SAN ANTONIO – Check out the cuff links, teammate Stephen Jackson chided from the adjoining stall, making sure the a couple dozen reporters who turned that side of the Spurs locker room into gridlock noticed the accessories.
- The Return of Manu Ginobili
- SPURS-THUNDER SHOWDOWN
- Popovich Asks Spurs to Get Nasty, Stephen Jackson Says That’s His Name
- Durant must do more
- Manu Ginobili turns heads, but team defense keys Spurs’ win over Thunder
Veterans against youngsters, former multiple champions against aspirants, experience against energy.
Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson seemed poised for a fifth and final run to the championship. However, Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka are resilient and eager to raise the championship hardware at the end.
Who will prevail? Will the San Antonio Spurs continue their winning streak beyond 18 and write it in the history book of the NBA? It seemed Oklahoma City Thunder is determined to halt the Spurs. Will the old legs sweep the fresh ones just like what happened to Utah Jazz and LA Clippers or a very tough and challenging series awaits both teams. Will experience prove too much against energy or will energy outwork experience.
- Spurs flirting with history on 18-game streak
- San Antonio Spurs Sweep the LA Clippers with 102-99 Win Sunday Night [VIDEO]
- San Antonio Spurs Pull Off Sweep of the Los Angeles Clippers
- Spurs flirting with history on 18-game streak
- San Antonio Spurs sweep away L.A. Clippers
- With all at stake, LeBron must fight for the Heat to Survive
- The G.O.A.T. in the MAKING
Most Valuable Sidekick!
NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner makes a list of team’s 2nd best players around the league: http://on.nba.com/HWN6wV
Who is your MVS?
- Dwight Howard and his Loyalty to Orlando Magic.
- Rajon Rondo’s Triple-Double was Historic
- Ricky Rubio’s Charisma Vibrates to Everyone
- You Can’t See Me! The Kobe-LeBron debate
- NBA Trade Rumors: Is O.J. Mayo Really Most Likely NBA Player to Be Traded?
- Blogtable: Spurs, Celts Not Acting Old
- Asch: Bulls Might Be Stuck With Hamilton
- The Scrimmage
The Durantula vs. The King
Down to the wire we went in Orlando for the All Star Game as the West pulled out the victory over the East 152-149 in thrilling fashion. Kevin Durant (36 pts 7 reb) and LeBron James (36 pts 6 reb 7 ast) put on an epic show. Kevin Durant won the MVP Award, however.
In the race to the season MVP award, LeBron James leads. Recently, both players had extraordinary performances.
LeBron James had 38 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists & 5 steals without turnover. He is the first player in the NBA history to have scored at least 35 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals without a turnover.
Photo Credit: NBA on Facebook
Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka made History
Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook and Serge Ibaka made history in the NBA as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Denver Nuggets 124-118 on February 19, 2012.
- 51 points
- Highest so far of the 2011-2012 season
- Already possessed two NBA scoring titles
- 40 points
- 14 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks
- First career triple-double
- 14th player in Thunder franchise history to have a triple-double performance
- 1st Thunder franchise player to have double digits in blocks in a triple-double performance
The Oklahoma trio was the first in NBA history having a 50 point plus coming from one of the players (Kevin Durant) combined with another (Russel Westbrook) player’s 40-point explosion and supported by a triple double performance from one more teammate (Serge Ibaka).
The last teammates to score 40 points apiece were Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the 1996 Chicago Bulls. But to go 50 and 40 points plus respectively, the last duo to have done the same feat were Kiki Vandeweghe and Alex English in a triple overtime game in 1983.
You may see also bleacherreport.com for reference and photo credit.
Herewith is the official list of All-Star Reserves for the Eastern and Western Conferences of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando. They were chosen by NBA coaches. Note: Coaches cannot choose their own players.
- Paul Pierce - Boston Celtics
- Chris Bosh - Miami Heat
- Roy Hibbert - Indiana Pacers
- Loul Deng - Chicago Bulls
- Andre Iguodala - Philadelphia 76ers
- Joe Johnson - Atlanta Hawks
- Deron Williams - New Jersey Nets
- Dirk Nowitzki - Dallas Mavericks
- Marc Gasol - Memphis Grizzlies
- Kevin Love - Minnesota Timberwolves
- La Marcus Aldridge - Portland Trailblazers
- Steve Nash - Phoenix Suns
- Tony Parker - San Antonio Spurs
- Russel Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
Do these players really deserved their spots? Who do you think does not deserve to be there? Who should replace who?
3 In The Key
1. Mr. Big Shot and other incorrect assumptions
Chauncey Billups is a guard who shoots three pointers too early in the shot clock too often. But somehow, his reputation as a clutch point guard and NBA Finals MVP with the Detroit Pistons continues to carry him to this day.
Every one of those shots that he takes is a reminder of his reputation, instead of a consideration of the possibility that these are simply bad shots, and that it may be time to move past what we once thought of the player.
And really, it is consistent with the behavior we have about people in every walk of life. The people that we know, that we work with, that we hear about. Reputations are a hard thing to shed, for better or worse.
Take Russell Westbrook: now known to die-hard and casual fans of basketball as a shoot-first point guard whose selfish ways are getting in the team of this perfect machine that they’re building on Oklahoma City. But if you read Zach Lowe’s breakdown of Westbrook’s game, you see a 23 year point guard who has very fixable flaws with a huge ceiling of growth left. Plus he’s already running the most efficient offense in the league.
Once a general perception spreads, there’s no stopping it. But what will make the game more enjoyable for us as these players grow into and out of their reputations is to recognize that the development and decline of these players are fluid. What they are now won’t be what they are in a few years. And what they once was probably isn’t what they are now.
Recognizing and understanding that players continue to evolve will help all of us in assessing how a team continues to grow, instead of taking a stagnant view that is generally behind the curve.
2. The championship hangover
In 2007, the Miami Heat were coming off their first NBA championship in franchise history, with Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade, the team look destined to challenge for several more titles.
On opening night that year, they raised the banner and lost 108-66 to the Chicago Bulls. It was a sign of things to come. The Heat labored through the season, finishing 44-38 and were swept in the first round by the same Bulls. The next season it all came apart, Shaq was traded and the team didn’t return to contention until last year.
This season, the Mavericks seem to be following the same script. Coming off their first championship, Dallas was dominated in their opening day game against Miami. They followed that with another flat outing at home against Denver, than a buzzer beating loss in Oklahoma City.
The defending champions have righted the ship, and stand at 10-7. And now comes news that Dirk Nowitzki will be taking a week off to “resolve some physical issues and conditioning issues”.
It also doesn’t help that to position themselves for cap room in the long-term, Mark Cuban has assembled a completely different team than last season. Players like Vince Carter, Lamar Odom and Delonte West have been brought it to supplant the depth of the roster. Gone are younger talent like Rudy Fernandez, J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and Corey Brewer.
There’s no doubt this team will be there come playoff time, but given that they seem to be following the blueprint of the 2007 Miami Heat and pace themselves for the post-season, the Mavericks might find that their year-long hangover will come back to haunt them in the first round.
3. Dwight Howard’s wish list
Dwight Howard is so dominant in two aspects of the game that’s the least glamorous — defense and rebounding — that it’s made him an underrated player on the court even as he carries flaws on the offensive end with him.
But you can’t say he commands the same respect with his off the court comments and decisions regarding his pending free agency.
Last week, Howard added the Clippers to his wish-list of teams he’d be willing to go to, in addition to the Nets, Lakers and Mavericks.
What exactly is Dwight Howard’s true intentions when it comes to assembling his wish list?
Is it not safe to assume that winning is the most important thing to him?
The Mavericks will be a year older next year, so Howard would be teaming up with Nowitzki and an aging core in the West that’s filled with up and coming teams. If the Lakers were to acquire Howard, it would strip the depth of an already thin team. Same for the Nets, who have arguably the worst roster in the entire league.
Why hasn’t Howard considered other teams like Philadelphia, Chicago, or Minnesota. Each of these teams would be willing trade partners with the necessary trade pieces to provide Orlando with that they need, at the same time these teams could add Howard without decimating the core roster.
Since superstars demanding trades to a team of their choice is becoming an annual occurrence, Howard should at least get it right. Look at how Carmelo Anthony has struggled in New York. Sometimes it’s not about what city you go to, but looking at what makes the most sense from a basketball standpoint.
Players would be wise to try to take control of that too. If you’re going to be selfish, at least do it right.
Photo Credit: AP Photo (Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma City Thunder beat San Antonio Spurs 108-96, January 8, 2012. The Thunder is the first team to win 3 straight games in a back to back to back playing schedule due to a condensed and shortened NBA season.
Kevin Durant scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. James Harden added 20 points. Russel Westbrook finished with 13 points and 5 assists. Nick Collison had his first career double double scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards.
The Spurs played without Manu Ginobili who had a broken left hand. Tony Parker also left the game in the middle of the third quarter and DeJuan Blair pulled out also having cramped his leg after halftime. Gary Neal carried the Spurs scoring 18 points. Rookie Kawhi Leonard contributed 13 points and 10 boards. Richard Jefferson dropped 13 for the Spurs.