Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Finals-- and NBA on TNT

     I keep apologizing for the long waits between posts.  Then I got to thinking about it-- just how many people have been waiting?   Umm-- don't exactly know, but no one's called or written to complain about it.   I see webinars and books all of the time about how to attract people to your blogs, and make posts and videos go viral.   I just want one person to keep coming back over and over.   Yes-- I'm looking for one Loyal Fan.  

    Anyways-- no more whining.   Last post, I admired and honored our local team, the Charlotte Hornets, for what I consider a groundbreaking year, with a record of 48-34, in a four-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference.  Unfortunately, after vaulting into the playoff hunt with a seven-game winning streak in March, a loss to the Washington Wizards three days before the end of the regular season cost the Hornets, as they fell into a sixth seed in the playoffs and lost the opportunity for a home--court advantage.   Overall, I think that Michael Jordan and the team should be encouraged, but knowing his competitive nature, I'm sure he's fired up to upgrade the Hornets for next year.

    I just watched the seventh game of the Western Conference finals last night when Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder to get into the NBA Finals, where they will match up again against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers

    Oftentimes, I'm not so much of a geographical fan as I am an emotional fan.  Curry is from North Carolina, went to Davidson College, and is the son of a former Charlotte Hornet great, Dell Curry.   But the reasons that I admire him and pull for the Warriors goes deeper than those facts.  They play a different style than most other NBA teams.   They take screens and the three--point shot to another level than has ever been achieved in NBA history.   Curry set a record with over 400 three-pointers during the season, and he and his teammate Klay Thompson have continued this pattern in the playoffs.   They recently set another record with 17 three's in one game.   Curry's and Thompson's range is phenomenal-- I watched Steph warming up last night, and was literally amazed when seeing him nail three three's in a row from near half court.

     You probably won't be surprised by my prediction in the Finals-- I pick the Warriors in six games.   I'd like to say "four"-- but honestly, the Cavs are the most formidable opponent that Golden State will play this year, and both teams are playing great basketball.   I give them a couple of games, but still feel that the Warriors will again take the title.

     Just a few words in closing about the TNT basketball analysts who act as hosts for each NBA telecast.    The crew of Ernie Williams, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O'Neal, and Charles Barkley have become a popular bunch among their peers and NBA fans.    I can't help but find a similar thread of comparison between this group and the old Monday Night Football crew of Frank Gifford, Don Meredith, and Howard Cosell.   In my way of thinking (which I'll admit isn't always correct or logical), I see the two groups' personalities lining up this way.

Ernie Williams (and Kenny Smith) = Frank Gifford

Shaquille O' Neal = Dandy Don Meredith

Sir Charles Barkley = Howard Cosell

    While this comparison is meant in jest, let me further digress by saying that the one that led me to this analysis was Charles Barkley.    He and his interplay with the rest of the TNT group so readily reminds me of Cosell and the MNF trio.   While seeming to parlay a great knowledge of the game, he so often makes gaffs and wrong predictions, is so hard-headed and opinionated, and receives the brunt of most of the jokes, puns, and sarcastic jabs, it is difficult not to draw a parallel to the late great Cosell.   I must say--- I love Sir Charles, but my favorite of the crew has to be "Kenny the Jet" Smith-- he always has keen insights to the game, and of course-- he is a former Tar Heel  (see http://bobstarheels.blogspot.com).

    10-7-- Over and out.   (I just found out what 10-7 means last night.  If you don't know-- well, you can Google it).

See You Soon (maybe!)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Making Over the Makeover--- The NEW Hornets

     I'd like to apologize for such a drought in posts, but it's as if I was never here to start.  This site has become so old and out--of--date that it still has a Bobcats logo on the header.  I will have to do something about that shortly.   

    But in the meantime, the new Charlotte Hornets, complete with new uniforms AND a new roster, have blown into the top echelons of the NBA with a series of surprising win streaks that have catapulted the team into an almost certain playoff berth.   In fact, recently, they vaulted all the way from out of contention, then barely in eighth place in the Eastern Division, to now--- they are currently in a tie for fourth place, and only a half game out of third place.  The top four teams will draw a home field advantage, and it's looking more promising for the Hornets.

    Point guard Kemba Walker has been a major contributor to this year's Hornets, but many others have combined to make it a real team effort.   Several great trades brought us players like center Al Jefferson (last year), and then Nick Batum and Jeremy Lin (this year).   We also picked up key players like big men Cody Zeller, Tyler Hansbrough, and Frank Kaminsky.   Former UNC player Marvin Williams has come on strong as of lately, and role players like Jeremy Lamb and new acquisition Courtney Lee have helped as well.

   The Hornets' shooting has improved, but the biggest change seems to be in their defense and in their ability to come up with big plays and grab wins in the fourth quarter.   In years past, the team has fallen short many nights when their opponent would put up a big run late in the game.  Now it seems that the Hornets are doing that.  In a game this past week, they came back from a 23--point deficit to the powerhouse San Antonio Spurs and beat them on the Spurs home court, breaking a long losing streak in their matchup.

   I hope to continue to post and keep us in the loop with the Hornets' run to the playoffs.  We have finally got a reason to truly pull for our home NBA team.   Owner Michael Jordan and coach Steve Clifford must have passed on some of their winning tradition onto the Hornets squad.  Looking forward to our team's post season action.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Spurs in Seven

[ EDITOR'S NOTE : My Prediction came true.. sorta.. at least the most important part : the SPURS did win the NBA Finals Championship, but it was even MORE convincing : in only five (5) games.  The Miami Heat looked confused and dazed at times, not even playing up to the caliber of the NBA's second best team, much less a champion.  On the other hand, the Spurs looked incredible, 
playing as a team with purpose and emotion, and winning in dramatic fashion. ]

A little over a month ago, I made a prediction.  At that time, it was during the first or second round of the playoffs.  My prediction was that the NBA Finals would rematch the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.  My prediction came true.  These two teams would eventually once again meet to settle the NBA Championship.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat :  2014 NBA Finals
  On Thursday night, I witnessed a wonderful, exciting Game One between these two teams.  For most of the game, the Spurs had the lead, but it was close, and at times, the Heat managed to go ahead.  But in the 4th quarter, the Spurs, led by the 3-point shooting of Danny Green, and also helped by the absence of injured Heat star forward LeBron James, surged ahead, and won the game going away, 110-95.  The Spurs outscored the Heat in the final quarter, 36-17, and ended the game with a 16-3 run. 

  With Game One finished, I make a Finals prediction : this series will go seven games, down-to-the-wire, in similar fashion to last year's Finals, only this time, the Spurs will win.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bobcats "Out" -- Hornets "In"

  I want to say "I'm sorry" for not continuing to cover the Bobcats playoff games, but  (as I've said before) ..  I don't get paid for this.. and every time I started to write a blog about a playoff game, I was so discouraged by watching them come so close to beating a great team like the Miami Heat, it was just too much for me.  

   I do think that the new Hornets will be a much improved team next year.  I believe that owner Michael Jordan and the team front office will work to get new, talented players to blend with the core team that is already in place to make the Charlotte Hornets (it's kinda strange to say that) an even better team.  One thing's for sure- I don't see the Hornets taking any steps back from what their predecessor the Bobcats have accomplished.  I definitely see our team continuing to be in the playoff picture, and even winning a series. It will happen.  Just not sure of the time frame, but I believe it could happen next year.

   Now- who will win the NBA Championship this year ?  I'd love to see your input in the form of comments.  Feel free to share.  My picks?   I'd probably say..


    Wait a second-- isn't that the SAME two teams that played last year?  Umm.. yes.  And I'm not going to be a bit surprised if they end up in the Finals again this year.  If not them, it could be the Mavericks or the Trailblazers.  I thought that the Indiana Pacers might be the team in the East, but their lackluster performance against the Hawks has made me change my mind about them.  I do not think that anyone else will challenge the Heat in the East.

  But time will tell.. check back for periodic updates on the new Charlotte Hornets.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bobcats-Heat / Game 2 Summary

Game 2: Bobcats vs Heat


This was the closest game of the series.  This was a much closer series than the 4-0 sweep indicates.  Unfortunately, the Bobcats will not get another chance under this team banner.  Next season, the Bobcats will once again become The Charlotte Hornets.

This game’s first half was looking like a different spin on Game 1.  Center Al Jefferson reinjured his left heel, but still tried to play, although hobbling on just one good leg. The Bobcats committed their league-leading average of 12 turnovers in just one half, which led to 18 Heat points. 

It began to look like a Heat blowout with just 1:40 left in the half, when LeBron James stole an errant pass and broke loose for a slam dunk.  Then a couple of possessions later, a layup finished a 9-0 run by the Heat to go up by 16 at 57-41 with one minute remaining.  However, two 3-pointers by Bobcats guards Neal and Walker closed out the scoring and cut the lead to ten, 57-47, at the half.

The second half began strong for the Bobcats as they scored the first six points to cut the Heat lead to four, 57-53, and continued to keep it close throughout the third quarter.  Several Bobcats players came up big with McRoberts and Kidd-Gilchrist as key contributors. But it seemed that every time that Charlotte would pull almost even with the Heat, either James, Chris Bosch, or another role player would step up with a clutch shot to spoil a Bobcats comeback. 

The Heat went up by as many as 14 in the fourth quarter at 91-77, but the Bobcats came back once again with a 10-0 run to cut it back to an 4-point difference, 91-87,  with under 5 minutes left.  Then, as if it were scripted, Chris Bosch came back with two straight baskets to extend the Heat’s lead to eight.  The lead went up and down by a point or two, until the 1:42 mark, when an Al Jefferson layin cut the lead down to just three at 97-94.  

Neither the Heat nor the Bobcats seemed to want to win the game in the last minute, as Charlotte missed two shots, but Miami turned the ball over twice on an offensive foul and a bad pass. Kemba Walker hit a huge 3-pointer at 12 seconds left, and it was 98-97, the closest score in the second half. James hit two free throws to put the Heat back up three.  With 10 seconds left, Charlotte had the ball and a chance to tie the game, but lost the ball on a steal. 

                       FINAL SCORE:  Miami 101, Charlotte 97

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TIED UP --or-- TIED-UP ?

   The Charlotte Bobcats entered Game 1 of their first-round playoff series with the defending champion Miami Heat with a lot of pride and determination.   

   The Bobcats had come back from the worst team (ever) in the NBA two years ago, with only seven (7) wins the entire season, to 43 wins this season and a berth in the playoffs.  They tripled their win total from 2012 to 2013 (7 to 21) and more than doubled the win total from last year (21 to 43).  

   But as they, and all of us, know- the playoffs marks a brand new season- where all teams begin again at 0-0, and the only advantage that you possess over your opponent is your ability on the court.  That fact might often benefit the lower-seeded team, but in the first game, on Miami's home court, the Heat eventually prevailed, and won going away, by double digits, 99-88.

   Two factors played big in the Heat win :  the exit of Bobcats star center Al Jefferson in the first half, and the un-Bobcat-like 20 turnovers in the game.  Before his injury, Charlotte actually held several leads over the Heat.  Jefferson strained the plantar fascia in his left foot, and while he returned in the second half, he was never the same, playing with a noticeable limp. The Bobcats led the league in several categories this year, including lowest number of turnovers, averaging only 11.6 per game.  Against the Heat, they nearly doubled this total.  The Heat were second in the NBA in steals and opponents' turnovers.  And this game was no exception.

  Even so, the Bobcats looked remarkably well at times, hung close, and were within five points in the fourth quarter.  But the Heat blew the game out with an 18-4 run, and never looked back.  While Charlotte seemed competitive in the first half, and even in the third quarter, during the last period, Miami showed they were the better team.

  After this beating the Cats took in Game 1, can they possibly bounce back in Game 2 to tie up the series ?   Or will they be "tied-up" by the Heat, with their backs against the wall at 0-2 of a 3-game series ?   We will find out tonight.. 

GAME TWO of the Bobcats-Heat series is TONIGHT

Thursday, April 17, 2014


   They say, "the tougher they are, the harder they fall."  And, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."  Well.. the Charlotte Bobcats will face one of the toughest teams in the league when they go against the #1 East seed Miami Heat on Sunday at 3:30 pm EST, live on ABC TV.

   You could also be right in saying that the Bobcats are also tough.  They've been on a streak lately, passing .500 and not looking back, winning games in a row, and eight of their last nine. They finished the regular season a respectable 43-39.  Granted, in that streak, they beat possible weaker teams like Philadelphia and Washington twice, and Cleveland, but they also beat Atlanta and Chicago.  In contrast, their opponent, the Miami Heat, have lost five of their last six games.

  We will cover the Bobcats playoff series with Miami, with posts on each game with highlights and commentary.  Hopefully, our team will give a good showing.  I'm not making a prediction of an upset.. not just yet.