Posts Tagged ‘russel’

Miami flops in Game 1.

Were Miami terrible? Or were Oklahoma brilliant?
       To be honest, Miami were pretty terrible. One shocking statistic- Durant and Westbrook ended on 63 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists. Lebron, Wade and Bosh ended on 59 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists.
       Miami were the better team for the first half, thanks mainly to the 3 point shooting of Battier and offensive aggression of Chalmers who had 13 and 10 respectively at the half. That said, how often will Miami shoot 60% from 3 point land? Oklahoma were still shooting a better field-goal percentage (<8%) by halftime, they weren’t worried. This is what Oklahoma seem to have done consistently against the best teams all year. Stay within striking distance before erupting and taking over. 
     I spoke in my preview of this series how the game would be won by the supporting cast, not the big 3 of either team. Chalmers and Battier were giving Miami the lead at the half. Then Sefolosha and Collinson took over the supporting roles. Sefolosha had Lebron in his back pocket all of the 4th quarter. There is a reason why Lebron only had 2 points in the first 8.13 minutes of the 4th. Collinson had one massive offensive rebound, tipping it out to Durant who hit a three. Not to mention Collison’s 10 rebounds and 8 timely points. 
     We can’t ignore the impact that Westbrook and Durant had. Wade is terrible at transitional defence, so when Westbrook starts moving through the gears and has the ability to pull up for a two or drive straight into the bucket, OKC usually wind up with a +2 on their scorecard. I remember Lebron in an iso move during the 4th, it took about 15 seconds and he ended up hitting a 3 point play from the free throw line. He seemed pretty pumped after this. Durant than casually brought the ball up on the next play before pulling up almost immediately, and sinking a 3 pointer. 
    Durant and Westbrook had 41 points in the second half alone. The whole Miami Heat team at 40. Lebron still scored 30 points but Wade forced too many low percentage shots and ended on 19. So we can assume Wade and Lebron will finish with 30 each a night? Ok, so what about Harden?
     He can finish with 20+ points if he wants and yet only had a 5 point game. If Wade or Bosh increase their points, OKC still have Harden who can hep out. It seems insane that Westbrook and Durant beat Miami almost single handedly. They just needed a little help on defence from Sefolosha, something he can do better than any NBA player, and a few rebounds from a 7 footer (Collison).
     I strongly believe that OKC can win these Finals in under 6 games. Unless Lebron has another 45 point game and Wade plays like a superstar and drops 35….it would still be a close finish to the game.
    Let me know what you think in the comments, who will win tonight? Will Lebron go carzy again? Will that be the downfall of Miami? Several Miami players are known to have commented on how Miami doesn’t feel like a team and how they wish there was more ball movement instead of just Iso plays of Lebron. 
    Lebron tried to win it by himself in Cleveland, it doesn’t work, just ask Kobe. Until Lebron realises that he has some great outlet options in Bosh, Battier and Chalmers, I doubt they will get near the trophy. Even Cole showed that he has some talent during the regular season and he didn’t even play on Tuesday. The Miami coach basically played 6 players on Tuesday and only two of them shot the ball in the last 24 minutes.

NBA Finals Preview

We have the final everyone wanted. Miami Heat, the most exciting team to watch.
                                                     Oklahoma City, the other most exciting team to watch.

Both cities couldn’t be more different if they tried. 
Bosh, Westrbook, Wade, Harden, Durant, Lebron. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be incredible. 

There are far too many talking points to cover. Will Bosh impact the game like he should. Will Chalmers be able to defend Westbrook. Will Chalmers even defend Westbrook. Will Iblocka maintain his incredible shooting percentage. Will Lebron choke. Will Perkins miss another dunk.  
I don’t want to drown you in this post. I instead want to talk about 2 things.

1) The game will not be won by either team’s “Big 3”.
Do I need to type all 6 names out again? We have the MVP, the runner up MVP. One of the most explosive and attacking point guards. The most undervalued forward. The 6th man of the year….oh and Dwayne Wade.  
Bosh, Wade and Lebron average 67.7 points per game for the Heat.
Harden, Westbrook and Durant average 67.1 points per game for the Thunder.
Unless you really want to tell me that Heat will win every game by 1 point, I fail to see how the game will be won outright by these 6 players.
I know Lebron dropped 45 against Boston, but Durant is the best scorer in the league. Logically, these 6 players will cancel each other out. Unfortunately it is never that simple, especially given Lebron’s history in the Finals (avg 19 ppg). However, for this reason, I’m going to predict that Oklahoma will win the NBA finals. The effort from Perkins, Iblocka and Sefolosha will exceed that from Chalmers, Haslem and….Miller? Oklahoma have a deeper and stronger squad in my opinion. But this is the NBA Finals, a stage where anyone out of 6 all star, superstar, super, suplerlative players can take over and send their fans into delirium. 

 2) The difference between Lebron and Durant is their personality. 
 The massive difference in their personality can be seen in one week during July of 2010. This was when Lebron announced his move to Miami via the TV fiasco “The Decision”. This was followed up by “The Celebration” as he joined Wade and Bosh in a smoke filled Miami Heat arena to the cheers of wealthy, cocktail sipping fans. Finally, who can forget the famous “…not 3, not 4, not 5….not even 6!” speech (in reference to how many titles Miami would go on to win).
The day before “The Decision”, Durant quietly announced that he had signed a further 5 year contract with Oklahoma. He simply posted on Twitter, “God is great, me and my family came a long way”. 
Lebron’s contract is littered with opt-outs should his romance with the Heat not work out.
Durant is property of Oklahoma until 2016. There are no opt-outs for him. To be honest, I don’t think he would ever want to leave anyway. 

To my close friends, it’s no surprise that I will be cheering for Oklahoma during the Finals. If anything, this post should show how optimistic I am that they will win, but you can never be sure, especially with the Miami Heat standing in Oklahoma’s way. 

Lebron Will Be Stopped.

             I recently watched the documentary that follows Lebron James through his High School years, ‘More than a Game’. Considering how much I dislike James as a person, the documentary manages to highlight a human and dare I say loveable side to him. There’s no doubt he is the best basketball player on the planet at the moment (with an exception to my ‘My Player’ in NBA 2K12), but is he the most valuable? Now that Miami are without the interior presence of Chris Bosh we will see just how valuable he is.
             I’m under the assumption that should anything happen to James, Wade or Bosh, then Miami would still be favourites for the Championship because of how good all 3 players are. However, Indiana made it very clear that the Heat are not the same team when all the 3 superstars aren’t on the floor. Boston revealed this flaw during Game 3 of the Eastern conference Finals. I am however writing this from the air so I’m unaware of the Game 4 result.
             Game 3 highlighted how much length the Heat lack. With Bosh out of the squad, Battier has been forced to play more minutes. With Kevin Garnett in the form he has been in, it wouldn’t have been a surprise for him to post impressive numbers in this series. The number of balls that were thrown over his markers head into the paint during game 3 was insane. He found it so easy to switch on his marker and get basket side. With Rondo as the point guard, Boston were getting a lot of easy buckets. It should also be noted that when Boston play without Kevin Garnett in the playoffs, they concede 29 more points per game on average. Boston doesn’t really have much right to still be in the series and I wouldn’t be surprised if Game 4 ended as a W for Miami. The fact remains however that without Bosh, the Heat have a very big weakness, one that Perkins and Ibaka cannot wait to exploit (assuming OKC beat SAS).
             Oklahoma are a jump shooting team. For a while I thought this would be their downfall against the Lakers. Can they really shoot over 50% from the floor every night?! Unfortunately they can as someone always seems to step up. The talent in the squad is so deep. Westbrook had a terrible game offensively in Game 4 against San Antonio. He is also one of the most passionate players in the league, so even though his shots weren’t falling, his “hustle” stat was maxed out at 99 all night long. He made a lot of key defensive plays.
             I know what you’re thinking- so how many did Durant score? Durant was very, very quiet for the first 3 quarters of the game. It’s how he operates and what he did every game against the Lakers. The man literally turns on a clutch button and starts draining everything in the last 12 minutes, it’s unbelievable. So how did OKC win a few nights ago of Westbrook and Durant were so quiet during the first 3 quarters? James Harden continues to fill the shoes of 6th Man of the Year. Not only that, but Ibaka ended up with 24 points of 10 for 10 shooting. Perkins played more aggressively than I’ve ever seen. Even when certain players don’t show up for OKC until the 4th quarter, or at all in Westbrook’s case, they still have players that put points on the board. Is this the case for Miami?

                                                             Hell no.

             Wade and Lebron have been carrying that team since Bosh has been injured. Yes a few of their players have scored 10/12 points off the bench but they don’t contribute anywhere near as much as Harden and Ibaka have.
             I’m certain that Miami will beat the paint attacking team of Boston, but OKC will provide a very different challenge to Miami. I feel that it would be a much more exciting final than if San Antonio were to overcome Oklahoma.

             Apologies if I hurt your feelings by writing negatively about James. I just really don’t want him to win a ring. A thin line divides arrogance and confidence. A line that Lebron is somehow impervious to.