True Hoop Drew

I breakdown basketball constantly in my mind and occassionaly translate it into blog form

Tag: cleveland cavaliers

Heat, LeBron better without Wade?

nbcsports.msnbc.com

LeBron James led the Miami Heat last night to a 98-87 victory over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. He did this without Dwyane Wade. The Heat and LeBron are now 4-0 this season when Wade is on the sideline.

Is it possible that this Miami Heat team could be better when Dwyane Wade does not play? I think so and I’ve pretty much felt this way all along about LeBron.

My biggest issue with LeBron choosing to play with Wade was that we would now not see the true individual potential of LeBron reached. Had he gone to New York or stayed in Cleveland we would have gotten an entire career of LeBron playing at his peak.

When he plays with Wade, we will never see this totally. We get glimpses from time to time and they can team up for some pretty spectacular plays but for the entire course of a game or season, we don’t see it.

Far too often when you watch Wade and LeBron play together, there are instances when LeBron is just standing in the corner or on the wing, out of the play completely as Wade is doing his thing. You never saw that in Cleveland (except when he started doing that in Game 6 vs. Boston and let Mo Williams go to work while he made sure to grab every rebound off missed free throws at the other end).
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Dwight Howard’s historical night in Golden State

The Orlando Magic beat the Golden State Warriors 117-109 last night. Dwight Howard had 45 points, 23 rebounds and attempted an NBA-record 39 free throws, five more than the previous record of 34 set by Wilt Chamberlain during the 1961-62 season, in which he averaged 50.4 points per game.

Howard came into the game shooting just 42.6 percent from the line, a career worst. He’s been right at 59 percent the past five seasons. The trade rumors have clearly affected Howard on the court this season and as someone who doesn’t have trouble finding a reason to not give 100 percent effort level, a struggle like this isn’t surprising. Howard made just 21 of his 39 free throw attempts versus the Warriors, 54 percent.

It’s not shocking that a historical statistical night occurred against the Warriors. It happens all the time from Brandon Jenning’s 55-point night as a rookie to David Lee’s 37 point, 20 rebound, 10 assist game two years ago, the Warriors have a knack for getting the best out of their opponent.
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Classic NBA Playbook – 1988 Michael Jordan vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Since the NBA finished up and there’s only been baseball, I haven’t felt the urge to write much. But I’m now living in a new apartment and finally have DVR and NBATV (a deadly combo for me and possibly my relationship). If there’s any other NBA blog out there that I’d like to model this one after, it is Sebastian Pruiti’s NBA Playbook.

He breaks down basketball in blog form as good as anyone out there and made this year’s playoffs a ton more interesting as if they weren’t already interesting enough. I plan to start a portion of this blog centering around a classic version of what Pruiti does. There might not be a season this year but I’m okay with that if NBATV keeps rerunning so many great games every day and NBA 2K12 is as good as it probably will be. Dedicating a portion of this blog to some classic NBA playbook breakdown seems like as good a way as any to spend my time.

Let’s start with…

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Forecasting the next decade of the NBA

Before the Finals started I did a little research looking at the past NBA champions and runner-ups. I basically came to the conclusion that the Dallas Mavericks could not beat the Miami Heat this year. The Heat’s big three were all in their primes and Dallas was simply older than any other team that won the title.

The only thing I could see that could explain Dallas winning the series in a historical context was that Dirk Nowitzki really was one of the greatest 15 or 20 players to ever play in the league and despite being in his 12th season was still in his prime and thus a worthy star to single-handedly lead this team to a title.

Now the Mavericks did win this series with great “team” basketball, as everyone likes to say, but at the end of the day when people look back at the record books and the teams that won it all, this Dallas team will stand out and be remembered for having one unbelievable star player.

When I looked back at all of the NBA champions since 1980, it was never surprising who won and why they did. Everything made sense. At the end of the day, you needed to have one of ten different players to even have a chance: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant. And now Dirk is on that list. He and Moses are the only ones I put on that list who only won a single title. Dirk could have easily won two and Moses was a top 12 player of all-time and deserving. Read the rest of this entry »

NBA Finals reaction

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last night to capture the 2011 NBA championship.

LeBron James was horrific for the last three games of the series having what had to be the worst performance ever by a superstar in a championship. Dirk Nowitzki was clutch all series with one of the most impressive accomplishments in NBA history winning a title with this Dallas team.

But most importantly, the 2006 NBA Finals travesty has been avenged and in the most perfect fashion. Yes, now I am finally over those Finals.

So many things happened this season in the NBA. It was one of the best seasons I can remember and had such a dramatic NBA Finals to cap it off. Now there might be a lockout next year and how sad that would be if not for the unbelievable season we had this year and the memories that have come from it. Read the rest of this entry »

How important is it to be in your prime?

As the Miami Heat were busy eliminating the Boston Celtics, I got thinking about how it was clear that the Celtics did not have anything left in the tank and were too old and too injured to keep up with Miami.

As someone who was watching the series hoping that Boston would advance because I like watching them play more, before the series even started my biggest fear was essentially what ended up happening.

Things like Kevin Garnett wouldn’t be able to be effective enough on both sides of the court, Ray Allen would be relegated to a jump shooter and not hitting in every game and Paul Pierce would have to carry too large of an offensive load. Even while watching the regular season meetings between the two teams you could kind of see this fate looming. While Boston seemed to always get a ton of good looks, it also seemed like they had to play pretty perfectly to get those looks and it’d be harder in the playoffs.

A big reason why Miami won the series was youth and talent overpowering Boston. They have their best three guys in their prime. It sounds simple but it really allows for them to play more minutes and play them more effectively. When Doc Rivers was forced to bring back Garnett early in the fourth quarter for Game 4, Boston was doomed and Garnett ran out of gas as the game eventually went into overtime.
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LeBron will never be Jordan

Michael Jordan finally spoke up about LeBron James so now it’s time for me to as well.

I took my time thinking about what to write about LeBron because something of this magnitude needed to sink in and I didn’t want to let my emotions immediately following “The Decision” factor in too much.

LeBron made a huge mistake calling the one-hour special. This is no secret. It was ridiculous and proved how little guidance he has had over the years. He hurt Cleveland like no other person has ever hurt a city before and while I don’t particularly care about that, it still wasn’t right.

Jordan faxed the Bulls a sheet of paper simply saying “I’m back” in 1995 when he returned. LeBron did the opposite. He called attention to himself over the sport and embarrassed all professional sports and ESPN in the process.

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My ‘Why LeBron isn’t winning titles’ theory

It’s been awhile since my last post. But I’m back for now just because the NBA playoffs are finally going to get interesting and I’m thinking of applying for some journalism jobs soon so I don’t want my blog to look dormant.

The most talked about subject the last few days in sports is LeBron and his early exit from the playoffs. I have a theory for this and I think it’s a good one. So here I go, I’m just jumping right into it.

LeBron is too good right now to win a title. Yes, this is a bad thing in the league today which is so talented and deep.

Right now, LeBron is far and away the best player in the league. It’s not even a question. Kobe is a little too old and Wade and Melo just aren’t on his level. LeBron won the MVP last year and had a pretty similar season this year and no one questioned him getting it again. Usually, voters look for improvement or just want a different face winning the award but not even a very deserving second-place season by Kevin Durant could sway the voters.

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NBA Dunk Contest: something needs to be done fast

I missed the dunk contest for the first time since I remember dunk contests but I guess I didn’t miss much. Everyone has a fix for All-Star Weekend and how to make the dunk contest more relevant so here’s three options I feel the NBA should entertain:

1. Star Power

This is a pretty obvious one but it is the most important. Nothing would be more entertaining than a LeBron-Wade showdown in the dunk contest final.

That’s a fact.

They would both be spectacular in the contest but it wouldn’t even really matter. With lesser-name guys it’s all about the dunk and how crazy it is and it’s originality.

That wouldn’t matter nearly as much if the stars competed in the contest. It would just be about which star had the better dunk. If LeBron brought back some dunks that Michael did in the 80′s, we would be fine with it. But when a guy like DeMar DeRozan does it, we’re pissed because we’ve seen it already.

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