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Thursday, November 30, 2006

The freak injury to 76ers forward Shavlik Randolph

By David

Former Duke star and current Philadelphia 76er Shavlik Randolph fractured and dislocated his left ankle this past Wednesday. After under going immediate surgery the time table for his return does not look emanate. Even though Shavlik is not a key player on the sixers team, he brings toughness, energy and great rebounding ability to the floor every night.

NBA superstar and fellow 76er Allen Iverson has been very vocal over his displeasure of practice. He stated in a May 2002 press conference that "We talkin' bout practice, not the game, we talkin' bout practice". It's ironic that his teammate Shavlik Randolph suffered such a significant injury in practice and maybe Iverson was up to something with his comments.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Streaking Dallas Mavericks

By David

After last nights 93-87 victory at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Dallas Mavericks raised their winning streak to ten straight games. Their recent run of success comes after they started the season by losing their first four games by an average of 14.5 points. Now, the Mavericks are finally resembling the team who represented the Western Conference in last years NBA finals.

The team is lead by forward Dirk Nowitzki who is averaging 25.7 PPG and 10 boards per game. Over the last few seasons, he has distinguished himself as the best shooter for a big man and he will consistently step behind the line to drill three pointers. Nowitzki does not have one of the best supporting cast surrounding him and as a result there is added pressure put on him to perform well.

Up until last season the Mavericks exited the playoffs early because of their lack of defense. From the span of the 1999-2000 season up until the 2004-2005 season, Dallas was giving up 98.7 PPG. This span included three years of surrounding at least 100.8 PPG and during the 1999-2000 season the Mavericks gave up more points than they scored. Last year, Dallas returned to a more defensive oriented team and held opponents to 93.1 PPG. This dedication to playing hard on both sides of the ball has been installed by third year coach Avery Johnson who has his players performing at the top of their game.

The early season skid by the Mavericks should not be a problem in the long run because they play too well as a team to let something like that affect them. This years Western Conference is extremely strong and Dallas will have one of their toughest tests ever in returning to the NBA finals. If they are to do so, they will need Dirk Nowitzki to average more than the 27.3 PPG he did in last seasons playoffs and for the rest of the team to play consistent basketball.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The maturity of the Orlando Magic

By David

This season under head coach Brian Hill the Orlando Magic have shown signs of returning to a successful NBA team. The Magic are currently 10-4 and have the best record in the Eastern Conference . They lead last seasons NBA champions the Miami Heat by 4.5 games in the division and seem to finally be bonding together as a strong cohesive unit.

Orlando is lead by forward Dwight Howard who is turning into the most feared big man in the game today and point guard Jameer Nelson who does a magnificent job in leading the Magic offense. Last season, the Magic showed signs of improvement after they won eight straight games and twelve in a row at home. Still, their success was too late as they missed out on the playoffs, but they have transferred what they learned last year to a winning product this year.

Finally, Jameer Nelson has the opportunity to be the starting point guard and he has flourished playing next to Dwight Howard. He is enjoying a career year in shooting at 55% from the field, 43.5% from beyond the ark and has contributed 14.7 PPG. When you take his numbers and combine it with Howard, who at the age of twenty is averaging 16.4PPG, 13.5 RPB, 1.9 BPG and is shooting a spectacular 56.8% from the field, the Orlando Magic have become a team to reckon with.

It's fascinating what these two young men have been able to accomplish in such a short time and it's even more startling to fathom what their capable of doing as they progress. The Magic have quality players surrounding Nelson and Howard in Hedo Turkoglu, Grant Hill, sharp shooter J.J. Redick and Darko Milicic. Now, many people might laugh at the prospect of having Milicic, but the prime reason why he struggled in Detroit was because of his lack of playing time, not lack of talent. Many people around basketball have noted that if Milicic can transform into the player he's capable of being, the Magic could have another example of the twin towers. This reference is related to what the Spurs had with David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

Only time will tell, but if Orlando continues to draft and trade well they will see themselves in the playoffs for many years to come. It seems as if the days of going 21-61 and 36-46 are over and now they will be consistently be over .500. Granted, the Magic play in a weak division and the perennial power house of the division the Miami Heat have gotten off to a sluggish start, but there's no reason to believe that the Magic will relinquish that top spot any time soon. They are currently 7-1 at home and are on a three game winning streak. Their upcoming five game trip to the west coast which starts tonight against another surprising team the Utah Jazz, will be the true test of where the Magic stand. If they can survive that, then I will consider the Magic as the class of the Eastern Conference.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Red Auerbach - Video Tribute To Legendary Boston Celtics Coach

This is a well-done video salute to Red Auerbach, the legendary coach of the Boston Celtics.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Surprising Utah Jazz

By David

Who would have thought that as we approach Thanksgiving the Utah Jazz would be sitting a top the NBA with the best record at 10-1. I might be partially bias because I call myself a proud fan of the Jazz, but not even I could have imagined how well they would have played this season after missing out on last years playoffs.

The days of Stockton and Malone might be over, but the Jazz continue to roll as one of the brightest and up and coming teams in all of basketball. They are now lead by a new breed of players named Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko who have brought the excitement of basketball back to Salt Lake City. Nine out of the fourteen players on their roster were born in 1980 or later and only two are 30 years of age or older. This shows the trust that veteran coach and soon to be hall of famer Jerry Sloan has in his youngsters and they have yet to disappoint him.

The Jazz are a high tempo team that likes to run up and down the court. This has translated into them leading the league in scoring at 108.3, assists at 25.0, total rebounds at 45.1 and being tied in field goal shooting with the Magic at a solid 50 percent. They have distinguished themselves as the class of the NorthWest division and barring any major malfunctions they should go on to win their division.

Now, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself in handing out the division to a team in November, but the Jazz play so well together as a cohesive unit and I feel that they are primed for an extensive run in the playoffs. Second year point guard Deron Williams ranks third in the NBA with 9 assists per game and big man Carlos Boozer is second in the league with 13 RPB. On top of that, the fifth year forward out of Duke is posting a career high in points with 20.5 per game and a career high in shooting at 55.5% from the field.

After last nights 101-96 win at home against the Raptors Jerry Sloan became the first coach in NBA history to win 900 games with a single team. This accomplishment is a testament to his dedication to the Jazz and it speaks to the knowledge he has for the game. With his coaching ability and the performance of his players, the Utah Jazz will be major contenders when the playoffs role around this spring.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Evolution Of The Sacramento Kings & Guard Kevin Martin

By David

Throughout this decade the Sacramento Kings have been regarded as one of the NBA's elite teams. Last year they took a step in the wrong direction as they posted a 44-38 record and bowed out in the first round of the playoffs. Through eight games this season the Kings have shown signs of returning to their old form, but are doing so in a different way.

This season the Kings who are lead by first year coach Eric Musselman are winning games through defense. Since the 2001-2002 season Sacramento had given up an average of 97.8 PPG, but this season they are only allowing 96.4 PPG and are also recording 10.5 SPG. They are lead by the NBA's best defensive player Ron Artest and guard Kevin Martin who leads the team in scoring. By shifting to a more defensive oriented team they are permitting themselves to open up many more scoring opportunities and this has been reflected through their stellar play so far.

The Kings are lead offensively by Kevin Martin who is a third year guard out of Western Carolina. He is quietly becoming one of the elite players in the league as he is averaging 24.1 PPG, 2 SPG and is shooting a robust 52.6% from the field. Martin is ahead of all stars Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan in the scoring department. The name Kevin Martin is unfamiliar to many people at the current time, but come the end of the season I for see him being a household name.

For many years Arco Arena has been tagged as one of the worst places for opposing teams to enter. The Kings are 162 up and 43 down at home since the 2001-2002 season. This year they are 4-0 at home and a major reason for this is their unbelievable fans and the dedication from owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. These two brothers have put their heart and sole into putting the best team on the floor every night for the city of Sacramento. As a result, the Kings won at least 50 games from 2000-2005 and have made the playoffs every year since the beginning of this decade.

Sacramento seems to be returning to the dominant team of old, but are now winning their games through defense. If they are to continue to have great success they will need to be lead by the defensive abilities of Ron Artest and the slick shooting of Kevin Martin

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don Nelson's First Warriors Game: Lakers 110, Golden State 98

Once again. New Warrriors coach; same outcome. The Golden State Warriors couldn't beat the Kobe Bryant-less LA Lakers. Warriors new Head Coach Don Nelson blamed Baron Davis for his poor play. What Nelson didn't know is that Davis hosted a VIP party at Slide in San Francisco that Monday. How do I know this? Because I was invited to it, but didn't go.

Odom pulling weight as Lakers improve to 2-0

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Ronny Turiaf had just buttoned his shirt after the best game of his NBA career when his cell phone rang.
Kobe Bryant couldn't travel to the Los Angeles Lakers' latest victory, but the injured star clearly didn't miss a minute of Turiaf's breakout performance.
"I told you! I told you!" Turiaf said into the phone, breaking into a wide grin. "You're crazy. Thanks for the advice."
Whatever Bryant has told his teammates while he's sitting out, it's working.
Turiaf had career highs of 23 points and nine rebounds, and Lamar Odom scored 22 points in the Lakers' second victory in two days without the defending league scoring champion, 110-98 over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
Odom added nine rebounds and nine assists, and Luke Walton scored 15 points as the Lakers followed up their surprising 114-106 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night with a thorough thumping of the Warriors in coach Don Nelson's inauspicious debut.
"We need every win we can get, especially without my man here," Odom said. "If we can get these wins on the road, it'll help us a ton."
Bryant stayed home to rest his surgically repaired right knee, and coach Phil Jackson also remained in Los Angeles while he's recovering from hip replacement surgery four weeks ago -- but the Lakers' role players and assistant coaches led their 10th win in 11 meetings with Golden State.
Assistant coach Kurt Rambis, who ran the club in Jackson's absence, doesn't know when Bryant will be back in action -- but with Turiaf's impressive play and Odom's steady efforts, the Lakers didn't need either.
"We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things," Rambis said. "If we can get them to understand their potential and their ability to work together, I think we're going to have a really good ballclub."
Monta Ellis scored 22 points, Baron Davis had 18 and Jason Richardson added 15 in his first appearance for the Warriors since undergoing cleanup surgery on his right knee late in the summer. Nelson waited until a few minutes before tip-off to decide Richardson, Golden State's leading scorer last year, would play.
But Richardson clearly was rusty, and his teammates didn't look ready for the regular season despite their 7-1 preseason mark. Nelson, the NBA's second-winningest coach, had an ugly start to his second tenure with the club he led to its last playoff appearance 12 seasons ago.
"So much for good starts," Nelson said. "I was disappointed with our performance, our energy and with whatever else went on out there. We reverted to last year, maybe worse. Any way you cut it, we were poor tonight. The team is telling me I might have to make changes."
Nelson pledged to improve the Warriors' free-throw shooting and shot selection, but absolutely nothing changed in the opener. Golden State missed all nine of its 3-point attempts and went just 12-for-21 from the free-throw line in the first half.
"I hurt the team out there," Richardson said. "I need to get my conditioning up. We didn't come out as the team we were capable of being. That's the first and last game we'll play like that."
Nelson ripped his entire team, but reserved particular disdain for Davis, who "pounded the ball too much," and Mike Dunleavy, who "was a disaster. He didn't rebound, he didn't score, he didn't do anything."
Los Angeles closed the third quarter on an 18-8 run with seven points apiece from Odom and Turiaf, whose rookie season never got going after he underwent heart surgery. Turiaf pounded the Warriors with the same relentless energy he showed in his college days at Gonzaga, more than doubling his previous career high of 10 points.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity I have," Turiaf said. "I'm just trying to have some fun, and I have really great teammates. We're a young team, and it's fun when young guys get an opportunity to showcase their skills."
The Lakers fans in attendance roared when he hit a 22-foot jumper to put Los Angeles ahead by 18 points in the fourth quarter. The sellout crowd at newly christened Oracle Arena headed for the exits throughout the fourth, with the remaining fans booing the Warriors even after a late run made the deficit respectable.