A tale of two series

The Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat bounced back in their respective series in style. Both squads blew out the Phoenix Suns and the New Jersey Nets and were able to tie the series at one game apiece. Both had similar stats, with the Clippers and the Heat shooting at will from all angles, not to mention giving their opponents a dose of their own medicine on defense.

The Suns didn’t seem to have an answer for the Sam Cassell-led onslaught that included Elton Brand, Vlade Radmanovic, and Cuttino Mobley, who, in Game 1, had only three points on 20% field goal shooting. This time, Cuttino had scored 23 by the start of the fourth quarter and at the time “El-Ey” was able to maintain a double-digit lead and contain the Suns, the highest scoring team in the league, from using their high-octane, fast-paced game. On the other hand, Dwyane Wade led the hot-shooting Miami Heat in Game 2 to rout the Nets and eventually, went for the equalizer. The Head went into a barrage of threes, especially in the second half, where the Head had a 20-point plus advantage over their New Jersey counterparts.

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Jerry West on Paul Gasol

from a FIBA.com article, entitled “ESP – Gasol looks to Spain to ease play-off pain.

MEMPHIS (FIBA World Championship) – Stung by defeat, and a realistic assessment of his talent by NBA legend Jerry West, Pau Gasol is hungrier than ever to make his mark in international basketball.

Gasol has plenty of time to get ready for the FIBA World Championship in Japan after he and the Memphis Grizzlies were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA play-offs. Memphis’ President of Basketball Operations West, who shot to fame as a champion with the Los Angeles Lakers many years ago, spoke of Gasol in the aftermath of the play-off exit to Dallas.

“We have a very young player who is very good and that is Pau Gasol, but he is not a superstar at this time,” West said.

“He is an All-Star player, but there is a great difference.

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PBA News: Purefoods Gets 500th Franchise Win

By defeating the suddenly Ritualo-less Air 21 Express, 93-86, in this night’s double-header, the Purefoods Chunkee Giants joined an elite group of PBA teams with at least 500 wins tucked under their belts. Ginebra, Alaska, and San Miguel are the other three franchises in the said group.

Read more here.

Videos: Kenny Smith checks out some major NBA Cribbage

Featuring the humble homes of Elton Brand, Tony Parker, Jermaine O’Neal and Kenny’s himself.

Check out O’Neal’s Rolls, Elton Brand’s empty home (they goofed on this one. The house isn’t finished yet), and my fave – Tony Parker’s face as he tells poker buddies David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry what his favorite show is. Man. Letting your poker buddies, who happen to be NBA stars, know you go out with the #1 hottest woman in the world has gotta be sweet.

See how they live here. Fast connection recommended.

NBA-news: Fast-scoring Suns run right over the Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers wanted to waltz. Phoenix came to boogie.

In the end, the Suns had their way in a 130-123 victory, outscoring the Clippers, 74-62, in the second half in the opener of their Western Conference semifinal Monday night.

“Tempo wasn’t exactly what we needed,” the Clippers coach, Mike Dunleavy, said.

Steve Nash, presented with the league’s most valuable player trophy by Commissioner David Stern before the game, had 31 points and 12 assists, and the Suns pulled away over a five-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.

Read the rest of the article here.

FIBA – FRANCE – Pietrus determined to shine

PARIS (FIBA World Championship) – France forward Mickael Pietrus has ruled out a departure from the Golden State Warriors despite their disappointing NBA season and is relishing the forthcoming FIBA World Championship with Les Bleus in Japan.

The 23-year-old French international, who has 17 caps for the national team and won a bronze medal at the EuroBasket 2005, has played in only 12 ties this season, with an average of 10.5 points and 2.8 rebounds.

The Warriors failed to qualify for the play-offs after finishing 12th in the Western Conference table, however, Pietrus insists that injuries were a major factor.

Read the rest of the articlehere.

Manu Deserves A Better Commercial

So the premise is, Manu gets out an elevator to hell to plays one on one vs. a punk rocker with running mascara. He gets dunked on, then retaliates by bouncing the ball out of bounds and dunks back (didn’t LeBron do that?). He then wakes up (it was a dream!), drinks gatorade (ahh so he was dehydrated. that explains it), and then reminisces some Spurs highlights.

Or is that, highlights first, then reminisce? Or drinks first, then highlights, then..

aww who cares? Watch:

R. Bell Says There's (GASP!) Elbowing in the NBA

Why play in the playoffs when you can get yourself suspended and watch it on tv? Sure you could be there, playing the game of your life with your teammates (the 2nd seeded team in the West), or you could chillax in your hotel room, watch it on cable and order in. I mean, makes terrific sense right?!

Well, at least to Raja Bell.

Sigh. Raja Raja Raja.

But before anything else, I’d like to admit that I’m part of the mainstream, and I hate dislike Kobe Bryant.

Yep, just like that Nike ad below says, I also dislike the reasons I do are also the same reasons he’s loved.

And so you’re Bell, assigned to defend one of the world’s deadliest basketball players. It’s your chance to make a difference, or suffer the fate or many a Kobe defender before you – become just another footnote in a Superstar’s history. What are you going to do?

But wait, before all that, let’s do a retro (insert retro music here).

john starksRemember if you will – John Starks. See, this guy defended Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller. As such, aside from having meaningful oncourt discussions about their mothers and ancestry, he would get punched, kicked, poked in the eye, spat on, tripped, kneed, and what else.. oh yeah.. elbowed.

That’s right Raja my boy. Those guys don’t get 40 point games just like that. Sometimes they *gasp* bent some rules. Then if the physical abuse isn’t enough, Starks ends up in their posters too, to be hung on a bedroom wall so some kid will wake up to his image getting dunked on many years into his adolescent life.

But you know what? John took it. In fact, he gave it too. And I bet all my good looks that when some superstar checks their schedule for the Knicks, they’re thinking “I gotta work out cause John Starks is there”. Sure they’ll never admit it, but I’ll bet my good looks and a tub of spaghetti. And I make very good spaghetti. Trust me.

So anyway, where were we? Ah oh yeah. Bell. Like Bell pepper. Good for spaghetti. Ok, losing focus now. Yes it’s better to play than to watch from your hotel room.. and order spaghetti. With meatballs and green pepper. Gawd I’m hungry.

Who were we talking about? Raja who?

Fear the Suns

The Phoenix Suns played like NBA Champions when they defeated the tenacious Lakers in OT, 126-118, in their 2nd straight elimination game. The series is now tied at 3-3. The deciding game is going to be played in Phoenix, and if the Suns continue their outstanding play and feed off the hometown crowd, the Lakers are goners.

Should LA fall, the rest of the surviving Western teams have cause for alarm. The Clipps? Hell no, they don’t have a chance against the Suns team I watched play earlier. The Spurs and Mavs…these teams can beat the Suns, especially the defending champs, but it’ll be a long series.

With Raja Bell suspended for one game, the Suns entered the match teetering on the brink of an early playoff exit. But Phoenix showed class, grit, composure, and of course their famed firepower to overcome Kobe Bryant’s tremendous 50-point performance. The heart-pounding game deserves to be included in the NBA’s Hardwood Classics for sheer basketball drama.

I wasn’t a Suns fan before this game. Now I am. Let’s see if LA can give Phoenix a dose of its own medicine in hostile territory. With Kobe putting up Jordan-esque performaces, they surely can — but they’ll need a reinvigorated Suns team to cooperate.

Postscript. The New Jersey Nets ran the Pacers out of their own turf, 96-90, thereby eliminating Indiana from the playoff picture. The Miami Heat did the same to the Chicago Bulls, 113-96; Shaq seemed to be his old dominant self, scoring 30 points and hauling down 20 caroms.