When the NBA Finals end every June there is a void left on my television and in my life. After the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in six games to capture the NBA championship I was probably more hurt than the Heat. The reality of almost three months without the NBA (maybe more with a lockout) sunk in and so did depression. So what should a die hard NBA fan do to maintain his/her sanity during this offseason?
First, call up that woman who’s calls you have been ignoring and set up a date. She may be crazy, but she’ll remind you of Game 4 of the western conference semifinals when Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum lost their minds when they knew their elimination was inevitable.
Second, head over to the doctor’s office and get rid of that “cold” you caught when you were vacationing in Miami/Cancun/Dominican Republic. The waiting room may remind of the death row scenes in the Green Mile, but it will also remind of Michael Jordan scoring 38 points against the Utah Jazz in the 1997 finals while suffering from flu like symptoms.
Third, invite some friends over to play some video games. This get together may only be happening because every girl you called was “busy” that night, but it will remind you of Kobe Bryant’s video game-esque 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
Fourth, take your kids/nieces/nephews to the circus. The flying trapeze artists and elephant manure should be the shock to your system that helps keeps you awake through these few hard months. The unbelievable ability of the circus performers should also remind you of Vince Carter’s 2000 NBA All Star Weekend Dunk Contest performance. Still to the date it is the most amazing thing I have ever seen produced on a basketball court.
This guide should help you get through those NBA off season blues, until of course the lockout comes.
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Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson announced at the start of this season that he would be retiring. Jackson has earned 11 championship rings as a head coach and made superstars like Michael Jordan, Scotties Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant into Hall of Fame players. However, during this postseason Jackson is in uncharted territory. For the first time in his career, he is coaching a team in the playoffs that is down 0-3 in a best of series.
The Lakers have struggled against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Maverick in the western conference semifinals. Lakers center Andrew Bynum attributed the Lakers struggles to “trust issues” the two time defending NBA champions are dealing with. These trust issues could result in a series sweep for the Mavericks and a less than spectacular end to the career of the most successful head coach in NBA history.
Jackson has lost playoff series before but never like this. In game three, Jackson was seen beating on power forward Pau Gasol’s chest to get the big man’s attention. Jackson has traded in his usual calm demeanor for a fire and passion that have seen to be birthed from a feeling of desperation.
Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant told the press that he feels the Lakers will be the first team to win a best of seven series when facing a 0-3 deficit. Hopefully for Jackson’s sake, Bryant’s supreme confidence and determination will trump the trust issues the Hollywood Lakers seem to be dealing with. If not, Jackson and his 11 championship rings will be swept off into the sunset by a newer and tougher Mavericks squad.
This season’s version of the NBA playoffs have already featured the elimination of the western conference’s top seeded San Antonio Spurs, a 46 point game from the Orlando Magic’s All-Start center Dwight Howard and a 40-foot three-point bank shot from the Atlanta Hawks sixth man scoring machine Jamal Crawford that helped eliminate Howard’s Magic. The Boston Celtics swept the injury depleted New York Knicks while Kevin Durant lead the Oklahoma City Thunder over the New York Knicks, I mean Denver Nuggets. The championship contending Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and defending champion Los Angeles Lakers also advanced to the second round.
At the beginning of the season I predicted the south beach marriage of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh would lead the Miami Heat to a championship this season. That prediction was looking pretty bad when the Heat started the season 9-8 and lost their first three match-ups against the defending eastern conference champions, the Boston Celtics. However, the Heat won their last regular season game against Celtics pretty convincingly and now lead the squad from Bean town 2-0 in their eastern semifinal best of 7 series.
The Heat have looked super human and the Celtics have looked their age. While Miami moves up, down and over the court at will, the Celtics have looked…..old. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are all fighting injuries while Rajon Rondo has looked disinterested on defense the past two games.
The Heat will capture this series in 5 games and will defeat the Chicago Bulls in the eastern conference finals. As long as Carlos Boozer continues to play poorly, the Bulls will have no chance to reach the NBA finals.
The NBA has a history of being a big man’s league. The early domination of players of like George Mikan, Bob Pettit, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain made it impossible for any team in the league to succeed with out size. The trend continued into the 1990s when players like Shaquille O’Neal, Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning became anchors for their respective teams.
The 90s were also dominated by big shooting guards. Micheal Jordan, Mitch Richmond and Allan Houston used their strength to create space and dominate their opponents. As time has progressed, the game has gotten bigger and faster.
The new trend in the NBA over the last decade has been the development of superstar point guards. The recognition for these smaller floor generals started when Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash won back to back MVPs in 2005 and 2006.
The player who has made the biggest jump this season has been Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose. Rose is averaging a career high 25 points and 8 assists per game. The biggest addition to Rose’s game has been a reliable jump shot. Rose is shooting 40% from the three point line and hit five threes against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. The addition of free agent forward Carlos Boozer to the Bulls has helped Rose get, take, and make more jump shots. The form and consistency on Rose’s jump shot shows the commitment he made to getting better in the off-season.
Rose’s development instantly makes the Bulls a threat to the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics, the superstar heavy Miami Heat, and the Superman powered Orlando Magic. Plus, he can still do this…