USA Olympic Basketball

The United State’s Olympic Basketball team was announced today for the 2008 Olympics in China. The one glaring weakness of the team is the lack of size as the only true power forwards/centers on the team are Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, and Carlos Boozer. Those three big men are joined by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Michael Redd, Dwayne Wade, and Tayshaun Prince. Many other teams in the world such as Greece, Spain, and Russia all boast big men with excellent skill. If Bosh, Howard, and Boozer get into foul trouble and are unable to play many minutes, then other teams will use their size advantage to pull down rebounds and dominate the offensive glass. Anthony is supposed to start at power forward and play major minutes there, but I don’t expect him to be able to grab rebounds and fight for position in the paint like true power forwards. With FIBA International Rules giving players only five fouls before they foul out (unlike six in the NBA) and counting a technical foul as a personal foul, the US may have major problems with foul trouble. Continue reading “USA Olympic Basketball”

2008 NBA Champions: Boston Celtics

What a night for the Celtics. You could not have imagined a victory more dominant or more emotional than the Celtics’ 131-92 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday to win the NBA Championship. The Celtics dominated every facet of the game, out-rebounding the Lakers 48 to 29 and forcing 19 turnovers. The Big 3 had their greatest performance of the year. Kevin Garnett returned to regular season form with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Paul Pierce may not have had one of his greatest shooting performance (4 of 13 from the field), but he still ended with 18 points and 10 assists. Ray Allen completed his dominating Finals with 7 three pointers and 26 points, setting an NBA record of 22 three pointers made in an NBA Finals’ series. Rajon Rondo played the best game of his career, taking the ball to the hoop and forcing the Lakers to guard him. He had 21 points (8 of 20 from the field), 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 steals. The Celtics best bench player, James Posey, had 11 points, making all four of his shots including three 3 pointers, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals. That is just on the offensive end.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock in the 2008 NBA season, everyone on the court, in the Garden, and in the NBA had learned a valuable lesson from these NBA Finals: Defense wins championships. The Celtics just overpowered the Lakers defensively and Kobe looked lost the entire series. The Lakers did score 92 points in the game, but that was only with a 32 point fourth quarter when the Celtics were no longer focusing on defense, but rather the seconds remaining in the game. Boston’s defense shined through in the first half where they held the Lakers to 35 points (15 in the second quarter), 30% shooting, and had a halftime lead of 23 points. The rest of the game was just one big party for Boston fans. Continue reading “2008 NBA Champions: Boston Celtics”

NBA Finals: Game 5

In an up-and-down game which had the Lakers blow a 19-point first half lead, Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson made the necessary moves to propel his team into a season-saving win. Criticized after Game 4 for not playing starting point guard Derek Fisher and power forward Lamar Odom enough in the fourth quarter, Jackson waisted no time inserting Fisher and Odom into the lineup in Game 5 as they played the final 6-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. Odom played 41 minutes, scoring 20 points, making eight of ten shots, and grabbing eleven rebounds. Fisher played 35 minutes and scored 15 points, including making a couple critical free throws down the stretch. While Jackson made the necessary moves to win, the Celtics’ players seemed unable to get the job done.

Kevin Garnett had his worst game of the postseason as he picked up fouls early and was visibly tired throughout the game. The most telling possession for KG during the game occurred with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Down by 5, Eddie House fired up a desperate 3-pointer from the corner, but missed badly as the ball launched off the bottom of the rim and into the air. As Celtic and Laker players madly converged under the ball, Garnett stood at the foul line, watching the scrum and refusing to get involved in the most important rebound of the game. KG played only 33 minutes and during that time played pretty well, scoring 13 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, but he made only 1 of 4 free throws in the final minutes of the game, costing the Celtics valuable points. While Paul Pierce scrapped for a every loose ball and fought furiously against double and triple teams, KG sat on the sideline, reduced to a mere cheerleader. Pierce played the entire game and scored 38 monster points for Boston, including making 16 of 19 free throws. Continue reading “NBA Finals: Game 5”