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Monthly archives: May, 2012

DID RONDO GIVE US GLIMPSES OF HIS FUTURE SCORING SELF?

Conference Finals, Game 2 – Rajon Rondo’s line: 44pts, 10ast, 8reb.

Were we treated to glimpses of what Rondo has in store once this Big 3 era comes to an end?

In recent years Rajon has legitimately become a star. Proven himself more than enough that he is the best player on this talent filled Celtics roster, which does happen to include future HOF beasts Allen, Pierce, & Garnett. 

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2012 NBA Draft 1st Round Order

2012 NBA Draft 1st Round Order

Here’s the full draft order for the first round.

1. New Orleans

2. Charlotte

3. Washington

4. Cleveland

5. Sacramento

6. Portland (via Brooklyn)

7. Golden State

8. Toronto                                              

9. Detroit

10. New Orleans (via Minnesota)

11. Portland

12. Milwaukee

13. Phoenix

14. Houston

15. Philadelphia

16. Houston (via New York)

17. Dallas

18. Minnesota (via Utah)

19. Orlando

20. Denver

21. Boston

22. Boston (via L.A. Clippers)

23. Atlanta

24. Cleveland (via L.A. Lakers)

25. Memphis

26. Indiana

27. Miami

28. Oklahoma City

29. Chicago

30. Golden State via San Antonio

 



NBA CONFERENCE FINALS (SAN ANTONIO) – THE COACH, THE CROWD AND THE KEYS

ImageSan Antonio Spurs 

Coach: Gregg Popovich

  Popovich’s coaching attitude is best described by his recent on court musings – “Get Nasty”. Coach Pop is tough, demanding and technical. This could be drawing influence from his early days in the Air Force. He and his staff only draft players which fit into their system, each trade the Spurs make seems to strike gold.
  Popovich has been in the league since 1987 and with the Spurs since 1994 where he began as VP of Basketball operations. Each player that walks the black and silver boards finds the coach to be a father figure, strong and unrelenting in his beliefs. The Spurs have created a dynasty around Popovich and players like Duncan, Parker and Ginobilli.

Crowd:

Live music, face paint, chants, the Spurs enjoy some of the most parochial support in the NBA. The Spurs can count Eva Longoria, Selena Gomez ESPN’s Michelle Beadle, and WWE’s Shawn Michaels among their celebrity fans. But the Spurs don’t want acknowledgement they play hard at home or away. The Spur crowd are fiercely loyal, an expectation to win, understand their teams strategy (drafting Duncan whilst Robinson was fading in 1997), one of the classiest crowds in all the NBA (this is reflected in the Spurs attitudes on and off court).

Key Player: Tony Parker

Determined, unstoppable and sneaky describe Parker, he is the only Frenchman you would want fighting for you. A playoff average of 18.9 points per game coupled with 5.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game Parker is a constant pillar in this Spurs team whether its supporting his team from the bench or serving as their coach on the court. He has the speed of a much younger player, the ball skills of some of the NBA’s best ball handlers and the brain’s equal to some of the NBA’s best coaches.



NBA Conference Finals (Miami) – The Coach, The Crowd And The Keys

Miami Heat

Coach: Eric Spoelstra

Not a decorated coach, but definitely amongst the NBA’s top ranked, Eric Spoelstra’s tenure as coach of the Miami Heat has yielded a playoffs birth every year since he became head coach in 2008 and took the team to the finals in 2011 only to be beaten by an emphatic, determined Dallas Mavericks squad. In his second year, Spoelstra was exposed to the incoming of star forward LeBron James and his task was to ensure James fitted into the already star studded lineup.

He has molded James and Dwayne Wade into one of the most deadly duos in the league and partnered them with the skills of Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem. The key to Spoelstra’s success in 2012 will rest completely on the relationships he keeps with his players. These playoffs, we’ve already seen an altercation with Dwayne Wade and Spoelstra that sparked questions as to whether the two do actually have a good relationship. If he cannot maintain the focus and respect of Wade, James and other key players it is unlikely he’ll be able pull off a Championship.

Having said that, the team possess enough talent for Spoelstra to work with and create a history making year for the Miami Heat. He’s still young, and has a great coaching career ahead of him with rings becoming more and more likely, but could the pressure of managing a Big 3 be the real problem for Spoelstra? Egos, money, talent, attention… They are all areas he must consider and focus on if he is to stake his claim.

You’ll see a very aggressive game plan from Spoelstra in the East Finals against the Celtics. He’ll be looking to attack Boston’s defense which has been known to shut down teams and grind them down, but Spoelstra will concentrate on putting the ball into transition quickly and killing the Celtics on the fastbreak as well as in the paint. Three point shooting has not been good during this year’s playoffs for any team let alone the Heat so unless Miller or Battier are on fire, don’t expect to see a lot of it. Look for sparks and fireworks through Wade and James.

Crowd:

Whilst hostile, Miami’s crowd don’t have the fire like Oklahoma City’s do. They are hugely passionate and turn out for every game, but they are not as loud or as game-changing as other crowds in the league. In this Playoffs however, they can smell a Championship. They can see that their team is on the verge of something special and this may mean a reinvigorated effort could spark their team to title status. The crowd consistently dons their ‘White Hot Heat’ t-Shirts which makes the arena look special, and should the crowd rally and find their voice it could be a deciding factor on the team’s Championship success.

Key Player: Dwayne Wade

Wade is undoubtedly the heart and soul of this Miami team. Sure, he may not be the main draw card, but he certainly is the leader. He has spent enough time with the team to know how it works, enough time with his team mates to understand the way they play and enough time with LeBron James to forge an intimidating partnership. Wade is one of the most deadly shooting guards in the league and when he’s on, the Heat are practically unbeatable. There is an erratic side to him that could become problematic, but assuming he keeps composure and continues to knock down points, he’ll be key in Miami bringing home the Championship.



NBA Conference Finals (Oklahoma City) – The Coach, The Crowd And The Keys

Oklahoma City Thunder

Coach: Scott Brooks

This young coach Brooks has been in charge of the young, emerging Thunder since 2008 and has seen this roster grow and go from strength to strength. Known as an emotional leader who positively compliments his players as opposed to pointing out weaknesses, and because of this has earned full respect and trust from his roster. This roster genuinely playing for Brooks. The Thunder usually rely on their prolific scorers in Westbrook & Durant and in that area they are sound but since Brooks’ appointment in 2008 he has preached the impotence of defense. Defense will be the key element this series against a very good offensive Spurs, utilising excellent defenders in Sefolosha & the sixth man of the year James Harden will be so important. The Thunder will also need to match the Spurs’ in the physical department. Perkins will have quite a job at hand containing the tough Duncan in the paint, but if he can match him physically it could prove to be successful for Oklahoma and put the Spurs off their flow.

Crowd:

Despite finishing just above mid-table in the 2011-12 regular season attendance report, the Oklahoma faithful are known to make quite the noise. Things have been quite exciting for Oklahoma since the arrival of the Thunder from Seattle, and the fact the team has gone from strength to strength and that they have one of the best players in the NBA has always ensured a full capacity at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. If the Thunder can steal a win in one of the first two games on the road, the crowd at home could really be the sixth man of the year. Oklahoma’s fans have shown to be thankful for this relatively new franchise and a finals appearance would be a great reward for their valued support.

Key Player: Kevin Durant

The young Durant is always the Thunders key player, even while playing alongside the explosive, high scoring PG Westbrook. It’ll be Durant, the roster and Brooks will be looking to to dig deep and match these tough Spurs basket for basket. He will be looking to crash through the lane, get to the line when he can, and will also be looking to get open from the perimeter where he can also be very dangerous. While the Spurs are fantastic defensively, Popovich will have written up plays to shut out Durant as much as he can. It’s a similar case to most teams as with the Heat, they would be wise trying to dry up Lebron (Durant) as much as they can although he will be too tough to completely shut out, and focus on closing Wade (Westbrook) out of the game.



NBA Conferernce Finals (Boston) – The Coach, The Crowd And The Keys

Boston Celtics:

Coach: Doc Rivers.

Doc Rivers has quite a task at hand this series, but along with only few other coaches probably possesses what it takes to beat or at least disrupt the Heat. Rivers has been known for some time as a players coach, and has always been able to get the best out of a player through his great man-management.

Doc has famously installed a real ‘family’ essence in the current Boston Big 3 era with him also famously creating the genius of ‘Ubuntu’ in their Championship winning year of 2007-08. With this years Heat series, it’s obvious Doc will looking to shut down the duo of Lebron & DWade as much as possible. With the duo averaging 66 points a game between them in the Indiana series what is Doc to do to dry some of those points up? Well Doc is ideally going to need Ray Allen to bring his A game in marking Dwayne Wade and that’s where no.1 problem lies. Ray Allen is no way near fit, and in the minutes he had in the 76ers series was quite visibly not ready. Doc may have to finally utilize both Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic this series and will most certainly get a
fair whack of minutes from Mikael Pietrus who hasn’t quite been the offensive player they may have wished for but can be very effective defensively.

Expect Doc to play moments of zonal defense this series as it has worked in the past against this incarnation of the Heat. Defensively the Celtics are one of the best teams in the League but aside from needing to shut down James & Wade the other area which will be critical in any success this series is offensively. The Celtics will need to be clinical in their shooting and will be needing Rondo to be as aggressive as possible.

Crowd:

The Garden has always been a place that’s rocked. Celtics players especially Garnett have spoken of the Garden and the
Boston fans as being their sixth man, they can honestly gee this team up enough to pull of late, much needed wins. This crowd genuinely respect all players on this roster and aren’t only turning up for stars, which also helps Doc install this family element to this great historic club. Expect to hear some real noise when the C’s are at home.

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Key Player: Ray Allen

Most people will be surprised to see Ray Allen as our key player, but it’s more of a factor of him NEEDING to be the C’s key player. Garnett & Rondo have been amazing in these playoffs, and have consistently been a nuisance. Ray Allen has still to produce this playoffs and yes alot of that comes down to injury but if he can shake this off in time, he could provide the spark thats needed offensively. If Ray can get his shot going it will not only take pressure off skipper Pierce but also Garnett who has had to dig deep defensively in these playoffs. Ray’s defence will also be key as drying Wade up could be the element that wins the Celtics this series. Wade has recently commented that Ray is still a big threat on the Heats radar and that they will not take him lightly, and so they shouldn’t. Although it may be a lot to ask of Allen, this what we believe is whats required if the C’s are to stand a chance this series.



This Guy Misses The Kobe That We Used To Know

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NBA Nation Australia’s Weekly Roundtable Feat. Leigh Ellis Of The Basketball Jones/The Score

Welcome to another edition of NBA Nations Australia’s Roundtable Discussion

Our Roundtable Knights Are:

Nick Caro: @NickoToGo

Nick How: @Nick_A_How

Leigh Ellis: @LeighEllis

This week we are joined by the 6th man for the Basketball Jones and The Score, Leigh Ellis. Leigh has been working closely with journalists in all areas of the NBA for a number of years and his podcast with JE Skeets and Tas Melas as part of the Basketball Jones are amongst the World’s most popular. Thanks again for coming along, Leigh.

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Warriors linked with move to San Francisco

The Golden State Warriors have been linked with a move to the Bay area (more…)



Kobe Bryant Channels His 1997 Self And Throws Down A Gigantic Reverse Dunk (Video)

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