If you would have asked me what I thought the least likely trade rumor to pop up after the lockout ended would be, I would have said anything involving Rajon Rondo. I figured that with a shortened season, the Celtics would be all-in for their final go round and their core group would [...]
After dominating the fourth quarter and overtime periods against the Boston Celtics on their home floor in game four, the Miami Heat came right back and beat the Celtics in crunchtime again. Only this time when Lebron James put the finishing touches on the Celtics in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, he [...]
It’s becoming increasingly popular for people to proclaim game for for a team with a 2-1 series advantage a must-win. Whether it’s the possibility of the opposition gaining momentum, the great opportunity to establish a dominant 3-1 lead or the fear of resetting the series to a best of three contest, that fourth game [...]
Rajon Rondo suffered a pretty nasty looking elbow injury in the third quarter of game three of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade, attempting to stop Rondo from going after a lose ball, boxed Rondo out of a play. While backing Rondo down Wade lost his [...]
Of all of the teams in the top half of the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics were the club you’d least expect to make a move. The Miami Heat still need an extra piece or two on the bench at the point guard and center spots before their team can be considered complete, the [...]
The Los Angeles Lakers, at some point, needed to take one of these games – those against the league’s other elite teams – to make a statement to the rest of the league. They needed to take a stand, if only for a night, just they could stop hearing about their supposed demise. The same rumblings were around last season and when the Lakers had had enough of it, they went out and sent a message. In a similar situation tonight, the Lakers went out and convincingly handled the Celtics for a half en route to a 92-86 victory over their most bitter rivals.
The Celtics started off the game with the momentum, with their fans jacked up about the possibility of Ray Allen breaking the NBA record for three-pointers made. Allen’s first three attempt was errant, but the fans were still up, going crazy in anticipation. Allen ended up tying and breaking the record in the first quarter, which may have been the worst thing for the Celtics. They had a 15-point lead in the first half, but because Allen had already broken the record – and because Allen had to sit out a good chunk of the game because of foul trouble – the Garden crowd never got into in the second half.
Allen hit a few mid-range jumpers in the first half as well, as Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and even Von Wafer helped to grow the Celtics lead. But once the second half begin, the Lakers took control of the ball game. Entering the third period down five thanks to a spurt at the end of the first half, the Lakers scored the first 10 points of the quarter thanks a three from Derek Fisher, a pair of nice finishes from Kobe Bryant and a Pau Gasol mid-range two. The Celtics would cut the lead to four to start the fourth period but the Laker reserves would keep them at bay – a Lamar Odom three, a Shannon Brown tip-in and a few nice plays from Steve Blake on both ends would help the Lakers maintain their cushion.
Phil Jackson may have went with his reserve unit a bit too long in the fourth, as Kobe and Pau sat until the five minute mark in the period. By then, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce had already returned, with Allen hitting a triple and Pierce getting to the bucket to cut the lead to three. But when Kobe checked in, the game was all but over. Bryant channeled Mamba mode for the first time all season and flat out dominated Boston down the stretch.
He started things off with a 19-foot turnaround over Ray Allen, then he swished a 20-footer coming off a curl, then he took the ball to the basket for an easy deuce, then he drove baseline, drew the double team and gave Pau Gasol a beautiful pass for an easy two, and he finished things off with an isolation destruction of Ray Allen, taking him the half-court line to the free throw stripe, with Allen guessing every which way before Kobe pulled up and knocked down the jumper to seal the deal.
More on the game after the break…
As the trade deadline nears, Carmelo Anthony is about to re-enter the spotlight of the NBA. After spending a couple weeks at the center of attention earlier in the year because of trade rumors that eventually died down, the Nuggets will likely be shopping Anthony around more than ever as the possibility that the franchise will end up with nothing in exchange for Melo at the end of the season grows larger.
But while there may be much less of a chance that Carmelo ends up staying in Denver for the remainder of the season, it’s time to start looking at the Nuggets as they are currently constructed to determine whether or not this will just be a lost cause for both Anthony and the Nuggets if they end up sticking together until the end of the year.
Denver is currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference with the same record as the Utah Jazz (30-22) but with a superior head-to-head record. This a team that beat the Heat by 28 earlier in the season (though they were without LeBron James, that’s still impressive) but also a club that got smashed by the Clippers and recently lost back-to-back games to the 76ers and Nets by the scores of 110-99 and 115-99.
Whether the Anthony drama has this team disinterested or in spite of their teammate, there is clearly something missing from this team that it had over the past two seasons when they were legitimate contenders to take down the Lakers in the West thanks to their uptempo offense and reliable home court advantage. But instead, ever since Carmelo was left to fend for himself against Utah in the post-season last year, Anthony has started to slip away from his supporting cast and the mojo around this squad is clearly no longer there – at least not consistently.
For my recap of last night’s Rockets-Nuggets game as well as every other game in the NBA last night, hit the break…
With 25 seconds left in the game, Kevin Durant stepped to the free throw line looking to ice the game away for the Oklahoma City Thunder. As the ball was tossed to him by the ref, Durant heard chants of “M-V-P” come down from the rafters. He couldn’t help but crack a smile.
“Reading the Internet” will give 3-5 links to stories, videos or pictures that are popular in the sports world for that day. The title of the article was inspired by Florida Marlins manager Freddy Gonzalez when he said “I read the newspaper…..and those others, uh, reading the internet…” in an interview on the Baseball Show on ESPN Radio.
Here are today’s headlines:
Worst Trade Of the Season: Well, now if the Rangers win the World Series, it will be tainted. Why in the world would you trade for Ivan Rodriguez? Oh, I see, it was the .251 batting average. Or maybe it was the eight homers in 93 games. [Baseball Time In Arlington]
Uh, Forget What We Said Earlier: We fully bought into the whole Bryce Harper is the Chosen One story, but as it turns out, that SI cover piece was clearly a curse. [Baseball America, Earlier: But The Game Is On]
Back to the National League It Is: John Smoltz is strongly leaning towards signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. Apparently the Cardinals saw him as a Red Sox, so he won’t be starting. [ESPN]
Shaq Vs. Was Scripted: At least we know that Shaq is worse at sports than two alleged racists. [LA Times]
Where is CP3, SKEETS?: Who is the fastest player in basketball? Of the players listed, it has to be Devin Harris. [Ball Don't Lie]
Hit the jump for a video of Cubs fans dressed as bears. Continue reading…