It’s a brand new year and the L.A. Clippers are on a 17-game winning streak. There’s no stopping the Chris Paul-led basketball team, the Clips are outmanning the other 29 NBA teams with their deep bench and inside-outside scoring of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. I think there’s going to be a lot of firepower, especially with Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford as well as Eric Bledsoe on that Clipper bench. Look for Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf to provide defense and energy behind DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. It’s a close matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks and the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division. Of course, can’t miss the East matchup of division leaders between the New York Knicks in the Atlantic division and the Miami Heat in the Southeast division. I like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s chances of ruling the West with their dominant basketball play behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and of course, bench scoring weapon Kevin Martin.
This is really interesting. The L.A. Lakers fired Mike Brown and are looking for a top head coach in the mean time. Shortly after firing Brown, the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors in a blow-out win 101-77. Kobe Bryant had a statement game with 27 points. The New York Knicks are 4-0 with a convincing win over Dallas 104-94. They are really hustling, these Knicks, and it starts with Carmelo Anthony. Anthony really is hustling now. His hustle, his stats, his energy, they’re all important for Anthony and for New York right now. Lebron James hit a clutch shot against Atlanta as the Heat won 95-89. Stay tuned for more NBA updates as time goes on.
I was unimpressed by the Miami Heat’s ability to start basketball games, especially tonight’s game against the New York Knicks. They started out slow and flat. The Knicks were sharp and on the ball. If Lebron James and Dwyane Wade were starting a fast basketball game, they must know that their defense must lead to their offense and so, they must be able to showcase their basketball talents. They will play Miami Heat basketball and they will win basketball games this way. They will not win basketball games against the New York Knicks, if Wade and James start shooting 3-pointers. The Heat will win games if Wade and James see enough ball-time to score and their role players like Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, and Mario Chalmers make open shots. I am impressed by James Harden’s scoring outbursts playing for his new team, the Houston Rockets. Harden has had a couple of good NBA scoring games so far. He and Jeremy Lin are playing awesome. I am biased, but I am also very happy by how the Chicago Bulls are playing. Nate Robinson is thriving in his role with Chicago and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is giving him reins of playing point guard for him. I like how the Bulls have handled the Derrick Rose situation by having a three point guard rotation with Kirk Hinrich, Robinson, and Marquis Teague. Until then, the Bulls sit tight and hold the fort until Rose returns completely and rehabbed from his torn ACL injury. Carlos Boozer is a decent basketball player, although he has good hands, he is not the fastest or the most athletic player you want the ball to have in his hands. He can make a 15-foot jump shot and he can score and dunk with the best of them, but he will not run fast or do the most athletic thing you can think of. I don’t think you can do anything with a stretch-four in Vladimir Radomanovic, if I do misspell his name, I apologize, let me check, that’s Vladimir Radmanovic, because he is playing behind Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. I really like and dig the L.A. Clipper’s additions in Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, and Matt Barnes. They will contribute to a deep Clipper team that will help them beat talented NBA teams like the L.A. Lakers, the Miami Heat, and the Boston Celtics.
I would like to comment on Rajon Rondo’s game against the Miami Heat last night. The Heat stymied Rondo by taking away his passes and turning them into Heat baskets. Miami really brought down the roof off Rajon Rondo. He still had a double-double, 20 points and 13 assists.
This is turning out to be a terrific opening game night between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. The Heat are quicker to the ball and faster on every possession than Boston is. New Heat acquisitions Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis have incredible 3-point shooting ability and it is no question that they are ready to contribute to a Heat team that has a potent offense containing Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. New Celtics acquisitions such as Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa aren’t having spectacular debuts, but they are contributing. The Heat are leading 100-85 in the fourth quarter with 8:53 left.
One thing that will hold back Miami if they do not win this year’s NBA title is complacency. Another year gone by. A championship year followed by this. If they don’t get over the fact it’s a new year and not the year 2011-2012 NBA season, the Miami Heat will see failure in their championship reign. They will not repeat again. I quite honestly think, winning the second NBA title is the hardest thing to do. Winning the first NBA championship is easy. It’s hard work, and like always, hard work always pays off. Michael Jordan was the only retired NBA player among NBA rivals to win multiple and consecutive NBA titles in a row not named Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Kobe Bryant won multiple NBA titles in a row, but can we say he did win it on a L.A. Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal on it? Try winning more than three NBA titles in a row and you got my vote. You might beat Michael Jordan to the spot for toughening up by upping him up on championship trophies. Lebron James is in that category now. This is his second season AFTER winning an NBA title. How will he fare? How will James do after winning his very first NBA title? This will be interesting considering the roster changes to having Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis on the roster now.
Nothing much has changed about the Indiana Pacers, although they have recently acquired D.J. Augustin from the Charlotte Bobcats and Ian Mahinmi. How well will they play after last season’s finish against the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA playoffs? Will Danny Granger get any better? Will Roy Hibbert try and be a better offensive and defensive force?
If you’ve read my previous basketball posts, I am really excited by what the L.A. Clippers have done this summer. They have added Lamar Odom and Grant Hill and acquired Ryan Hollins, Jamal Crawford, and Willie Green. They really can’t and won’t do any harm for them this season, although I regret saying that if they do have had high expectations since last season, they will regress a bit this year.
I really can’t emphasize this any further, but can the L.A. Lakers get any better and bigger by trading for one of the biggest big men in NBA history in Dwight Howard. Steve Nash is also the Lakers’ biggest acquisition too. But one thing that will hold the Lakers back if they don’t win the 2013 NBA title is age.
One of the three characteristics that strike me most about the Memphis Grizzlies is hustle. They have heart and the grind. When they hustle, they really go after it. Tony Allen and Marc Gasol have to be two of the Grizzlies’ best hustle players. It’s really a shame that Memphis let O.J. Mayo go to Dallas in hopes of the Mavericks getting better last season after winning the NBA title two seasons ago.
I really liked how Miami went after Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis this summer. The starting five will give opposing teams field days with a lineup of Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen in the backcourt, Lebron James and Rashard Lewis in the front court and Chris Bosh at center. This star-studded cast of superstars will go after the NBA title again for another year. What will hold the Heat back? Repeating is harder than winning an NBA title for the first time.
The Bucks have an ultra fast back court in Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. They eliminated the slow and fleet footed Andrew Bogut at center and sent him to the Golden State Warriors. What about their defense? It’s nonexistent now.