Well the NBA's 1st night back in the 2nd half was a decent one. The finale to the Hornets/Thunder game was thrilling as Kevin Durant had 47 points including a game tying turn around 3 with 10 seconds left. And then Chris Paul took control and spun into the lane and hit a little floater with 2 seconds left. Hornets win by 100-98.
Greetings people it's been awhile since I've actually written something, it's just taken a long time to get over the Cardinals Superbowl loss. All sarcasm aside we're heading into the stretch drive of the best part of the sports year. March Madness is just around the corner along with pitchers and catchers and opening day after the NCAA tourney and after baseball season starts we have the NBA playoffs and the NFL draft. Always a great time to look forward to, just takes a while to get to, especially since the allure of 'pitchers and catchers' wears off after about 5 minutes.
1st and foremost, when you are done reading this go straight to this link about Shane Battier, Darryl Morey and the Houston Rockets. It's written by famed author of Moneyball, Michael Lewis. It takes awhile to read but by god it is so worth it: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15Battier-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
The NBA just came off one of the most rigged All star breaks I've ever seen, didn't bother me to terribly but was annoying none the less. The dunk contest was set up before they even started to go down between Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson. I didn't want Rudy Fernandez in the dunk contest but he had the best dunk in the 1st round but got shafted by the judges (and I think part of it is because he's a foreigner and not your classic high flyer. I.E not black) But the showmanship between Nate and Dwight did make for an entertaining final round. But I just sat there in awe when I saw Dwight dunked the ball on that 12 ft. rim so effortlessly. And then after thinking Nate Robinson was all tapped out, he jumps over 6'10 Dwight Howard, his final round dunks did deserve to win.
But the best moment of the night was LeBron preliminary putting his name into next year's dunk contest in Dallas. If he actually goes through with this I'm going (and you know he'll win it regardless if he deserves it) if not he'll get killed from a PR standpoint, but he'll have the drones at Nike thinking up over the next year stuff that has never been seen before. Oh and the NBA almost lost me as a fan when they let Kevin Rudolf sing "Let it Rock" live, that's one of those songs that I'd normally hate but for whatever reason isn't that bad but holy hell he can not sing live nor should he ever be able to EVER AGAIN!
Kobe didn't deserve the All star MVP and it was Shaq's game and he owned it. Kobe like the 1st 3 titles just road his coat tails and had it not been for the Shaq/Kobe storyline he wouldn't have gotten any consideration. 27 points on 23 shots, are you kidding? Chris Paul was much more worthy then him. But this All Star game exemplifies why people love Shaq, Dwight Howard may be young and charismatic but he's no Shaq. Something about Shaq's charisma and joking nature and I guess how we've never seen a guy of his size (Oliver Miller not withstanding) just makes you love the guy like a big teddy bear. Plus I had no idea he had moves like that when he came out with the Jabbawockeez. Watch for yourself:
The reason the media loves Shaq is also why he's gotten a pass for being this immature guy the majority of his career, from stuff like 'Tell me how my ass tastes' to off color comments about Kobe in 2004 or mocking other players (Vlade Divac/Sacrament Queens or Erica Dampier) But seeing how this past weekend is going to be one of my last All Star games makes me think how much I'm going to miss that guy. There will never be another Shaq, prime Shaq is a top 5 player all time in my opinion.
I think I finally figured out which sport I like out of the 3 major sports I enjoy most out of all. People always ask me which sport I enjoy the most and it still is extremely close but it's always so hard to choose (might have to ask me in a certain season, this question should change) I think I enjoy basketball the most. I enjoy watching top NBA teams go at it more then anything and then the NCAA tourney puts it over the top. I think my favorite sport team is the Texas Rangers 1A to the Mavericks 1B with the Cowboys a close 2nd. The Rangers may be my favorite team but in terms of watching a normal baseball game that'd probably be a distant 3rd to the NFL/NCAAF being 2nd.
But I'm excited for this 2nd half of the year. Oklahoma City Thunder almost improved there team tremendously getting Tyson Chandler until he failed his physical and is going back to New Orleans. It's a shame that the Hornets are going through money problems (I believe that's the main motivation behind this near deal) because I think that's one of the main reasons why the Phoenix Suns won't win a title because the Suns owner was selling off draft picks left and right and not resigning certain players. I wouldn't be surprised if the Hornets are in Seattle in a couple years, that is if Seattle puts up the dough for a new arena. Here's an article about how the Hornets owner is barely able to scrape by: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-nbamoney021809&prov=yhoo&type=lgns
But onto the 2nd half, I think that the LA Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers will be meeting in the NBA finals. The only other teams who have a shot are the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs. Now this is always one of the main criticisms of the NBA there's always plenty of top notch teams, but at the end of the day, you know only a select few teams have a chance to win. But I think LeBron finally has above average teammates, I mean aside from Mo Williams and JJ Hickson LeBron's teammates are all the same but they've gotten better offensively and that's why I think he's finally going to get over the hump. Maybe they won't be overtaking the Lakers since they lost fairly easily both games but this is the Cavs best they've had.
On the local side of things for the Mavericks, they've been playing better as of late, but the injury to Jason Terry certainly set them back but they're only a game or 2 back from the 4 seed. But given the competitive nature of the Western Conference they could be out of the playoffs with a couple losses. They need to start playing better against the top teams, it's nice knowing they can compete with top teams but they need to pull out a couple of these games on the road, they got both Houston and San Antonio on the road in the next week and it will be huge if they can at least split those games. And then in March they play 12 games in the 1st 20 games which will test this team.
I don't think they're going to make a move at the deadline tomorrow but never doubt Mark Cuban. As for a possible Vince Carter trade talk, if I'm Dallas I don't do the deal unless I'm getting back the 1st round pick I gave up last year because VC has 14 million over the next 4 years including this season. He would probably be the best 2nd option Dirk's ever had in his career but is it worth giving up Josh Howard? Tough to say, if you go through with the trade you're changing up your strategy where you try and grab a big free agent in 2010, because Dirk, Howard and in all likeliness Erick Dampier are all free agents (and let's not forget about Kidd's expiring deal this year) So in conclusion I see this team as a probably 1st round exit again in the playoffs, we don't really match up well with any of the top teams although a Dallas/San Antonio matchup would be intriguing. But that's about the only top team we would match up well against (maybe a young Blazers team)
So as I mentioned earlier, I'm predicting a Laker/Cavs finals with a possible chance of the Celtics or Spurs replacing either of those teams and if I had to choose a possible dark horse give me the Utah Jazz.
Since the Oscars are coming up this Sunday I shall have my top 10 films of the year up soon, until then sayonara.