Tag Archives: Chris Bosh

Meanwhile, in Another Dimension… The Heat Lost

Image

This image, courtesy of Deadspin, is a screen capture of the footage the local ABC affiliate in Miami was airing just after Game 7 of the NBA Finals. As you can clearly see, the graphic on the screen says that the Miami Heat lost the game. They did not. Instead they won their second consecutive NBA Championship.

Maybe, however, this was a feed from another dimension, a multiverse even. One where Christopher Bosh must battle the forces of evil. Could this explain the errant graphic on the screen?

Nah. They just gone and messed up. First the fans doubted the Heat in Game 6 as they bounced out of the AAA early and now a local television station outright says they lose. There’s a reason Miami isn’t considered a town with loyal fans. Way to prove that point once again.

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Team USA should win Gold Again

To get you ready for the Olympics, here is a small post about Team USA. A Beef Slider if you will.

With the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympic Games being held tonight, it is just mere hours until Team USA tips off to start their defense of the gold medal.

Much has been written about the perceived weakness, namely frontcourt size, that could be trouble when facing some of the taller teams in the Olympics. Those teams are Spain and Brazil. However, this incarnation of Team USA was built this way on purpose. Yes, several key big men, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh, opted out of the summer games because of injuries that needed to be tended to, but there are quite a number of big men that Jerry Colangelo and Coach K could have brought with them to London. The fact is they didn’t. They have opted for a different style of play.

Much like the Excelsior, this manifestation of Team USA is a great experiment. Yet, the two brains behind the current upsurge in U.S. basketball have experimented before. In 2010, the United States fielded a remarkably similar lineup, small that is, at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey. As is the case with the current Olympic roster, Tyson Chandler was the only true center in Turkey. All of this is by design.

Big equates to slow and lumbering in basketball terminology. Therefore, this team is versatile, lengthy, and quick. Very quick. In their five friendlies leading up to the start of the Olympics, Team USA used those qualities to harass the opposing ball handler the length of the court subsequently creating turnovers. In the open floor, offensively, is where this team shines.

In the half court the offense has stagnated at times against larger frontcourts as the paint has been walled off. If jumpshots aren’t falling then Team USA could be seen as struggling but they will recover. This is an incredibly deep team with superstars subbing in all over the place, Anthony Davis aside. 

Buy into the the worries about size that some have put out there if you wish. It’s your right to doubt this team even if it is unfounded. The 2012 version of Team USA should win the gold medal. Will they blow out every team like the Dream Team did on their way to the gold? Probably not, international competition is vastly superior today than it was in 1992. That said, the U.S. should have convincing wins across the board as they step onto the highest podium. They are the best team in the world.

Here is a full schedule of all the basketball games in the Olympics.

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Miami Heat Poised to Win Championship

One more

Doyle Rader: With the Miami Heat one win away from their second ever NBA title, now is as good a time as any for us to talk about the Finals. Last night, the Thunder, namely Russell Westbrook, threw everything they had at the Heat in an attempt to tie the series but came up just short as they have in every game since Game 1. Plenty of people are singling out Westbrook for the foul he committed on Mario Chalmers with 15 seconds left in the game as the moment the Thunder lost the game. (They were down three points at that time.) Yet, this is a complete overreaction to the play in my opinion. If it wasn’t for Westbrook in the first place the Thunder would have likely not even been in this game. He poured in 43 points on 20 made field goals. Everything was falling for him last night. It was a performance on par with what Rajon Rondo did against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. During the presser LeBron James even likened those two performances to each other. It seems to me that a new narrative (it isn’t that new actually) is forming around Westbrook, scapegoating him, doubting him, much in the same ilk that James has dealt with throughout his career. However, James is on the cusp of shattering his previous narrative and the baggage that came with it.

Travis Huse: If we’re looking at problems here, it’s not Westy. Harden went
2-10 last night and finished with 8 points, and here’s the part where I tell
you that he was still third in the Thunder’s point totals. They managed to
beat the Spurs with an effective team play atmosphere, and they’ve lost the
contributions from Harden and Serge Ibaka. Smart team play can defeat Miami, but pitting a “Big 2” against a “Big 3” is suicide.

Casual basketball fans tend to place much more emphasis on offense than
defense, and that’s the population most affected by Anti-Westbrook Fever.
But you can’t overlook how the Heat have been able to control the tempo of
the game, and Harden looks thrown off. He was 2-10 on Sunday, as well, held
to only 9 points. If he wants the label of next-generation Manu Ginobili, he
needs to step up better now, where it really matters.

DR: You’re right, Harden has been bad, but it isn’t just his shooting. For
some reason, and there has been much to talk about concerning Scott Brooks’
rotations, Brooks insists on having Harden defend James for extended periods
of time. I know that James is a player that is difficult to defend on every
level but this simply is not where Harden should be utilized on the
defensive end. Time and again, James will just post him up since he is
bigger and stronger and the results have been devastating.

Zach Lowe over at SI.com touched on that today. By his tally, Miami scored 24 point on James post-ups. The points did not all come from LeBron as he was able to hit open teammates when double teams came his way. He finished the game with 12 assists. How can anyone stop him at this point, let alone an undersized player known more for his offense?

It’s not just Harden, though, you are correct in pointing out Ibaka’s
dramatic fall-off but Kendrick Perkins has been equally awful. He is the
wrench in the gears. Nick Collison showed flashes of brilliance against the
Heat in Game 4 but then vanished. Poof! Scott Brooks is showing us his
inexperience with these stubborn, and at times haphazard, lineups that he
has been throwing out there.

Last year Rick Carlisle showed his flexibility by inserting J.J. Barea into
the starting lineup to wondrous results for Dallas as they went on to win
the championship. Erik Spoelstra was left in the dust scratching his head as
he stuck with Mike Bibby in the starting lineup for too long. Now, Spoelstra
is in command and his small center-less lineups are rendering OKC’s bigs
completely useless.

TH: To be very honest, one of the biggest hindrances in Lebron’s career has
been his unwillingness to post up. He used to be very prone to jacking Josh
Smith-type 3s, so much so that every time I play against him (Miami or
Cleveland) on the 2K games, I will sag off him and make him shoot it. I
might have to change my approach with the next one. And it makes sense that
their success has revolved around his post play, because the dude is the
biggest, strongest, most athletic person that might have ever existed. The
Thunder don’t have anyone who’s going to be able to defend him without
leaving a glaring mismatch. I’m not sure anyone in the league does, and
that’s why the Heat are one win away from the championship.

They’re a stronger team than last year, and they’ve found a way for both
Lebron and Dwyane Wade to play together. Right now their bench is outplaying the Thunder bench. I don’t see any way the Thunder make it as champs, and you’re right, Spo is out-coaching Brooks. Unless something drastic changes, the Heat seem to be poised to close this one out sooner rather than later.

DR: After the body language that Durant showed last night in the post game
presser this series could wrap up Thursday night. During that presser we
witnessed the return of Durant’s backpack, which had been MIA all
postseason. It too was just as sad an dejected as Durant as he let it fall
to the floor, shoulders slumped. It reminded me of the Western Conference
Finals last year. There were many a sad backpacks to be found in that
series.

Here’s the thing though, as I am not a true fan of either of the teams in the Finals, just a fan of the game, I have slowly come to view the post game presser as must-see throughout these playoffs. Sure, the questions are generally fluff, verging on inane at times, but I find them to be truly interesting.

Chris Bosh, who has been great this series, gives one of the best presser
interviews there are. Honestly, if more people heard him speak, instead of
instantly buying into the “Like a Bosh” or “Bosh Face” trope, they would see
just how smart, composed, and well spoken he is.

But of course the presser is all about the clothes. Man, these players
(Westbrook) wear some silly expensive shit. That said, Wade won the presser
clothes game last night when he came out wearing glasses that were straight
off the face of Dwayne Wayne from Different World.

TH: I’ve never really understood why Bosh gets so much shit. He’s a consistent 20-10 player, a perennial all star, who stretches the floor very well. His outside touch does wonders for the sometimes-anemic Heat offense, exposing the rim for the slashing of the other two stars.

It has become so commonplace to make fun of the Heat, that the worst thing I could think of has happened. I have moved past resenting them, past feeling sorry for them, into rooting for them as an underdog. Obviously, they are not the underdog, but I now feel that I have to throw stats in the faces of anyone who harps in on how much they hate the Heat.

DR: I found myself in the same place as the Finals started this year. For various and extremely biased reasons I cannot bring myself to root for the Thunder organization so that left me with only one choice. I have James many times on this blog, taking both a negative and positive view of him and his game. Seeing all the backlash towards one of the greatest players the league has ever seen has continually shocked me, though. Sure he, and the Heat have made some questionable choices in the past but does that really outweigh what goes on in a game? Miami is the most scrutinized team in sports and it is simply ludicrous to hear some of the things said about them.

The Heat deserve to win the championship this year, if for no other reason that silence the doubters who continually lob volley after volley of asinine rhetoric interspersed with buzz words at them all the while refusing to make sound judgments and arguments. At this point, if winning a championship is the only way to get it through the thick skull of some people that James is good and so are the Heat then so be it. They shall be vindicated.

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Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Finals Preview

Intimidated yet?

Doyle Rader: We finally know who will compete in the Eastern Conference Finals, however, when Derrick Rose went down in the first round this match up was all but inevitable. The Boston Celtics finally defeated a Sixers team that Doc Rivers described as “a pain in the ass.” Now they will face the Miami Heat who, despite the loss of Chris Bosh in their series against the Indiana Pacers, look every bit as dominant as the team that moved on to the Finals last season. When it comes to this series, the regular season meetings mean nothing. Boston owned the regular season series between the two clubs for the last two years but has only mustered one win against the Heat in the playoffs during that time. What are the keys for both teams in this series?

Travis Huse: The absence of Chris Bosh. The Heat is left with only two big names on their roster, and they need another offensive threat. Bosh’s outside game also would help to bring Kevin Garnett out of the middle, freeing up space for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. For Boston, they need some monster performances from Ray Allen, as LeBron’s defense can be otherworldly on Paul Pierce. Rajon Rondo‘s consistent ability to have triple-doubles in playoff games will be tested here, as well. I think it’s interesting that we have the two scariest defensive teams vying for the East, while in the West it’s a shoot-out.

DR: Missing Bosh could pose a problem but at the same time it could open up an emphasis on the transition game for Miami. When this team gets out running it the open court it is game over: Flying Death Machine.

As for Garnett, his defense will of course be a factor but his offense is what could hurt his team. He is a spot up midrange jump shooter off the pick and is effective at little else, especially if he has to put the ball on the floor. Yes, Garnett can still post up but is so predictable in the post, Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm pointed out that he posts up on the left block 60 percent of the time, goes to his right shoulder 40 percent of the time, and shoots a jumper 86 percent of the time from the block. That is the definition of predictability. However, it will be interesting to see who guards him. I imagine that the Heat will throw Udonis Haslem, Ronny Turiaf, Joel Anthony, and even Shane Battier, who could draw the bulk of the defensive assignment.

I’m just not sure that Jesus Shuttlesworth has anything left in the tank. He has looked terrible during playoffs and he has to still be hurt. If he can shake off the rust and put it together offensively he will have to contend with Dwyane Wade. Wade has been phenomenal on defense, as per usual, and will harass Allen all over the court.

In the postgame show after the Heat knocked out the Pacers, Jeff Van Gundy, who saved the program from its usual absurdist rhetoric, stated that this series will hinge on the play of Rondo and his ability to shutdown or limit Mario Chalmers and pace the Celtics. I have felt for two years now that this is Rondo’s team and this series will further fuel this idea. For the Celtics to find success if will be on the back of Rondo and let’s hope he keeps rocking those Nike Huarache Basketball 2012’s in the Volt colorway.

TH: This is definitely Rondo’s team, which makes the rest of the Celtics his weapons. His lack of a jump shot is rendered useless when he is able to work Brandon Bass into the equation. As a Mavs fan, you can’t look at Bass this postseason and grimace.

DR: Bass is playing strong and has played the fourth most minutes for the Celtics in the postseason thus far and is totaling 11.7 points per game. On a team that struggles to rebound the ball, Bass collects 5.1 boards. He is the fourth best player on the Celtics. If the Heat can neutralize him the Celtics will be in trouble.

Flash got style

What really hurts the Celtics is the loss of Avery Bradley. When he and Rondo were paired in the backcourt together their defensive numbers were amazing. In terms of slowing Wade, missing Bradley is huge. Keyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus have their work cut out for them. Oh, or maybe they’ll make me happy and we’ll get to see a little Marquis Daniels on the floor.

TH: Well, as of now, they’re real thin at SG. That lends itself to more minutes for Daniels, so we’re probably in luck. He’s going to be stretched to the hilt against Wade, but we already know Doc Rivers has groomed him for this situation all year. That’s the kind of thing he does, socking away money in Staples Center. This team is so well coached that they can weather these injuries as well as any other NBA team. There are just so many variables on this Celtics team, and the outcome of each game defined by so many questionable players, it’s very hard to predict. The Heat is full of shaky players, as well, but the strength of Wade and James makes them so much more stable.

DR: Daniels usually plays the three, unless Don Nelson appears and tries to make him run point (ahh, the memories), but if Doc gets desperate Daniels could definitely get spot minutes against Wade. Indiana was a better team than the Celtics and they could not slow down the Wade and James tandem. Frank Vogel said it best, “Chris Bosh is a fantastic player, but when he goes down, that means more touches for LeBron and Wade.” Those touches ignited the Heat and propelled them to three consecutive wins. The Death Machine found its wings. However, we must wait to see if those wings are fashioned by Daedalus and whether the Heat chooses to fly too close to the sun.

That said, the Heat will win this series 4-2. Hopefully, they won’t imitate last season’s celebration when they win.

TH: After what I saw in the Heat-Pacers series, I’m going to go Celtics in 7. It goes against my head, but let me explain. The best way to beat Miami is to get them rattled, and if the Celtics manage to rattle one of the Heat’s two stars for three games, they have a chance. If there’s any team that hypes its strangeness, it’s Boston. These guys are WEIRDOS. I’m thinking the Eastern Conference Finals might strongly resemble when Will Smith smacked the reporter for kissing him. KG should probably kiss LeBron right before tip-off in game 1. I wouldn’t put it past him.

But in all seriousness, with a long series, Doc could seriously dismantle this squad. I’m probably going to lose this one, but that’s what I’m sticking with. Celtics in 7.

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Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks First Round Prediction

Melo ISO, we will see that a lot

If there wasn’t some drama hog who lived in Orlando, this season’s headlines would have focused squarely on the tumultuous, and miraculous, year that the Knicks have had. They signed Tyson Chandler, they have been good, then bad, then terrible, then Linsanity struck, then Mike D’Antoni stepped down as the head coach before he could be fired, then Mike Woodson took over as head coach, then they signed J.R. Smith, then Jeremy Lin got hurt, then Carmelo Anthony played is ass off (he still is), then Amare Stoudemire came back from injury and that brings us to the present. Phew!

Now, the Knicks enter the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and are playing some of their best ball of the season thanks in large part to Anthony’s incredible play over the last couple of weeks. With the injury to Stoudemire, Anthony shifted to power forward and has excelled. His shooting range has drawn larger defenders away from the paint, freeing up passing and cutting lanes. When he has a smaller defender on him he has the ability to post them up or shoot over them. On the defensive end of the floor he is actually trying, and not just sort of trying, trying as hard as he can fronting larger players, swiping at the ball and hounding players of comparable size. This is a Melo we have never seen. This is the Melo that the Knicks traded half of their roster for.

Yes, the Knicks are back in a big way, so much so that Steve Novak celebrating with his discount double check move does not seem ludicrous. This is a team, that despite their myriad of injuries has persevered and one courageous storyline has superseded the previous one has it fell by the wayside. These Knicks just won’t die. Now they will face their next daunting challenge, only this one does not come from within the organization.

The Miami Heat are title favorites. They lost in the Finals last season and still carry that burden and bitter taste with them. Yet, they enter the postseason seeming uninterested. Miami sleepwalked through the second half of the season, resting various parts of their big three. During that span they rarely beat a team with a record over .500. It was as if they were just biding their time, knowing that they were assured of a playoff berth.

Despite their lackadaisical attitude after they All Star break, the Heat enter the playoffs as a second seed and are still one of the most feared teams in all of basketball because of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. They have some tertiary players as well, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, and Udonis Haslem lead that bunch, but when it comes to the Heat, it is about their big three. It will be curious to see if they do have that switch that they can turn on to return to their demonstrative, Flying Death Machine form. They act as though they are about to flip that switch, but is it that easy?

Miami will challenge the Knicks’ defense at the rim, namely Chandler, with their athleticism and slashing. It will behoove them to get Chandler into foul trouble early because not only is he the anchor of New York’s defense, but he is also a superb rebounder and the Heat are terribly undersized. If Chandler does get onto early foul trouble often it will allow Miami to open up their spacing on the offensive end where they can effectively use Bosh in the high post and elbow to set screens and pick and roll or pop opportunities.

Frankly, Chandler will be in foul trouble, that’s just what he does. However, the Knicks work better with a smaller lineup. It allows them to get their 3-point shooter on the floor creating isolation situations for Anthony and Stoudemire. If a double comes, they can kick the ball out and their teammates can swing it around the perimeter for an open look. There will be several moments during this series where Novak is left open, though he should never be, and he will drain an important three.

As much as they would like to, the Knicks’ starters do not match up well with those of the Heat. Their bench will be the key to keeping the games close. Miami’s ball movement stagnates when their bench is on the floor which is why Erick Spolstra likes to keep one or two of his stars on the floor with his bench unit. The bench is the advantage for the Knicks, however it would be disastrous to rely on them for significant periods of time against the fourth best defense in the NBA.

It may take a game or two, depending on Wade’s injured finger, but the Flying Death Machine should return to form and terrorize the league once more. New York will try and run but the Heat, despite their sixteenth rank pace of 91.2 are some of the best in the open floor.

It was fun, New York.

Doyle Rader predicts: Heat defeat the Knicks 4-1

Travis Huse predicts: Heat defeat the Knicks 4-2

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Team USA Finalists Announced

Repeat?

Earlier today the 20 finalists for Team USA were announced. These players will compete for a chance to represent the United States at the Summer Olympics in London. Here is the list:

Guards:

Deron Williams

Chris Paul

Russell Westbrook

Chauncey Billups

Derrick Rose

Kobe Bryant

Eric Gordon

Dwyane Wade

Forwards:

LeBron James

Andre Iguodala

Rudy Gay

Kevin Durant

Carmelo Anthony

Kevin Love

Blake Griffin

Lamar Odom

LaMarcus Aldridge

Chris Bosh

Centers:

Tyson Chandler

Dwight Howard

The vast majority of these players have played for Team USA before. Only Griffin and Aldridge have not suited up in the red, white, and blue.  What will be interesting to see is how these players fare after a brutally compacted season. If anything, the final 12 players selected to play in the Olympics might come down to a matter of health above all else.

From this list of 20 there are clear shoe-ins, most of whom played on the Redeem Team in Beijing. Paul, Rose, Bryant, and Wade are the top guards in the group. Bryant expressed his interest in returning to play for Team USA long ago and Wade has stated that this will be his last run as member of the squad. However, Wade’s future with the national team is up in the air presently as he is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.

As for the forwards, where Team USA is loaded, James, Anthony, Durant, and potentially Love or Bosh will be the main candidates to make the final roster. Bosh is playing exceptionally well this season but his ability to be multidimensional will come into question if he is to make the cut. If head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s philosophy remains the same, Howard will be the only center who makes the final cut. Under Coach K, the national team has become a model of hybridization. 2010’s gold metal team at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey was a pure experiment and subsequently a benchmark for teams composed of hybrid, multi-positional players. That team started Odom at center over Chandler and it worked.

With that in mind, and assuming that none of the “shoe-in” players listed above have health setbacks, there are still three positions left to make the full 12-man roster. Williams, Iguodala, and Aldridge would be, in my opinion, the best choices to round out the squad. Aldridge, because of his size and shooting ability, would serve the team nicely as a power forward/center. Iguodala, who shined in Turkey, should be included for his defense which will lead to transition offense for the team. Williams is easily the most replaceable player that I have mentioned who has a chance at making the roster. It might be wise to go with another rangy, multi-positional forward instead like Gay or even Odom, who can play three positions on the team not including point forward.

Whatever the final makeup of the roster, health allowing, Team USA will be heavy favorites this summer in London. Hopefully, they have another catchy nickname and congeal as a team. I wonder if Bryant will be spotted in the stands at the beach volleyball tournament this time. Let’s hope so.

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President Obama to hold Basketball Fundraiser

Ballin'

It is not every day that a President comes along that likes basketball. College football? Sure. Golf? Of course. Now we have Barack Obama. The Baller-in-Chief. President Obama is currently campaigning for reelection, while concurrently, with the rest of us, bewildered by the inaction of the Congress. (Really?! Pizza is a vegetable? Tomatoes are a fruit!)

In a fundraising event, the President will host a basketball game in Washington D.C. on December 12. On the slate to play in that game are Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Derek Fisher, Ray Allen, Vince Cater, Baron Davis, Tyson Chandler, Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin, Rudy Gay, Chris Bosh, Tyler Hansbrough (who the President has scrimmaged with while Hansbrough was attending UNC), Juwan Howard, Antawn Jamison, Dahntay Jones, Kevin Love, Reggie Miller, Cheryl Miller, Quentin Richardson, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Tina Thompson, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutombo.

The teams will be coached by Doc Rivers and Patrick Ewing. Even though the lockout currently would not let these two have contact with the many of the players, the league has bowed down before the authority of President Obama and allowed them to participate. It must be nice to have that kind of power.

Talks between the NBA and what was the NBPA have renewed this week. At present, both sides are looking for a date of December 25 to start the season which will consist of roughly 66 games. However, there is still a lot to be hashed out. Until the players and owners can see eye to eye we have President Obama’s game to look forward to. Oh, and the jerseys for the game? Dope.

Unfortunately, the President will probably not lace up for the game. We know he and Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, have mad handles so their street cred is not in jeopardy. Hopefully, this game will be streamed online.

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