highlights

Three Players to Watch (Brooklyn Nets)

The “Three Players to Watch” series is brought to you by the OuttaTownClowns, covering each of the league’s 30 teams providing you with insight on three guys that should demand your attention next season. As you can always expect at the OTC, not every player noted are a team’s top player, instead it may just be a player’s particular situation that’s worth following if you’re a die-hard NBA fan. Up Next: “Hello Brooklyn, how ya duin” (Lil Wayne Voice)

1. Tyshawn Taylor

The seasoned college prospect fell to the 41st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and was surprisingly traded by Portland to Brooklyn for cash considerations. Cash considerations? Consider this…Tyshawn Taylor will receive some chances to help the Nets next season. Averaging 15.5 ppg in Orlando Summer League competition Taylor provided leadership, a clear ability to score the basketball at the next level, and most importantly wasn’t afraid to take control of the flow of the game while on the court. Although he only handed out an average of 2.5 assists per game in summer ball, his overall game play can easily make him a reliable option of the bench for Head Coach Avery Johnson if called upon. Don’t be surprised to see Taylor sent to the D-League early on into the year, but come the middle of the season he should rise if given the opportunity.

 

2. Brook Lopez

Go ahead big fella, pick out some new Brooklyn Nets gear that fits. Looks as if you’ll be sticking around after all…

Two words can describe the Nets feeling when it comes to Brook Lopez next season: fingers crossed. After playing in just the first 5 games of the last year’s season, the Nets ultimately decided to shut Lopez down after a severely sprained right ankle. Despite much court time the Nets still elected to re-sign Lopez to a 4 year, $61 million dollar contract extension. Re-signing Brook Lopez and missing the boat on acquiring Dwight Howard the Nets will heavily rely upon Lopez to have a major bounce back year. As the current Nets roster stands, Lopez is arguably their only true center and will obviously need to avoid foul trouble. With the relocation to Brooklyn that included a new logo, new image (Jay-Z convinced the league to allow them to have primary black jerseys), re-signing of Gerald Wallace, and trading to acquire Joe Johnson the Nets have huge expectations this coming season. It’s time that owner Mikhail Prokhorov sees a drastic improvement in team success considering the amount of money he’s been willing and able to fork out over the course of the past two years. Add Lopez to that list and the 24 year-old should definitely feel some pressure to perform.

3. Joe Johnson

NBA fans should be very curious to see how D-Will & “Iso Joe” share the ball next season

It’s safe to say most people like Joe Johnson. He’s not really the type of guy you can really hate on outside of the fact that he’s become famous for delivering clutch, cold-blooded daggers to your team in your own building for years now. But while he executes everything so calmly with ease, it’s hard to understand how on earth “Iso-Joe” is the NBA’s highest paid player. Johnson is an All-Star that got paid Superstar money. In Atlanta, Johnson was an annual All-Star and Brooklyn can expect no different. However, it will be interesting to see how well Johnson’s game can gel in the backcourt with Deron Williams. Both players love and are used to having the ball in their hands. It should be very interesting what transpires at the end of close games and how the Nets offense flows next season. If everything goes as planned, the Nets will somehow sneak their way into the 2013 NBA playoffs. In order for that to even a slight chance of happening, Joe must continue to be Joe while also adjusting to sharing a backcourt with Deron Williams. Easier said then done.

The Thunder Roll On With Ibaka Extension

The summer months are coming to end. As a direct result the NBA world’s free agency buzz is slowly dying, which leads to many teams having advanced discussions with agents regarding contract extensions. On bigger level our world as a whole is currently facing with the ongoing monsoon season. The Oklahoma City Thunder agreeing upon a reported 4-year, $40+ million dollar extension with Serge Ibaka is the perfect compliment to both.

There’s certainly plenty of room for Harden to fit alongside Westbrook & Durant, but the luxury tax issues may say otherwise…

The Thunder have struck again, successfully locking up Ibaka alongside Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant for the team’s bright road ahead. While it’s safe to say the Thunder organization is in good shape for the next 3 to 4 years, one big issue remains in question: Will they have enough cap flexibility to also re-sign emerging guard James Harden as well?

For now the debate remains to whether or not it can be done, but in the meantime the Thunder have taken another giant step in the right direction. Deciding to extend Ibaka before Harden was a brilliant move and here are 3 reasons why:

1. Reggie Jackson:

One of the bigger, if not the biggest, mystery prospect was Jackson when the athletic, 3-year guard from Boston College entered his name in the 2011 NBA Draft. After suffering a knee injury in pre-draft process Jackson pulled out of his remaining scheduled workouts that left many team evaluators questioning his draft stock value. Having a ton of draft success momentum behind them (having previously drafted Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Harden) the Thunder tested their luck again hoping that Jackson would be the steal of the draft when they selected him 24th overall.

Receiving little playing time as a rookie this past season, Jackson only saw the floor in 45 games averaging 11.1 minutes per outing. In this small window of opportunity Jackson failed to impress scoring 3.1 ppg on just 32.1% shooting from the field. However, Jackson raised a ton of eyebrows with his play in the Orlando Summer League this past month. While his shooting percentage hasn’t improved drastically (41.2% FG) Jackson did display many improvements and his athleticism helped find himself on the nightly summer league highlight reels.

If Jackson can continue to show steady improvements and maturity in his game, he can certainly help the Thunder determine the value/priority of giving Harden a big payday. Having already locked up Westbrook long-term it’s not out of the question to consider a backcourt tandem of Jackson/Westbrook that helps the team avoid a luxury tax nightmare.

2. Perry Jones III:

A similar theme arises when examining the Thunder’s latest first round draft selection in Jones III. The Baylor product’s future as an NBA player included many question marks, which undoubtedly made him this year’s biggest mystery in the NBA Draft. Considered to be a potential top five talent, the Thunder considered Jones III a no-brainer when it came time for their 28th overall pick.

Although Jones’s summer league performances weren’t quite the results the Thunder were surely hoping for; the team definitely feels optimistic about his potential. If OKC is able to groom 6’11, 20 year-old power forward they may be willing to trade Kendrick Perkins which would enable them to start either Jones III or veteran Nick Collision at the power forward position and move Ibaka to the center spot. This particular trade scenario would significantly increase the team’s ability to resign Harden. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but the idea of a starting line-up that possibly could consist of: Westbrook/Harden/Durant/Jones III/Ibaka is pretty scary. Talk about a high octane, up-tempo, run and gun game!

3.  Hollis Thompson:

It’s more than fair to call this one a long shot, but it’ll be interesting to follow the development of Thompson. While the junior Georgetown product went undrafted this past June, Thompson does deserve some consideration as a possible piece to the Thunder’s future. After all, we’re talking about a 6’8, 21 year-old swingman who shot 46.4% from the field, including 43% from downtown as the go-to player on his team in the very tough Big East conference. If there’s one undrafted swingmen that might have a chance to find similar success to that of Portland’s Wesley Matthews, it’s Thompson.

In closing, it’s important to keep in mind that in no way are these points big enough reasons to shrug off trying to resign James Harden. Rather these points just strengthen the fact that losing a key piece like Harden may not be the end of the world for the Thunder’s title chances for years to come. Making the Ibaka extension the first priority was the right call as the Thunder organization continues to roll and the team can hope the lightening can strike big with their young prospects mentioned above.

Ross Geiger’s 2010-2011 Don’t Overlook the Small Names Team

The Buzzer Beatin' Follow Through by Lester Hudson

Lester Hudson, NBA Free Agent

After having a very impressive Las Vegas Summer League showing as a member of the Washington Wizards, Lester Hudson is on the verge of making another NBA roster this season. Averaging 11.2 points,  2.8 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per contest, Hudson made sure John Wall wasn’t the only impressive Wizards point guard. In fact, Hudson played a key role during the last stretches of close games. Wizards’ Summer League Head Coach Sam Cassell turned to both Wall and Hudson as the primary ball handlers with the game on the line. In the Wizards last summer league game, Hudson took over as the Wizards elected to sit out Wall. Hudson dropped 19 points to go along with 9 assists, and delivered the dagger from  connecting on a game winning, step-back buzzer beater. That’s not a bad way to finish off a successful summer league appearance and it definitely left a lasting impression on the entire league.

SG: Dominique Jones, Dallas Mavericks

Jones has a lot to offer at the NBA level

This year’s 25th overall pick by the Mavericks showed plenty of good signs during his inaugural summer league performances. Dominique Jones went onto to average 16.6 points per game with 3.4 assists and 3.8 boards. Not only did Jones lead his team in scoring throughout their five matchups, but Jones absorbed much of the hype that was supposed to surround Mavs second-year man, Rodrigue Beaubois. By the end of summer league, the word around the press row was looking forward to watching Jones, not particularly just Beaubois as expected. Jones must improve upon his consistency from the floor, but can indeed help next year’s Mavericks team if called upon.

Rolle was on a roll producing during his time on the floor in Orlando Summer League

SF: Magnum Rolle, Indiana Pacers

While I decided to transform him into a small forward for the sake of showing love for the hungry Pacers rookie. Magnum Rolle made the best of each and every opportunity he got to show the Pacers what he has to offer and it paid off. Rolle is a guy, you’ll be hearing about for years to come. He won’t blow you away with his skill but he’ll instead do it with his hustle and energy. At 6’10 with a very long wingspan, Rolle is very versatile and can guard multiple positions. In Orlando Summer League, Rolle averaged 13.4 points, 7 boards, and 2 blocks a game. Having not played basketball until his freshman year of high school, I’d say Rolle still has a lot of room to grow as a player, especially if he continues to work as hard as he has thus far in the league.

Brackins should become CP3's new best friend on the perimeter

PF: Craig Brackins, New Orleans Hornets

Ok, so maybe Brackins isn’t really a “small name” having been a highly touted recruit coming out of Brewster Academy, but entering the league I’d say many still aren’t buying in. While I doubt Brackins ever becomes a borderline star in the NBA, I do think he’ll be a very solid, respected NBA pro in the near future. It all starts with his size and his ability to stretch the defense with his touch. Brackins is a tremendous shooter with range often times compared to LaMarcus Aldridge, but I’d argue there’s a bit of a “in his prime version of Brian Cook”. He definitely showed me a lot in his summer league games averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds. Not to mention he shot 47% from the three-point line connecting on 10-21 total attempts. While he won’t provide much in other categories his shooting consistency will find him minutes. With Chris Paul leading the charge in New Orleans, Brackins will be a perfect complimentary piece. He doesn’t clog up the lane, prefers to float around the perimeter, and can step into a shot from anywhere on the offensive end. Watch out NBA fantasy basketball, this could be your new favorite three-point specialist since you’ll be able to place him in your power forward slot.

Lawal could end up being "The Steal" of the 2010 NBA Draft Class

C: Gani Lawal, Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns getting some love? You better believe it, they got an absolute steal in this year’s draft, grabbing Gani Lawal with the 46th overall pick. Although they didn’t even have a first round pick this year, the Phoenix Suns came out of the 2010 draft as one of draft night’s winners. Much like how Eric Bledsoe played in the shadow of John Wall at Kentucky, Lawal did the same at Georgia Tech as the focus and media attention was on Derrick Favors. If one were to ask me how good Lawal could end up being? I’d surprise many with this: at the end of the day, Gani Lawal may very well be just as good, if not a better pro than Derrick Favors. Bold statement? Yes, very much so, but entirely out of the question? Absolutely not. In Las Vegas Summer League, I was not at all surprised at Lawal’s attention grabbing stat lines throughout the Suns’ five games. Lawal completed summer league averaging 15.4 points, 7.4 boards, with 1 block a game. It’s nearly impossible to predict how the Phoenix Suns handle Lawal’s rookie year and whether or not he ever gets a real chance to shine. But one thing’s for certain if Lawal continues to develop his game on the practice floor and can show the Suns coaching staff he can rebound, he’ll play. Both Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick are terrible rebounders, plus it’s also clear at this point that hustle-man and fan favorite Lou Amundson isn’t returning. Knock, Knock…Who’s there? Gani Lawal.

Last But Not Least, I Bring You The Most Exciting NBA Summer League Finish I Was In Attendance For, Which Includes 2 of the 5 Players That Made This List: Lester Hudson & Craig Brackins. Take a Look:

This is the last and final part of Ross Geiger’s 7-part Blog Series covering the NBA’s most prominent young players. Thank you for following the series and we hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to follow Ross Geiger on Twitter: @RossGeiger.

Wall & Jennings Connect on a Nasty Alley-Oop

By: Ross Geiger

Wall will be flying high in D.C. this season

The best two point guards from the past two drafts collided this week in Los Angeles, California for the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event. They’re both former participants of the Elite 24 event, where 24 of the top high school prospects regardless of class take the hardwood.

Before the event’s actual game a handful of the NBA’s brightest talent took the stage against this year’s 2010 Elite 24 players among those young NBA players that joined John Wall and Brandon Jennings included DeMar DeRozen and 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans.

One of the games best highlights was a 2-on-1 fastbreak which left Jahii Carson left helpless trying to guard both Jennings and Wall running the break. Jennings delivered quite the pass and Wall finished up nicely with a 1 handed monster jam. Check it out:

Arizona vs. Arizona State Basketball Rivarly Revitalized

By: Zach Silvernail

Legendary Coach Lute Olson doing his best Darius Miles impersonation

As a die-hard University of Arizona basketball fan, it is a very difficult and bittersweet time for me. As long as I can remember, basketball has been all I’ve known. While other toddlers were off spitting out their first words, or taking those ever so wobbly first baby steps, I was working on my left hand dribble, and perfecting my follow through. I was fortunate enough to have been brought in up a family rich in it’s love for basketball (sweet), and strong in it’s ties to the University of Arizona (sweeter). As a young child infatuated by the world of basketball, growing up in a Wildcat household, it was only natural that I would take to Lute Olson and the Arizona Wildcats. It just so happened that the UofA happened to have one of the best basketball programs in the country, and were particularly known for the players I envied most; their point guards (sweetest).

The Hibachi was a member of "Point Guard U"

But as my world, basketball dreams, and basketball realities began to change, so did the University of Arizona Men’s Basketball program. On October 23, 2008, “Point Guard U” was dealt a devastating blow. Lute Olson, the father of UofA basketball, one of the best, most successful coaches college basketball has ever known, retired (too bitter). Needless to say, the program was in shambles. After both Kevin O’Neill (stronger synonym for bitter?) and Russ Pennell were given brief opportunities to turn things around, it was clear that Arizona needed to find a permanent solution, and worthy successor to the great Lute Olson. Thank goodness for Sean Miller.

Miller’s acceptance of the head coaching position at UofA had an immediate positive impact on the program. Within only three months of taking the job, Miller managed to piece together a five player recruiting class that ranked 13th in the country (thanks USC). Last year (Miller’s first year), Arizona failed to make the tournament, although their extremely young and inexperienced roster was not expected to do so. But a young, talented core, to go with Miller’s uncanny ability to recruit, gives us UofA faithful hope that there is, after all, light at the end of the tunnel. Miller once again proved his ability to recruit the country’s top players this week by signing 2011 PG/SG, Nick Johnson. Here is where the bittersweet saga continues.

Johnson will be wearing similar colors next Fall

Sweet: Nick Johnson, who formally played high school basketball in Arizona (now plays for Findlay College Prep), is one of the premier not just guards, but players in the country. He is ranked 20th overall in the ESPNU 100 class of 2011. Johnson possesses a solid all around game, but is best known for his unbelievable athleticism and jumping ability, which can be seen all over YouTube. Clearly, he is a perfect and valuable piece of what is becoming a more recognizable UofA puzzle, and has a chance to be one of the best players in the country.

Carson will wear maroon & gold as a Sun Devil

Bitter: One day after Johnson verbally committed to UofA, another Arizona recruit, Jahii Carson, committed to crosstown rival Arizona State. Carson, who is now a senior at Mesa High School, is currently ranked 54th overall in ESPNU’s top 100. As a point guard, Jahii Carson is near perfect, and then some. At only 5’10”, his athleticism takes the term “off the charts” to a whole new level. It is rare that you see a point guard catch a lob in the half court, or dunk on the opposing team’s center, but not when Jahii’s in the game. Coupled with his leaping ability are his nauseating handles. Picture AI’s crossover, followed by Russell Westbrook’s explosiveness, and you have Jahii Carson. He is a very capable and talented passer, but needs to become a more willing one. But, that is one aspect of a point guard’s game that always improves upon reaching the college level, for most guys like Jahii Carson have never had people around them with their type of capability until they get out of high school. His jumper also needs to become a little more consistent, but again, this is something that will improve at the collegiate ranks, for he will not just be able to blow by everyone as he does now. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Jahii Carson is one of my favorite 2011 players in the country. Watching him poster ASU’s slow, foreign centers in his Wildcat red and blue has been a dream of mine for some time now. Unfortunately, it is a dream that will never become a reality. Instead, he will be playing for the team I loath most.

It is too hard to tell at this point which of these great incoming guards will have a better season/more profound impact on their team in their freshman year. But, this much I do know: UofA and ASU both signed two of the elite athletes and point guards in the 2011 class, and have both taken gigantic steps towards solidifying what has FINALLY become a competitive rivalry. Watching Johnson and Carson go head-to-head will be very difficult for me, but a pleasure for college basketball fans across the nation.

So Let Rivalry Begin! Whose Has the Better Poster Dunk of the Year?

Jahii Carson (remember he’s 5’11) over 6’10 big man:

Or

Nick Johnson on the fastbreak?

Both Carson & Johnson Have Bounce:

Jahii Carson:

Nick Johnson:

Top 10 Poster-ers

By: Zach Silvernial (OTC Contributor)

The OuttaTownClowns would like to welcome Zach Silvernail to the blog, we’re happy to announce he’s the newest edition to our growing blog. Zach will primarily focus on contributing to our NCAA Basketball and NBA content on the page. Along with his well-written work, Zach has a great knowledge and high level understanding of the game at both the collegiate and pro levels of play. But don’t take us from us, follow his work on our blog and you’ll see for yourself. Without further ado, I bring you Zach’s debut post on the OTC…Enjoy!

There is nothing more exciting, and often times amusing, than watching a guy get dunked on. With so many incredible athletes now in the NBA, it’s something that seems to happen almost every game. Nothing gets a crowd going, a bench going, and most importantly a player going like taking off full speed, going body to body, and putting his you-know-what in an opponent’s face. If you’re not too familiar with the term “getting postered”, ask Shawn Bradley to describe it to you. I’m almost positive that’s what his role was throughout his stint in the NBA. Or ask guys like Stromile SwiftJames White, or Gerald Green…who only got to the NBA because of their high flying ability. But, before you escape to YouTube, allow me to present the list:

The Kobe Bryant Mini-Fro Days....

10. Kobe Bryant
I know, I know. He’s getting older now, and does a lot less high flying than he did during his mini-fro days, but he is still one of the more explosive and acrobatic players in the league. Don’t think so? Dare you to tell him otherwise.

9. Derrick Rose
Talk about a FREAK athlete. Rose is one of the most, if not the most explosive two-foot jumpers in the NBA. He might not belong in the top 10 based on his quantity of posters, but certainly for his quality and capability. Goran, what were you thinking?

One of the best dunks in All-Star Weekend's history

8. Andre Iguodala
Following in the footsteps of former Wildcat high-flyer Richard Jefferson, “Iggy” comes in at number 8. With deceptively long arms, incredible athleticism, and an underrated array of dunks (as illustrated in his dunk contest appearances)…Andre had to make the list.

7. Russell Westbrook
This guy might be my favorite one on the list. He became known for his ability as a youngster at UCLA, and has continued to humble opponents in the NBA. One of the top five quickest and fastest players in the league, he is beyond dangerous in the open floor.

6. Rudy Gay
Now the ranking becomes a little bit more difficult. It’s hard to put Rudy as low as number 6, but he has about 84 million reasons to make himself feel better. Almost impossible to stop above the rim because of his length, and probably best known for his always fully extended, and picture perfect windmill.

"Mr. Tolliver, will you sign my poster?"

5. Amar’e Stoudemire
Amare is certainly one of the most ferocious and powerful dunkers on the list. He may not always have the most “spectacular” posters, but he seems to have about a million every year. His number of dunks might go down without “Stevie” to thread the needle this year, but he’ll still manage to embarrass a few opponents and their families. Somewhere Anthony Tolliver is tweeting: “SMH”.

4. Dwayne Wade
Alright, now it’s almost impossible. Having to put maybe my favorite player at 4 was not easy, but the top 3 are too good. “DW3” is as relentless as anyone when it comes to taking the ball to the rack, and epitomizes the clique: “attacking the rim with reckless abandon”. Just ask Anderson Varejao.

3. Josh Smith
“J-Smoov” needs no introduction. Only fitting that he would play for the Hawks. Probably the only guy capable of filling out all Top 10 plays on SportsCenter in one night. He’ll pin you at one end and then catch a lob on the other. Always fun to watch.

2. Dwight Howard
Superman comes in at number 2 strictly because it happens so often. Had the list been called Most Likely To Dunk on You…Dwight would probably be number 1. Not only one of the most incredible athletes currently in the NBA, but of all time.

Back When D-Wade Was "A Witness", No Wonder He Wanted To Unite

1. LeBron James
Are you surprised? Possesses every possible attribute of a good poster-er. Size, speed, strength, quickness, jumping ability. You name it, he’s got it. Well, except for a ring.

Well, that concludes my list. But, before I go, just want to give a shout-out to the All Underrated Poster Squad: Will Bynum, Ronnie Price, Von Wafer, Shannon Brown, Dahntay Jones, Chase Budinger, Rodney Carney, Trevor Ariza.

Follow Zach on Twitter: @love4thegame3


Charles Barkley is NOT the NBA’s Worst Golfer…PROOF!

Charles Barkley is NOT the NBA’s Worst Golfer…PROOF!

Tyreke Evans surely claims NBA's Worst Golfer of Summer 2010

Yesterday, former Sacramento Kings guard Bobby Jackson held annual Bobby Jackson Golf Tournament at Verdera Country Club Golf Course in Sacramento. Of those in attendance included Kings star and the NBA’s 2010 Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans. While we may have drawn some negative attention to Tyreke Evans for his behavior on the roadways, we’re also glad and prefer to give the bright, young star some positive attention.

Evans took part in Jackson’s golf tournament in an effort to assist children in California who have lost a parent due to cancer or have a parent that has cancer. Not only is it great to see Evans showing his support for a Kings fan favorite and for such a great cause, but it great to see Evans give it his best shot on the tee box. In fact, it looks as though we’ve found the NBA’s worst golfer. It must’ve been a long day on the course for Evans as you will see by this video evidence. Take a look:

Who knows if any NBA players can do worse than this swing attempt, but there’s definitely of other players that couldn’t do much better. So to Tyreke Evans’s defense, it’s encouraging to see him show up knowing very well he had no idea what he was doing out on the golf course. Our advice: Stick to the hardwood Tyreke!

Young Bucks Take the Diamond

By: Ross Geiger

They’re known as Milwaukee’s “Yung Bucks” and for a change it’s nice to be able to be proud of the Bucks first round draftees of the past two years. It’s almost even safe to say these two, unique talents may be (for the Bucks sake of success) the last “Yung Bucks” worth noting. Next year, Bucks fans around the globe should hope that their future first round picks aren’t selected in the first half of upcoming NBA Drafts.

With the praise, comes expectations, of course when it comes to Larry Sanders the expectation level isn’t as comparable to a Brandon Jennings but then again, did we really expect Jennings to blossom this quick? Absolutely not, though I was one who was very high on Jennings future and his contributions as an NBA rookie, I never would’ve expected some of the outbursts he had his rookie season. While I far from expect Sanders to be as jaw-dropping good as Jennings was in his rookie campaign, the two share some similarities.

One being that they both entered the league with a ton of question marks and for the other, well let’s just say they’re equally good at throwing out first pitches!

This past Tuesday, July 27th, the Bucks 15th pick was honored in Richmond, Virginia by the city’s minor league baseball team. The Richmond Flying Squirrels was honored with a ball game noted as “Larry Sanders Night” and as part of the festivities Sanders threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Much like Jennings’ latest ceremonial first pitch at a Brewers game on June 28th against the Houston Astros, inside Miller Park, Sanders’s first pitch was quite the sight to see.

Both not only received loud ovations upon being announced and taking the mound, but they also both provided unnatural deliveries that humored their respected home crowds. Take a Look:

While the duos future on the court will remain uncertain until the coming years, one things for sure: When it comes to baseball and ceremonial first pitches they know how to get the crowd laughing. It’s clear that they were both born basketball players by their tosses out on the baseball diamond, which is a good sign (cough…Joe Alexander….cough) and they definitely know how to get Bucks fans excited for the upcoming season. With that being said, it’s time to “Play Ball!!!” inside the Bradley Center next year. Fear the Deer should very well continues for many years to come.

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