Monthly Archives: October 2010

Brandon Jennings’ First Triple-Double

A career milestone

It came just five days into the season and it came against the team that lead the NBA in team defense last season and it was also the first in the players young career. Last night the Milwaukee Bucks hosted the Charlotte Bobcats in what will be a night that Brandon Jennings will not soon forget, if he ever forgets it at all.

Early last season, Jennings wowed the NBA world when he dropped 55 points as a rookie in just his seventh game. Even he admits that his first career triple-double trumps that effort. “This is my best game since I’ve been in the NBA just the fact that I had a nose for the ball and I was being unselfish and I was everywhere. I was being a floor general tonight.” Jennings finished the game with 20 points on 6-8 shooting including all three three-pointers he attempted, ten rebounds, and ten assists helping the Bucks to their first win of the season 98-88.

It was the first triple-double recorded by a Milwaukee player since Ramon Sessions (one of the Beef’s players to watch this season) did so on April 1, 2009.

Jennings’ most productive quarters were the first and third. He tallied five points, three rebounds, and five dimes in the first quarter as the Bucks posted a lead of 27-18. In the third quarter he scored seven points, pulled down three rebounds, and dished out three assists. Milwaukee led 73-62 after three.The Bobcats would get within six points of the Bucks in the fourth quarter but not any closer than that.

Charlotte took the lead only once during the game coming mid way through the second quarter on a D.J. Augustin three-pointer making the score 34-33. It was simply not in the cards for the Bobcats last night as Jennings was the main attraction. He had four points in the second quarter to go along with two rebounds and one assist. These statistics were identical to the ones he recorded in the fourth quarter.

One thing is certain this year, with Brandon Jennings continuing to improve his game along with the rest of the sophomores it will be certainly be difficult for the rookies to win this year’s rookie sophomore challenge. Milwaukee’s playoff aspirations are in good hands with Jennings holding the reins.

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Filed under 2010-11 Regular Season, NBA at Large

Beef Stew

So beefy

After three days of NBA action there are a few storylines worth noting that are not from south Florida (you can read about ‘them’ everywhere else). With that, we bring you our first installment of a new segment: Beef Stew. This segment will be an assortment piece in which we discuss various issues, musings, and teams from around the league all in one article. We have done this before, but with the new season upon us we decided upon a snazzy new name. Please enjoy.

Hope in Clipperland?

Blake Griffin is the real deal. Clippers fans have waited a whole season to see their top draft pick in regular season action. Was the wait worth it? Well, they could have used him last year but they are sure happy to have him this season. He did not disappoint in his opening game. Griffin’s first points of his career came off a monster flush. He made it a habit of dunking regularly throughout the game even against Marcus Camby and LaMarcus Aldridge who guarded him at times. Griffin finished his evening with 20 points and 14 rebounds, nine of which were offensive. (Seriously, nine offensive rebounds!) He also chipped in four dimes and a steal. Not a bad night, huh? Looks like the Clippers finally have something going for them. Let’s see how fast Donald Sterling can mess this up.

Show me some Love

Kevin Love is good, real good. (Are we beating a dead horse yet?) Yes, yes, we write about Love extensively here at the Beef, but we have reasoning behind it. He is the best player on Minnesota’s hodgepodge roster. Therefore, it is easy to see that he should see his minutes increase over last season especially with Al Jefferson no longer being on the team. Apparently, Kurt Rambis is blind, dumb, or just stupid. Love recorded less than twenty-four minutes of game time in the Timberwolves season opener and sat the final eight and a half minutes. Rambis played Anthony Tolliver over Love for the majority of the game because of Tolliver’s defense, which allowed Carl Landry to score with almost the same ease. Love recorded a double-double with 11 points and ten rebounds in his limited role. This is an interesting occurrence as this was supposed to be Love’s year to lead the team but his head coach apparently does not agree. If this keeps up the relationship between Love and the Timberwolves could grow as cold as a Minnesota winter. KAAAHHN…err, RAAAMBIS! (Love is blogging for GQ this season. Check it out.)

When men get engaged, they lose a lot…of minutes

Sasha Vujacic is going to see a decreased role on the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Lakers’ fans, rejoice! You know what this means? It means the Lakers have a better bench than the mess of mediocrity they had last season. With Steve Blake and Matt Barnes coming to Los Angeles and Shannon Brown seeing an increased role behind a banged up Kobe Bryant, minutes are scarce for Vujacic. Do not feel bad for him, though. His consolation is being engaged to Anna Kournikova. Poor guy.

Magic Moments or Hitting the Wall

Did you know that Florida has more than one NBA team? Orlando sure does. The Magic rudely interrupted John Wall’s first regular season game with a walloping of the Washington Wizards. No, seriously, this one was ugly. Stan Van Gundy emptied his bench early in the fourth quarter with Orlando up 30. Ouch. Unfortunately, Van Gundy still has no idea how to use the talents of Brandon Bass. Couldn’t he find minutes for him in a blowout? You would think so. But, he didn’t. A win is a win and Orlando likes them in whatever fashion they arrive. Consider this a wakeup call to the boastful bunch from Dade. Wall finished the game with 14 points, nine assists, and three steals but was an atrocious 6-19 shooting.

Melo-man Madness

Yeah, Carmelo Anthony still wants to leave Denver. What else is new?

Technicalities

This season, the NBA has made it an emphasis to call a lot of technical fouls. It is like David Stern sees every player through Rasheed Wallace goggles (similar to drunk goggles). So far 16 technicals have been called (through the end of the Magic-Wizards game, at least) this season in a mere three days of play. If the league were a player it would be suspended for a game. The NBA suspends a player for a game once they accrue 16 technical fouls. From that point onward, every technical foul a player receives results in a suspension.

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One down, 81 to go

Tyson Chandler and the Mavericks kicked a nasty habit Wednesday night.

The Mavericks had a first on Wednesday night as they steamrolled into the season with a familiar result.

Their 101-86 win over the Charlotte Bobcats was the Mavs first opening-game win under head coach Rick Carlisle after they had lost the previous two openers both at home.  Jason Kidd had a career-high 18 assists and the Mavericks stayed perfect against the Bobcats at 13-0.

The first quarter was winding down as Dallas was carrying a 23-6 lead.  Dirk Nowitzki, Caron Butler and Jason Terry led the initial charge that was disrupted by a Boris Diaw 3-pointer.  Charlotte closed the first quarter with a run that held the score at 21-25

Carlisle started the second quarter with bench players J.J. Barea and rookie Dominique Jones in the game.  The duo both scored but lost the lead and the starters were put back into the game.  Dallas did not look back and secured a very easy win.

Stephen Jackson sat out the entire final quarter with what some are speculating to be a bad ankle.  The Bobcats were losing by double digits by that point and there was no use in putting him back in.

Tyson Chandler looked very natural in the offense and even had some impressive post plays with Kidd.  His ability to actually move under the basket will be an emphasis to this offense with the Maverick’s ability to move the ball close with slashes or aggressive passing.  Brendan Haywood was held to only 20 minutes in the game and Carlisle needs to make sure he is okay with such limited play off of the bench.  However, the season is long and we may see some rotation starts between he and Chandler.

The Bobcats did not look they belonged in the playoffs last season.  Gerald Wallace was very frustrated the entire game and even got into a scuffle with Chandler towards the end of the fourth quarter.  He and Diaw finished by shooting 10-26 from the floor.

Tyrus Thomas is really fitting in well with this team.  He came off the bench very aggressively and is really turning his game around in Charlotte after a dismal few years in Chicago.  We could see him move into a starting position as Larry Brown is forced to start smaller lineups.

D.J. Augustin made it very apparent that he wanted to run this team’s offense at point guard.  After Raymond Felton moved to the Knicks, the team was forced to start him over injury-prone Shaun Livingston and rookie Sherron Collins.  He looked lost for most of the evening and if not lost, then overly confidant.  He rushed into a lot of situations but also held back a lot and really wasn’t the play-maker that Jackson was on the court.  However, he finished with only one turnover and five assists.

It was an easy one for Dallas over a team that should really be a lot better.  Carlisle knows that the Mavs could win this one and showed it with increased minutes from his bench.  Let’s consider this one a warm up for some of the better teams in the league.

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Canned Heat

The Heat will need a lot more from Chris Bosh if they want this season to go as planned

NBA fans knew they would be seeing something special tonight when the 2010-11 season kicked off in Boston.  What they didn’t know is what would happen.

The veterans came out tonight as the Celtics’ hard-nosed defense showed its ugly side when the Heat came to town.  In this highly touted game of scorers with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, it was defense that paid off and sloppy shooting that helped the Celtics roll past the Heat 88-80.

LBJ finished the night with 31 points but that wasn’t nearly enough as the rest of the Heat’s starters only managed to scrounge up 26 points.  The bench only had 23.  The turnover bug hit Miami as well as both James and Wade amassed 14 turnovers while the rest of the team managed only 3.

Tonight’s result isn’t really what we expected at all from the Miami Heat.  Bosh only had eight points as the Heat only managed to shoot 36 percent from the field.  James shot 10-21, Wade shot 4-16 and Bosh was 3-11 from the field.  It’s a simple problem that the numbers clearly define: too many people are taking too many shots.

Heat fans need to be worried but rest assure, it isn’t time to pick up the red phone or press the detonation switch.  This is only October and we are sure that they will still be playing come next summer.  However, the Heat do need to figure out what’s wrong and fast.

First, the bench is starting to look like garbage and it’s only day one.  Udonis Haslem needs to figure out his place on the team and relying on Eddie House to carry the bulk of the scoring from the bench is not going to work.  Tonight showed that it’s going to take a lot more than just one player’s scoring to win games in Miami.

Next, whatever kinks and mental hurdles that are still present need to vanish.  What fans and sports pundits think of the Heat doesn’t matter.  They are saying that it is motivating them but their first performance of the year says otherwise.  Not just good defense can shut down a team’s shooting.  The game is just as much mental as it is physical.

Lastly, the Celtics are good.  A lot of people have already rewarded the Heat the title and that just simply can’t happen.  Last time we checked, there are several competitors in the East and Boston is definitely one of them.  Their core is old but they know what they are doing.  The pace was kept nice and slow, just like they like it and they took limited shots.

It was the grand entrance that many expected but it did say a lot.  The Heat aren’t invincible yet they aren’t in panic mode.  Several problems need to be addressed quickly or else the experts will eat this team alive.  Judging from the tweets and articles, the Heat will be listening.

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We “Rise” as One

By now every major basketball outlet and blog has reported on and covered Nike’s new LeBron James ad entitled “Rise.” (If not, it can be found in the previous post.) In the ad, which was created for Nike by Wieden & Kennedy and directed by Stacy Wall, James appears to directly address the audience about the events that took place in his life over the summer, namely “The Decision.” The commercial is simple and straightforward enough as its central theme just one question. James repeatedly asks the camera, “What should I do?” in various scenarios including the backdrop of “The Decision.” Yet, there is more to James’ question than how it concerns just him. Nike’s marketing and James’ own ambitions to establish himself as a global icon have yielded much more than simply an image. This pursuit has allowed individuals to implant and imprint on James their own ideals of who they want themselves to be thereby reflecting upon James the standards they believe they live by.

“What should I do?” is at the very least a rhetorical statement. It does not deserve an answer because there is no single answer. James does not need an answer, nor should the audience attempt to provide one. What happened this summer is over. As Bethlehem Shoals put it, “Do you want to live in that summer anymore? I certainly don’t…” Yet, he, like the rest of us experienced the calamity of the summer exporting on James our own issues and beliefs, not of what James should do but of what we, the audience, should do with their own lives. James simply became the embodiment of humanity’s question and his simple narrative in “Rise” only furthers that.

Davide Grasso, Vice President of Global Brand Marketing said in the press release for the ad, “We’re celebrating [James’] courage to forge his own journey even when others may have disagreed with his decisions.” Is this not the celebration of humanity as a whole? This is the American dream. It is the root of Western thought. The individual takes precedent over all else. It is the journey of the self, which every person experiences in their own way. James experienced it in a public fashion where he had become part of the journey for so many others.

A person who attains the status that James has reached frequently has the conceptual morals of hundreds of thousands, if not more, thrust upon them. James may or may not have known this prior to “The Decision” but either way it is of little concern. He has become the identity of a culture, much like Barack Obama assumed the identity of a nation, however in a completely different context. They are held to a higher standard, for better or worse, than an individual will hold themselves to. The spotlight never dims on a person who has elevated themselves to such ranks. It was this pedestal with which the media and people placed James, from an early age, which created the backlash that occurred this summer across the nation excluding Miami.

The current cover of W magazine sums up what James and his new ad embody. Kim Kardashian appears naked in a Barbara Kruger designed image that reads, “It’s all about me/I mean you/I mean me.” It is simple yet quite revealing about the cultural psyche all at the same time. Though Kruger works with feminist overtones this piece easily defines celebrity as a whole. Ms. Kardashian appearing in the nude signifies the intense scrutiny with which celebrities and prominent figures are subjected to in their everyday lives. LeBron James was, for all intents and purposes, completely naked this summer. Further, James could have easily replaced “What should I do?” with the lines Kruger has employed and garnered the same effect. With the ideals of individuals imposed upon him the lines of who he is and what the public perceive become blurred. In essence, they merge. It is all of us asking the question and making the statement. It is all of us who are at once contradictory and uncertain. It is who we are as individuals.

The ad ends with another question, “should I be who you want me to be?” This one can be answered: no. What we should want from him is to play basketball. That is what he excels at doing. Unfortunately it can never be that simple with the attention that is paid to him. Yes, this summer is over and with it the drama that it contained. Disappointment lingers, however. Is it disappointment in James or is it disappointment in ourselves, the audience, for believing and asking too much of a figure we so willingly thrust into the spotlight and anointed as the boy king. Who were we to set expectations so high? James has become more than just an athlete as he is a part of who we identify ourselves as. For as long as LeBron James remains in the spotlight we will continue to poke and prod him as we attempt to figure out who we truly are as individuals. “Rise” is simply a collective voice asking, “What should I do?”

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LeBron James’ “Rise” Commercial

This summer was easily the most tumultuous in the young life (he is six months younger than I) of LeBron James. In the eyes of many he tarnished and discarded the crown with which many had anointed him while he was still in high school. He went from the NBA’s golden child to villain with one decision. This is what LeBron James has learned to live with. Warranted or not, he is reviled and loathed because of a choice that he made.

In his new commercial with Nike, James addresses everyone concerning what has been said throughout the summer and what will likely be said about him throughout his entire career and beyond. One thing must be remembered, though: this is a Nike commercial which is intended to promote one of their signature athletes.

James asks the viewer, “what should I do?”  It is a poignant response to the flack and accusations lobbed at him. After all, in the western culture the pursuit of individuality is the ultimate goal while mob mentality is frowned upon. (In theory at least.) I think therefore I am. James has done nothing if pursue that goal to its fullest extent. James was lost but has now found himself…in Miami. Although finding one’s self can take a lifetime, James has reached a turning point in accepting who he is and reestablishing his voice. Yet, to do so with branding hurts his case. A brand is about money, not honesty or one’s true self. The self cannot be found in marketing.

Many will never forgive James for what they perceive that he did to them personally. They likely never will. James cannot win them all back, nor should he ever try. However, this commercial is his first universal response and it will not fall on deaf ears. Reactions to the commercial will vary but everyone can agree that it is a well made ad. The labels of villain and turncoat may stick for a time but for James, the ad is an attempt to becoming the NBA’s prodigal son. Whether the fans accept him again or not has yet to be seen.

The fans should be the ones asking the questions of James now. “What should we do?” and “what should we have done?” Those questions will fall on deaf ears.

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Allen Iverson’s Deal with Besiktas

Bring on the döner kebaps

It looks as though former NBA All Star, Allen Iverson, has finally come to terms with Besiktas, later than expected, to play in Turkey. According to Yahoo!, Iverson has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the team worth $4 million. That number is far more than he would have received from any NBA team this season. They offered him a grand total of $0.

The contract, which Iverson is expected to sign later this week (funny, isn’t this how the last Iverson to Besiktas story was reported as well?), is quite favorable towards the former Rookie of the Year and NBA MVP. It is loaded with incentives, most of which will come in the form of advertising royalties, and contains an opt-out clause after this season.

Besiktas has already begun their regular season but Iverson could join the team the first week of November and could play for them as early as November 6. Besiktas is considered the third most powerful team in the Turkish first division.

There is no word as to whether Iverson will come off the bench or participate in practice. He has never much cared for either of those. A strong showing in Turkey could turn the heads of some NBA general managers. Who knows, maybe the Miami Heat will come calling. They are always in the market for aging veterans and one of Iverson’s caliber could benefit them. However, there is no provision in the contract for Iverson to leave the team this season. So any potential pursuers will have to wait.

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