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Category Archives: NBA

Playoffs? We’re talking about Playoffs? Playoffs?

So I know I haven’t written a sports blog in a while. But the happenings in the NBA Finals this past week can not go without writing about.

I really haven’t been a basketball fan all season. Just casually following it here and there. But there past games have really been what thee finals are all about. Before the finals, I didn’t think that it would be close. As much as I hated to say it, I thought the Heat were the better team. Lebron and Company had been on a tare, beating the Celtics, and Bulls in convincing fashion.

But this series, wow. That is really all I have to say. I saw an interesting stat, that pretty much some up the entire series. Out of ten halves of basketball, eight of those halves have been decided by two points or less.Just think about that. That’s ridiculously close.

The first two games in Miami drew an even 1-1 series tie. Both teams flexed their muscles, with Dallas coming from 15 points down with 6 minutes left in the fourth to win.  The ‘Dirk Show’ came out of the gate strong for Dallas, carrying Dallas to split the two games with the Heat.

The last three games in Dallas have proven to be a momentum shifter. Miami wasn’t too worried going in to Dallas. They knew the last two games of the series were to be in Miami, so as long as they won at least one game in Dallas, they would be set up for success. But what happened to the Heat was the opposite of what they wanted.

Game three seemed to be a turning point. The Heat were up by two as time ran out. Dirk Nowitzki, who had been clutch all game, missed the game-tying jumper as time expired, which took the entire air out of the arena in Dallas. After the game, Nowitzki called out Jason Terry for not pulling his weight. The Mavs seemed to be on the ropes, giving the Heat the 2-1 series lead.

But the Mavs came out with vengeance in game four. Dirk, who was suffering from a sinus infection, had a relatively quiet game up until the fourth quarter. Once again, with the game going back and forth, the Heat had a lead in the fourth. After the Mavs took acceptation to a little excessive celebration by the Heat with five minutes remaining, the Mavs went off. Nowitzki shined, scoring 39 for the game, and leading Dallas to a win in Game 4. The overlying storyline of Game 4 was Lebron’s poor fourth quarter play. He had zero points in the fourth, not helping the Heat at all.

Even with the loss, the Heat remained cocky. The Heat joked around about Nowitzki’s illness, saying it was blown out of proportion, and started mocking him.

Game 5 started off slow, but ramped up quick. It was the most offensive game of the series, with both teams scoring more than 100, for the first time in the Finals.

It was the Jason Terry show in Game 5. Circus shots after clutch shots kept the Mavs ahead of the Heat. An injury of Dwayne Wade in the first half left the Heat at a severe disadvantage. But to my surprise, Lebron James took over the Heat. He kept them in the game.

But in the fourth quarter, like the game before, Lebron went cold. This time, he only had two points in the fourth. But with five minutes left, the Heat were up by one point. After a timeout called by the Mavs, they came out swinging. Terry’s took over the Mavs, instead of Dirk. After the game was tied, Terry hit a huge three to push the Mavs out in front. On their next possession, Terry hit a long three OVER James to widen the lead. This time, Dallas was able to hold, and expand, their lead, winning Game 5, and going to Miami with a 3-2 series lead over the Heat.

Unfortunately, the Mavs winning is being overshadowed by Lebrons failure to show up in the fourth quarter. Before Game 5, he called this game “…the biggest of his career.” But the last two games, he scored a total of 2 points over the last 24 minutes.

For someone who was supposed to be “The Chosen One,” and the next MJ, he is definitely not living up to the billing. These playoffs have shown two flaws in James’s games. One, he doesn’t do well against a tough defense. Just put bodies on him, and it will shut him down (sort of like Tom Brady). And two, he doesn’t perform in clutch situations.

Game 6 is on Sunday. Me, and every other NBA fan, are waiting on pins and needles, waiting to see if Lebron lives up to the hype, or whether the Mavs can smother the Heat once again, and clinch the Finals where Lebron took his talents to, South Beach.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2011 in NBA

 

The Great TV vs. Stadium Debate

For the last century, fans have gone to stadiums all across the country in drones to watching sporting events live, and in person. Families had bonded for years by packing up the van, going to a game, tailgating, and rooting for their favorite team with 40,000 other adoring fans.

But now, for this generation, times are changing.

With the increased comforts of the home, like recliners and comfortable loveseats, and an increase of HDTV’s being sold, many stadiums are losing money on fans that are willing to stay home instead of venturing to the game.

Now, if I could, I would be at every single Red Sox and Broncos game, cheering right along with every fan there. But with the prices of everything today, it is very hard for the average fan to attend a sports game.

Let’s break down the numbers. Say if you are going to sit in the bleachers for a Red Sox games. You have $25 for parking (not including gas, which could easily be another $20), $25 for a ticket, and easily another $25 for food and beverage. Roughly, that is $95 to spend on one night of fun.

So for the average fan, it is too expensive. While the stadiums are still filling up in the high-profile markets, attendance at the lesser teams are less than 10,000 in attendance on an average night.

And along with the increase of technology, are leading more fans to stay home. Now, you can get an HDTV for $300. Sure, in the short term it is more expensive. But in the long term, it is very cost effective. You can watch of every game in the comfort of your own home, not having to worry about the money, and getting more angles and in-depth commentary than you would at the game itself. And with the economy still on the upswing, many fans don’t have the money to spend, and find themselves staying at home.

Many fans are having to make that decision, and choosing to stay home. Many stadium owners are having to rethink their business plans, trying to make stadiums more friendly. And with HDTVs becoming more affordable, it could be a matter of time when stadium attendance will start to drop significantly, choosing to stay at home. What would you do?

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 

Quick Hits

So, it has been a while since I have written here. With having three midterms and a project due the two days before break, and not having internet on Spring Break, it has been hard to find time to write. And boy, has there been a lot of stuff going on in the sports-world that I have wanted to write about.

Instead writing a bunch of full blogs, which would take a day and a half, I figure I would just write about a bunch of short blurbs.

1. There have been two rule-changed in the NFL that will take place this season (hopefully). One change was they would review all scoring plays, taking the stress off of NFL coaches. This is one that was overdue. As a head coach, you have worry about players, plays, a wide variety of other things. They are 30 yards away from scoring plays, having to rely on the big screens and other assistant coaches to tell him to challenge it. With this, it will take more stress off the head coach, and automatically replay every questionable scoring play.

The other rule passed was they moved the kickoff spot forward five-yards, to the 35-yard line. Kick off specialists Devin Hester and Joshua Cribbs have both publically lashed out against the new rule. They have a point. It will severely dimish their skilled position as a kick returner (although both play crucial parts in their teams offenses). But, if you think about it, strategy can come into play. You might be able to catch some teams off-guard who are expecting a touchback.

1a. The NFLPA wants the rookies to boycott the draft. They don’t want the draft class to show up to Radio City Music Hall, not to walk across the stage infront of the entire country, not to hug Roger Goodall and receive the ceremonial jersey, and to not take pictures that will last a lifetime.

Really?

As a kid, you dream about that. Hoping one day you can strut across that stage. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the NFLA want them to miss it. How selfish.

And P.S.- it is the same NFLPA who wants to implement a rookie pay scale. Which means the rookies, who they are asking to boycott, will lose out on millions.

[Insert witty comment here]

1b. Still no word on the labor front. April 6th seems to be the day. Keep your fingers crossed.

2. March Madness! Like everyone else in the country, my bracket was done after the third-round, with both Pittsburgh and Notre Dame losing early. This has been the most exciting tournament in a while. There have been buzzer-beaters, multiple Cinderellas, and controversial endings. All play into an exciting four days of college basketball.

3. But, there is a downside to the tournament. The length. In the first four days, 48 games were played. Then, there was a three-day break, then eight games in two days, and so on and so-forth. It slows down. The pace of the tournament screeches to a halt after the third round, and limps to the finish. Yes, I understand the kids do have school. But between rounds, they don’t go back to school. They hang around the beach, and relax. March Madness could add more excitement by shortening the tournament (It is called March Madness, but ends in April; does anyone else see the problem?)

4. The big thing in the NBA still focuses around the Carmelo Anthony trade, but not the focus the Knicks wanted. They are under .500 since getting ‘Melo, while the Nuggets are 11-4 since they traded away ‘Melo and Billups, getting most of the Knicks. The Knicks have also fallen two spots in the playoff standings, and are looking at a first-round matchup against the Celtics.

Guess the Knicks were better BEFORE they got ‘Melo. Walsh and D’Antoni got this one wrong (so far).

Interesting.

5. Alex Ovechkin is out 7-10 games. He doesn’t elaborate on the injury. The Capitals are saying he ‘needs the rest for a playoff push.’ They have clinched a playoff spot, and look to have one of the top-two seeds in the Eastern Conference. If I was on the Capitals, and a player was ‘resting’ 7-10 games, while I was busting-my-butt on the ice every night, I would not be a happy skater.

6. Kyle Busch won the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway last Sunday. He swept both the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races. Week after week, he is the ‘man-to-beat,’ always a favorite to win the race. Jimmie Johnson, on the other hand, never expects to win, but always flies under the radar into the Top-five by the end of the race. JJ is one of the most under-rated drivers in NASCAR. Yet, Jimmie has won five straight series championships, Kyle was won none. Doesn’t sound right.

7. One week until Opening Day. So excited to see Boston’s revamped lineup and rotation. They look good so far. But spring games don’t count towards a World Series. If everyone stays healthy, the Red Sox look like the favorite to win the American League.

A lot has happened in the sports world, with a lot more left to come.

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in College Sports, MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL

 

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How the East Was Won

With a slow night in the NBA tonight, we get a chance to regroup from the crazy last couple of days in the basketball world.

It all started on Thursday, with the NBA trade deadline. Major deals were reached, with many teams getting a facelift. Many teams traded away star, and important players, who, for some, were franchise players.

The East got a complete make-over around the trade deadline. The Nets got Deron Williams, who could be a corner-stone player for the Nets in the future. The Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson  to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. And we all heard about the blockbuster trade, where the Knicks traded away half of their team for Chauncey Billups and, of course, Carmelo Anthony.

And, along with these trades this past week, the Orlando Magic remodeled their team in the beginning of the year, trying to give Dwight Howard the tools to win.

Those trades created a power-shift in the Eastern Conference this year.

Now, instead of two or three teams that had a decent shot of winning the East, like in the past, there are now five teams that have a legitimate show of winning the Eastern Conference. The Celtics and Heat both look they are going to fight it out for the top-spot in the conference. But now, the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, and the New York Knicks all have the personnel to go far in this years playoff.

We got a sneak-peak of the playoffs last night, with the Knicks going to South Beach to play the Miami Heat. In an up-and-down game, which came down to the last minute of play, the Knicks edged the Heat, on a last-second block of LeBron James by Amar’e Stoudemire.

So with the ‘Power-of-three’ reigning in the East, it is going to be an exciting playoffs. No one team has come out as the favorite. Miami, on paper, should be the favorite, but they are 0-5 against the Celtics and Bulls this year, and 12-15 against the top eight teams in the conference.. The Bulls, with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and the Magic with Dwight Howard and company, have been looking to take the title all season. And Knicks, with Anthony and Stoudemire, proved last night that they can hang with the best.

And, after this season, the waters in the East will become even more clouded. The Knicks are looking at Chris Paul to compliment Amar’e and Carmelo, which will make them even stronger. The Nets, with Deron Williams, will be looking to land a couple of big names on the eve of opening their brand new stadium in Brooklyn.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

How do I think will win the Eastern Conference this year?

My prediction: The Celtics. They are the only team on that list with experience. They know what it is like to play at this level during the playoffs. Their ‘Big-Three’ of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, along with Rajon Rondo, have been to the NBA Finals two out of the last three seasons, winning it all back in 2008.

Who do you think will represent the East?

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in NBA

 

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“‘Melo-mania” Shows What is Wrong With the NBA

It is finally over. The story that had the NBA in a choke-hold is finally over. Carmelo Anthony is a Knick.

Reported by The Denver Post, around 9:30 at night on Monday, the deal sent Carmelo Anthony, Chauncy Billups, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman to the New York Knicks, in exchange forWilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov (basically halfof the Knicks team), a first round pick, and two second round picks, along with $3 million in cash, to the Denver Nuggets. The Minnesota Timberwolves also put their hands into the candy bowl, getting Eddie Curry and Anthony Randolph.

Now, as of now (early, early, in the morning on Tuesday), this is the proposed deal. As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts in this deal, and specific details are coming out slowly.

This deal exposes what is wrong with the National Basketball Association.

With this deal, one team gives away an arm a leg, while the other team gets very little. It doesn’t seem fair, morally. On paper, and in the bank account, it is an equal trade. ‘Melo is a good player, so of course you will have to give up a lot.

But, this shows the biggest flaw of the NBA. Teams stacking up on talent.

Sure, you see this in other sports. The Yankees, the Cowboys, can, in some ways, be guilty of doing this. They do whatever it takes, and at all costs, to win. The Yankees can bully around pretty much any team (except the Phillies; sorry- I am a Red Sox fan, so I had to get that jab in). Every year, they have the highest salary, by more than a couple millions. The Cowboys use their brand to attract high-profile players, another way of bullying teams.

But in the NBA, it is a little different. The theory right now in the league (especially the Eastern Conference) is the ‘Big-Three Theory.’ Teams have been loading up on three high-power stars, and use them as the core of their team. It all started in 2007, when the Celtics signed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, to add with Paul Pierce for the ‘Original Big Three.’ And with two finals appearance in three years, it appears to work.

This past off-season, the most high-profile ‘Big-Three’ connected in South Beach, with the Miami Heat signing Lebron James and Chris Bosh, to go along with Dwayne Wade. As long as those three stay healthy, they fire on all cylinders, and look like the team to beat in the East.

Those aren’t the only two teams in the league with a ‘Big-Three’ alliance. Orlando, Los Angeles, San Antonio, even Orlando, have a solid big three, with three high-profile players joining together to play together.

And, with the addition of ‘Melo in New York, it looks like the Knicks will enter into the ‘Big-Three’ discussion this offseason. Deron Williams, of the Utah Jazz, a Chris Paul, of the New Orleans Hornets, are voicing their pleasure of joining the Knicks this offseason, to complement Carmelo and Amar’e Stoudemire, who are now in the Big Apple.

This brings me to my point. This is bad for the NBA.

Just think about this for a second. These teams with a ‘Big-Three’ add no excitement. Sure, you have the mystery of which team will come out on top, but, for the most part, there is no parity in the NBA. The same-old teams win, the same-old teams lose. There is no surprise anymore. You never see an underdog team rise to the top. You never see a Butler, or a Florida Marlins, that team you don’t expect to win, but does anyway.

If I were the commissioner, I would take a look at this, and try to fix it. With no surprise and intrique, fans might stop tuning in. And that means no money. Think about it.

I would like to hear your thoughts on whether you think ‘The Big-Three Theory’ is good or bad for the NBA. Comments are appreciated.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in NBA

 

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C’Mon Melo!

Every sport has their own prema-donnas. You know, those people who steal the headlines, and always have their name plastered over ESPN.

From Terrall Owens, to Brett Favre, to Manny Ramirez, you can’t surf the web without hearing about them.

Well, the NBA has their most recent on.

Carmelo Anthony.

Over the past couple weeks (and months), Anthony has been in the headlines, quarreling with  the front office of the Denver Nuggets.

It started last year, when he wanted a trade out of Denver. But over the off-season, Melo decided to stay in Denver, for his last season before his contract expires.

But in the recent weeks, the trade talk has kicked-up to 12 on the crazy scale. In December, The New Jersey Nets wanted to trade to get Carmelo. But after very public comments, the Nets owner backed out of trade talks.

But in the mind of Carmelo, he has always wanted to be a Knick. From his start in Syracuse, he has always wanted to return to the Big Apple and play in Madison Square Garden. And for a while, it looked like that was going to happen. A proposed three-team trade between the Nuggets, Knicks, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, would send Carmelo back to New York.

The trade talks took a bizarre turn the last couple of days.

The Los Angeles Lakers threw their hat into the Carmelo ring, offering Andrew Bynum. The Lakers, who are citing a disagreement between Bynum and the coaching staff, are looking to bolster their lineup for a playoff push.

But Melo is denying reports about the Laker-trade. he is claiming he ‘didn’t know about it’, and doesn’t want to go there.

And, on top of all that, he is saying he would sign a three-year extension with the Nuggets if a trade isn’t reached.

C’mon man! Your telling me you had no thought in your mind about going to the Lakers. They are championship team,are one player away from making another serious championship-push.

And you don’t want to go there.

That is the one thing you are missing. A championship ring. I don’t know whether you are saying that to try and lead the media off your ‘train of thought,’ but it has to stop.

And just make up your mind. If you want to leave, don’t say you would sign an extension. This is getting worse than the T.O.-saga the past couple off seasons.

I don’t know why athletes like this get all the attention, but  it has got to stop. WE GET IT! You are disgruntled. Fine. It happens. But think about it, you are making millions of dollars, while people starve on the streets. You could be a lot better off.

And sports is a job. Not everyone likes his job. You don’t see Joe Smith making a big deal about hating his job at a local company. Instead, he deals with it quietly.

Take notice.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in NBA

 

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Curse of the King?

How often does a superstar, multiple MVP-type player leave a team for greener pastors? Two names come to mind: Babe Ruth, and Lebron James.

Now, being a Red Sox fan, I know all to well the pain of the Curse of the Bambino. Countless times, the Sox were close to winning, but was always struck with bad luck. But it all ended in 2004, with the epic 4-game comeback against the Yankees, then swept the Cardinals to win the World Series.

Now, there seems to be a new curse in town. The Curse of the King.

Lebron “King” James was the Cleveland Cavaliers. He took them deep into the playoffs multiple times, including 1 NBA Championship appearance, won two MVP awards, and won countless scoring titles. He has single-handedly brought his team deep into the playoffs, and almost but his entire team on his shoulder and brought them to the NBA Championships. James had the Key to the City, and the key to every fans heart.

But this past summer, at the very end of free agency, announced he was “..taking his talents to South Beach…” to be a part of the Miami Heat.

Those six words killed an entire city.

He was all Cleveland had. The Browns had bee under .500 for the last couple years, and the last time the Indians made the World Series was 1995. It was a sports ‘blackhole,’ with one shining star in Lebron. But that star exploded in the hearts and minds of Cavalier fans.

Now, they are, in other words, terrible. They have lost their last 21st game, and are 1-30 since Lebron visited Cleveland for the first time since he left. To put that into perspective, the Cavaliers lost only 21 games last year with Lebron on the team. in those games, they have lost by 15+ points, and have been humiliated.

Like Babe Ruth, he went to the better team, leaving his old team broken, and lost. It is too early to tell, but it looks like the ‘Curse of the King’ has come over the Cleveland Cavaliers, an could decimate the team for many years to come.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Campus Lantern Articles, NBA

 

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