A Giant YEAH! to: Kevin Durant

On Thursday at home the Thunder were down by 11 points in the third quarter and the home win streak seemed lost.  Westbrook was having an abysmal night at the time to say the least and the Thunder were losing to a sub .500 team with its best player supposedly playing under 25 minutes.  Kevin Durant then began to grab boards, get assists and of course, score points.  First of all Durant must have called up Allen Iverson for some cross over lessons because Durant had the Mavericks looking like Antonio Davis.  The Thunder end up winning the game in OT with Durant scoring 40 points and it looked easy, I really don’t even think he broke a sweat because he is just that good.  When he dunked on Chris Kaman late in the game on Thursday we could all tell he was locked in.  Durant is just too clutch not to be in the top two in the MVP race this season and beyond for many years to come.

By Sanderson Wrestling

Technical Foul To: Dwayne Wade

Dwayne Wade “accidentally” kicked Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions in the groin in a game on Thursday and was given a one game suspension.  He said that he had reacted to the contact Sessions gave him.  Yes, I am sure Bruce Bowen always said the same thing when he  drop kicked Wally Szczerbiak on the three point line all those years ago.  Listen Wade, we all know you were sending a message Kobe Bryant gave you this summer after Sessions played completely awful in the playoffs in the spring for the Lakers.  I just can’t comprehend how that is a valid reaction to any contact; that is like punching your mom in the morning when she tries to wake you up for school.  Why would you do that?  If that is a natural reaction then Wade must do this in practice.  That’s the real reason Ray Allen is hurt, not the shoulder.  I haven’t seen a kick like that since Shawn Michaels retired Nature Boy Ric Flair in 2008 with the Sweet Chin Music.

By Sanderson Wrestling

USA Basketball: Women

The United States Women’s Team after a practice.

 

Going into the 2012 Olympics the United States women’s team is favored to win the gold medal again.  When it comes to women’s basketball there is usually no other favorite then star heavy team the U.S puts together every year.

This squad has six number one overall picks in the WNBA draft and every player on the team was taken top 4 or lower in their respective drafts.  The team doesn’t get as much buzz as the male athletes get but the ladies get the job done every four years.  Every women’s USA team could be seen as a “Dream Team” with the talent they have every four years.

This year is no different as the women’s team is currently undefeated in exhibition play at 3-0.  When a team has possibly the greatest woman to ever play the game in Diana Taurasi, everything seems possible and defeat is never an option.

Team USA so far is winning by an average of 31.7 ppg. and has out scored the first three opponents 287-192.  No player on this team seems out of place with the lowest scorer on the team being Sue Bird, one of the greatest women to every play the game also.

Geno Auriemma, head Women’s Basketball coach at the University of Connecticut, expects nothing less as he coaches one of the greatest basketball programs in all of sports.  This attitude translates to the USA team.

We have an opportunity to have one of the greatest Olympic teams all-time with the combination of players with the depth, experience and youth Auriemma said about the team going into the London Olympics. 

 

Every year the team is good and seems to get better.  Because there is not a focus on the women’s side of the ball as the men’s, many do not know of how great the players representing the US team are and what they have accomplished.  When I think of USA Women’s basketball I think of winning, Diana Taurasi and many Gold medals.

When I think of the USA Men I think of the “Dream Team” of ’92, Jordan, Magic, Bird, etc, 2004 Bronze and the “Redeem Team. ”  All good memories and thoughts but winning sticks out the most for the women.  Personally I do not feel that this year will be different.  When you have the best coaching staff, best system and then the best players; it is hard to bet against that team.

 

By Sanderson Wrestling

United States Basketball: Men

 

Bryant laughs when Westbrook asks about “The Dream Team” then tells him not to shoot as much. Irony.

The United States will once again be represented in basketball by men and women’s teams as both are coming off of gold medal runs in 2008.

The men’s team as been hit with injury in a bad way as many of the gold medal winners from 2008 have been replaced with younger and able players such as a Kevin Durant.  Players hit with injuries (Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Blake Griffin) will be missed greatly but the replacements should suffice.

Anthony Davis, the number one overall pick in the NBA draft, makes his appearance on the squad becoming the first college player to play for the Olympic team since 1992.  He is one of the only true big men on the team since the injury to Blake Griffin and Davis has not disappointed.

Davis and injuries aren’t the only story of the 2012 team.  20 years ago the “Greatest Team Ever Assembled” , and yes I did capitalize every letter, played and dominated the Olympics.  The Documentary, The Dream Team,  was released and other talks began to occur.

Comparisons were talked up and everyone and their mother had to let opinions go wild.  Scotty Pippin was quoted as saying that “The Dream Team” would beat the current team by twenty-five or more.  Michael Jordan laughed at the notion that Kobe Bryant’s team could even touch his.

President Obama even stated that “The Dream Team” would beat the current team.  Charles Barkley and many others supported the ’92 squad but one man stuck with his team and said the opposite would happen.  The man self dubbed the “Black Mamba” said that the 2012 team could claim victory in one game.

After all of the talks everyone knows that this game would never happen and the main focus began; winning games.  The United States team had a rough outing against Brazil which boasts three NBA players, Leandro Barbosa, Nene, and Anderson Varejao.

After being down by double digits at one point the team refueled and took a hard fought victory by a score of 80-69.  Lebron James scored 30 points, had six rebounds and four steals.  The team was severely out rebounded and that size that was not made an issue might be one.

The U.S team played against Britain and in dominated 118-78.  The night was highlighted by two players that responded to a lineup change very well: Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony.  Williams was inserted into the starting lineup for Chris Paul and Anthony was replaced by Kevin Durant.  Both Anthony and Williams scored 19 points against Lou Deng’s Britain team.  Deng scored 25 points.

This squad has the potential to be great, maybe not “The Dream Team” but you never know.  Every game will be put under a microscope and every flaw will be exposed as we head closer to the London Olympics.

Needless to say, if this team stays on track winning the Olympics will not be a “dream”.

By Sanderson Wrestling

The Miami Heat are the NBA Champions

The Miami Heat stand tall with their MVP in the 2012 NBA finals

 

The Miami Heat closed out the OKC Thunder in 5 games in blow out fashion with a 121-106 win.  The game was honestly not even that close as veterans such as Mike Miller stepped up and poured on 23 points and made 7-8 three point field goals.

Lebron James recorded a triple double scoring 26 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists.  Dwayne Wade added 20 to go along with Bosh’s 24.  Mario Chalmers added 10 as well. The even and balanced scoring made the game flow smoothly and it seemed the Heat could not miss a shot midway through the game as they pulled away.  The Miami crowd could smell blood in the water and sensed the title and were “hot” the entire game.

A great celebration commenced after the trophy presentation and Lebron James received the 2012 NBA Bill Russell award(MVP).  The champagne starting popping and the emotions were let loose on both teams.  The Thunder were class acts shaking hands with all Heat players after the game and slowly walked to the back, tears and all. It is more then just a game and that was seen on both ends of the spectrum; the excitement and the despair.

After a 43 point performance Russell Westbrook only scored 19 points on 4-20 shooting and James Harden recorded 19 “garbage buckets” towards the end of the game.  Kevin Durant did all that he could in 43+ minutes of play, scoring 32 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, but it was not nearly enough to stop the ubber motivated Miami squad.

The NBA finals ends in 5 games with 4 of 5 being nail-biters and something to really talk about.  The “King” gets his ring, Dwayne Wade gets another and a handful of veterans are rewarded for on the court support but more importantly the off the court support and the hard work they have put in for many years.  Hopefully the Thunder can stay strong, get through the summer and live to play again next year.

So long to a mind-wrenching, injury filled, shorten, lockout driven and all in all great and entertaining NBA season.  We will remember all, 2011-2012 season, see you next year.

 

By Sanderson Wrestling

Heat take 3-1 Lead; 48 Hot Minutes until Pandmonium

The Miami Heat are one step closer to winning a second NBA championship in the franchise’s history after the 104-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.

The Thunder came out strong for the first time this series but the 17 point lead quickly fizzled as Miami went on a 13-0 run in the second quarter and eventually tying the game with under 2 minutes remaining in the half.  The Thunder would lead at the break but the often quiet Miami crowd was hot and happy their team was only down by 3 points.

Many say hard work is what will win games; Chris Bosh personifies this adage with his hustle on both ends of the floor.  The entire Miami team was diving on the floor every play and making the necessary tips to teammates that decided the game.

A Russell Westbrook foul with 13.8 seconds to go and down by  3 sealed Oklahoma City’s fate.  Their was a jumpball situation that ended up going to 6’11” Kevin Durant but was tipped by Heat player Shane Battier to an open Mario Chalmers.  With only 5 seconds left on the shot clock the plan would have been to let Miami work for a difficult shot.  Westbrook didn’t see it that way as he thought the clock reset to 24 seconds and fouled Chalmers.

The young Thunder are one game away from tasting what Miami did last year; defeat.

OKC played well and didn’t turn the ball over which was what the team was famous for during the regular season.  The intensity was apparent and the game showed in the first half.  All was well until the second half in which the Thunder fizzled out to a strong Miami Heat team.

Kevin Durant finished with 28 points, shooting 9-19, but only recorded 2 rebounds the entire game with his first coming in the 3rd quarter.  He only put up 19 shots and for a superstar, 19 is not enough to stay in a rhythm in a big game.  Russell Westbrook shot 32 shots and made 20 of them shooting above 62% percent from the field.

The story for the Thunder was the ineffectiveness of Kendrick Perkins who scored 4 points and only had 3 rebounds in his 17+ minutes of play.  The other more frightening tale for OKC is the disappearance of James Harden who is the regular season 2012 Sixth Man of the Year award winner.

Harden scored 8 points on 2-10 shooting and had 4 turnovers.  He could not get a rhythm and his confidence looks shaken to a point where he cannot be and influence on the game.

No one else on the Thunder team made more then 3 field goals with most of the team, besides Durant, Collison and Westbrook, making two.  The OKC team looked young and scared to be on the big stage in the second half with the exception of Westbrook.  The Heat suffocated them and made scoring hard and uncomfortable.

Lebron James, though hampered by what looked like muscle cramps in his left leg, provided everything needed to ensure victory before he left the floor.  James filled the stat sheet again with 9 rebounds, 12 assists and 26 points on 10-20 shooting.  Dwayne Wade also provided a lift along with starting point guard Mario Chalmers.

Chalmers tied Wade for the second most points in a Heat uniform with 25 points and did it on 9-15 shooting(3-9 3pfg) and in 33+ minutes.  Chalmers played great defense along with the rookie Norris Cole who notched 8 points as well.

With Shane Battier who is averaging 14 points per game this finals only scoring four points all game  Chalmers made it his duty to take on more than his fair share of the scoring load including a layup with a minute plus left and the pair of clutch free throws with 13.8 remaining.

Going into the game their were many dynamics at play with Ibaka’s comments on the Lebron James’ defense and the importance of Miami closing at home as well as the Thunder getting back home at all.  The final whistle blew and the Heat are 48 or so minutes away from a Championship.

Game 5 is on ABC, Thursday night @ 9pm eastern time. Enjoy

Follow @marcusfelton

By Sanderson Wrestling

Game One Recap: Thunder(1-0) vs. Heat(0-1)

In game one of the NBA Finals 2012 the OKC Thunder defeated the Miami Heat 105-94.

The Heat started out hot, no pun intended, with shooters like Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers were hitting multiple three-point field goals.  Battier was 4-4 through 2.5 quarters and disrupted many plays on the defensive end.

Dwayne Wade and Russell Westbrook did their best impressions of each other missing jump shot after jump shot and not contributing much in the first have.  The difference between the two in the second half was not the fact that both played defense because both improved in that area but it was the energy Westbrook gave to the Thunder.  His energy helped fuel the early 3rd quarter run by his team.

The game was very uptempo game with the Thunder looking young and inexperienced and the Heat looked like the team to beat.  James Harden in the beginning of the game was hot and played very well making good shots as well as Westbrook handing out assists and disrupting shots.

Lebron James dominates through 3 quarters scoring 23 points but only scored 30 points  in the entire game going 2-6 in the fourth quarter.  Kevin Durant scored 17 points in the fourth quarter completing the contrast of Lebron James and Kevin Durant at the end of the game.

Towards the end of the game OKC showed off some great passing and ball movement as a whole.  Their wasn’t too many ball pounding or ball stopping, the game just flowed.  The energy level in the building was just too much the Miami in the second half.

Lebron James and Dwayne Wade floundered settling for jumpers in the 4th quarter and Kevin Durant and Westbrook scored 41 points and the Heat as a team had 40 in the second half.

The Heat should not panic because it is only game 1 and many adjustments will be made by Eric Spolstra and his coaching staff.  Game 2 of the NBA finals starts at 9pm, Thursday night on ABC

By Sanderson Wrestling

Thunder Don’t Care Who Starts For Heat

Sanderson Wrestling:

The Thunder will play hard and execute regardless of who starts for the Miami Heat. This attributes to the confidence the coaching staff has in the players and what they can do on the floor offensively and defensively. Scott Brooks is a very good coach with a good staff that has probably mapped out every possible scenario already on paper and is prepared for what ever starting lineup the Heat will dish out. Interesting to see how it plays out tonight.

Originally posted on Hang Time Blog with Sekou Smith | NBA.com:

OKLAHOMA CITY – Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals will tip off at 9:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday. About a half hour before that, we’ll learn who’s starting for the Miami Heat.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra changed his starting lineup twice in the conference finals, but did not start Chris Bosh in any of his three games back from injury. Spoelstra has said that Bosh is the Heat’s most important player, so one would think that Bosh will start Game 1.

If he does, Spoelstra could start him next to Udonis Haslem or Shane Battier. Or Spoelstra could stick with the starting lineup that has worked pretty well (with LeBron James, Battier and Haslem up front) and continue to bring Bosh off the bench.

That’s a lot for Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks to think about. But Brooks isn’t going to stress over it.

“It’s a…

View original 331 more words

By Sanderson Wrestling

Heat vs. Thunder Preview

On June 12th, 2012 the NBA Finals commence and the match up is one that many are looking forward to.  This Finals series could be the most anticipated match up in several years.  Pro-basketball is being blessed with a fight that will hopefully exceed all expectations.  The ratings will certainly show the impact the games will have on the biggest stage and what players will be highlighted in the future.

Countless fans will salivate at the match up between MVP Lebron James and MVP candidate (2nd in voting) Kevin Durant.  That is the sexiest match up in the eyes of the fans since Kobe/Lebron.

Two teams that have relatively younger top players, athleticism, scrappy defense, solid coaching and multiple stars will surely provide vast entertainment.  On paper many will pick OKC because of the other pieces around the stars.  Others will pick the Heat because of the proven ability of the team’s top guys already.

The results of the NBA Finals mean more than just a new champion being crowned.  The implications spread wider and further then any NBA final round in history possibly.   There are many storylines at play here and will be decided in this one, grand playoff series.

The biggest story can be summed up in one question “Can the King get a ring?”  That will be on everyone’s mind come Tuesday and the result might cement the future, good or bad, for Lebron James.

Another is a question as well “Can Kevin Durant, at 23 years-old, pass Lebron James?”  Many say he already has and many say he isn’t close to what Lebron is.  With the match up already in place, with both being at the SF or 3 positions, it is easy to say that this question will be answered.  I don’t think it will be because of the fact that the two play differently and mean something different to their respective teams.  Either way people will be thinking that question through the entire series.

A third story will be who is the better “Big 3” to begin with?  This all depends on match ups and who will step up under pressure.  A Bosh/Ibaka match up could hurt Chris as well as a Wade/Westbrook match up could hurt Westbrook.  Who guards who could really impact the series in a bigger way then people might think.  I know it sounds arbitrary but just like in the Spurs/Thunder series; matchups on the court will play a big role in deciding the winner.

Role players such as Thabo Sefolosha, Shane Battier, James Jones, Mike Miller and Nick Collison will have to do their part in possibly guarding the opposing team’s stars for extended periods of time due to foul trouble or any other variables.

The people that make these matchups are the coaching staff.  Deciding minutes and any other defensive and offensive adjustments is key in a matchup like this one.  These decisions have to be made on the fly and in a hurry if things go south.

In the regular season the two teams did battle twice splitting the season series at one apiece.  In the Thunder win they only gave up 87 points and scored 103.  This was during a Miami Heat slump of course and when things got back on track the Heat defeated OKC 98-93 at home.  The Thunder was their way to a three game slide as well.

Many different things go into this matchup in the NBA Finals 2012 and everyone is anticipating each moment.  What do you think about what will happen?

Regular season match up: Heat 1, Thunder 1

Durant:              .537fg%        6.5rpg       5.5apg      29.0ppg

Westbrook:        .310fg%        3.5rpg       4.0apg      20.5ppg

Harden:             .611fg%        4.0rpg       5.5apg      15.5ppg

James:               .474fg%        5.0rpg        8.5apg      25.5ppg

Wade:               .464fg%        3.5rpg        3.0apg      20.5ppg

Bosh:                .400fg%        5.5rpg        1.0apg      15.0ppg

By Sanderson Wrestling

State of the Lakers(Part 1): The Point Guard

The two main Los Angeles Lakers point guards Steve Blake and Ramon Sessions.

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most decorated sports teams in history.  Many great players have passed through this franchise and have left great legacies behind them.  In the 2000′s the Lakers reinvented themselves and rose to the top of the NBA for several years, only failing to make the playoffs once(2005) since the new millennium began.  Phil Jackson led the team to five championships but the team slowly started to decline, either due to injury or age.  Jackson, who has been involved with professional basketball ball for many years turned 66 years old in September and looked to retire leaving the Lakers with a void.  After that void many other voids were exposed due to various reasons.  Reasons such as management plagued the team but that is not the subject of today.  The Lakers have many things that need to change in order for the franchise to return to championship glory.  The first point to examine starts at that very position; the one, or the point guard.

In 2007 Derek Fisher rejoined the Lakers as a veteran player and starting point guard.  He provided a strong defensive presence and was the only player superstar guard Kobe Bryant listen to and had a real and equal connection.  In 2009 Fisher made many big plays in the post season that allowed the Lakers to win the NBA championship and do the same the following year.  When 2010 came around it slowly became evident Derek Fisher was a step slower but he still was a solid one guard.

The Lakers were swept in the 2011 postseason by the eventual champions, Dallas Mavericks in Phil Jackson’s last year as an NBA head coach(for now).  Many questions were raised of Kobe Bryant’s health and the play of Pau Gasol but the real question was what were the Lakers going to do at the point guard position.  By the start of the condensed NBA season of 2011-2012 Derek Fisher was the worst starting point guard in the NBA.  This was due to his lack of ability to defend faster and younger point guards.  At age 37 this wasn’t Fisher’s fault but it was an issue.

The Lakers traded Fisher by the deadline to the Houston Rockets who then bought him out.  That left the point guard spot open for back up Steve Blake.

Steve Blake was a backup point guard in Denver before making his way to Los Angeles.  He was seen as the man that would replace Fisher as the starting point guard a few years prior but he did not take that role the way the franchise and the fans thought.  Blake is not the assist man that the Lakers thought he’d be especially with the triangle offense that circles around post play and a star shooting guard.

After the Blake experiment fell through in 2o11 the Lakers looked to pursue star pg Chris Paul in a three team trade with the Rockets.  The NBA vetoed the deal leaving the Lakers with no permanent point guard.  Fisher was there and so was Blake but nothing good came of their play.

After Fisher was traded and Blake was demoted behind no one the Lakers traded for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Ramon Sessions.  Andrew Goudelock had  a little time at the point guard spot during the 2011-2012 season.  “I had never played point guard before, last night was the first time I was really in that role”, Goudelock said after his 14 point performance on January 25th.

The position was up in the air at the trade deadline even with the Ramon Sessions trade having occurred.

“Lakers coach Mike Brown plans to start Steve Blake over newly acquired Ramon Sessions at point guard “for the foreseeable future and it might be [Blake's] job for the rest of the year. I don’t know” said Brown on the subject when the questions first started coming.  With a player like Sessions a starting role should have been guaranteed in many fans’ eyes because of the role he plays on a team.

Session showed a slashing and aggressive game the first time he put on a Lakers uniform.  He put pressure on the defense and was quick on his feet in guarding younger point guards.  Giving Kobe Bryant another player who can create for others but more importantly create for himself was very impertinent to the team’s success.

Ramon Sessions looked like the kind of player to really inspire the new free lance Lakers offense.  During the regular season the Lakers were playing better and towards the end showed signs of greatness.  Sessions shot 48.6 percent from the three point line during his 23 regular season games with the Lakers and gave out 6 assists.  He also added 12.7 ppg to the Lakers offense.  It seemed like a match made in heaven until the playoffs started.

Sessions played abysmal in the post season shooting 4-25 from the three point arc.  2012 was the first time he had ever been in the playoffs so his small play won’t be held under a microscope.

The franchise used to be known for having great point guards and recently they have been pretty scarce.  With a player like Kobe Bryant a player to take pressure off of the Black Mamba would make his last few years in the NBA for excitable for Kobe, the team and the fans.  Though there are many other issues with the Lakers franchise at this point the first topic for discussion is the play of the point guard.

Steve Blake, PG: 5.2 ppg, 3.3 apg

Ramon Sessions, PG: 12.7 ppg, 6.2 apg

Andrew Goudelock, PG: 4.4 ppg, 0.5 apg

What do you think about the importance of the point guard play for the Lakers especially with a “declining” Kobe Bryant, budding Bynum and a freelance offense?

By Sanderson Wrestling