Monthly Archives: May 2014

Miami Heat: The Road to 3-Peat

 

Miami Heat

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

 

 

The two-time defending champions Miami Heat are on a mission, pursuing their third straight championship in the last four years. With the series sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Heat seem to flip the switch into playoff mode that leads to Miami elevating their performance in the postseason. On the road to making history, who are the teams that can dethrone King James and the Heat?

 

 

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Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

 

 

Brooklyn Nets

 

During the regular season, the Brooklyn Nets became the first team to sweep the season series of the Miami Heat during the big 3 era in LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade. Adding fuel to the fire, the former Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will be sure to bring their A game, continuing the rival formed in Boston. With three of the four encounters being decided by 1 point, the Nets present the Heat with match-up problems with the ability to go small or big along with showing James various defenders with length and athleticism. Given the offensive weapons of Brooklyn, they pose what can be a difficult task for Miami to defend. The key factor for Nets to shock the world and upset the defending champions will depend of how well Deron Williams. The all-star point guard has been under scrutiny for the lack of performance during the first round. When playing at his best ability, Williams is a top premier point guard in the league.

 

 

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Washington Wizards

 

You can make the argument that the hottest team in the Eastern Conference playoffs has been the Washington Wizards. With the 1-0 series against top seed Indiana Pacers, Washington poses as a threat to the Heat with their speed and size in the starting lineup that may cause friction to Miami’s defense that could force them to make changes to their rotation beginning with the backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal and the front court of Nene and Marcin Gortat. What is the future could be what is now in the nation’s capital.

 

 

3 San Antonio Spurs Weaknesses to Exploit in the NBA Playoffs

USA Today Sports

 

 

San Antonio Spurs

 

If surviving the gauntlet of the Western Conference playoffs bracket, nothing would make the San Antonio Spurs more delighted than defeating the team who shattered their championship aspirations last season. Possessing the secret weapon that is the Coach of the Year in Greg Popovich, he is able to present LeBron James different defensive match-ups and schemes with Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw who have made it difficult for James on the offense while. On offense for San Antonio, they can adjust to Miami’s rotation while spreading the floor to create driving lanes and open three point shot.

 

Knowing that nothing lasts forever, the Miami Heat’s reign as the dominant team must come to an end. However, will they be able to accomplish the 3-peat, solidifying their mark on NBA History as a dynasty?

Top 5 First Round NBA Playoff Moments

     Were you not entertained? Thus far, we have played a total of 50 games in the opening round of the 2013-14 NBA Playoffs, including five Game 7’s involving both no. 1 vs no 8 seeds in both respective conferences. Before we advance to the next round of postseason basketball, we take a look at the top five moments of the NBA first round.

Getty Images

Getty Images

5. LaMarcus Aldridge’s career performances

     Coming into the postseason, the consensus pick to win the 4-5 seed match-up would be the Houston Rockets. Yet, LaMarcus Aldridge would dominate games 1 and 2 on the road. In his home state of Texas in front of his family, Aldridge would put on a large sized performance with 46 points, 18 rebounds and 2 blocks in game 1 with an encore showing of 43 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks that led to the Portland Trail Blazers 2-0 series lead. Eliminating the Houston Rockets in six games, Portland will have its hands full with the San Antoni Spurs in the second round.

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Glenn James/ Getty Images

4. Vince Carter Game Winning Shot

     The Dallas Mavericks vs. San Antonio Spurs rivalry has been in favor of the Spurs over the last decade.Entering game 3 with the series tied 1-1, Dallas would have the momentum going forward in game 3. As the game would come down to the final possession, the Mavs would turn to an unlikely source for the game winner in Vince Carter. Showing us why he is still ‘half man, half amazing”.

 

 

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

 

3. Game 7 Weekend

 

Never in NBA history have we experienced a first round of five ‘win or go home’ match-ups being a game 7. With a NCAA tournament feeling to it, the weekend would bring excitement and uncertainty to each game with majority of games coming down to the last minute. What took place in the first round is something we are not accustomed to watching the level of competition balance out for an entire series.

 

 

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2. Adam Silver gives Donald Sterling lifetime ban

 

The controversy of the recent remarks of suspended Clippers owner Donald Sterling was not only a black eye of the NBA image, but also became a detriment to the spectacular play of the first round of the playoffs. New NBA commissioner Adam Silver was approached with a serious topic at hand, expressing his power in the conclusion of his decision. The choice of Silver was the first step into the right direction of eliminating racism in the association.

 

 

 

Greg Wahl-Stephens/AP

Greg Wahl-Stephens/AP

 

 

1. Damian Lillard Game Winning Clincher

Every game would go to into the last minutes before determining a winner between Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets. Fighting for their playoff lives, Chandler Parsons would get an offensive rebound to go ahead lead, putting Houston in position to tie the series 3-3 before returning to Houston for a pivotal game 7. However, Lillard had other plans. With ice water in his veins, Lillard continues to show his clutch ability for his teammates while leadership in his sophomore season is on display, now solidifying himself as one of the top tier point guards in the NBA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/ USA Today Sports

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/ USA Today Sports

 

     The pinnacle of the Los Angeles Clippers success has never been higher this season before this year. Led by Blake Griffin & Chris Paul on the court and the coaching ability of Doc Rivers, the x-factor for the Clippers has been the substantial growth and improvement of center DeAndre Jordan who has become the anchor on the defensive side of the ball.

 

After signing a four year $43 million dollar contract in 2011 with the Golden State Warriors as a restricted free agent, the Clippers front office decided to match the offer sheet that would keep him in Los Angeles.

 

     While providing many highlights for the fans of lob city, many were beginning to become disgruntled for the lack of productivity being put on display. The team would continue to improve with the talents of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and the previous head coach Vinny Del Negro, who was considered the Achilles heel of the Clippers. Many felt Del Negro was infringing on the Clippers ability to compete at the next level for a NBA title.

 

Steve Mitchell/ USA Today Sports

Steve Mitchell/ USA Today Sports

 

     Acquiring head coach Doc Rivers, Jordan’s game has taken flight as he is now having his best season in his six year career. Under the tutelage of Rivers and his coaching staff, DeAndre Jordan has become a dominant force on the floor. Posting career high numbers with 10.4 points per game, league leading 13.6 rebounds per game, and 2.5 blocks per game, Jordan has put the NBA on notice becoming a contending candidate for Most Improve Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Rivers has also instilled the confidence in him to play him in the 4th quarter, something that Jordan was not accustomed to doing in the previous seasons under Del Negro.

 

After the recent controversy of the disturbing comments of Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Jordan would go on to become the spark to ignite his team after a lost in Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors with a 25 points, 18 rebounds, and four blocks that led to a victory, giving them a 3-2 series lead.

 

As the Los Angeles Clippers continue their quest for their first NBA title, they will go as far as Jordan can take them as the leader of the defense and creating second chance opportunities and finishing above the rim better than most.