Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lillard Comes Alive to Help Blazers Win First Game of Series

Damian Lillard was phenomenal last night, to put it mildly. Lillard erupted for 32 points last night as the Trail Blazers faced elimination and the shame of being swept at home by the Memphis Grizzlies. If Memphis would have come away with the win it would have been the first sweep in franchise history.

Lillard's previous game high for points in the series had only been 22, and a big reason was because Mike Conley Jr. had played great defense against him in the first three games of the series. Conley Jr. did not play last night after sustaining an injury in game 3 when he took a shot in the face. He actually just had surgery yesterday and is expected need at least 48 hours to allow the swelling to go down until he could possibly be back on the floor.

Game 5 will be held at Memphis and is scheduled for tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. central time. It will be huge if Conley Jr. can return for the Grizz but even if he is unable to Memphis is a tough team to beat at home. The Trailblazers would need another phenomenal game for Lillard to have a chance at extending the series.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cavaliers Complete the Sweep But it Comes at a Cost

Yesterday the Cleveland Cavaliers completed the sweep of the Boston Celtics on the East side of the first round of the playoffs. It was a hard fought series, but in the end the Cavs had too much fire power. Even the great basketball genius, Brad Stevens, couldn't raise his team to win one game.

The last win did come at a cost for the Cavs, however as forward Kevin Love sustained a separated shoulder injury in the first quarter of action. The news is that he will be out for at least two weeks. This could be a huge problem for the Cavs as their next opponent appears will be the Bulls, in which Love could potentially miss the entire series.

Not only would playing the Bulls without Love be hard enough, but the Bulls are looking very strong in their first round action against the Bucks. To make matters worse, Derrick Rose is starting look like the Derrick Rose of old. Love also contributed a lot in the minutes he played in this series, which had fans ecstatic and looking for a deep run into the playoffs and possibly bring home the first NBA championship for the city of Cleveland.

It now appears that this goal is going to much tougher for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but nothing is impossible when you have the King on your team. As for all basketball fans, we hope that Kevin heals up soon and is able to get back out on the floor. This was his first time in his seven
years in the league that he was playing in the playoffs, and it would be a shame to see it end like this.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Warriors Open Round 1 With A Sweep

The first series came to an end last night for the opening round of the playoffs as Golden State beat New Orleans last night 109-98. This concluded a sweep for the first round as Golden State won the three previous games. 

This series was not the typical sweep however as New Orleans played well every game in the series and should have won game 3, if not for a miracle performed by Steph Curry. One good thing that came out of the series for New Orleans is that Anthony Davis asserted himself as one of the best players in the NBA. He was dominant in the whole series, and it was not his fault that New Orleans came up short.

This series was more of testament to just how good that Golden State really is than to a sub performance from New Orleans. Golden State's offense appeared to be clicking on all cylinders this series. If basketball spectators have learned anything, it is that a team that is playing as efficient as the Warriors are on offense is very tough to beat. We learned this by watching the final series last year with the Spurs and the Heat.

Time will only tell whether the Warriors can continue this stretch of offensive genius or if it was only for a series.

Monday, April 13, 2015

True Love for the Game

Last Friday, one of the greatest basketball stories of all time came to a tragic end as Lauren Hill lost her fight to cancer. It marks one of the saddest days that I have ever witnessed for the sport. Lauren showed everyone what it meant to truly love the game of basketball.

For those of you who don't know the story, Lauen was a standout basketball star at her high school and was recruited to play for the Mount St. Joseph University basketball team in Cincinnati. She was diagnosed with cancer, before her arrival to the team. She was determined, however to not let this keep her from fulfilling her dream of playing college basketball.

She practiced at the beginning of the season, but her cancer kept getting worse. The school officials were able to move up the first game to be sure that Lauren would be able to play. On November 2, 2014 Lauren's dream was made complete and she scored her first and only points.

Lauren should serve as an inspiration to all people. Lauren's motto was "never give up." She definitely lived according to this motto. Her life is also an encouragement to everyone else to never give even in the most difficult of situations.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

NCAA Men's Basketball Wrap Up

Sadly the college basketball season has already come to an end, but it did leave its viewers with a lot
of memorable moments.

The first of these moments happened in Madison Square Garden on January 25 when Coach K recorded his 1000th win against St. John's. He is well on his way of passing former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summit, who leads all NCAA Division I coaches with 1, 098 career wins. Of course Coach K, couldn't stop there for this year. He also led his Blue Devils to their 5th national title. This year's accomplishments has many analysts naming coach K as the greatest coach in history.

One of the other most memorable moments of this season was when the Wisconsin Badgers ended Kentucky's perfect season in the semi-final game on April 5th. Kentucky was unable to pull off another close win to keep their season alive.

All in all it was another great basketball season at the college level, now all our eyes can turn to the NBA are set to begin in about a week.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kentucky's Chance at History

In the first three games of the tournament. Kentucky looked to be unstoppable. Then they ran into Notre Dame in the elite eight and barely escaped with a win. What was different about this game? Well, they faced a team that was able to spread them out across the floor with shooters and had big men who could attack and finish as well. The guards also attacked when necessary and went right at the big men instead of shying away. How does it look for Kentucky now entering into the final four? In my honest opinion, I don't believe that there is a team in the final four that matches up with Kentucky as well as what Notre Dame did. If they continue to play the way they have thus far in the tournament and the entire year for that matter the then they should finish off this year as perfect and regarded as one of the best basketball teams in NCAA history.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Kentucky Perfect in the SEC

The SEC is no powerhouse in basketball like it is in football, but for Kentucky to finish the regular season undefeated in the SEC and overall is pretty amazing! The SEC does not have powerhouses that you would find in the Big XII or the ACC, but they do have teams that can put a run in the SEC tournament and the big dance. Arkansas would be a lot of people's pick to give Kentucky the hardest time, but Mike Anderson's teams have always struggled against teams with dominant bigs. The two teams that would give Kentucky the best match-up would be Tennessee and LSU. Both have bigs that can pound with Kentucky as well as anyone in the country. It will be interesting to see how this weekend will turn out for the Cats.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The End of the KING?

Okay, lets get one thing straight. Lebron James is still the best player in the National Basketball League. The fact that people would think that James Harden has passed Lebron's level is beyond laughable. There is not a person in the history of basketball who could match the skill set of Lebron. The man is 6'8 and 250 lbs of pure muscle. The man has the body of a post player, but has the speed and quickness of a guard. He may not be the best shooter in the game, but he can score in a variety of ways from attacking the basket to shooting the three whether it be contested or open. Lebron's numbers this year are down a little bit, but that is to be expected when going into a new system with a bunch of new teammates. There is still not a player who can distribute, rebound, score, and play defense the way that Lebron can. And there may very well never be.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Game for the Ages

This last Wednesday night I was able to witness one of the best basketball games that I will ever see in my lifetime. The Duke and North Carolina game is one that will be talked about for years to come. Throughout the game the two ACC giants stood toe to toe, trading blows. 

It looked like it was over when UNC pulled out to an 8 point lead with under 3 minutes in the game. Tyrus Jones put the Blue Devils on his back and willed them to overtime. Once overtime was reached Jahlil Okafor, who many consider to be the best player this year in college basketball, came to life. UNC still put up a good fight in overtime, and almost secured the rebound on the last free throw attempt that could have led to a basket and a second overtime. I hope to see a rematch in the ACC tournament and maybe even big dance in March.

Friday, February 13, 2015

All Star Break

The week up to All Star Weekend has had many highlights in the NBA. The first highlight was with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who became the ninth NBA coach to reach 1,000 career wins.  The win came Monday of this week against the Indiana Pacers in a great contest which had a final score of 95-93. It is a well deserved honor for Popovich. In a day where all the focus turns to the athletic ability of players, I think that many fans do not realize the impact this man has had. He was the mastermind behind one of the greatest playoff series ever played, last year in the NBA finals against the powerhouse Miami Heat. He also established and maintained a dynasty ever since he began coaching the Spurs in the 1996-1997 season. As a basketball fan I consider myself blessed to witness one of the best coaches to have ever coached the game, and also to be able to watch him achieve such an amazing milestone. I hope to see many others from coach Popovich. 

Although I write a novel about the greatness of coach Popovich, I want to take a look at how the playoff picture looks while heading into the All Star Break. In the West the top 8 teams are as follows 1. Golden State, 2. Memphis, 3. Portland, 4. Houston, 5. Dallas, 6. LA Clippers, 7. San Antonio, 8. Phoenix. Golden State is looking like a strong favorite to win the West, but I don't believe that Memphis is getting enough recognition. Memphis has been playing strong defense all year and the addition of Jeff Green has provided some firepower offensively. I think that this will help them get over the hump this year in the West side of the playoffs, and will help them bring the first title to Memphis. 

The top 8 teams in the East are as follows 1. Atlanta, 2. Toronto, 3. Chicago, 4.Washington, 5.Cleveland, 6. Milwaukee, 7. Charlotte, 8. Miami. A lot of people don't believe that Atlanta is going to have what it takes to win the East because of there lack of a closer. I don't know that this is necessarily a bad thing however. I think that it will make them a tough team to guard in late situations, because the ball could go anywhere and all of their players are playing with the confidence to be able to knock down clutch shots. However, I think that Cleveland is really starting to come together and will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. Chicago did look good last night in their win against Cleveland, and Derrick Rose looked like his old self. The big question is whether that he will continue to be healthy the rest of the season. If the Bulls remain healthy then they can beat anyone in the East.

Check out next week's blog as I will bring you more basketball updates.