Kobe Survives

Rockets Lakers BasketballThe Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the Western Conference Finals with an 89-70 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of their series. And Kobe can breathe a sigh of relief. Even without Yao Ming for some of the series, the Rockets still pushed the Lakers to the brink of elimination and for Kobe to a career-crippling defeat. Kobe has faced so much scrutiny over the years for his character, his skill, his attitude, but this was a bit different.

This was Kobe vs Shane Battier. People have always wondered how good Kobe is, if he can carry a team to a championship, and if he is as good as Jordan (he’s not). This time though it was is Battier better at defense than Kobe is at offense. This was new to Kobe.

This Rocket team has limited scoring, especially with Yao out, but has great defensive players in Battier and Artest amongst others. Could the defensive stalwarts of Houston outlast Kobe and his Lakers?

Almost.

Battier played defense on Kobe like Kobe had never faced before throughout the entire series. Every shot, Battier has his hand millimeters from Kobe’s face. He fights through screens and hip checks every possession. He pushes Kobe around and forces him to his inefficiencies. Still, Kobe hits a shot and struts back up the court saying, “He can’t guard me” Continue reading “Kobe Survives”

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Rockets Make A Statement

The Houston Rockets walked into Portland as a slight underdog, but left the overwhelming favorite to win the series. After a 108-81 victory Saturday night, Houston is now in great position to move on to the next round. Yes, it is only one game, but this was quite a dominant game.Rockets Trail Blazers Basketball

They shot 58.5% from the field and out-rebounded the Trail Blazers 44-30. In every facet of the game, Houston outplayed Portland. No one on Houston played too many minutes (Shane Battier played the most at 37) and so no one was over exerted.

The offense was precise and destructive, but the defense was the star of the game. The Blazers shot just 41.7% from the field and were 1 of 11 from 3-point- range. This wasn’t just a bad shooting performance by Portland. This was a great defensive performance from Houston. Every shot was contested.

  1. LaMarcus Aldridge, who averaged over 18 points a game during the regular season, mad just 3 of his 12 shots and scored only 7 points.
  2. Brandon Roy, the only bright spot for the Blazers, shot 10 of 23 from the field for 21 points, but even that was still below his 22.6 season average. Continue reading “Rockets Make A Statement”

2008 NBA Draft Grades

The 2008 NBA Draft is over with some surprises and some trades, but in the end, it was fairly predictable. Up until the Mayo/Love trade at the end of the night, the top 10 picks had all been logical picks by their teams and none of them had been traded. Below I have recapped each teams moves on draft night, briefly analyzed those moves, and graded them. Enjoy!

Atlanta Hawks

No picks. No trades.

An uneventful night in Atlanta. The Hawks proved they had some talent by forcing the Celtics to play 7 games, but this team is not ready for the big-time yet. Not sure if any teams are looking, but I would have liked to see Atlanta part ways with point guard Mike Bibby and try to get younger. There’s plenty of time for that to happen still over the summer.

Grade: C

Boston Celtics 

Chose J.R. Giddens in 1st round (30th Overall)
Chose Semih Erden in 2nd round (60th Overall) 

Acquired Bill Walker (47th Overall pick) for cash considerations and a future draft pick from Washington Wizards

Interesting night for the World Champions. I can’t find a way to explain choosing the trouble-laden Giddensover Chris Douglas Roberts. As a Celtic fan, I was crossing my fingers that CDR would be one the board at the 30thpick and he was, but Danny Ainge passed on him. Giddens may have talent, but he has had so many off the court issues that I can’t see him playing any pro ball. Plus, Ainge could have traded back 20 picks and still gotten Giddens. Having said that, I love the trade for Bill Walker. He is an extremely talented player and has huge possibilities if he stays healthy. I can’t say I know much about Semih Erden except that ESPN says that he has some work ethic issues as well. Seems like the Celtics were looking for players with issues in this draft. Continue reading “2008 NBA Draft Grades”