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Sunday , Apr , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Thaddeus Young’s bizarre shoe malfunction against Heat

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Never say Thaddeus Young doesn’t have a zest for defense.

In a league were some players treat their own end like a contagious disease, the Philadelphia 76ers forward did an admirable job ‘D-ing’ up with one shoe.

While leading an incredible comeback in game one of the 76ers' playoff series against the Miami Heat, Young’s shoe came off on a fast break.

He carried his shoe the length of the floor and tossed it to the 76ers' bench, thinking he’d put it on during the next stoppage in play.

All that mattered was defence. And Young, with one shoe, even rotated over to help on Chris Bosh.

However, like Charlie Sheen in Major League, his throw missed the target and fell into the lap of a puzzled Heat fan, who, surprisingly, returned it.

Young quietly slipped his shoe on during the first break in play –much to the chagrin of ABC broadcaster and former coach Jeff Van Gundy, who complained that the fan should've helped his hometown Heat by not giving back the shoe.

Watch Young’s unusual shoe saga and get at HoopsVibe News with thought in the comment box below. 


--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

No excuses: Paul Pierce tells Celtics to forget Kendrick Perkins

"It was even worse last year when we went through our struggle," Pierce said. "Definitely Kendrick had his impact, but you’ve got to remember he missed a big portion of the season and, during that portion, we were able to beat a lot of the good teams also.

"I think that’s just an excuse at this point. I think that it’s time for us to move on from that. It hurts when you lose a teammate … but at the end of the day, the guys that are in this locker room are the guys you’ve got to go to war with." Pierce said a healthy Shaquille O’Neal is capable of filling the void on both ends.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Leave it to The Truth to speak The Truth -at least, as he sees it.

Paul Pierce, the captain and star swing of the Boston Celtics, feels his club is using the Kendrick Perkins trade as an excuse not to play their best. And he’s right.

Sure, Perkins, not Kevin Garnett, was their defensive anchor. And sure, Perkins was great on the defensive and offensive glass, getting points through tips and effort.

However, Perk’s contract was up at season’s end and his knees are wonky, so GM Danny Ainge swapped him for Jeff Green to better match up against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Now Pierce may be frustrated. With Perkins, he won a championship and advanced to two NBA Finals. Yet the Celtics still changed a winning formula at mid-season.

What’s done is done, though. Pierce is keeping his thoughts private and challenging teammates to play better, especially if Shaquille O’Neal gets healthy.

Perhaps O’Neal comes to the rescue. If fit and healthy –these are big ifs- the legendary five could theoretically turn back the clock and hold his own over a seven-game series.

This may be wishful thinking, as O’Neal has missed three months. His conditioning will be suspect, and he’ll struggle to defend pick-and-rolls.

Just don’t tell Pierce. He’s having none of it. No excuses.

--Oly Sandor

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

The 2011 Hoopties
Friday , Apr , 15 , 2011 J.N.

The 2011 Hoopties

It’s that time again for the regular season end awards just like any other television sports show. It is time to pass out the awards. Rather than giving awards for the usual categories such as Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year….you get the picture…..let’s focus on categories that truly need to be highlighted – categories that I make up! Who cares about those other official awards anyway? They’re already locked up.
 

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Heat still thinking of trading Chris Bosh?

Do you think Miami trades bosh next year too improve overall? Ric Bucher: I've heard it's already been discussed.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Could ‘The Three Kings’ lose a member this summer?

According to ESPN’s Rich Bucher, the Miami Heat has already held discussions about trading Chris Bosh.

Of course, Bosh signed in South Beach last July as a free agent for two reasons: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. And the trio expected to waltz its way to multiple championships.

While the early returns weren’t awful, ‘The Three Kings’ first regular season together produced mostly mixed results. At times, they were brilliant. At times, they were mediocre.

The key is that it was the regular season. All will be forgotten -if the Heat captures the NBA championship, and then there'd be no major changes.

So Bosh will stay put provided the Heat win and his salary remains manageable under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The pressure is on. What did Bosh, James, and Wade expect when they joined forces?

Oly Sandor.

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

 

Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011

The season is almost over. It is time to look back and reflect on the positives and negatives. The hype before tip-off was through the roof. There was a lot of anticipation on new rivalries and storylines to be played out. Will the South Beach trio work out? How will Blake Griffin play? Is Steve Nash’s window closed? Are the Lakers still the team to beat? Kevin Durant got the MVP? The Chicago Bulls are 4th seeders, right?

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Thursday , Mar , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron thinks Rose is MVP

“I think Derrick Rose,” James said. “What he’s done for that team, with all the injuries they have and them being first in the Eastern Conference. They’re playing some really good basketball.” James said he was leaning toward Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki until he was injured.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: One candidate conceded defeat. Well, sort of.

The majority of hoop-heads have Miami Heat superstar LeBron James on their list of contenders for Most Valuable Player. He was hardly the front-runner, though.

Today, James threw his support behind the acknowledged front-runner Derrick Rose, who suits up for the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls.

This is interesting for two reasons. First, there were whispers James and Rose didn’t click, which supposedly influenced The King to pass on Chicago and take his 'talents to South Beach’ last summer.

There is, at a minimum, a professional respect. Many will wonder what could have been if James had signed in The Windy City.

Second, the Heat and Bulls are rivals. Both are young; both have a trio of stars; both will battle for the Eastern Conference crown and NBA championships for years to come.

Yet, James still picked Rose for MVP. There was no agenda.  There were no Phil Jackson mind games being played; just a tip of his cap -Yankee blue, of course- to Rose’s fine play.

Hopefully, this seals the award for Rose, who has been recognized by fans, media, and now his peers.

--Oly Sandor.

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

LeBron’s Career Is A “Teachable Moment” For Today’s Youth
Thursday , Mar , 31 , 2011 Paul Eide

LeBron’s Career Is A “Teachable Moment” For Today’s Youth

 

 
When I was growing up watching the NBA it was a completely different game, played by players with a completely different set of values. The era of 80’s and 90’s NBA was defined by hard work and guys who worked to get the most out of their skills. And by and large, society mirrored that image. Political correctness hadn’t even been manufactured yet and the era as a whole operated essentially on a “Put up or shut up” level. And until you “put up”, no one cared what you said because you weren’t sitting at the “Big Boy Table” to begin with.
 
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Thursday , Mar , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: John Wall and Zydrunas Ilgauskas ejected for silly scuffle

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Boys will be boys, I guess.

Tonight’s Miami Heat-Washington Wizards game was full of piss-and-vinegar due to a second quarter skirmish between first overall pick John Wall and veteran Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Wall, who was clearly in the wrong, got ejected. Big ‘Z’ was also sent to the showers for his role in things.

This, however, wasn’t the interesting part.

JaVale McGee and Juwan Howard both rushed to defend teammates Wall and Ilgauskas. They engaged in a shoving match before being separated. Amazingly, the referees ejected Howard, but McGee escaped with only a technical foul.

How does this work? Did McGee’s mother give the zebras pecks on the cheek before the game like the recent Slam Dunk Contest?

Anyway, the rest of the game was competitive, full of testosterone, and highly entertaining. If you’re wondering, the Heat won 123-107 –much to the chagrin of a sold out Verizon Centre.

Watch the clip of Wednesday’s donnybrook and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.


--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dan Gilbert on beating LeBron and Heat: ‘Not in our garage’

Dan Gilbert after his Cavaliers beat the Heat: 'Not in our garage!!'

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Dan Gilbert would have to say something.

The owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers just couldn’t stay silent after last night’s 102-90 win over LeBron James, his former franchise face, and the Miami Heat.

Not after last summer’s shenanigans. Not after LeBron James announced he was taking his talent to South Beach with ‘The Decision’.

Of course, Gilbert did respond last July. His on-line letter to Cavalier fans attacking James is the thing of legends (and not in a good way).

This season, he’s been quiet –and with good reason. His Cavaliers have struggled mightily, flirting with the record for consecutive losses, while James’ Heat, despite some ups-and-downs, are at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Last night was Gilbert’s moment. It was Cleveland’s moment, too. His tweet, while subtle and restrained, hit the mark.

Hopefully, Gilbert and Cleveland got closure on James. Hopefully, they forget the past and focus on rebuilding. Something tells me otherwise, though.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: LeBron skips pre-game introductions in Cleveland

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: First, his entourage was denied access to a stadium they once ran. Then he skipped the pre-game warm-up and introductions to avoid the boo-birds. And finally, his new squad got routed by his old squad.

Despite posting a triple-double in a 102-90 loss, LeBron James’ second trip back to Cleveland has to be considered a bust. Cavalier-nation got revenge on their former hero for leaving them in the lurch with ‘The Decision’.

However, the real story was James going MIA during warm-up and introductions. Click the video below and watch the awkwardness at Quicken Loans Arena. 


--Oly Sandor.

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

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Tuesday , Mar , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stan Van Gundy: ‘We don’t give a damn’ about New York, Miami, and ESPN

"With Miami at the beginning of the year and New York since the trade, it's like, because so many people are interested in what happens with LeBron (James), (Dwyane) Wade and (Chris) Bosh and now with Carmelo (Anthony), Amar'e (Stoudemire) and Chauncey (Billups) you guys think our overwhelming (concern) is 'what's happening with Miami and New York?' Quite honestly, we don't give a damn," Van Gundy said. "We don't. I don't care. We're just getting ready to play them.

Van Gundy clearly had an issue with the media's obsession with the Heat and Knicks. "It's not all Miami and New York," Van Gundy said. "I know to ESPN it is, but to the rest of us, we actually think some of the rest of the teams matter."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Sometimes it’s not what Coach Stan Van Gundy says, but how he says it.

Take last night’s tirade against the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and ESPN. There was no need to bluntly state he doesn’t ‘care’ or give a ‘damn’ about two of the league’s high profile clubs and television partner.

Van Gundy could have instead said there are several strong teams in the NBA, including the Heat and Knicks. We worry about all of them.

This is essentially the same message. Except there’s no controversy.

Only Van Gundy can’t help himself. He loves headlines. He loves sound bites. He loves taking shots. Most importantly, he loves being the star of the show.

After all, no other coach, player, or league employee would have the stones to compare Commissioner Stern to the tyrants in North Africa and the Middle East.

The timing of such a statement was especially poor. Currently, that entire region is unstable and NATO is involved in a mission in Libya.

Clearly, Van Gundy missed ‘Media 101’. Or he doesn’t care. Either way, his act is tiresome. The Magic’s sideline boss better continue winning because he isn’t making friends.

--Oly Sandor

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

 

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Sunday , Mar , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron and Wade developing chemistry with pick-and-roll play

Wade is controlling the ball late in games, which lets LeBron James be used in a simple pick-and-roll. James has been accustomed to playing with the ball in his hands in crunch time, but it appears Wade and Erik Spoelstra have convinced him to try something new. “I think he's starting to see that this can open up his overall game, and he's going to want to do it more," Wade said last week.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Talent isn’t enough in the NBA. Teams must also have chemistry.

Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat learned this the hard way, with their up-and-down year.

So have the New York Knicks, who broke up a squad with established chemistry to acquire the talented but sometimes difficult Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

Credit the Heat for trying new things, though. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, James acted as a screener and ran several pick-and-rolls with Wade.

This is a welcome change from the Heat’s steady diet of predictable ‘iso’ plays and one-on-one attempts at the basket.

Doug Collins, the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, is right: this option will work. James as a four-man setting picks will be tough to prevent from rolling to the basket or slipping the screen.

Opposing defenses will be helpless. If defenders try to switch on the screen, James and/or Wade will have a clear mismatch, which should lead to a scoring opportunity.

If defenders try to show and adjust to the screen, James and/or Wade will have an advantage, which should also lead to a scoring opportunity.

The Heat would be wise to run more of these sets. Variety is important in basketball, and a two-man game involving their best players will upgrade their mediocre half-court offense.

After all, chemistry, not talent, is the key to winning in the NBA. It seems James and Wade are learning.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Saturday , Mar , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron empathizing with Melo, Knicks is a problem

For LeBron James, the signs are all familiar. The initial discomfort in a new system. The frustrating losses. The growing pains. The private bickering, questioning and second-guessing. The attitude issues. Even the turbulence during particularly heated timeouts. James knows that script all too well. He's lived it during the honeymoon period with the Miami Heat, the one that sent the team into a brief stretch of disarray following a difficult 9-8 start.

"I know exactly what he's going through right now," James said of his friend Carmelo Anthony's more-difficult-than-expected indoctrination with the Knicks. "And it's going to take time. Everybody knows we were 9-8. We had to figure things out. And we're still figuring things out.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: LeBron James can relate to Carmelo Anthony’s recent struggles with the New York Knicks.

Like Anthony, James left his old team in less than perfect fashion. Like Anthony, James predicted greatness for his new team before playing a single game. And like Anthony, James experienced a backlash when things didn’t instantly go to plan.

King James feels ‘Melo’s pain. He relates to the hardship, the expectations, and the criticism. He knows the trials and tribulations of an NBA superstar.

What nonsense James speaks.

It’s hard to knock James and/or Anthony for using the system to play for the team they like. They both gave seven years to the team that drafted them. If they want to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets, fair enough.

It’s, however, easy to knock James and/or Anthony for how they left the Cavaliers and/or Nuggets.  We won’t, though. This is old news. What’s done is done.

Here’s the point: James and Anthony got exactly what the wanted. James joined pals Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in South Beach, while Anthony returned home to The Big Apple.

And both received big money from their new team; James inked a $100 million max deal, Anthony signed a three-year, $65 million extension.

They’re playing for the team of their choice. They’re also playing in the cities of their choice. Key word: choice.

It’s hard to feel sympathy for superstars who get everything they ask for, and feel frustrated when things aren’t instantly a bed of roses.

Perhaps this is what separates the greats like Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan from the very good like James and Anthony. The greats don’t expect, want, or need sympathy.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Mar , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Erik Spoelstra wants a mulligan on ‘Cry-Gate’ comment

What is one thing you would go back and do over this season? Was it the crying comment to the media after the game?

“I wouldn’t have said it [the players were crying after the Chicago Bulls lose]. I mean the players…we don’t have a problem with it because everybody has been in a situation where their words have been taken out of context. In a strange way we’ve all been through this together and everybody in something where they have tried to say something to the team that has been taken out of context and it strengthened us. I brought it up to the team the next day and there wasn’t any broken trust. You know you’re in front of the media three times a day eventually something you’re going to say is probably not going to have the meaning you would have expected. I wouldn’t have said it if I had a do over just so I would eliminate one more distraction, but my point about it was the guys do care. I think it is great that we have some incredible, incredibly competitive, self-willed guys in this locker room, but this means a lot more to them, their profession.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Erik Spoelstra is in front of the press several times a day. Being the sideline boss of the high profile Miami Heat means every sentence, word, and syllable is dissected.

To be fair, Spoelstra has done a solid job with the press. He won’t, however, get a mulligan on his ‘Cry-Gate’ blunder after the heartbreaking loss to the Chicago Bulls.

And he won’t get a mulligan on the season if the Heat falls short of expectations. 2011 will be all she wrote for Spoelstra.

So the only thing that matters is winning. Not now. Not two weeks from now, but in June during the NBA Finals.

To keep his job, Spoelstra’s Heat must qualify for the championship series and impress the old guy with slicked back hair who conveniently sits near the team’s bench during games.

That’s right: Pat Riley. That Hall of Fame sideline boss turned executive, who never met a camera he didn’t like.

If the Heat falters, ‘Riles’ could fire Spoelstra and step behind the bench himself. The more likely scenario is he hires another coach, so he can still act as the grand puppet-master of South Beach.

It would seem the press isn’t the only hassle Spoelstra is facing. Riley's string pulling is also a problem.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Thursday , Mar , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Would a lockout push Rivers from Celtics to Heat?

Celtics fans may have one reason to root for a lockout. A delay in the start of the season might actually work to the team's advantage in retaining a prized free agent -- head coach Doc Rivers.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: On the one hand, a lockout may help the Boston Celtics re-sign their brilliant coach Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers.

A work stoppage would let Rivers spend additional time in Florida with his children, who are competitive athletes. The hope is he would take the extra time to get refreshed and refocused, and ink another one-year contract with the Celtics.

The key word is hope.

On the other hand, a lockout may hurt the Celtics’ ability to keep Rivers. Suppose there’s a prolonged work stoppage. Kevin Garnett and/or Ray Allen could retire. Yes, The Big Ticket and Jesus Shuttlesworth could cash their 501K and call it a career.

Would Rivers return to a Celtics squad without Garnett and/or Allen?

After all, Rivers has his money. And he seems awfully content relaxing with family in and around Florida.

This could also be a ploy. Rivers has often been linked to the Miami Heat, especially since South Beach’s current coach Erik ‘Cry-Gate’ Spoelstra seems overwhelmed.

Suppose the Heat fall short of expectations. As much as he loves the spotlight, oil-slick GM Pat Riley probably won’t leave the executive suite for the sideline.

The Heat needs a coach for the long term –like Rivers. So expect Riley to give Rivers, a master at handling superstars, a blank cheque. And Rivers would have to choose between the aging Celtics and the superstar-laden Heat.

And the Heat’s offer would be tough to turn down.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Friday , Mar , 18 , 2011 Oly Sandor

Video: Dwyane Wade ‘welcomes’ Kendrick Perkins to OKC Thunder

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Leave it Dwyane Wade to welcome Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Yesterday, the Heat’s superstar spun baseline and posterized Perkins, who happened to be playing in his second game as a member of the Thunder. Then Wade dropped some celebratory dance moves from the Kid N Play era.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Why LeBron James will not win MVP. Ever again.
Wednesday , Mar , 16 , 2011 J.N.

Why LeBron James will not win MVP. Ever again.

I come in peace, but I’ll talk about this. This has to be addressed. Welcome to LeBron’s new nightmare. The Miami Heat is getting $hi#$ed on by the full media blitz. It’s not over. It’s never going to be over with the public onslaught. There is more to come, but no one has mentioned this particular item. I write this with full sincerity - LBJ will not win MVP ever again. This is a bold claim, but there are many reasons to see why.

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Saturday , Mar , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Heat to trade Chris Bosh this summer?

The most obvious candidate for subtraction from the Big Three is Chris Bosh, who hasn't been able to produce the kind of impact Miami could have gotten from two or three cheaper role players. Bosh also has complained recently about not getting the ball in the post enough. Whether he has a point, this sort of griping at a time when the Heat were in crisis mode won't make Riley any more eager to pay him $16 million next season -- especially if Miami falls far short of its championship goal in Year 1.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: So far, it hasn’t worked. Not like it was supposed to, at least.

Remember, the Miami Heat’s Three Kings of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade came together to win multiple championships. They were expected to waltz through the regular season and playoffs.

Will the Heat pull the plug and possibly deal Bosh this off-season, as reported by Ken Berger of CBSSportsline?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Much depends on how the Heat performs going forward. Say they win the majority of their last regular season games. Say they advance to the Eastern Conference or NBA Finals.

Oil slick executive Pat Riley would then be hesitant to break up his superstar trio. Instead, he’d look for ways to upgrade and improve their supporting cast.

However, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will factor into his decision. For instance, the Heat may not be able to afford three max salaries if the owners succeed in achieving their hard cap.

Or, the Heat may be able to keep three max salaries on their books, but can’t afford role players because loopholes like the mid level exception and veteran’s minimum no longer exist.

Then Riley has to contemplate changing his Three Kings formula. And Bosh, because of his up-and-down play, would be the first to go.

Last summer was interesting in South Beach. However, next summer could be almost as entertaining.

--Oly Sandor.


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