Tag Archives: nba

OKC Thunder v. Dallas Mavericks = Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Basketball.

Photo by Nate Billings of the Daily Oklahoman

OKC’s Russell Westbrook was all over the bad decision making tonight.  He also had about four beautiful redeeming moments, but it was hardly enough to erase the small question mark in the back of fans heads about whether he should even be starting.

Dallas’ Jason Kidd never gives up, is always consistent and was a thorn in the side of the Thunder all night long.  He didn’t loose his cool once. Not even a tiny bit.

Dirk Nowitzki, however, lost his cool all night long – his acting job continued as he plead for any foul favor he could get from the officials.  He pushed too far, however, in the third quarter by telling an official that a call against him was F*ing B*Sh*t, and paid for that with a technical.  The reaction from the crown was primal as they booed him and took pleasure in watching the “T-hammer” come down. He’s Dallas’ crown jewel, but I just don’t like his style.

James Hardin came through with tricky, slicky lay-ups that brought the crowd to their feet on four different occasions. OKC fans yelled “Fear the Beard” as he ran down the court with a grin on his face.

The game was give and take, get ahead then fall behind, up and down the court for 48 solid minutes of team-on-team full body play.  But in the end, a beautiful and timeless moment in basketball sealed the win for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The score was 102-101 in Dallas’ favor and the game was about to end.There was only 1.4 seconds left on the clock and people were putting on their coats to leave.  The Fans who headed for the exits will rue their decision for a long, long time.  When they thought the Oklahoma City Thunder had lost the game – they were wrong.

Kevin Durant “told Thabo [Sefolosha] to give [him] the ball.”  Durant, who now has more 30-point games than any player since the 2008-2009 season,  got the in-bounds pass, turned to his left, and planted a beautiful 3-point jump shot that drained the bucket in perfect fashion.

Yes, the crowd went wild. Yes, everybody danced. And that, my friends, was some drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Basketball.

I’m completely worn out – – and I love it!


 

So What If America Isn’t The Best At Everything?

Its Fourth of July weekend and we as Americans have so much to be thankful for in this great country of ours.  Despite our struggles and our differences, we still have our freedom and a way of life that is the envy of the rest of the world.  I for one firmly believe in the concept of American exceptionalism.

But just because we are exceptional as a country, does that mean all of our sports have to be exceptional as well?

Two weeks ago the media was gushing over Rory McIlroy’s performance at the US Open.  The so-called “experts” were heaping praise on McIlroy while simultaneously lamenting the demise of American golf.  “Where is the next great American golfer?” they wondered.  “Is America losing ground to the rest of the world?” was a question of much debate among golf writers and analysts.  Of course those conversations led to “is there an American kid out there who’s going to take over for Tiger?”It was one big pity party.  It couldn’t possibly be that the rest of the world is catching up, could it?  No, no something must be wrong with golf in this country.

If you’ve watched any tennis at Wimbledon over the last couple weeks, the conversation has been exactly the same.  Hosts, reporters, and commentators all emphasizing the downfall of American tennis and wondering if it will ever get back to the level it once was when names like McEnroe, Connors, Evert, Sampras, Agassi, and Williams carried the dialogue.

I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but this doesn’t bother me at all.

Continue reading So What If America Isn’t The Best At Everything?

Call Me Commish

Acting as Commissioner of a professional sports league cannot be an easy job.  It requires business savvy, knowledge of the law, negotiating skills, and the ability to wade through piles of criticism while maintaining a tough, confident appearance.  Most of the job responsibilities aren’t glamorous, and the hours are long.  Commissioners are rarely praised and often vilified.  For the most part, I think the four Commissioners, David Stern (NBA), Roger Goodell (NFL), Bud Selig (MLB), and Gary Bettman (NHL), do a pretty decent job.  But every fan wonders what it would be like to be in charge.  We’d all love to take the ownership reigns of our favorite team for a week, but how does one attempt to change an entire league?  Well, like this for starters.

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Is anyone else tired of talking about the same players and the same teams over and over? (courtesy bumpshack.com)

The first thing I’d address as NBA Commissioner is what I like to call the “redundancy factor.”  The league’s biggest problem is that 75 percent of its teams are almost irrelevant.  This is a league that revolves around seven or eight franchises at the most.  The conversation, the media, and the telecasts, focus on these so-called elite teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Mavericks, Heat, and Magic.  The rest of the league is barely worth talking about and that has to change.  The gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has to close for the NBA to become an all-around better product, because when only a few teams have an actual shot to win a title before the season even starts, then why is the regular season interesting?  Where’s the drama?  Right now, we’re all just biding our time until the playoffs start.  In my mind, the best way to solve this problem is contraction.  I know it’s a dirty word, but it’s time.  Too many small market teams (Milwaukee, Utah, Sacramento) acquire star players only to see them bolt in a couple years for one of the big cities.  The teams that can hold onto stars are eventually forced to trade them away because the players have too much power (i.e. Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams).  Getting rid of six teams would help bring the league back into a better competitive balance.  Talent wouldn’t be spread so thin, and increased parity is the result.  In other words, a more interesting, compelling NBA than what we have right now.  It gives me no pleasure to do it, but I’m taking the ax to these teams:

Continue reading Call Me Commish

Griffin Is Good, But Is He A Superstar?

We all knew this was coming.  We could see it when he was at that small, Christian high school in Edmond winning four straight state championships.  We witnessed him match up against the best collegiate talent in the country as he left us breathless and led the Sooners to the Elite Eight.  Those of us in Oklahoma have known for years what the entire world is beginning to understand…Blake Griffin is pretty good.

No team has found a way to stop Griffin from getting to the rim (courtesy sportsjury.com)

Kobe and Lebron are the faces of the NBA, but this season, no player is hogging more highlight time than Griffin.  The Clippers power forward is good for at least one jaw-dropping dunk per night and as a rookie, he’s already being mentioned among names like Karl Malone and Tim Duncan.  Griffin may not be a superstar yet, but that day is coming soon.  To those that say Griffin is overrated (you know who you are Skip Bayless), stop for a second to consider the evidence.

Through 41 games, Griffin is putting up 22.7 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists.  Wednesday night against Minnesota, he finally snapped a streak of 27 straight games with a double-double.  If you want to put Griffin’s numbers in perspective, he’s the only rookie in 25 years to record a double-double streak of 20 or more games.  Shaq never achieved those numbers.  Neither did Dwight Howard or Tim Duncan.  Only eight players in NBA history have averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds in their rookie seasons.  If Griffin keeps up his pace, he’ll be in a select club with household names like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, and David Robinson.

Continue reading Griffin Is Good, But Is He A Superstar?