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Saturday , Oct , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Rajon Rondo saving money for a lockout?

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is saving his money in the event of an NBA lockout. NBA commissioner David Stern says he wants to cut player salaries by one-third.

Rondo says he's "saving a lot of money this year." He is scheduled to make $9 million this season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Currently, the owners and Players Union are locked in a game of hyperbole and exaggeration. Both are playing hardball through the media.

This is typical of negotiations. You ask for the moon. You meet in the middle.

However, a player – Rajon Rondo - saving money twelve months before a lockout or strike could kick in is especially troubling.

After all, NBA players are Suze Ormen’s greatest nightmare. As a rule, they don’t save –just ask Eddy Curry, Scottie Pippen, Latrell Sprewell and Antoine Walker.

So this is a troubling sign. It shows the players expect, and are preparing for, a work stoppage, which would impact those who love basketball.

Of course, that means you and me could be without hoops next fall.

There is hope: Commissioner David Stern and Players Union leader Billy Hunter have until July 1st to establish a Collective Bargaining Agreement more suited to the current economic climate.

Time is running out, though. Labour strife is on the horizon. Why else would the players save money?  

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , Oct , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Delonte West on Rajon Rondo: ‘He’s the best point guard in the world’

He’s (Rajon Rondo) the best point guard in the world right now."

Forgive Delonte West if he might be seeing things through rose colored glasses. His nickname is Redz. He’s part African-American and part Piscataway Indian. He is wearing green again and his personality has a color all its own. There are a lot of colors to Delonte West. He also has a negative to put far into the rear view mirror.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s the NBA's best all-around point guard, but not the NBA’s best point guard.

Rajon Rondo is an excellent table-setter, capable of penetrating, distributing, defending, and leading. However, he’s not The Guy. He’s not the crème de la crème of lead guards. 

Rondo’s shooting and free throws need work. Too often, opposing defences dare him to fire him away from the outside. And the Utah Jazz’s Deron Williams is a more complete player.

Still, the University of Kentucky grad is the straw that stirs the Boston Celtics’ drink. The green-and-white will go as far as he takes them in 2011.

If Rondo’s Celtics win a championship next June, he’ll be worthy of the ‘best point guard’ title.

--Got thoughts?


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

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Saturday , Oct , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rajon Rondo’s goal for 2011: prove he’s the NBA’s top PG

Rajon Rondo is eager to prove that he is the NBA's best point guard. “That I’m the best,’’ Rondo said. “Hands down. No speculation. ‘Oh, he may be top three, top five, top 10.’ No, I’m the best.’’

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Rajon Rondo is getting his ‘Gordon Gecko’ on.

The Boston Celtics point guard is wisely following the mantra of Oliver Stone’s fictional Wall Street character, greedily stating he wants to be the premier table-setter in the NBA.

Not top five. Not top three. But number one. Like Gecko preached: ‘Greed is good’.

Rondo must continue to emerge because the Celtics are his team. Ray Allen, at 36, is a spot up shooter; Kevin Garnett has health issues; Paul Pierce is on the downside of his storied run with the mighty green-and-white.

Raising an eighteenth banner and avenging last year’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals rests mostly with Rondo. After years as a supporting piece, he’s now the straw that stirs the drink, the lead dog on a veteran squad

So the Celtics will go only as far as the ‘greedy’ Rondo takes them in 2011.  

--Oly Sandor.


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

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Monday , Sep , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rondo left Team USA to ‘win another championship’

 "It was great to practice every day against the best young talent in the league, a veteran like Chauncey Billups and play for a Hall of Fame coach [Mike Krzyzewski]," Rondo said. "But some of these guys hadn't played since April. Lamar [Odom] and I had just got out of Game 7. And next season is right around the corner. I feel like I had to take advantage of the opportunity I have right now to win another championship. It's not often you get to play with four Hall of Famers. Another couple of years and I won't have that."

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s hard to criticize Rajon Rondo’s decision to step away from Team USA.

Rondo hadn’t recovered from the Boston Celtics’ crushing seven-game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. He was drained and needed rest.

The emerging table-setter understands the championship window is closing on the green-and-white. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce – also known as The Big Three - are hitting the end of their careers.

Rondo knows he needs to be at full strength in 2011 and 2012 because opportunities to win championships are rare. Playing in the World Championship would be tiring.

Fortunately, Stars and Stripes had talented floor leaders in Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook. His departure wasn’t an issue and, in fact, eased the log-jam at point guard. 

Rondo’s choice may be a win-win for all involved.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Thursday , Sep , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Amar’e Stoudemire on leaving Phoenix: ‘I wanted an NBA deal’

Managing Partner Robert Sarver offered him a five-year, $96.6 million contract with $56 million guaranteed and the rest kicking in if Stoudemire logged significant minutes in the third and fourth years.

"The greater goal was to have a sense of security. I didn't want a football deal (with some or all of the money non-guaranteed). I want a NBA deal. That's what I ended up getting."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: His thriftiness will finally benefit the Phoenix Suns.

For years, owner Robert Sarver hasn’t invested in his team. Initially, he had alligator arms, but recently his banking and real estate empire was hit by the financial downturn.

Bottom line: the Suns patriarch let Joe Johnson leave because he didn’t want to pay him market value and first round draft picks were given away because he wouldn’t fork out for rookie contracts.

Such an approach has hurt. Johnson is an excellent player, who righted the morbid Atlanta Hawks. The draft picks have materialized into established pro Rudy Fernandez and star Rajon Rondo.  

But Sarver was right not to break the bank for Amar’e Stoudemire, though. Sure, STAT is an athletic freak and perennial All-Star.

Still, $100 million is too much for a forward who treats defense like a contagious disease and has a history of injuries. A partially guaranteed contract made sense -even if the pogo-stick post left for the New York Knicks. 

The jury is out on Stoudemire’s replacements, though. Channing Frye is talented, but inconsistent; Turkoglu, while skilled, had a sub par 2010 with Toronto; and Warrick has never fulfilled his potential.

Sarver and the front office are thinking Turkoglu and Warrick will improve because of Steve Nash and the Suns’ up-tempo system. They’re also hoping Frye produces more regularly.   

This trio of forwards may or may not work out. However, the Suns believe they’re less of a risk than overpaying Stoudemire.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , Aug , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Parting ways best for Rajon Rondo and Team USA

The Celtics point guard withdrew from Team USA yesterday, sensing the writing on the wall as coach Mike Krzyzewski began to test different backcourt combinations minus Rondo.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Did he withdraw? Or, did he get cut?

These are the questions surrounding Rajon Rondo’s departure from Team USA on Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday’s news may have been sudden, but it wasn't surprising.

Rondo swallowed his first career DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coaches Decision) against Spain. While his poor outside range and inconsistent free-throw shooting were rarely exposed with the Boston Celtics, it would have been a liability in international play.

Clearly, Rondo didn’t fit Coach Mike Krzyewski’s plans, so parting ways made sense.        

After losing the championship in heartbreaking fashion to the Los Angeles Lakers, Rondo needed time off to heal his mind and body. A death in his extended family wouldn’t have helped, either.

Team USA is also point guard heavy, with table-setters Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook. All are better shooters than Rondo.  Even if he made the final roster, there would have been few minutes available.

Bottom line: whether he withdrew or got cut, Rondo and stars-and-stripes are better off after yesterday’s decision.

--Oly Sandor.   

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

The Boston Celtic Expendables gunning for one more title.
Thursday , Aug , 05 , 2010 J.N.

The Boston Celtic Expendables gunning for one more title.

The 2010-2011 Boston Celtics features the stars from the 1990s such as Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Jermaine O’Neal, and the eventual return of Rasheed Wallace. Either they moved one step closer to a title or hospital bed, the Green Machine remains the team to beat in the East despite Miami’s Super Friends. The Celtics are still the Eastern Conference Champions and until any other team officially knock them out; they remain the favorites to return to the Finals.

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Sunday , Jul , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rajon Rondo on Miami Heat: ‘they ain’t done nothing yet’

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo doesn't agree with those that are already handing the 2011 NBA Title to the Heat. "They should be good, but they ain't done nothing yet," Rondo said recently. "They ain't done nothing."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He's right.

While training with USA Basketball in Las Vegas, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo wondered why the Miami Heat has been handed the 2011 NBA championship.

Miami will be good, very good.

Rondo correctly points out that the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are still the team to beat. The Lakers have balance, chemistry, and defense. The Heat does not. It will take time to establish these components.

On-paper, South Beach does look good. They have their Three Kings: Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. They have their supporting pieces: Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Mike Miller.

But Haslem and Wade are the only strong defensive players on the roster, so the Heat may struggle to advance out the Eastern Conference.

For instance: how will Miami's star-studded roster match-up against Boston`s tough guys?

The Heat will take those meaningless games in the regular season. The outcome could be different in the playoffs when the best defensive team wins. Bottom line: the Heat isn’t a better defensive squad than the Celtics.

Last year, the green-and-white used their get-stops mentality to take out the highly favoured Cavaliers and Magic in the playoffs. And their grinding style nearly beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

Rondo is right. For now, we should hold off anointing the Heat NBA champions.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Friday , Jul , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shame on Robert Sarver: Suns wrong to replace Amar’e Stoudemire with Hakim Warrick

The Suns have agreed to terms on a four-year, $18 million deal with free agent forward Hakim Warrick, sources tell Marc Spears of Yahoo!

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It's never been a mutually beneficial relationship.
 
For years, the citizens of Phoenix have backed their basketball team with unbridled passion. The Suns enjoy terrific fan support -regardless of the economy.
 
When things are good, fans fill the arena. When things are bad, fans fill the arena.
 
NBA basketball is recession proof in Phoenix because people have bought-in; long ago they made an emotional investment in the team that clearly trumps their financial investment.
 
Can Suns owner Robert Sarver say the same?
 
Sarver - who purchased the team in 2004 from a group of partners led by Arizona sports legend Jerry Colangelo - too often puts the business of basketball first. 
 
Sure, he looks like a fan, waving his giant foam hand from his court side seats or making a spectacle of himself by leaping off a trampoline to dunk a basketball at halftime. 
 
Looks can deceive.
 
Sarver would rather cut cost than win. For instance, superstar Joe Johnson was practically driven to the airport when he left the Suns for the Hawks as a free agent.
 
Then he forced management to trade promising youngsters like Rudy Fernandez and Rajon Rondo because he didn't want to pay their rookie salaries.
 
Of course, this was before the economic meltdown -the one that crippled Sarver's banking and real estate holdings.
 
This summer Sarver's penny-pinching has risen to another level.
 
First, Steve Kerr, who was finally coming into his own as GM, fled for the broadcast booth because the frugal owner stubbornly demanded he take a pay cut.
 
Second, Amar'e Stoudemire - the butter to Steve Nash's bread and primary scorer in Seven Seconds Or Less - has been nickel-and-dimed in contract negotiations. 
 
Sure, Stoudemire has flaws. He treasts defense like a contagious disease and has a Charles Barkley sized opinion of himself. However, the flashy post is perfect for Phoenix, and vice-versa.
 
Yet, here he is, on the verge of signing with Mike D'Antoni - another Sarver cast off - and the New York Knicks.
 
Third, Sarver genuinely believes he can replace Stoudemire with journeyman Hakim Warrick. This is delusional -like Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
 
Warrick is a decent player. He may even post career best numbers with Nash. Channing Frye looks to be returning. And Robin Lopez will continue developing. None can compensate for Stoudemire, though.
 
The Suns must do better to replace their four-man. The team that qualified for the Western Conference Finals deserves better. And fans deserve better, too.
 
Don't bet on it, though. Winning isn't the priority.
 
When opening night rolls around this fall, America West Arena will be sold out - as per usual. And Sarver will be sitting in his front row seats - as per usual.
 
Nothing will have changed. And the owner won't be deserving of such loyalty and support from the thousands filling his stadium.
 
-- Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at us in the comment box below.
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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?  

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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?             

Kobe Bryant brought heart and fire. Can’t do it alone! Vol. 2010 Game 5 NBA Finals
Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe Bryant brought heart and fire. Can’t do it alone! Vol. 2010 Game 5 NBA Finals

This is another episode in the long series called, “Can anybody other than Kobe score?” In the game 5 episode called, “The one where Kobe gets hot in the 3rd quarter,” Pau Gasol still has not shed the “soft” label. Ron Artest’s offense is crappy. People will make excuses for him not being familiar with the triangle offense. That is crap. Man up. This is the Finals. Boston’s defense is just that good to make him look dazed and confused.

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Monday , Jun , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The Big Four Deliver: Allen, Garnett, Pierce, and Rondo lead Boston to game-five win

It's looking a lot like 2008 again, with Paul Pierce carrying the Boston Celtics to victory in the NBA finals and leading them to the brink of yet another title.

Pierce scored 27 points -- his best performance of this year's finals -- and the Celtics withstood 38 points from Kobe Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 92-86 on Sunday night and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: On Friday, Kobe Bryant told reporters he was miserable because of his poor play. Tonight, he'll be miserable for a different reason.

The Los Angeles Lakers' superstar raised his play, even scoring an astounding 19 points in the third quarter; however, his co-stars all had poor nights, which was the reason for the game-five loss.

For instance, Ron Artest struggled on both ends of the floor; Pau Gasol's 12 points and 12 rebounds won't cut it in the NBA Finals; Andrew Bynum - wonky knee or not - should've been better than 6 points and 1 rebound; and Lamar Odom was a non-factor.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics won with balance. The Big Four delivered: Paul Pierce found his touch and had a team-high 27 points; Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo combined for 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists; and Ray Allen had an efficient 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

While the bench didn't repeat their game four heroics, they still contributed. Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, and Rasheed Wallace hit some shots, played tough defense, and, best of all, brought energy.

And this was the difference in game five. As a group, the Celtics seemed determined. Other than Bryant, the Lakers seemed flustered.

In the second half, Tony Allen gave the Celtics a surge with his tremendous weak side block on Pau Gasol. Then, in the closing moments, the 6-3 Rondo leaped the 6-10 Odom for an improbable tip-in basket to seal the win.

With the exception of Bryant, no Laker had a momentum changing moment or timely play. The purple-and-gold had too many passengers on this night.

Despite trailing in the series, the Lakers still have home-court advantage with game-six and seven at Staples Center.

The Lakers must improve, though. Or the Celtics will win the NBA championship and Bryant will be more than miserable.

Got thoughts on game five? Get at us in the comment box below.            

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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Praise the bench: Glen Davis and Nate Robinson lead Celtics to game four win over Lakers

Backup Glen "Big Baby" Davis scored half of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Celtics bench as it pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 96-89 on Thursday night and even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Game 5 is Sunday night in Boston. The Celtics' win guaranteed them a trip back to Los Angeles and averted a 3-1 deficit that has never been overcome in NBA history.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Pau Gasol had 21 for the Lakers.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Down the stretch, the Boston Celtics needed a spark. And their bench answered the call, winning game four for the green-and-white.

With starters Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo struggling, coach Doc Rivers went with four reserves and first-stringer Ray Allen for most of the fourth quarter.

And this makeshift unit responded in the final frame: Glen Davis tallied 9 of his 18 points; Nate Robinson scored and set up others; Tony Allen forced Kobe Bryant left and made the game's best player work for every point; and Rasheed Wallace's length and physicality eventually wore on Pau Gasol.

Best of all, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Davis, Robinson, and Wallace brought an energy that Boston was missing for most of the game.

The news gets worse for the Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bynum sat out the entire second half and only played 12 minutes because of his injured knee.

Bynum's numbers have been mediocre due to his poor health; however, his height and length has given the Celtics problems. Also, with Bynum on-court, Gasol can shift to the four-spot, his natural position.

However, give the Celtics credit. They capitalized on Bynum's absence. And their bench came through in the clutch.

Got thoughts on game four?   

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rondo and Ray-Ray knock-out Lakers, Celtics win game two

Ray Allen scored 27 of his 32 points in the first half with a record-setting 3-point shooting display, Rajon Rondo completed a triple-double down the stretch and the Boston Celtics evened the NBA finals with a 103-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 Sunday night.

Allen hit a finals-record eight 3-pointers in a dazzling effort for the Celtics. Rondo then took charge after Allen cooled down, racking up 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his fifth playoff triple-double to hand Los Angeles its first home loss of the postseason.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They came. They saw. And they got their all important split on the road.

After winning one-of-two games in Staples Center, the Boston Celtics have momentum against the defending champion and heavily favoured Los Angeles Lakers.

There were three reasons Boston turned the table against L.A., and took game two:

1) Obviously, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen had terrific games. Rondo dropped a Jason Kidd like, triple-double, while Allen stretched the defense with an NBA Finals record eight-3 pointers.

2) Rondo, Allen, and the Celtics got points in transition. For instance, the Celtics ran quick pick-and-rolls and pushed the ball, which surprised the Lakers' defense.

3) Boston got back to blue-collar basketball. They ran down loose balls. They set the tempo. And they out-hustled LA. This intensity and effort, led by reserve Glen Davis, was a major reason Kobe Bryant was in foul trouble most of the night.

The next three games of the NBA Finals are in Boston. If the Celtics can keep momentum and hold at home, they may just secure their eighteenth championship banner.   

Got thoughts on game two? Get at us in the comment box.

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Sunday , Jun , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Mo Next to Go? Cleveland looking to trade Williams?

With that in mind, league sources have indicated the Cavs have begun to consider taking some risks with their roster. That may even include seeing if a trade makes sense for one of the most popular players on the team.

According to multiple league sources, the Cavs are testing the trade value for point guard Mo Williams, among other players. It is part of what appears to be an effort to tweak the entire backcourt, as Delonte West is also on the trade block.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: When you choke for a second consecutive year in the playoffs, everything and everyone is fair game.

Mike Brown, a former Coach of the Year, is gone. GM Danny Ferry is looking for a new executive suite to call home. And Mo Williams – a talented, hot shooting, and popular point guard – could be next to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Williams’ fall within the organization is somewhat unexpected, though. His catch-and-shoot approach fits with LeBron James, a superstar who runs the offensive sets and likes handling the ball.

Unfortunately, Williams has a tendency to disappear in the playoffs and, because of his size and average quicks, he often struggles to defend opposing point guards.

For instance, Williams got lit up by the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose and the Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo in the playoffs.

Coincidentally, James recently mentioned as much in his recent interview with Larry King.

“You kind of forget about Rajon Rando. And that's exactly happened at times,” said the superstar. “You know, he kind of controls the whole ship that goes on in Boston. And they did a good job. I mean we're a really good team, but they were better than us in this year.” 


So, perhaps, owner Dan Gilbert is reacting, or possibly overreacting, to James’ comments about Rondo torching Williams. And perhaps, trading Williams would be another attempt to appease the two-time MVP and his people.

Desperate times do call for desperate measures. After all, with James’ pending free agency, the only person guaranteed to be in Cleveland next year is Gilbert.

Should the Cavaliers trade Williams? Is he to blame for their playoff failures?

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Saturday , Jun , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

‘Keeping It Real’: Nate Robinson wants to stay with Boston Celtics

Robinson, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his five-year career, said he definitely has interest in re-signing with the Celtics if they want him back.

"Of course,'' Robinson said in an interview Friday with FanHouse, a day after Boston fell 102-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals
against the Lakers.

Even though the 5-foot-9 Robinson's playing time has been erratic, he said he likes the way the Celtics have treated him since he was acquired Feb. 19 from New York.

"I feel wanted here,'' said Robinson, who averaged 6.5 points in 14.7 minutes in 26 Boston regular-season games, but has seen his numbers drop in the postseason to 3.4 points in 6.4 minutes in the 11 games he has played.

"This group of guys, this team, this organization is good for me. They're high class, man. They keep it 100 percent (real) with you. Doc (Rivers, the coach) keeps it 100 percent. He tells you straight forward what he wants. I like that.''

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Can you feel the love?

Nate Robinson is apparently cool with the Boston Celtics because they've 'kept it 100 percent' real with him.

Okay, HoopsVibe News has no idea what this means, except it's good. For several reasons, club and player are a fit and should continue their mutually beneficial partnership with an extension this summer. Here's why:

1) Boston's Hall of Fame veterans have the credibility to keep Robinson on track. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce can play bad cop and, if necessary, get in the tiny combo guard's face, allowing Coach Doc Rivers and GM Danny Ainge to play the good cop and encourage him.

2) Of course, Robinson, when focused, provides energy, life, and athleticism. This is always useful, especially when coming off the bench for a veteran laden club. For instance, the former Slam Dunk champion had an amazing game six performance, which helped Boston seal the Eastern Conference championship.

3) The Celtics are a defensive terror. That's their identity. Together, Robinson and Rajon Rondo would be the quickest starter-back-up point guard tandem in the NBA. And they'd harass opposing table-setters with their intense on-the-ball pressure.

4) How out of control can you look with Rasheed Wallace as a teammate?

Is Robinson and the Celtics and a match? Let us know in the comment box below.

 

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Saturday , May , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Defense, Defense, Defense: Why Boston Celtics won the east

The NBA's most-decorated team avoided the biggest playoff collapse in league history and earned a chance to hang an unprecedented 18th championship banner from the rafters.

Paul Pierce had 31 points and 13 rebounds, and little-used backup Nate Robinson gave the Celtics a boost with 13 second-quarter points as Boston beat the Orlando Magic 96-84 on Friday night, earning a chance to play for a second NBA title in three years.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Defense wins championships. Or in the case of the Boston Celtics, defense wins the Eastern Conference crown.

Flashback to mid season and the green-and-white were presumed dead. The Big Three was deemed too old and critics thought Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins weren't capable of filling the void.

Well, they proved us wrong. All of us.

The Celtics defied the odds because they get stops, even on the road, which gives them a chance in every game and series. Offensively, they spread the wealth with many different players capable of carrying the load or providing a spark.

For instance, in the second quarter of tonight's contest, tiny Nate Robinson chipped in with 13 points to give Boston a commanding lead, despite barely seeing the court in the playoffs.

And if the Celtics continue defending they could well win their eighteenth championship.

Has Boston surprised you? Why? Why not? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.