Friday, April 29, 2011

The Key Is In LBJ's Hands

The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics participated in arguably the most anticipated opening regular season game in NBA history back on Oct. 26 2010, and will be playing against each other in another highly anticipated match up in the Eastern Conference semifinals this year with the first game of the series starting this weekend.

On Sunday, Boston will travel to South Beach in attempt to steal a Game 1 road win against the "Heatles". This match up will be a tough one for both teams, and the key factor to why Miami will win this series in six games is simply No. 6, LeBron James. Many may think that Chris Bosh will be the x-factor to if this concoction of superstars can get to the NBA Finals and possibly win a championship in June, but I do not believe that is the case for them to get past Boston and into the Conference Finals.

Bosh will struggle in some games because he's going up against one of the most intimidating and tough defensive players in Kevin Garnett, so the slack provided by Bosh will be picked up by the reigning NBA MVP, James.

James averaged 24.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game so far in the playoffs, and will only increase those numbers in the next round against Boston. In this conference semifinals series James will not be swarmed and manhandled by the Celtics defense like he was in last year's conference semifinals playoff series defeat to these same Celtics when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Due to split attention being paid to James, Dwayne Wade and Bosh by the Celtics defense, James will be primarily guarded one-on-one by a good defender in Paul Pierce. Pierce has gotten the best of James in previous years, but James will prevail in these playoffs and scorch Pierce and Boston's defense for a few 30, maybe even 40-point efforts along with at least 10 dimes and 10 grown-man rebounds.

Yes, this is Wade's team, and teams do win championships, but James will undoubtedly be the x-factor  to the Heat's playoff series victory against the Celtics.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Philly Off-Season Moves

The Philadelphia 76ers postseason was ended by a 97-91 Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat on Apr 27, and on Apr. 28 their off-season began.

If I was the owner or at least the general manager of this young and talented team, I would consider some of the needs that should be addressed as soon as possible. Those needs consists of a proven or promising center, reliable veteran bench players, find a replacement for small forward Andre Iguodala as the 76ers star player and draft a couple of young determined players.

Many analysts stated that this team needs to be built around rising stars, Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young. I agree that these two should be the focal point (along with Louis Williams) of the team, and I would start by bringing in a center who can be an impact as soon as he touches down in Philadelphia.

The three-year center, Spencer Hawes was a mere disappointment, especially since he was traded for Samuel Dalembert, who I believe was a better fit for this team. Hawes produced a horrific 7.2 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game this year after tallying 10.0 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game for Sacramento the previous year. With that being said, I would still keep Hawes and would trade Iguodala and a second round draft pick for a Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks) type of center to provide toughness on defense and consistency on the offensive end. I believe Dexter Pittman, who was in the D-league for quite some time after being drafted by Miami could be an excellent fit for the 76ers as well. He's young and promising, and he was pretty impressive during his tenure at the University of Texas.

Hawes could benefit from coming off the bench for an established center, and also learn a lot to improve his game and become a spark for Philly's 2010-11 league's leading bench, but bringing in Pittman could also benefit Hawes by making him work harder to keep his starting spot.

In regards of placing veteran players around Holiday, Young and Williams, I would bring in a pure shooter like Roger Mason Jr., who had a horrible statistical year and barely played with the Knicks this season. Despite the horrible year, Mason is still a lights out shooter and to me a pretty reliable player. Also I would bring in some defensive stoppers to guard star players like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade during close games. A veteran point guard like Rafer Alston (who currently plays overseas) to backup Holiday would also be great for his development along with Doug Collins coaching.

Since I would elect to trade Iguodala, I would implement Young into the starting lineup at the small forward position and make him, Holiday and Elton Brand the captains of next season's team. My first guy off the bench would still be Williams, who I believe would have won the Sixth Man Award if Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers didn't have an amazing year as well.

In the upcoming draft in June, I would pay close attention to players who may be overlooked, but are solid and can be productive once their games are developed.

With these moves the new Philadelphia 76ers roster would look like this:

Starting five -  (PG) Jrue Holiday, (SG) Jodie Meeks, (SF) Thaddeus Young, (PF) Elton Brand, (C) Dexter Pittman or a more established center with Andrew Bogut's ability and toughness.

Sixth man - Louis Williams

Bench - Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, Marreese Speights, Rafer Alston, Roger Mason Jr., Andres Nocioni, Jason Kapono and two young draft picks that proved they deserve to wear a 76ers jersey.

All in all, if I was the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers these are the roster moves I would make to improve the team for the upcoming year and for the future as well. With any organization and team nothing is certain, but from what I seen from this year's team these are the much needed roster moves that should be made during the off season if Philadelphia wants to contend for a championship in the near future.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Heart Of A Champion

Going from starting goalie for the Stanley Cup Finals runner-up team in last year's playoffs to designated reserve for a crucial Game 6 for this year's second-seeded Philadelphia Flyers could diminish any athletes confidence to perform.

This benching had a total opposite affect on Brian Broucher's ability to produce effective goal tending for the Flyers as they advanced to the second round of the playoffs after being down 3-2 in the series after five games.

Game 6 was on Apr. 24 and the Buffalo Sabres came out scorching looking to close out the Flyers and pull off the upset. They scored 3 goals in the first period against starting goalie Michael Leighton, who was eventually pulled for his terrible goal tending. Boucher entered as his replacement and helped save Philadelphia's postseason.

Boucher blocked 24 goal attempts and his teammates rewarded his efforts with a 5-4 comeback victory in overtime to tie the series at 3-3.

In Game 7, Boucher started and blocked 26 shots and only allowed two goals while the Flyers offense scorched the Sabres defense for five goals.

It looks like Philly will rely on Boucher for the rest of the postseason to protect their net. This team is hungry for another shot at becoming NHL champions, and they are improving their chances to make it to back-to-back finals as their weak link, goal tending is starting to become reliable.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Chains Are Off

After seven grueling weeks of the NFL lockout, the National Football League Player Association (NFLPA) finally won the battle, but the war is still on.

Put a smile and your shoulder pads on (depending on how much of a NFL fan you are) football fans because the lockout is no more for now.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered for the lockout to be ended Monday due to the convincing argument of the NFLPA's representatives, multiple sources confirmed. A $9 billion dollar pie is being argued over by both sides. Long story short, the owners want to keep a large portion of that huge pie, but the players are trying to turn their nibbles into significant bites.

According to, The NFL owners quickly appealed the decision because they believe the district court overstepped its boundaries and the NFL sought justice from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

Nelson granted the request of the NFLPA to lift the lockout because she was influenced by their argument that the lockout has damaged their ability to enhance and better their careers.

The NFLPA "have made a strong showing that allowing the League to continue their 'lockout' is presently inflicting, and will continue to inflict, irreparable harm upon them, particularly when weighed against the lack of any real injury that would be imposed on the NFL by issuing the preliminary injunction," Nelson wrote in her injunction.

Even with this good news the lockout can possibly be reinstated if the NFL's appeal is granted. If it is denied, the NFL will be obligated to continue normal activities and business as scheduled, but the rules and regulations that control those activities together will still be under construction.

Mind you this decision came days before the highly anticipated 2011 NFL Draft that will take place on Apr. 28. A NFL record, 25 invited guests will attend the event. Some of the notable attendees will be Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Patrick Patterson and A.J. Green.

Upset Nation Brewing In San Antonio

Despite having the best regular season record in the West (61-21), the San Antonio Spurs are down 2-1 in their seven-game playoff series against the eight-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

According to NBA analysts, the Grizzlies purposely lost their last few regular season games so they could get the aging Spurs in the first-round. You would think that this would be an ideal match up for San Antonio since they won 15 more games, have undoubtedly more playoff experience than the Grizzlies and because Memphis is without their star player in Rudy Gay due to a season-ending injury earlier in the year, but that is not the case.

The Spurs Big Three in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker have been outplayed in this series by Memphis's Zach "ZBO" Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr.

The Spurs Big Three only averaged 44 points, shot 41 percent (27-66) from the field and turned the ball over 14 total times in their losses to Memphis in Games 1 (Manu did not play; right elbow sprain) and 3 of the series (Game 1: 101-98, Game 3: 91-88).

On the other hand, ZBO, Gasol and Conley averaged 60 points, shot 52 percent (42-81) from the field and committed 14 turnovers as well in those two wins for the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies big men, ZBO and Gasol have dominated Duncan and Antonio McDyess throughout the first three games of the series, especially in the two wins for Memphis so far.

In Game 1, ZBO and Gasol combined for 49 points and 23 rebounds while Duncan and McDyess only produced 19 points and 14 rebounds together in Memphis's first ever playoff win in team history.

In Game 3, they outscored  the San Antonio big men 42-21 en route to the team's first ever playoff victory at home.

We can only imagine how dangerous the Grizzlies would be if Gay was in the lineup, but they still seem to have a little swagger and toughness about themselves and are doing damage to the first-placed Spurs. They look to continue their winning ways and take a commanding 3-1 series lead tonight at home.

If Conley continues to lead this team's offense and take care of the ball (only 10 turnovers to his 22 assists so far) the Grizzlies will win this series in six games. If the Spurs can manage to pull out a win tonight, and split games 5 and 6 then we may be looking at a series that will be decided in the seventh and final game with the advantage going to the Spurs because it will be in their building.

Nonetheless, do not be surprised if the Grizzlies become the second team in NBA history to beat a No. 1 seed in the first-round since the series were expanded to seven games throughout the playoffs.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Twenty Down And A Lot More To Go

The Philadelphia Phillies look for their 14th win in the first 20 games of this young season tonight against the San Diego Padres.

Without  their closer Brad Lidge and second basemen Chase Utley, the Phillies are tied with a 13-6 record for first in the entire Majors with their conference foe, the Colorado Rockies.

Joe Blanton will be looking for his first win of the season for the Phillies and will be in a pitching duel against Tim Stauffer, who is also looking for his first victory.

The Colorado Rockies are also in a game tonight against the Florida Mariners. Their slugger Troy Tulowitki is having a great start to his sixth year in the Majors.

The right-hander has driven in 15 runs on 23 hits, and has also tallied seven home runs. and 14 RBIs.

Both teams look to continue their winning ways to keep pace for the best record in the Majors with 142 games left to play after tonight's games have concluded. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anthony vs. James, Who Better?

As a superstar in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James will always be compared to other NBA superstars from the past and present, but how do they fair when put up against each other?

So far in these 2011 NBA playoffs, both players have averaged a double-double, but Anthony (28.5ppg) averages four more points, while James (12.0rpg) averages two more rebounds.

In their respective careers, James averages 27.7ppg, 7.1rpg and 7.0apg, while Anthony averages 24.8ppg 7.3rpg and 2.9apg. Besides the assists category, both players are statistically equals.

There are some differences in both players as well. Anthony is known as more of a selfish scorer and is the better flat out scorer between the two. James is more of a facilitator who scores at will when going full speed and attacking the rim.

Between the two, James' lack of consistency when shooting makes him easier to guard, but when his shot is on there's no hope for any defender.  Anthony is unstoppable though, and he has said it himself.

"There's no 'Melo stopper," Anthony said in an ESPN interview when asked about being defended. Every superstar has double and triple teams sent his way, but when guarded one-on-one, no one has yet to be able to shut down Melo.

On the other hand, during his 7-year career, James has been shut down (or at least tamed) by notable defenders like Paul Pierce, Bruce Bowen and Anthony himself. Yes, Anthony has had bad nights as well, but he's usually dealing with team defense, not individual defense.

In their Feb. 27 head-to-head regular season match up, Anthony out shined James with his 29 points, 9 rebounds and his tough defense on James with 6.7 seconds left to solidify the 91-86 win.

Each player plays defense when they want to, and when they do they both are almost impossible to score against.

James is definitely the better defender of the two, and is a scary player to attempt a layup on, especially on the fast break. He His constant flirtation with a triple-double almost every night is another solid reason to make the case the LeBron is the better player, but Melo is slightly a better player overall.

Since Anthony has the ability to score at will by way of jumper and going to the basket, and that he is maturing into a better defender gives him the narrow edge over James.

Both players are outstanding, and it will be a privilege to see their future head-to-head match ups. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Playoff Showers

The NBA opening weekend was nothing but spectacular from the start of the Chicago-Indiana afternoon game to the end of the Oklahoma City-Denver night cap.

Both elements of the game were in full effect during Saturday and Sunday's games, but the offense surely out shined the tough grueling defense we usually see come playoff time.

In the eight Game 1s, 12 players recorded a double-double and six scored at least 30 points. Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic poured in 46 points and 19 rebounds in a 103-93 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the projected MVP, Derrick Rose scored 39 points (19-21 FT) in a 104-99 comeback victory over the Indiana Pacers, while LeBron James and Chris Bosh tallied double-doubles (James: 21 points 14 rebounds, Bosh 25 points 12 rebounds) to secure their 97-89 win against the Philadelphia 76ers.

To end the first night of playoff basketball, Dirk Nowitzki put up 28 points and 10 rebounds, but his point guard Jason Kidd hit 6-of-10 threes en route to 24 points to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 89-81. 

Those phenomenal individual efforts carried over  into Sunday's games and also included some history making results. San Antonio and Los Angeles are the first No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to take a loss in the first game of their respective opening-round series.

Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies combined for 49 points and 23 rebounds in their 101-98 upset win against the Spurs. Following them, Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets demolished Derek Fisher and the Lakers defense with his 33 points, 14 assists and 7 rebounds (led the team in all three categories) effort which helped his underdog Hornets to a 109-100 win over he defending champs.

In the Sunday night games, Boston prevailed to a 87-85 victory due to a late three by the all-time leader in threes made, Ray Allen (24 points 3-5 from three) with 11.6 seconds.

Oklahoma City also crawled and fought to a tough 107-103 win over Denver behind 72 combined points from Kevin Durant (41) and Russell Westbrook (31).

The opening weekend as set the bar high for the rest of the playoffs, but the intensity is sure to rise as the stakes get much higher as each series progresses.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

CP3 vs. DWill, Who's Better?

Chris "CP3" Paul of the New Orleans Hornets and Deron "DWill" Williams of the New Jersey Nets are arguably two of the best players to play in the NBA, but how do they fair when compared to each other?

Clearly the 6-foot Paul is the better point guard, but for everyone who disagrees the statistics will do the talking for me.

Both Paul and Williams were selected in the first-round of the 2005 NBA draft, but Williams was selected one-slot ahead of the better point guard Paul. DWill was selected third overall by the Utah Jazz and CP3 was selected right after him by the Hornets.

Both superstars have had successful careers in their five seasons in the NBA. However, Paul averages 18.7ppg and 9.9apg in his career, while Williams only averages 17.2ppg and 9.2apg. Paul also outshines Williams on the defensive end by averaging 2.7spg compared to Williams's 1.1spg.

The former Jazz guard has been to the playoffs four consecutive years from 2006-2010, but will miss this year's playoffs due to being traded to a dismal Nets team in the middle of the season. In his playoff career, Williams has averaged 21.0ppg and 9.6apg and shot 46 percent from the field.

On the other hand, Paul will be in his third consecutive and overall playoff appearance this year as the Hornet will face the defending champs in the Los Angeles Lakers in the first-round.

In his playoff career, Paul has averaged 21.9ppg and 11.0apg, while shooting 48 percent from the field. He is the only player in the NBA to average a double-double in his playoff career.

Neither guard has won a championship, and Williams has led his former team to at least the conference finals, but CP3 is clearly the best individual point guard among the two, as well as, the entire NBA.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Being Chased Without Chase

Despite not having their second baseman, Chase Utley due to injury, the Philadelphia Phillies are at the top of the Nation League East standings.

Philadelphia is 8-3 and have a 2 game lead on the Florida Mariners for first in the division.

They have stepped up to the plate 387 times in 11 games and has driven in 66 runs, nine of them were home runs. The four aces and Joe Blanton have only given up 34 runs in those 11 games with Roy Halladay posting the lowest ERA among them at 1.23.

The Phillies are not only the division leaders so far in this young season, but they are also a half of game out of first-place for the conference lead.

The red cap, white P boys are performing as everyone (especially Phillies fans) expected them to. If they keep this intensity up over the course of the rest of the season, and get Utley and closer Brad Lidge back healthy, Philadelphia could return to the World Series with a chance to bring the title back to the city of "Brotherly Love."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

New Orleans Hornets superstar, Chris "CP3" Paul will be a free agent in 2012, and what better place to play than home, right?

Paul is from Lewisville, N.C., and played college for Wake Forest University, which is located in Wake-Salem, N.C., so why not represent his home-state in the NBA with a Charlotte Bobcats jersey on?

"It would definitely be something to think about," the 6-foot guard said Tuesday when asked about potentially signing with the Bobcats (who's owned by Michael Jordan) when his contract with the Hornets is up.

Despite focusing on bringing a championship to the city of New Orleans and being a guy that's living in the moment, Paul still remembers the first time he met Jordan.

They met at the 2003 Jordan Brand Classic (which Paul played in) during a team picture, according to the Associate Press.

"We obviously knew MJ was going to walk in and sit there," Paul said in a phone interview with the Associate Press. "When he walked in, man, he just took over the room. And he actually walked up and knew my name. So that's something I'll never forget."

Eight years later, Paul considers Jordan a mentor, and who wouldn't want to be an understudy of arguably the greatest player to play in the NBA?

"To have a personal relationship with him now and for him to be a mentor of mine, it's something when you're growing up as a kid in North Carolina you would never expect."

Being Paul's mentor, it is only right to think that Jordan has a little influence on him and undoubtedly would love to have CP3 as his point guard and vice-versa.

"I think guys do and will want to play for MJ," Paul said. "Who better to learn from?"

With nothing set in stone between Paul and the Hornets organization after next season, Paul could sign with any team he wants. 

Teams like, New York, Miami, Los Angeles and his home-state team Charlotte will surely be in pursuit of the superstar point guard come 2012.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Miami is Locked and Loaded

The Miami Heat guaranteed themselves the No. 2 seed in the Eastern conference with the 98-90 win on the road last night against the struggling Atlanta Hawks.

Although they're on a 3-game win streak, the Heat showed their well-known weakness on Monday when the Hawks bench outscored Miami's bench 44-14. The Hawk's starters did not play in the final quarter of that game, but Dwayne Wade's Heat still managed to give up a 20-point lead and was tied at the 3:28 mark.

With that being said, Miami is still the No. 2 seed and will play against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first-round of the playoffs. Due to their superior talent over the 76ers, I cannot imagine the Heat losing a game in this series. This is the one match up where Miami can sweep the series using their talent only.

There is one advantage that Philadelphia has in this series though, and that's their league-leading bench. They will need their bench, teamwork and heart to make this series a competitive one, and who knows, things could get very interesting if they win one-of-the-first-two games on the road.

The regular season ends Apr. 13, and those 16 playoff teams will all be 0-0, and all of them will be fighting each night to get closer to winning 16 games to be crowned NBA champions.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Get Your Popcorn Ready

When something major was about to happen, NFL wide receiver, Terrell Owens would always say, "get your popcorn ready." Well the NBA playoffs is rearing its head next Sunday so it's time to "get your popcorn ready" NBA fans!!

The Memphis Grizzlies locked in the final playoff spot by beating the Sacramento Kings 101-96 on Apr 8. The first-round will feature 16 teams; for the East: Chicago, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Indiana, and for the West: San Antonio, Los Angeles, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Denver, New Orleans, Portland and Memphis.

Although the final seeding among these teams is not complete, it is safe to say that the projected match ups will be (1) Chicago vs. (8) Indiana, (2) Boston vs. (7) Philadelphia, (3) Miami vs. (6) New York and (4) Orlando vs. (5) Atlanta in the East. The projected West match ups will be (1) San Antonio vs. (8) Memphis, (2) Los. Angeles vs. (7) Portland, (3) Dallas vs. (6) New Orleans and (4) Oklahoma City vs. (5) Denver.

The series that I believe will not be a shoe-in to the second-round for the better seed is the Miami-New York, and Oklahoma City-Denver match ups. Each team in these two series are similar, but one team has an advantage in each match up.

In the Miami-New York projected match up, both teams have three players who can go toe-to-toe every night (Miami: Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh. New York: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Amare Stoudemire). The Stoudemire-Bosh match up will be the deciding factor in this series.

Hopefully the rumors about Miami considering trading Bosh before next season will fuel him to play like the superstar he was in Toronto against Stat, because if he doesn't the Knicks will pull off the upset and advance to the next round.

In the other match up, both OKC and Denver have exceptional big men, but rely on their perimeter players to score majority of their points. With that being said, I give the edge to the Nuggets when comparing the teams' big men. If Denver can slow down the league's leading scorer in Kevin Durant and his co-star Russell Westbrook, then the Thunder will have a tough battle ahead of them.

All in all, this year's NBA playoffs will be entertaining and intense will all these teams having something to prove, so make sure you have a lot of butter for your popcorn this year.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cuban and the Chip-Less Mavs

The Dallas Mavericks have won at least 50 games since the 2000-01 season and they are a great regular season team, but they have been suspects and not the prosecutors when it becomes playoff time in the NBA.

The playoffs are approaching and I see no different results from the Mavericks in this postseason. They will be the third seed in the West if they can hold on to the one-game lead that they have over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and they will potentially play the current sixth-seed in the New Orleans Hornets.

"If we had to pick and choose on it, we would probably say 55 percent Dallas, 45 percent Oklahoma City, only because Oklahoma City is athletic like we are and they have two great players," Denver coach George Karl told Ian Fitzsimmons of ESPN 103.3 FM's Galloway and Company.

Even coach Karl agrees with me that the favorable match up in the playoffs would be against the Mavericks, and every playoff team should feel this way.

Since losing in the 2005-06 NBA Finals, Dallas has been bounced out in the first-round in 3-out-of-their-last-4 playoff appearances. 

Despite having superstar and future Hall of Famer in Dirk Nowitzki for 12 seasons, the Mavericks have never won an NBA championship and have only been to that lone NBA Finals in 2005-06.

They have improved this year, but history and being without Caron Butler indicates that the Mavericks will not be in uniform come June.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Coming Out Swinging

The 2011 MLB season is underway and many teams are relying on their hitting more than their pitching.

During the opening weekend, 11 teams scored 10 runs or more. The Chicago White Sox tallied the most with 15 runs on 18 hits in a five run win over the Cleveland Indians on Apr. 1. Surprisingly, in this 25 runs game both teams only combined for four home runs.

There were some good pitching also as the right-hander pitcher, Matt Cain for the defending champion San Francisco Giants allowed no runs in a 10-nil rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Apr. 2.

Nonetheless, the impressive hitting took the spotlight during the opening weekend. It is good to see the bats put to work in the early parts of the season because it shows a good sign that many records will be threatened and maybe even broken during this season.

Other outstanding team hitting performances included the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.

On Apr. 2, the Yankees produced multiple three-run innings with three total home runs in a 10-6 win against the Detroit Tigers while their conference foe in the Rangers ripped off 12 runs against the Boston Red Sox (who many believe will be in the World Series).

The Rangers had a six-run fourth inning, which helped them break the game open and gain a 9-3 lead that ended in a 12-5 victory.

Each team has a long 162-games ahead of them, and both the hitting can cool down or the pitching can heat up at anytime, but it is good to see that the players are in good-season form at the beginning of the season.

Monday, April 4, 2011

NBA's Cinderella

We have all witnessed No. 8 Butler and No. 11 Virginia Common Wealth make historic runs in the 2011 NCAA tournament, so who will be this year's Cinderella in the NBA playoffs?

The playoff seeding is almost complete as the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knickerbockers both clinched  playoff spots as the sixth and seventh seeds a few days ago. Most NBA fans know that it is highly unlikely for a low seed to make a run to the NBA Finals and win the championship, but I think that trend could be threatened this year.

Even though they have many kinks to work out before they can be an elite team in the NBA, the Knicks are still a dangerous team and a nightmare for a lot of teams. As the No. 7 seed, the Knicks will either play the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics in the first-round of the playoffs. The best chance the Knicks have to get out of the first-round is if they play the Heat. 

Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are an even match up at the small forward position. Even though Chauncey Billups and Dwayne Wade play two different positions, I believe that in each game Billups has the opportunity and skills to match Wade in points and intensity throughout the potential series. Both teams have dismal benches and little-to-no production from their respective center positions, so the match up that will decide who will win four out of the possible seven games and win the series is the power forward match up between Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh.

Stat is a primary target in the Knicks offense and he is guaranteed enough touches to have a chance to score 20 to 30 points a night. As for Bosh, he has taken a backseat to his teammates in James and Wade, which has limited his touches on each possession this season. If Bosh can produce a 20-point and 10-rebound effort each game then Miami will win the Knicks-Heat series in five games, but if he does not then do not be surprised if Melo and Stat take this potential series and advance to the next round in at least six games.

If the Knicks can get pass the first-round of the playoffs then it is possible that they can make a run to at least the East finals this year.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Young and Promising A's

The Oakland Athletics who have been on the short-end of the postseason stick for the last four MLB seasons are looking to turn their misfortunes around, starting with the 2011 season. Their most notable players are pitching phenoms Trevor Cahill (23), Brett Anderson (23) and Gio Gonzalez (25).

Oakland has given the go-ahead nod to pitch on opening day against the Florida Mariners to the 6-foot-4 right-hander Cahill. Despite the immense pressure of starting on opening day, Cahill has made it clear that he does not feel the extra heat that opening day baseball brings with it, according to the MLB website.

Cahill had a tremendous 2010 season. He started 30 games, produced a 18-8 record and threw for a career-best 2.97 ERA.

His pitching mates, Anderson (projected starting pitcher on Apr. 2) and Gonzalez (projected pitcher on Apr. 3) are both left-handers who had promising pitching numbers last season.

Anderson threw for a career-best 2.80 ERA in 19 starts and finished the season with a 7-6 record. Gonzalez also started 33 games last season and only gave up a career-best 3.23 ERA.

With this potential superstar rotation in Cahill, Anderson and Gonzalez, the Oakland A's can and will surprise a lot of people this season and make a run at entering the postseason after a four-year drought.