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Thursday, 22 April 2010 11:29

     GINOBILI VIDEO                            DUNCAN VIDEO
The big 3 of the Spurs, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have been in some big games in their careers and last night infront of a hostel crowd in Dallas, they came up with a big road victory to tie the best of 7 series at 1-1 while heading back for 2 games in San Antonio. The Spurs who got killed by German star Dirk Nowitzki in game 1, when he went off for 36 points, while only missing 2 shots on the night, did a much better job on Dirk in game 2, holding him to 24 points, on 9-24 FG. Tony Parker had a good game off the bench scoring 16 points and Richard Jefferson, who had a horrible game 1, stepped up in guarding Dirk and also came up big on offense with 19 points. Tim Duncan got his old game back, scoring 8 straight points down the stretch in the 4th quarter, going for 27 points and 17 rebounds  and Manu Ginobili kept his high level of play up, he showed late in the regular season, as he scored 23 points, on 8-13 FG, 4-6(3PT) as he stuck a dagger 3 pointer on a clear out from the top of the key with 1:48 left in the game. The Spurs also did a good defensive job on Jason Kidd and Caron Butler and if Richard Jefferson keeps his head in the series, and is the 4th option the Spurs need in the rest of the series, the Spurs could be hard to beat. This series is the best 1st round matchup and has 7 games written all over it. It will be ashame one of these two great veteran teams will have to go home after the 1st round.                                     PARKER VIDEO

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2010 12:07
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 11:45

     GASOL VIDEO                              GASOL MVP EUROBASKET VIDEO
The Lakers took a 2-0 lead in the best of 7 series with the young and up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder, as the 2 big names in the series did their thing as Kobe Bryant scored 39 points, on 12-28 FG and 13-15 FT and Kevin Durant had a better 2nd game with 32 points, shooting 12-26 on FG and 3-6(3PT), but only shot 5 FT in this game as he is taking too many jumpers for the young Thunder to have a chance in the series. Durant along with Westbrook and Jeff Green must push the ball up the court to get easier buckets in transition to hurt the bigger Lakers with Bynum and Gasol.  Pau Gasol kept his good post moves going as he put up 25 points and 12 rebounds, on 8-14 FG and 9-13 FT. The 25 points in the paint were needed as Fisher had a 2-10 FG game, and Odom only shot 2-9, with Bynum going 3-9 on FG. This was the game that the Thunder had a chance to steal but the jump shooting offense will not get it done unless they get more from the inside, or in transition baskets. Pau Gasol is the key to the Lakers winning a 2nd straight title with his post moves that draw double teams to free up open shooters and also give Kobe Bryant a break on certain offensive possesions. Pau Gasol played for Spain at Eurobasket 2009 and won a gold medal, while being named MVP of the event and the long grind of the NBA season might take a toll on his body, but he wants to prove all the critics wrong who ripped him during their Championship loss to the Celtics 2 years ago.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 April 2010 12:38
Friday, 16 April 2010 23:28

                                 CLEVELAND VS. CHICAGO

              Cavs          ILGAUSKAS VIDEO
Zydrunas Ilgauskas-
Big Z, could be a key to the Cavs making the NBA finals this post-season. He played in 64 games for the Cavs this year, and was part of the big trade with the Wizards, who let Z go and he was picked up by the Cavs, to help big Shaq in the middle against the Eastern Conference playoff teams, but especially for help against Dwight Howard of the Magic. Due to injuries in his career, he seemed a shell of the center I once saw in his rookie season dominate in a 34 point performance in Salt Lake City against a tough front-line of Karl Malone, Greg Ostertag and Antoine Carr. It was a tough match-up for big Z, as an older starter against Dwight Howard, but as a 15 minute backup, he could help slow Howard down along with Shaq and Anderson Varejao.
                            PARKER VIDEO
Anthony Parker-
The former Euroleague and Maccabi star was picked up for his tough defensive ability and for his 6'6" size, that could help against the length of the Orlando Magic players, that gave Mo Williams and Delonte West trouble, because of their smaller size in the backcourt. The open corner J that Parker often gets by playing with Lebron James could be the swing of some games in the Magic series, if things workout for the Cavs in the earlier Bulls series.
                          VAREJAO VIDEO
Anderson Varejao- The former FC Barcelona player in the ACB league and Euroleague, might have watched many soccer games while in Spain, and his native Brazil, as he has perfected the flop move, as well as a reputation of getting in other big-mens heads. He could be a big energy guy for the Cavs off the bench, with his not great, but good overall play.

              Bulls          DENG VIDEO
Luol Deng-
This guy could be the face of the English national team at the 2012 Olympics in England. Deng can also be a big factor, in trying to extend this early series against the Cavs. He was paid big money, mostly due to a great former playoffs he had in the past. He can hit the 3, post-up, and also take guys off the dribble, but he needs to bring it every night. The loss of John Salmons, should mean more shot chances for Deng, and with the additions of Ronald Murray and Hakim Warrick, this series could have some close games, if Noah and Rose click.

                                       MIAMI VS. BOSTON
             Heat         ARROYO VIDEO
Carlos Arroyo-
The former Maccabi point-guard, might be a key in this series, as many NBA people like Jeff Van Gundy say the big advantage will go to Boston with Rajon Rondo at this vital
position. Carlos has heard that his whole NBA career, even this year as he was dropped to 3rd string point-guard, but when he got his shot to start again, he played well with a 4-1 assist to TO ratio. He has a scoring mind on his Puerto Rican national team, but has fit in well, calming his game to let Dwayne Wade play off the ball at times. If Richardson, Wright, Haslem and Arroyo are hittig the outside shot, this could be a nice long series.

                                  ATLANTA VS. MILWAUKEE
          Bucks          JENNINGS VIDEO
Brandon Jennings-
The former Lottomatica Roma player, took a different route to the NBA than most of the guys his age, he went to play in the Italian league and Euroleague, where he found the minutes not what he might have expected, but playing against veteran men, like Jaaber and Sani Becirovic in practice helped with his progress for NBA play, rather than dominating a backup point guard in college. The loud crowds of certain teams in Europe should have him ready for the noise he will hear in this playoff round. The Bucks went small in the backcourt at times with Jennings and Luke Ridnour, and the quick guards could cause Joe Johnson some defensive problems. The loss of Bogut hurts but small ball could bring out the best in Jennings, who went off for 55 in an early season game this year.
                           ILYASOVA VIDEO
Ersan Ilyasova- The former FC Barcelona player was helped greatly by going back to Europe to play in the ACB last season. Playing on such a deep team, with Basile, Navarro, Anderson, Vazquez and many other Euro stars, Ersan became a more confident and stronger player, who was one of FC Barcelona's main men. The 2009 Eurobasket championship also gave Ersan confidence, as he became Turkey's go to guy with Hedo Turkoglu, which he brought to the Bucks as a very good scorer for the minutes he played. With Bogut being out, Ersan needs to be big on the boards against the athletic Hawks, he must along with Stackhouse and Delfino hit a high percentage on 3 point shots for the Bucks to stay in the series.

            Hawks               PACHULIA VIDEO
Zaza Pachulia-
The Hawks are known for their fast-break game and playing against the smaller Bucks, he might not see big minutes in this series, but if the Hawks advance Zaza could be a key physical big man against Boston, Orlando and Cleveland. He does much of the dirty work for the Hawks, setting screens and rebounding, with a rare post-up getting most of his points on put backs and rolling to the basket off screens.

                                          UTAH VS. DENVER
         NUGGETS              PETRO VIDEO
Johan Petro-
The Nuggets need help on the inside for Nene, with Chris Anderson being more of an energy guy, Johan Petro has to show more in the paint for the Nuggets to advance past the deep front-line of the Jazz. With Kirilenko being out tis series, Carmelo Anthony could have a big scoring numbers that might push them over the deeper Jazz, but for the Nuggets to go deeper against the long Laker big-men Petro must step up. A postup guy like Esteban Batista could be a good move for the Nuggets, if they get bounced early.

           JAZZ                    OKUR VIDEO
Mehmet Okur-
The Turkish big-man has been playing well late in the year, and he must keep it up in the 1st two road games. The Inside play of Boozer and Millsap is a good complement to Okur who is deadly from 3 point range. Okur can also post-up when smaller players guard him. If Okur is hitting from deep, Utah can beat almost any team, but the length of the Lakers give Boozer and Milsap problems. Kyrylo Fesenko could be big in future series, but Jerry Sloane tends to shy away from the young guy.
                                         KOUFOS VIDEO
Kosta Koufos- The Greek-American big-man was playing well at Eurobasket 2009 for Greece, and I thought might get some minutes from Jerry Sloane after a few good starts for the Jazz last season, but he was at the end of the bench until he recently got some minutes. He was a power for Greece at the U-18 Euro Championships, but seems to make himself small under the basket getting too many shots blocked. He might need another NBA team to get more minutes to try to get that U-18 type of play back. Greek teams wanted him and time in the Euroleague might help him as it did for Bucks young player Ersan Ilyasova.
                                       FESENKO VIDEO
Kyrylo Fesenko- The Ukrainian big-man has shown flashes of very good play, and I think should be played more by Jerry Sloane against bigger Western conference teams for thr Jazz to get that shot-blocking big man , who can shut down the paint as Mark Eaton and Greg Ostertag did in the past. Okur and Boozer do not block enough shots and if the Jazz advance, Fesenko must get more minutes against the Lakers.
                                       KIRILENKO VIDEO
Andrei Kirilenko- He will not play in the Nuggets series and this will mean bigger numbers for Carmelo Anthony, as Andrei is the best perimeter defender on the Jazz. In later series against Kobe Bryant, Jerry Sloane must start with Andrei on Kobe the whole game. He was at times guarding Luke Walton in past playoff action and only guarding Kobe in the 4th quarter. By that point it was too late. Sloane needs to watch tape of how Kirilenko used to take the post-up away from Kobe in early years and in some games hold him down for almost the entire 4th quarter. Andrei has slowed down on the perimeter, but he is still able to take Kobe's post-up game away and settle with Kobe taking the open jumper. With Andrei out it could be a quicker series for the Lakers.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 April 2010 05:11
Sunday, 18 April 2010 01:22

With Mehmet  Okur going down in game 1 of the Denver series, and with Andrei Kirilenko already being out for the opening series, big man Kyrylo Fesenko could be a big factor in the Utah Jazz moving on to the 2nd round of the playoffs. Jerry Sloan has been very hesitant to play this mobile and very large center in the past, in fact Sloan refused to play him in last years playoffs against the longer Lakers frontline and chose an overmatched Jarron Collins to try to defend the taller Lakers in the post in backup center minutes. The result was not good for the Jazz as Fesenko sat at the end of the bench, even though he played well against Yao Ming and Andrew Bynum earlier in the season. Jerry Sloan goes with a small frontline of Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap for many minutes during the season, and he might get away with that in the Denver series, due to Denver only having Nene as a large body to go to at center, but if the Jazz advance, Fesenko must get increased minutes against the Lakers, to try to bring that big body center back to the Jazz that they had with Mark Eaton and Greg Ostertag. Fesenko moves better than both of those past centers and though he is not the shot-blocker they were, his size makes teams think twice of having a layup drill as teams enjoy without Kirilenko in the lineup. Fesenko played 20 minutes in last nights 114-111 win for the Jazz, and although he only went 2-2 for 4 points and 2 rebounds, he was a +10 while he was in the game and I think should be big in the Jazz chances of moving on if Sloan trusts the big man.  
Dirk Nowitzki put on a show in game 1 of the playoffs against the Spurs, as he went off for 36 points and 7 rebound on 12-14 FG, 12-12 FT in 40 minutes of a 100-94 win at home. The Spurs will have to try different defensive looks on Dirk, because Richard Jefferson is too small to get it done.            Nicolas Batum stepped up, with Brandon Roy being out to help the Blazers get an opening game win on the road against the Suns 105-100. Batum had 18 points in 38 minutes, shooting 7-13 FG, 3-8(3PT) and had 5 rebounds. The length that Batum has, helps the Blazers in stats that do not show up. He and Rudy Fernandez have to stay in attack mode for the Blazers to win the series. 
  NOWITZKI VIDEO                            BATUM VIDEO
MAGIC 98 BOBCATS 89- Jameer Nelson led the way for the Magic with 32 points and 6 assists, on 10-18 FG. Dwight Howard had 9 blocked shots for the Magic who take a 1-0 lead in the series. Gerald Wallace led the Bobcats with 25 points and 17 rebounds.
               NELSON VIDEO
LAKERS 87 THUNDER 79- Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers with 21 points and was helped by Pau Gasol with 19 points. The Lakers take game 1 to lead 1-0 in the series. Russell westbrook had a good game in transition going for 23 points on 10-16 FG. Kevin Durant struggled from the field shooting 7-24 FG and 9-11 FT in his 1st playoff game for 24 points. Durant took too many fall back jumpers against Artest and must go inside and use his height more in the series or it could be a quick exit, as the Lakers have 5 options in the post to get good looks.   KOBE VID      WESTBROOK VIDEO                             
CAVS 96 BULLS 83-- Lebron James led the way in game 1, with 24 Points, on 9-19 FG and he was helped by Mo Williams with 19 points and 10 assists. Former Maccabi star, Anthony Parker had 9 points. Derrick Rose had 28 points and 10 assists, but Luol Deng only scored 12 points on 5-15 FG, Deng must bring better numbers for the Bulls to have a chance in the series.
LEBRON VIDEO                             JOHNSON VIDEO
HAWKS 102 BUCKS 92-- Joe Johnson led 6 double figure scorers on the Hawks with 22 points in the game 1 win. Former Italian league player and rookie NBA point guard Brandon Jennings had a great opening playoff performance for the Bucks, as he scored 34 points, on 14-25 FG, 4-6(3PT). The Bucks need a better perimeter game from the other platers to stay in the series, as Stackhouse, Salmons, Ridnour and Delfino all combined for 1-12 from the 3 point line.
                           PIERCE VIDEO
CELTICS 85 HEAT 76-- Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 16 points as they came back from a 12 point 3rd quarter deficit to beat the Heat in game 1. Dwayne Wade led the Heat with 26 points and 6 assists, but had 7 TO. During the 3rd quarter drought Wade might have been asked to do too much at the top of the key, as Boston took his driving lanes away. Carlos Arroyo played 33 minutes and shot 3-5 for the game, but Miami just seems more together when he is on the court, he may have to average 40 minutes a game at the point and might want to take guys off the dribble at the top of the key to give Wade a break at times to play off the ball. The game got wild at the end as Kevin Garnett was tossed for throwing an elbow at Richardson on the Heat bench, when Pierce went down.
                        CARMELO VIDEO
NUGGETS 126 JAZZ 113- Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Nuggets with 42 points, on 18-25 FG, as Jazz defensive stopper Andrei Kirilenko was missed badly in game 1 for the Jazz to try to keep Carmelo in the 20's. Nene had 19 points in the paint and JR Smith had 20 points off the bench, on 4-10(3PT). The Jazz were led by Deron Williams with 26 points and 11 assists, but were hurt by Mehmet Okur getting hurt in the 1st half and not returning. Jazz power forwards, Boozer and Milisap need to do more damage in the paint and not settle for so many jumpers for the Jazz to have a chance in the series.

Pau might be the best skilled big man in all of basketball, as he can post up on either block, and use his right and left hand for the tough hook shot. He sometimes gets into a funk from the FT line, and he has worked on his face up 15 foot jumpshot. He must bring it in all the tough playoff matchups that the Lakers will see in the western conference, to help Kobe Bryant take a break from being the main option on the offensive end. I hear people still call Pau soft, but he is the main reason Kobe Bryant is back in the Championship talk every playoff year because of his half-court post play.
SASHA VUJACIC- The machine, as he is called has been out of service for most of this season as he saw his minutes drop to 8.6 a game in Phil Jackson's rotation. He is an energy guy, who when he is on from the 3 point line, makes the Lakers almost impossible to beat due to their overall depth. Sasha saw his minutes increase at the end of the season and could be key in the Lakers playoff push, if he picks his spots to let his jumper go.

                THUNDER     SEFOLOSHA VIDEO
Thabo Sefolosha-
He is the defensive stopper on the Thunder, as he can use his 6'7" body and concentrate on the defensive end of the court, by playing with other young explosive players like Durant and Westbrook, his offense is not needed. The Thunder must get to the FT line in the series against the Lakers and try to make it a fast-break game, as I think Westbrook is not as effective as a point guard in the half court. If the Lakers make it a half court game with Pau Gasol, Eric Maynor might need to see more time at the point to help with the Thunder's sets.
Nenad Krstic- The Serbian big man could be a key in the Lakers series, as he has played well at times against Pau Gasol, in international play and his low-post game and face up jumper in the half court might be a factor in some games, if he hits eary and can draw double teams to free up other Thunder players for open 3 point shots.

                                     MAVS VS. SPURS      NOWITZKI VIDEO
Dirk Nowitzki-
The additions of Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler give the Mavs and Dirk, a different look in these playoffs. Butler is a proven scorer that can help Dirk and Jason Kidd take a breather at times on the offensive end, Haywood gives the Mavs a legit defensive center that has the length to deal with Tim Duncan in this series and Pau Gasol of the Lakers in later Series. Dirk had a fine year as he did his thing, going for 25 PPG and 8 rebounds, at 32 he will not get many more chances of being the man and as he gets older he will bring his A game in these playoffs to try and get that championship, he, Mark Cuban and Jason Kidd want badly.
Rodrique Beaubois- He put up great numbers as a rookie, scoring 7.1 PPG, in 12.5 minutes per game, shooting 51.8% FG, 40.8%(3PT), and 80.8(FT). He went off for a 40 point game in the regular season and might be a factor in the playoffs, if he gets good minutes.

                SPURS            PARKER VIDEO
Tony Parker-
Had an injury filled year, but he still averaged 16.0 PPG and 5.7 assists a game, shooting 48.7%(FG). The Spurs need Parker to get healthy for this tough playoff series versus the Mavs. If he and Ginobili and darting through the lane and Parker can hit his outside shot with a high percentage, then an aging Tim Duncan can just pick his spots to attack the improved Mavs defense. George Hill getting minutes during the regular season could give the Spurs a nice 3 guard rotation and the series could swing with how Matt Bonner hits the open 3 pointer.
Manu Ginobili- The former Italian league star had a 3 week stretch where he might have been the best player in the league torching defenses with his great drives to the hoop and dagger 3 pointers. He has won a Euroleague crown, Italian championship, Olympic Gold medal and NBA championships and he is certain to go to the Naismith hall of fame in my opinion and at 32 years old has many more facial dunks left in his game, to go along with those dagger 3 pointers.

Marcin Gortat-
He was looked at by the Mavs in the offseason, but the Magic matched the Mavs offer, Marcin has starting center ability in the NBA but the Magic do not offer enough minutes to show his overall good play in the paint. The Magic like to shoot the 3, with a smaller player at power forward, but if the Magic and Cavs meet in the Eastern finals, Gortat could see bigger minutes against Shaq and big Z.
Mickael Pietrus- Had his minutes in the regular season reduced due to the pickup of Vince Carter, and the tough play of Matt Barnes. Mickael had a great playoff run last season for the Magic and has the ability to go off from 3 point range when called upon.

              BOBCATS       DIAW VIDEO
Boris Diaw-
The French national team player, could be a key along with Stephen Jackson on extending this series if both are aggressive and hitting their open shots. Boris was a main man for the Suns when Amare was injured and showed his overall game of being able to post up, hit the pullup jumper and set other players up. He has to make Vince Carter work on defense.

Goran Dragic-
He had a good year, averaging 18.0 minutes and 7.9 (PT), while shooting 45.2 FG and 39.4(3PT). Goran has the ability to play both guard positions and gives Steve Nash some rest at the point. He has good ability to take it hard to the hole, while being able to pull up for the open 3. The Blazers series should be a fine test for Goran, with both teams having the ability to run.
             BLAZERS       FERNANDEZ VIDEO
Rudy Fernandez-
Has not found the freedom he had in Spain with DKV Joventut, to use his overall skill. By playing with Brandon Roy and Andre Miller, he has been a guy who stands in the corner for late second 3 pointers and his shooting percentage and overall fire he showed at the 2008 Olympics for Spain has suffered. With Roy being out of the Suns series, Rudy has to get back to attack mode he shows while playing with the Spanish national team. His minutes have increased late in the year but he is more of a setup guy with the Blazers. The increased role for Rudy might bring the best out of him in these playoffs.
                      BATUM VIDEO
NICOLAS BATUM- Was injured most of the season and the Blazers missed his all around ability to hit the 3 pointer, get out on the break and finish and his number 1 ability, defend the toughest perimeter scorer on the other team. The year in the Euroleague and the French league helped Batum playing agaainst older men. With Roy being out series 1 against Phoenix, he must be more offensive minded.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:12
Thursday, 15 April 2010 00:49

                                   KANTER VIDEO
    U.S.A team wins game 101-97 --  Enes Kanter has a 34 point 13 rebound game
  MONTIEJUENAS VIDEO                                    KANTER VIDEO
Turkish big-man Enes Kanter will turn 18 years old in May, but he put on a veteran type of performance in the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, by going for 34 points and 13 rebounds, on 13-21 FG and 8-9 FT. Kanter played for the World Select team, which led by 12 points after 3 quarters, mostly due to the giant low-post moves that Enes Kanter showed, but the pressing style defense that the U.S team came out with, got the World select team into a more open game and a big 3 pointer by North Carolina bound Harrison Barnes, who led the U.S team with 27 points, on 4-8(3PT) put them ahead to stay of this close and competitive game. Enes Kanter broke the World select record of 33 points by NBA star Dirk Nowitzki who had 33 in the 1998 Nike Hoop game. Much was made of last years Nike Hoop game, when the World select team, led by Donatas Motiejuenas beat the U.S team 97-89. Motiejuenas is playing in the Italian league this season, and is considered a top 10 pick in this years NBA draft. Donatas had 21 points in 29 minutes of last years game, on 5-15 FG and 11-14 FT, in a total team effort by the World team, he is more of a perimeter player, much like Nowitzki and has said that a team like Real Madrid might be his next step. Ketucky is the next step for Enes Kanter in the upcoming season, as he has committed to play for John Calipari, but I think his low-post game is more ready for the tough NBA game than Montiejuenas is at this point of his young career, I think a year of ACB ball would be good for Donatas before he enters the tough long NBA season. With a solid year of ball at Ketucky, we could see an old-school post-game in the NBA with Kanter doing some work in the paint as an NBA lottery pick in 2011.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 April 2010 22:18

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