NBA General

Around the Rim: King of the road

1. Video game James
There has been lots of criticism about LeBron James‘ game of late, but nobody can say anything about the league’s young King anymore. Scoring 29 of your team’s final 30 points in a double overtime Game 5 road game victory has a way of shutting people up. LBJ ended up with a career playoff-high 48 points as he led his Cavaliers to a 109-107 win that put his boys up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals and just one win away from a finals appearance. Oh, and let’s don’t forget about his nine boards and seven assists; the kid is multidimensional, ya know. However, Detroit has been making it easy for LBJ to win games for his team; just like they’ve blown a 2-0 lead in the series, the Pistons blew a seven point lead in Game 5 with 3:15 left in regulation. But the Bad Boys could have been up by 20 with the clock winding down and James was going to find a way to win that game. Big shot after big shot after big shot; it was an incredible performance. And even though the reference is way overused when it comes to some of today’s young superstars, LeBron’s takeover of Game 5 was definitely Michael Jordan-esque.

2. The Magic’s man

The Magic are ready to shoot up the Eastern Conference ranks with an All-Star in the middle and talented young point guard running things on the floor. And now it appears that they now finally have the superstar coach to guide take this franchise back to the promised land. Billy Donovan had fulfilled his duty to Florida by winning a pair of championships and after all his players jumped ship for the NBA there is absolutely no reason for him to turn down a five year deal worth $27.5 million from Orlando. And talk about stepping into a sweet situation! Most college coaches end up running squads like the Hawks when they get the big call; but not Donovan. Nope, a championship pedigree has earned this former Gator an immediate opportunity at success. Now we just have to wait and see if he’ll be another college punk who couldn’t make it with the big boys.

3. Movin’ on up
If you enjoy hearing Steve Kerr‘s in-depth analysis and self-references of dishing the ball off to Tim Duncan and Michael Jordan while racking up five rings o’ bling then you better be DVR-ing these final Eastern Conference finals games. Why you ask. Well, once either the Pistons or Cavs move on to play the Spurs, Kerr will be leaving the TNT booth for an awesome gig as the Suns president of basketball operations and general manager. Mike D’Antoni will be stepping down as GM so that he can be a full time coach and Kerr can be a full time fat cat. No more having to put up with Marv Albert‘s stupid comments or spending nights squeezed in-between John Thompson and Kevin Harlan while his spits out his obnoxious “Buckle up!!” catch phrase. Not a bad promotion if you ask us. We’d like to see that schmuck Mark Jackson from ESPN do that.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: LeBron James @ Detroit 50 min, 48 pts (FG: 18-33, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 10-14), 9 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl

Buzzer Beater: There’s a saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but Salt Lake City might have something to say about that after John Amaechi gave his old home town a shout out as “the hippest, gayest place east of San Francisco.” We’re sure that Deron Williams was even happier about his current situation in Utah after hearing that excerpt from Amaechi’s memoirs. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, Utah will be drenched in gayness this weekend when Amaechi serves as the grand marshal for the Utah Pride Parade. But America is still waiting for an active player to come out of the closet and lead one of these parades in uniform. And hurry it up Brady Quinn; we’re not getting any younger.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Ding! Ding! And round 2 is underway!

1. A bloody good game
The incredible upset of Dallas by Golden State in the first round was undoubtedly the best series of the 2007 postseason, well, until now. With the Mavericks out of the picture, San Antonio and Phoenix are now the two best teams (record wise and otherwise) remaining in the playoffs and on Sunday they put on a memorable show as the Spurs squeaked out a 111-106 victory on the road. It was a physical contest but you don’t have to take our word for it, just take a look at the reigning MVP and his bloody beak that was running like a faucet til the final buzzer after he had a good old fashioned meeting of the minds with Tony Parker in the fourth quarter. But Parker gave the Suns more headaches than headbutts as he torched Phoenix for 32 points on 14-of-22 shooting to go along with eight assists. Throw in 33 points and 16 boards from the Big Fundamental and it’s going to be tough for almost any team to compete. Ah, but Phoenix is not just any team and despite losing their MVP in the late, critical moments of the game, they still almost grabbed the first game. Whew, hold on tight because that was only Game 1 and we just might see six more of these bad boys.

2. Winning is the best medicine

LeBron James had a really bad cold with all the usual symptoms before Cleveland took the court for an early tip against New Jersey in Game 1, but you wouldn’t have known it by the way he played. He must have taken a couple of Dayquil; you know, the daytime, non-drowsy, congested-stuffy head, sore throat, cough, aching, fever so you can get trough the day medicine. King James even felt good enough to hit the final shot of the game with 32 seconds remaining to give the Cavs an 81-77 victory and a 1-0 lead in the series. The score might have been close but the rebounding battle was completely dominated by Cleveland as their starting frontcourt outrebounded the Nets starting big men 39-9. 30 rebounds; wow! The last time that happened in a playoff game was on May 9, 1979 (Washington at San Antonio, 47-16).

3. Van Gundy Out?
Tracy McGrady said that all the pressure, as well as the blame, of the Rockets first round series against Utah was to be placed squarely on his shoulders. Well, it’s sounding like coach Jeff Van Gundy might be the one who takes the fall for Houston’s home floor loss in Game 7 which knocked them out of the postseason. Van Gundy has only been with the Rockets for four years but in that time they have failed to reach the second round three times, and for the second time under JVG the Rockets have blown a 2-0 lead in a series. Now, four years might not seem like a long time but in today’s NBA it’s more or less an eternity. In fact, only two coaches have been with their teams longer than Van Gundy has been with Houston: Jerry Sloan has been with the Jazz since 1988 and Gregg Popovich has been roaming the SA sidelines since 1996.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Tim Duncan @ Phoenix 40 min, 33 pts (FG: 12-24, FT: 9-15), 16 reb, 1 ast, 3 blk

Buzzer Beater: John Amaechi thought that America was full of insensitive, gay-hating, jerks (Wonder where he got that idea? Tim Hardaway maybe.), but he was wrong. Turns out that most of the nation, 95 percent according to Amaechi, have actually been pretty open to his coming out of the closet. “I imagined that it would be a firestorm, that it would be some insane number of letters demanding my deportation or my death,” said Amaechi. Hey, John, don’t flatter yourself buddy. Nobody cares enough about your sorry ass to actually demand that you be deported or put to death. Give us a break! Everybody knows that you are attempting to use your homosexuality to sell a book and further line your pockets, and more power to you for doing so. But don’t act like you thought you were going to be some type of martyr. You’re a gay, retired ball player; big freaking deal.

NBA General

Hardaway To Hang With Gays And Lesbians

Tim Hardaway says that he doesn’t hate gay people anymore, so to prove it Hardaway plans to speak with a gay organization soon so that he can “make them understand” why he made his comments. That’s probably not the best approach to take in this situation, he might want to consider using this opportunity to focus on how to be more considerate of others. Nah, Hardaway feels that hanging out with gays and lesbians for an hour or so will be enough to change his outlook on the matter. When asked about sensitivity training Hardaway replied, “Why should I go to that? I’d rather go straight to (a gay organization).” Now, who would have predicted that statement coming out of Timmy’s mouth a few weeks ago?

But apparently Hardaway still has issues when it comes to promoting the homosexual community in any way. He doesn’t want to talk about Ameachi’s reaction to his tirade saying “I wasn’t interested in what he had to say about (my comments). I’m not interested in trying to sell his book.” And when he was invited to spend the day with North Miami’s gay Mayor Kevin Burns, Hardaway rebuffed the offer “because that was more for publicity for him.”

Look, if he wants to move past this situation, he’s going to have to do a bit more to embrace the gay population than simply popping into a local community center for a bit. Hardaway simply doesn’t get the concept of image. He threw himself under a bus because he didn’t know how to project himself properly and now he can’t get out from beneath the wheels because of his own stupidity.



NBA General

Around the Rim: Is 17 Straight The Best You Can Do?

1. We Own You!
Not too many teams can say that they have the Mavericks number, but Golden State can. The Warriors improved to 2-0 on the season and 5-1 (4 straight) over the past two seasons after they snapped Dallas’ 17 game winning streak with a 117-100 victory in which the Mavs never led after the first quarter. Dirk Nowitzki struggled all night long to maintain his composure both on and off the court as he struggled to finish with just 13 points on 3-of-11 and managed to pick up a technical foul while sitting on the bench. But it’s hard not to get frustrated when eight different players light you up for at least 16 points a piece. What’s even worse for the defending Western Conference champs is that with the victory the Warriors are now one game behind the Clippers for the final playoff spot out west. If the season were to end with Golden State grabbing the eighth seed and Dallas remaining atop the league it would produce a best of seven series between the two. And you know Don Nelson is licking his chops at the opportunity to get even more revenge on his old boss and current enemy, Mark Cuban.

2. The NBA’s Teflon Don

No foul was called after an abnormally high elbow from Kobe Bryant caught Kyle Korver on the face during the Philadelphia/Los Angeles game on Friday night. But after reviewing the tape, the NBA decided to issue Bryant a flagrant 1 foul which is worth one point (a flagrant 2 foul is worth two points) and, as difficult as it is to comprehend, it’s only his first flagrant foul of the season. So, three players have felt the wrath of the Mamba but he only has one lousy flagrant foul point?!?! It takes at least five before David Stern starts handing out suspensions. Bryant can’t be suspended for the latest elbow because any suspension would have needed to be announced before the Lakers played in their next game which was against Dallas on Sunday. Basically, Kobe got off the hook without a scratch once again. Looks like even Bill Clinton and O.J. Simpson could learn a thing or two from No. 24.

3. JC And Kobe Would Be An Awesome Combo
It’s obvious that Phil Jackson is getting a tad depressed over the Lakers current situation but the Zen Master might be going a bit overboard with his latest comments. When asked about the team’s injuries and losses Jackson said, “The way they are playing now, it doesn’t matter who comes back. Jesus Christ could come back and we still wouldn’t have a chance because we’ve ruined the mix by not playing together.” Don’t be so sure about that Phillip, from what we hear Jesus has a pretty smooth outside jumper. Apparently it’s awfully tough for a nine time champion to suffer through a career-worst six game losing streak twice during the past 15 games. But look on the bright side Jackson; you’re still in the playoff picture and you still have Kobe Bryant at your disposal. Things could be much worse; you could be Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Vince Carter @ Memphis 41 min, 30 pts (FG: 10-19, 3FG: 3-6, FT: 7-8), 10 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Utah (43-19) @ Miami (33-29) No Wade, no sweat. Well, at least when you have Shaquille O’Neal playing like he did back in the purple and gold. Shaq is averaging 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists during the Heat’s current six game win streak. And Miami has played remarkably well at home this season where they are 21-10. But Utah is on a six game roll of their own as the Deron Williams to Carlos Boozer connection is back in full swing for the first time since Boozer returned to the team in late February. Throw in the poor man’s version of Dirk Nowitzki in Mehmet Okur and you’ve got a Utah club that is on the brink of making some serious playoff noise.

Buzzer Beater: What happened to the meaning behind the cause? In just one short month since John Amaechi came out of the closet because he hoped it would be a catalyst for intelligent discourse, he has changed his mind and decided to use his sudden new found celebrity to make a quick buck by pushing a brand of head-shaving razors. But, hey, no corporation says intelligent discourse quite like HeadBlade Inc. Amaechi is now just inches away from becoming the new Jared of Subway.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Playing the Wade-ing Game

1.  The Dr. Will Be In Shortly
If you’re a Miami Heat fan, then today is a big day.  That’s because Dwyane Wade will receive the much anticipated second opinion on his left shoulder.  After that, D-Wade will make his decision between beginning a straight rehab program or opting for a season ending surgery.  Obviously, fans want Wade to return this year so that the Heat will have a shot at defending their title, but, in reality, it’s all about the dolla dolla bills, ya’ll.  Just ask Pacman Jones.  Like all athletes, health is Wade’s most valuable asset, so don’t be surprised when he decides to undergo the operation and leaves Shaq to carry on the hopes and dreams of an entire city.  The Heat have moved past Orlando and now sit four games behind the division leading Wizards.  But catching the Wiz isn’t going to be easy since they are expected to have their tremendous trio reunited on Friday as Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison both return from injuries.

2.  What’s My Name!?!
LaMarcus Aldridge showed everyone why he was selected second overall in the draft.  Last night, Aldridge scored a career-high 30 points as the Trailblazers utterly destroyed Charlotte, 127-90.  By the end of the third quarter, Aldridge had already put in all of his points while helping Portland build a 37 point lead.  His previous high of 18 was achieved in a pair of games against the Wizards and the Lakers last month.  The 30 points marked the best offensive game by a Portland rookie in 22 years!  But Aldridge wasn’t the only young gun on the Jailblazers to bitch slap the wretched Bobcats.  Martell Webster came off the bench to score 20 points and Brandon Roy blew up for 14 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.  While Aldridge still has a long way to go before he lives up to his high selection in the draft, it’s good for Portland to see a solid performance out of the franchise’s future; even if it is against Charlotte.

3.  Jazz Hole
As the media blitz continues to rush at John Amaechi, he continues to answer the endless questions coming from reporters, and he continues to do so honestly.  When on Fox Sports Radio, host Andrew Siciliano asked Amaechi if Utah coach Jerry Sloan is the worst coach he’s ever dealt with.  At first, Amaechi took the high road — “No, he’s the best coach I’ve ever played for in terms of his technical ability.”  Then John revealed his true feelings about the old-school ball coach.  “And without a doubt, he’s the worst person I’ve ever met in my entire life, in terms of dealing with people.”  At least nobody can accuse Amaechi of sugar coating the situation.

Thursday’s Player of the Day:  Rashard Lewis vs. Los Angeles Clippers 45 min, 31 pts (FG: 10-19, 3FG: 2-5, FT: 9-10), 7 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk

Friday’s Game to Watch:  Orlando (28-31) @ San Antonio (39-18) These two had quite a contest back on February 9 when Dwight Howard’s last second inbounds slam capped off an 18 point comeback as the Magic slipped past the Spurs, 106-104.  But after losing four of five, San Antonio has ripped off a six game winning streak.  Orlando desperately needs a victory as they have fallen to third in their division, five games behind Washington.  The Magic have lost 17 of their last 23 games, but it’s not due to a lack of effort from their All-Star.  In February, Howard averaged 23 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks per game, and threw down a couple of sick slams over All-Star weekend.  Who knows, maybe Howard will “kiss the rim” on a breakaway during the game.

Buzzer Beater: Dennis Rodman is undergoing negotiations that would enable him to get back on the court this season.  Where is the Worm heading, you ask.   Maybe Dallas since the whole Reggie Miller talk fell through?  Or Cleveland who was pursuing Scottie Pippen?  The Lakers perhaps?  Nope, Rodman is in talks with the ABA’s Rochester Razorsharks.  If everything works out for Rochester, the eccentric rebounder would suit up as the team’s celebrity “13th Man” in one of the two final regular season home games which will be played on Tuesday and Thursday.  But the Razorsharks might want to consider shying away from the term “celebrity” in their promotions.  While Rodman is one of the best defensive players the NBA has ever seen, he is now joining local bar owner Moe Alaimo as the most recent “celebrities” to hoop it up with the defending league champions.

NBA General

Can Chris Rock please call Tim Hardaway?

By now everyone’s heard of Tim Hardaway’s comments on hating gay people. So we’d like to point out this bit from Chris Rock. We’ve said it before: Chris Rock is a friggin’ genius and the most important comic out there. (And on top of that, he can tell the future.) In any case, here’s what Rock had to say about gays from Bigger and Blacker:

You know what’s fucked up? Everybody gets so homophobic. People, we need to cut that shit out… ’cause everybody in this room got at least a gay cousin. Every last one of you got a gay cousin. You knew he was gay when y’all was kids. You was playing ball, he was jumping rope. He didn’t turn gay, he was gay then. He just didn’t have nobody to be gay with.

Shit, l got a gay uncle. Call him Aunt Tom. Every Christmas, he comes over with his ”friend.” See, it don’t make no sense to hate nobody. lt don’t make no sense to be a racist, sexist, or nothing, but…. lt don’t. lt doesn’t. lt don’t make no sense… ’cause whoever you hate will end up in your family. That’s right, you don’t like gays,you’re gonna have a gay son.

Now check out this clip of Hardaway when asked what if he had a gay family member. I’m sure Tim is a God fearing man. And the best thing is that God has a great sense of humor. Can’t wait for someone in Hardaway’s family to come out. Wait… does Hardaway have any kids?

(By the way, no more Tim Hardaway stories until he does something really stupid.)

[Yahoo]: Amaechi responds to Hardaway’s comments

NBA General

Tim Hardaway hates gay people… no… seriously

You want me to drop an f bomb?

That’s right folks, Mr. Utep 2 Step hates gays. Say it loud and say it proud!

You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.

First of all, I wouldn’t want [Amaechi] on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don’t think that’s right. And you know I don’t think he should be in the locker room while we’re in the locker room. I wouldn’t even be a part of that.

You knew it was only a matter of time before someone just came right out and said it. A few players came out in support of Amaechi, a few came out with head scratching quotes but Timmy Hardaway is the first to flat out say he hates gays. Later on, Hardaway apologized for his remarks and said, “I regret it. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said I hate gay people or anything like that. That was my mistake.” Notice that he didn’t back away from his stance. He just said he regretted saying it.

Someone isn’t getting a Christmas card from John Amaechi this year.

[ESPN]: Former Heat star Hardaway makes anti-gay comments