a 15-0 run, and the rest is history. It truly was a team effort as the Knicks had 5 players in double figures. Kenyon Martin filled in very nicely in Amare’s absence, and the Knicks could use more solid play from Martin the rest of the way. Steve Novak also added 5 3-pointers. The best part of this victory was the style of defense the Knicks played. Each and every member of the Knicks was swarming around the ball and forcing turnovers left and right. It is that style of play that the Knicks must continue in order to make some noise in the Eastern Conference (especially when Melo returns). With Carmelo out of the lineup it seems that the Knicks will have to turn to J.R. Smith as their leading scorer. As long as Smith can continue to attack the basket, he should be up for the task. The problem with Smith is when he becomes a ball handler or confuses himself with Steve Novak, he gets into trouble. For example, when he dribbles too much, he makes poor decisions. And when he decides to strictly be a shooter, we get to see the ugly side of Smith’s game. He is far too streaky to carry a team like the Knicks on his back while shooting 10 or more times from outside the arc. All in all it was an inspiring performance the Knicks put forth against the Jazz. Not only did they show the rest of the league they can win without their two stars, they showed that they can demolish a playoff contender. We shall see if the Knicks can continue their solid play Monday night at 10:30. The Knicks will be in Golden State to take on the Warriors. This is the first game on their treacherous 5 game road trip.

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!

Mid-Season NBA Awards

It’s that time of year again. We’ve played about 50 games so far, and it’s time to gear up for the All-Star Game. It is also time to dish out some mid-season awards. The awards to be given out are MVP, Sixth man of the Year, Defensive Player of the year, Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. Some of these races have clear cut winners at this point in the season, and some are so difficult to differentiate a front-runner that we need to delve further into each category. I am here to clear up any confusion as to what you’ve seen thus far in the 2012-2013 NBA season.

Let’s start with the easiest debate, Rookie of the Year. If the season were to end today, the obvious winner for this award would be Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. There are some other nice rookies this year(Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Dion Waiters come to mind), but Damian is head and shoulders above everyone else right now. He has started every game this season for the Trailblazers. In those games he is averaging 18.2 points on 42% from the field in 38.5 minutes per game(not to mention he’s shooting an impressive 85% from the charity stripe). That is the easiest award to give out, but the rest are a little tougher. Don’t be scared. Just close your eyes, count to three, and rip off that band-aid.

Let’s move on to Sixth Man of the Year. For me this is a two man race between Jamal Crawford and JR Smith. Both have been instant offense off their teams bench. They have both been an integral part of their teams success this season. As much as I love the Knicks, this award has to go to Jamal Crawford. Not only did he outplay JR this past Sunday in a head to head match up, but he has been the better player all season, barely.

Next let’s talk about Coach of the Year. This is a tough one, so let’s throw all the potential candidates out there and then break them down until this makes sense. The candidates are Mike Woodson, Mark Jackson, Frank Vogel, and Tom Thibodeau. If you read my blog you know I am a die hard Knicks fan, and while Woodson has done a phenomenal job with the team so far, their most recent struggles against good teams might hurt him for now.  He did, however, do a great job right from the start of the season.  He was motivating Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, Jason Kidd, and even Rasheed Wallace to maximize their potential out on the floor.  He had everyone buying into his concept of team defense and an uptempo offense.  It was working perfectly until Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert came back from injuries.  I believe it will work out in the end for the Knicks, but there is definitely a growing period that the Knicks and Woodson are going through right now.  The final chapter for the Knicks will determine whether Woodson is the Coach of the year or not.  As of now, I say he is not.  As for Tom Thibodeau, he has impressed by continuing to succeed without his superstar.  For the second straight season Derrick Rose has missed a significant amount of time, yet the Bulls continue to put up winning records. His team plays a defense first, physical brand of basketball that creates nightmare match-ups for smaller teams and turnover prone teams.  It is also extremely impressive to win with Luol Deng as your best player(no offense to Luol he is a nice little player, but let’s be real, he is NOT a #1 guy). With all that being said Tom is still not the coach of the year. Who is? I’m getting there just calm down! The popular pick right now is Mark Jackson.  I like what Mark Jackson is doing with Stephen Curry and the rest of those boys, but his team is not good enough to push him to the top of this debate. While I always liked him as a player, and I personally always thought he would make a good coach some day(ahem, Jason Kidd, ahem), he is not the coach of the year at this point of the season.  My pick for coach of the year right now is Frank Vogel.  I bet most of you don’t even know what team he coaches. That is part of the reason why he is coach of the year right now.  He is a nobody to most people, and he is succeeding with nobodies.  Even his best player who is not playing right now due to injury is a nobody amongst the ranks of superstars. I like Danny Granger’s game, but he like Luol Deng is not a #1 guy. The only problem for the Indiana Pacers(ohhh that’s who Vogel coaches) is that Granger IS their #1 guy. Frank Vogel is my pick for Coach of the Year.
There could have been a nice segue into this next category, seeing as The Pacers have two candidates for Most Improved Player, George hill and Paul George. They have both vastly improved their games, but I think this award is a two man race. Greivis Vasquez and Jrue Holiday have both taken their game to the next level. They have both increased their points and assist totals tremendously from a year ago, and they both have bright futures ahead of them. No disrespect to Greivis, but Jrue Holiday has taken his game into another stratosphere. He has quickly become one of the premier point guards in the NBA, and the league recognized this by selecting him to his first all-star appearance. My award for most improved player goes to Jrue Holiday.
This next category is the toughest for me to choose. It is difficult to find a clear cut winner for Defensive Player of the Year. There are many worthy candidates so far this year that include: Tyson Chandler, Serge Ibaka, Larry Sanders, Lebron James, and Joakim Noah. Larry Sanders and Serge Ibaka will most likely be battling each other for this award for years to come. They are both physical presences underneath the hoop and both block approximately 3 shots a game. It is not due to their lack of defensive effort that they aren’t going to win this award, it’s because someone else on this list has managed to stand out above all the rest. This is me building suspense. Next, what else can you say about Lebron James? The guy is as physically gifted an athlete as anyone who has ever stepped foot on the hard wood. He can guard 4 positions at anytime while still managing to dominate on the offensive end. He is not going to win this award though(at least not this year), but don’t feel too bad for him I’m sure he’ll win another award real soon(hint hint). The reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, has yet again found his way into contention for this award, however when he played the Bulls earlier this season he learned why he isn’t going to repeat as DPOY(he would get my vote for the most intimidating man on the planet though if that was a real award). Joakim Noah has placed himself at the forefront of defensive forces in the NBA. Man is he ugly!! Anyway, as much as I dislike Noah, he does anchor the best defense in the NBA. When he’s on the bench they give up 10 more points then when he’s on the floor.  Joakim Noah gets my vote for Defensive Player of the Year.
Finally, last but not least, the MVP award. This is always a fun debate because people think it’s strictly about offense. It mostly is, but you really need to look at the overall skill-set of a player plus his impact on his team to measure the MVP. The candidates this year are: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony. There are two honorable mentions for this category, Chris Paul and Tony Parker. Parker is doing spectacular things that go mostly unnoticed, especially with a banged up Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli on his team. Chris Paul will be in this conversation at the end of the year because he is clearly the best point guard in the NBA. For right now though he has missed too many games to be considered for this award. I love what Carmelo Anthony is doing this season, and I hope he can sustain his outstanding play throughout the whole season, but he doesn’t do enough of the little things to make his teammates better. Let me see if I can use an analogy that makes sense for this argument. Kevin Durant is like The Utah Jazz in the 90’s. If it wasn’t for that Jordan guy and the Chicago Bulls, they might have a couple of rings right now(sorry John, sorry Karl). Get it? Not yet? See, Kevin Durant has improved every facet of his game this year. The problem is that there is this guy named Lebron James in the NBA. As good as Durant is(28.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 51% from the floor, 43% from three point range, and 90% from the free throw line), Lebron is better. Sorry Kevin, I know I’m pulling for you because I certainly don’t like Lebron “I can’t win a title without an all-star roster” James, but Lebron is on his way to another MVP.  As much as I don’t like Lebron, I must give credit where credit is due.  My vote for MVP and best player on the face of the earth is Lebron James.