Archive | Basketball

Can Anyone Slow Down Rajon Rondo?

Boston Celtic point guard Rajon Rondo has always had a penchant for big games. His affinity for nationally televised matchups is well documented, and practically all of his best performances has come under the NBA‘s brightest lights. Celtic fans have often seen this as a double edged sword because, while Rondo takes his game to another level when he’s on National Television, he often disappears in matchups against lesser competition. He plays great in big games, but he doesn’t play that well all the time which can be frustrating for Celtic fans because they want him to play at that level every game. However here is the good news for Celtic fans – every playoff game is a big game, and through four games of the 2012 NBA playoffs, Rondo looks to be in big game form.

Rondo was playing at an elite level going in to the playoffs, closing out the regular season on a streak of 24 straight games with double digit assist totals, and finishing the year averaging 11.9 points and 11.7 assists per game. Yet unbelievably Rondo has been even better at the start of the playoffs – through four games, minus the one he missed due to suspension, Rondo is averaging 19 points and 13 assists, all career playoff highs. Things can change in an instant in the NBA, and while the Celtics are up 3-1 on Atlanta this series is far from over. However based on a three game sample Rondo sure looks unstoppable, and that makes the Celtics really scary.

The saying in Boston for years has been “as Rondo goes so go the Celtics.” Well Rondo is going and, unfortunately for the rest of the league, there doesn’t appear to be anyone left in the east who can slow him down. When Derek Rose got injured the one player who would pose a legitimate challenge for Rondo exited the playoffs. New Jersey’s Deron Williams has given Rondo problems before, but he and his Nets are on the golf course right now while Jay-Z and the Nets ownership group plan their move to Brooklyn. Milwaukee’s Brandon Jenning is also an awfully good player, but his Bucks missed out on the playoffs in the season’s final week, and he isn’t on Rondo’s level anyway.

Of the point guards left in the Eastern Conference Playoffs the one who has actually defended Rondo best is Atlanta’s Jeff Teague. While somewhat under the radar, overshadowed by other Atlanta stars like Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, Teague has turned into an very good point guard for the Hawks. He’s one of the few players in the league with quickness on Rondo’s level, and in their two regular season matchups he held the Celtic point guard to a miserable 7-30 shooting. Rondo still put up big numbers, recording a triple-double in Boston‘s April 11th win at the TD Garden, but Teague made him work for everything he got and forced into a bunch of bad shots. Teague has done his best to slow Rondo downin the playoffs, but through four games he really hasn’t had any success, and if and when the Celtics get past the Hawks it will only get easier for Rondo.

Provided that the Celtics get past Atlanta, their next opponent would be either the eighth seeded Philadelphia 76ers, or the Rose-less Chicago Bulls. This would mean either Philadelphia’s Jrue Holliday or Chicago’s C.J. Watson going head to head with Rondo. Both are good players, but one would still expect Rondo to dominate the matchup in route to a Celtic win. If Boston were to make it to the Eastern Conference finals their opponent would likely be either the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers, meaning a matchup between Rondo and either Miami’s Mario Chalmers or Indiana’s Darren Collison. Again this really should be a case of no contest, and while both teams are good enough to win even if Rondo dominates, they will have a tough time slowing Rondo down which makes beating Boston a real challenge. Nothing is guaranteed. In fact, given Boston‘s injury history and penchant for blowing leads, it’s far from a certainty that the Celtics will even get past Atlanta. However if they do take care of business against the Hawks things are set up pretty well for Boston because there doesn’t seem to be anyone left who can slow down Rondo.

Now as a pass first point guard Rondo’s success still depends on his teammates knocking down shots. If Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Avery Bradley all start bricking the open looks Rondo gets them, or if the injury bug strikes again, the Celtics are in trouble regardless of how well Rondo plays. However as long as Rondo keeps playing at this level, and his teammates stay healthy and keep knocking down open shots, there really is no limit to how far the Celtics can go. They have numerous weaknesses that can be exploited, but since nobody in the east has an answer for Rondo, the Celtics have a fighting chance against any team out there.

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NY Post Phil Mushnick Defends Position of Saying Nets Could Be Called Brooklyn Niggers

Before I explain to you how flawed and stupid Mushnick logic is defending his column (NY Post Writer Phil Mushnick Says Nets Could be Called “New York Niggers”) here is what he had to say about Bob Blitz.

Such obvious, wishful and ignorant mischaracterizations of what I write are common. I don’t call black men the N-word; I don’t regard young women as bitches and whores; I don’t glorify the use of assault weapons and drugs. Jay-Z, on the other hand…..Is he the only NBA owner allowed to call black men N—ers?”

Jay-Z profits from the worst and most sustaining self-enslaving stereotypes of black-American culture and I’M the racist? Some truths, I guess, are just hard to read, let alone think about.

(Same column I provide support for Amar’e Stoudemire at a time when everyone in town is ripping him to shreds. That was my LEAD, too, but what does that matter?)

Later in the Mushnick replied to an email from the Village Voice: “”James [King] – did you actually read what I wrote and what I’ve been writing for 30 years? I don’t call black men niggas; my kids never heard the word until folks such as Jay-Z came along. I’d suggest you talk to him about it. What I wrote today was on Jay Z’s artistry, and only the wishful and foolish would so badly misinterpret and mischaracterize it as you plan to do.

First off when did Mushnick become the voice of who can or can’t say Nigger and black stereotypes in America?  Ironically, he is perpetuating one of the biggest stereotypes of all.  That all rappers or black guys in hoodies are thugs and gangsters.

Nelly is a minority sports owner, Usher is a minority sports owner, Marc Anthony is a minority sports owner and ton of other entertainers.

Magic Johnson just bought the Dodgers, does that mean Mushnick can make a column saying their name can be changed to the LA AIDS?

Just because Mushnick wrote nice things about Amar’e that means he can’t write an ignorant column?  That is the “black friend” defense that I told you he would use.

He goes to it often……

He never would call a black man a nigger or a woman a whore, but Jay Z does, so he lazily writes a column about calling the Nets the Brooklyn Niggers.

He might have a beef Jay Z and he might not be a racist, but what he truly is an ignorant individual.  This has nothing to do with Jay Z, this has to do with a white reporter being able to be flippant about calling a team filled with mostly black players niggers.

Nothing funny or creative about that.

It was crude and self serving.  It couldn’t have been done to anyone else without Mushnick being fired.  He couldn’t have said the Brooklyn Chinks or Brooklyn Jews, that wouldn’t have went over very well.

His intent is irrelevant, I don’t care what he meant, I care about what he said.

The fact that the Post doesn’t care tells you all you need to know how they feel about black people in general.  It is still ok for us to be spoken about in a negative way and no one will ever say anything, but Jeremy Lin can have 30 people fired over headlines regardless of intent.

Always remember as a black person as soon as you step out the door you are down 14-0 in society and when they want to cover up their ignorance they will just blame Jay Z.


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How the Knicks Used Motion to Bury the Celtics

How the Knicks Used Motion to Bury the Celtics

New York’s offense was the catalyst in their 118-110 victory over the Celtics on Tuesday night. The Knicks shot 56.8% from the field, and a whooping 59.4% from downtown. In breaking down the film from the game, you can see … Continue reading ?

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Why are White NBA Players Better Free-Throw Shooters?

The top 3 NBA free-throw shooters of all-time are white guys, Steve Nash, Mark Price and Rick Barry. Five of the top 10 overall are white, with Larry Bird and Scott Skiles as part of the list. Many people would consider Peja Stojakovic as white; he is also in the top 10.

The NBA is a league made-up of more than 80% African-American players, yet when it comes to free-throw shooting, African-American players are only 60% of the top 30 all-time in free-throw accuracy.

So, what would explain the reasons for this discrepancy in percentages?

The obvious argument made from years in the past is that African-American players concentrate more of their efforts on dynamic playing, while white players concentrate more on the fundamentals.

African-American players have traditionally preferred the type of play that is creative like going to the rim and using their ball-handling skills to accompany their athletic skills. White players have traditionally practiced their shooting skills.

Times have changed and coaching has emphasized that players need to be solid in all aspects of the game.

African-American players have pushed themselves to develop highlight type of play because of the attention it gets from fans and scouts. Along the way, they have become excellent shooters as well, especially from 3-point range, because they understand how crucial this part of the game is to their success.

The 3-point shot is the type of play that can take the momentum away from the opposing team. It sets the tone for a team, brings the defense out and opens up the court so that going to rim is more accessible.

For white players, they have tried to enhance their game over the years by embracing more athletic play and trying to do what it takes to match the all-around game of their African-American counterparts.

Their success has been limited, though, because of the differences in body-type and overall athletic prowess when it comes to running and jumping. There are still great athletic white players, but they know their limits and try to make up for any differences in athletic ability by excelling at the free-throw line.

African-American players may practice the free-throw with an incredible amount of diligence, so it would be unfair to say they don’t practice the shot enough. It just may be that white guys practice it more because it is the one place on the court where there are no disadvantages.

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NBA players pick favorite and worst coaches to play for

Sports Illustrated did a poll asking players which coaches they want to play for the most, and which the least. You probably could have come up with this list on your own, but now it’s confirmed.

Doc Rivers, Mike D’Antoni and Gregg Popovich are the coaches player’s “most” want to play for and Stan Van Gundy, as well as current Bucks coach, Scott Skiles (also the record-holder for most assists in a single NBA game), were unfortunately voted by players as the coaches they’d “least” like to play for.

The news of the poll merely adds a dollop of whip cream and a maraschino cherry on top the sundae of awful that was Stan Van Gundy’s Wednesday. If you’re not aware, Fox Sports is reporting (via WKMG-TV) Dwight Howard is unwilling to return to the court for the Magic unless Stan gets got. You’ve probably already heard why Dwight is upset, but it’s Stan and GM Otis Smith that’s have to deal with Dwight’s (possible) ultimatum. Regardless, it’s not a particularly surprising revelation.

Howard has become a sort of poster-child for this churlish superstar behavior, and if I was Indiana, I’d hope the Orlando dysfunction continues, unabated. If Dwight doesn’t play in the playoffs—whether because of injury or because of his continued sulking over Stan’s presence as coach (and an implicit message from management, that not even Dwight Howard can blackball them into firing the coach)—they’ll have a much easier time of advancing past the 1st round.

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Jeremy Lin out for rest of regular NBA season with injury

NEW YORK – New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin needs surgery that will take him out of play for the rest of the season, and potentially the first round of playoff games, too, the New York Times reported.
The Taiwanese-American athlete has a small, chronic meniscal tear in his left knee, the Knicks announced this evening, according to the Times. His recovery from arthroscopic surgery is expected to take at least six weeks.
“It’s a big blow,” Knicks Coach Mike Woodson said, according to the Times.
Lin is the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA, the Associated Press reported. He’s also the first Harvard University graduate to play in the National Basketball Association since Ed Smith in 1953. Lin’s inspired playing this spring increased worldwide interest in basketball and sparked a national discussion about Asians in sports.
Lin was a benchwarmer until a Feb. 4 game against New Jersey in which he scored 25 points, the AP reported. He then led the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak.
“If this was done very early in the year, obviously … I don’t know where my career would be. I could be, would be definitely without a job and probably fighting for a summer league spot,” Lin said today, according to the AP. “But having said that, this happening now hurts just as much, because all the players, we really put our heart and souls into the team and into season, and to not be there when it really matters most is hard.”

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