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Are the Cleveland Cavaliers Ready to Come Out of the East?

March 9, 2009 by AlexV · Leave a Comment 

LeBron James' career year has him posting 28.1ppg, 7.4rpg, and 7.0apg. Those are the numbers of a star.

LeBron James' career year has him posting 28.1ppg, 7.4rpg, and 7.0apg. Those are the numbers of a star.

Much has been said this year about the great record and stellar play of the Cleveland Cavaliers as a unit. They currently are 2nd in the league in points given up per game only behind the Boston Celtics. Not only do they defend well, but with a league-best 28-1 home record, if they can hold onto their current number one spot in the east, then they would look to be a good favorite to enter the NBA finals. Guess again.

Although the Cavs literally wipe the floor with their non-playoff contenders when they play them, they tend to struggle against the top-tier teams of the league. They can’t beat Boston, and always seem to get thumped in the fourth quarter by them, and if they intend to win a championship, they’ll need to find a way to beat L.A. who swept them in convincing fashion with one of those losses resulting in their lone home loss.

On top of that, they even lost by more than 10 points to Orlando in Orlando this year. Their only convincing wins against a contender has been against the San Antonio Spurs, who they beat in Texas a few weeks ago after LeBron had his worst game statistically against the Houston Rockets.

In my opinion, if they face Boston or Orlando, they go down. If they somehow get to the finals and they face off against the Lakers, who not only have lots of different scorers, but are playing much better defense this year, they won’t win the title. All three teams have more than one all-star caliber player; the Lakers have Kobe, and Gasol, the Celtics have Garnett, Pierce, Allen, and Marbury, and the Magic boast Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Jameer Nelson. And even though James is a league leader in MVP voting, it takes more than one man to win in a league where All-Stars are almost always a necessity.

5 Contenders

January 18, 2009 by AlexV · Leave a Comment 

kevin garnett holding nba trophy1 5 Contenders

At this point there are five title contenders in the NBA; in the west, the Los Angeles Lakers (31-8) and the San Antonio Spurs 26-13, and in the east, the Cleveland Cavaliers (31-7), Orlando Magic (33-8), and Boston Celtics (33-9).

Right now, I would put the Spurs over the Lakers. I know the records are five games different, but lately I’ve been seeing Kobe take a lot of shots in the fourth quarter in games against Orlando and San Antonio that just haven’t been going down. Pau Gasol is having a great season, but now the Spurs have four guys who can be counted on to hit big shots, and not in any particular order; Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and now Roger Mason Jr.

Furthermore, the Spurs show no signs of getting older, and they even seem like they are playing “younger” than last year.

In the east, the one team with the overall best consistency has been the Cavaliers. The Celtics seem like their big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen are getting older (More-so Garnett and Pierce), and their role players have not stepped up much in their recent strings of losses. I would have to say that right now Pierce and Garnett seem to be taking a step back, but I know they can turn that around. However, until that happens, I have to keep them under Orlando and Cleveland, even if they are the defending champs.

The Orlando Magic just seem like they play within themselves every game, and that has been just enough to pull out some big road wins this season. But with their ever-growing regularity of settling on huge three pointers down the stretch to win games may not be so hot come playoff time… “You live by the three, you die by the three.”

Finally, it is the Cleveland Cavaliers who are my top pick in the east. LeBron James seems to be coming into his own, as if what he had been doing already wasn’t enough. He is really hitting his peak now, and is relying on his teammates much longer in games than Kobe Bryant.

What’s even more is that they (Cleveland) aren’t even letting any of the non-contenders come close to beating them at home. If they can hold on to the number one seed come playoff time, and have homecourt advantage in the Finals, I will pick them to win it all.

Penguins Not as Good as it Seems

November 29, 2008 by Big Tony · 1 Comment 

pittsburgh penguins logo 300x281 Penguins Not as Good as it SeemsThe Pittsburgh Penguins are off to a very good start on paper. Stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are at or near the top of the scoring list and they are in good shape in the standings. However, their 4-1 win against New Jersey Saturday night was a performance that has become a rarity for the Penguins this year. Many times they have had to come from behind to win or have built big leads and struggled to hold on to them if they were able to hold on at all. Also, the Power Play has not been as good to them this year as in the past, in fact it has been very average overall thus far. The power play has resulted in one too many short-handed goals and their five-on-five defense has failed them on many occasions which is part of the reason they have such a hard time keeping big leads. The return of Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar will no doubt improve the defense as well as the power play when Gonchar fulfills his role at the point which has been lacking to date. However, with both men returning from a serious injury there is no guarantee they will be able to play at a high level right away if at all this season. Bottom line, if the Penguins want to return to the finals and ultimately win the Stanley Cup they will have to play more consistently on the power play and defensively 5-on-5, otherwise it will be a long off-season of “what ifs” in Pittsburgh.

Andrew Bynum may play a Key Role in putting the Lakers over the Top

October 25, 2008 by AlexV · Leave a Comment 

Perhaps Bynum can continue to be the rising star he was before his injury last season.

Perhaps Bynum can continue to be the rising star he was before his injury last season.

Last season, the L.A. Lakers took care of business in the first three rounds of the playoffs. They swept the Nuggets in the first round, eliminated the Jazz in six games in the second round, and defeated the Spurs in just five games in the Western Conference finals. It wasn’t until the NBA Finals that they hit a wall when they lost to Boston in six games.

This year, they’ll welcome back a healthy Andrew Bynum. And if you witnessed his performance in last night’s pre-season game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, then you too may see why Andrew Bynum could place the Lakers back in the Finals with a much better shot at winning it all.

Bynum was dominant going 10-15 for a 66% scoring percentage, with 23 points. Bynum also added eight rebounds and three blocks. What was most promising was his poise under the basket. He didn’t just get easy dunks all night. He was laying it up and taking short jumpers. The scary thing is he is only 20 years old.

The return of Bynum will give the Lakers two superstar caliber players on the inside with Pau Gasol being the other. The Celtics beat the Lakers last year with their trademark stingy interior defense. If the Lakers can match that this season, then seemingly, their main threat from last season may meet a more formidable Los Angeles team in this years Finals. 

If Bynum's production continues to improve, he may be able to keep this guy happy.

If Bynum's prodcution continues to improve it could make this guy a very happy man at the end of the season.