Derek Fisher

2010-11 NBA Preview: Pacific Division

Los Angeles Lakers (57-25 last season)

The reigning champs would love for a three-peat.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Derek Fisher

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant

Small Forward: Ron Artest

Power Forward: Pau Gasol

Center: Andrew Bynum

Key Reserves:

Guard: Steve Blake

Guard-Forward: Matt Barnes

Forward: Lamar Odom

I believe this Laker team only got better by adding Steve Blake and Matt Barnes.  Blake will prove to be a much better backup to Derek Fisher than Jordan Farmar.  Blake is a savvy veteran with a solid shooting stroke and will run this team very well.  He will also help the Lakers dismal three point percentage that they had last season.  Kobe Bryant will be Kobe Bryant, regardless if he’s hurt or healthy.  The man is the closest to Jordan that I have seen.  If Ron Artest can play like he did in the playoffs for the entire season it’s game over.  The Lakers are still the best team, even after the moves the Heat made, and they will prove it with their third title in a row.

Phoenix Suns (54-28 last season)

When will the "fountain of youth" run out of water.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Steve Nash

Shooting Guard: Jason Richardson

Small Forward: Grant Hill

Power Forward: Hedo Turkoglu

Center: Robin Lopez

Key Reserves:

Guard: Goran Dragic

Guard-Forward: Josh Childress

Forward: Jared Dudley

The Suns have improved in some areas and in others they are going to be drastically lost.  Losing Amar’e Stoudemire is going to be tough to get over, and Robin Lopez must step up big time if Phoenix wants to prove they can still play in the West.  Rebounding will be an important stat to keep in mind, because even with Stoudemire they weren’t that great.  Channing Frye, Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick all need to bring down more rebounds than they are used to doing.  I still have faith that this new look team can make the playoffs, but will they make it past the first round?  For more on the Suns check out this article: Planet Orange Shining Bright

Los Angeles Clippers (29-53 last season)

Healthy and ready to show why he was the No. 1 pick.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Baron Davis

Shooting Guard: Eric Gordon

Small Forward: Ryan Gomes

Power Forward: Blake Griffin

Center: Chris Kaman

Key Reserves:

Guard: Eric Bledsoe

Forward: Rasual Butler

Forward: Al-Farouq Aminu

The Clippers are going to be a much improved squad this year, and it really can be thanks to a healthy Blake Griffin.  He is an immediate impact player and will be a significant boost to the chemistry of this team.  The starting lineup for the Clippers seems solid, but the reserves will be a little shaky.  None of them have really proven to be NBA dependable and there are also a lot of rookies on the roster (Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Willie Warren).  Ultimately, the Clippers are going to go as Baron Davis goes.  He will have the ball in his hands a majority of the time trying to set up other players, and if he’s off then the rest of the team will be out of sync.  I see the Clippers missing the playoffs, but not by a whole lot.

Sacramento Kings (25-57 last season)

The catalyst of this youthful team.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Tyreke Evans

Shooting Guard: Beno Udrih

Small Forward: Omri Casspi

Power Forward: Carl Landry

Center: Samuel Dalembert

Key Reserves:

Guard-Forward: Francisco Garcia

Forward: Donte Greene

Forward-Center: DeMarcus Cousins

A lot is going in the right direction for the Kings: Tyreke Evans is turning into a superstar, they are stacked at the power forward and center position, and the losing ways could be over this season.  This team reminds me of the 76ers though.  They have no shooters.  Tyreke is improving but still isn’t quite there.  Omri Casspi is a streaky shooter and same with Beno Udrih.  Both Donte Greene and Francisco Garcia have a chance of cracking the starting lineup and shooting consistently will be the key.  Also look for DeMarcus Cousins to slowly start taking more and more minutes away from Samuel Dalembert as the season progresses.

Golden State Warriors (26-56 last season)

Out of New York and out of the pressure.

Projected Starting Five:

Point Guard: Stephen Curry

Shooting Guard: Monta Ellis

Small Forward: Dorell Wright

Power Forward: David Lee

Center: Andris Biedrins

Key Reserves:

Guard: Charlie Bell

Guard-Forward: Rodney Carney

Forward: Louis Amundson

David Lee must provide for this team.  The Warriors shipped three players away to acquire Lee and they are looking for something in return.  Stephen Curry is proving that he can play in the NBA and he is coming off an impressive rookie season.  His continued development will be the main focal point because who knows how much longer Monta Ellis will be around.  Golden State should have no problem rebounding with Lee and Andris Biedrins and their defense should be much improved by adding Louis Amundson.  With a few bright spots, I still feel this team will finish last in the division.

Advertisements

NBA Finals Game 7 Preview

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers- 9 ET ABC

Who will get it?

After what can be summed up as a very disappointing year for the NBA Playoffs, the Finals have been far from a let down. Tonight this year’s champion will be decided by one final game in Los Angeles. It’s been a rollercoaster of a series with both team’s having faced their ups and downs.

Game 1: It was Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol who led the Lakers to a victory in the opening game of the series.

Game 2: Ray Allen connected on 8 of 11 three-pointers and Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double which helped the Celtics head back to Boston with a split series, swinging home court advantage in their favor.

Game 3: Celtics’ Game 2 hero Ray Allen shot 0-13 from the field scoring only 2 points that he earned from his only trip to the charity stripe. Allen’s disappointing performance played a huge role in why the Lakers came away with a big Game 3 win on the road. The loss showed just the league just how important Ray Allen’s contributions are to the Celtics success in big games.

Game 4: Glen Davis and Nate Robinson provided the much needed spark and production off the Celtics bench leading their team to the crucial bounce back win at home. Tying up the series at two games apiece.

Game 5: Kobe Bryant’s 38 points wasn’t enough for the Lakers to earn the victory on the road which would’ve given them a commanding 3-2 series lead heading back home for the remainder of the series.

Game 6: Down but not out, the Lakers recovered back at home when faced with elimination. Unfortunately for the Celtics, they experienced an early buzz-kill losing starting center Kendrick Perkins to a knee injury. The Lakers held control of the lead throughout the entire game.

The Boston bench will need a big night from Big Baby and Nate if they are going to come out on top.

Game 7: With both teams one win away from taking ownership of this year’s Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, you can best be sure it’ll be a battle down to the end. For the fifth time in their twelve NBA Finals meetings the Celtics and the Lakers are faced with a Game 7 matchup. Going into tonight’s matchup the Celtics must overcome all odds. Not only are they on the road for the biggest game of the year but they’ll be without Kendrick Perkins. While Perkins may not be the most prolific scorer, his toughness on both ends and defensive presence will most definitely be missed. It’ll be interesting to see just how Doc Rivers decides to approach the Lakers size down low with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

I’m totally against the idea of starting Glen Davis tonight and instead I’m going with Rasheed Wallace. Sheed has been everything but impressive all season long, but these are the types of games a guy like Rasheed Wallace steps up. He’s a proven veteran whose been faced with similar circumstances before, he’s not afraid of attacking the tasks at hand, and being that he’s at the end of his career he’ll lay it all out on the line for the entire 48 minutes.

It’ll be especially important that Rasheed Wallace and the rest of his Celtics team get out to an early jump. You cannot play from behind inside the Staples Center, instead you must force the Lakers hand to keep up with you. That most likely will be decided as the first quarter nears the four minute mark as we begin to see both coaches turning to their benches. If the Celtics bench can come up big tonight, the Celtics have a chance. If not, I see Kobe Bryant determining the fate of his Lakers team and when it’s for all the marbles, I’ll go with Kobe.

A Celtics win will occur if Rajon Rondo has a fantastic overall night and if the Celtics bench can provide the much needed spark and scoring load.

A Lakers win will occur if Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol play up to their standard. Obviously, the chances of this happening is much more likely than the Celtics bench being able to produce to the level needed to have a chance.

Behind a brilliant performance from Kobe Bryant the Los Angeles Lakers will be crown the 2010 NBA Champions with Kobe Bryant taking home the Finals MVP honor.

Lakers- 107 Celtics- 101

Smile, Kobe. You won the title and are Finals MVP

Lakers vs. Celtics – NBA Finals Game 5

By: James Sargent

Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics – 8 ET ABC

Game 4 was a gritty performance by Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Nate Robinson.  Doc Rivers left the bench in a little longer than he normally does in the fourth quarter against the Laker’s starters and the move was ingenious.  Davis and Robinson were unconscious and could not be stopped, and this was a good kind of unconsciousness for Davis.  If the Celtics want to head to LA with a 3-2 lead, the bench is going to need to step it up again and provide another spark.  This will be a very tough task to ask for because with each new game comes new counter strategies and ways to stop previous occurrences.  The Celtics will definitely need two of the “Big Three” and Rajon Rondo to have a steady game.

Shrek and Donkey could be the reason for another Laker meltdown

As for the Lakers, Kobe was shutdown in the fourth quarter and Andrew Bynum was hit with another knee injury, limiting him to only 12 minutes of play.  Bryant was pestered by many different Celtic defenders who held him to only two field goals in that pivotal fourth quarter.  Kobe said he felt miserable after the game and Phil Jackson said Kobe was very tired.  Could Bryant be going back into the funk he was in at the end of the season?  I don’t think so.  I believe with the two days off, Bryant will be rejuvenated and ready to bring his “A” game like he usually brings.

Pau Gasol will bring his usual intensity to the court and continue to reek havoc on the Celtic’s frontcourt.

Rajon Rondo will record an “almost” triple-double by scoring in double figures and having double digit assits, but he will only reach about 5-7 rebounds.

Now, I asked my dad to get his thoughts on the game, and I am going to stick with what he had to say.  Celtics need a must win since winning two in LA is very unlikely.  Also, Ray Allen is going to hit some three pointers and get back to his shooting ways.

Celtics- 97 Lakers- 94

NBA Finals Game 4 Preview

Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics- 9 ET ABC

Rondo will come up big with his back against the wall tonight

Before the series began I predicted the Celtics to win the NBA Finals over the Lakers in six games. After dropping Game 3 at home, that prediction looks a little unreal having to win three straight against the Lakers. But as series shifted to Boston, I felt the Celtics would win 2 of the 3 games. Going into Game 4, I’m sticking to that prediction which would it a 3-2 series in Boston’s favor heading back to Los Angeles for the final two games.

Tonight, I fully expect Rajon Rondo to dazzle us all yet again like he did in Game 2 with a triple-double performance. And finally expect Paul Pierce, who has been a huge disappointment thus far, to step up tonight in a critical Game 4.

Mark My Words: If the Celtics lose one of the next two games, the series is over. They can only hope to win one of two in Los Angeles, so these next two home games are key to having any chance in becoming the 2010 NBA Champions. As for tonight, the Celtics veterans will show just why they’ve been champions before and will continue to work towards showing the league that again this year.

Celtics- 102 Lakers- 100

Lakers vs. Celtics- Game 3 NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics – 9 ET ABC

These two must combine for a big night

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a specific play or team, but when you choose to shoot the three-pointer you ultimately live or die by it. In Game 2, behind Ray Allen’s record-breaking 8 three-point field goals made, the Celtics lived by the three. As a team they knocked down 11 of 16 attempts (nearly 70%), as for the Lakers well, they died by it at home, connecting on just 5 of their 22 attempts from long range.

One of the best parts of the majority of the past NBA Finals is that each game in the best-of-seven series often times offers new challenges, which forces teams to make improvised adjustments almost on the fly. The Lakers must be concerned as they step out on the floor for tonight’s Game 3 matchup. While the Lakers are currently the reigning champs, their chances to defend that title will drastically improve or crumble in Game 3. It’s important to note unlike the first three rounds of the NBA Playoffs, the NBA Finals schedule is much different. The Celtics (technically) have the chance to close out this series in Boston without ever having to return to Los Angeles. The next three games are in Boston, which gives this experienced Celtics team a huge opportunity to finish their business.

The Truth will be told in Game 3, expect a big night from him

A Game 3 win for Boston means a commanding lead in the series as they’ll continue to maintain their momentum. On the other hand, a big Game 3 win for Los Angeles guarantees that them that the series will shift back to the west coast. The sooner the Lakers get that win, they better they’ll feel going into the rest of the games in Boston. Tonight, expect the Celtics to continue to control momentum. Ray Allen played out of his mind in Game 2, but Paul Pierce was nearly non-existent contributing on the offensive end of the floor. Pierce will be ready to go tonight and he along with Rajon Rondo won’t disappoint on their home floor.

Celtics- 99 Lakers- 91

Hopefully, Big Baby doesn’t get knocked out yet again….

NBA Finals Game 2 Preview

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers- 8 ET ABC

By now you’ve probably already read the pregame posts from other news sources around the web, so here at the OuttaTownClowns preview of Game 2 we’re going to shake things up. Much like this post, I believe the Celtics will also shake things up that will lead towards shaping up this series as 1-1 series heading back to Boston. Here’s my Top 5 Boston wins Game 2 Guarantees: (At least 2 of the following 5 must happen)

1. Celtics bench scores more points than Ron Artest and/or Derek Fisher & Andrew Bynum combined

2. Rajon Rondo nearly records triple-double

3. Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett combine for 48 points or more

4. Ray Allen hits 4 or more three-pointers

5. Celtics’ defense holds Kobe Bryant under 30 points

Of those five, I see #1 & #3 happening tonight inside the Staples Center, Boston comes up big with a win in Game 2.

Boston- 103 Lakers- 98

Even to this day, NBA fans can’t believe it either Phil…

5/17/10 Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (Game 1)

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers- 9 ET TNT

Why can't the Suns get any love?

On top of all the “you’re wrong” comments sent my way via Suns fans, I’ve recently been hit with a surge of Suns fans wondering why I and the majority of the sports media world don’t give the Suns any love. While I can stand here and think of a variety of different why that is, I think it’s much more significant to inform all Suns fans not to worry: Embrace it! The Phoenix Suns are at their best when there’s no expectations! The moment they’re expected to do something is when they fail….

Past Examples:

2004-2005 Suns Starters: Nash/Johnson/Richardson/Marion/Stoudemire= best Suns team since the 2000's

When were expected to dominate the NBA Playoffs as they did the 2004-2005 regular season= fail

When Shawn Marion is expected to be happy and remain a Suns player for his entire career= fail

When Shaquille O’Neal was expected to be the missing link to a championship caliber team= fail

Present Examples:

When Steve Nash is expected to play a little defense= fail

When Jared Dudley and the Suns bench are expected to provide a huge boost= fail

When the Suns have a early 15 to 20 point lead and expect to maintain it= fail

Suns may still regret not doing this

Future Examples in Question:

When Jared Dudley & Grant Hill are expected to slow down Kobe: _______ ?

When Amare Stoudemire is expected to resign in Phoenix this offseason: _______?

When Goran Dragic is expected to be the Suns everyday starting point guard: _______?

Goran Dragic might possibly be the best example that comes to mind when talking about the Suns and expectations. While there’s no doubt that Goran Dragic’s Game 3 performance in San Antonio was outstanding to say the very least, it was THAT outstanding because you didn’t expect it. The moment Suns fans come to expect Goran Dragic to do something (like me) you’ll find yourselves disappointed in the final product. Same applies to the Suns organization. Don’t have any expectations heading into the Western Conference Finals Suns fans, I’m looking out in the best interest of you all. Continue to enjoy the ride without worrying about what Bill Plaschke, Phil Jackson, and hell even what Ross Geiger says. The moment the sports world outside of Phoenix begins to believe in this Suns team is when it collapses.

The Lakers' Big Three

Now with all that being said, I got good news for the Phoenix Suns, I like the majority of the sports world have the Lakers in Game 1. It’s going to be interesting to watch the Suns try to stop the Lakers strong inside presence of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The most important key of all is not allowing Amare Stoudemire to fall into early foul trouble. If at any point in this series, Amare sees foul trouble early into ball games, the Suns stand no chance unless they’re just hitting everything from the perimeter. Balanced scoring: inside and out, is something both teams need to solidify their success. The Suns must not count heavily on knocking down the perimeter threes against the Lakers, rather must attack the basket and try to draw some fouls down low on Bynum. If the Suns can get Bynum into some foul trouble, the game is pretty much an even battle.

How the Lakers decide upon approaching who defends Steve Nash is also something to watch for. We all know Derek Fisher will clearly start from tipoff, but I see Phil Jackson calling upon Shannon Brown to play that Jerryd Bayless/George Hill-type role against Nash. Jordan Farmar is another guy to watch out for. Any matchup that puts Steve Nash on his heels on defense is something I see Phil Jackson trying his best to exploit. Especially now after Steve Nash retaliated back by saying that Gregg Popovich is the best head coach in the NBA, I see Coach Jackson taking to Nash every and often.

A Lakers win will result in keeping Bynum out of foul trouble, solid play from Gasol at least matches the stat line of Stoudemire, and the no show productivity from the Phoenix Suns bench. Lakers take Game 1 at home.

Lakers- 107 Suns- 99

I Don’t See Channing Frye or Jared Dudley Being Able to Deliver Clutch Knockdowns Like This One, That Goes Down in My Book as the My Favorite Suns Shot of All-Time over Rex Chapman’s Prayer: