Saturday, May 28, 2011

Barcelona Defeats Manchester United To Win UEFA Cup

Barcelona dominated Manchester United to win the UEFA Cup 3-1
After defeating Manchester United 3-1, F.C. Barcelona has been crowned the champions of Europe. Before this year, Barcelona had only won the UEFA Champions League three times. The last time Barcelona won was when they were led by Ronaldinho, Eto'o, and Ibrahimovic. Barcelona is now led by Messi, Xavi, and David Villa after the past three players left the team.

Barcelona advanced to the finals after defeating their rivals Real Madrid in a two game aggregate while, Manchester defeated Schalke.

Barcelona is managed by Josep "Pep" Guardiola and is led by striker Leo Messi. They have arguably the best offense in Europe, with players like David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and of course Messi.

On the other hand, Manchester United is managed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and is led by Wayne Rooney.

Despite the match being played in England's famous Wembley Stadium, the Barcelona fans outnumbered and out-cheered the United fans throughout the match.

From the opening kickoff, Barcelona dominated all aspects of the match. They controlled the pace of the match, outshot Manchester United 22-4, and had dominant possession of the ball. Out of Barcelona's 22 shots, 12 were on goal while Manchester only had one shot on goal, which happened to be Rooney's goal.

Barcelona had many chances early to open up the game, but didn't get their first goal until the 27th minute. Xavi dribbled the ball up to Manchester's box before passing it off to Pedro who had a wide open net. Pedro passed it by Van Der Sar to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead.

Manchester had no energy or will to win throughout the match, but tied up the game 1-1 in the 34th minute. After a give-and-go close to the sideline, Rooney broke into the middle of the field. Rooney passed it up to Giggs who then played it back to him inside the box. Rooney placed it right in the corner to tie up the game. It would be Manchester's only goal of the game, as it was all Barcelona from there.

In the 42nd minute right before half, David Villa took the ball down the sideline and passed it to Messi in front of the goal. Messi wasn't able to get a good touch on the ball, and it went off to the side of the net. The half would end 1-1.

In the 52nd minute, after a missed strike, Messi had the ball at the top of the box and fired at the net. The ball went off a Manchester United defender and Barcelona was rewarded a corner kick. Two minutes later, Messi would score from distance.

Later, Barcelona had a great chance in the 64th minute after a through-ball into the box. Barcelona crossed the ball into the middle, but the shot was deflected out. Two minutes later, Iniesta would shoot a rocket from the top of the box, but it went straight to Van Der Sar.

Barcelona would finally cap off the game in the 68th minute. Leo Messi tiptoed through the Manchester defense, and after a deflected shot, the ball went straight to David Villa who placed the ball in the upper 90.

After some subs, Manchester United tried to spark up of their offense, but had no success. When the final whistle blew it was 3-1 Barcelona.

After losing the Copa Del Rey to their rivals Real Madrid,Barcelona claimed the UEFA Cup, giving Spain complete dominance this year. The Copa Del Rey is similar to England's FA Cup, which is just a country's own tournament.

Two years ago, Barcelona topped Manchester 2-0 and beat them again this year 3-1 to win the UEFA Champions League.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Buster Posey Fractures Leg After Home Plate Collision

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Buster Posey was clearly in agony after being left defenseless at a home plate collision last night.

Last night, the San Francisco Giants' young star catcher, Buster Posey, fractured a bone in his leg after a collision at the plate. Initially, the reports were saying he would be done for the 2011 MLB season, but now sources are reporting that he could return in about eight weeks. Either way, it is a crush to the San Francisco Giants, who now lead the NL West, after catching the Colorado Rockies.

The city of San Francisco has already been struck with drama this season. On opening day, Bryan Stow was leaving Dodgers Stadium when he was attacked by two Dodgers' fans. Posey's injury just makes the World Series Champs' more stressed.

The 24 year old, and reigning NL Rookie Of the Year collided at the plate with the Marlins' Center Fielder,  Scott Cousins in extra innings.

After getting called up midway through the 2010 season, Posey made an immediate impact for the Giants, and this year was batting cleanup. Posey is one of the few catchers in the MLB today, who not only stops balls behind the plate, but can provide some offense for his team.

An emotional Cousins said "The last thing I wanted to do was break the guy's leg". Obviously he feels sorry for knocking out one of the MLB's best catchers.

Today in the first game since Posey's injury, the Giants fell to the Marlins 1-0, as backup catcher Eli Whiteside went hitless. The Giants left five runners on base during the game, and could have used Posey for those situations.

Posey's injury brings up a huge problem in the MLB, player's safety. Although baseball is not a contact sport like Hockey and Football, the players are under equipped with pads. Catcher's have to make be able to embrace themselves for a collision, while still getting position, and catching the ball in order to get the runner out.

Also pitchers these days are just throwing harder, and batters are left almost defenseless if these high 90 MPH balls come their way. Batters are really only required to where helmets, but many opt to where protective cups, elbow guards, and shin guards when batting. To be honest though, if a player gets clocked by a high speed pitch, Is a helmet really gonna save them from an injury. Of course it helps to have a helmet, but still players are still getting concussions, and other injuries with the equipment.

The MLB definitely needs to upgrade the safety requirements like the NFL has done. Some say the NFL has been a little too extreme, but in reality with all these retired NFL players having post concussion syndrome and even killing themselves like Dave Duerson it is not worth it.

Although it is good news that Posey should be returning this season, better equipment and some rule modifying in the MLB could have prevented this incident.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mike Brown Named New Coach Of The Los Angeles Lakers

Was Mike Brown the right guy for the Lakers to hire?

Today, the Phil Jackson day's are officially behind us, as the Los Angeles Lakers have found their next coach. Mike Brown, who spent the last year being an NBA analyst for ESPN, after being fired from the Cleveland Cavaliers will be the 22nd coach in Laker's history.

Right now, the initial contract is a four year deal with an option on the last year, worth a little more than $18 million.

In Brown's previous tenure with the Cleveland Caviliers, he coached five successful seasons, helping turn the already great LeBron James into an established superstar. Under Coach Brown, LeBron won back to back MVP awards in 2009 and 2010.

It was also in 2009, that Brown won the Coach of the Year award, helping lead the Cavs to the best record in the Eastern Conference. Under Brown's resume also includes a trip the NBA Finals back in 2007.

Before coaching the Caviliers, Brown was an assistant coach under Greg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs.

The other candiadates for the job including Kevin McHale, Rick Adelman, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Brian Shaw, who is an assistant coach for the Lakers.

Brown is known to be a defensive-minded coach, which should help the Lakers. We know the Lakers can score, having one of the best offenses in the NBA, but what really hurt them this year was the offense. Dirk Nowitzki dominated the Lakers in the playoffs this season, and before him, Chris Paul put on a show before being eliminated by Los Angeles.

The Lakers are known for running their triangle offense under Jackson. Brown has said that he would like to keep the ideas of the triangle offense but modify it a little. When with the Spurs, Coach Popovich ran a similar triangle oriented offense that Brown is familiar with.

So why did the Lakers choose Mike Brown, over favorites like Brian Shaw, Rick Adelman, and Jeff Van Gundy.

Although Brown has not won an NBA title before as a head coach, the Lakers feel that he will have the best long term impact on the Lakers. Like Phil Jackson, Rick Adelman is also old, and probably wouldn't be able to help the Lakers transition, once Kobe Bryant leaves. The Lakers didn't feel Brian Shaw would be the right guy, because they wanted a coach with previous Head Coaching experience. And for Jeff Van Gundy, he definitely has the brains to run the Lakers but Van Gundy doesn't fit under the Lakers' system.

The biggest questions that Brown needs to answer for the Lakers is if he can help them win a title in the near future, while Kobe Bryant is still playing, and can he help the Lakers stay as one of the best teams in the NBA even when Bryant leaves.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yankees Rally In The 7th To Win Subway Series

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
A-Rod scored one of eight runs in Game Three vs the Mets.
The Yankees would win the series 2-1.

Coming into the Subway Series, both the Yankees and the Mets were looking to come out victorious, and get themselves back on track. The Mets were a game behind .500 going into the series, while the Yankees were four games over, but recently overcoming a six game losing streak.

As expected though, the Yankees, despite dropping Game One, would go on to win the series 2-1, thanks to some late offense.

The rain kept away from Game One, as Freddy Garcia took the mound against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Mark Teixeira broke open the game in the bottom of the third with a solo blast to right. It was Tex's 11th home run of the season and the only run of the night for the Yankees.

The Mets would get even with the Yanks in the top of the next inning, when Josh Turner, who has been playing in place of injured third-basemen David Wright, doubled to right field scoring Fernando Martinez.

Turner's RBI would make it six straight games with one, and would continue his hot hitting into Saturday. His streak would come to an end though on Sunday.

The 1-1 game was broken up by a solo home run by Daniel Murphy off of Freddy Garcia. From that shot to right, the relievers would cancel each others out, and the Mets would take Game One 2-1.

Game Two took place the next day, despite the rumors that the world was ending, with AJ Burnett pitching for the Bombers, and Chris Capuano for the Mets.

The Mets would get off to a hot start in the top of the first inning, scoring two quick runs off of Burnett. The Yankees responded right away though, with two two-run homeruns, by Russell Martin and Mark Teixeira, to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.

It would be all Yankees from here, with two more solo home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson, who is second in the American League in home runs.

Burnett would allow one more run, but it was good enough to give the Yankees a win in Game Two. The Yankees would go on to win by a final score of 7-3, thanks to a late sac fly by Tex. Mark Teixeira would have a great series against the Mets, and going into the final game of the series, had 29 RBI's.

The final game of the series was played during the Sunday afternoon. Ivan Nova pitched for the Yankees, while Mets ace Mike Pelfrey looked to give the Mets the series win.

Curtis Granderson homered in his first at bat, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. That makes it two straight games with a home run for Granderson, who is hoping to catch up to Jose Bautista's MLB leading 18 home runs. Granderson is only two behind with 16.

In just the next inning though, the Mets would answer and score three runs off of Ivan Nova. Nova pitched six and two thirds innings, allowing 11 hits, a walk, and three runs.

The game was pretty quiet for the next five innings, but in the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees had a rapture of their own.

Derek Jeter, who tore apart the Mets this series, singled scoring two runs, in what would be an eight run seventh inning. Jeter had five hits this series, narrowing his 3,000 hits goal to just 25.

After A-Rod reached on a bases loaded infield single, Cano singled to right, and Brett Gardner and Chris Dickerson singled  to left, The Yankees led the Mets 9-3.

Luis Ayala, who pitched an inning and a third for the Yankees was awarded with the win.

Coming out of the series, the Yankees have retaken over the AL East. They are tied atop the standings with the Rays. Still with the Red Sox and Blue Jays both playing good baseball, the AL East is still wide open.

The Yankees will play the Blue Jays over the next three days, before going on their first west coast road trip of the season. The Yankees will then play the Mariners, Athletics, and Angels before heading home to a series against Boston.

As for the Mets, they are only two games below .500. They are in 4th place in the NL East, but only six games back (for now). The Mets next three series are against the Chicago Cubs, division rivals Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates. If the Mets can win two out of these three series, it will put them in good shape come June.

The Mets are still playing without David Wright and Johan Santana, so when both return to the Mets it will be a huge help.

Inter-league play doesn't pick up again until late June, but the Mets and Yankees will rematch in early July at Citi Field.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thunder Defeat Mavs To Tie Up Series 1-1

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Durant and the Thunder were able to get on top of the Mavericks in Game Two.
Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder tied up the series against the Dallas Mavericks, thanks to a great performance by Kevin Durant and James Harden.

The Thunder were able to defeat the Mavericks despite having Russell Westbrook benched for most of the second half. Westbrook wasn't playing terrible, scoring 18 points and having four assists in the first half. It was Westbrook's four turnovers that worried coach Scott Brooks.

In Game One, despite scoring 20 points, Westbrook had another bad game, a trend that has been reappearing in the playoffs this year for Westbrook. Westbrook was 3-15 from the field and didn't even try shooting from beyond the arc.

So who has stepped up for Westbrook, and have kept the Thunder in the playoffs?

Eric Maynor is the name. Maynor who played college ball at VCU, was drafted by the Thunder a few years ago. The first option to fill in for Westbrook would be Nate Robinson, but he is playing just as bad as Russell, so Maynor has been given the call to help the Thunder win.

After being outscored by Dallas' bench in Game One, the Thunder answered and outscored the Mavericks' bench 50-29.

Last night in 20 minutes of play, Maynor had no turnovers, shot 5-9 from the field, and had 13 points. When it was crunch time in the final minutes of the game, it was Maynor, with the ball in his hand rather than Westbrook. Maynor looked very calm with the rock in his hand, and had several key buckets down the stretch.

Going into the last quarter, the Thunder only had a one point lead. They ended up winning by six, thanks to help not only from Maynor, but from James Harden.

In the previous series vs the Grizzlies, it was Harden who made the Grizzlies endangered species. He was lethal from the three-point line, and would often put the game out of hands in the game's final minutes.

Last night, Harden had 23 huge points, and was the second leading scorer on the team. Harden also shot over 50% from behind the three-point line, and was 7-8 from the free-throw line. The Thunder fans were rocking the "fear the beard" chant, which is getting pretty popular, after San Fransisco Giants fans started chanting to fan favorite Brian Wilson.

And finally, it was the leader, Kevin Durant, who helped finish off this game vs the Mavericks. The turning point of the game without a doubt, was when the skinny Durant, dunked over the 7'0 263lbs Brandon Haywood. Here is the video by ESPN that shows Durant's dunk

Although it only came in the first quarter, The Thunder were down by nine at the time, and after the dunk never looked back. They would end the first quarter on a run, and continue it into the second quarter where they outscored Dallas by seven.

So the series is far from over, but the Thunder did their job holding off the Mavericks at home. The series now shifts up to Oklahoma City. Will we see Russell Westbrook get some redemption time, or will we see Maynor and the bench help fill in and give the Thunder some wins?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sabathia, Yankees Look To Snap 3 Game Losing Streak Against The Red Sox

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Russell Martin, who homered last night, will look to continue
his hot bats tonight as the Yankees look to get even with the Red Sox

The New York Yankees hosted the Boston Red Sox for the first time this season last night, and the results were not good. The Yankees held in there for most of the game, but Joba Chamberlain gave up some late inning runs, and despite a comeback by the Yankees in the eight and ninth innings, the Red Sox claimed Game One 5-4.

That makes it three straight losses for the Pinstripes, who lost the last two games of a series against the Royals. The Red Sox, despite having a terrible start to the season, have rebounded since and find themselves only a few spots back behind the Yankees, who now trail the Rays by two games.

It seems like the roles have reversed between the Red Sox and Yankees, who are now 3-7 in their last ten games. The bats have definitely been there for the Yankees, and the starting pitchers have been great, especially AJ Burnett, who has redeemed himself from some bad baseball last year. It has been the middle and late relief that has been sub-par for the Yankees. Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, Buddy Carlyle, and Joba Chamberlain all need to step it up for New York.

Good news for the Bombers though is that they have their ace, C.C. Sabathia, on the mound tonight. Sabathia's last start was fine, where he gave up only three runs in six innings, and received the win vs the Texas Rangers.

Sabathia has been spectacular vs the Red Sox at home, since joining the Yankees. C.C. is 3-0 with a ERA under 1.00 inside Yankee Stadium, when playing the Red Sox.

The Red Sox will have their ace, Josh Beckett, on the mound as well. Beckett is 2-1 this season with a 1.99 ERA. This game will definitely be a battle between the two fireballers.

Jorge Posada, who has struggled this season, was a late scratch by the Yankees and has been replaced by Andruw Jones. Posada's successor behind the plate, Russell Martin, has been terrific this season. Martin hit a two run homerun last night that tied the game at 2-2.

The rest of the Yankee bats have been the best in baseball. The Yankees have three of the top five home run hitters in the American League right now. Granderson leads the league with 12, while Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano have nine each.

The Yankees are second in the MLB for runs per game with a little over five.

The Red Sox will start Carl Crawford at left field and will have him bat eighth.

Carl started off the season terrible, and even had to cancel his cell phone plan to stop receiving calls from angry fans. Crawford has come back from his slump though, and is now batting more then .075 better then he used to. Crawford had a key RBI in last nights game that gave the Red Sox a 5-4 win.

If the Yankees want to snap their losing streak tonight, they need a great pitching performance by Sabathia. The Yankees need Sabathia to pitch at least seven innings tonight, so they can have one inning of relief and then have the MLB's save leader, the sandman, Mariano Rivera, finish off Boston.

Friday, May 13, 2011

San Jose Sharks Close Out Detroit Red Wings To Advance To Western Conference Finals

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton celebrate after Marleau scores the game winning goal
in Game Seven of the NHL Playoffs.

The San Jose Sharks have been one of the best teams in the NHL this past decade. In the past they have had great goaltending by Evgeni Nabokov, and great offense lead by Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Dany Heatley. They were always in the top three teams in the Western Conference, but could never get over the hump of getting to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Over the off-season, The Sharks let go of their long time goalie, Evgeni Nabakov, and looked to get a younger goalie. Many hockey analyst did not predict the Sharks to have a great season. After signing young goaltender Antti Niemi, who helped lead the Chicago Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup victory since 1960, the Sharks quickly changed those analyst's minds. Could this be the year that the San Jose Sharks go to the Stanley Cup Finals?

At the beginning of the season, it did not look too good. The Sharks found themselves out of the playoffs after ten games. Once the second half of the season started though, the Sharks were the hottest team in the NHL. By the time the playoffs began, the Sharks were ranked second in the Western Conference with 105 points.

The usual stars of Heatley, Thornton, and Marleau all had great seasons as expected with 64,70,73 points respectively. Dan Boyle, the team's best defenseman also had a great season with 50 points, and a +2 ratio. The reason the Sharks were so successful in the regular season though was because of the skaters who aren't as popular as Heatley, Thornton, and Marleau.

Devin Setoguchi, Ryan Clowe, Joe Pavelski, and rookie Logan Couture all had phenomenal seasons. That second line of Setoguchi, Clowe, and Pavelski combined for 169 points, even with Devin Setoguchi missing ten games. Couture also had a spectacular season with 56 points, and could possibly win the Rookie of the Year Award, which in the NHL is called the Calder Memorial Trophy.

So why have the Sharks have had so much success in this year's playoffs?

Yes, the first line has been producing like expected, but it is the second and third lines that are carrying the Sharks. Ryan Clowe, who even missed a controversial game earlier in the series vs the Red Wings, leads the team in points, with 13. Couture is second on the list followed by Dan Boyle. Patrick Marleau who lead the team in points during the regular was missing in action early in the playoffs, but has come back strong in this series vs the Red Wings, and even gave the Sharks the winning goal in Game Seven to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Like many expected,the Sharks took care of the Kings, despite having three games going to OT. Overtime games in the NHL playoffs this season have been very common with almost every other game going to OT.

In the next round the Sharks looked like they would finish the Red Wings off easily getting off to a 3-0 series lead. Clowe then got injured, and the Sharks were outshot badly by almost fifteen shots in the next three games, and before you know it, the series was tied up 3-3.

Detroit had all the momentum despite having Game Seven being played in San Jose. Still, when the Sharks needed it most, Marleau stepped up.

The Sharks got off to an early 2-0 lead but the Red Wings narrowed it down to one goal after Henrik Zetterberg scored the only goal of the second period.

After numerous saves by Antti Niemi, who was very clutch in Game Seven, Patrick Marleau finally found the back of the net. With eight minutes to play in the third and final period, Marleau gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead. The Red Wings would go on to answer a minute later, but it wouldn't be enough.

Niemi would go on to save 38 of 40 total shots and have a save percentage of 95%. With the Sharks facing off against the NHL's best team, the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Finals, will this be the year that the Sharks are finally hungry enough to eat their prey? We know the power line in Heatley, Thornton, and Marleau will show, but if the Sharks want to be able to stay close with the Sedin Brothers and Ryan Kesler, they need their second and third lines to come up clutch in this upcoming series.

Josh Reichman's Interview With Houston Rockets Star Kevin Martin

(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Martin dribbling past Joe Johnson during a game on April 3rd.
Martin had 35 points in this game, and helped try to keep the Rockets in playoff contention.

First off, I would just like to thank Kevin, and his assistant Shannon for making this all happen. Without them courteously responding to my messages, this interview wouldn't have happened.

Many of you know who Kevin Martin is, but just incase you don't, here are some stats. Currently, Kevin is playing in the NBA for the Houston Rockets. Before Houston he played on the Sacramento Kings for seven seasons. He graduated from Western Carolina University, and was a first round pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.

Kevin has averaged over 20 points per game, five times in his career, and has a lifetime average of 18.5 points per game. Martin is known for his quick defense, great shooting, driving, and being able to get to the free throw line where he shoots 86%, and this year was top 10 in the NBA.

Kevin has also been a great person on and off the court. He has a feature on his website,, that shows how he gives back to the community.

Anyways, onto the interview. My questions will be JR while his responses will be KM!

JR: Growing up, who was your favorite player in the NBA?
KM: Michael Jordan.

JR: What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your NBA career?
KM: Being where I am today after where I started and what people expected me to do when I got drafted.

JR:Who gave you the nickname K-Mart, when did it start up?
KM: It just started among my high school coaching staff and players.

JR: How did it feel playing for the Rockets after a long tenure with the Kings?
KM: It was bittersweet because I knew I was going to a better team but Sac (Sacramento) was my first home in my professional career and taught me a lot in the business.

JR:What goals do you look to accomplish in the next seasons to come?
KM:  Just keep improving in every aspect of the game and don't get complacent.

I hope you enjoyed the interview!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Dallas Mavericks End The Lakers' Chances Of Three Peating

(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will not be three-peating this year
after getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks.

After barely sneaking out of the first round against the New Orleans Hornets, the Lakers did not have the will power or determination to get by the Dallas Mavericks. The Los Angeles Lakers, who have won the Western Conference the last three years, and the last two NBA Championships, will see their streak come to an end, after getting swept by the Mavs.

A sweep is hard enough to deal with, just ask any Knicks fan, but when you go out losing by almost 40, you know something is up. The Lakers were 57-25 this season, finishing second in the Western Conference and were given the #2 seed. They were expected by many to go back to the finals, and even win. They had all the pieces they had last year minus Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar, and i doubt that is why the Lakers will not be playing for another ring.

Is it Kobe Bryant's age that is finally getting to him? What about Phil Jackson? The Lakers looked miserable out there in Game Four, getting shots knocked down on them from all areas of the court.

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas' best player played great, but his 25 points and nine rebounds a game, definitely was not the answer to the defending champs. It was the bench.

The Dallas Mavericks are owned by one of the richest men in sports, Marc Cuban. He loves his Mavericks, and will buy as much talent as he can (within the hard cap) to make them title contenders. The Mavericks have one of the deepest benches in all of the NBA. They have at least eight players who would start on any average NBA team.

Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic, and arguably JJ Barea are all exceptional players.

The Lakers also have their depth in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest, but they simply do not have the energy that the Mavericks have.

Throughout the short four game series, Jason Kidd was lighting up Derek Fisher, whose career looks like it is finished. Dirk and Tyson Chandler looked to be too much for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Kobe Bryant also couldn't dominate this series, like he has been able to in the past.

Is it time for the Lakers to trade Bynum or Gasol, and others for Orlando's superstar, Dwight Howard. Right now, that looks like the only bit of hope the Lakers have left in them.

After watching their rival Spurs go down in the first round vs the Grizzlies, the Lakers too would fall. Both teams were arguably the best two teams of the decade, but now the NBA and America thinks their time is done. The future of the NBA lies in the hands of the Heat, Grizzlies, Clippers, Thunder, Knicks, and other young teams.

Many sources are saying that Phil Jackson, the "Zen Master", as called by Ron Artest, will finally call it quits. Jackson has 11 NBA Championships, the most of all time, and has three-peated three times in his career. Jackson has had the oppurtunity to coach arguably the two greatest players to ever play the game, in Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, but no doubt he is one of the greatest coaches in all of sports.

The Lakers' biggest problem in their series vs the Mavericks was perimeter defense. The Mavericks were unstoppable from beyond the arc. In Game Four, Jason Terry went 9-10 from three point land, and Peja Stojakovic went a perfect 6-6. Also, throughout the whole series, Dirk was left wide open from three with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum not daring to go out of the paint.

The Lakers were definitely beaten badly this series but they had their chances. In two of the games of this series, the Lakers were leading in the fourth quarter. In Game One, the Lakers were leading the whole game until the final minute. The Lakers were outscored in the fourth quarter in all four games, and by a total of 41 points overall. Kobe Bryant who has been the clutchest player in the league over the last five years, simply was not there in the final minutes of the game.

The Mavericks will go on to face the winner of the Memphis Grizzlies vs the Oklahoma City Thunder, two of the youngest and most talented teams in the league. Currently the series is lead 2-1 by the Grizzlies, who have had tremendous efforts from Zach Randolph in the postseason.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Derrick Rose Dethrones LeBron To Become The NBA's Next MVP

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Derrick Rose, the NBA's newest MVP looks to tie up the series vs the Hawks tonight.

Not only has Derrick Rose ended LeBron James' MVP streak, but he is also the youngest MVP in NBA history. Only in his third season in the NBA, Rose is only 22 years old.

This season Rose led his Chicago Bulls to the best record in NBA. They finished atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 62-20 record, winning nine of the last ten games of the regular season.

Rose averaged 25 points per game, to go along with about eight assists and four rebounds. With Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer being injured sporadically throughout the season, it was Rose who stepped up for Chi-Town. 

Rose is the last Bull to win the MVP award since MJ won five back in the '90's and '80's. Rose and his coach Tom Thibodeau are one of twelve pairs in NBA history to win MVP and Coach of the Year in the same season.

Rose racked up over 1,000 points and 100 first place votes. Second on the list for MVP was Orlando's Dwight Howard, who was then followed by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant.

Throughout the season, Rose had 23 double doubles, and broke 30 points, 23 times as well. Rose is also only the second player in Bull's history to finish in the top ten for scoring and assists. Rose also helped the Bulls go from the seventh seed last year, to the first seed this year in the playoffs.

Now in the second round of the playoffs, Rose has been bothered by ankle injuries but looks to be ready to go for Game Two. The Bulls dropped Game One two days ago, after Rose got off to a late start. Rose looks to come back and put up his MVP type stats in Game Two, in order to tie up the series at 1-1.

In the playoffs Rose's numbers have been even more impressing. He is averaging 27 points per game, seven assists, and five rebounds per game. The Bulls had a tough opening series against the Indiana Pacers, but Rose helped them escape and advance to the second round.

Rose was very modest and humble when winning the award today. He said he would give the trophy to his mom, who also has been holding on to his Rookie of the Year award from a few years back. Anyways, congrats to Derrick, and good luck to him in the playoffs.

Heat Take Commanding 2-0 Lead On The Celtics

(Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Can LeBron and the Heat defeat the former champions of the East, the Boston Celtics?

When LeBron James announced he was taking his talents to South Beach, he was serious about contending to win multiple titles. Although the Heat got off to a cold start, compared to their expectations, they finished the season hot, winning eight out of their last ten games. Everyone knew their offense would be explosive, but what people didn't realize is how good Miami's defense has been.

Miami ranks in the top six in points allowed as well as top ten in rebounding. They match up well against almost every team in the NBA, having two very skilled guards, and a big man down low to guard the paint.

After finishing the season 58-24, the Heat were given the two seed in the playoffs. Their opponents would be the young and rising Philadelphia 76'ers. Like many people expected though, Miami's talent, experience, and determination was too much for the Sixers. After a five game series with the Sixers, the Heat moved on to their next opponent, the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics and Heat have a lot in common. Both are top teams in the NBA with a "big three". Many people actually compare the 2010-2011 Heat, to the 2007-2008 Boston Celtics, who ended up defeating the Lakers to win the NBA Championship. The Celtics advanced to the semi's of the Eastern Conference after sweeping the Knicks.

So far, the Heat have had no trouble with the Celtics. In both games, the Heat have taken early leads, and never looked back.

In Game One, it was Dwayne Wade, Miami's original leader, who led the Heat over the Celtics. Wade contributed 38 points as five assists, three steals, and two blocks.

When Boston was making a comeback though late in the fourth quarter, Paul Pierce, Boston's original leader, was ejected from the game on a controversial play. Pierce appeared to be setting a screen on a Heat defender. Although he did extend his elbow and committed an offensive foul, it definitely wasn't severe enough to be a ejection.

Despite some late three's by Ray Allen, the Miami Heat would go on to take Game One.

In Game Two, a different player stepped up for Miami. It was LeBron James, the past MVP winner of the last two years, who stepped up for the Heat. James scored 35 points and also grabbed seven rebounds.

Again like in Game One, the Celtics did make a late run, only to be matched by Miami. The Heat had a 14-0 run late in Game Two that iced the game.

Heading back to Boston down 0-2, are the Celtics necessarily screwed?


The Celtics are one of the best teams in the NBA, and an even better team at home. The Celtics are 92-31 at home in the last three years.

Also, the Celtics are an experienced enough team to know how to play well when the team is in trouble. Yes, they know they are down 0-2, but then again all they have to do is match the Heat. The Heat won their two games at home, but now the Celtics can easily match them.

One player on the Celtics who definitely needs to step up is Kevin Garnett. A few years ago, Garnett was one of the most feared big men in the NBA. A past winner of the MVP award, Garnett used to put up 25 points and 14 rebounds in Minnesota.

In the past two games, Garnett has only scored six points, and 16 points respectively. Also he has only been averaging seven rebounds per game.

So why have Garnett's stats and performance been so low?

Chris Bosh is the answer to that question.

Bosh took a lot of Heat (no pun intended), early in the season for not playing like the all-star everyone expected him to be. What many people don't realize though is that Bosh ended the season averaging close to 19 points a game, and handling eight rebounds per game.

Now in the playoffs, though, Bosh has stepped up his game even more. Bosh is averaging a double double, scoring 18 points per game and grabbing 10 rebounds. With James and Wade providing the scoring, Bosh's main job is to get rebounds, and stop the opposing team's big man. He has done a phenomenal job with both so far.

If the Celtics want to make this a series, they have to improve their play down low. Shaq is injured, and Perkins was traded, but with the size they have available, they should be doing better. Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal need to do a better job of scoring, rebounding, and stopping the Miami Heat.

As for the Heat, kudos on jumping out to a 2-0 lead but it isn't even close to being over. The Celtics will not be the team to lose a series on their home court. Even if Miami advances to the next round, they still will have to play a tough opponent. Whether it's MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls or Joe Johnson and his Hawks, the Heat still have a ways to go before they can be crowned the next champion of the NBA.