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Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Tony Allen leaving Boston Celtics for Memphis Grizzlies

According to multiple reports, guard Tony Allen will sign with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Memphis Commercial Appeal first reported the deal. Just days after rumors swirled that Allen would re-sign in Boston, Yahoo.com reported he will ink a three-year, $10 million guaranteed deal.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Keeping their nucleus has reportedly cost the Boston Celtics a key reserve.

While Tony Allen had his ups-and-downs, the wing found his niche as a lockdown defender during the 2010 playoffs. For instance, he used his athleticism and length to slow Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals.

His departure leaves the green-and-white without much depth behind Ray Allen and Paul Pierce at the shooting guard and small forward positions.

Meanwhile, Lionel Hollins and the Memphis Grizzlies will love having a scrappy, athletic defender off the bench. And Allen will serve as a nice back-up for both Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo.

-- Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jul , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dan Gilbert: LeBron ‘quit’ during playoffs

He has gotten a free pass," Gilbert said in a phone interview with The AP. "People have covered up for [James] for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is."

"He quit," Gilbert said. "Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."

"It's not about him leaving," Gilbert said. "It's the disrespect. It's time for people to hold these athletes accountable for their actions. Is this the way you raise your children? I've been holding this all in for a long time."

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: I’m certain Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert will be receiving a phone call from Commissioner David Stern telling him to cool it.

Sure, LeBron James showed zero class by announcing he was leaving Cleveland for Miami on national television, embarrassing an owner, organization, city, and, state that has showered him with adulation and love for seven years.

And sure, James mailed it in against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 playoffs and was pretty mediocre against the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.

So Gilbert has a point, a very good one, in fact.

However, owners don’t do this. Owners don’t act like jilted lovers when things don’t go their way. Owners don’t write nasty letters to fans, essentially hexing the face of the league –even if it’s totally justified.

Owners are supposed to model professionalism for fans, players, front office staff and, heck, even the guy pouring pints at Quicken Loans Arena.

By doing this, by stooping to James and Maverick Carter’s level of nonsense, Gilbert has made it harder to attract a star(s) to replace The King.

After all, players talk. And James and his posse will put out the word to the fraternity of ballers that Gilbert is a micromanager, tyrant, and jerk.

This may or may not be true. The NBA is like life, though. Perception is reality. And the gossip will overshadow Gilbert’s desire to win championships and his willingness to write multi-million dollar luxury tax cheques to achieve this end.

Right now, Gilbert, an Alpha Male billionaire, must do something out of character. He must turn the other cheek. He must take the high road.

If he can’t stay somewhat silent, if he can’t stay mum, then the businessman must immediately tone down the rhetoric and describe his frustration in a more appropriate and reasonable manner.

Gilbert is right: the people of Cleveland and Ohio deserved far better from James. Those same people also deserve far better from Gilbert, too.

-- Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Thursday , Jul , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ray Allen re-signs with Boston Celtics for 2 years, $20 million

The Boston Celtics' new Big Three will stay together to try for a second NBA title. Ray Allen confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday night that he has agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract to return to Boston.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Big Three is back in business, and returning to the Boston Celtics to complete the mission of winning a second NBA Title.

Of course, the green-and-white surprised the basketball world by advancing to the NBA Finals, where they lost a heartbreaking game seven to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Today, Allen inked a very fair two year deal for $20 million. Paul Pierce just re-upped for four seasons. Doc Rivers delayed retiring to Orlando. Kevin Garnett is under contract until July, 2012.

With their veterans returning, expect the Celtics to add blending pieces this off-season and take another run at a championship next spring.

-- Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Monday , Jul , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Source on LeBron James’ future: ‘My gut tells me Cleveland’

The Bulls appeared to be the leading contender for LeBron James a week ago, but the Cavaliers are risen to the top of the leaderboard in recent days.

"My gut tells me Cleveland," an executive in the James chase told Yahoo! Sports. "From what I hear now, it his decision alone. No outside influences."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Forget Michael Jordan's devastating double-pump jumper over Craig Ehlo in the NBA playoffs. Forget that those promising teams with Mark Price, Larry Nance, Ron Harper, and Brad Daugherty never fulfilled their potential. And forget the city's other sporting tragedies.
 
Cleveland would never recover from LeBron James leaving as a free agent to sign with the Chicago Bulls or New Jersey Nets. The Cavaliers would spend years in the lottery, and free agents would avoid Dan Gilbert's club like celebrities avoid TMZ. 
 
James re-signing with his hometown squad would be a boon for the state of Ohio. And hopefully, the three-man recognizes he has unfinished business because his last two playoff performances haven't been good enough.
 
He struggled against the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, and imploded against the Boston Celtics' airtight defense in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
 
There's work to do in Cleveland. Ohio, James' home state, deserves better. After all, The King was supposed to bring championship glory to the Cavaliers. And that hasn't happened.
 
So James needs to hold his press conference. He needs to announce he's staying with Cleveland and sign on the dotted line. He needs to shake Gilbert's hand and smile for the cameras. And then he needs to recruit stars.
 
Most importantly, he needs to cut the nonsense and focus on his goal: winning an NBA Title with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
Well, get at us in the comment box with thoughts.   
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Sunday , Jul , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dallas re-signs Dirk Nowitzki, interested in LeBron James and Chris Paul?

The Dallas Mavericks got the answer they were hoping for Saturday night: Dirk Nowitzki has pledged to re-sign with the only team he's ever played for.

The deal, sources said, is worth at least $80 million and includes a no-trade clause, with Nowitzki making good on a longstanding offer to Cuban to take less than the maximum $96.2 million he could have received over the next four seasons in exchange for assurances that the Mavericks will use that financial flexibility to ramp up their efforts to acquire a top-tier sidekick.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Player and team got it done.

Like Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics, Dirk Nowitzki re-signed with the only team he has ever played for, taking far less than the maximum available salary so the Dallas Mavericks could find him a co-star.

The former MVP will still earn a good wage: $20 million annually for each of the next four seasons. Best of all, he gets his no-trade clause.

With Nowitzki returning, the Mavericks will now focus on upgrading the roster. Mark Cuban will try and ultimately fail to work a sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Lebron James.

And despite the New Orleans Hornets' firm denials, Chris Paul is available. Expect Team Cuban to chase CP3.

However, Dallas had to have Nowitzki. He has been the franchise, and will be for years to come.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at us in the comment box below.      

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Friday , Jul , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Pierce reduces salary, so Celtics can sign Allen and Lee or Miller?

The Celtics have reached an agreement with captain Paul Pierce to keep him in Boston, according to sources. The new contract is said to be four years and $61M in length, with only three of the seasons fully guaranteed.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The Truth is back. And at a discounted price.

One day into free agency the Boston Celtics have announced they've agreed to terms on a new contract with franchise face Paul Pierce.

Pierce's salary will fall from $21 million to $15 million annually, giving the green-and-white the financial flexibility to re-sign Ray Allen and also add another valuable piece. 

For instance, reports indicate Boston is still talking to Allen, while simultaneously pursuing post David Lee or shooting guard Mike Miller.

In the short-term, Lee could replace the newly retired Rasheed Wallace as a reserve. In the long-term, he could, perhaps, take over for Kevin Garnett at the four-spot.

And Miller can play and guard multiple positions, and also stretch opposing defenses with his outside range.

If the Celtics can retain Allen and bring in other piece, they'll contend in 2011. And they'll have Pierce to thank for it.

-- O.Sandor.

Got thoughts? Get at us in the thoughts in the comment box! 

 

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Wednesday , Jun , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

For the No-Trade: Why Nowitzki and Pierce are opting-out on Dallas and Boston

Add one more marquee name to the most anticipated free-agent class in NBA history: Paul Pierce.

The All-Star forward has notified the Boston Celtics that he will opt out of the final year of his contract before Wednesday's deadline, which will make Pierce an unrestricted free agent for the first time.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce will finish what they started with the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics.

These star forwards will spend their entire careers with Team Cuban and the green-and-white, but first there is a little business to attend to.

Nowitzki and Pierce are opting-out of their current contracts, leaving millions of dollars on the table, and becoming free agents for two reasons.

First, they want to score lucrative extensions before player salaries are scaled back under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. And the Mavericks and Celtics can offer the most money.

Second, players with eight years service in the league and the last four with the same team are eligible for a no-trade clause. Nowitzki and Pierce have spent their careers in one place, so they'll demand - and likely get - this rare provision. Kobe Bryant is the only current NBA player with a no trade clause.

Expect Dallas and Boston to re-up with Nowitzki and Pierce early in the free agent process. And both will turn their attention to recruiting talent for their respective clubs.

After all, they won't be going anywhere. They'll be armed with no-trade clauses.

Got thoughts?

Show some appreciation for Rasheed Wallace!
Tuesday , Jun , 29 , 2010 J.N.

Show some appreciation for Rasheed Wallace!

“Both teams played hard.” That’s the meme that Raw Sheed created that stuck through the minds of basketball junkies who needed laughs. It’s not quite the classic “Practice?” from Allen Iverson, but Rasheed was the master of basketball memes. He also brought the “Ball Don’t Lie” meme, too. When he has two memorable phrases dedicated to him, Rasheed Wallace transcended into immortality. Then again, Wallace has brought more entertainment than many NBA players through the years. He was almost like Terrell Owens and John McEnroe combined with a bald spot on the top of his head.

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Monday , Jun , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Nate Robinson flipping out in New York

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: At times, his swagger was too much.

Fair or not, the New York Knicks tired of Nate Robinson showboating like a WWE wrestler. And this led to Coach Mike D'Antoni and Executive Donnie Walsh moving the combo guard at the trade deadline.

To the dismay of his fans, the Sprite Slam Dunk champion toned down his act for the Boston Celtics, the defending Eastern Conference champions.

However, the old Nate recently appeared at the Steve Nash charity soccer event in downtown New York.

Robinson scored a beautiful goal and dropped a celebration that would make every player in the 2010 World Cup jealous. Click this link for the video and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.

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Monday , Jun , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Mike Miller to replace Ray Allen in Boston?

The Celtics will be equipped on Thursday with their mid-level exception and all of the veteran minimum deals they can throw at people. Expect Mike Miller - the talented wing for the Washington Wizards who once played for Rivers - to be a target.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Could Mike Miller replace Ray Allen?

After years with Minnesota and Washington, Miller is desperate to join a contender like Boston. If healthy, the former Rookie of the Year will spread the floor with his shot, fit in on defense, and act like a professional.

In the words of Bob Barker, 'The Price is Right', too.

Miller, at best, will command mid-level exception money instead of the $10 million he earned last year.

Of course, re-signing Allen, also a free-agent, will be a priority for the Celtics. However, the green-and-white has concerns about offering a long-term deal because he turns 35 in July. Another team could a multi-year pact, though.

If Allen and Boston can't agree on term, Miller could start at shooting guard for the Eastern Conference champions.

Got thoughts?

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Saturday , Jun , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Minnesota keeping Darko Milicic, trading Al Jefferson?

David Kahn admitted on Friday that he is exploring a trade of Al Jefferson and the likelihood of a trade increases if the Wolves re-sign Darko Milicic.

"It's the right time finally for us to explore this," Kahn said of a possible Jefferson trade. "I've met with Al and discussed this. If Darko comes back, there could be a need to create some playing time. We really need to get our front line settled."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Minnesota wants to trade Al Jefferson, the power-forward who was supposed to be their lead wolf.
 
Remember, Jefferson was acquired from the Boston Celtics, as the key to the blockbuster trade involving Kevin Garnett. He initially responded to his new surroundings by posting 20-10 numbers in his first season with the Timberwolves.
 
Their relationship has suddenly soured, though.
 
Minnesota's new head suit, David Kahn, sees Jefferson as a guy who posts good statistics on bad teams. For instance, talented players should always be able to play together, but Jefferson struggles next to youngster Kevin Love.
 
And Jefferson seems to have lost faith in Minnesota. He probably sees the franchise as incapable of ever becoming more than the NBA's Siberia. For instance, lottery pick Ricky Rubio has stayed in Europe rather than joining the Timberwolves.
 
Of course, Jefferson's DUI charge in late February didn't help.
 
Unfortunately, club and player should invest in therapy or counselling because they're likely stuck together. Jefferson's contract - three years and $42 million - will be tough to move in this economy.
 
Re-signing Milicic, also known as The Human Victory Cigar, is an interesting development. Most thought the left-handed Serbian would catch the first flight back to Europe and sign in the ABC League when the NBA season ended.
 
Clearly, the Wolves believe Milicic's career can be salvaged. And he has a most intoxicating skill-set for a seven-footer. Hopefully, the former second overall pick gets a legitimate opportunity if he stays in the NBA.
 
However, Milicic might not stick in Minnesota because of Jefferson's big ticket contract can't be dealt.
 
Got thoughts?
 
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Tuesday , Jun , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest: ‘Boston sucks, Boston sucks’

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The inevitable happened at the Los Angeles Lakers' championship parade on Monday.

Ron Artest - who was amazing in the all important game-seven and was even better in a celebratory interview with Doris Burke - got his hands on a microphone.

Of course, Artest, in his role as MC, showed love to teammates Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. And of course, he couldn't resist taking a shot at the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

Watch the clip and get at us with thoughts on Ron-Ron's message for the green-and-white.   

 Got thoughts?

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Friday , Jun , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: ‘I got one more than Shaq’

Kobe Bryant: "I got one more (championship) than Shaq. You can take that to the bank."

(Bryant following the Lakers defeating the Celtics in game-seven of the NBA Finals to win their second straight NBA Title.)

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Old wounds haven't healed, especially when dealing with the World Wars between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

No surprise here, though. All playoff Bryant pretended - somewhat convincingly -  he hadn't given much consideration to what a fifth championship would mean for his legacy (O'Neal has four championships).

HoopsVibe News respectfully calls bullsh*t on this.

Bryant isn't the devil most see him as. And he isn't a saint, either. The truth, like most things, lies in the middle.

Bryant, in fact, is probably a somewhat normal person off the court. As such, he experiences normal emotions -like jealousy and anger. So on Thursday evening he couldn't resist taking a shot at his former partner turned rival in O'Neal.

Fair enough.

A word to the wise: critics should be prepared for Bryant to win his sixth championship because it's coming -and soon.

Got thoughts on Kobe's post game attack on Shaq?

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Friday , Jun , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Video: Game Seven Highlights between Celtics and Lakers

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Was tonight your wedding anniversary and you had to 'go to dinner' instead of just doing drive-through twice with your significant other? Was there an emergency that forced you to the hospital? Was there a foul up of epic proportions at work that required you to stay late?

Or, did you girlfriend annex the remote and turn to her favorite reality drivel?

Be honest.

Bottom line: you missed an epic game-seven between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and need a recap. Well, HoopsVibe News won't judge. Instead, we'll encourage you to click the video below and watch NBA.com's highlight package.

Go thoughts on this?

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Friday , Jun , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Sweet Repeat: Bryant and Lakers win game seven and defend NBA Title

Beating Boston for the first time in a Game 7, the Lakers came up champions again after trailing in the last quarter of the last game of their season.

Kobe Bryant, the finals MVP, scored 23 points despite 6-of-24 shooting and the Lakers won their 16th NBA championship Thursday night, dramatically rallying to beat the  Boston Celtics 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA finals.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:  In game-seven of the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers showed that defense wins championships.

After all, tonight’s game was supposed to be a dream match-up between the Celtics and Lakers, but – at least on the offensive end – it resembled a bit of nightmare.

Both teams couldn’t execute their offensive sets. Both teams couldn’t hit shots. So both teams dug-in, defended, and battled.

Take the victorious Lakers: Kobe Bryant, the Finals MVP, shot a horrendous 6-for-24 from the floor, but grabbed 15 huge rebounds; Pau Gasol pulled in 18 tough rebounds, which offset his missed chippies and free throws; and Ron Artest – who thanked his psychiatrist in a classic Ron-Ron post-game interview – hit clutch shots, however, his greatest contribution was battling Celtic superstar Paul Pierce.

As a group, the purple-and-gold overcame a 13-point second-half deficit and won their second consecutive championship by getting stops. For instance, they held the Celtics to just 79 points on 40% shooting from the floor.

Lamar Odom sparked the turnaround. The forward entered the game in the third quarter with the Lakers trailing 49-37 and looking desperate.

Odom used his considerable length and versatility to score, rebound, and most importantly, provide energy. And his contribution was far greater than his modest stat line of 7 points and 7 rebounds.   

Boston led for most of the game and looked capable of pulling off the upset to win their second championship in three years.

Their offense went cold for long stretches of the second half. For instance, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the Celtics’ top scorers, were a combined 8-for-29 from the floor.

And the talented bench – which so often provided a lift when the starters struggled – had little impact. Of course, the reserves were short-handed with Rasheed Wallace replacing the injured Kendrick Perkins in the starting-five.

Tonight, Bryant’s Lakers defeated the Celtics for the first time in a game-seven duel, something greats like Jerry West and Magic Johnson failed to accomplish.

Winning back-to-back championships cements this team’s place in history. And their leader and best player, Bryant, keeps solidifying his standing as an all-time great.

And the Lakers, the NBA’s glamour team, achieved this feat with grimy, blue-collar defense.

Got thoughts on the Lakers winning game-seven and consecutive championships?

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Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jeff Van Gundy to Ron Artest: ‘Say Queensbridge Now’

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Ron Artest is pure gold.

Who else would get Craig Sager to shoutout their home of Queensbridge, New York in a post-game interview after winning game-five of the Western Conference Finals? And who else would openly discuss their old neighbourhood with the media?

Well, Ron-Ron would.

However, the Lakers' resident tough guy isn't above some soft tactics, especially with a championship on the line. In game-five of the NBA Finals, Artest flopped to the ground - like the San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili - after getting 'shoved' by the Celtics' Rajon Rondo.

Artest weighs 270 pounds, while Rondo tips the scale at, perhaps, 190. Tale of the tape aside, Artest's actions are forgivable because his flop was rewarded with a technical foul being called on Rondo and drew the humorous rankling of broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy.

Watch the clip below and tell us if Artest's flop would make Queensbridge proud?

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Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Game-Seven Prediction: Lakers 95, Celtics 88.

The Lakers have the best player, but Boston's depth of big-time playmakers will prevail in a game like this. I count eight Celtics -- the four current or former All-Stars in their starting lineup, plus Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson’s and little-used Michael Finley, a three-point shooter with the potential to become this game's Steve Kerr -- who have it in them to make the big shot. The absence of Kendrick Perkins may create more offense for the Celtics, and they'll make up for his rebounding with a team effort led by Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Anticipate nothing less than a tightly wound classic played to a tempo that suits Boston.

Click here for Ian Thomsen's official game seven prediction and more analysis from the CNNSI crew.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:
The Boston Celtics are deserving of respect.

Consider their road to the NBA Finals. First, they took out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat -despite some questionable tactics from Kevin Garnett. They made the Cleveland Cavaliers – the NBA’s best team in the regular season – implode, which, unfortunately, gave us an extra month of The LeBron Watch. They then coolly took out the Orlando Magic, the reigning Eastern Conference champions, in six games.

This was a most improbable run for a club that was supposedly dead, gone, and over at mid-season. Clearly, they saved their best for last, though.

The green-and-white have now pushed the defending champion and heavily favoured Lakers to the limit. The secret to Boston’s success: inspired team play on the defensive end.

Look at the NBA Finals: they’ve mostly contained Ron Artest and Lamar Odom; they’ve battled superstar Pau Gasol; and they’ve made the immortal Kobe Bryant look surprisingly mortal.

Doc Rivers’ crew is an all-time great defensive team. They can hang with any of Phil Jackson’s Chicago teams that had notable defenders like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman. And they hold their own against Detroit’s Bad Boys and any of Pat Riley’s squads in Los Angeles or New York.

Offensively, somebody different carries the load each night. For instance, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo have all had moments.

Of course, reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – also known as Shrek and Donkey - won game four of the NBA Finals. And the defending Sprite Slam Dunk Champion went off in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, too.

That said, the Lakers have the edge in the decisive game-seven. Here’s why:

1) Home-court matters: The purple-and-gold is a different team at home. They’re confident. They’re nasty. And they’re arrogant.     

2) No Perk’: The Celtics will miss Kendrick Perkins. They lack the size to win the paint, and contain Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

3) Kobe Bryant: He’s the best player on either team. He’s the best player in the NBA. And he understands tonight is a legacy game.

Bryant – if he wants to be considered an all-time great – can’t afford a loss. After all, five championships are far better than four. And two losses to the arch rival Celtics in the NBA Finals would be devastating.

Expect Bryant to drop a Jordan-like effort. And HoopsVibe News expects the Lakers to win.

Prediction for game-seven of the 2010 NBA Finals: Lakers 95, Boston 88.

Got thoughts? What is your prediction for game-seven of the NBA Finals?  

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6
Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6

What happened? The game was over when Kendrick Perkins got injured. The Lakers took their hearts. After Kobe questioned his teammates’ hearts, they proved that they had more than enough for game 6 in Los Angeles. Pau Gasol finished with a near triple double: 17 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks. Derek Fisher didn’t need to do much. Kendrick Perkins is done. Rajon Rondo took a vicious elbow from Ron Artest that required stitches. The Lakers got this and Kobe got his 5th ring.

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Kendrick Perkins the difference between Boston Winning and Losing NBA Title?

"The Boston Celtics might go to Game 7 without center Kendrick Perkins.

He landed awkwardly trying to haul in an offensive rebound midway through the first quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night and suffered a right knee sprain.

Perkins was hopeful, saying: "I'm going to try to give it a go [on Thursday]." But a team source told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan: "He's done."

Link

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Don't let his modest numbers deceive you. Kendrick Perkins could be the difference between the Boston Celtics winning and losing the championship.

The NBA Finals will be decided in the paint; the team that dominates down-low will host a victory celebration, while the team that gets dominated will spend their life wondering what could've been.

Perkins - despite his limited offensive skill and affinity for arguing fouls - is a throwback. He bangs. He competes. And he intimidates.

For instance, Perkins shut Pau Gasol down in game-five, which, not coincidentally, the Celtics won. In fact, Boston's five-man was so effective experts were again calling the Spaniard soft.

Gasol, however, was far more confident when Perkins left game-six with an injury. He ate the smaller Glen Davis up. Veterans Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace weren't much better, either.

And the Los Angeles Lakers, as a team, successfully attacked the basket, in large part, because Perkins wasn't there to deter them. Guards Kobe Bryant, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown were able to get to the hoop whenever they liked.

Right now, Perkins' status is unknown for game-seven. What isn't unknown is how important he is to Boston.      

Got thoughts on this?   

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Do-or-Die: Bryant and Lakers ‘man up’ to force game-seven against Celtics

Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers emphatically extended the NBA finals to a decisive seventh game with a 89-67 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 on Tuesday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Two days ago, Kobe Bryant demanded his teammates 'man up and play'. Well, the Los Angeles Lakers - both individually and collectively - fulfilled his request on Tuesday evening.

The purple-and-gold dominated every aspect of game six, building an early lead through tough defense, infectious hustle, and inspired play. The Celtics never mounted a serious challenge and the Lakers cruised through the second half to an easy win.

The difference between games five and six was obvious: Bryant had help. Loads of it.

For instance, co-star Pau Gasol had a double-double, but - best of all - the Spaniard imposed his will down-low; Ron Artest hit shots; Lamar Odom stopped complaining about the flu and got active; and Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic provided energy off the bench.

Two specific plays stand out. First, Artest was so confident he over-dribbled and still sank an improbable fall-back shot. Second, Farmar out-hustled Celtic Rajon Rondo for a loose ball by sacrificing his body and diving on the floor.

Bryant aside, no Laker looked confident or sacrificed in game-five.

As a group, L.A. played superb defense. They challenged every shot. They provided helped. They got stops. They won the battle of the boards. And they held the Celtics to 67 points, the second lowest total in NBA Finals history.

Meanwhile, Boston resembled a team with a one game cushion. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo were outplayed by the Lakers' big guns. The bench - which had been so effective earlier in the series - looked awestruck.

Of course, Kendrick Perkins' injury didn't help. The rough and tumble post sprained his knee early in the first quarter and never returned. His status for game-seven is unknown.

With or without Perkins, the green-and-white must re-establish their presence in the paint and show greater urgency on Thursday.

In fact, the Celtics should consider Bryant's advice and 'man up'. Or the Lakers will win what has become a one game, do-or-die NBA Finals and will hoist the Larry O'Brien championship trophy.

Got thoughts on game six? And what's your prediction for Thursday's game-seven?