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Posts Tagged ‘NBA Finals’

It's all hugs in Cleveland these days. Though this one's still a little creepy.

It's all hugs in Cleveland these days. Though this one's a little creepy.

Having floated on a marshmallow cloud through the first two rounds of the playoffs, it is reasonable to question how Cleveland will fare when finally tested. The more important question, though, is will they be tested? Atlanta played terribly and Detroit is terrible.  But the upcoming competition isn’t playing up a storm either. Plus, they are now fatigued from battling each other. Cleveland, meanwhile, has yet to play a single superfluous game.

Orlando can’t stop Cleveland and the Celtics won’t. Boston would not have topped Cleveland last year without home-court advantage, and they certainly won’t this year against a Cavs team that has won 43 of 45 home contests this year. KG or no KG, I’m sticking to that statement. No KG, home court won’t even be an issue. Orlando, as well as being weak-willed, does not match well with the Cavs. And they won’t know what to make of all that hustle. The whole team will look like Mo Williams watching Delonte and Kinsey take pictures at Lebron’s MVP ceremony.

How many games can either of these teams take? Two has to be the max, and even that number feels high. One sounds more likely. Zero is totally achievable. Lebron shares the glory with his teammates, not his opponents. Will the Eastern Conference Finals be a test? Only of basketball fans’ abilities to stay awake.

Which leaves us with the NBA Finals as the first potential test for the Cavs. We devoted a whole post to the havoc Houston would wreak on Cleveland. But that was with Yao Ming. The current roster, despite their last performance against LA, is far less scary. Kobe will need every ounce of energy he can muster to fight with Lebron for seven, and given the struggles he still has ahead of him, it is fair to question if he will have enough. And then there is Denver, the hottest team in the West right now. Ask Carmelo how confident he is about squaring off with Lebron every other day for a couple weeks and you won’t have to wait for the long pause, nervous expression, or flop sweat to pass. You’ll already have your answer. That Finals won’t take a couple weeks.

Cleveland is by no means unbeatable. They probably aren’t even the best. But testing them is about more than just favorable match-ups. Cleveland has two things going for them in any series: The best player and the most energy. Thanks to a perfect opening two rounds, Cleveland is perfectly healthy and perfectly rested. The best these others can muster doesn’t appear worthy of Cleveland at their best.  Cleveland can certainly be tested, they can even be beat, but they won’t be.

When the dust finally settles, only Lebron will be left standing.

When the dust finally settles, only Lebron will be left standing.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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Dunkmaster Flex

Dunkmaster Flex

Before the Playoffs began, I made the argument that Cleveland was so much better than everyone in their conference that they deserved a First Round bye. In watching the Cavs series against the Pistons, I realize they got one. And unless the rest of the East is playing possum, it appears no one else is going to challenge the supremacy of Lebron & Sons either (cue the Fennis Dembo Curse).

No one out west has done much to debunk the theory that the Lakers can already be penciled in as Cleveland’s opponent. But that match-up is so marketable and obvious it kills me. Literally. Lakercavitis is a painful killer that affects one in five basketball fans, and can be spread through anal sex and blogging.

I’m just not ready to concede the NBA to Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. Ready or not, that might be coming. But I have no intention of wasting valuable blog space on the sadly inevitable. Instead, let’s imagine the worst possible scenario for Lebron. That, my friends, would be this man:

"Lebron who? Sorry, I don't follow basketball."

"Lebron who? Sorry, I don't follow basketball."

The NBA is all about matchups. Look at Atlanta vs. Boston last year or Utah vs. Detroit since the beginning of time. No opponent should strike more fear in the hearts of Cav fans than Ron-Ron’s Rockets. In Houston’s 93-74 February home win, not only did they hold Cleveland to their lowest point total of the season, they kept James from dishing even one assist for the first time in his career and BROKE BEN WALLACE’S LEG!

I know what you’re thinking: Yao can’t hang with an agile 7-footer like Big Z for seven games. You’re right. No match-up is perfect. Obviously, I’m kidding. Yao is cumming hoisin sauce thinking about a Finals battle against cement-boots Zydrunas. All Yao did in that Houston home win was score 28 on 13 of 15 shooting. That’s only 10% worse than if no one was guarding him!

If Kobe and Lebron end up squaring off at the end, I’ll accept it. But the thought of King James fighting through Artest/Battier double-teams really gets my motor running. Lebron needs an arch-nemesis: A defender that inspires him to work to be better. Not to oversell it, but the next decade of professional basketball hinges on it. You know we’re in trouble when you read these words: Obi-Ron, you’re our only hope.

Posted by BA Brokeass

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I’ll admit to never having liked Dwyane Wade. His superstar status was granted him early, before he’d really earned it, by a league desperate for hot young players. He personifies the new era of the high-scoring, defensively-soft NBA. Wade is consistently bailed out of insane moves and shots that have no chance to go in with ridiculous foul calls. The Heat were handed their championship in one of the worst officiated (and just plain worst) NBA Finals ever. Wade shot something like 113 free throws per game in that series. No one could get near him without a foul being called, the absurdity culminating on an infamous play where Wade drove the lane, jumped in the air and drop-kicked Dirk Nowitzki in the chest. Foul on Dirk. The Heat followed their championship season with one of the worst title defenses of all time, proving what everyone already knew – they had mortgaged their franchise to win a title, Florida Marlins-style.

However…

I’m starting to come around on Wade. He is having a simply unbelievable season. So far he’s been an afterthought in the MVP conversation due to Lebron and Kobe, but Wade may be doing something even more special. Playing with Jermaine O’Neal’s broken-down body, professional over-achiever Udonis (U-God) Haslem, a bunch of nobodies (Jo-El Anthony), a rookie head coach (No Michael Curry) and a sack of nickels, Wade single-handedly has the Heat playing above-.500 basketball and headed for the playoffs.

Look at his line from last night’s Heat-Bulls game: 48 points on 15-21 shooting, 12 assists, 5 three-pointers, six rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Disgusting. And to top it all off, with time running out in double overtime, he does this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Um. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I think Dwyane Wade might be pretty good.

Posted by LA Dubbs

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