Let The Trades Begin!!

kristaps

The NBA offseason is more entertaining than the ACTUAL NBA season. The NBA Finals ended 9 days ago, and I ‘ve already had more fun discussing possible trades and the upcoming draft than I did watching the Golden State Warriors embarrass the league. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers kicked off the fun Monday with their trade of picks, but that was just the snowball at the top of the mountain. Tuesday had us wondering if that snowball would turn into an avalanche.

Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Lakers traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in Thursday’s draft. This trade makes sense for both teams, however, the Lakers got the better end of the deal. Yes, they lose Russell, who was the 2nd overall pick just 2 short years ago, but his time in L.A. has been rocky to say the least. More importantly, the Lakers rid themselves of an atrocious Mozgov contract. His original 4-year, $64 million contract has 3 years left, so the Nets will eat the remaining $48 million. The Lakers receive the expiring contract of Brook Lopez, which will create oodles of cap-space come this time next year (aka the push for Lebron James). And they receive a draft pick. It’s always good to receive draft picks rather than give them (ahem, Brooklyn, ahem New York, ahem). Lastly, this leads to the assumption that the Lakers will select the walking distraction, Lonzo Ball, with the 2nd overall pick on Thursday.

In their own version of a salary dump, the Atlanta Hawks sent the albatross contract (3 years, $70.5 million) of Dwight Howard and the 31st pick to the Charlotte Bobcats for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and the 41st pick in the draft. There’s not much of a story here, as Dwight Howard is a shell of himself. Charlotte shouldn’t expect Howard to bring any Defensive Player of the Year trophies to Charlotte anytime soon.

And then there’s the New York Knicks. My beloved Knicks. Just when you think they’ve hit rock-bottom, they whip out the sledgehammer and drill through the floor. How is it possible that Phil Jackson is shopping Kristaps Porzingis?!

Kristaps Porzingis should be virtually untradeable.

The Knicks are in total rebuild mode. I’m sorry, let me try that again. The Knicks SHOULD be in total rebuild mode. It’s hard to rebuild when you don’t (or can’t) trade Carmelo Anthony. And it would be impossible if you trade the 21-year old, building block that is Kristaps Porzingis. IF, Phil Jackson wants to entertain trade offers for Porzingis, his price should be so obnoxiously high it causes rival general managers to throw up in their mouths. I’m serious.

For example, if Celtics’ General Manager Danny Ainge calls, Phil Jackson should ask for the 3rd pick in this draft, next year’s 1st round pick, and Jaylen Brown. Oh and they’d have to take on Joakim Noah’s contract (quite possibly the worst contract in NBA history). I know exactly what you’re thinking, “that’s crazy, that’s way too much!!” EXACTLY!! Because you SHOULDN’T trade Porzingis!!

Here’s a point I haven’t heard anyone suggest. We all know Phil Jackson is doing a horrible job as the President of the Knicks. All I keep hearing is, “when Phil Jackson is gone, and in 2 years when we aren’t being force fed the Triangle.” Yeah, well why do we assume James Dolan won’t extend Phil Jackson’s contract???? Maybe Dolan thinks Phil is doing a great job. You and I, and anyone who knows anything about sports, would think that’s insane, but our opinion doesn’t matter.

James Dolan’s opinion is the only one that matters.

SOOOOOOOO, imagine a world where James Dolan extends Phil Jackson’s contract 3 more years. That may cause fans to jump ship and root for a new team………..

 

What would it take for you to trade Kristaps Porzingis?? Who got the better deal in the Lakers/Nets trade?? Tell me all about it 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!

 

 

NBA Trade Rumors Swirl Around Super-Team Tornado

jimmy butler

Apparently this is what it’s all about. Who can build the most Super, Super-Team of them all?? As the dust settles from the Golden State Warriors steamrolling through the NBA Playoffs, en route to their 2nd championship in 3 years, everyone is trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. And since Kevin Durant declined his player option on Monday in order to re-sign with the Warriors, the dynasty is in full effect.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Durant will take a $4 million “pay cut” to give the franchise the flexibility to keep their roster intact. So, why doesn’t everyone just play for free?? Players make so much money in endorsements their NBA salaries are fairly insignificant anyway. Then the NBA can rename the East All-Stars the Cavaliers and the West All-Stars the Warriors. Isn’t that where we’re headed anyway?!

Side Note: Who fires their General Manager 3 days before the NBA Draft?!

2nd Side Note (?): Who fires their General Manager without consulting their superstar, Lebron James?!?!

Oh, that would be Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert. Ya know, the guy who ran Lebron James out of town 7 years ago. Well evidently he had so much fun running the best player of this generation out of town the first time, he plans to do it again. Really, really smart….

Lebron had reportedly been lobbying for Cavaliers’ General Manager, David Griffin’s job prior to his firing. So now, it looks like the Cavaliers are trying to make amends. We must build a Super-Team so powerful that Lebron James will never leave again. Fasten your seat belts and lock your doors because we’re entering Rumor Town.

The latest rumor in the NBA Super-Team Saga is the Cavaliers are looking to complete a 3-team trade for Jimmy Butler. Reportedly, the Cavaliers don’t have enough assets to complete this trade with the Chicago Bulls, so they’ve gotten the Phoenix Suns thrown into the mix. If this rumor holds true (which rarely is the case), the trade would look as follows:

  • The Suns would receive Kevin Love (and I’m assuming something else)
  • The Bulls would receive Eric Bledsoe and the 4th overall pick
  • The Cavaliers would receive Jimmy Butler

These talks are preliminary, as their are many other teams involved in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes. This is assuming the Bulls are even looking to trade Butler in the first place. I know it’s hard to believe, but some reporters will make up trade rumors just to get attention. Crazy, right??

Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way players in the NBA. If the Cavaliers can pull off a trade of this magnitude, they would be a few role-playing big men away from being real contenders for a championship. *Not fake contenders like they were last year.

Another big name, who’s actually on the trading block, is Paul George. George informed the Pacers he would become a free agent following the 2017-2018 season. While I can’t imagine the Indiana Pacers are thrilled about losing a top-20 talent, they should appreciate George saying, “trade me now, so you don’t get left empty-handed”. Because no one wants to lose Shaquille O’ Neal to free agency……

Nice work Orlando Magic.

Paul George has expressed his desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. They have young prospects and draft picks to offer, so it is a plausible scenario. However, the rumors now involve the Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics, and the Cavaliers. George will undoubtedly be dealt sooner rather than later. The only question is; Where??

Thursday’s NBA Draft should be exciting, as many players could be on the move. No matter what each team does, they will operate with only one thing in mind; create the next Super-Team.

How do you feel about Super-Teams in the NBA?? Like them, love them, or hate them?? Let your feelings out 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!

 

Top 10 NBA Players Of All-Time

lebron finals

Upon Lebron James’ arrival to his 7th consecutive NBA Finals, I began brainstorming. If Lebron won the Finals (which no one in their right mind thought he would), where would he rank on the all-time list?? Lebron lost, however, his career accomplishments still rank amongst the greatest to ever play the game. Naturally, this leaves us with only 1 thing to do. Make a list of the top 10 NBA Players of All-Time. This list will consider everything these players have accomplished until present day. Since Lebron is still active, you must read this list as if the NBA were to cease to exist tomorrow. Do not take into account the potential for the rest of Lebron’s career, as that would create a bias. He’s not done climbing the list Lebron fans..relax.

Since the association became the NBA (National Basketball Association) in 1949, there have been a host of amazing players to grace the hardwood. However, a small group of living legends stand out from the rest. Why do they stand out?? What makes them the best?? It is a combination of their physical skills, ability to win, and intangibles (heart/leadership/will to win). I will take all of these factors into account. I will be looking at the complete makeup of each player and what made/makes them great.

Any list must start with honorable mentions. We must pay homage to the men just outside the top 10, for their contributions also brought the game to new levels.

Honorable Mentions

  • Oscar Robertson
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Karl Malone
  • Elgin Baylor
  • Julius Erving
  • Jerry West

Oscar Robertson not making the list was the toughest decision I made today. The “Big O”‘s numbers speak for themselves, as he is the all-time leader in triple-doubles (181). Hakeem is next on my tough decision list. There are only 10 spots!! It’s not my fault!! Hakeem “The Dream” had the smoothest skillset we’ve ever seen from the center position. Combine that with amazing shot-blocking ability, and you’re looking at a top 5 center of all-time. Elgin Baylor and Karl Malone fall into the same category, no championship..no list. Sorry. The “Mailman” is 2nd on the all-time scoring list thanks to his scoring ability and longevity (19 seasons), however he had the unfortunate pleasure of playing at the same time as Michael Jordan. Baylor was one of the most talented players you never saw play, however was also unfortunate to play against the likes of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Baylor made 8 NBA Finals appearances and came away empty handed. Julius Erving (“Dr. J”) could have made the list had he not played 5 seasons in the ABA. He was an innovator and should not be overlooked when discussing the history of the NBA. Jerry West IS the NBA logo. Enough said.

Now, without further a due, I present the top 10 NBA Players of All-Time:

shaq

 

10.) Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq, The Diesel, Shaq Fu, Shaq Daddy, Superman)
19 NBA Seasons – 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 58.2 FG%, 52.7 FT%

The Diesel. Enough said?? This nickname speaks for itself. Shaq was the most physically dominant force the NBA has ever seen. He was an unstoppable wrecking ball that could only be slowed (or fouled) but couldn’t be stopped. Watching Shaq, in his prime, was something special. For a man of his stature, he showed an amazing amount of offensive skills. He won a few games along the way too. He won 4 Championships, 1 MVP, and 3 Finals’ MVPs. It is no surprise he won Rookie of the Year in 1993. And who doesn’t want a strategy named after them (?)….’Hack A Shaq’.

history_summary_russell

9.) Bill Russell (Russ)

13 NBA Seasons – 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 44 FG%, 56.1 FT%

Bill Russell will always be the ultimate winner. He led the Boston Celtics teams of the 1950’s and 60’s to 11 Championships in 13 years. While he played with some great teammates over the years, he is regarded as the best defensive center of all-time (Wilt may have something to say about that). He is also one of the best rebounders ever. It was Russell’s intangibles though, such as leadership, that put him head and shoulders above the rest. During Russell’s era, they didn’t keep track of Finals’ MVPs, however, I can safely say he would have won 4 of them (I did my research..don’t worry). In a time where Wilt Chamberlain dominated the NBA statistically, it shows how impressive Bill Russell’s Championship tenure was.

tim duncan

8.) Tim Duncan (Timmy, The Big Fundamental)

19 NBA Seasons – 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 50.6 FG%, 69.6 FT%

Tim Duncan had (shhhh..very quietly) one of the most impressive careers in NBA history. He is without question the best power forward ever (sorry Karl). By they way, his nickname should be “The Bank”. Have you ever seen anyone shoot a better, more effective jump-shot off the backboard than Tim Duncan?? Without dominating the game physically, or landing on highlight reels, Tim Duncan did 1 thing better than most; win. He won 5 Championships, 2 MVPs, and 3 Finals’ MVPs. He also won the Rookie of the Year in 1998. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, “Timmy” was also one of the best defensive power forwards ever.

kobe

7.) Kobe Bryant (Black Mamba)

20 NBA Seasons – 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 44.7 FG%, 83.7 FT%

While there will only be one Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant came pretty close. Kobe emulated Jordan in as many ways as possible. That’s not a knock on Kobe, that’s just plain smart. Kobe was as talented a scorer as you’ll ever see, and was also one of the best on-ball defenders ever. Don’t forget, he jumped straight from high school to the NBA. The only other person on this list to do that is Lebron. Kobe was an assassin. His desire to win and cutthroat attitude was seemingly unparalleled. He liked to win, and did plenty of it. The “Black Mamba” won 5 Championships, 1 MVP (he deserved more), and 2 Finals’ MVPs.

larry-bird

6.) Larry Bird (Larry Legend, The Hick From French Lick)

13 NBA Seasons – 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 49.6 FG%, 88.6 FT%

Magic and Bird. The best rivalry in NBA history, and my personal favorite NBA era. Larry Bird is regarded as one the best shooters the NBA has ever seen (until Steph Curry that is, haha). Bird didn’t just shoot. He possessed a special all around skillset. He is the only player in NBA history to hold career averages of more than 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. He was also an extremely underrated defender, as his anticipation on the court was unmatched. Just like Magic, his career was cut short. Bird dealt with chronic back problems late in his career (he still averaged over 20 points per game in the last season of his career). His heart and competitive spirit willed his team to victory time and time again. Bird won 3 Championships, 3 MVPs, and 2 Finals’ MVPs. He also won Rookie of the Year in 1980.

lebron dunk

5.) Lebron James (King James)

14 NBA Seasons (Active) –  27.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 50.1 FG%, 74.0 FT%

Lebron James entered the NBA straight out of high school. The level of expectations put on his shoulders as a teenager was unparalleled. To say Lebron has simply exceeded expectations would be the understatement of the century. He is one of the most complete players..ever. He can do it all. If he wanted to lead the league in assists, he would. Rebounds, he would. Points, well I think you get the point. He just became the 1st player in NBA history to average a triple-double in the Finals. I don’t have enough paper real estate to list all of his accomplishments, so let’s understand his work in this league is far from done. Lebron has won 3 Championships, 4 MVPs, and 3 Finals’ MVPs. He also has the 2004 Rookie of the Year Award floating around somewhere. Stay tuned….

wilt-chamberlain

4.) Wilt Chamberlain (Wilt The Stilt)

14 NBA Seasons – 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 54.0 FG%, 51.1 FT%

The best center of all-time?? Kareem or Wilt?? It is nearly impossible to definitively answer this question. Wilt Chamberlain was the most dominant force in NBA history. He famously holds the record for most points scored in one game (100), a record I doubt will EVER be broken. Another record that will NEVER be broken: Chamberlain averaged over 50 points in a season (and didn’t even win the NBA MVP – yeah the NBA knows what it’s doing). Oh yeah, Wilt didn’t like being told he couldn’t do something. When the buzz around the league was Wilt was a ball hog, he led the league in assists the following season. It’s a shame in Wilt’s era MVP’s were given to a player on the championship team, because no one knows how many MVP’s Wilt could have won. Even with that obstacle, he still managed to win 4 MVP awards, 2 NBA Championships, and 1 Finals MVP. Wilt was also one of those players who burst right on to the scene, winning the Rookie of the Year in 1960. Wilt was a transcendent talent. If you dropped him in the NBA right now, I’d bet good money he’d still be the best center in the league.

Abdul-Jabbar takes sky hook

3.) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Cap)

20 NBA Seasons – 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.6 blocks, 55.9 FG%, 72.1 FT%

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the centerpiece of the Lakers Championships of the 1980’s.  He was part of their 5 Championships in the 80’s. He also won a Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks prior to playing with the Lakers. He was a true innovator. He perfected an unstoppable move, the sky hook, which helped him become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Kareem was a star from the second he entered the league and was named Rookie of the Year in 1970 (averaging 28.8 points and 14.4 rebounds). Of the long list of Kareem’s accolades, I find a center shooting over 72% from the free-throw line highly impressive. He was an outstanding all around player, showcasing offensive and defensive skills throughout his 20-year career. Kareem won 6 Championships, was MVP a record breaking 6 times, and won 2 Finals’ MVPs.

magic-johnson-lakers-fast-break

2.) Earvin Johnson (Magic)

12 NBA Seasons – 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 52 FG%, 84.8 FT %

As the leader of the “Showtime” Lakers, Magic Johnson reinvented the fast break. He revolutionized the point guard position.  Standing 6’9” tall, Magic was a nightmare match-up for anyone who tried to guard him. Well, they didn’t guard him they only slowed him down, sometimes. Larry Bird was his most formidable opponent, but the Lakers got the better of that rivalry. He brought power forward size and strength to the point guard position (and even played center in the 1980 NBA Finals). He is second all-time (to Oscar Robertson) in career triple-doubles (138). It is a tragedy Magic’s career was cut short due to his battle with HIV. Magic won 5 championships, 3 MVPs, and 3 Finals’ MVPs. Just like Michael Jordan, one can only imagine the potential accomplishments if he played another 4 or 5 seasons.

Michael-jordan

1.) Michael Jordan (MJ, Air Jordan)

15 NBA Seasons – 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 49.7 FG %, and 83.5 FT%

What can be said about Michael Jordan that hasn’t been said already?? Michael Jordan is hands down the greatest basketball player to ever walk the face of the planet. He was a one-time Defensive Player of the Year and regarded as the best defender at his position in NBA history. One of his most impressive feats is his perfect 6 for 6 record in the Finals. In each of those finals, he NEVER allowed a series to reach a decisive 7th game. If that is not the epitome of greatness, I don’t know what is. What you also have to remember is Jordan retired TWICE, in his prime, which caused him to miss nearly five full seasons. Imagine if he never retired and played straight through the age of 40 (where he averaged over 20 points)?! I think it’s fair to say he would have won at least 2 more MVPs and 2 more Championships. He won 6 NBA Championships, 5 MVP’s, and 6 Finals’ MVPs. Jordan won Rookie of the Year in 1985. All others can strive to Be Like Mike, but there will always be 1 Michael Jordan.

 

What do you think of my list?? Like it, love it, or hate it?? Either way, get your feelings off your chest in the comment section below. I’ll also be looking for your list, so make sure to post it in the comments as well.

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!

Durant Wins 1st (of many) NBA Title

durant nba title

There are 9 words in the English language we should all get used to hearing..again..and again..and again: “The Golden State Warriors are NBA Champions once again!” With Kevin Durant as the new sheriff in town, this may become a common theme in the NBA. And as impressive as the Warriors were this season (I will give them their deserved praise), they are not helping the NBA’s cause. Many thought the NBA had become a 2-team league. Correction. It has become a 1-team league. Think about it. What is the question Cavaliers ownership and management are asking themselves right now?? Exactly! Who can we add to this roster in order to compete with the Warriors?? You laugh but it’s true. In the not so distant future, I picture the entire All-Star starting lineups donning Cavaliers and Warriors’ jerseys. We’ll get back to the mess that is the NBA, but for now, let us give the Warriors the standing ovation they deserve.

Kevin Durant did what he set out to do. He captured his 1st NBA title after jumping ship in Oklahoma City and joining forces with Stephen Curry and company. There’s only one way to put this, Durant straight up balled out. After missing 20 games due to injury this season, Durant returned and peaked at the perfect moment. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in the finals, making him the unanimous Finals MVP. He unquestionably deserved the Finals MVP, however, he completely overshadowed the spectacular series Stephen Curry had. Curry averaged 26.8 points, 9.4 assists, and 8.0 rebounds in the Finals. Those are video game numbers, normally MVP worthy, however, Curry was the 3rd best player in the series. Again highlighting the state of the NBA.

Let’s rewind to the 2014 offseason. The Warriors roster was constructed with only 1 thing in mind; winning multiple championships. 2 down, at least 1 to go. Assuming this roster remains intact (only Andre Iguodala is a free agent this coming offseason), this Warriors team will remain a dynasty in the NBA. Which begs the question, where does this Warriors team rank amongst the all-time great teams?? We only ask the tough questions here at DaveTalksSports!! Here is a list of the NBA’s all-time great teams:

  1. The “Showtime” Lakers
  2. The 80’s Celtics
  3. The “Bad Boy” Pistons
  4. The Bill Russell Celtics
  5. The Shaq and Kobe Lakers
  6. The Spurs’ Dynasty
  7. And last, but certainly not least, the Jordan-Era Bulls

When we say teams, we really mean an era or dynasty that won multiple championships. Many teams flashed greatness for 1 year, but how many franchises ran off streaks of multiple championships??

The Warriors have now been to 3 straight NBA Finals (winning 2 of 3). In the 2015-2016 season, the Warriors broke the record for most wins in the regular season (73), previously held by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls (72). The Warriors made a historic run through the postseason this year, dropping just 1 game. Their 16-1 record is the highest winning percentage (.941) of any championship team in NBA history, and they also became 1 of only 3 1-loss teams to win a championship.

The question, when comparing teams from different eras, isn’t who would win (as fun as it would be to watch Jordan and the Bulls play Durant and the Warriors), rather who has a more impressive resume. The Warriors still have room for improvement (which is scary), but right now I’d rank them 7th all-time, behind everyone on the above list besides The “Bad Boy” Pistons. Every other team on that list won at least 3 championships and had at least 4 Finals’ appearances. Unless the Cavaliers add another piece to their championship puzzle, the Warriors should repeat next year (yes I already decided next year’s champion) and climb the all-time ranks.

For now, we close the book on the 2016-2017 NBA season. And we open a new book to a clean page to start the debate. Where do the Warriors rank amongst the all-time great teams?? Post your ranking 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!

 

The Sports World’s Amazing Weekend

crosby

When it’s 95 degrees outside, you can either go to the beach or do what I did. Yup. I sat in an air conditioned living room and watched sports all weekend. As my Boston people would say, “That was wicked smart.” It was a good weekend to reacquaint yourself with the special a** groove in your couch, because the sports world was busy. Let’s start with the most important (but probably least watched) sporting event of the weekend:

STANLEY CUP FINALS

Following a bad loss in Game 5, the Nashville Predators were happy to head home. Prior to Game 6, the Predators stood an impressive 9-1 in their home arena in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Predators, the Pittsburgh Penguins handed them their 2nd home loss. The Penguins broke a scoreless tie 58 minutes and 35 seconds into the game, scoring what would be the game winning goal. They would add an empty-net goal 1 minute and 21 seconds later, securing a 2-0 victory. And just like that, the Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team in 20 years to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. Sidney Crosby (duh) won the Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP of the Playoffs) for the 2nd straight year. I don’t normally talk about shoulda, woulda, couldas..but ah..what the hell. The Predators actually scored in this game. Just 1 minute and 7 seconds into the 2nd period, Colton Sissons had a goal erased by a quick whistle. The goal shoulda counted, but we can’t go back in time. Also, Sissons and fellow Predator, Filip Forsberg, both hit the post in the 3rd period. That sucks! I feel for the Predators, as their run through the playoffs was fun to watch. Better luck next year!

NBA FINALS

No sweep. No history. Well, history was still made, just not by the Golden State Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers finally won a game (137-116), and they did it in historic fashion. When so many changes are made to the record books, a list is necessary:

  1. The Cavaliers scored 49 points in the 1st quarter
  2. The Cavaliers scored 86 points in the 1st half
  3. The Cavaliers made 24 3-pointers
  4. Lebron James recorded his 9th triple-double in the Finals (breaking Magic Johnson’s record)
  5. Dahntay Jones became the 1st player to get a technical foul from the bench in the NBA Finals (I don’t actually know if this is true – but I think it’s really funny)
  6. Lebron James passed Michael Jordan for 3rd all-time in points scored in the NBA Finals (trailing only Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

Heading into Game 4, the Golden State Warriors were looking to become the 1st team in NBA history to sweep through the playoffs at 16-0. If they win Game 5 they will still be in rarified air. They will join the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers and the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers as the only 1-loss teams to win a championship.

All you Lebron fanatics can pump the brakes. Don’t expect the Cavaliers to hit 24 3-pointers and score 137 points again. You can also expect Lebron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love not to combine for 94 points again. The Cavaliers are David Wells. They are capable of throwing a Perfect Game, but they aren’t bringing home a Cy Young Award anytime soon. Expect the Warriors to roll in Game 5. 124-111. Warriors win another title. Book it.

U.S.A. VS. MEXICO

Soccer?! Yes. We are going to talk about soccer. Have you ever seen anyone happier to end in a draw before?? That is the question to ask following a draw between U.S.A. and Mexico on Sunday night. You’d think U.S.A. had just won the World Cup. The two nations squared off in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match. The match was played in front of 87,000 screaming fans in Estadio Azteca, the famed stadium in the heart of Mexico City. Michael Bradley of U.S.A. scored a shocking goal (from about 40 yards out) just 6 minutes into the match. But, thanks to incredibly poor defense by U.S.A, Mexico tied the match in the 23rd minute when Carlos Vela ran untouched for what seemed like 8 miles before putting home a left-footed strike from just outside the box. The match would end in a 1-1 draw. Maybe there is reason to celebrate, as the U.S.A earned just their 3rd win or draw in 22 tries playing in Mexico City. Pop the champagne……?

AARON JUDGE FOR MVP

Before you laugh, check out the numbers. If the MLB season ended today, Aaron Judge would be the Rookie of the Year and MVP. That hasn’t been done since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Aaron Judge is hitting .344 with 21 home runs and 47 r.bi.’s. Yup, that would give Judge the lead in the Triple Crown. Plus, Judge’s Yankees are in 1st place in the American League East with a record of 37-23. PLUS, Aaron Judge hits baseballs really, really FAR. Yes, that baseball really travelled 496 feet. That would be the longest home run since ESPN began tracking distance in 2009. The Yankees are now riding a 5-game winning streak. In their last 5 games, the Yankees have scored a total of 57 runs. That is insane!! This offensive outburst is still being done without future 1st baseman Greg Bird. As good as the offense has been, it is the pitching that has the Yankees in 1st place on June 12th. C.C. Sabathia’s resurgence has been the untold storyline of the Yankees’ season. Let’s hope it continues.

RAFAEL NADAL

And last but not least….words you’ve heard many times before. 10 times now to be exact. Yes. Rafael Nadal won his 10th French Open title. What words could I possibly find to explain the greatness that is Rafael Nadal?? I don’t know, but I’ll try. He is the best clay-court tennis player ever. We have never seen a player this dominant at anything..ever. Not Wayne Gretzky on ice. Not Bill Russell on the hardwood. And no, not Tom Brady on the gridiron. Rafael Nadal dominates clay like nothing we’ve ever seen. Think about this. Nadal just won the French Open without dropping a set in the ENTIRE TOURNAMENT!! The finals was about as anti-climatic as they come. He defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. At age 31, Nadal is finally healthy again, and that means only one thing..the sky is the limit.

With all these fantastic sporting events on TV this weekend, what did you watch?? Tell me what was on your TV 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!

 

15 Down, 1 To Go

kd

I like this picture. Yes Kevin, you’re only 1 win away from your 1st ring. Soon Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Elgin Baylor will go back to being the best players without an NBA championship.

There are countless ways to break down the Cleveland Cavaliers loss in Game 3 (118-113). But we’re going to keep it short and sweet. The Golden State Warriors are simply too good. They are simply too much to handle for the Cavaliers. That’s it. That’s all I have to say. Bye……….

 

 

 

 

Naaaaa, I’m just messin’ with you..we still need to place blame somewhere. Today, I’m going to blame this loss on 4 people (or things). Lebron James, Lebron James, Lebr………I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Did you just see the Lebron defenders jump out of their chairs?!?!

Seriously though, Game 3’s loss is on Tyronn Lue, Kevin Love, whoever constructed the Cavaliers roster (oh wait that’s Lebron James), and father-time. Let’s start with Tyronn Lue. Lue made numerous mistakes in this game, but none loomed larger than not fouling Golden State immediately with 25 seconds left in the game. Newsflash..when you’re down 1 with 25 seconds left, in a virtual must-win situation, you foul immediately to extend the game. Instead, the Cavaliers waited 13 seconds to foul. This left the Cavaliers with no choice but to jack up a three. But thanks to Andre Iguodala’s extremely risky swipe at the ball, Lebron James never got that chance. Also, you’d think at some point during the game, as the Cavaliers struggled mightily from 3-point range, “Coach” Lue might have suggested taking the ball to the basket. That’s your cue Kevin Love.

Kevin Love was awful last night. He finished with just 9 points on 1-9 shooting (1-7 from 3-point range). The Cavaliers shot just 27.3% from 3-point range. They attempted 44 3-pointers..44!! Who do they think they are the Houston Rockets?? You would think at some point they’d stop trying to jam the square peg into the round hole. Or not. “But if Love hits just 2 more 3’s they win.” Yeah, and if my grandmother had balls she’d be my grandfather. Listen, the Cavaliers put forth a great effort last night, but take the rest of the stats away and consider this: How can the Cavaliers beat the Warriors with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving shooting a combined 1-14 from 3-point range??

 

how does Tristan Thompson’s 5-year, $82 million contract look now?? Thompson has just 8 points and 11 rebounds in the Finals (all 8 of those points came in Game 2). I’m sorry, but that is unacceptable. And if you are relying on a 36-year old Richard Jefferson to guard Kevin Durant, you know you’re in trouble.

And last but not least, father-time. I know, I know, I know, I know. Everyone is going to kill me for this, but it’s the truth. Lebron’s numbers are off the charts. He is a top-5 player of all-time, and he has played in 7 consecutive Finals. HE’S TIRED. In 13 NBA seasons, he has played 41, 272 minutes (25th most of all-time). He is on pace to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most minutes played. I’m not blaming Lebron James. He is definitely doing all he can. He is leaving every ounce of energy on the court and it shows, as he is yet again averaging a triple-double in the Finals (32 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists). But believe it or not he’s human. This is why, down the stretch of games, he defers to his teammates too much. The Cavaliers were outscored 11-0 in the final 3:08 of the game. They went 0-8 during that stretch. How many of those shots do you think Lebron took?? ONE!! He only took ONE shot in the final 3:44 of the game. Also unacceptable. Lebron, you are the best player in the world, and this is your team. So don’t kick the ball out to Kyle Korver when you can drive to the basket. Don’t give Kyrie Irving the ball and then stand in the corner like a scared 2nd grade kid in gym class and watch Kyrie jack up a step back 3-pointer. Get the ball and ram it home like you did in the 1st quarter!!

And now..we’re here. Present time. The Warriors are up 3-0 in the NBA Finals. They are 15-0 in the playoffs (which is already a record). And they are looking to become the 1st team to sweep through the playoffs at 16-0. The trio of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson was fantastic last night. They combined for 87 points and 15 3-pointers. None more important than Kevin Durant’s 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, putting his team up 114-113. The Warriors will try to close out the series sweep on Friday night at 9:00 P.M. EST. Tune into ABC to see if they can continue to make history.

Do you think the Warriors will sweep the Finals?? Give me your hot take 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!

 

That Wasn’t Very Close Either….

warriors

Nice try Cleveland! Following a Game 1 blowout loss, which felt like 147 days ago, many expected a more competitive Game 2. Ehhh, not so much (132-113 – not Cleveland). The Cleveland Cavaliers made many visible adjustments at the start of Game 2, many I agreed with, however it wasn’t quite enough to slow down the juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors. Lebron James and the Cavaliers stormed out of the gate with a different intensity on Sunday night. Lebron attacked the basket in a way that said this is still my league, so get out of my way. Is it me or did you just picture Ludacris rapping..”If you do the speed limit, get the f*** out of my way!” Anyway….

The Cavaliers showed their willingness to defend, as I guess they were tired of watching Kevin Durant slam home uncontested dunks. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, these adjustments weren’t nearly enough to pull off a victory let alone make the game competitive. The Cavs are lacking one major adjustment, and I hope they’re listening (or reading). They CAN NOT beat the Warriors at their own game. Trying to run up and down the floor and outscore the Warriors is a recipe for disaster. I hear it can also bring about darkness, despair, and plague, but who doesn’t enjoy those things??

Lebron James and company need to slow down the pace of the game. Let me digress again. Thanks! Did you see Lebron James when he went to the bench in the 3rd quarter. That is as tired as I’ve ever seen him..ever! No, this is not a knock on Lebron. It is simply an observation that not only can he not beat this Warriors team by himself, he can’t beat them with Kevin Love (who’s on fire) and Kyrie Irving. Now, back to business.

They need to pound the ball into the floor and turn this into a half-court snore fest. Otherwise, this will turn into a 5-game series. I know I know, a playoff series doesn’t start until a home team loses a game. Well I guess this series is going to start very soon. Allow me to contradict myself..here ——–> I actually think the Cavs pull off a victory on their home court in Game 3, but that is strictly predicated on my faith in Lebron James. I don’t envision him being embarrassed on his sports’ biggest stage. Outside of that I have no reason to believe the Cavs can compete with the Warriors in any facet of the game.

For example, last night, the Cavs had 3 players in double figures, the Warriors had 6. The Warriors led in every statistical category besides steals/turnovers. The Warriors are also the superior defensive team. Everyone clean out the wax from your ears and listen: KLAY THOMPSON IS AN ELITE DEFENDER. Yes, he can shoot 3’s from anywhere in the gym, but he is showing the world he is an elite defender. Thompson has locked down Kyrie Irving, one of the games best ball-handlers, through the first 2 games of this series.

It’s not THAT the Cavaliers have lost both games, it’s HOW they’ve lost.

Let us close out this fantastic article with ‘The Play of the Game’. If you had already shut off the game or fell asleep, it took place 3 minutes into the 2nd half. The 3rd quarter has been the biggest difference in this series by the way. Steve Kerr, who’s back after an 11-game absence, must give motivating halftime speeches. Anyway, Stephen Curry put on a spectacular dribbling show. My words can’t do it justice, so please click here and enjoy. He is unreal. And he doesn’t just shoot. He is an all-around player, and last night displayed those skills with a triple-double (32 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds). Oh yeah, and they also have Kevin Durant..hahaha.

Tune into ABC on Wednesday at 9:00 P.M. EST to see if the Warriors will lose a game this season.

How many games will it take the Warriors to close out the series?? 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!