NBA General

Around the Rim: The finals are finally underway

1. King sized stage fright
Everyone seems to be pulling for the Cavaliers in the finals but we’re not hearing too many people bet against the Spurs in the series and in Game 1, San Antonio showed why. The Spurs cruised to an easy 85-76 victory in which the Cavs were close at times but never challenged the former champs. Of course, it’s going to be tough for Cleveland to win a game against anyone when their being led in scoring by Daniel Gibson (16 points). With all the LeBron James talk that has been shoved down our throats since Game 5 of the East Finals, the young King didn’t look anything like MJ or Magic or Bird or any other legend for that matter. LBJ finished with just 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting that included a dismal 0-for-7 first half and Bruce Bowen gets to accept a majority of the credit for that. Cleveland can not win when James plays like he did but the Cavs are really going to be up a certain, smelly creek without a paddle if Tim Duncan and Tony Parker continue getting everything they want offensively. Parker had a game-high 27 points as his interior penetration (Huh-huh; we said penetration) carved up the Cleveland defense like a Thanksgiving turkey. And Tim Duncan was, well, Tim Duncan; do we really need to say any more than that?

2. Orlando tells Donovan to go to hell

It was getting pretty sticky in Orlando after Billy Donovan did one of the fastest 180 degree turns in the history of professional sports. But the Magic are ready to forget all about ol’ what’s his name and quickly solidify their young club with a committed head coach. And even though it cost `em a second-round pick, Orlando got their man in Stan Van Gundy; hopefully SVG sticks around a little longer. Donovan might be kicking himself in a year or two when Dwight Howard develops an offensive game and begins ripping off division and, possibly, conference titles. Van Gundy has got to be pinching himself when he looks at his new roster; his boys might be young and raw but their potential is almost unlimited. And you know that those players are going to hold a grudge against Billy the Kid for this slap in the face. Opposing centers should beware if Howard starts playing with a chip on his shoulder.

3. It’s time to put the Super back in front of Sonics
Seattle finally landed a GM but he’s no grizzled veteran at the helm of an NBA ship, in fact he’s just a 30-year-old kid. Sam Presti is now the man in Seattle and he’s gonna have his hands full right off the bat considering that the Sonics are minus a head coach at the moment. In addition to that, they have the enviable task of making the second selection in the NBA Draft at the end of the month. But what has our wheels turning is that this kid might just be ballsy enough to make some noise with his current high pick. The most interesting scenario we’ve heard is Seattle trading the second pick (a.k.a. Kevin Durant) and Ray Allen to the Lakers for Mr. On Again/Off Again, Kobe Bryant. Then again, he could decide to cut ties with Rashard Lewis and bring in a complimentary player to play alongside Allen and Durant (we’re not jumping the gun are we?). Or they could always just stay pat with what they got if Lewis decides not to get swept away in the free agent waters. About the only thing we do know is that Seattle is on their way up, no matter what moves they decide to make.

Game 1’s MVP: Tim Duncan vs. Cleveland 39 min, 24 pts (FG: 10-17, FT: 4-5), 13 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 5 blk

Buzzer Beater: Listen, LeBron James is a freakin’ amazing player and he has the possibility to become on of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of sneaks, but these constant references to Michael Jordan are driving us up the wall. And finally, we repeat, finally, someone stepped up and said what everybody already knows. “I’m not going to compare him to Michael Jordan,” said Gary Payton on the Best Damn Sports Show. “There will never be a Michael Jordan in basketball again.” Hey, we like trying to compare guys from different eras as much as anyone but this whole Jordan thing has just gone overboard. And it’s not just with LBJ; Kobe Bryant gets the same stupid comparisons. Just leave it alone already and don’t try to categorize these guys anymore. Actually, if James or Bryant ever reaches the six ring plateau then we give you permission to label them lil’ Michael to your heart’s content.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Portland gets a breath of fresh air

The next Jail Trail Blazer?

1. The West just got even better
It was one of the more shocking lotteries in recent history, as neither Memphis nor Boston grabbed either of the top two picks, a.k.a. Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, despite being the worst teams in the league, but instead it was a pair of Northwest Division clubs who changed their fortunes. With just a 5.3 percent chance of winning the whole shebang, the Portland Trail Blazers grabbed the top pick while Seattle ended up with a heck of a consolation prize. The beauty of this is that these two kids will grow as rivals for at least the beginning of their careers as they compete for the same division title every year. Unfortunately they will have some stiff competition for the crown as Utah, Denver and Minnesota all reside in the Northwest. But the real losers in this year’s lottery are those pathetic Grizzlies, Celtics and Bucks who put up some horrid regular season records but still had the statistical advantage slip through their fingers, giving their fans no reason to attend any home games in the next few years. That really sucks for those guys but our “kick to the crotch award” goes to Atlanta who came so freakin’ close to grabbing a franchise cornerstone but instead is going to have to settle for the La Toya Jackson of the draft. (Full lottery results)

2. Spurs dominate again

Like in Game 1, the Jazz put together a late run but they couldn’t escape from San Antonio with a victory as the Spurs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the West finals behind a 105-96 Game 2 win. Tim Duncan continued his run of playoff domination as he finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds while Tony Parker dished out a career playoff-high 14 assists to go with his 17 points. Utah had better hope that their home crowd gives them some added umph because the Spurs are starting to make this look way too easy. Sure, Carlos Boozer (33 pts, 15 reb) and Deron Williams (26 pts, 10 ast) are getting it done on the blue team but at this point it is a two man show against a cohesive unit. Sorry, but without some help from the role players, this is going to be a quick and easy series for the West crown.

3. Another Denver delinquent
Ron Artest might have found a new home after pretty much wearing out his welcome in Sacramento by being involved in several incidents with the law since arriving. So, what whacked out coach would possibly be willing to take a ride in the Artest demolition derby? Why, George Karl of course. Yup, the Denver Nuggets are looking to add rapper extraordinaire “Tru Warier” Artest to their bad boy lineup of Kenyon “Microfracture” Martin, Allen “Practice” Iverson and Carmelo “Sucker Punch” Anthony. We’re guessing that Artest would fit right in with this crew and we’re also guessing that in typical Karl fashion he wouldn’t be able to handle his malcontent cast and end up blaming the Nuggets management for his poor compilation.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Tim Duncan vs. Utah 38 min, 26 pts (FG: 10-15, FT: 6-8), 14 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl, 5 blk

Buzzer Beater: Well it sure didn’t take the Rockets very long to find a replacement for Jeff Van Gundy after the front office decided to give him the boot on Friday, because Rick Adelman is expected to be introduced as the new coach on Wednesday. It should be a good fit; Houston definitely needs a veteran coach who can properly utilize his tools and Adelman has proven that he can win. Hey, this guy got some great mileage out of Vlade Divac for cryin’ out loud; surely he can turn Yao Ming into a beast. And if you don’t think Adelman desperately wants to win a ring then just remember that he has the highest winning percentage (.610) of any coach who doesn’t have a championship.

General Sports

Odds and Ends: Maybe OJ was just looking for the real killer?

Jeff Ruby, the owner of an upscale steakhouse in Louisville, KY told OJ Simpson that he was not going to serve him and that he should leave. According to Ruby, Simpson said he understood and gathered up his dinner party and left.

However, the story doesn’t stop there. Simpson’s attorney said the incident was about race and he wanted to pursue the matter and get the restuarant’s liquor license revoked. Wait a second here. We’re pretty sure that this isn’t like the Barry Bonds poll, everybody thinks Simpson did it. Ruby said he’s gotten about a hundred positive emails regarding the incident.

In other news…

[KDSK]: Chicago Bears are the Super Bowl Champs in Africa

[]: Apparently, some people aren’t happy about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s performance

[Indy Star]: Shocker: Greg Oden selects Mike Conley Sr as his agent

[Denver ost]: Freddy Adu, the Next in soccer is making more headlines in golf

[The Big Lead]: Gia Allemand hits Maxim

[WBRS Sports]: Isn’t denying him sex for the playoffs an incentive for Tony Parker to throw games?

And finally, we weren’t sure whether to jump on this blogger celebrity but… what the hell, she’s 18. Picture of high school pole vaulter hottie after the jump.

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.

San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker isn’t the best rap lyricist

We didn’t even realize that Tony Parker was getting his MC Solaar on (anyone else old enough to remember Solaar?) but his rap single, Balance Toi, is blazing up the charts in France, which means it’s somewhere below Hall and Oates latest single in the U.S.   Here’s the music video of the song. You’d think there’d be a couple of sex scenes with Eva but nooooooo.. it’s just Tony hanging out at a club.

Thanks to Babelfish, here’s what Tony is saying:

Very soft I have my style
The rap borer in the tanks
Ca will hurt
And I avalle my pure style
The public claims me
And I assume serious
Lady… Lady… Lady… Lady… Lady…
Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance
Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance
Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance
Oh baby go…
(Let’ S go)
You thinks that are ready for you baby
Ca makes boom boom in the baby club
Oh yes moves on the zic lady
Cool Tony.P and smoove
I apply
Hey Hey
DJ balances sauce like hab’
To like for glory I make it like hab’
Let slip when it is open bar
To thread well before two hours of a quarter
The ball has face it is the price
All these girl which me “ppss”
Baby you can to me éscorter for this night
Baby I have déja my wife for the life
Oké, have you evil to follow me
But which even follows me
Musical therapy
Tony.P from Texas in Paris
Want lie down with
Oh please

Go ahead balances itself of left on the right
I have the style which hurts
Go ahead balance you of left on the right
Tony.P with the fichal
Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance Oh
Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance Oh
Balance, Balance, Balance, Balance Oh
Oh baby go…
Check my Hip-Hop always with the signal
My flora notches there
Rap is my job, stop
Jump and jumpé jump hop
Tony.P with the star r’ B hop
Baby stops to a little are limited you
Baby stops a little me matter
Lady be charming for you and you know it
But knows that only environment with test
KOI new the snoop-dog in the enclosures
KOI you want dancer, nan it is not the sorrow
ME I remain quite sitted in the sofa
who makes the valve while raising the arms
Bring the girls in the V.I.P
Want you to sleep with
Oh please
– Refrain
Lady……… the lady
Lady……… the lady
Lady……… the lady
Lady… Lady
Lady……… the lady
Lady……… the lady
Lady… Lady…
Go ahead balances degauche on the right
I have the sweat which hurts
Overshoot runway if
do not be to you ready A to make move
your shoulders
I have this p’ tit trick destey Oh
I make my own Oh dreams
I have this sound in the head
Quickly the piece acheve leaves
Ah Ah… Tony.P
Texas Servant boy
Let’ S go…

Ummm… we think something was lost in translation.  Because  “I have the sweat which hurts” isn’t cool.