New NBA Truths

Rarely is anything new learned by the time the NBA Conference Finals roll around, but just as the 2012 NBA season proved a wild ride of improbable proportions the postseason has been just as eye opening. This has especially been the case in the Eastern Conference, where the Miami Heat opened the series with a resounding win over the Boston Celtics. Heat tickets are available to see if these observations hold true for Game 2.

Miami Heat – LeBron and D Wade are better without Bosh

A few years ago NBA experts and pundits (they are not always one and the same) called for the expansion of the court. The height of the average player had simply become so excessive that the width of the court hardly seemed fair. The casual NBA fan might have been perplexed given the dearth of seven-footers, quality or otherwise, in the league. In reality there have always been very few players of such height in the league. Yet, the average height and wingspan of the players from 1 to 4 has exploded (6’4’’ to 6’7’’).

How does this relate to the Miami Heat and its two superstars? Without Bosh it seems like LeBron and Wade have more room to punish the opposition. I postulate that it is not simply a greater effort but the better spacing created by the subtraction of Bosh that allows King James and Wade to take turn scoring 40 points a night. Erik Spoelstra now goes to war with Ronny Turiaf and Shane Battier in the front court. Both players are actually undersized for their position, yet this lineup has delivered four straight victories.

Boston Celtics – Ray Allen is done

There is no reason to address the turning over of the team MVP trophy to Rajon Rondo. That has been evident for the last couple of seasons. The Big Three have been the Big four for some time now. It just may be time to shrink that number back to three with the expulsion of Allen from the list. Doc Rovers moved the pure shooter to the bench upon his return from injury this season and most of us ate it up as giving his second line an offensive punch (while acknowledging Avery Bradley’s elevated play). This postseason has featured Ray Allen shooting 39 percent from the floor, 26.8 percent from three, and 60 percent from the free throw line.

Allen’s last star-worthy performance came back in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in which he scored 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting, including 2 of 6 from downtown. This sudden fall from grace is not because of any less purity of his shooting from the waist up, but the crippling effects of bone spurs. His legs are gone and that is the equivalent of a boxer losing his punch. The Celtics are almost assuredly not bringing him back for next season but are praying he is able to play through what must be excruciating pain and both hit the jumpers necessary to keep a jump-shooting team alive and stay in front of the physically punishing Dwyane Wade.

Miami Heat Tickets for the Big Five

The Big Three may have not have been able to deliver in the NBA Finals last season, but perhaps the Big Five can. Coach Erik Spoelsrta has put this lineup – one with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in the backcourt and Mike Miller, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem in the front court – on the floor in the fourth quarter and the quintet has responded by closing out the Philadelphia 76er and the Toronto Raptors.

Against the 76ers, who have the fourth-best record in the NBA, the Heat ran with these five and went on a 15-0 run to take the lead back up to 20, after Philly had whittled it down to 5 points. I certainly would not want to have to devise a defensive strategy to diminish this lineup’s effectiveness. LeBron is a new breed of point forward and he can create on the perimeter along with Wade. Together these two average 12.1 assists and score 50.3 points. Though it may be a bit early to deem this a success, I can understand why this appeals to both King James and D-Wade.

Both players prefer the perimeter. In Wade’s case, that is acceptable. He may play like a Spartan warrior, but he is the size of a guard. LeBron has the bulk of a middle linebacker, so almost every one with any understanding of the game of basketball wants him to post up, given his peculiar athleticism. By assigning James the point guard role, he does not have to answer those critics and gets to play where he is comfortable.

Yes, this may stunt his growth as a superstar (yes, I am suggesting he can get even better). However, he will eventually make the move toward the post, just as Dirk Nowitzki did. In the meantime, until a head coach emerges who can command his respect, it is useless to try and force that kind of maturity.

There are three other basketball players on the court when Wade and James reside in the backcourt. Miller’s hand is finally healed and he is once again a deep threat. Bosh demonstrated just how good he can be in the last year’s playoffs. Haslem has the Robert Horry/Derek Fisher gene, meaning he hits big shots and is generally in the right place at the right time. Before these five can be declared undefeatable it remains seen if the superstar backcourt can handle a dominant point guard, the kind that is supposed to be evolving quickly and taking over the league. Find Miami Heat tickets to see just how effective these five can be. The Heat have John Wall and Brandon Jennings on the upcoming schedule to put this five to the test.

Who Cares About the Best Ever Debate, Let?s Get Some NBA Finals Tickets

Is LeBron really the best player in NBA history? Who knows, he still potentially has a decade left until he retires. Choosing to live in the here and now I am more excited about this NBA Finals matchup! I know this pains the hyperbolic sports media, but they should really be dissecting the Heat-Mavericks rematch because this could be a better series than the beloved Lakers-Celtics finals of the past few seasons.

Better? How, these are the two most storied franchises in league history? So, who cares about a franchise’s pedigree? I am waiting to watch the two clearly best teams in the postseason meet in the finals. This is the Big Three experiment vs. the Big German and the Gang. This is a rematch of the 2006 finals in which Dwyane Wade brought his team back from 0-2 with one of the most dominant finals performances ever! This is a Mavericks team that finally appears to have the right mix of shooters, defenders, and veteran intelligence to win the championship and finally put an end to that choker reputation.

From the onset I am curious to see which team can control the terms of the game. If the Dallas Mavericks can, then the deep roster of shooters will be spreading the floor with four guys who knock down the three point shot. If the Heat can, then the Mavs will be forced to play just three shooters at a time with two offensive liabilities.

To me, this is a rare chance to see two coaches dictate just who is going to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. I have no doubt that Dirk and LeBron are going to get their points and dominate on their offensive end of the court. This means it is up to Rick Carlisle and Eric Spoelstra to devise a team defense to shut down the rest of the opposition.

Apart from the two previously mentioned stars, each team has a single player to worry about. The Mavericks have to be concerned about Dwyane Wade. He has stepped aside at times in the 2011 postseason, letting LeBron make a run at the postseason MVP. Yet, he has also smoked the Boston Celtics. Now, the Celtics actually had a guy who could defend him, while Dallas does not. The options are Jason Kidd, JJ Barea, and DeShawn Stevenson, or too old, too small, and too bad. The best bet has to be Kidd. He is much slower than he used to be and has never really been a great individual defender, but he has the wisdom to frustrate Wade and the size to challenge Wade as he tries to post after his jumper fails to connect.

The player Miami should fear is far less sexy a name than Wade. Jose Juan Barea has been the game changer when he can penetrate and his ridiculous scoop shot is able to float over the outstretched arms of the seven footers around him and lightly kisses the very top of the backboard, gently falling through the cylinder. He is not an all star and will never be much more than a hero for those sub-six foot street ballers and gym rats, but he is quick enough to take both Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers off the dribble. Then, it is not his scoring, but his ability to throw a pass to the outside once the defense collapses that could be the downfall for the Heat.

Of course, everyone will be focusing on Dirk and LeBron instead since this is a league built on the superstars. That matchup could be interesting because the two players might actually be playing each other directly. Spoekstra spoke about using James on Dirk. James outplayed Rose and Pierce and could cement his status as an all-universe defender if he is able to throw the Big German off his game. Nowitzki has struggled against smaller athletic defenders who have the length and strength to pester him. LeBron could take it one step further and actually stop him since he is a genetic freak and may have the physical gifts to match Dirk’s uncanny athleticism.

So, really the NBA and the media should be moving on from the pre-coronation talks with King James and begin talking about just how phenomenal of a series this is theoretically shaping up to be.

Whether you want to find Miami Heat tickets for the games scheduled at the American Airlines Arena or Dallas Mavericks tickets to see the games at American Airlines Center, visit OnlineSeats so you can brag about witnessing one of the best finals in the 21st century in person and not just on a HD TV.

Send the Miami Heat to the 2010 FIBA Championship

Team USA has puts its collection of talent together for 2010 FIBA Championship in Turkey. This initial collection of 22 potential national representatives is far from as impressive as the All-NBA team that rolled out for the 2008 Olympic Games in China. Still, there is no real sense of worry that our national team will fail to bring home the first outright FIBA Championship since 1994.

I am looking at this roster of 22 and can barely find a team of 12 players I am excited to see representing our country playing a sport we should own every single year. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat are rumored to be rounding out their roster with the additions of Michael Finley and Jerry Stackhouse, two former all stars apparently willing to take the NBA veteran minimum to be a part of sports history.

Now I see these two situations and I believe I have come up with a solution, let the Miami Heat represent the United States at the 2010 FIBA Championship. The NBA, TNT, ESPN, and ABC are banking on this team to boost ratings all season long and the national sports nation has turned on LeBron and Wade (to a much minor extent) after very bad public relation flubs (one sank an entire city into a depression and the other used a terrible analogy to the 9/11).

Letting this team play at the tournament let’s the nation get a little preview of the dominance to come and helps two of the most amiable superstars in sports repair any damage to their public image, which matters since these guys make more in endorsement deals than through their Heat salary.

This cockamamie scheme is not without its share of hiccups. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is ineligible to play for the team, since he is Lithuanian. However, the recent signing of Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire give the Heat enough size to comfortably send a roster of 12 to Turkey. The first to sign between Michael Finley and Jerry Stackhouse could join the 11 other Heat (I am not counting Kenny Hasbrouk, even if he is listed on the Miami Heat roster on ESPN).

I much prefer this to what will likely become the real 2010 Team USA. There is one pure shooter on this team (Stephen Curry) to break the zone, too many point guards likely to be called for carrying at least five times a game (Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo), and Robin Lopez and Javale McGee are real possibilities to play center for this team. These players can barely start for an NBA franchise and they get to try out for this team? Heck, McGee was added to the 22 because of a strong Summer League workout!

We have not one this event, the FIBA Championship since 1994, why make me wait until 2014? Put a real team trying to create cohesion out there and the results will be far better, plus each game will be a ratings bonanza for whichever network is broadcasting the games.

Who Are the Miami Heat Starting Five?

The Miami Heat are a few roster spots short of going to war in the NBA Eastern Conference. There is no question LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh will be starting, but there will be two more spots left on the floor though. While Zydrunas Ilgauskas will likely start at center, the question is who will take the fifth?

Some people are expecting Mario Chalmers to start at point. They believe he will be walking the ball up the court and sit around the three point stripe waiting for a chance to spot up and let the shots fly. Let’s call this the 2008-09 Orlando Magic model. The Magic let Jameer Nelson take the ball up the court and put it in Hedo Turkoglu hands so he could use his size and vision to get Dwight Howard the ball inside and Rashard Lewis the ball for open looks.

The advantage here is the Heat will have great defense on the perimeter and Wade and James get operate with the ball in their hands as the main initiators on offense without having to fight through full court pressure for 40 minutes a game.

Other people are expecting Wade to move to point, Mike Miller to start at the two, and James to start at the three. Wade and James still get to run the offense, but one of them has to carry the ball up the court. This is not as bad as it seems. There are still two players available to move the ball up the court. Also, Miller is a better outside shooter than Chalmers.

This means the Heat should be able to pour on heaps of points in the first two quarters, have the starters walk their way through the third and give the second round draft picks a whole quarter of garbage time in the fourth quarter. Conversely, this hampers the Heat’s ability to defends since Miller would be covering the two, and his foot speed is somewhat lacking to cover the most athletic position on the court.

I personally would like to see Miller start. I just do not know how other teams would match this offensive onslaught. Wade, James, and Bosh all need to be double covered, so one player will always be open and I would always rather that player be Miller than Chalmers.

Shaq’s New Reality Show

Game On…Shaquille O’Neal is getting his own sporting competition reality show on ABC this summer. Starting on August 18th Shaq is taking on some of the world’s favorite athletes at their own game. Here are a few examples of who and what this Cleveland Cavalier is going to be doing. First up on the debut show, called “Shaq VS.”, Shaq is going to swim against Michael Phelps the Olympic Gold medal superstar. You will also be able to see him box against the legendary Oscar De LaHoya, play a little tennis with Serena Williams and bat against St. Louis Cardinals favorite Albert Pujols. What is he thinking? Here is his plan though…he is going to train hard for a week prior to each competition and by that time he will have a pre-negotiated handicap again each opponent to give him a fair shot. The 37 year old hopes that all this training will help him in his upcoming basketball season. O’Neal has won an NBA championship 4 times in his basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat and he hopes to help his new team achieve the same.

Beastie Boy, Adam Yauch has been diagnosed with cancer. A tumor was found on his salivary gland and he will be having surgery to remove it as well as some treatments after the surgery. Luckily the cancer was caught early and is treatable. He is going to be taking some time off to recover and then he promises to be back on the road again.  The band has a new album coming out that will be pushed back as well, but as soon as he gets the go ahead he will be back. The new album is called “Hot Sauce Committee Part 1”.
It seems that Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest are out doing damage control on this whole Paula Abdul not coming back to “American Idol” next season story that broke this weekend. Simon tells “Extra” that, “She’ll be fine. She’ll be on the show. I don’t get a lot of say. I’ve just make it clear that I want Paula on the show.” Awww…how sweet Simon. Ryan says, “I think as far as I know, you’ll see everybody back. I hope so.”  Idol fans are in an uproar at the thought and are going crazy on Twitter showing their support for Paula. Some Idol favorites as well are giving their support. You can find Danny Gokey, Anoop Desai and Matt Giraud, who are all on the American Idol Live Tour, leading the pack. Paula responded to all the support by writing on her Twitter page that, “I’m actually moved 2 tears upon reading the enormous amount of tweets showing me your kindness, love & undying support. God bless all you! If it weren’t’ for you, this specific time and situation would feel a lot worse! XoP”. I agree I think she will be back and that “American Idol” and FOX are loving all the hubbub!

IT’s a funny world we live in….I just watched the Chris Brown public apology video. He definitely said all the right things and he probably means what he said, it was just so weird to hear this kid apologizing to the world on a taped video statement. I am not quite sure what I think about it, just that it was strange. Again, you can tell he rehearsed it and he tried to come through sincere and it was probably something he was advised to do and may have really wanted to do, but I guess it was strange to hear an apology from this person who we do not even know and it is not really our business. It is something between him and Rihanna, not all of ours. That is just what I think.