I was reading an article on Yahoo! sports about how the Thunder may have to make things ugly against the San Antonio Spurs. They don’t have to. Defend Tim Duncan with what you got with Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed, and Nick Collison. Then make Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker willing passers and make Gary Neal, Stephen Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Tiago Splitter scorers. No matter what you will do Duncan will get his points. Make Duncan earn them. You’ve got six fouls apiece with Ibaka, Perkins, Mohammed, and Collison to use up. Duncan is the greatest big man of his era ever to use the backboard and has the utilities and tools at his advantage to win in the game of basketball.
The Boston Celtics did everything they could to stop Lebron James and Dwyane Wade from scoring and neutralize their talents. In the end, the Heat won in overtime 115-111. Wade had 23 points and James had 34 and Mario Chalmers added 22 points to help Miami go ahead 2-0 in their east finals series. I think Father Time has caught up to the Boston Celtics. They might go out in four or five games. Miami has got the personnel moves now to help the super star duo in James and Wade to make timely shots. Mario Chalmers made a good contribution on offense and Shane Battier and Ronny Turiaf made great strides to the Miami Heat team in shot makes and defense. What you witnessed in this Game 2 was the unstoppable star force of Dwyane Wade and Lebron James. You can’t hope to stop Wade or either James from getting their points. You have to make them earn it. Indiana learned it by earning flagrant fouls against Wade and getting technical fouls by getting in James’ face. It didn’t work. You do your best job to neutralize James and Wade offensively and on the defensive end, you have to make James and Wade work more on defense than on offense. You also have to make James and Wade’s Heat teammates score more than either Wade or James can. Give Miami’s superstars different looks at scoring around the basket. I was shocked that Rajon Rondo didn’t step up more big-time to help Boston win the game. He hit two amazing back-to-back three pointers to help Boston come close to tying the game in overtime. Rajon Rondo had a game high 44 points and 10 assists.
The San Antonio Spurs are giving the Oklahoma City Thunder a basketball clinic on ball movement, precision passing, and ball spacing. The Spurs won Game 2 120-111 and you can’t expect a better performance from the Spurs, who I think will win the NBA title this year. The hero for the Spurs was Tony Parker who had 34 points. I wonder how can the Oklahoma City Thunder stop the Spurs’ speedy point guard. Did having Russell Westbrook foul him hard on a driving layup discourage Parker? No it didn’t. The Thunder are getting a lesson in futility and experience. You can’t expect the Thunder to use their youth and athleticism against an experienced veteran team in the San Antonio Spurs. You have to be patient and thorough with how you play perfect basketball against a team that has Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker. You have to put Kevin Durant on Tony Parker and make Parker confused by giving him different looks at the hoop. Make Ginobli go right, instead of left. Ginobli is a left-hander and always goes left, so the Thunder defender, it would be Thabo Sefolosha, make Ginobli go right. You have to be disciplined enough to make Duncan, Ginobli, and Parker pass the basketball to their teammates whether it be Kawhi Leonard or Danny Green and Stephen Jackson and make them make baskets. The Spurs will know what you are doing against them, but it will eventually be perfect basketball and it will disrupt the San Antonio offense.
The Miami Heat took Game 1 of their Eastern Conference finals 93-79. No matter what the Celtics do against the Miami Heat, they can’t halt their advancing age or minimize the damaging talents that Dwyane Wade and Lebron James do to wreck Boston’s NBA title hopes. The Celtics can’t stop James or Wade. They can only hope to contain the duo. I believe the Celtics will be dispatched of the Miami in five or six games. Maybe even four. James had 32 points and Wade had 22. More importantly, a Heat role player stepped up big as Shane Battier had 10 points and 10 rebounds. If the Heat exploit the Celtics with their athleticism, they’ll advance to the NBA Finals in a sweep, maybe five games. Watch out, Boston! Miami wants to win, not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, not eight, not nine NBA titles. Was that what Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Lebron James boasting about in the summer of 2011? Was it 2011? I’m just paraphrasing.
San Antonio beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their western conference finals, 101-98. They tried to contain Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and did so on numerous occasions. In the end, the Thunder succumbed to the Spurs’ defense and eventually lost their composure. It was a well-matched game between two great offensive and defensive teams. These two teams have great basketball players who pride themselves on playing basketball and working hard and being humble. Sam Presti, the Thunder general manager and R.C. Buford, the Spurs general manager knew what they were doing when they drafted Kevin Durant and Tim Duncan. As I look forward to the series, I expect the experienced Spurs to teach the young Thunder a lesson or two about playing basketball.
Just like I predicted. Boston has more experienced players than Philadelphia does. Experience beat out youth and athleticism in Game 7 as the Celtics won 85-75. I think Rajon Rondo is the hero with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. He has had a great series. Miami will play Boston now in the east finals. I expect Miami to play their best basketball, because the Celtics may still be running a little on empty from their semi-final matchup with Philadelphia. I also expect Lebron James and Dwyane Wade now to have their best basketball games as they prepare for the NBA Finals.
Great close-out game for the Miami Heat. D-Wade scores 41 points and LBJ had 28. This is usual stuff for the super duo and I expect them to be fully equipped when they take on either the Boston Celtics or the Philadelphia Sixers. They are going to expect to realize that this may be one of last chances to play together, because Chris Bosh may not be with the team if the Heat do not ultimately win an NBA title this year. No Udonis Haslem or Dexter Pittman for Miami. No problem. This Heat team relies soley on Wade and James’ offense and the perimeter shots of Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Shane Battier, and Mike Miller. They’ll need it more than ever if they face the San Antonio Spurs because the NBA Finals is the biggest stage of them all.
Non-USA Basketball Team U.S.A. Basketball team
PG Tony Parker PG Rajon Rondo
SG Leandro Barbosa SG Joe Johnson
SF Andrea Bargnani SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Dirk Nowitzki PF Paul Millsap
C Zydrunas Ilgauskas C Greg Monroe
PG Jose Calderon PG Ben Wallace
SG Manu Ginobli F/C Kevin Durant
SF Carlos Delfino SG/SF Anthony Morrow
PF Tiago Splitter F/C Kevin Love
C Andris Biedrins SG/SF Rudy Gay
PG Patty Mills PG Ty Lawson
SG Marco Bellinelli G/F Josh Smith
If I were to construct a basketball team to play against the Americans, here’s who it would be: Tony Parker would be the point guard here. I like how he’s structured and wired to play his best basketball. Make layups. I also like Leandro Barbosa’s speed here too. Barbosa has a good shooting mechanic. At small forward, I’d put Andrea Bargnani, my guy from Italy. I like having a big guy who is seven feet at small forward. It creates mismatches for opposing forwards. Bargnani can put the ball on the floor if he is being guarded by a slow forward. Dirk Nowitzki is my starting power forward. No questions asked. Nowitzki is a shooting dynamo. You can’t stop Dirk from making his shots. You can only hope to contain him. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a fabulous center who can make jump shots. At 7-3, you can’t defend his jump shot. On the bench, I have Jose Calderon as my backup point guard who is a heady playmaker and offers steady floor leadership. Manu Ginobli is next on my list. I like Manu’s aggressive drives to the hoop. I like Carlos Delfino here. He is a good shooter and sometimes a willing passer. Then, I’ll have Tiago Splitter manning the power forward and center positions with his rebounding and shot blocking. Andris Biedrins is my backup center and will be relied upon for defense, energy, and rebounding. Patty Mills and Marco Bellinelli fill out the roster with their shooting. Luol Deng is a good option here because I like having Deng on my world basketball team. His all-around game will support his teammates on the offensive and defensive end. Ersan Ilyasova will help my team with his hustle and defense and shooting ability. Serge Ibaka will help here also with his defense and shooting ability. J.J. Barea from Puerto Rico will help my team get points at this point guard position. Then, lastly Kelenna Azuibuike will score points from his reserve shooting guard position. How about that? This is an all-European and African and South American basketball team.
This is turning out to be a grind. The Sixers force a Game 7 and it will be on Saturday May 26 in Boston. How did the Celtics let the Sixers run loose for a 82-75 victory? Simple: you didn’t stop ball penetration by Sixers guards Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday. You repeatedly let Williams and Holiday dribbling into the lane looking for their shot and when they penetrated some more, they kicked out the ball to open shooters. The Celtics also let the Sixers control the tempo of the game too. To win basketball games, you have to force your opponent to play to your pace. The Celitcs didn’t do that. None of the things Boston established to win Game 5 were existent in Game 6. Philadelphia figured out how Boston likes to play their style of basketball. On defense, the C’s rely on help defense as a help defender comes over to help over on the weak side. The Sixers exploited Boston’s defense. Now it’s Game 7 in Boston. Will the Sixers upset Boston this Saturday?