Tag Archives: Cleveland Cavaliers

Lakers Face Durant and Howard This Week

Lakers Tickets Courtside

Lakers Bulls

With Steve Nash and Steve Blake in the fold things might be looking up, at least a little bit, for the Los Angeles Lakers. Nash and Blake returned to the Lakers lineup on Tuesday night in Minnesota, with Nash making his season debut. The depleted Lakers ended up losing Tuesday night at the hands of the Timberwolves, but then went on to win two in a row on the road before losing at home Sunday versus the Chicago Bulls.

Week Recap: Even with the return of Nash and Blake the Lakers continue to be the most snake bit team in the NBA when it comes to losing players. The return of their two point guards coincided with the loss of Nick Young and Jodie Meeks to injury. Wednesday’s night win in Cleveland saw Robert Sacre of the Lakers stay in the game after fouling out, a rarely seen NBA rule, due to the fact the Lakers had just five players left. After already losing Nick Young to injury and Jordan Farmar to leg cramps the Lakers were down to five players after Chris Kaman fouled out. Even with a depleted roster the Lakers hit a season-high 18 three-point shots to defeat the Cavaliers and former Head Coach Mike Brown. Los Angeles continued their winning ways Friday night with a fourteen point defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers behind 19 points from Steve Nash on his 40th birthday. Steve Blake contributed 14 points and 8 assists in the victory. Even without Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol the return of Nash and Blake is a welcome sight for Lakers fans. The Lakers returned home Sunday to face a competitive Chicago Bulls team, losing a tough one, 92-86. Chicago ran out to a nineteen point lead and the Lakers rallied back but couldn’t close the gap in the end, losing despite a season-high 27 points from Chris Kaman. Unfortunately for the Lakers they may have lost Steve Nash again for a short period of time. Nash knocked knees with Kirk Hinrich in the third quarter, causing his knee to flare up once again. He’ll be evaluated and may miss a couple of games.

Lakers Tickets Staples Center

Staples Center

The Week Ahead: The Lakers have a big home stretch coming up with five games at STAPLES Center over the next two weeks, including two with key Western Conference contenders. Los Angeles kicks off the week Tuesday night when they host the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are coming off of an impressive home victory over the Miami Heat. Thursday night Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder make a visit to STAPLES Center, giving Lakers fans a chance to see the NBA’s leading MVP candidate in action. Following the All Star Break the Lakers return home next week when they face off versus the Houston Rockets in a game that many Lakers fans have had circled on the calendar since last summer. Wednesday will mark the return of former Lakers center Dwight Howard to STAPLES Center. The gifted big man, who had an up and down season in LA last year, has teamed with James Harden to put the Rockets in the fourth playoff position in the west. Lakers Vs Rockets tickets start at just $48 per ticket. The Lakers wrap up the following week by hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday and the New Jersey Nets on Sunday. With five games including four playoff contenders it will be a big ten days of basketball for Lakers fans. Chris Michaels.

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Damian Lillard The Next NBA Superstar

Damian Lillard Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard

is putting up significant performances this season. He and the Portland Trail Blazers are surprising the NBA world with their outputs. The last season’s Rookie of the Year is continuing to improve his performance this season. In fact, he does better in almost any part of the game, in comparison with the previous season. His scoring, his shooting, his defense and his clutch performances have seen improvement. But can he be considered as a star? Does he rank amongst the elite point guards in the league?

The 6’3” Weber State product has exploded offensively. After putting up two consecutive 36-point performances against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves, he went on to score 29 against the New Orleans Pelicans. He also shot over 47 percent from the floor in those three games. In overall, Lillard is averaging 21.3 points per contest this season to go along with 5.8 assists and 3.7 boards. His shooting from the floor has reached the 41.0 percent mark on average and 42.6 percent from three-point range.

Damian Lillard Blazers

Damian Lillard

Despite the big numbers, Damian Lillard’s importance to Portland goes beyond that. He is a general when on the floor, he draws much defensive attention and that’s where the entire offense starts for Portland. Lillard has built a great chemistry with LaMarcus Aldridge, especially on the offensive end. He plays with him the pick and roll and due to Aldridge’s finishing skills and versatility, this duo is really hard to stop. Lillard started showing some real clutch and leadership skills. Several times this season he has hit game-winning shots.

Taking a look at Lillard’s attributes, we first see that very explosive. In fact, he ranks at the top spots of the most explosive guards in the league, together with Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Chris Paul. His first step is super quick first step but he also has great body control when in the air. Additionally, he is an excellent ball handler and has developed his moves this season. His shot has also improved in comparison to the previous season. He has good court-vision although it could be further developed. What Lillard needs to work on now is improving his distributing role in the Portland Trail Blazers team. So can he be considered a star?

The answer is no. Because in order to rank amongst the elite point guards of the league, like CP3, Westbrook or Tony Parker Lillard will need to retain this exceptional performance. Consistency is what differentiates stars from the rest of the players who simply are on hot streaks. However, Lillard seems like he has the potential to do so.

In general, it’s fair to say that Damian Lillard is an emerging star. Really, he can reach the star and the superstar level but he is just not there yet. Nonetheless, the future is ahead and he will just have to continue and deliver.By:Chris Michaels

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Special Preview: NBA All-Star Weekend 2012

NBA All-Star Weekend 2012 officially kicks off Friday in Orlando. Here’s a schedule of all the top-tier All-Star Weekend events.

Usually known as the Rookie/Sophomore Game, the 2012 edition of the Rising Stars Challenge is different because TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley selected the rosters from a pool of the top first- and second-year players. Reigning Rookie of the Year winner Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin headline Team Shaq. Top overall draft choice Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and versatile big-man DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings anchor Team Chuck.

All-Star Saturday Night opens with the Haier Shooting Stars, which pits the defending champion Team Atlanta against Team Orlando, Team New York, and Team Texas.

The next event is the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, in which six of the league’s top point guards battle to complete an obstacle course that tests their dribbling, passing, and shooting ability. Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, the defending champion, will take on Irving, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets.

The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest follows the Skills Challenge in which Magic forward Ryan Anderson will challenge the defending champion James Jones of the Miami Heat. Other competitors include Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat, Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City, Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Anthony Morrow of the New Jersey Nets. Durant replaces Atlanta Hawks swingman Joe Johnson, who will sit out the contest due to injury.

The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest concludes All-Star Saturday Night. This year’s dunk showdown features four players who have never before competed; it’s all fresh faces. In addition, the dunk contest will debut a new, one-round format in which each competitor has the opportunity to execute three dunks. The field is Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets, Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, and Derrick Williams of Minnesota. Evans replaces Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert, who had to bow out of the competition due to injury.

The main event of the weekend finally tips Sunday evening. Magic center Dwight Howard, the leading vote-getter among all players, will start for the East, while Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will tie a record for consecutive All-Star appearances with 14.

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“Please Y’all” – The Story of the NBA Dunk Contest

The year was 2006 and Andre Iguodala threw up a bouncing behind the back reverse dunk during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest. The dunk was amazing and Iguodala would soon be on the verge of superstardom as Allen Iverson was surely to either be traded soon or retire, as his last days as a Philadelphia 76er waned. However, that night Charles Barkley zeroed in on one particular instance during Iguodala’s dunk: Damon Jones’ bright red coat. Damon Jones? Who is Damon Jones? A career bench player, Jones was never known for anything other than some sharpshooting playing behind starting Point Guards. That is, until Charles Barkley called him out and desensitized NBA Slam Dunk Weekend audiences to the dunks themselves and began a shift in attention away from the dunks and towards the spectacle. Throughout the rest of the night, Barkley would constantly call for the camera to find Damon Jones and his red suit, saying “Please Y’all” repeatedly. In 2006, despite perhaps having the best set of dunks, Iggy would not win the contest. Rather, it was the midget, the 5-foot nothing Nate Robinson who would gradually win over audiences and judges alike by giving them something they hadn’t seen since perhaps Spud Webb in 1986. Granted, Webb and Nate Rob are fantastic dunkers and arguably some of the best athletes in the NBA’s history, but were their dunks more creative and better executed than the others?
In 2007, the Contest had perhaps its last great traditional showdown. Nate Rob returned to defend his title and newcomer Gerald Green came in with a monstrous array of dunks, using minimal props, which were allowed for the first time. Dwight Howard did place a sticker at the top of the backboard and Gerald Green did dunk over a box, but more or less, it was a great performance. Green eventually won and in the process, dunked over the top of Nate Robinson. In 2008, Dwight Howard busted out the Superman red cape and Damon Jones returned with a corduroy blazer and a mow-hawk. Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant loved it as well as Kenny “The Jet” Smith who lost his voice screaming his glee aloud, just like Barkley over the infamous red blazer of Damon Jones. Dwight’s Superman dunk, or, rather, non-dunk, since he never actually dunked the ball but rather threw it into the basket while falling far short of the rim, earned him a second straight 50-point dunk, the max score. Dwight’s tip-to-himself-off-the-backboard dunk was amazing and a game changer, but nobody remembers that dunk. They only remember the cape and the non-dunk.
Nate Robinson returned to glory in 2009 as he jumped over the top of Superman Dwight Howard wearing a green outfit, symbolizing his Krpto-Nate persona and again winning the Contest. The part everyone remembers from 2009? It was when Dwight Howard brought out a 12-foot rim, went into a phone booth, and changed into the Superman outfit. Dwight dunked at 12-feet and then made the crew try to raise the rim even higher, but to no avail. Kryto-Nate and Superman D-Howard again raised the bar for the Dunk Contest spectacle in outrageous form. At the end of the night, Lebron himself put his name into the Contest for 2010. However, it was a broken promise and 2010′s Contest would be won again by Nate Robinson and be called one of the worst Contests in memory. There was no grand spectacle that anyone remembers and Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James did not enter the Contest, thus beginning his official eclipse of Jordan. Sad times for the emergent spectacle.

The 2011 Contest brought back the shock and awe spectacle that David Stern and the NBA seemingly longed for. JaVale McGee arguably made the most out of the props. First he dunked two balls on two different, separate rims. Then, to raise the bar, his own mother brought him a third ball and he dunked three balls at the same time on the same leap. “Air Congo” Serge Ibaka, a high flying big man like McGee and Orlando Magic Dwight Howard before him, dunked from the free throw line, but Dwight did that in 2010 as a big man, too. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan did one of the most incredibly difficult dunks of all time with his “funk dunk,” but that, too, was not enough to even sniff the winner’s box. Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin dunked over a KIA car while a gospel choir sang, “I believe I can fly” in the background. The worst part was not Griffin’s over-the-top setup, but the dunk really was not all that great. He did dunk over the car, but it was over the hood, roughly equivalent to the Gerald Green 2007 over-the-box dunk. Immediately afterwards, Charles Barkley called the dunk out and said “it wasn’t the greatest dunk.” Later, it was revealed that some places had prematurely announced that Blake was the winner of the Contest before it even happened. While this cannot be proven, and is likely false, it raises the question: How will the NBA ever top that? Unless the Contest is moved out doors where more props can be used, it might be all downhill from here. As Barkley would say, “Please y’all…”… bring back Damon Jones and make Lebron James enter the Contest if it is going to survive without the use of gradually more infuriating props.