Tag Archives: Kobe Bryant

The Dubsism NBA Post-Mortem: The Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers

The NBA tends to fall off off my radar sometime after the two teams I watch have their seasons end.  The Lakers are the team I grew up watching and the Pacers are the team I now see every day since I now live amongst the Hoosiers.

Indianapolis and Los Angeles in many ways are worlds apart.  Indiana’s capital is a small city with a distinctly midwestern flavor not far removed from its bucolic roots, whereas Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan megalopolis whose roots as remote outpost of orange groves and date farms seems as distant from the present as the surface of Mars.  Indiana has the blessings of the four traditional seasons, whereas In Los Angeles the four seasons are sunshine, wildfire, monsoon, and earthquake.  Indiana is the kind of place where it is perfectly normal for a complete stranger to walk up to you in the supermarkert and strike up a conversation, in Los Angeles, such an act could get you maced.

Despite the differences in their home cities, the Pacers and the Lakers are opposite sides of the same “enigma” coin.  As for being on the same coin, I really can’t figure out what these two teams really are, except for the fact which makes them heads and tails.  One one side, the Pacers are a team with depth that lacks a star; on the other, the Lakers have a star and lack depth. Both teams are an easy bet for the second round of the playoffs just as they were this year, but the Pacers are young with a future; the Lakers can see their window closing.

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Can’t Build Around Bynum

Andrew Bynum isn’t even 25 years old yet.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been waiting for Andrew Bynum to mature for the past 5 seasons. He finally broke out this year as the 2nd best center in the NBA, putting up 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game during the regular season. Dominating numbers from a dominating physical presence. But don’t let his physical stature and the numbers fool you, Bynum still possesses the mind of a child.

That mind is not going to change.

Andrew Bynum has been somewhat of an enigma all season for the Lakers. The infamous 3-point shot that sent him straight to the pine encapsulates most everything that Bynum is and has been for Los Angeles. After the benching, Bynum sulked for much of the game, refusing to join the huddle in team timeouts and subsequently played some uninspired 4th quarter basketball. He reacted to the situation like a petulant child.

Immaturity is a good excuse for only so long. Continue reading

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Are New Look Lakers Now Contenders?

While Kobe Bryant said it was 'difficult' to see Derek Fisher leave, the addition of Ramon Sessions (left) could help the Lakers.

After a long trade deadline process, the Los Angeles Lakers made the decision to keep starting power forward  Pau Gasol. With his name being mentioned throughout this whole process,  Gasol has delivered despite the trade rumors. At the end of the day on Wednesday March 15th, point guard Ramon Sessions was a Laker along with Center Jordan Hill. Sadly the Lakers parted ways with veteran guard Derek Fisher, but that also saved them oodles of money. Luke Walton and Jason Kapono were also dealt to Cleveland along with a 2012-13 draft pick they also DON’T have to pay. In acquiring Ramon Sessions the Lakers definitely improved at that point guard position that deeply needed maintenance. Personally, I’m ecstatic that Gasol remained a Laker, and now Pau along with Kobe Bryant are the captains of the team. Its been thrown around on ESPN and at any local barbershop, that the Lakers have moved into contention for an NBA title. With that being said I too believe that L.A. will be playing in June, that was a totally UNBIASED (those of you that know me know I’m a Laker Fan) answer. Futhermore, I’m going to reveal the reasons why I believe the parade may be in Los Angeles this year.

The first, and most important reason is the fact that Kobe Bryant is still in a Laker uniform. To add, the Lakers also obtain the largest frontcourt in all of basketball, (which is why I’m happy Gasol was not dealt) by keeping Pau Gasol the Lakers obviously want to play to their strength which is their SIZE. Andrew Bynum has been impressive a bulk of the year, and was named Western Conference Player of the Week 3/13/2012 thru 3/18/2012. During that span Bynum went bonkers averaging 27.5 ppg, 14.8 rpg, also”Drew” shot a notable 66.5% from the field, while corralling 1.6 bpg. Quite deserving of the honor needless to say.

People speak about the Lakers offense mostly, but we do need to recognize their swarming defense as well. Los Angeles ranks seventh in the NBA in points allowed at 92.6 ppg, and that’s good enough for second in the Western Conference. Again, their size allows them to alter a galaxy of shots and their quick enough to get in passing lanes for steals. One thing Mike Brown does preach is defense, even dating back to his days in Cleveland he was recognized as defensive orientated. But…that’s another topic.

With the Big Three in tact, and adding that key ingredient in Ramon Sessions the Lakers are aiming to cause turbulence out West. Trailing only the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, the new look Lakers are third in the West standing at (28-17), Home (19-3), Away (9-14). If the Lakers get solid production out of Metta World Peace, and the bench plays kosher, title #6 for Kobe is within arms reach.

*Since acquiring Guard Ramon Sessions the Los Angeles Lakers are 1-1

Razor Ramon played his first game as a Laker March 16, 2012, that night he posted seven  points to go along with five assist, and scrapped up four rebounds. Lakers beat the Timberwolves 97-92,  Sessions didn’t look so hot in the 103-99 deficiency against the Utah Jazz, he tallied 10 points, but shot a nefarious 1-7 from the field. Sessions did manage to distribute 6 assist and took first-class care of the ball with 0 turnovers. The Lakers travel Tuesday night to Houston taking on the Derek Fisher-less Rockets.

Why the Lakers are now Contenders:

No team in the league can match their size down low, the Lakers were a defensive liability at the point guard position nightly. With the addition of Sessions that is no longer a debate, now the Lakers are able to match Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and San Antonio’s Tony Parker. Oh and not to leave out Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers (step-brother). Am I saying Sessions will hold these guards score-less NO, but he is quick enough and strong enough to be quite disruptive on defense.

*Ramon Sessions is  6 foot 3 inches tall and weighs 195 lbs.

Offensively, Sessions can give you anywhere from 10-13 points a game and makes commendable decisions with the basketball. Also, Ramon is bona fide athlete who is quick off the dribble and can finish at the rim with either hand. Not mentioned in a  defensive light very often, but Sessions can stay in front of the quicker guards Lakers have struggled with containing in the past.

The last Laker point guard who could generate his own shot was retired guard Nick Van Exel. Kobe has never had a backcourt counter-part that was athletic and could handle the ball quite like Sessions. The Lakers have compiled all the necessary components needed to make a legit dash for a championship this season. More importantly the team is buying into Mike Brown’s system, and players are adapting to their new roles, it won’t take much time for the Lakers to gell in my opinion.

Another advantage the Lakers have along with the rest of the 28 teams, is this breve stagione. This has given the older teams time to rest those ancient bones, franchises such as the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. Extra rest means a lot come playoff time, that’s when the game becomes more slothful, and teams need to  execute in half court sets. Again that will play to the Lakers advantage, because they are a half court team.

The achilles heel for the Lakers has been the production from the bench. Without Lamar Odom, or Shannon Brown coming off the bench Lakers personnel has been looking for answers. Producing one of, if not the lowest total of bench points in the league is this Lakers gang. Steve Blake, and Matt Barnes, make up 66% of the Killer Bee’s now that Shannon Brown has been emancipated. Strange enough the bench blossoms in front off the home crowd at the Staples Center, its away from home that causes the headaches. If the Laker bench can put up standard numbers life would be a lot easier

Point blank period the Lakers are contenders in the Western Conference no matter how much you try to down play it. When playoff time rolls around this new look Lakers team will be put to the test. Most people want to throw Oklahoma City in the Finals, but believe it or not folks Los Angeles is equipped to make some serious commotion come playoff time.

*Follow me on Twitter @JdotBras also be sure to check out my additional sports blog at thesportsoutlaw.com please stop by sportsblogmovement.worpress.com and see bio and get a good read  a host of different writers including myself.

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“Clutch Factor” Does LeBron James possess it?

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OK basketball heads and NBA guru’s, it’s time to dissect the meaning of the word “CLUTCH”. It’s often thrown around in the world of sports to add more emphasis to a big play.

 “Clutch” means performing well under extreme pressure.

Often time it refers to a high level of production in critical moments; for example the final hole of the Masters, or Game 7 of the NBA Finals, the last drive of the Super Bowl etc. Athletes are tagged with being clutch performers based on how they perform in nerve racking situations. I believe that every “GREAT” player should have a clutch gene in their system.

Now over the years I have been a faithful NBA fan, I have watched basketball since the age of 8 and been playing since age 9. I have seen many “CLUTCH” performers in my time, from Reggie Miller, to Michael Jordan. The NBA athlete that seems to get the most critism in the clutch factor topic is  Miami Heat’s forward LeBron James. It’s been argued that he is the best player in the NBA at this point in time, but I believe he is only the best athlete.

   In order for you to have the label of being “the best” you have to shine at the brightest moments. LeBron James simply just shies away from the moment more than he embraces it.

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Fantasy Basketball at its Finest

It’s Monday. That’s the time for us to get back to our normal lives. Some of us have classes, some of us have dull meetings at work that we must get to. Monday is usually all about getting back into the groove of your weekly duties. Especially after having a mind-blowing weekend. People usually have an abhorrence for Mondays–this is ten fold for me after All Star weekend.

This is the best weekend in sports to me. All Star festivities are amazing–if you’ve ever been you would know. I went in 2001 when the All Star game was in D.C. That’s when my passion for basketball really started to kindle. My father took me downtown and we had a blast. It was probably the best time of my life in my early childhood. I was only 9 years old at the time and I wanted to be the next Michael Jordan. We all know that’s not happening, but I’m grateful that the sport sparked my passion to be a thinker and a writer.

There is no better picture in sports than all of the best NBA players collaborating on one floor. It keeps the fans integrated into the process–to a fault at times–and makes us love the game even more. In recent years the dunk contest has been a failure, but people will still tune in because of the tradition. These things have so much meaning to basketball fans everywhere. The three point competition, the skills challenge recently, the dunk contest, the rookie/soph game–now the Rising Stars Challenge–epitomize what the fans want to see.

That weekend is more than a break, its a time where we can step back and look at how far the game has come. We can step away from the business part and look at the history of the game. We did that especially this weekend–there were some moments that were big in All Star game history. You had Kobe playing in his 14th all-star game–which isn’t a record but is astounding. Kevin Durant and LeBron James pushed almost broke Wilt Chamberlains scoring record of 42 points. Each man was six points away. Bryant had eclipsed Michael Jordan in scoring points in an all-star game, Chase Budinger recreated Cedric Ceballos’ blindfolded dunk, and this was the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson’s return from his HIV virus.

This is the only time we’ll be able to see Russell Westbrook thrive as a shooting guard slashing to the rim. Steve Nash gave him a pin point laser pass that was about 60 feet across the floor. LeBron James won the dunk contest last night all the while going 6-7 from three-point range. By the way, Andre Iguodala placed a close second. Westbrook could’ve received honorable mention, but John Wall had been doing too much work on the rim the previous nights before.

This is the only time we’ll be able to see Rajon Rondo running with athletes. Possibly the only time for the rest of the year we’ll be able to see a few Boston Celtics involved in a game that goes over 96 points. Rondo gave LeBron James an awesome feed for an alley-oop from a little bit above the half court line. Chris Bosh received a few excellent feeds from Rondo too.

By the way, Boston and Miami working together is something else.

Blake Griffin murdered the rim with his powerful dunks. I didn’t believe that man could jump that high, but his head was well above the rim. He probably could’ve taken a bite out of it on all of his dunks. I lost count at about 5 but if I had to guess it would be around 8.

Dwight Howard–after playing a wonderful host all weekend–was dunked on about 3 times in a row. We’ll never see that again.

Kevin Durant was given the MVP after a 36 point outing. He deserved the award–I was proud of Durant because of him being from my area. I connect with him the most because I know some of the struggles that he has gone through. I have been through some of them and I know people who have gone through similar things. When saying that winning that MVP was a childhood dream he meant it; I’m glad he’ll be able to bring that home.

These games just make us wonder what it would be like to get all of these guys on the same team. They have no chemistry together, but yet they already know each other’s tendencies. What if Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James all played on the same team? What if Rondo had some elite athletes around him? What if Russell Westbrook played the shooting guard position with a point guard like Steve Nash or Chris Paul as his backcourt teammate?

Basketball is just so fun. There are things that these guys can do that no one else can. I hope you all enjoyed the weekend as much as I did.

Here are some of my favorite moments of the weekend.

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2011-12 MIDSEASON NBA AWARDS

The  NBA All-Star break is now wrapping up, and that means that it is time for my 2011-12 NBA Midseason Awards. We’ve had many breakout stars as well as guys who have been making plays for the past 15 years. Taking all of those players into account, I have compiled 2011-12 Midseason NBA Awards: (ALL GRAPHICS MADE BY SAM BRIEF)

(HINT: USE PAGE NAVIGATION BELOW TO VIEW AWARDS)

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NBA All Star 2012! “The Rundown”

I guess it’s that time of year again! NBA Fans across the globe are all geared up for NBA All Star Weekend 2012. From the Rising Stars Challenge to the NBA Slam Dunk contest this weekend never disappoints. If you glance below you can get a closer look at what’s going on in Orlando this NBA All Star Weekend.

Friday February 24, 2012  the festivities begin with the Sprint Celebrity Game.

Participants: (R&B Singer) Neyo, (Rapper) Common, (Curb Your Enthusiasm) JB Smoove, (Actor, “Jersey Shore’s”) Vinny Guadagnino, (Comedian/Actor) Kevin Hart, (“The Voice”) Javier Colon, (“Property Brothers) Drew and Jonathan Scott, (“Greys Anatomy”) Jesse Williams, (NBA Legend) Mitch Richmond, (4x NBA All Star) Penny Hardaway, (NBA Legend) Nick Anderson, (2011 WNBA MVP) Tamika Catchings, (ESPN’s) Doug Gottlieb

The Sprint Celebrity Game Coaches: Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard and Reigning NBA Scoring Champion Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Also, Friday night the NBA Rising Star Challenge will display some of the top young talent in the NBA (Rookies and Sophomores). This Year teams were selected by the coaches, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and 4 Time NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal.

#Team  SHAQ:

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks

Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats

Markeiff Morris, Phoenix Suns

Landry Fields, New York Knicks

Norris Cole, Miami Heat

Brandan Knight, Detroit Pistons

Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers

And, on the opposing bench is none other than……………………………………

#Team CHUCK

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacremento Kings

Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Marshon Brooks, New Jersey Nets

John Wall, Washington Wizards

Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz

Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs

Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers

Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz

Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

*That rounds out the Festivities for Friday Night

Saturday February 25, 2012

Haier Shooting Stars Challenge: Teams and players from the NBA as well as the WNBA get together for bragging rights in this remarkable jump shooting challenge.

Teams/Participants:

Team Orlando: Orlando Magic Guard Jameer Nelson, WNBA All Star Mary Ferdinand-Harris, and former Orlando Magic Forward Dennis Scott

Team Atlanta: Atlanta Hawks Guard Joe Johnson, WNBA Atlanta Dreams Lindsey Harding, and NBATV Analyst and Former Atlanta Hawks Guard Steve Smith

Team New York: New York Knicks Guard Landry Fields, 4x WNBA All Star of the New York Liberty Cappie Pondexter, and Former New York Knick great Allan Houston

Team Texas: Houston Rockets Rookie Chandler Parsons, Sophia Young of the San Antonio Stars WNBA, and Two Time NBA Champion and Former Houston Rockets Guard Kenny “The Jet” Smith

*Followng the Haier Shooting Star Challenge will be the Taco Bell Skll Competition get ready for this tremendous showcase of ballhandling skills, passing technique, and clock management.

Participants:

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

John Wall, Washington Wizards

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

*Note: Reigning Champ Stephen Curry will not participate.

After the Skills Competition, will be none other than the guys that like to make the long distance calls you guessed it the Foot Locker 3 Point Shootout!

Participants:

Reigning Champion: James Jones, Miami Heat

Anthony Morrow, New Jersey Nets

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic

Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

*Joe Johnson will not compete Kevin Durant will take his place in three point shootout

After we have been dazzled by the trey ball we can feast our eyes on the highlight of the evening none other than the Sprite Slam Dunk Competition.

*Although reigning slam dunk champion Blake Griffin will not participate along with New York Knicks Roookie Guard Iman Shumpert

Participants:

Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves

Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Jeremy Evans, Utah Jazz

Chase Budinger, Houston Rockets

*Also this year there is a new Dunk Contest format that has been placed into effect

Sunday February 25, 2012

Sprint Pre-Game Concert:

Before the All Star game will be a concert performing live will be Grammy Award Winning Artist J. Cole, Also performing will be Acapella great Pentatonix, also up and coming star Kayla Brianna will be performing, Lastly Neon Hitch will hit the stage.

*Following the concert will be the tip-off of the All Star Game!

61st NBA ALL STAR GAME!!!

East Starters:

Lebron James, Miami Heat

Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Reserves:

Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls

Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76es

Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets

*Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau (Chicago Bulls)

West Starters:

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers

Reserves:

Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trailblazers

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

*Head Coach: Scotty Brooks (Oklahoma City Thunder)

NBA All Star Weekend 2012 is coming your way this weekend! I LOVE THIS GAME!

Follow me on Twitter @JdotBras, also check out my blog at thesportsedification.wordpress.com and thesportsoutlaw.com

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