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Author Topic: ¶ NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments • Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres  (Read 733728 times)
ESB Mario Sebastia
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« Reply #59 on: May 11, 2013, 07:08:09 PM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Wow, what a first round!

George Eddy's International Show
In the end, the first round of the NBA playoffs produced two big surprises - the Chicago Bulls in the East and the Golden State Warriors in the West.

The other six match-ups went according to predictions even though the scenario between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies was somewhat unexpected with LA winning the first two games at home before losing four straight.
Memphis dominated the paint on offense and defense from Game 3 on thanks to some home cooking, the strength of their big boys - Spaniard Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol and American bull Zach Randolph - the weak ankle of Blake Griffin and the weak offense of DeAndre Jordan.

Vinnie Del Negro tried everything from a coaching standpoint, notably all kinds of small ball line-ups, but the way he lost confidence in Jamal Crawford, whose offense was sorely needed and missed, cost the Clips dearly.

In the second round, I see Memphis beating the Oklahoma City Thunder because, with Russell Westbrook injured, the Grizzlies' top-notch team defense is going to surround Kevin Durant and OBLIGE the other players to beat them. I think they can also outlast the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Finals.

San Antonio steamrolled a pathetically weak Los Angeles Lakers team that needed to call up D-league players to fill out their roster! Now the permanent soap opera can move into the offices of the decision makers who will have a busy and stressful summer.

The Spurs have what it takes to chase Stephen Curry around and also block out Andrew Bogut from the boards. Those two players were Co-MVPs of the first round creating an enormous surprise by eliminating the third seed Denver Nuggets by beating them at their own "run and gun" game.

Coach Mark Jackson got into the Denver players' heads, while the Australian center Bogut turned back the clock and Curry was unstoppably elegant gliding around like a speedboat on one ankle making shots from anywhere !

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This series became too violent along the same lines of certain moments between the Clips and the Grizz.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony and Stephen Curry: Gridlock or glory?
Photograph ESPN


This reminds me of my column a few weeks back called Injury Time and I believe that the referees HAVE to be more severe and vigilant when players tackle ball-handlers who are in the air.

In fact, expert Henry Abbott of ESPN's True Hoops site wrote an article called "Tackle basketball" which develops some of the same ideas about how to better protect the players. The problem is that there is, for the time being, too great a tactical advantage to dishing out hard fouls and it's the league's job through their refs to eliminate this advantage.

Let's NOT take a macho page from wrestling, American Football or ice hockey where violence is omnipresent because basketball has other values to sell like grace under pressure, skills, teamwork, high-flying acrobatics, superior shooting, ball and player movement etc.

When I saw some Nuggets target Curry's ankle, that was going too far even though Golden State was guilty of some dangerous and ugly fouls too. Tune back the testosterone and play ball, fellas!

The Spurs-Warriors series will be a magnificent opposition of styles and San Antonio builds its defensive success on committing a minimum of fouls so I feel that this will be a clean, hard-fought and beautiful match-up to watch.

Over to the East where the Bulls overcame all kinds of problems to push on regardless and win Game 7 in Brooklyn behind career-defining performances from France's Joakim Noah and Italian international Marco Belinelli who each scored 24 points.

Without Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, all sick or injured, this was a monumentally gritty and heroic exploit. Nate Robinson and rookie Jimmy Butler played much better than expected and the Tom Thibodeau system did the rest.

However, I don't see how Chicago can avoid running out of gas against the defending champions Miami Heat in the second round, similar to what happened to a proud Boston Celtics team against the New York Knicks. The Celtics squeezed every last drop of energy out of their aging bodies but it wasn't enough.

On the other hand, New York showed some weaknesses in the last three games against Boston and that can only give hope to the Indian Pacers in round two.

Too much isolation play and bad shot selection from Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith when the going got tough and too much useless off the court controversy could have been the Knicks downfall so I will go with the Pacers for an upset in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.


Rendez-vous in two weeks to talk about the surprise match-up of Miami and Memphis in the NBA Finals !

George Eddy from FIBA



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Coach Noeh
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« Reply #58 on: Apr 25, 2013, 01:08:13 AM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

International NBA playoffs preview

In the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs, there will be a lot more excitement in the Western Conference because of match-ups and up-tempo styles of play whereas, in my opinion, we will have to wait for the second round to get some passion generated about the East.

Miami should plow through Milwaukee despite Brandon Jennings' bravado in the media, and Indiana and New York will probably face just a little more difficulty v Atlanta and Boston.

The Hawks have some talented players and the Celtics have pride and tradition, but Indiana and New York have confidence, tough defense, youth and a deeper bench, so these series' should finish in the 4-1 to 4-2 range.

The duel between the Knicks and the Pacers in the second round will get our blood pumping, however!

These playoffs should also confirm the new status of Indiana's Paul George as an elite NBA star. Brooklyn against Chicago is tougher to pick and here's a series where international players will have a key role, especially for the Bulls.

The big question is, will Joakim Noah's sore arch permit him to D-up on big inside scoring threat Brook Lopez?

Another question, will Luol Deng be able to keep up his top notch workhorse role playing big minutes and working really hard on both ends of the floor?

Brooklyn's home-court advantage, Nate Robinson's shot selection along with Deron Willams' and Joe Johnson's playoff experience should be enough to give the Nets the right to get beaten up by Miami in the conference semi-finals.

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Miami should have more trouble beating either Indiana or New York in the Eastern Conference Finals, however.

Fasten your seat belts, it's gonna be wild like a roller coaster ride! We'll talk about the Miami-OKC Finals repeat match-up in a few weeks.
Photograph Bettor


In the West, each first round match-up has something of interest to offer us. Two of the series will propose run and gun offensive fireworks with high scoring like back in the 80's, and who isn't curious to see top gunner James Harden try and exact some revenge against his former team?

Oklahoma City-Houston may not be too suspenseful but it will be speed-freaky up-tempo from start to finish with almost no back to the basket play and a plethora of quick three- point shots!

Spain's improving Serge Ibaka and Turkey's improving Omer Asik will play a key role on defense with all those high velocity penetrators on the court. Let's bet on OKC winning 4-1 and Harden breaking 40 at least twice!

Another Formula One race will oppose Denver and Golden State with Stephen Curry in the role of Harden but the injury to David Lee eliminates the small amount of chance that the Warriors had to begin with to beat Denver.

This is a team that finished the season very strong and possesses a deep and balanced squad with a legendary coach(of the year?), George Karl, who really knows how to get the most out of his roster! Even the dramatic injury to the excellent Italian shooter, Danilo Gallinari, shouldn't bother the Nuggets too much thanks to their bench.

Clippers-Grizzlies and Spurs-Lakers should be more "knock down and drag out" affairs with inside play deciding the outcomes.

Unfairly criticised over the years, Spanish superstar Pau Gasol holds the keys to the Lakers' slim chances of eliminating San Antonio despite the Spurs poor finish to the regular season.

Pau will be the control tower who feeds Dwight Howard and approaches triple-doubles every night but San Antonio will pack the paint and the Lakers will be obliged to depend on their iffy 3-point shooting which should be their downfall compared to San Antonio's exemplary balance, ball movement and intelligent shot-taking.

Of course, none of the Lakers' outside defenders can keep up with Tony Parker or a resurgent Manu Ginobili either, so if LA wins two that's already better than expected after their soap opera season!

The toughest series to pick is Clips-Grizz. Last season's mammoth seven-game series could be repeated for our continuing pleasure and the opposition of styles is riveting.

Who will win the battle of the Big Boys inside? Can Mike Conley negate Chris Paul? The Clips have better outside shooting and the home-court advantage but I think the Memphis defense built around Spain's Marc Gasol will lock in and win Game 7 in the Staples Center.

I see the winner of this series having the right to get run over by OKC in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.


Fasten your seat belts, it's gonna be wild like a roller coaster ride! We'll talk about the Miami-OKC Finals repeat match-up in a few weeks.

George Eddy from FIBA



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« Reply #57 on: Apr 14, 2013, 10:47:30 PM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Cuban the cute ringmaster
of the Griner circus
Paul Nilsen's Women's Basketball Worldwide
The clue was in the last line.
Actually, it wasn't a clue at all, it was about as subtle as a 50 metre-high neon sign. I'm referring to the playful slap in the face which was dished out by Mark Cuban last week in the direction of Brittney Griner, the WNBA and women's basketball in general.

Suggesting the door could be opened for Griner to be drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban was quoted by ESPN as saying "that'd sell out a few games".

Yes, words spoken like a true billionaire.
At best, his comments were a weak backhanded compliment for Griner and at worse, a publicity stunt which yes, I can't help but perpetuate a little further - so maybe Cuban has already gotten the better of me. But then that's why he is who he is. You have got to love him. There are few who are more savvy when it comes to business, the media and basketball.

Yet, I seriously don't think there's one percent of Cuban which truly believes Griner could ever compete in the NBA.

And yet with scant regard for the welfare of Griner, the WNBA or women's basketball, Cuban set up the circus tent regardless, leaving everyone to come flocking, with women's basketball reduced to a mere sideshow.

My initial reaction was that Cuban had just screwed up and it was a belated April Fool's prank. Indeed maybe he was just having a bit of fun.

Let's face it though: Brittney Griner needs no more attention. She is already a phenomenon and she's the number one superstar of the women's game worldwide in waiting. Is that really such a bad thing? Being paid handsomely by powerhouse teams in Europe, starring in the WNBA, winning Olympic medals and being number one in her profession?

I might have had more of an open mind to the purely technical side of the debate had Griner been an amazing spot-up shooter for example.

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Perhaps someone who could manipulate screens, hold her own defensively and be protected by potential NBA team-mates.

There is every reason to feel assured on a team anchored by the 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner, a senior who ranks second on the women’s career scoring list with 3,203 points and has blocked 736 shots, an N.C.A.A. record for men and women.
Photograph: New York Times


Playing in the paint though - or even on the wing as a three? Forget it. I mean it's the non-starter of all non-starters. The amazing dunks which act as a magnet for non-followers of women's basketball at various social media sites for circa 30 seconds, would pale into the drawer marked 'mediocre' on any NBA highlights reel.

That is not disrespecting Griner, who I am guessing and hoping, had her tongue firmly in her cheek when she tweeted about doing it (the try-out). She is an amazing athlete and I can't wait for the day when she is in a USA senior vest and competing at club level on both sides of the pond, in the WNBA and in EuroLeague Women.

But it isn't a case of whether any female player could score in the NBA and contribute. It's all about the defense. Griner might make some shots, pull off a few post moves. Diana Taurasi would drain some threes and make some mid-range jumpers and Maya Moore might also do some damage offensively. However, that's no good if their respective opponents are able to potentially take liberties down the other end of the floor.

I have said so many times before that far too many people are obsessed with comparing the women's game and the men's game. It's just ridiculous.

For sure, the initial reaction to some mixed gender basketball in the 3x3 format seems to have worked well and is fascinating. But this concept of a wider crossover in the full version of the game needs to be put in a box and buried for eternity.

Women's basketball and men's basketball should support and compliment each other for the love of the game and should have their own identifiable stars, each promoting the sport. This is why I get so irritated when such gimmicks of this nature arise. Comparison is an apples and pears scenario.

As for those who point to the likes of Ann Meyers being given a shot at making the NBA back in the day with the Indiana Pacers, she didn't have the option of the same kind of bona-fide pro women's league which we have in place right now.

Seriously, it's all just utter nonsense and I am disappointed a few highly-respected people associated with the women's game have chosen to perpetuate the carnival by even encouraging her to do it.

No downside? What? Apart from having everyone gawping at Griner and then ridiculing her instead if she is trashed under the hoop and doesn't show she can play at the same level as the NBA boys? Women's basketball would take an unnecessary panning too.

I do take on board the point made by those who say it has been good publicity for the WNBA because people are talking about women's basketball. However, from what I have seen, it seems to be all about how Griner can avoid playing in the league, rather than how much she is looking forward to doing so.

I just hope those 'looking after' Griner give her good advice. Perhaps there will inevitably be some kind of exhibition game, but that just makes me squirm even more. It would be back to the circus again and attract curious rubberneckers with little true interest in the women's game.

Plus, all this isn't about Griner at all is it? Even if she is hopefully having a bit of fun engaging in the debate on Twitter, it's really all about Cuban and the Mavs.

Then again, maybe I am just plain wrong. Griner could go on to be a trailblazer for women in the NBA after all. Only that implies being followed by a succession of others - something which seems wholly unlikely.

Besides, the women's game most definitely needs its stars to stay and thrive.

So, at this precise moment in time, it would be preferable if a little more respect, support, resources and innovation were directed towards the women's game by those with power and influence.

Women's basketball could actually do with a lot more of Mark Cuban.


Only preferably using his incredible acumen and precious time to help it grow and thrive; for the sake of this wonderful sport we all love and primarily, to inspire young girls worldwide who want to be inspired to pick up a ball and play it.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #56 on: Apr 09, 2013, 05:03:11 AM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Injury time
George Eddy's International Show
Those of you who have read my articles over the years know that I am a proponent of reducing the number of NBA regular season games and eliminating back-to-back games in order to prolong players' careers and reduce injuries.

Everyone would have to make a little less money but this would be a positive for the players and the league in the long run because everyone doesn't have the incredible durability of a Kobe Bryant!
However, similar to our world financial system run amuck, the business math of the NBA is more based on immediate profit to pay exaggerated salaries than on intelligent scheduling to protect players' health!

Of course injuries are part of the ruggedly physical NBA landscape and efforts HAVE been made the last few years through rule changes to limit hand-checking and dangerous fouls which help reduce injuries.

I think they should go a step further and be more severe concerning hard fouls during the playoffs when intensity rises because there are still too many dangerous plays where the defender simply doesn't go for the ball but targets the offensive player's body and arms. They must be even more diligent when the offensive player is in the air!

To me this is more important than giving out technical fouls because a player looked at a referee the wrong way after a whistle or giving out fines because a player didn't wear a suit to the game.

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Last season we deplored the knee injuries of Ricky Rubio, Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert while this season bad luck has taken down Italy's Danilo Galinari who is a rising star on a surprising Denver Nuggets squad.

The Nuggets announced Friday that forward Danilo Gallinari tore the ACL in his left knee and will undergo season-ending knee surgery. Here’s a roundup of the media reaction to the injury, with an eye towards how the Nuggets, currently the Western Conference’s No. 3 seed, will fare without their second-leading scorer.
Photograph: The Point Forward


Not as serious but still unsettling for France's chances at this summer's EuroBasket in Slovenia are injuries to the French star trio of Tony Parker (ankle and shin), Joakim Noah (arch in the foot) and Nicolas Batum (shoulder). Only time will tell if the three can perform in Slovenia.

Noah recently talked about the permanent state of fatigue that he feels at the age of 28 due to the tight schedule of games and travelling which he describes as a marathon.

One wonders if Pau and Marc Gasol will be able to regain their top form after a trying season both physically and mentally especially since Spain is already qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup as the host country.

Zaza Pachulia won't be able to play for Georgia and Great Britain's Luol Deng will finish the NBA season dead tired after carrying his injury-riddled team all season long.

On the positive side, Rubio is back, France's Nando de Colo is starting for Parker while accumulating valuable experience, Serge Ibaka is having his best season ever with Oklahoma City and Goran Dragic his best with a lowly Phoenix team where the top three scorers are international players (Dragic, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat, who is out with a foot injury).

These four players should impress us this summer at the Eurobasket.


In the long run, let's re-evaluate our priorities and put the players' health at the top of the list while adapting rules and calendars in order to permit the best players to participate in NBA AND international competition under favorable conditions because as I have often said, the players ARE the product!

George Eddy from FIBA



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« Reply #55 on: Apr 02, 2013, 11:42:49 PM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

The Streak

Former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy was right. Beating the '72 Lakers' 33- game winning streak is a greater feat than winning a championship.

Of course everyone, including Jeff, quickly got politically correct on us by saying they would RATHER win a title but those happen every year, whereas the mythical record has lasted for 41 years with no one even coming close to beating it.

I'll take the record any day because it transcends several generations and the Lakers were my favorite team at the time.

I remember (like it was yesterday) watching live the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Lakers to stop the streak and the fabulous battle between Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain in the paint.

That was the year the Lakers finally got comeuppance on the rest of the league with a title after losing all those disappointing Finals' in the 60's.

That was also the year the Lakers won 69 games, a record that would take 24 years to be broken by the '96 Bulls of Michael Jordan.

 

Those Lakers, starting with Jerry West, are comfortable with Miami beating their streak but in my opinion, this won't be easy !

Jerry Alan West (born May 28, 1938) is a retired American basketball player who played his entire professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His nicknames include
Photograph: Inside Sports Illustrated


By the way, do you remember the "Restgate" controversy and big fine concerning the Miami-San Antonio game back in November? Do you think the Spurs will be motivated Sunday? Of course, if Miami can come back from being down by 27 to win in Cleveland then anything is possible.

Miami is no doubt the NBA's best team this season and LeBron James will, even less doubt, be elected MVP, even though France's Tony Parker is also a deserving candidate thanks to his best season ever and Charles Barkley's lobbying in his favor! The only forseeable problem for Pat Riley's (ironically a member of the '72 Lakers!) winning machine is if the Heat burn up too much energy reserves beating the streak which might open the door of opportunity for an upset during the playoffs.

Young, physical teams like Oklahoma City, Memphis, the Clippers or Indiana could create some problems if Miami headed into the playoffs in a state of physical and emotional fatigue because of the highly mediatised quest for the historical streak.

Despite Miami's brilliance and dominance, I must point out that Miami has been at an advantage playing against a lot of weak sister teams in the Eastern Conference where the top eight is already fixed in stone and the rest of the teams are easy prey.

San Antonio's record and Denver's 15- game win streak came under more difficult conditions because those two teams play tougher opponents in the Western Conference. Eighteen of the Heat's 26 wins in a row came against Eastern Conference opponents whereas Denver won only five of their fifteen vs. Eastern Conference foes! Six of Miami's next eight are against teams from their conference.


One thing is for sure; rarely have the last 20 games of an NBA regular season been so exciting!

George Eddy from FIBA



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