nba-playoffs
Today In NBA History 1995: Elie’s “Kiss Of Death” Three Pointer
Wednesday , May , 22 , 2013 Paul Eide

Today In NBA History 1995: Elie’s “Kiss Of Death” Three Pointer

18 years ago today, Mario Elie and the Houston Rockets capped off a ridiculous comeback.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Phoenix dominated the regular season for two years, only to be eliminated in the playoffs by the streaking Rockets both times.

From NBA.com:

Houston’s Mario Elie sank a three-pointer from the corner with 7.1 seconds left in the game, lifting the visiting Rockets to a 115-114 win over Phoenix in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinal Round series at America West Arena. With the win, the Rockets became the first NBA team in 13 years (since the ‘82 Sixers against Boston) to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 playoff series. Houston’s victory also broke a string of 20 consecutive wins by the home team in the deciding Game 7 of a playoff series. Just 24 hours later, Indiana repeated that feat by the road team after downing host New York 97-95 in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Round series.

Check out the video here:

For Elie, it was the beginning of what would be a pivotal role during the Rockets run to the 1995 NBA title. After being a bench player all season, Elie was inserted into the starting lineup for the Finals and played the best basketball of his career. Elie averaged 16.3 points per game, almost double his regular season average, while shooting a 64% from the field. He was also 8 for 14 (.571) from the three-point line, hitting 7 of 10 three-pointers in Games 3 and 4.

The Rockets were already a ridiculously deep squad, so when Elie stepped up and started producing, the Orlando Magic had no answer as the Rockets romped to a 4-0 series sweep.

The shot Elie hit to seal the series victory over the Suns was particularly deflating to Suns fans. Not only because it ended their '95 season, but the previous year in the playoffs the Rockets also defeated the Suns in a seven game series after the Suns opened up a 3-1 series lead.

Ouch.

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Breaking News!  Russell Westbrook out with injury
Saturday , Apr , 27 , 2013 Matt Formica

Breaking News! Russell Westbrook out with injury

A report from the Daily Thunder confirmed Friday that Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook will undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.

Hoopsvibe's quick call:  This is an extremely tough break for the Thunder who are poised to make a championship run.

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Top 5 Biggest Playoff Upsets In NBA History
Wednesday , Apr , 17 , 2013 Paul Eide

Top 5 Biggest Playoff Upsets In NBA History

The NBA's "real season" begins soon, as playoff time is finally almost upon us.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Upsets used to be the exception, now they are the rule.

The following five match-ups all feature an eighth seed upsetting a number one seed, a feat that has only happened five times in NBA history. Of the five times, three of those upsets ocurred in the last six years.

Golden State Warriors Upset Dallas Mavericks - 2007

At the time, the Dallas Mavericks were considered one of the biggest favorite one seeds ever, coming off of a 67-15 regular season record which was the only since legitimate claim to challenge the Bulls 72-10 all-time best NBA season. The Mavericks were also coming off of losing in the Finals to the Heat the previous season, a series many people felt like they should’ve won; expectations were high and facing Golden State in the first round they had every reason to be. The Warriors were a franchise at the time, much like now, that was mired in mediocrity with no real reason to be optimistic. After squeaking into the playoffs at 42-40, they were a complete after-thought. The Warriors qualified for the playoffs that year for the first time since 1994 with the 13 year drought between appearances being the second longest in NBA history. The Warriors beat the Mavs in six games, and this Baron Davis dunk over AK-47 (even though it took place in the following playoff series) shows you the level he and the Warriors were playing at:

Denver Nuggets Upset Seattle Supersonics - 1994

The year was 1994. Charles Barkley signature “Air Max” shoes, selling for $150 a pair, were king. The world was shocked by the unexpected death of Kurt Cobain. And Seattle Supersonics fans the world over were reeling from a first round playoff loss to the eighth seed Denver Nuggets. The Sonics had blown through the regular season going 63-19 which was a franchise record for wins and were the number one seed heading into the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs to face a Denver Nuggets team that no one had expected anything from. And with good reason; to that point in NBA history no eighth seed had ever beaten a number one seed. And no one expected a 42-40 Denver team to pose a legitimate threat, especially after losing the first two games in what was at the time a best of five game first round series. Game five was an epic back and forth game where the intensity never waned and every possession felt like the most important in the game. Kendall Gill’s layup with a half second left on the clock sent the game into overtime. But the Nuggets maintained the momentum throughout the extra frame and escaped with a 98-94 victory, winning the series.

New York Knicks Upset Miami Heat - 1999

The Pat Riley led Heat were the number one seed after posting a 33-17 record during the strike shortened season and the Knicks stumbled to 27-23, barely qualifying as the eighth seed. Both teams had dominant big men from Georgetown University; Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing. Both had flashy offensive weapons that could make plays, Tim Hardaway for the Heat and a still dominant Latrell Sprewell. Down by one with 19.9 seconds left in the deciding game five, the Knicks did everything they could to screw up the possession and struggled to get a shot off. Ultimately after an inbound with 4.4 seconds, Allan Houston launched a running floater from the top of the lane that bounced off the rim and backboard before falling through the hoop securing a one point victory and the series for the Knicks.

Philadelphia 76ers Upset Chicago Bulls - 2012

Game one of the series, the Bulls are coasting right along, up by 12 with 81 seconds left. Then, this happens:

Series over, Philly wins four games to two. That's pretty much it.

Memphis Grizzlies Upset San Antonio Spurs - 2011

I remember at the time watching this series, particularly how slow and old the Spurs looked and thinking, "Man they had a great run, but they are definitely over the hill." Wrong again! The Spurs, essentially with the same core of players, will be the #2 seed in the West this year. The Spurs came into the 2011 playoffs as the #1 seed, with the second-best record in basketball and home court advantage against any Western Conference opponent and were dropped in the first round. Zach Randolph played out of his mind and Marc Gasol wore down Tim Duncan on both ends of the floor.

In this year's playoffs, if the Bucks were to beat the Heat, or the Lakers were able to vanquish the Thunder, would either be a bigger upset than any of the previous upsets on this list?

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Image Credit: Creative Commons

Top 5 Reasons LA Lakers Won’t Make Playoffs
Friday , Apr , 12 , 2013 Paul Eide

Top 5 Reasons LA Lakers Won’t Make Playoffs

Currently, the Lakers are in possession of the Western Conference's eighth seed by one game over the Utah Jazz.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: If the Lakers don't make it, they have at least five legitimate reasons why they failed.

Firing of Mike Brown, Hiring of Mike D'Antoni, Not Hiring Phil Jackson

After five games, the Lakers brass fired Mike Brown. But before he got fired, they forced him to employ the "Princeton Offense," an offense that never got properly instituted because of injuries to nearly every key player in the preseason.  Brown was out, but who would replace him? For several days, Phil Jackson was going to be re-hired, it looked like a foregone conclusion. But under the cover of night, late on a Sunday evening, the Lakers announced they would hire D'Antoni instead. As the season has now almost completely played itself out, they couldn't have been any worse if they would've just retained Bernie Bickerstaff for the entire season, who won four of his five games as head coach.

Injuries

Every significant player on the team was injured at some point this season. Steve Nash, Kobe, Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol- and those are just the starters. The bench was equally ravaged. Robert Sacre, Devin Ebanks, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake; and that's the short list. No wonder they haven't had any chemistry all year.

Lack Of Pau Gasol

Gasol's head wasn't right all season. And yours wouldn't have been either if your name was Pau Gasol. No one has taken more of a beating for being "soft". But if he was soft, Gasol wouldn't have two rings and a slew of all-star appearances. So what does he get for his trouble? He gets benched for Earl Clark by D'Antoni, who was trying to assert his power to "motivate" Gasol. That was a "bass-akward" thing to do. To make it worse, D'Antoni did it when the Lakers rotation was being held together with duct tape. If he was healthy, the Lakers should've squeezed every last second out of him.

Where Was "Ron Ron" All Year?

I get that "Ron Ron" has decided to completely give up on scoring. I get that he fancies himself a lockdown one on one defender. But for a guy who has scored over 20+ ppg in his career, for him to not be more involved offensively (and I don't mean hoisting up three's from the corner, which has become his signature offensive move), I mean getting involved and productive when the team needed him. He didn't, so Kobe had to carry the squad, and still is, like always.

Dwight Howard Saga

I don't care what Howard's numbers are, or if Andrew Bynum missed the entire season- Howard killed the Lakers with his endless, me first drama. It started before he got traded to LA, then continued once he arrived because of "injuries" and a bunch of other excuses. Dwight Howard is a drama queen and softer than Pau Gasol- FACT.

For more news, info and updates, follow us on Twitter @hoopsvibe

 

Rondo Carries Celtics
Sunday , May , 27 , 2012 HoopsVibe News

Rondo Carries Celtics

Rajon Rondo goes for a triple double to help Celtics win.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Celtics are going to need more than Rondo to beat Heat.

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Is Pau Gasol Lakers Version of Carlos Boozer?
Tuesday , May , 15 , 2012 Paul Eide

Is Pau Gasol Lakers Version of Carlos Boozer?

Overpaid, underproductive and unmotivated. At points in the 2011-12 season, all three of these words have been used to describe both Pau Gasol and Carlos Boozer.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Who agreed to pay them this much?

 
 
Both are power forwards. Both are amongst the highest paid players in the league; Gasol at $18.7 million ranks seventh while Boozer ranks 25th pocketing $13.55 million this year. Both players should be their team’s #2 scoring threat.
 
Neither player has been asked to carry the load this season- just serve as a complementary, consistent piece that can be relied on when the team’s star (Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant) is hurt or less than productive.
 
Prior to this year, there is no comparing the careers of this two players- Gasol has two rings and the production to surpass Boozer. But what makes them similar this season is how bad their teams have needed them. And at certain points, neither player has delivered.
 
After an underwhelming regular season which saw Boozer set career lows in most major categories, he followed that up with an even worse series against the Sixers. With no Rose, the Bulls needed Boozer to earn his money and produce for the remainder of the series, and he didn’t, contributing three points and one made field goal in a one point loss that ended the Bulls season.  
 
Gasol stepped up in a game seven victory versus the Nuggets in round one with 23 points and 17 rebounds, but in the six games prior he averaged just nine ppg and 6.5 rpg. His lack of production was a huge factor in why the series even went seven games.
 
If you don’t get Gasol involved early, just like with Boozer, you may get nothing out of him that night. And more than any season prior, when Gasol isn’t involved in the low post game he drifts further and further out of the lane, content to settle for shots 15 feet away and beyond. Gasol has the touch to make more of those shots than the average seven footer, but why when he can be a complete beast in the paint, especially alongside Andrew Bynum?  
 
Is Gasol to blame for the game one loss to OKC? Absolutely not. But what happened to the guy who put up 20 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists against the Thunder in a double OT win less than a month ago? The Lakers need him to show up ASAP, or their season is over, just like Carlos Boozer’s.  
 
Gar Forman- The Forgotten Bull
Sunday , May , 29 , 2011 Paul Eide

Gar Forman- The Forgotten Bull

The success the Bulls had this season is a quick study in turning a franchise completely around in one season. For all the hype that suddenly accumulated, you would’ve thought Chicago had been a championship contender for years, as evidenced by all four in studio TNT analysts picking them to beat the Heat and win the Eastern Conference. But, that has not been the case.

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Is It Time For Lamar Odom To Start Again?
Thursday , Apr , 21 , 2011 Paul Eide

Is It Time For Lamar Odom To Start Again?

 

Fresh off winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award Lamar Odom carried the Lakers to a tough 87-78 victory in game two on Wednesday night reminding everyone how important he is to the team.  After watching that, the question that begs to be asked is why can’t Odom start over Ron Artest who just completed his least productive season ever?
The Second Biggest NBA Playoff Upset Ever
Thursday , Apr , 14 , 2011 Paul Eide

The Second Biggest NBA Playoff Upset Ever

 

The NBA Playoffs are upon us. With that in mind, recently I wrote about the greatest playoff upset in NBA history here. But a close second would have to be the New York Knicks upset of the Miami Heat in 1998-99.
Current NBA Playoff Seedings And Match-Ups
Tuesday , Apr , 12 , 2011 Paul Eide

Current NBA Playoff Seedings And Match-Ups

 

With two games left to play, we know the 16 teams that have advanced into the playoffs. But both conferences have at least half of their final seedings up in the air with two games left to play. Is it just me or is this the most relevant the final two games of the NBA regular season has been in a few years?
 
Eastern Conference
In the East the Bulls are the confirmed one seed. The Heat are two in front of the Celtics for the second spot. The Celtics are four games in front of Orlando so they can’t finish any worse than third.  Orlando is seven in front of Atlanta so plan on the Magic being the fourth seed. But the fifth seed through the seventh seed will be decided in the next two days.
 
Atlanta in fifth is two games in front of the Knicks. The Knicks in six are one game in front of the 76ers. So, the Hawks, 76ers or Knicks could finish as high as fifth or as low as seventh.  Meanwhile, the Pacers sit in eighth with a glass of cognac and a smoking jacket, waiting to be eliminated.
 
1) Chicago Bulls vs. 8) Indiana Pacers
Season Series CHI 3-1
2) Miami Heat vs. 7) Philadelphia 76ers
Season Series MIA 3-0
 
3) Boston Celtics vs. 6) New York Knicks
Season Series BOS 3-0
 
4) Orlando Magic vs. 5) Atlanta Hawks
Season Series ATL 3-1
 
 
Western Conference
In the West the Spurs are the confirmed one seed. Dallas is one game in front of the Lakers and Thunder for the second seed, as both of the aforementioned teams are tied for third (which the Lakers would win on a tiebreak) meaning the Thunder are currently in fourth. Denver has locked up the fifth seed and that’s really the only “for sure” seeding other than the Spurs in first. The Trailblazers in sixth are one game up on both Memphis and New Orleans. Similar to the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed conundrum, the Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and Hornets could end as highly seeded as fifth or as low as eighth.
 
1) San Antonio Spurs vs. 8) New Orleans Hornets
Season Series tied 2-2
2) Dallas Mavericks vs. 7) Memphis Grizzlies
Season Series MEM 3-1
 
3) Los Angeles Lakers vs. 6) Portland Trail Blazers
Season Series LAL 3-1
 
4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 5) Denver Nuggets
Season Series OKC 3-1

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wbur/4058298605/

If the NBA Playoffs Started Today…
Wednesday , Mar , 02 , 2011 Paul Eide

If the NBA Playoffs Started Today…

Ladies and germs with roughly 60 games in the books for every team in the league it means we only have a quarter of the regular season remaining. With that in mind, let's take a look at where we stand as far as playoff implications and potential playoff matchups:
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Saturday , May , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Grant Hill to Guard Kobe Bryant in WCF

Bryant averaged 27.5 points against Phoenix this season on 54.4 percent shooting and is coming off a Utah sweep in which he scored at least 30 in each game. This is the point last year when he turned dominant, averaging 34.0 points against Denver in the conference finals and 32.4 in the NBA Finals vs. Orlando.

Step right up, Grant Hill. The Suns are expected to again turn to their best defensive player, although guard Jason Richardson defended Bryant the most this season. The decision to put Richardson on Portland's Andre Miller for Game 1 of the first round backfired when Miller dominated and Richardson struggled offensively. Freed of a defensive load, Richardson thrived the remainder of that series and the San Antonio series with Hill taking primary defensive targets Miller and Manu Ginobili.

"You just try to make a guy like that work," Hill, 37, said of Bryant, 31. "You've got to go in ready to compete and not be discouraged. He'll make shots even when there's defense.
 
Elbowgate Continues: Does LeBron Have a Torn Ligament in his Elbow?
Wednesday , May , 12 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Elbowgate Continues: Does LeBron Have a Torn Ligament in his Elbow?

Just when I think I'm out, this story pulls me back in. After reading that LeBron's injury situation was more serious than reported, King James blew up in game three and temporarily put those rumours to rest. Game four saw a slight drop-off for the Akron Hammer (I'm still rooting for that nickname), but there was nothing in his near-triple-double performance to suggest severe damage to his shooting arm.

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Wednesday , May , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Owner Dan Gilbert Calls out Cavaliers

After the game, in an exclusive interview with The Plain Dealer, Gilbert expressed some frustration at the effort level of his team that he's spending more than $100 million in payroll this season; a team he put together by sparing no expense in an attempt to win the title this season.

"Our entire franchise has done everything in its power to put all of our players and its coaching staff in the best possible position to execute when it counts," Gilbert said. "And to deliver to the highly supportive fans of Cleveland a proud, intense, impassioned all-out drive to achieve a championship."

"The last two home playoff losses and the manner in which we lost these games does not come close to being anywhere near the high expectations all of us have of our organization. Our fans and supporters deserve more." 

link

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Tuesday , May , 11 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Media Bus Crashed into Carlos Boozer’s Escalade

After a thoroughly unpleasant evening of basketball, Carlos Boozer must have been fairly keen to climb into his ride and get home quickly. Sadly, that wasn't an option for him last night after his Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs by the Lakers in a sweep. Before he could make it to the parking lot from his post-game obligations, this tweet from the LAL media guy showed up:

 And the driver of the media bus just backed into one of the Jazz's Escalades... doin' damage on our way out of SLC!! - @tynowell

Shortly thereafter, this tweet followed:

 And.... it's Carlos Boozer's Escalade. That's an even more unfortunate ending to his evening. - @tynowell

Ugh. Sorry, Carlos.