The League’s Big Weekend

Preface: I’ll be back on the radio (104.5 ‘The Team’ ESPN radio) this Thursday, Friday, and again on Monday from 3-7pm….On Sunday’s I make a conscious effort to not expend any energy if I don’t have to.  This Sunday that goal involved watching 4 basketball games on three different levels.  Two pro games, one college game, and one high school playoff game.  All of the games were worth watching, but somehow the two pro games in late February were by far the most interesting.  And honestly, it wasn’t even close.  Sure, watching Kemba Walker surge in the second half of the UConn/Cincy game kept me entertained, and seeing my old High School (Scotia) wipe the floor with a sub-par opponent in a playoff game is always nice.  But it was the Lakers/OKC and the Knicks/Miami game that really impressed me on a few levels.  Firstly, the energy and overall feel of both games had playoffs written all over it.  Minus the lack of thunder sticks, I actually wouldn’t have been able to tell it wasn’t playoffs.  Now post-all-star break basketball always has a different feel to it, but Sunday was more than that.  Not that NBA games aren’t exciting in February, because with the right squads they often are, but not for the whole 48 minutes.  Games this time of year are usually riddled with a few highlights, guys going 85% for the first three quarters, and get vastly more interesting in the fourth.  Not to over-simplify, but these games from start to finish were freaking great!  Tell me how on Friday night the Knicks lose to literally one of the worst teams in NBA history, and then 48 hours later go and beat one of the NBA’s best team’s, Miami, on their home floor!  Melo has only been in town for a few days, but the Knicks are figuring it out.  The most encouraging thing for Knicks fans is the way they went about it.  The score was 91-86.  And the Knicks won.  How unusual is that?  Put it like this, New York has won 30 games this season.  Only five, count them, 1-2-3-4-5, of those wins come by scores of less than 100 points.  In fact, Sunday’s win was the lowest scoring Knick win of the season, and only the second win coming by less than 98 points.  So when I say they’re figuring it out, I don’t mean just because they won.  The Knicks did it the way champions do it, with defense (Cue Charles Barkley T-Mobil song/commercial, “I may be, I may be, I may be wrong…but I doubt it“).  Melo asking to guard LeBron and Amare’s block on King James as time was winding down were microcosm’s of the four quarters.  The Knicks need more of that from Amare in particular.  And by more of that I mean doing something other than scoring, like say, rebounding.  For Amare to be as big and athletic as he is and only averaging 8.6 rebounds a game??  Especially in an offense that on the season averages more possessions than nearly every team in the league.  8.6?  Not only is it the 3rd worst rebounding average in his entire career (He’s been here since 2002!), but he’s hit Kevin Love’s average (15.5) only four times this whole year!!  57 games, in that system, with those physical tools to only average 8.6 rebounds in nothing more than a lack of focus and/or effort.  Hell, Kevin Love’s average is practically double Amare’s!?! What does Love have that Amare doesn’t?  You tell me.  I’m happy as hell that Amare is in New York, but I hope that he and his team realizes that especially without a true center, the outcome of his team’s success largely lies on Amare’s broad shoulders and his willingness to do dirty work.  The fact that Amare hit double figures on the glass (He had 10, which should be penciled in for STAT before the game ever freaking tips off) and helped hold the Heat to 35 second half points should be a clue as to whats required to help his team win games that matter. 

 

Don’t even get me freaking fired up about ‘The Show’ out in Southern California.  “Zach, stop sucking Kobe! Stop d$#@ riding the Lakers!”  Save your keyboards the wear and tear.  The Lakers didn’t need to make any move at all.  Period.  No Carmelo, no problem.  Are our memories that short?  I’m watching the advertisement for the Sunday afternoon game against the Thunder, and the voiceover guy literally said “watch the struggling Lakers face off against Kevin Durant…yada yada yada.”  Really?  Hopefully that was recorded before the all-star break.  First of all, the Lakers now have the third longest winning streak in the NBA.  POW.  Second of all, in 3 out of their last 4 games, they’ve beaten playoff teams.  BAM.  Third of all, that fumbling kid Andrew Bynum who folks were crying out to trade for Carmelo Anthony has averaged a double-double since the break.  K-BOOM.  Fourth of all, that guy named Kobe, who has ‘lost a step’, is the 6th leading scorer in the L, on a team that is in the top 6th in the L, just won the ASG MVP, and as of Sunday has just become the 7th leading scorer IN NBA HISTORY!  SLAP!  I kind of ran out of ‘Batman’ action verbs, but that ‘slap’ can be a slap for anyone asking me to stop talking about Kobe and the Lakers.  If I can’t blog about the two-time defending champions and reigning finals MVP, who should I talk about?  Charlee Sheen? (Besides the Lakers being my team, and this is my blog, I don’t need a reason).  This season alone the MAMBA has passed John Havlicek, Dominique Wilkins, Oscar Robertson, and Hakeem Olajuwon on the scoring list.  Heard of ’em?  It would be silly to say that Kobe is still the best player in the NBA, but he’s still a top-10 player on a NBA power team.  Watch L.A. win 8 of 10 coming out of the break and listen to the Sports Center analyst hop back on board.  Until then, I’ll keep their seats warm. 

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6 Responses to The League’s Big Weekend

  1. The Real Rocco says:

    Dwight howard will pass D rose as league MVP! Your heard it here first!

  2. JB says:

    Great breakdown of Amare and the Knicks Byesline. The Knicks have to get it going defensively to have any success. You definitely exposed Amare, there’s no reason why he can’t be averaging 15 boards with his height, skill and athleticism.
    Go Lake show

  3. Anonymous says:

    The playoffs are about matchups and Bulls and Heat are two teams they match up well against. That could lead (potentially) to a deep playoff run. I don’t think it WILL happen, but I’d be stupid to say it couldn’t. Especially with Melo and Chauncey (who somehow has been treated as a “throw in” for that trade… Crazy talk). LeBron and the Heat once again got exposed in a close game. Change the uniforms and you could fool anyone into thinking that was the 2010 Cavaliers in those last 3 minutes.

  4. James says:

    big win for the bockers! we’ve taken two against the heat and the bulls!

  5. NY fan 4life says:

    The Knicks showed me sumthin yesterday, on Miami’s floor! Big Win

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