Kyrie Irving Put On A Show

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Ever hit the snooze bar a few too many times?? Yeah, me too. And you finally wake up. You’re running frantically around the house, trying to get to work on time. You show up right on time, but you can still feel that nervous energy flowing. Once settled in though, you tend to exceed expectations. Ya know, really make up for the way your day started.

That was Lebron James on Tuesday night. Yes, we’re talking about Lebron James again….

Get used to it. Everything is about Lebron James. He is the face of the NBA. Praised for the victories and blamed for the losses. Anyway….

Lebron’s poor play from Game 3 spilled over to Game 4. He looked disinterested. He lacked the aggressive nature we saw in games 1 and 2. The Cavaliers found themselves down 10 points at halftime, and trailed by as many as 16. It’s a good thing Kyrie Irving brought his ‘A Game’ last night. While Lebron became a spectator with early foul trouble (we’ll get into that a little later), Kyrie put his entire team on his back. Kyrie finished with 42 points (21 in the 3rd quarter)!! He was extremely efficient, shooting 68% from the field (15-22). For those who haven’t noticed, Kyrie Irving is the real deal. Outside of Russell Westbrook, he and Stephen Curry are the most electrifying point guards in the game. He has the best ball handling skills in the league (sorry Steph), can shoot from half-court, and is an absolute wizard when he drives the lane.

Kyrie Irving is the SOLE reason the Cavaliers aren’t hitting the panic button today.

Back to last night we go. Lebron James committed 4 fouls in the 1st half. How often do you hear that?! I have one question for Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue: WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!?! How could you leave Lebron on the floor with 3 fouls and 7 minutes left in the 1st half?? Okay, maybe that was 2 questions….

Lue is lucky Lebron is a smart player. Lebron didn’t pick up another foul for the remainder of the game. But imagine if Lebron fouled out in the 3rd quarter, and Kyrie’s twisted ankle in the 3rd quarter caused him to leave the game?? The Cavaliers would have been ‘up you know what creak without a paddle’. Instead, Lebron and Kyrie dominated the 3rd quarter. They emerged from the locker room, down 10 at halftime, with a vengeance. They combined for 30 of the Cavaliers 40 points in the 3rd quarter. Yeah, I’d say their ON/OFF switch works just fine.

The Cavaliers now lead this series 3 games to 1 and are 1 game away from the NBA Finals. This would be Lebron James’ 7th consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. Let that sink in for a moment….

The Cavaliers will win Game 5 back in Beantown and will punch their ticket to the NBA Finals, which tip-off June 1st. Check out Game 5 on TNT on Thursday @ 8:30 P.M. EST. Keep this in perspective: while the Cavaliers are schlepping their tired bodies back to Boston, the Golden State Warriors have their feet up on the couch in the comfort of their own home.

Will the Cavaliers playing an extra game prove costly in the NBA Finals?? Tell me 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!

 

 

 

Will Lebron James Ever Lose A Basketball Game Ever Again??

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I don’t like turning games off at halftime. While I do love sleep, I prefer overtime thrillers. So, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a dud. Lebron James, a well rested Lebron James, dismissed the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night with a standard playoff performance. Ya know, just another day at the office: 38 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals. He’s decceeennttt….

Lebron, as pictured above, might as well have been going through a layup line last night. I must say, I am extremely disappointed in Celtics coach Brad Stevens. Coach Stevens thought it was a good idea to put a combination of Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk on Lebron defensively. How’d that work out for ya?! Coach Stevens should know Lebron wants to attack the basket. And attack the basket he did. Lebron was 7-8 from the field in the first quarter. Seemingly all on uncontested layups right down the middle of the lane. I understand that Lebron is practically as big as a center, but he can’t be guarded by one.

The harsh reality is no one can guard Lebron James, especially from the Celtics roster, but you have to slow him down..at least a little bit. Coach Stevens, even though you didn’t ask, I offer my advice:

You have to put either Jae Crowder or Avery Bradley on Lebron James, and then double Lebron anytime he gets past the free throw line. This will force Lebron to either force a bad shot or pass the ball out to the perimeter. And as good as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are, I’ll take my chances. Crowder is the better option due to his size (6’6″, 235 lbs.), strength, and speed combination. However, Bradley is the Celtics’ best on-ball defender. And while he gives up 6 inches and 70 pounds to Lebron, if he gives Lebron extra space on the perimeter and forces Lebron to shoot (he went 1-6 from 3-point range last night), they may stand a better chance.

The Celtics did NOT stand a chance in Game 1. The final score of 117-104 doesn’t even come close to telling the whole story. At halftime, the Cavaliers took their foot off the pedal, and placed their vehicle in cruise control. Which begs the question: with a 21-point lead with 5 minutes left in the game, why were the Cavalier’s starters still on the floor?! I understand they had just spent the past 10 days resting, but what if Lebron, Kyrie, or Kevin had gotten hurt?? And speaking of rest. I bet all you people debating rest vs. momentum and how much rest is too much rest, are the same people who hit the panic button on the Cavaliers back in January, and again in March, and then again in April. Hey..pssssttt..guess what? Lebron James has been there and done this before. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be just fine.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors haven’t lost a basketball game since 1974. It sure seems that way doesn’t it?? After last night’s drubbing, their historic, 3-peat rematch is one step closer. I can’t wait!!

Will the Cavaliers and Warriors both sweep their way to the NBA Finals? Tell me 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!

 

 

Lebron James Makes History in Game 2 Victory

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There is an inexplicable aura around Lebron James.  For Lebron to do what he did last night and still be criticized is hard to understand.  In case you fell asleep on the couch at halftime, here is a quick recap of what happened.  Last night, Lebron James took the cast of characters that is known as the Cleveland Cavaliers into Oracle Arena, and came out with an enormous victory (Cleveland 95 – Golden State 93 F/OT).  This series is now headed back to Cleveland tied at one game a piece.  If you didn’t see Lebron’s performance, allow his stat line to enter the room: 39 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists.  Oh hey history, how ya doin??  Does anyone know how many times those numbers have been accomplished in the playoffs, let alone in the finals?!  That’s right.  The answer would be 0 times.  Yes, Lebron seemed to “lose” his touch in the second half (missing 14 of his final 18 shots), and yes, he did get stuffed a few times driving the lane down the stretch, but there is NO denying his greatness.  The craziest part is Lebron CAN actually play better.

We should all understand the Cavaliers would not be in this position without Lebron, but the real MVP of game 2 was Matthew Dellavedova.  The tenacious, hounding defense he played on Stephen Curry was the real reason the Cavaliers stole home court advantage in the series.  When being guarded by Dellavedova, Curry was 0 for 8 from the field.  Curry was the MVP of the regular season, and is an amazing player, but he could not handle the physical nature of Dellavedova’s defense last night.  It would not be wise to write off any team that has Lebron James’ name on the roster, but I still don’t believe his demi-god like performances will be enough to win this series.  Side Note: This series can obviously go either way though.  This is the first NBA Finals Series to have its first two games decided in overtime.

Game 3 will be played in Cleveland on Tuesday night @ 8:30 P.M.  You can tune in to ABC to watch the drama unfold.  What do you think will happen?  Can Lebron James continue his historic play and bring the city of Cleveland its first championship in 51 years?  Or will the Golden State Warriors’ team effort prove to be too much for the Cavaliers to handle?

Post your thoughts 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. 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!

Who Said There’s Nothing To Talk About?

The NBA Finals have come and gone, and baseball hasn’t hit its full stride yet. Within the dog days of summer lie a time with very little to talk about in the world of sports. However, Monday brought about an eventful day of sports news and action. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals crowned a champion, while a former Wimbledon champion fell unexpectedly. A window of opportunity has opened for the much deserving Brian Shaw. And lastly, as I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, Aaron Hernandez has himself in some hot water.

With Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals being played in Boston, it was almost a certainty that the Bruins would force a decisive Game 7 in Chicago. This series had been so closely contested (with half of its games going to overtime), that a Game 7 seemed inevitable. With just under a minute and a half to play that looked like the case, but the Chicago Blackhawks had other ideas. The Bruins were winning 2-1 after Milan Lucic scored the go ahead goal midway through the 3rd period. They looked like they were going to cruise to a series tying victory until Brian Bickell put in the game tying goal with 1:16 left in the game. Boston had to be deflated but at least they had a chance to win the game in overtime, right? Oh No, no no, they were not granted that opportunity. Just 17 seconds after the game tying goal came, the game winning goal by Dave Bolland followed. And just like that, victory was snatched right out of Boston’s hands. Players are used to losing, but to be so close to victory and lose in heartbreaking fashion is never easy to get past. I’m sure the Bruins players will need some time to fully recover from a loss of this magnitude. Doesn’t it seem eerily similar to the Game 6 loss by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals? When there is a loser there must also be a winner. Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.

An absolute stunner is the only way to describe Rafael Nadal’s first round loss at Wimbledon. This is the first time he has EVER lost in the first round of a Grand Slam. His loss came in straight sets at the hands of the 135th ranked player in the world, Steve Darcis. Who? Exactly, I’ve never heard of him either. If you watched the match, the camera continued to follow Nadal’s taped up knee, and the commentators kept harping on the fact that he couldn’t track down balls he once called routine gets. Yes, I’ll admit that Nadal did not look his usual gritty self, but injury or not a player of his caliber should NEVER lose to Steve Darcis. Nadal simply did not have any fight in him on Monday, and he simply mailed in his performance once he was down 2 sets to none. While I’ve never personally been a Nadal fan, it still would have been nice to watch the great Roger Federer spank him in the quarter finals. I guess we’ll have to settle with Federer mopping the floor with John Isner in the quarters. Will there be anymore shocking upsets in Wimbledon? Only time will tell, but I see Roger Federer and Andy Murray playing a hard fought semi finals to see who has the right to lose to Novak Djokavic in the finals. Enjoy the tennis.

To the hardwood we go. The second the NBA season ends, head coaches get the ax (deservedly or not). As the off season progresses, those coaching vacancies slowly get filled. Monday, the Denver Nuggets filled their coaching vacancy with a name that has been floating around the rumor mill for quite some time. Brian Shaw, the former assistant of the Indiana Pacers, is now the new head coach of the Denver Nuggets. Shaw’s name has been on many executives lists for coaching possibilities over the past couple of years, but Denver has finally pulled the trigger. Denver just cur their tenure with George Karl short in the same season he won Coach of the Year, so I wouldn’t get too comfortable if I were Shaw. Good luck Brian, you deserve it.

And last but certainly least, we move on to Einstein himself. Nope, sorry, I meant Aaron “the rocket scientist” Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez has been a very good tight end for the New England Patriots, and had a very bright future ahead of himself (emphasis on the word HAD). Rather than use his potential to enjoy his future, he decided to entangle himself in a murder mystery. No, not the make believe Law And Order type of mystery, but the hey I actually murdered someone and tried to cover it up type of mystery. As of right now Hernandez has not been convicted of a crime or has even been arrested, but there has been the possibility of an arrest warrant hanging over his head for about 5 days now. See, Hernandez intelligently destroyed his home surveillance system, smashed his cell phone to unrecognizable pieces, and had a professional cleaning crew come leave his house spotless. Yeah, this should end well. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I will. Hernandez obviously either murdered this guy, ordered the murder to take place, or has proof of the murder and is trying to cover it up. Either way his life is in shambles, and I highly doubt it’s going to get any better anytime soon. Man, don’t you wish you, an intelligent responsible person, had the talents these numbskulls have? You surely wouldn’t waste it and throw your life back into the sewer that they most likely came from to begin with. It’s such a shame. You can follow ESPN for daily updates on the Hernandez situation.

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!

Big Weekend In Sports

This was a big weekend in sports that just passed us by. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and their Father’s Day. If you spent some time on your couch with your television like I did, than you definitely enjoyed yourself. There were 3 major sporting events going on, and I’m going to give you a quick rundown of what took place in each one. First you had Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night. Then you had the finish of golf’s U.S Open Sunday Evening. And last but certainly not least you had Game 5 of the NBA Finals Sunday night. None were more exciting than the hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins.

If you saw Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals than you already know how epically great that game was, and how competitive this series is going to be. Quickly for those who don’t know, the Blackhawks took Game 1 in triple overtime! It was a game for the ages and it set the table for game 2. How could Game 2 live up to the expectations that Game 1 laid on top of its napkin you ask? Well, they mustered up another exhilarating overtime thriller, that’s how. The Boston Bruins evened up the series at 1 game a piece by winning 2-1 over Chicago. Boston allowed a lonely goal in the 1st period and then tightened up the defense for the rest of the contest. You can catch what should be another exciting game on Monday night on NBC. The puck drops at 8:00 p.m. in Boston. Enjoy!!

Now, ever since Thursday morning’s rain delayed U.S. Open got started, everyone was wondering and waiting for Tiger to make his push towards his 15th major. The only problem was that the push never came. Tiger didn’t start out too badly but played progressively worse as the week went on. Tiger finished with a career worst 72-hole score of +13. I guess we’ll all have to wait for the British Open to see if Tiger can end his 5 year drought without a major victory. His last major came at the U.S. Open in 2008 after beating Rocco Mediate in a ’19’ hole playoff. While Woods struggled with Mr. 3 Wiggle all weekend, Justin Rose minimized his mistakes and gutted out his 1st major victory. He won by 2 strokes (+1) over 2nd place finishers Jason Day and Phil Mickelson (both were +3). This is Phil’s 6th 2nd place finish at U.S. Open. Man that’s gotta suck! Anyway, job well done Justin Rose, and better luck next time Phil.

Sunday night’s NBA Finals Game 5 was one that was certain to bring big drama. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have exchanged wins all series, but everyone was expecting the Heat to carry their momentum from game 4 into game 5 and finally put this series out of reach. Boy were they wrong. Despite another solid performance from Dwyane Wade, the Spurs were simply too good for Miami. They basically carried the lead from wire to wire and won the game by a score of 114-104. San Antonio’s ‘Big 3’ hopped in their time machine and pulled a performance somewhere out of 2003. They scored a combined 67 points while arguably the Finals MVP at the moment, Danny Green, added 24 points of his own. Green hit another 6 3-pointers and surpassed Ray Allen as the all-time leader for 3-pointers in an NBA Finals. Manu Ginobili was inserted into the starting lineup and hit the Spurs first shot. He was off and running from there and never looked back. While the Spurs seemingly couldn’t miss, Lebron James went ice cold in the 2nd half. For the game he went a putrid 8-22 from the field, and will need to play a whole lot better if they plan on raising any more banners in Miami this year. You got what you asked for Lebron. Now all you have to do is execute. Good luck buddy, you’re going to need 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!

Complete And Utter Domination

Have you ever seen a game where the score didn’t fully reflect how the game went? Well, that was what happened last night. The crazy thing about that is the 36-point whooping (113-77) the Spurs laid on the Heat didn’t do the Spurs performance justice. The only reason the Spurs didn’t win by 50 was because of Mike Miller and his 5 3-pointers. Miller is now 8-8 in the last 2 games and hasn’t missed a 3-point attempt since Game 1. There wasn’t one aspect of this game that the Spurs didn’t dominate. Their swarming defense created 16 turnovers while holding the almighty Lebron James to a measly 16 points on 7-21 shooting. The most amazing statistic from this game was that Lebron did not make 1 trip to the free throw line the entire game. The Spurs dared James as well as his buddies Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to shoot the ball. They backed off the ball and crowded the paint. This forced James to shoot outside shots all night. So much for an improved jump shot, huh?

While the Spurs obviously benefited from Danny Green and Gary Neal’s performances, Gregg Popovich should receive most of the credit for this victory. He implemented a game plan that he knew would work. He figured the Heat can not beat them if they keep their entire roster at least 15 feet from the basket at all times. It was almost like their was an invisible barricade keeping the Heat from getting to the basket. This is a recipe for success against the Heat. Kawhi Leonard also deserves a lot of credit for the job he has done defensively against James. James has been bad in this series, and a lot of it has to do with Leonard’s defense. Side note: don’t sleep on Kawhi Leonard. He is going to be one of the best two way players in the NBA in 2 years if he continues to improve his offensive repertoire. Anyway, everyone else can feel bad for the over analyzation of Lebron James, but not me. When you are supposed to be the second coming of Michael Jordan and you are now being mentioned in the same breath as MJ, you deserve all the scrutiny that is thrown your way. Fans, analysts, and people alike can talk about James’ supporting cast and their struggles, but at the end of the day it comes down to Lebron James and what he needs to do to win. If you want to be the best ever, you better show up and get it done when the lights are at their brightest. Everyone else can also stay on that Lebron James is clutch bandwagon, but not me. What, because he hit a layup in the regular season against the Orlando Magic to extend their winning streak and a wide open layup against the Pacers in the playoffs he’s all of a sudden clutch? Nope. What Lebron needs to do is physically impose his will and takeover these games. I just don’t think the combination of Duncan, Parker, Ginobli, and Popovich are going to allow that to happen.

What most people are forgetting is that Tony Parker only contributed 6 points in this contest. Parker got banged up during the game and actually had to go back to the locker room for treatment on his hamstring at one point. He would return to the game but was a
non-factor for the rest of the contest. With Parker virtually non existent, Danny Green and Gary Neal more than picked up the slack. Green finished with 27 points on 9-15 shooting from the field including 7-9 from 3-point range!! Neal also added 24 points on 9-17 shooting from the field including 6-10 from 3-point range!! If 2 players from any team are going to combine for 13-19 from downtown, I don’t care who you are playing, you are going to win that game. And that’s what happened. The Spurs won in more than convincing fashion, and they will without a doubt try to carry this momentum into Game 4 on Thursday night. I believe the Spurs will play an efficient Game 4, but the 3’s wont drop at the rate they did in Game 3. The Heat will bounce back and Lebron will play much better as well, which should lead to an epic Game 4. This game becomes incredibly important for the Miami Heat, for if they lose they will find themselves on the brink of elimination and still on the road. At the same time, if Parker can’t play to at least 75% of his potential than the Spurs will lose Game 4. You can catch all the action in Game 4 on ABC @ 9:00 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!

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served, uhhh, Hot?

The marathon that is the NBA Playoffs has finally reached its apex; the NBA Finals. There are many gripping story lines attached to these Finals, all of which will contribute to an epic showdown. Lebron James, as a 22 year old, led his Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals only to get swept by the San Antonio Spurs. This was Lebron’s first taste of the Finals, but it was the taste of defeat that has stayed with him. See, it is Lebron’s desire to win that separates him from the rest of the league (that and his freak of nature physique), and he would love to beat the team that sent him packing (broom in hand), back in 2007. Lebron James is obviously a million times the player he was in ’07, and I think this series will go a little bit differently than the last time they met. On the other hand, you have the most soft spoken all-time great in the history of the league playing for his 5th Championship. At the ripe young age of 37, Tim Duncan is playing like the Tim Duncan of old. He has transformed his body and his mind in order to continue to succeed at the highest level. It also doesn’t hurt that he has some guy by the name of Tony Parker on his team. As with any series there are many questions that need to be answered: Will Lebron James exact his revenge on the Spurs? Will Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade show up for the entire series? Will Tim Duncan continue his stellar play? Will the 187 days of rest help or hurt the Spurs? And last but not least, who will hoist the trophy over their head at the end of this series?

I believe this will be a long hard fought series. On one side you have the best player in the world looking to establish his rightful place among the games all-time greats. On the other side you have the closest thing we’ve seen to a dynasty since the Lakers of the Shaq and Kobe era. The longevity of the Spurs and coach Gregg Popovich is impressive and Duncan is looking to win titles over a 14 year span (unprecedented span). The Heat are looking to win consecutive Championships and build a little dynasty of their own. However, with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh’s games both rapidly declining this postseason, many have wondered if this will be their last run at a title as presently constructed. The future for the Heat and Spurs is yet to be seen, but the present is upon us. Tony Parker will play a phenomenal series and people will continue to see why he is one of the best basketball players in the world. Tim Duncan will show case exactly why he has been so great for so long in this series. Many Ginobili will add some timely big shots and flops when necessary as well. However, Lebron James and the Miami Heat will prove to be too much for Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. The Miami Heat will win their 2nd consecutive championship. The Heat certainly have their work cut out for them though. Popovich is too good of a coach to get run off the floor. This will be a grueling back and forth series that spans 14 weeks and 7 games. You can watch Game 1 tonight @ 9:00 p.m. on ABC. Enjoy the action!!

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!

Quiet night in the NBA speaks volumes

In a quiet night in the NBA, we saw the Miami heat and San Antonio Spurs send a message to the rest of the league.  That message was: Watch out because here we come!  Last night the Spurs handily beat the Los Angeles Clippers on the road by 26 points!  The Clippers, like the Knicks, might have physically been on the court last night but mentally they were still on vacation.  Both the Spurs and the Heat are hitting their stride at the right time.  There is just under two months left in the season, and it is the perfect time to gain some momentum and carry it into the playoffs.  The Spurs have the best record in the NBA (44-12) by four games, and they have won 16 of their last 17 games.  So much for getting old huh?  The Spurs always seem to quietly plug along and put up consistently good numbers.  At this point, I think we can all agree that Gregg Popovich is the best coach of this era.  Was this a statement game or did the Clippers just take a night off?  Will the Spurs hold up come playoff time (unlike last year)?  I believe the Spurs are great, but I think they will meet a different Clippers team come playoff time.  And let’s not forget how impressive of a season Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are having.  Durant’s season is spectacular and is being wildly overshadowed by Lebron James’ performances.  When you get a chance, take a look at Durant’s numbers so far this season, and then take a look at a guy’s statistics in his prime that you may have heard of (A Mr. Larry Bird).  Eerily similar aren’t they?  With that being said, the Miami Heat certainly look like a championship caliber team, again.  Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and the Heat made the Chicago Bulls look like a Junior Varsity squad last night.  The Bulls only scored 32 points in the 2nd half of a very sloppy performance.  The heat did what they had to do and cruised to an 86-67 victory.  The Heat are playing great basketball right now (winners of their last nine games).  I believe if Dwayne Wade can remain healthy that the Heat will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this season.  Will they win the championship again this year?  At this point, I think they will (even though I hope they don’t), however only time will tell.  We are heading towards the best time of the year in sports.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy!