Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

 

Picture used from nbaplayoffsbracket.com

The NBA Playoffs have begun so it is time to look at the rundown of the results and what that means for the future of each series. I just want to start this post by saying the referees are terrible. They need to let the old school NBA players referee the game so it can be the playoff basketball that we love to see. The calls that were made last weekend were a mess unlike anything I have ever witnessed before. I just wanted to throw something at my TV. But let’s get to the real point of this post.

The Clippers and the Warriors played last weekend. They solidified what I wrote, that they would be best for the NBA and game one really showed why. As soon as the game started David Lee got into it with Blake Griffin. This game magnified Chris Paul’s struggle on offense and defense, and because of it I really don’t see the Clippers winning the series. Yes, Blake Griffin only played 19 minutes the entire game, but let’s be real. He is not the entire offense. They still have Jamal Crawford, JJ Redick and CP3 on the team. Free throws did not hurt them because Deandre Jordan even hit his clutch free throw. I do have to reiterate CP3 is a liability on defense. He can’t check Klay Thompson, who had him in the post the entire game. He can’t check Stephen Curry because he has to save his energy for offense. Curry ran him the entire game like he was the second coming of Reggie Miller and Richard Hamilton. If CP3 can’t get it together, the Warriors definitely have the weapons to win in seven games.

After watching the Pacers versus the Hawks I realized the Indiana Pacers are the worst team in basketball. They just didn’t want to be in the playoffs. How do you become the number one seed, let Atlanta come into your house, and easily make you look like a high school team? Roy Hibbert shot 1-4 in the first half and didn’t even show up in the second half until there were 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter. How many times do I have to sit and watch Lance Stephenson look like he does not want to play team ball anymore? How many times do I have to watch David West look passive and not shoot the ball? I saw a team that does not care and it’s sad. Coach Frank Vogul showed no passion and anger toward his team and the problems they were having. I can’t believe that he did not take his star players out of the game when they played like straight garbage. Atlanta came into Indiana like they were playing at home. I swear Jeff Teague looked unstoppable on the court. If the Pacers don’t get right on the court, they will get put out in five games. They still have to go to Atlanta and they are not that good of a road team.

The Toronto Raptors versus the Brooklyn Nets was a very interesting game. It was probably the funniest game I have ever witnessed in all my years of watching basketball. The Raptors GM yelled “F*** the Brooklyn Nets!” at the crowd outside of the game, then retracted his statement. My advice: Man, it’s the playoffs so say what you feel. The Toronto Sun’s backpage read “Raptors vs. The Dinosaurs.” I mean it just cracked me up. Paul Pierce didn’t have a great game, but oh man, did he show up in the 4th quarter and display the skills that led Shaq to start calling him, “The Truth.” He showed that they were determined to win and they want to see Miami in the playoffs. I’m not saying that the Raptors are not going to make it a good series, but the Nets are just too experienced with the veterans they have on their squad. Toronto will be a good team for years to come but they will not beat Brooklyn in this series. Brooklyn will win in six games.

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The Spurs versus Mavericks series is going to be great because watching Tim Duncan versus Dirk Nowitzki is always a great matchup. I can honestly say Duncan looked like he had some youth juice because he was up and down the court like he hasn’t been in the league for 15 seasons. Thank you Popovich for making sure that Duncan looked good on the court. Tony Parker got to the lane with ease the entire game and could not be stopped. He scored 16 of his 17 points in the first quarter inside the paint. Monta Ellis looked nervous and it showed. He could hardly make a bucket. He shot 4-14. Dirk was not hitting his jumpers, only scoring 14 points and Vince Carter just doesn’t look like he even cares to win. In the end the Spurs will win the series in five games.

Another great series is the Wizards versus Bulls. The passion surrounding that game is awesome. I love the way Joakim Noah played because he makes you want to scream with him. Even though Noah has intensity, he cannot check Nene. Tahj Gibson was a great player in game one grabbing offensive rebounds. The Bulls will not beat the Wizards just because John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Nene did a great job playing against that tough defense. However, Boozer does not play any defense at all so that will hurt them in the series. DJ Augustin and Kirk Hinrich tried their best to D-Up but those boys were just too big and quick for them. I believe the Bulls will lose this series in six games.

After watching the Trailblazers versus Rockets all I have to say is the Trailblazers will win this series and it will be a great run. Lamarcus Aldridge scored 46 points and Damion Lillard scored 31. That is 77 points between the both of them, and that’s not even adding in Wesley Matthews and Batum. But let’s put it out there – no one on the Rockets can check Aldridge and that’s all they need. James Harden shot 8-28 and still acted like he actually contributed to the team. Yeah, I watched Dwight Howard put up 27 points, 15 rebounds, but I also saw him shrink when they needed him. He cried the entire game because Robin Lopez stayed on him. It was great to see Robin Lopez play tight defense and get on Dwight’s nerves the whole game. I especially loved how Wesley Johnson got in James Harden’s head and made him overshoot the entire game. It will come down to the wire, but the Trailblazers will win the series in seven games and show the NBA that they should be considered contenders.

The Thunder versus Grizzles has to be the weakest series that will be on TV. Durant and Westbrook just went to work and dominated the entire time. It makes me not want to watch. Ibaka was just on a mission blocking everything in sight. He got in players faces and challenged shots. I really don’t have that much to say because the Grizzles cannot score on them. It’s Kevin Durant, what more do I have to say?

I really don’t want to talk about the Heat versus Bobcats because it is basically a waste of time. I’m not saying a waste of time like the Heat will just dominate the series. I’m saying a waste of time because everyone and they mama is a Heat fan and the NBA wants the Heat to win because it’s a business. Most of the Heat fans weren’t fans until LeBron went to the team anyway. Band-wagoners are just what they are. A true fan of the sport can see the off-things that happen, especially with the referees. The Bobcats started a run, were up 10, but the refs started with the bogus whistle blowing to get Miami back in the game like they always do. There were four straight calls that weren’t even fouls, but it sent LeBron to the line and took the momentum away from the Bobcats and everything changed from that point on. It was ok for LeBron and company to run and dip their shoulders into the defender to get the foul. AMAZING! They might as well just put Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals and let everyone else fight to get there.

The Playoffs this year will make for some good entertainment, with the exception of a few series’. We will see the referees tame down some of the points in the games that can be great momentum changes. I look forward to seeing who will make it to the Finals this NBA season. We have just barely scratched the surface thus far.

Greetings, all. Hope I don’t drive too many of you away from here. I promise it all comes together in the end.

So, this week, I was all pumped to write a post on the evolution of Chance the Rapper (or talk on the evolution of Drake’s fanboy-like nature when it comes to sports). Then, I got the news that the Ultimate Warrior died suddenly a few days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (and delivering a prophetic promo on Monday Night Raw).

This shocking news, which I’ll speak on a bit more on my personal site in the coming days, got me thinking about one of the worst angles in my twenty-some years as a pro wrestling fan. In case you don’t know, your [butt] better call somebody (this will pop up again) and listen up before I have to open a can of whoop-you-know-what.

In the late 90s, the Attitude Era had taken over the WWE, at the time known as the WWF. What this meant for one of the main competitors to the WWE, WCW (or World Championship Wrestling) is that they’d have to up the ante on storylines, marketability, and straight-up ridiculousness to keep people tuning in. Heels (bad guys) and faces (good guys) flipped sides more than a three-sided coin. David Arquette won the “Big Gold” belt. And, guest stars begin to litter the WCW landscape.

One of those guest stars was none other than Mr. “Age in Rap Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Numba” himself, Master P.

Master P decided to sign into a partnership with WCW. If Master P lent some credence to wrasslin’ in the hip-hop community, then WCW would lend some credence to hip-hop in the wrestling community. Oh, and there was something about Master P’s possible cousin “Swoll” being able to wrestle and get screen time.

What came out of this relationship is a storyline that many wrestling sites consider to be one of the worst in the history of WCW. And this is coming from a sports entertainment federation which employed Robocop at one of their pay-per-views.

(See what I mean?)

In the sometimes nonsensical world of pro wrestling, you expect stuff to not make sense. That’s part of kayfabe. You’ve got to suspend some reality to get into it. But, Master P’s inclusion in WCW, as part of the–wait for it–No Limit Soldiers was insanely abysmal. Not only was his stable (group of wrestlers) booed ad nauseam, they were brought in as faces. Translation: the good guys got the [stuffing] booed out of them because:

1) WCW brought in a bunch of non-wrestlers to take time/money away from actual wrestlers (Master P got paid about a million dollars for a month)
2) A lot of WCW’s fan base quite possibly thought that “rap was crap,” agreeing with the heel faction that sprung up to feud with the “No Limit Soldiers”
3) The actual wrestlers in the NLS stable were either glorified jobbers or had no business in a rap-centric stable–and yes, that includes Brad Armstrong, the brother of Road Dogg (Jesse James) of the New Age Outlaws and DX in WWF/WWE (who eventually resurfaced as, to a degree, a spoof of Road Dogg).
4) The NLS stable came off as a straight-up parody of hip-hop and was kind of stereotypical in nature (and not even the “funny” kind of stereotypical. They were almost booed out of Washington DC during their debut).
5) This was one of the most-awkward celebrity appearances in professional wrestling

(See what I mean?)

Essentially, it was the result of WCW trying to reach out to “the blacks” the hip-hop community in a pandering effort that was half-cooked. Of course, this isn’t the first time wrestling and hip-hop have meshed. We have wrestlers such as R-Truth, to this very day, poppin’ and lockin’ in their entrances. Silkk the Shocker performed a WWE theme song. We had the tag team of JTG and Shad known as “Cryme Tyme,” which, in some ways, was even more stereotypical than Master P’s bunch (But, at least everyone was in on the joke…I think).

(BROOKLYN BROOKLYN!)

But, for me, the No Limit Soldiers gimmick stands out as one of the worst marriages of hip-hop and wrestling–and there have been some odd ones.

For kicks, I’ve included the No Limit entrance theme, “Hoody Hoo,” which, of course, is NSFW (I mean, it’s old-school No Limit).

Until next time. I promise that next week I’ll keep it strictly hip-hop. No piledrivers or Stone Cold Stunners.

Ok, maybe a stunner or two (contains some middle-finger-flipping action and some minor NSFW language)

I have been a fan of the NBA since I was six. I remember sitting in my house and watching grown men play the game I knew I was going to play someday. I saw how physical the game could be with men getting punched in the face or even getting kicked in the stomach. My thoughts from watching them were, “man, those are some strong dudes. I want to be just like them, physical and tough.” I remember seeing Kurt Rambis, on a sports replay, getting clothes-lined in mid-air and getting back up like a “G.” I remember actually seeing Michael Jordan take a beating every game he played during the season and the playoffs, but he kept getting stronger and didn’t back down. This is what made him great. He didn’t cry to the ref because he was confident he would be able to handle whatever was thrown at him; look at how he fought Reggie Miller. He didn’t need the refs to take up for him. I loved the physicality that those men displayed every time they hit the court. Did people forget about how Pat Riley had the New York Knicks play? They were the main team in the NBA that had the rule that if anyone entered the paint they tasted the floor. Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley, and even John Starks made sure that their presence was felt by giving a shot to the ribs or knocking someone on the floor once they drove to the paint. We also can’t forget about the toughness Indiana had with Antonio Davis, Dale Davis, Rik Smits, and Reggie Miller–who I mentioned before. Those were the best days in basketball.


During 2000-2006 players would cry to the referees and the ref would just brush it off with a look that seemed to say, “Just play the game.” They would let the game continue even when Shaq would give someone an elbow in the paint. Players just took it and dished it back. He was so big that it was hard to guard him, but guess what? Shaq didn’t win every game he played. In 2004, the Lakers lost to the Pistons in the Finals even with his physical play, which is why he has the nickname, The Diesel. Ben Wallace still played defense and helped his team win a championship. Big Ben Wallace never cried to the referees during the Finals about Shaq because he was physically and mentally tough enough to take the beating. NBA basketball was a battle, and that made the game fun to watch. This was a time when players could get close to the defender. Everyone had to work hard on either side of the ball. When Tyrone Lue hand checked Allen Iverson during the Finals in 2001, Iverson continued to play hard and still averaged over 30 points per game. Basketball was a game of toughness and athleticism, and sometimes players had to endure physical beatings along with losing the game. That’s the way I and many others were brought up and it’s sad to say that those times have changed and cry-babies now run the NBA, not men.

This version of the NBA can be categorized as the cry baby league. The refs are listening to everything players whine about to protect certain superstars, like LeBron James and even Blake Griffin. The defensive player cannot touch the offensive player at all. The defender is left out to dry on the court and the offensive player, especially if you are a superstar, can just run into the defender and draw the foul. The defender doesn’t even have to touch the offensive player and a foul is called. What kind of mess is that? LeBron James is the prime example. He will lower his shoulder while charging full speed down the court and bowl right through a defender, or my favorite, use his off arm while he is dribbling to shield the ball and push the defender out-of-the-way. I can’t just blame LeBron for that because other players like Carmelo Anthony do the same. The ref will then call a foul on that defender. How can you call a foul on the defender when the offensive player is doing most of the pushing and banging to get to the basket? If you are a true fan of the game then you will know exactly what I’m talking about. The rule is that you have to keep your hands straight up and slide your feet to get position on that player. But, when that defender does this and the offensive player runs into him, the foul call is on the defender. In the event that foul call is not called, the players will then cry about not getting “necessary” calls. My advice: If you can’t be physical then go play tennis or bowling because then you won’t have to worry about someone touching you.

The referees must not understand the rules because they get it wrong every time by anticipating hits or calling them after someone has whined. How much longer can fans of the game watch the league baby LeBron James just because he is supposedly “the best player in the league?” Shoot, I would be the best player in the league too if I could knock the defender out the way and shoot an average of 12 free throws per game. Then, when I don’t get the call I want, all I have to do is go to the ref and let him know that I need to get that call and then shoot another 10 free throws. Another example of players being able to sway calls is when Dwayne Wade got Lance Stephenson ejected for having emotion. He let the ref know that Stephenson did something that offended him. I feel like the only people who should be able to talk to the refs are the coaches. All of this crying to the referees needs to stop, whether it is about physical play or otherwise. It has changed the course of the NBA already and will make it unrecognizable for generations to come.

Image used from sportspeak.org

Image used from sportspeak.org

The season started rocky for the Los Angeles Clippers, but since the All-Star break they have been showing teams that they are competing for the championship. The Clippers were never a team that you would put in the same sentence with “playoff team”. No one in their right mind would even say they’d go see a Clippers game…unless they were a hardcore fan. The moves that they have made over the years have changed the dynamic of the entire franchise. Can we actually say right now that the Lakers are now the Clippers and that the Clippers are the new show in town? It’s so funny because they share the same arena but the Clippers were never filling seats. Well, welcome to town Blake Griffin and Chris Paul and hello playoffs and possibly a championship. Let’s look at the facts right now and see if they are worthy of and ready for that big step.

Jamal Crawford is the best sixth man in the league and who wouldn’t want to have him off the bench on their team. JJ Reddick and Jared Dudley were great pickups for them and they are lights out 3 point shooters. Darren Collison is another point guard that has the talent to show and improve as a backup for Chris Paul. Collison can average 15 points per game if needed and can dish the ball just as good. Danny Granger got traded from the Pacers to the Sixers and decided to buy out his contract to go to a championship squad where he will get the time. I know he has a big smile on his face right now being able to know what it feels like to play in the playoffs and actually compete. Looking at everyone I just named along with Griffin and Paul, they can make it to the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But, I do see a team that could stop them if they meet–or at the very least, take them to a seven game series–and that’s the Golden State Warriors. Everyone knows that they don’t like one another and there’s some bad blood all around. But, no one knows if Doc Rivers is going to tell them to just play basketball and not allow them to get into their heads. And with the pitbull Chris Paul, I actually don’t see them avoiding a few technical fouls here and there. This year can be a great year for the Clippers if they don’t meet up with the Warriors, but man will it be the best series on TV and for basketball.

 

The NBA season is almost over so it is time to think about the playoffs and the finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder have the best chance to win the championship. This will be the most amazing playoffs in the Western Conference because everyone is coming for them, but the Thunder will be the team to take it.

Russell Westbrook was injured half the season, but Kevin Durant carried the load, beating the elite teams in the West. Durant has had 11 40-point games and he is not stopping, reaching that level once again in Tuesday’s game against the Houston Rockets. Westbrook returned from his injury after the All-Star game and since then the Thunder’s record is 4-7, but that will not stop them from showing out in the playoffs. They have shown that they can beat teams like Houston, Golden State, San Antonio, and the Clippers, and well those are basically the only teams you need to worry about. Durant has averaged over 30 points per game against those teams and Westbrook will make sure that he gets his on the court as well. None of the point guards that go up against him can stop him. Not even a great defensive player like Patrick Beverly will be able to guard him. Westbrook has a target on him and will be going at him hard every time they play.

I never thought that OKC would have a real rival team in the NBA, but man did it happen. Everyone is stuck on Durant versus LeBron but that is irrelevant because they play twice a year and the only thing hype about them is the MVP race. Their true rival can be found in the Houston Rockets. The tension is high and they are very exciting to watch when they meet. The funny thing is, Patrick Beverly started the rivalry when he hurt Westbrook last year. Durant stepped up to knock them out of the playoffs and man, that made them upset. People are all hyped because Houston has Dwight Howard, but like I wrote in my last post Houston, Dwight Will Be a Problem he does not play elite basketball against teams that have a center or power forward who can match his talent and toughness. In Tuesday’s game he was 4-12 from the field and  has only averaged 12 points against Ibaka the entire season. This type of challenge would make for a great championship series. I already know that it depends on the seeds that the teams achieve, but what’s best for business is a showdown either between the Clippers and Warriors or the Thunder and Rockets.

No NBA fan will sit and waste their time watching the Toronto Raptors. The only people who watch the team are fans in Canada. Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry were the only ones making a name for themselves until Terrence Ross came out of the wood work.

Terrence Ross first showed up in the dunk contest where he took home the trophy in 2013 as a rookie. People were astonished because no one had seen his game before that day when he put his dunking skills on the map. He came from the University of Washington. He played 35 games as a collegiate player and averaged 8 points per game but had spurts of 20 points when he got the chance to shine. Then he was drafted by the Raptors in the first round as the 8th pick in the 2012-2013 season. The Raptors must have known something that no one else knew because he turned out to be a promising pick for them.

This year he has shown that he is explosive and he certainly has not disappointed. The Los Angeles Clippers came into town and everyone knew they were going to win and it was going to be an easy game. I mean, who doesn’t think that when playing against the Raptors. Well, Demar Derozan hurt himself during the game and everyone in the stadium just knew that it was going to be a blowout. Terrence Ross changed everyone’s mind when he came into the game and dropped 51 points out of nowhere. Who knew that this dude was going to drop buckets? He averages 10 points per game, so who expected that? They only lost by 8 points but Terrence tried his best to keep them in the game and will a win. It was a great game for him, but they are not on TV enough to watch, and even if you have the NBA League Pass you are not going to watch the game even if it is the Clippers playing. Well he wasn’t done because the next game, against the Denver Nuggets, he showed out again. The “Manimal” Kenneth Faried got some medicine that he didn’t want to take that night and oh boy did Terrence Ross provide it to him. He went sky high and flushed it in his grill just to make a statement: I AM HERE. I, for one, will be trying to catch as many games by the Raptors just to see this man give out highlight dunks and demonstrate his great scoring ability. He has made me a fan and I hope everyone will now take notice of this team.

Check out Terrence Ross’ NBA All Star dunk competition performance at 8pm tonight on TNT.

One dude that has come out of Duke who has blown my mind is Uncle Drew aka Kyrie Irving. How many players in college only played 3 games, got hurt and came back to play in the tournament, and then go on to the NBA as the first pick in the NBA draft?

Kyrie Irving was drafted to the Cleveland Cavaliers after playing 11 games with Duke where he was averaging 18 points per game. He was able to renew Cleveland’s love in the Cavaliers after LeBron James left to go to Miami. Irving showed that even though he only played 11 games in college, he was ready for the pros.  Irving maintained his 18 points per game as a rookie. That was a great beginning for a team that was losing hope. Although they didn’t make the playoffs, the future looked very bright for him.

That bright future took a sharp turn in the 2012-2013 season when Irving broke his index finger and then later fell on his face, breaking his nose. He came back after his last injury wearing a protective face mask that made him look like a superhero. His superpowers were on display against the Knicks where he put up 41 points and five assists. No one had seen someone that young putting up numbers like that since Michael Jordan back in 1985 (33 points at Madison Square Garden). During the season Irving averaged 23 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals a game  which prompted his first All-Star game appearance. But before he did that, he scored 32 points as a member of Shaq’s team in the Rising Stars Challenge where he made Brandon Knight fall after a stunning crossover. These performances made NBA fans eager to see his progression over the next year.

The current 2013-2014 season has shown that Irving’s hard work was consistently moving him forward. He has averaged 22 points and 6 assists, so of course he was selected to the All-Star team again this year. He is trying his hardest to get his team in the playoffs with the help of a new addition, Luol Deng. What this man has done despite trading rumors has been amazing, all while incorporating a lot of fun into his play.

He has definitely had his share of fun off the court with his antics as Uncle Drew. The very first commercial began with an old man on the court with his nephew explaining that young folks don’t know about the game of basketball and getting buckets. Everyone was shocked to see an old man running up and down the court looking just about ready to crack a hip. Only then he turned up his skills and began crossing over young people, shooting from downtown, and dunking the ball. People were amazed at this old man’s performance not knowing that he was Kyrie Irving the entire time. It was great to see people’s faces happy and full of joy cracking jokes on the people who were getting fried.

Kyrie Irving is the future of the NBA and I am so glad to say that I am a Duke fan getting the chance to watch this man dominate on the court.

If you are a fan of the NBA you know exactly who J Crossover is and why he has received that name. If you don’t know who that is I am about to fill your head with some realness.

Jamal Crawford has been in the league for 14 years and a lot of people didn’t even know that this man existed until he got to the Atlanta Hawks. He was drafted from the University of Michigan by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2000 and traded that same day to the Chicago Bulls. I wish the Bulls would have just kept this man on the roster but hey, it’s a business. He came into the league averaging almost 17 points a game and he was coming off the bench. He began getting traded from team to team spending time at New York, Golden State, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trailblazers and now the Los Angeles Clippers. He spent at least four years on each team, except when he spent one year with the Golden State Warriors. He made the playoffs with the Atlanta Hawks but they did not end up going further than the first round. But, during those years he has crossed over and made so many people dance on the basketball court. His ability to get an open shot has made his games so fun to watch because of the oohing and cheering of the crowd when he makes someone fall or look stupid.

Crawford is now on the LA Clippers and though he is still coming off the bench, I honestly feel that he is the best guard in the history of the NBA. A lot of people would pick Manu Ginobili or J.R. Smith, but I say no one can touch Jamal Crawford. It has taken years for Crawford to prove himself to everyone in the league and he is showing his worth. He just had the best game of any player off the bench when he put up 37 points against the Toronto Raptors. He is now averaging 16 points off the bench. He is going to be the sixth man of the year hands down.

Since Chris Paul has been injured Crawford has had to step his game up and his numbers show he can help Blake Griffin keep the team afloat until Chris Paul can come back and help them compete for a championship. This month he has averaged over 20 points per game, but for the past 6 games he has been averaging 30 points. Jamal Crawford will go down as the best off the bench player in the history of the game and I will go so far as to say that he will make the Basketball Hall of Fame because of the game he has given to fans over the years.

Kevin-Durant17

Kevin Durant was in college for one year as a freshman at Texas and oh boy did he ever show that he was ready for the NBA. Durant averaged 26 points and 11 rebounds during his college career. He showed out for that one season. I watched him play as much as I could because he came from Suitland, Maryland and I lived in Capitol Heights, Maryland, so I had to show my respect and represent for the home state. It did not matter where he was on the court because the ball was going through the hoop and he was the next big thing. Durant and the Longhorns made it to the second round of the conference and ended up getting defeated by the University of Southern California, but his future was a bright one and he did not disappoint anyone.

Kevin Durant was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 2007 and with the height and mobility he has, he was considered the next Scottie Pippen, but with a better jump shot. That being said, Durant was just a skinny dude to most people so no one expected him to show out like he did in the first season of his NBA career. But, he surprised everyone. No one had seen a young man performing as he was (scoring 30 points per night) in the NBA after just one year of college under his belt. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were the only athletes who came close to Durant in scoring during their league debut. But, his true test came later when he faced the Lakers for his very first appearance in the playoffs and his team lost in the first round. He was able to rebound his team the next year against the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals but lost 4-2. In a later season he got his revenge against the Mavericks and was able to make it to the Finals to the play the Miami Heat and face LeBron James. They lost to them 4-1, but during that time he averaged 30 points per game while shooting over 57 percent from the field and that is very impressive for someone on that big stage for the first time. The ups and downs he has encountered through the years have shown that he can be the best in the game and he is proving it right now.

Durant, since Westbrook has been injured, has been averaging 31 points per game becoming the main focus for the Thunder. It did not work out too much for him in last year’s playoffs when Westbrook went down, but boy did he ever show he could evolve his game after that season.

 Over the past 11 games the Thunder are 8-3. Durant has been averaging 38 points per game and has put up over 54 points for two of those games and 46 for the past 8 games while also continuing to shoot over 52 percent from the field. How can you overlook this man for MVP when he is single-handedly taking his team to a record of 23-5? All together they are 32-10 with second place in the western conference. I can see that while Westbrook is out Durant will continue to carry the load for the team. The past few years that I previously mentioned in this post have shown that he is taking his game to a level where he cannot be touched by using that height and athleticism God gave him to his best ability. Who in the NBA right now can go out on the court and say they are going to stop this man from putting up 30 points? No one! This includes LeBron James because Durant averaged 30 points against him in the finals while shooting over 52 percent. Durant does not have to get to the free throw line because he can sit back behind it and drain three’s like they are free throws all day long. No one has stopped this man yet. This man who posesses the potential and the skill to surpass Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the NBA’s scoring leader. He has shown that he will continue to carry the load while Westbrook is sidelined until after the All-Star break and I don’t doubt it. After all, it’s Kevin Durant. What more can you say?

Skullcandy_NBA__Kevin_Durant

houston rockets photo: Houston Rockets chatrockets-teamlogo.gif

The Houston Rockets are a well-known franchise that have had great players and championships to go along with them. The Rockets have boasted players like Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny (The Jet) Smith, and even Charles Barkley. As a dominant franchise in the 90’s they gave every opponent a run for their money. However, though it was fun to watch them play in the early 2000’s when they acquired young talent — Steve Francis, Tracy Mcgrady, Rafer Alston, and Yao Ming — during the playoffs they always came up short to other top teams like the Lakers and the Mavericks.

Although it seems they have acquired talent that will make them contenders for the NBA Championship this season, they will not get a chance to taste that opportunity. James Harden signed with them in 2012 and had a breakout year as a starter, taking them to the playoffs, but losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. People were amazed at how fast he developed into an All-Star for that team. Chandler Parsons also showed that he was a dominant force on the court and that he possessed the potential to get this squad to the “promised land.” Then Linsanity came around and everyone loved the way this team had been put together. But, they were missing one good piece,  and oh man, did they fill that space. Dwight Howard signed with them for the 2014 season and everyone from analysts to fans said that they were a top three team because of Dwight Howard and his dominance. I, on the other hand, was not enthused by the pick-up. I think that James Harden and Chandler Parsons are going to be top players in this league for a long time. Dwight Howard on the other hand is a different story.

Dwight came from the Magic to the Lakers and now he plays for the Rockets. The man has been in the league 10 years and he has been to the finals one time in his career, losing to the Lakers in 2009 (almost getting swept). He has a chance now to dominate on a team where he is the main focus — besides James Harden — to take that franchise back to the “promised land.” He has shown no improvement in his game, but for some reason he has stayed in the league for this long.

When he went to the Lakers and played with the 5 time champion Kobe Bryant, he cried the entire season about not getting the ball enough. Everyone said, “Well, he was hurt and coming straight off a back surgery.” Dwight Howard was not tough enough to play through injuries and he wasn’t tough enough to take the spotlight of being a Laker. There were stories that he wanted the franchise to turn the team over to him. I was continually amazed at what came out of his mouth because Kobe IS the Lakers and he has 5 rings to show for it. Dwight has no rings and no elite game, but wanted to be the face of one of the greatest franchises in NBA history. I laughed when I heard the news about that. Then he entered free agency where Houston called his name and he answered. Houston thought, “Ok, we have a great guard in James Harden and a small forward in Chandler Parsons so we can add Dwight and have a dominant team.”  I don’t see the dominance he supposedly has because when it comes down to him needing to score and have a presence on the court he disappears when the Rockets need him the most.

Their next opponent, the Bucks, should be fairly easy to beat. Then they have to play Portland, Sacramento, Memphis, San Antonio, and Dallas to end the month of January. I only see them winning one game from that list, and that is against Dallas, if Dirk and Monta have a bad game. Anytime he plays teams that have big men who are just as strong as he is, he will not do anything on the court but foul and cry. They just played Oklahoma at home in Houston and he had 11 points and 8 rebounds. The “dominant center” Dwight Howard had that on the scoreboard while Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 15 rebounds. Again, someone who is just as strong as he is will frustrate him and he will shut down and then say the team didn’t play well. If you are supposed to be the best defensive player on the floor then you need to be the general and get everyone else on your level. But that is the biggest problem of all because he does not have the backbone to say what needs to be said when it needs to be said; “It’s my fault we lost”. Houston will have a problem for the rest of the season if Dwight doesn’t man up, start developing his game and taking responsibility for his role on the court.