Tag Archives: Chris Bosh

Eastern Conference Power Struggle

As we enter the final stretch of the 2015 regular season, things are really starting to heat up in the NBA. Especially the Eastern Conference.

1.Atlanta (43-12)
2.Toronto (37-18)
3.Chicago (35-21)
4.Cleveland (34-22)
5.Washington (33-22)
6.Milwaukee (31-23)
7.Miami (23-31)
8.Charlotte (22-31), (Brooklyn, 22-31)

 

The Atlanta Hawks are really sitting pretty at the top of the conference with a 5 game lead over the second seed. They look as though they will hold on to that spot for the remainder of the season unless they suffer an epic collapse.

It’s the 2 through 5 seeds, where it is really getting tight. Any slippage between those teams could result in losing home court advantage throughout the first round.

The Cleveland Cavaliers as of late have been playing terrific basketball winning their last 15 of 17 games. Everyone on the Cavs roster is healthy and their new pieces are taking the team to another level.

The Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards, meanwhile, have been very up and down lately. After beating the Cavaliers before the All Star break, the Bulls looked like they were primed to get back to their regular form, but that wasn’t the case as they lost their first game back to a feisty Detroit Piston team. The Wizards as well suffered a loss in their first game back, when the red hot Cavs trounced them by 38 points on their home floor.

At the Bottom of the conference we have the injury riddled Miami Heat and the mediocre Charlotte Hornets.

The Heat can’t seem to catch a break as they unfortunately have lost their best player, Chris Bosh for the rest of the season due to blood clots in his lungs. Despite a wonderful trade where they acquired PG Goran Dragic from the Suns, they will not be making any noise in the playoffs without CB.

The Hornets are tied with Brookyln, and have picked up their play recently and could very well move up into that 7th spot. Brooklyn hasn’t gotten any better since the all star break, so expect Charlotte to break the tie, but there is nothing about them that says they can make someone sweat in the first round.

In conclusion the Hawks may finish with the best record, but the Cavaliers look like the best team in the conference right now. You can expect a drastic change in these standings in the next 2 months, that’s for sure.

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The New Big 3

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With the acquisition of one of the best power-forwards in the game, Kevin Love, the Cleveland Cavaliers have created a new big 3 here in the NBA. With the young star point guard Kyrie Irving and the best player on planet Earth, Lebron James already on board, this is an extremely potent trio and could cause their opponents to have nightmares.

It may take time for James and Irving to figure out how to maximize their potential as teammates, as they are used to playing with the ball in their hands 95% of the time. On the flipside the duo of Lebron and Kevin Love shouldn’t take that long to be great at all. Kevin Love’s skill set fits Lebron James better than any other player in pro basketball. Their feel on the court for each other should feel natural and be automatic.

With Kevin Love being the best stretch forward in the league it should give Lebron all the room he needs to operate and have a plethora of driving lanes. This will be extremely difficult to guard because as soon as defenders collapse on James, he will immediately kick it out and you better believe Kevin Love will make them pay.

Going back to the Irving and James dynamic, the only way they can be effective on the court together is that Kyrie must be able to play off the ball; something he is not accustomed to doing and may find difficult. He must be able to catch and shoot at a much higher clip than he has the past few seasons as he has one of the lowest 3-point percentages in the league off of the catch and shoot. If he shores up these issues him and the 4 time MVP should be just fine playing with one another.

With all three of these stars in their 20s they can compete for championships for many years to come, especially considering how weak the Eastern Conference is at this point in time.

They have the potential to be as good, if not better than the Miami Heat’s version of the big 3. But in order for that to happen Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving must sacrifice parts of their game the same way Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did in Miami. They might find this much more difficult to do than those two but it can still be done.

Another thing they must do is significantly increase their defensive games in order to be great, but I’m sure it will be done as Lebron James will demand that effort on the defensive end.

It will be very interesting to see how these stars mesh and jell together, it will be a long process but if it is done right they could be very very good. If they figure it out I don’t think there will be anybody in the NBA to stop them.

Cleveland fans should have every right to be excited about what this upcoming season could bring to Northeast Ohio.

FMOT @Rmon9

Heat Still NBA Kings?

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Questions have been soaring throughout this entire offseason about if the reigning champion Miami Heat will be usurped as kings of the basketball world. With the return of Derrick Rose, the reloaded Nets, and the emergence of Paul George and the Pacers the East looks primed to give the Heat a very difficult time.

The West, on the other hand, hasn’t made as much noise, but some people think that with the Clippers new additions and arguably the best coach in basketball, they may have been put over the top.

The answer to all these questions is a definitive NO.

The Miami Heat are still the best team in all of basketball for a variety of reasons.

For one they still have the greatest player in the world in LeBron James and arguably the best shooting guard in Dwyane Wade. They have a multitude of shooters at their disposal in Chalmers, Battier, Cole, Lewis and the best shooter of all-time, Ray Allen. And in the frontcourt they have Chris Bosh (a player who’s entering his prime,) Birdman (defense, trash buckets, energy and rebounding.) Along with Anthony and Haslem two solid defenders with the latter being a solid role player.

But we also can’t overlook the additions of Beasley and Oden two low-risk high-reward guys along with sharpshooter Roger Mason Jr. If Miami gets anything out of Beasley and Oden it’ll be a wrap. Oden would be the anchor of an already great defense and the bigman Miami lacked, while Beasley would be another scorer who would make it easier on the Big Three and co.

As presently presented the Heat are the best team in the league. The only thing that could change that is their health. ( I’m talking a LeBron injury!)

If they can stay healthy through another grueling season for the first time in years, they should be crowned the champions by default. I mean it’s not close; especially if Dwyane Wade stays healthy, which he has not been able to do for the past two championship seasons.

Bottom line the Miami Heat are too deep and lethal for anyone in the league to deal with. LeBron has so many weapons at his disposal it’s ridiculous. This is arguably one of the deepest if not the deepest team to ever come together.

Simply put, you can’t stop a King who has an endless supply of firepower!
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Can Anyone Beat The Heat?

Throughout this season people have said the Heat are shoulders above the rest and can’t be beaten. Me and my partners, Kenton13 ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-71) and AllenRmon ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-5A) are here to debate that claim.

Can Memphis, San Antonio or Indiana beat the Heat?

Kenton:
Yes. I think that either team could, but I feel like the Spurs have the best shot because they can score.

Ryan: I understand that, but i feel like Memphis has a better shot because of their defense and the bigs they have downlow.

R’Mon: NO!!!! When the Heat are on their game and playing their pressure defense, they are virtually unstoppable. Not to mention they have the best player in the world (just a thought).

Kenton: When anyone of these teams are on their game, they’re hard to beat!

Ryan: Fair enough, but Chicago did provide a minor blueprint on how to beat the Heat!

R’mon: Not really they eventually got beat at their own game. Miami can get physical too!

Kenton: Miami physical? I find that comical. Miami doesn’t like getting roughed up. With Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol under the basket Miami might not be able to handle it.

Ryan: Miami can get physical. Just not as much as Memphis or Indiana.

R’mon: Didn’t they handle it last year for two straight rounds against two physical teams, (Celtics and Pacers?) So you guys are factually incorrect. Sounds like a bunch of foolishness to me.

Kenton: But the Heat haven’t played big men like Randolph, Gasol and Duncan before. Big men who can go out there and get it for themselves.

Ryan: Honestly if Miami struggled with Noah and Boozer (laughs,) David West and Roy Hibbert are going to abuse them.

R’mon: Yes, but at the end of the day they will have a hard time defending Miami as well.

Kenton: True, it’s going to be hard for a team to beat the Heat, but I think it’s a possibility that someone can.

Ryan: All in all Miami can be beaten. It’s just a matter of will Indiana an Memphis stay true to their game when matched up against Miami. San Antonio plays too fast which would be disastrous in a series against the Heat.

R’mon: Well I don’t think anybody can I just can’t see it.

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R’Mon Allen

Kenton Adams

Ryan Fort

Is Dirk a top 5 Power Forward All Time? (Pt.2)

In my last post I left off comparing Dirk to KG and said Dirk would KG’s Boston teams better.(link to my last post http://wp.me/p33YLP-2a) With Dirk’s shooting touch and post play, ( which is a bit underrated,) Boston would be alot better than they are now and better than they were yesterday.
But anyway, on to the next player on the list, Charles Barkley.
Chuck was an undersized four that played big and could handle the rock decent enough to be a guard; or in his case a Small Forward. At 6’6, 252lbs Chuck averaged 22.1ppg, 12rebs and 4ast for his career. During the duration of his career he won an MVP award, was named an All-Star 11 times, got selected to the All-NBA First and Second Team 5x each and was on the All-Rookie First Team (1985). He also went to the Finals, where he lost to MJ, and played for the Original Dream Team. That’s all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day he’s not better than Dirk. As a 7ft pure shooter, Dirk boasts an advantage. Throw in the fact that he didn’t play with Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Johnson, Julius Irving, Moses Malone, etc and you have an uneven argument. By pairing Dirk and Hakeem together you’ll have a dynamic duo that’ll be unguardable. ( Dirk had Tyson Chandler, TYSON CHANDLER as center and won the chip, c’mon now.) Pair Dirk with Doc J, Mo Cheeks and M.Malone and you’ll have a dynasty, their ages wouldn’t matter as long as Dirk was there. Last but not least, Dirk’s game isn’t based on athleticism like Charles’ was, therefore that’ll enable him play longer and still be effective like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was. Longevity is one of the major reasons why Dirk will surpass Charles Barkley.

In front of Chuck lies Karl Malone, who is the 2nd leading scorer in NBA history. Malone has two MVP Awards, 14 All-star selections, 11 All-NBA First Team selections, two 2nd Team selections and 3 All-Defensive First Team selections and was apart of the original Dream Team. Like Chuck, Malone accomplished some things as well as lose to MJ in the Finals, but twice. For his career he averages 25ppg on 18 shots, 10rebs and 4ast.
Dirk on the other hand averages 23ppg on 17 shots, 8rebs and 3asts, while shooting a better Freethrow and 3pt % than Malone. Realistically the numbers are close, but the impact on the game isn’t.
Downlow Malone would score at will and ran the Pick and Roll to perfection with John Stockton. By doing those two things well he helped open the floor a bit for Jeff Hornacek and Bryon Russell. Having J.Sloan as the coach helped alot as well, especially when it comes to running the pick and roll. Substitute Malone for Dirk and the Jazz become better. Defensively they add a bigger and longer body, which pays dividends when defending. Offensively it’ll help help open up more things. With him stretching the floor he’ll open up lanes for Stockton to drive in as well as Hornacek. At 6’9 Malone wasn’t a joke but he also wasn’t a 7ft pure shooter that couldn’t be stopped.

Coincidentally Dirk won his first Playoff series against Karl Malone. During that series Malone averaged: 28ppg 4to 1blk 1stl 3ast 9reb and 24shots, while shooting 80% FT, 50% 3pt ( 0.2 -0.4 that doesn’t count!) and 40% from the field.
Dirk averaged: 24pts 2to 1blk 0stl 2ast 8reb and 16 shots, while shooting 90% FT 34% 3pt and 40% from the field.
Is there a clear winner? I mean give Dirk the same amount of shots and he would’ve averaged more points. But honestly this debate can go either way. Would you prefer a nice, average sized post man who is devastating on the low block, or a 7ft big who can shoot from anywhere and is just as good downlow as anyone else? The choice is yours.

Now it’s time to see how Dirk measures up the greatest PF, Tim Duncan. Duncan is a 4x Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 2x MVP, 14x All-Star, , 9x All-NBA First Team and 3x Second Team Player, 8x All-Defensive First Team and 5x All-Defensive Second Team player and a former Rookie of the Year. With him boasting all of these credentials it’s hard to put anyone over him! But when you look at the numbers you see a different story.
Career Averages: Duncan- 20ppg 11reb 3ast and 2blks
Dirk- 23ppg 8reb 3ast 1blk
As was the case in other battles no one really gains the edge.
In 26 Playoff games against each other the averages look like this:
Duncan- 26pts 3to 2blks 1stl 4ast 12reb 18 shots 53% FGP 0% 3pt 65% FT
Dirk- 25pts 2to 1blk 1stl 2ast 10reb 16 shots 50% FGP 23% 3pt 92% FT
And once again we don’t have anyone gaining an edge. But when you look at the teams you have to give it to Dirk. Dirk didn’t get coached by Gregg Pop. or play with Tony Parker, David Robinson and Manu Ginobli. Give Dirk the supporting cast Duncan has/had and Dirk’s resume would look different.
He’s Great Admit It
Throughout all of the comparisons one thing remained constant, he didn’t have as much help as them. Despite not having as much help as the others he managed to get a ring with good role players. When he had Nash and Finley on his side Nash wasn’t Phoenix Nash and Finley aged quickly therefore making them good, but not great 2nd and 3rd options. Some say he’s not a defender because he doesn’t have any awards. What they fail to realize is that he plays solid but not great defense. When you’re 7ft with long arms you’re already a decent defender.
Other things people should take note of is how Dirk changed the postions. He completely revolutionized the Forward positions. After watching him terrorize the league as a 7ft pure shooter, GMs and others started drafting players of his caliber. Dirk paved the way for guys like Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol, Ersan llyasova, Hedo Turkoglu, Peja Stojakovic, Ryan Anderson, Andrea Bargnani, Kevin Love and others who are all essentially shooting bigmen. Barkley, Duncan and Malone didn’t do that.
Dirk also led his Maverick teams to 50+ wins in 11 straight seasons. Only Duncan surpassed that. Dirk also led his team to a 67 win season, which happens to be tied for the 6th most wins ever in the Regular Season. And if that isn’t enough Dirk is only one of five players, Elgin Baylor, Hakeem Olajuwon, Bob Petit and Shaq, to average 25pts and 10rebs in the Playoffs and last but not least the only 7ft player to be in the 50’s, 40’s, 90’s club.
At the end of the day he’s the greatest European player and the 2nd best, if not the best, Power Forward to ever play the game.
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Is Dirk Nowitzki a top 5 PF All-time? (Part 1)

         When people, fans, analysts, commentators etc, discuss the Power Forward position the conversation begins and ends with Tim Duncan, a player universally known as the Greatest PF to ever play the game. After Tim Duncan the likes of Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley and Kevin McHale get mentioned; when people try to compare Dirk Nowitzki to them most people say he’s soft and isn’t top 10. If you asked them to name 10 PFs better than him they wouldn’t be able to do it without repeating some of the names listed. Before I compare Dirk to the Elite 5, I’m going to start off from the bottom.
          Most of the young people in the world that pay attention to basketball, I’m talking kids, would say Blake Griffin, L. Aldridge and Kevin Love are better than Dirk. If we’re speaking about today then that claim may be valid, but since we’re talking about career wise they have to take a backseat to Dirk since their careers just started. But to kill this arguement even more, Dirk has led two teams to the Finals while K.Love hasn’t made it to the playoffs and L.Aldridge hasn’t been past the first round.
              Before Dirk got his ring, people speculated that Chris Bosh, David West, Pau Gasol, Rasheed Wallace, Amare’ Stoudamire, Carlos Boozer and Zach Randolph were better players. Dirk was taking a hit at the time for choking in crunch time and not being able to lead his team past the first round in most cases. What those people people failed to realize was how Dirk’s best teammate was Terry while Boozer had Deron Williams, Amare’ had Steve Nash, Gasol had Kobe, David West had CP3, Rasheed had Billups/Iverson, and Bosh, like Randolph failed to make the Playoffs in most cases.
             During that time span, 06-11, Dirk had seasons where he averaged 25pts 9reb, 24pts 9reb, 26pts 8reb, 25pts 8reb, and 23pts 7reb while none of the other players had years that were better than Dirk’s.
David West best season :  21pts 9reb
Carlos Boozer best season: 21pts 12reb
Rasheed Wallace best season: 12pts 7reb
Zach Randolph best season 21pts 13reb or 24pts 10reb
Chris Bosh best season: 24pts 11reb
Amare’ Stoudamire best season: 25pts 9reb
Pau Gasol best season: 21pts 10reb
   How many of those seasons are better than Dirk’s number wise without including FG %?
  Moving on now, if Dirk was on Rasheed Wallace’s Pistons teams they would’ve been a lot more dangerous. If Dirk would’ve been to that Hornets team instead of David West they would’ve been a lot better. If you put Dirk on that Lakers team that featured Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum ( sad case), Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson they would’ve 4peated. Put Dirk on Chris Bosh’s Raptors team that featured Jose Calderon they would’ve made the playoffs. Dirk and D-Will running the pick and roll would’ve equated into one of the most deadliest duos ever.( Same thing can be said for Dirk and Stockton but thats for later.) Put Dirk in Phoenix with Nash, Shawn Marion (Prime) and D’Antoni and they would’ve wrecked shop on league. Now lets flip the deal. How many of those guys could you sub in for Dirk that would led his Maverick teams that featured Jason Terry, Josh Howard and some jags ( Just A Guy,) to consecutive 50+ win seasons?
    I’ll answer that for you, none!!! Amare’ thrived doing the pick and roll with Nash; David West thrived doing the pick and roll with Chris Paul; Chris Bosh ran the pick and roll with Calderon, heck even Pau Gasol used the pick and roll to get going. In Dallas the Pick and Roll game wouldn’t have worked. In late game situations how many of those guys would’ve been able to shake loose for their shots like Dirk could? The answer is not many, if any. Throw in the fact that Dirk is the only one who’s 7ft with a stroke and an MVP award the debate gets ugly.
      Before he we can argue the Tim Duncans and KGs of the game we have to pay homage to some decent PFs that made names for themselves. Derrick Coleman, Dennis Rodman, Shawn Kemp and Chris Webber deserve some recognition. Defensively Rodman is 2nd to none, offensively he’s last to all. His offensive game was non existent and he was 6’8 which makes him a little PF. If he guarded Dirk he would get lit up for 40+.
       Now Derrick Coleman was nice, former #1 overall pick, but he only had 4 years of averaging 20+ and one allstar appearance so he’s pretty much cooked in this argument. Chris Webber doesn’t really make it an arguement either. He only had 2 years where he averaged 25pts or more. Furthermore his career was derailed by injury so we didn’t see the full extent of C-Webb. But his awards don’t really compare to Dirks either so he’s done.
        Shawn Kemp was yesterday’s Blake Griffin. His dunks were monstrous and breath taking, but every thing was OK at best. For his career he averages 14.6pts 8.4reb 1st. He tallied a total of two season in which he averaged 20 or more; his best season was when he averaged 19pts and 11reb, which really isn’t all that when compared to Dirk.
            THE TIME HAS COME

    When compared to the guys from earlier it wasn’t that fair, in the sense that he was head and shoulders above everyone else. At this stage things aren’t going be as easy, but you already knew that.
      Earlier when naming the top 5 PFs I put them in order. For those who don’t recall the sequence goes Tim Duncan-Karl Malone-Charles Barkley-Kevin Garnett-Kevin McHale. Instead of jumping the gun and going at Karl Malone or Barkley first i’ll start from the bottom.
                Dirk vs McHale
    During his time McHale was one of the best low post scorers in the game. He could defend and was an efficient player. Not to take away from his but he played with Larry Bird, arguably the best SF ever, and one the best centers ever in Robert Parish; not mention guys like Bill Walton and D.Johnson. Playing alongside them helped and hurt his career in a way. It helped because he won and accomplished some things, but it hurt because we never saw him as the main guy like we’ve seen KG, Dirk, Duncan, Barkley and Malone be. When looking at awards he has 3 rings, two 6th-man awards, 7 allstar appearances and 6 all defensive team honors. Dirk on the other hand has an MVP award, 9 allstar selections and a Finals MVP award. Throw in the fact that Dirk never played with an Allstar,( I’m not talking about an allstar that made the team as an injury replacement JOSH HOWARD,) and beat the two best players in the league, which had a top 15 player alongside them at the time, by his self shows how good Dirk really is. Give Dirk Larry Legend and the Chief and I’m sure he would have multiple championships. Dirk was also apart of the 50’s 40’s 90’s club at one point of time. Having Dirk with Parish would make that Celtics team bigger and a lot better offensively because of his floor spacing. Sorry McHale but Dirk brought another element to the table.
                 Dirk vs KG

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This debate can go either way. Defensively Garnett has it but offensively Dirk has it. They both aren’t bangers and play in a finesse style. KG does post fades and so does Dirk. Enough of that though, it’s time for the stats.
    For his career Garnett averages 19.1pts 1.5blks 1.3stl 2.3to 4ast 10.5reb 49.8% FGP 77.6 FTP

Dirk on the other hand averages 22.7ppg 0.9blk 0.9stl 1.9to. 2.6ast 8.2reb 47.4% FGP 87%FTP
   When looking at both they’re identical so that doesn’t help as much. If you look at their best season, no one gains the advantage.
KG Best Season: 24.2ppg 1.5stl 2.2blks 5.0ast 14reb 50% FGP

Dirk Best Season: 25ppg 0.7stl 0.8blk 3.4ast 9reb 50% FGP 41% 3pt 90% FT
Maybe Post Season play will help out.
Dirk’s postseason average: 26ppg 10reb 3ast 1blk 1stl

KG’s postseason average:  20ppg 11reb 4ast 1blk 1stl.

    After viewing that Dirk gains the edge and KG doesn’t recover. Before KG went to Boston he got out of the first round once. During one of his many first exits, KG got dogged by Dirk Nowitzki.  Dirk’s team sweep KG’s with some lopsided stats.
    In the the three games they played against each other the stats looked like this:
Points Per Game:
KG- 24.0
Dirk- 33.3
Turnovers:
KG-4
Dirk-2
Blocks:
KG- 1.7
Dirk- 1.3
Steals:
KG- 1.7
Dirk- 3
Assists:
KG- 5
Dirk- 1
Rebounds:
KG- 19
Dirk- 16
Field Goal %, ( FG, 3pt, FT,) :
KG- 43% 50% 71%
Dirk- 52% 72%
Dirk pretty much wins this one because of that and because he didn’t play with Pierce, Rondo and Allen, or be coached by Doc Rivers. If KG and Rondo are a great pick and roll, pick and pop tandem picture what Dirk would do. At the end of the day Dirk has done more with less. Put Dirk on the Celtics and they’ll be a lot better because of his offensive skill set.
TBC.

The Rivalry That Never Was. Kobe vs LeBron

       

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Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, two of the three most talked about players in NBA History, with Michael Jordan being the other, continue to dazzle our eyes with great inseason matchups that will never translate into a much anticipated NBA Finals series.

Once LeBron ascended into a top tier player fans of the game dreamed of an NBA series that involved both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. LeBron, like Kobe, was suppose to be the second coming of Jordan. Both Kobe and LeBron acknowledged Michael Jordan as their idol and a player they wanted to be like. LeBron adopted Jordan’s number while Kobe adopted Michael’s game and body language. Once Kobe and Shaq broke up people talked about four things, Kobe, Shaq, Duncan and LeBron. LeBron was asserting himself as an elite NBA player. He led his Cavaliers to the Playoffs and had memorable series against the Wizards and Pistons early. During that tenure LeBron James was anointed the nickname King James.

On the other side of the U.S. Kobe Bryant led his teams to the Playoffs and had memorable series against the Phoenix Suns. Each player had little to no help en route to leading their teams to the playoffs. After the 2006-2007 season (which was the year LeBron lost to the Spurs in the Finals), the Kobe LeBron Finals matchup seemed more realistic.

The following year Boston got Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, L.A got Pau Gasol, Atlanta got Mike Bibby, Dallas got Jason Kidd and Phoenix got Shaq. Not only did those trades change the NBA landscape they made the Kobe and LeBron matchup a little bit more realistic. With J-Kidd and Shaq heading out West that paved the way for LeBron and his Cavs to move up into the upperechelon of the Eastern Conference. With the Lakers acquiring Pau Gasol they became the team to beat out West.

During the Playoffs that year LeBron and his Cavs took Boston to seven games and lost while Kobe and his new sidekick, Gasol, went all the way to the NBA Finals in a matchup with Boston. Eventually the Lakers lost and had a dreadful offseason.

Before the start of the 08-09 season LeBron’s team brought in Mo Williams to help propel them to another level. To help solidify their roster even more Cleveland pulled off a trade to bring in Ben Wallace and Delonte West. After bringing those guys in talks of a Kobe vs LeBron Finals matchup intensified. After having signed both LeBron and Kobe to lucrative deals Nike started making commercials about the two meeting in the Finals. Once Playoff time came around all eyes were on LeBron and Kobe. Each player led their team to the Conference Finals but only one advanced to the NBA Finals.

LeBron and Co. faced an Orlando Magic team led by Dwight Howard. In six hard fought games the Magic outlasted the Cavaliers and sent LeBron home in the process. Kobe on the other hand, led his team past a Nuggets team that featured Carmelo Anthony. After six tough games against Denver Kobe went on to the Finals where he beat the Magic and earned his fourth ring.

Weeks after the Lakers celebrated their Championship Parade, the Cavaliers did a trade with the Phoenix Suns to bring in Shaq. Days later the Lakers sign Ron Artest. Players, fans,coaches and analysts got the sense that a Kobe and LeBron series had become inevitable. Both teams started the season off strong. Even with the great start, Cleveland felt like they needed to give LeBron more help. At the trade deadline Cleveland did a trade that brought in Antwan Jamison. GMs and Experts said that move made Cleveland the best team in the league. Weeks later the Nike commercials came back campaigning for a LeBron and Kobe showdown. People around the world got hyped up and excited until the Playoffs came around. In the 2nd round of the Playoffs the Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics, who go on to lose to the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

While Kobe is having fun with his 5th ring, LeBron bolts Cleveland and signs with the Miami Heat to play alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Now that LeBron had Wade and Bosh nothing was suppose to keep him playing in the Finals against Kobe Bryant. Once again people anticipated a Kobe and LeBron Finals matchup, until the Dallas Mavericks shocked the world. On four magical wins the Mavericks swept the defending NBA Champions in round two of the Western Conference Playoffs.

Instead of a Kobe and LeBron showdown fans got a Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade rematch. The end result being LeBron goes home ringless and Kobeless yet again. Last year LeBron led his team to victory in the Finals against the arguably the best scorer the game has ever seen in Kevin Durant, and the OKC Thunder, who happened to beat Kobe and the Lakers two rounds earlier.

During the offseason the Heat picked up Ray Allen and the Lakers traded for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to make one last push to the NBA Finals while Kobe is still in play. Fast-Forward about six months and we’ll be where we are today. We have the Miami Heat as the top dog in the league while the Lakers are like a lost puppy finding their way, while struggling to keep pace with the nine teams ahead of them in the Playoff Race. LeBron and Kobe have been in each of the past six NBA Finals without matching up against each other. Six straight years without one heated series between the two. We may have had some scoring battles between the two from 05-06 to 07-08  (http://www.nbauniverse.com/awards/nba_scoring_leader_year.htm),  and some nice two games matchups during the course of regular seasons between the two but thats not a true rivalry. Rivalries are made thru Playoff Series. Kobe and LeBron haven’t been in one against each other and don’t play each other enough during the season to even start one.

So stop with all the Kobe and LeBron rivalry stuff. Kobe has no true rival and LeBron doesn’t either. Kobe’s career is on the downside while LeBron’s is up North. It’s time to face the fact: Their paths will never cross.

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Who should the Heat Fear in the East? Pt.1

The Miami Heat are the league’s reigning champion as you all  should know. Led by arguably the best player on the planet, Lebron James, and superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. In route to last year’s championship they dismantled the Knicks in 5games, the Pacers in 6 games and the Celtics in 7 without Chris Bosh for a majority of that series. Once the finals came around they beat the Thunder in 5games. Ever since then people have wondered can anyone stop the Heat? Should they fear anyone? Who in the East can hang with them? The answers to those questions are yes, yes and plenty. The Pacers, Knicks, Celtics, Bulls and the 76ers ( when healthy), all have advantages over the Heat that they can exploit. During the Heat’s recent struggles most of their weaknesses were exposed. Lack of a consistent point guard, not having a true center and poor coaching are some of the issues that hinder the Heat. You can say it’s the middle of the season and the playoffs haven’t started yet so they shouldn’t be worried, but in reality when problems like those exist they get exposed even more in the playoffs. Lack of a true half-court offense also hurts Miami as well. The Chicago Bulls are a well coached team. They’re taught to fight, scrap, rebound, defend relentlessly and show heart. They do those things exceptionally well. The Heat on the other hand does every now and again. One major difference between the Heat and Bulls is that Chicago is way more mentally tough than Miami. If the two were in a series and Chicago was down by 20 they would fight and continue to claw their way back up. While the Heat would start feeling sorry for themselves and not play as hard. In a game against the Bulls a team has to have a legit halfcourt offense. The Heat don’t have a halfcourt offense that makes you cringe in your seat. It’s average at best. The rebounding battle wouldn’t be close. Chicago’s an elite rebounding team while Miami isn’t. Winning the battle of the boards is a huge step in winning a game or series. “Chicago doesn’t have a legit 2nd scorer like Miami does,” what good is a 2nd scorer when he’s just going to be standing around watching the main scorer go to work, as is the case in Miami when it becomes a halfcourt offense? As i said before in the playoffs its a slow paced halfcourt game. In an environment like that Chicago will thrive. If the series came down to coaching Coach Tom Thibodeau would out coach Erik Spolestra. I’m not saying Miami has no chance of winning because they do, but to think it’ll be a cake walk to finals appearance #3 is insane. The two positions Miami struggle with Chicago thrives with. Out of all the other teams in the Eastern Conference that could challenge Miami the Chicago Bulls are the biggest threat.