It's been awhile since I've updated this blog. But the NBA playoffs is just around the corner so it's about time I give my thoughts about it. The Chicago Bulls has really been the surprise team this season. Behind Derick Rose, they've been playing really well as a team. Note that this team has no legit superstar, as I don't consider Rose to be at that level yet. He's new to the league. Bulls fans have so much to rejoice. It's back to the Michael Jordan era where the team is able to beat the best teams in the NBA. Fans are out and ticket sales are sky-high. In fact, even nurses from work, rush into the games. They just take of their nursing scrubs and they're off to the arena. The Bulls homecourt has an amazing crowd. The Miami Heat on the other hand, with Lebron James and Chris Bosh wearing the Heat uniform is still finding consistency. They've beaten strong teams including the LA Lakers but at the same time bowed to the lower-ranked teams particularly to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In James' second game against his former team, his triple-double output wasn't enough to beat the determined Cleveland Cavaliers. Heat's big three is no doubt the strongest offensive crew in the NBA. You can say, they're a one-on-one team with James and Wade on board, but still, they can score. They're problem is on the defensive end. They are not solid defensively. I guess you can attribute that to the lack of defensive guys in their roster. The Lakers and Celtics have been struggling also. They are not as dominating as last year. The San Antonio Spurs has been solid this year but the question is can they do the same in the playoffs. In hospitals, scrubs tops must be worn by nurses. In the NBA playoffs, teams must wear not only their uniforms but their best game. Only the best team will survive. I'm very excited in this year's NBA playoffs. My team? Miami Heat!
It's been awhile since I've updated this blog. But the NBA playoffs is just around the corner so it's about time I give my thoughts about it.
The Chicago Bulls has really been the surprise team this season. Behind Derick Rose, they've been playing really well as a team. Note that this team has no legit superstar, as I don't consider Rose to be at that level yet. He's new to the league.
Bulls fans have so much to rejoice. It's back to the Michael Jordan era where the team is able to beat the best teams in the NBA. Fans are out and ticket sales are sky-high. In fact, even nurses from work, rush into the games. They just take of their nursing scrubs and they're off to the arena. The Bulls homecourt has an amazing crowd.
The Miami Heat on the other hand, with Lebron James and Chris Bosh wearing the Heat uniform is still finding consistency. They've beaten strong teams including the LA Lakers but at the same time bowed to the lower-ranked teams particularly to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In James' second game against his former team, his triple-double output wasn't enough to beat the determined Cleveland Cavaliers. Heat's big three is no doubt the strongest offensive crew in the NBA. You can say, they're a one-on-one team with James and Wade on board, but still, they can score. They're problem is on the defensive end. They are not solid defensively. I guess you can attribute that to the lack of defensive guys in their roster.
The Lakers and Celtics have been struggling also. They are not as dominating as last year. The San Antonio Spurs has been solid this year but the question is can they do the same in the playoffs.
In hospitals, scrubs tops must be worn by nurses. In the NBA playoffs, teams must wear not only their uniforms but their best game. Only the best team will survive. I'm very excited in this year's NBA playoffs. My team? Miami Heat!
With their acquisition of slam dunking forward Kelly Williams and high octane guard Ryan Reyes, Talk N’ Text has become a certified powerhouse and threat to the throne.
In their Tnt debut last Friday, the two stars helped the Tropang Texters get past the Coca-Cola Tigers while displaying a glimpse of what they could contribute for the team.
“For now we’ve got a pretty balanced line-up,” offered TnT coach Chot Reyes.
It may take a while for Williams and Reyes to fully get acquainted with their new roles so Reyes expects the rest of the team to approach the next couple of games with a great sense of urgency.
The next challenge for the Tropang Texters is B-Meg Derby Ace, a team that has been struggling offensively but has been surviving with their suffocating defense.
Reyes realizes the ability of the Llamados to dominate the game and he is prodding his troops to cOme with their A-game in the 7:30 p.m. showdown Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum he dubbed as a battle of offense vs. defense.
Ryan Gregorio, the Derby Ace coach, is just as cautious.
He acknowledged that their defense will be put to test against the high scoring Texters, who are on a six-game winning streak, and it would be a disaster to challenge the league’s second best team (7-2) to a shootout.
Instead, Gregorio said, they intend to disrupt TnT’s rhythm with their lockdown defense that has been holding opponents to 77 points and keeping them in contention despite the absence of star frontliner Kerby Raymundo.
The B-Meg Derby Ace coach said the addition of Williams and Reyes has transformed TnT into a super power that no PBA team can match in terms of roster strength.
“They are very deep in every position and every team that they play against will be considered virtual underdogs. That is an added motivation for us,” Gregorio said.
Gregorio said their goal is to secure a spot in the top 5 that would secure them an outright quarterfinal berth. But a seventh win in 10 games will enable the Llamados, who are on a three-game winning run, to stay within striking distance of leader San Miguel (9-1) and stay in the hunt for an outright semifnal spot.
Alaska also tries to bolster its playoff chances against skidding Coca-Cola in the other game scheduled at 5 p.m.
“We want to see if we can follow up the positive things we established in our last game,” said Alaska coach Tim Cone referring to their defense, rebounding and execution down the stretch that earned them an 82-73 come-from-behind victory over Rain or Shine last Friday to improve to a 5-4 (win-loss) record.
The Aces escaped with a 104-103 decision against the Tigers in their first meeting on May 7 – a win that Cone didn’t find satisfying, calling it “tsamba.
But as the saying goes, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Bo Perasol, the Coca-Cola coach, would gladly take it anytime.
And why not?
After starting the conference with three consecutive victories, the Tigers have lost six of their next seven games, including a five-game losing run. Overall, Coca-Cola has not won in almost a month, or since beating B-Meg Derby Ace, 79-76, last April 14.“I hope we can find a way to arrest our losing skid. We’re not even thinking about the other remaining games. Just this one,” Perasol said.
James, favoring a tender right elbow that appears to hurt worse than he's letting on, scored 19 points — 16 in the second half — and added 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Cavs finally saddled the stubborn Bulls to win the series 4-1. Unable to lift his right arm, James was forced to shoot a free throw left-handed with 7.8 seconds left.
Antawn Jamison scored 25 points for Cleveland, which will face the Celtics, reuniting teams that don't like each other and who played a testy seven-game series in 2008.
Game 1 is Saturday.
"A lot of people are saying they're too old, but we know they're going to come out and give us their best shot," said Jamison, who was not with the Cavs the last time Cleveland met Boston in the postseason. "It's going to be a hard-fought series. It should be fun."
Derrick Rose scored 31 points and Luol Deng 26 for the Bulls, who had several shots roll in and out in the final minutes.
Delonte West had 16 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 14 while racking up fouls against Chicago's big men.
The Cavs were intent on closing out the series at home but they couldn't shake the Bulls, who were trying to send the series back to Chicago for Game 6.
When Jamison buried a 3-pointer with 3:30 left, Cleveland was up 93-84, and for the first time all night Cavaliers fans finally started thinking about a matchup with the Celtics, who eliminated Miami earlier.
The Bulls, though, had other plans.
Deng hit a jumper and two free throws before Rose, who made Cleveland defenders look silly all series, made four straight from the line to pull the Bulls within 93-92 with 1:32 remaining.
Two free throws by James then gave Cleveland a three-point lead with 1:11 left.
Rose then tried a short shot in the lane that went halfway down before spinning out.
Cleveland's Mo Williams, who shot a dismal 2 for 13, then missed a baseline runner but the ball went out of bounds off Chicago's Joakim Noah. The Bulls did get the ball back on a steal, but Rose forced up an awkward left-handed layup over Anderson Varejao that was short.
James grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made his first attempt to make it 96-92, but with his elbow causing him pain, he tried his second shot left-handed and it was way off the mark.
Down four, the Bulls got a layin by Deng just before the buzzer.
James, who wore a sleeve on his right arm for the second straight game, refused to address his injury before the game.
"I don't know what is up with it, but I'm ready to play," he said.
So were the Bulls, who fought until the end to prolong their season — and for Del Negro.
Chicago, which had to win down the stretch to earn the No. 8 seed, entered the playoffs amid controversy surrounding its coach. Del Negro reportedly got into a physical confrontation with vice president of basketball operations John Paxson last month, an incident the team downplayed but could have long-term effects.
Rose said he would hate to see Del Negro lose his job.
"We both came in as rookies. It would be devastating," Rose said. "But it's not up to me, it's up to the front office. They're the ones that drafted me, so I guess I'm behind them."
Rose said it would be hard to imagine the Bulls firing their coach after making the playoffs.
"It would be unusual, especially since it's our second time (in the playoffs)," Rose said. "But the league changes constantly. I guess that's how it is in the NBA. It's tough to coach up here."
Cleveland's plan in the fourth quarter was to force the ball inside to O'Neal and let the Big Diesel power his way to the basket.
O'Neal drew two fouls in a five-second span on Chicago's Brad Miller, who was doing all he could to keep the 325-pounder out of the lane. Del Negro and the Bulls assistants protested the second foul and Miller had to be grabbed by his teammates before he got called for a technical.
One minute later, O'Neal got Noah to reach in and commit his fourth foul. The Cavs immediately went into O'Neal again, and this time he spun on Noah and dunked on the Bulls' outspoken center, sending the nervous, sellout crowd into a momentary frenzy. — AP
The deal was consummated yesterday and both parties claimed their teams will be better by the exchange.
Miller, the 5-foot 11 spitfire who earned the moniker the "Thriller," for his daredevil moves, adds a new dimension to a Ginebra team which, before he came on board, already teemed with star power.
Alaska coach Tim Cone said it was Miller who had sought for the trade, although no reason was given why the player asked to move to another team.
Cone said that he will surely miss Miller, whom he considers as "one of the real good guys in the league."
"He made it known to us for the last couple of years that he has wanted to be traded. It was only now that the Aces got what it felt a good deal," Cone said.
"I think it-s a good deal for us," said Joaqui Trillo, Alaska-s alternate governor to the PBA Board.
Miller is known as a prolific scorer and a fine closer � traits that landed him a spot in the Philippine team that finished 8th in the FIBA-Asia Championship in Tianjin, China.
Baguio, who blossomed into a fine all-around player during his stint with Barako Bull before he was acquired by Ginebra last conference from Air21, was also a member of that team handled by coach Yeng Guiao.
Interestingly, Ginebra and Alaska battle each other at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.
This will be Miller-s fourth team in the PBA after starting his pro career with Red Bull, which took him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 Rookie Draft. He also played for Talk -N Text.
Miller, the PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2002 and 2007, will have as teammates reigning MVP Jayjay Helterbrand, Mark Caguioa, Ronald Tubid, and Celino Cruz.
Ginebra mentor Jong Uichico said that he would rather "wait and see" on how to utilize a talented player like Miller, who will have his first practice session Thursday with the Kings at the Green Meadows gym in Green Hills, San Juan.
So far this conference, the 32-year-old Miller averaged 17 point, three rebounds and 4.5 assists.
It-s interesting to see if the native of Olongapo City will start for Ginebra or will come off the bench behind Caguioa and Helterbrand.
Both Miller and Baguio earn maximum salaries of P350,000 and their contracts will expire at the end of July 2010.
In what could be the biggest headache of opposing teams in the 2010 PBA Fiesta Cup Alaska Aces coach Tim Cone plans to field a twin tower combination of 6-7 Sonny Thoss at power forward and new recruit 6-9 Sam Eman at center.
Rather than alternating Thoss and Eman at the slot coach Tim will play the two big men on the floor at the same time.
Thoss welcomes the idea and is excited to show what he can do at his new position at the wing. He realizes however that it will entail a lot of hard work and sacrifice for the new plan of coach Tim to succeed.
I want to adjust to being able to play the wing and work with Sam on the court, said Thoss. That is pretty much my focus at the moment. We are both eager and excited during practices. We are getting used to playing together at the same time. Hopefully it will work out for us.
The Alaska big man says that he needs to be ready for the unique challenge of playing the forward spot.
Well I guess offensively I will have a huge advantage because of my size, said Thoss. But at the same time I will have to guard smaller, quicker forwards at the other end. So there is going to be a downside for me too.
Thoss says coach Tim explained to him what he needed to do and what were the expectations from him.
I will be working on my footwork and strengthening my legs, said Thoss. I will have to be quick on my feet all the time. We will see how I can guard smaller, faster forwards.
The Aces have been practicing for the past weeks with new additions Eman and import Diamon Simpson. Thoss and Eman have played not only against each other, but also alongside each other many times during scrimmages.
The Aces tested their huge frontline of Eman, Thoss and Simpson against the M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Ninos in back-to-back games in Cebu. The Aces lost the first game 87-88. They then overwhelmed the Ninos with their size and strength up front to post a rousing 87-75 victory in their second game.
Sonny and Sam have been playing great together. Sam is picking up things quickly. Sonny adjusting well to the wing position, said coach Tim.
Like the rest of his teammates, Thoss felt that the 0-4 defeat suffered at the hands of the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants (now B-MEG Derby Ace Llamados) during the PBA Philippine Cup Finals only serves as a stinging reminder that will help the Alaska Aces try even harder this conference. The Aces did their best but still fell short of their target the past conference.
Everybody is down losing like that, said Thoss. But we are definitely hungry to go out again and go all the way this coming Fiesta Cup conference. It (defeat in the finals) only served to make us more determined this conference.
The Aces were impressive in Cebu but are getting better everyday as newcomers Eman and Simpson continue to become better acquainted with the Alaska system and their teammates.
Comfortable akong kalaro sa loob si Sonny, said Eman. Pwede talaga kaming magkasabay sa loob. Sa Los Angeles (Lakers) nga mas malalaki pa sa amin si Pau Gasol at si Andrew Bynum. Pero sabay din sila sa loob.
Even with Thoss and Eman playing their best, the Alaska Aces may not be able to beat the Los Angeles Lakers. But with the two playing smoothly together the Aces will most likely be good enough and big enough to beat the rest of the field and win the 2010 PBA Fiesta Cup crown.
That's how Kevin Garnett reacted after his Boston Celtics (36-21) lost to the New Jersey Nets (6-52) 104-96, a loss that may as well have been by 20.
The Celtics earned a smattering of boos from their home crowd after clocking in with their most lifeless first half of the season, and that's counting a hot start that led to a very early 12-2 lead. As the Nets mounted a 27-14 run to close out the first quarter, the Celtics displayed less energy and willingness to play defense than many teams show every night in the NBA Developmental League.
It was a horror show. It is the low point of Boston's season, and perhaps of the Garnett era. The collapses against the Clevelands and Orlandos of the league are one thing, but scoring 15 points in the second quarter and eventually losing to a team that could turn in the worst record in league history?
"They played better than us. It's not hard to explain," Celtics coach DocRivers said. "We told them yesterday, 'It ain't the system. It's our heads. It's between the ears. And we've got to come out and play. Everyone wants to beat you, you can bank on that.'"
They did mount a comeback, of sorts, though its success would not have removed this game from the category of a moral loss. With some generous shot-clock management from the local staff -- allowing Rasheed Wallace to catch, turn and shoot a 35-footer off an inbounds with one second on the clock -- the Celtics were able to close the deficit, once at 18, to six on two separate occasions in the final 2:09. But four missed threes, good looks all of them, and loose balls going the wrong direction stopped things short.
"I talk about it a lot with our guys, 'Those [plays] are the basketball gods punishing you," Rivers said. "'You have no right to get back in this game.'"
The loss was Boston's 11th of the year at TD Garden, just one less than in the previous two seasons combined.
"Guys are coming in thinking they can win at the Garden, and last year it was totally opposite," Rajon Rondo said.
The Nets' win was no mistake -- they knew they could win. It was a magnificent performance, and one that should not go forgotten in the wake of the doom and gloom that will follow the Celtics around for a couple days.
"I don't [think] it's so much difference between [the Celtics], it's a difference between us," Brook Lopez said. "As we progress through our season we've definitely improved. We finally broke through tonight."
Though the Nets strayed from him on offense in the fourth quarter, Lopez was the bull that brought the game home, playing excellent interior defense while scoring 25 points on just 11 shots, hitting 11-of-14 from the line. Free throws, in fact, were the single largest factor in the game. The Celtics shot a higher percentage -- 50 to 44 -- and made more field goals -- 42 to 32 -- but lost because New Jersey went to the line 41 times, making 34, to their 11 attempts. It was clear which team was the aggressor.
"A lot of the season we've been settling for jump shots at very inopportune times," Lopez said. "Tonight we were very assertive."
It helped that the Celtics were quite the opposite, committing lazy fouls and giving up 18 turnovers and 10 offensive rebounds for a total of 28 extra possessions, handed to the Nets. Those are not problems caused by the absence of Paul Pierce, or by an illness that has gone around the locker room.
"I'm not going to sit up here and give a bunch of excuses," Garnett said. "That's not my style. You lose, you lose. They kicked our [butts] tonight, period point blank.
"Players have to do more, including myself. We all have to dig deep and see what we're made of as a team."
source: Couper Moorhead, for NBA.com