Top 10 moments of the 2016 NBA season

2016 was a great year for NBA fans, especially if you were a Cavs fan, and maybe not so much a Warriors fan. Regardless, we saw some great basketball in the 2015-2016 season and the offseason that followed it. It wasn’t just some things that caught us by surprise, but rather everything about it caught us off guard.

Lets begin.

#10

Thunder lose in the Western Conference Finals, change NBA landscape forever. 

Kicking the top 10 off is OKC’s huge collapse in the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors. Preceding the dubs at their own fortunes, the Thunder blew a 3-1 lead over the former NBA champs after knocking off a Spurs team that was on it’s last legs mentally and physically after capturing a title just 2 years prior. The Thunder finally looked to be avenging their 2012 appearance in the Finals when they were still so young and promising, except this time with the departure of James Harden, the team of Westbrook and Durant looked primed to walk right into a Finals meeting with the Cavs.

In actuality however, it took a absolutely crushing Game 6 loss for the Thunder to finally see the writing on the wall. After Klay Thompson lit them up for 11 three’s in the game, with the Warriors not yet finished writing NBA history, Thompson’s playoff record setting shooting display propelled the Warriors to a Game 7 back at the Oracle for the nail in the coffin.

#9

Curry gets second MVP in consecutive years, this time unanimously.

Steph Curry set a new record for most-recorded 3-point field-goals in a regular season at 402, yes you read that right, accumulating over 1200 points alone on 3-point shots. That wasn’t the only milestone that he and the Warriors achieved but it does help add some insight into one of the greatest regular seasons from a player and team we’ve ever seen. Steph Curry led the Warriors through some of the most exhilarating games and at times himself appeared to be in his own world out on the floor. Some of the performances that Curry had last season were jaw-dropping and usually dominated media headlines for days on end.

And yet even with all of the praise and attention, there were still doubts about Curry receiving the award for a second time as some pinned him to be the shiny object that dazzled and swindled everyones vote. Well, even if that was the case the voters certainly didn’t seem to disagree as Curry made more history becoming the first player to be unanimously voted as Most Valuable Player.

#8

Toronto Raptors reach Eastern Conference Finals for first time in franchise history

The Raptors had a great run last season after they made a push to become the 2nd best team in the East, and ultimately reach their first Eastern Conference Finals in the franchises history. A huge deal for the Raptor fans who have been longing for some success for the last few years with their great tandem of Lowry and Derozan.

While the Raps looked relatively dominant throughout the season, they definitely kept their fans on edge once the playoffs began. Looking back at it now – I said it at the time – the Raptors had one of the most difficult playoffs and it was usually to their own detriment. Toronto found themselves in 2 Game 7 situations before even meeting with the Cavaliers and while it was certainly the hard path taken, it did give some entertaining basketball in the Eastern playoffs.

#7

Wade leaves Miami, Durant leaves Oklahoma City

Appropriately at #7 we combine 2 of the biggest moves in the NBA this past offseason, as if the Finals didn’t give us enough excitement, the moves made over the summer changed franchises and broke hearts.

Dwyane Wade was beloved in Miami (and still is) and its doubtful that will ever change after giving the franchise 13 years of greatness, including 3 NBA Championships. Sure he had to make room for both LeBron and Chris Bosh, but at the heart of the team it was Wade county through and through. After conversations broke down with Pat Riley, Hassan Whiteside receiving a max deal rather quickly and the franchises obvious pursuit of Kevin Durant it seemed as though Wade was pushed to the side in Riley’s list of priorities. Well for Dwyane, it was clear he was searching for more and was tired of being an afterthought, which ended up landing him in the windy city with the Chicago Bulls, or better known to Wade as home.

Kevin Durant was all the buzz throughout the entire offseason and for alot of us who weren’t Durant himself, Draymond Green, Steph Curry or his immediate family we were for the most part led astray that he would be considering any other team not named the Warriors. After the fact, it was clear that the courting from the Warriors players and the crushing defeat in the Western Conference Finals that Durant’s mind was made up – Oakland was the destination and it has been weird to see Durant in a Warriors jersey ever since.

#6

Feb. 27 2016 – Warriors vs. Thunder, the game winner for the ages

The Warriors dominance was in full force when they met up with the Thunder for just the second time in the same month of February. The Thunder and Warriors games were 3 of the best games of last season because it served as a preview to the Western Conference finals. Our post-All Star hangover was met with possibly the best regular season game of last season as the Warriors and Thunder dueled it out all the way into overtime.

The game itself was back and forth the entire time, leading all the way up to the wire which is what we wish every NBA game was like as it brings the best out of players. In a crazy finish that saw Kevin Durant cough up a costly turnover leading to the fouling of Andre Igoudala who stepped up and hit 2 massive free-throws to send the game into OT. Overtime was once again a back and forth fight until Russell Westbrook had the ball in his hands as the final 20 seconds ran off the clock. Westbrook’s attack led him to a shot of hope as hit attempted to lay the ball up only to watch it bounce off the rim into the Warriors hands. With the rebound secured, the ball found Steph Curry who dribbled it just past half court with around 2 seconds remaining – the rest is history.

#5

The Dunk contest heard around the world

If as picture was a thousand words then this top 10 list wouldn’t be enough to even begin to describe the high level of entertainment that the Dunk Contest brought fans worldwide back in February this year. Everyone’s seen it by now, if you haven’t then I don’t know what to tell you other than you’ve missed out on one of the best Dunk Contest’s since the battle between Jordan and Dominique back in 1988.

For years the Dunk Contest was losing it’s “wow-factor” and was forever being compared to the last time it truly took the NBA world by storm in 2000 by Vince Carter and company. That was until this years past All-Star Weekend where the seemingly unchallenged Zach Lavine was met head-to-head by Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon. The 2 made it to the final round without much competition, but once they began their final dunks it quickly turned into a “anything you can do I can somehow do inhumane-video-game-style better”.

For a moment in time we were in the trance of some of the most amazing stretch of dunks that I personally have ever seen. The best part about all of it is that it was everything that encompasses the Dunk Contest – mind-blowing dunks, 2 or more competitors battling it out and dunks being completed in less than 3 attempts.

#4

Kobe’s Finale in LA

In 2016 believe it or not there was another attraction in the league not named the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers Kobe retirement tour of the United States kicked off early into the 2015-2016 season and didn’t stop for anybody. The Lakers became a travelling spectacle purely for fans to get a final glimpse of Bryant that in turn took the Laker’s focus completely off of basketball and just through them into a sideshow all season.

Regardless, all good things must come to an end and given Bryant’s track record, his final game of his career couldn’t have ended any better being at home and giving a performance that was only fitting for Kobe to exit on. Unbelievably, the Warriors make another return into 2016 storylines as Kobe’s last game happened to coincide with the night that the Warriors were going for their 73rd win against the Grizzlies. However, in true Kobe fashion he stole the show by dropping 60 points against the Utah Jazz in a close game and eventually winning that game to much of the delight of the fans in Staples that night. It was truly Bryant’s showcase of everything his career was in LA and his loyalty to the franchise has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest Laker’s in history.

#3

Move over Chicago, there’s a new record in town.

The questions that eventually surrounded the Warrior’s completing the feat that was 73 regular season wins is something that will haunt the franchise for years to come. However to most people it’s debatable that this had anything to do with how the Warrior’s playoff run eventually ended.

The Warriors started off the season going on a 24-0 run on the league and had the NBA media in a frenzy from there onwards as they scrambled to try and explain just how dominant the Warrior’s were being and if it was fair on the rest of the league. As the season went on the wins began to pile up, they had stats that would almost begin to guarantee wins – unbeaten at home, up by 15 at any point they win etc.

It was incredible to watch and with all the hypothetical 1996 Bulls vs 2016 Warriors match-ups aside it now etches them into the history books, for a record that was seemingly untouchable, the Warriors proved that basketball had changed and was in a new phase of how the game will be played for decades to come.

#2

The big 3’s big moment

By now i’m sure you can guess whats coming at #1, but before that could even happen there was a series of events that deserve their own top 10 spot. The big 3 of Cleveland came together for one reason and like a previous LeBron lead team in Miami the beginnings were not so smooth and their trip to the Finals was not how they wanted it to turn out with injuries being a big part of their failures.

So how do you bounce back from a year of criticism as a team as well as LeBron shouldering alot of the criticism as he likes to do? In a 7 game series with the Warriors it all built up to one of the great 5 minutes of basketball in NBA Finals history. What will forever be tagged as “The Block, The Shot, The Stop” marks one of the greatest achievements in Cavaliers history.

The Block was one of the defining moments in LeBron’s illustrious career as he sprinted from half court to deny Andre Igoudala a go ahead bucket for the Warriors. The Shot was Kyrie Irving’s arrival to the grand stage, in one of the most gutsy isolation situations with so much on the line, it was too much Uncle Drew to handle. Lastly, The Stop which remains as one of the most underrated defensive plays to this day. With Kevin Love switched on to Steph Curry it was a true hold-your-breath moment as Curry danced on Love with several dribble moves, something that all year resulted in bigger players having a 3 drilled right in their face. This time however, Kevin Love re-wrote the script and challenged Curry just enough.

#1

52 years

Capping off this list was the biggest moment of 2016 for obvious reasons, and with fandom aside, no mater which team you back it’s difficult not to admit that the 2016 NBA Finals was something special. A series that boasted some of the biggest storylines and history between 2 teams in just 2 years. A build up that almost didn’t happen.

If you’d like to really dive deep into the #1 moment of 2016 then I urge you to read the breakdown of just how important these storylines were.

What a year and hopefully 2017 will bring us just as many moments if not more.

Merry XMAS Podcast

Happy holidays to all, and enjoy the XMAS day hoops!

heres a sneaky podcast for you to enjoy!

https://www.whooshkaa.com/player/episode/id/90857?visual=true

Courtside Review: Week 3

Another great week of NBA action, some games we’ve picked out this week were definitely must-watch games if you have league pass available. Game of the week would have to be the Suns vs. Blazers, but honestly its hard to pick just one so enjoy our little breakdown of each of the weeks best games!

 

November 7th


gswnop

Warriors 116 – Pelicans 106


The winless Pelicans came into Oracle and shocked everyone to start Week 3  and did so on a night that saw the Warriors, specifically Steph Curry, etch their name in the history books.

On the back of another superstar performance from Anthony Davis, the Pels actually had their other starters give AD the support he needed. The Pelicans did quite well to stick with the Warriors for the better of 2 quarters and after dropping down 16 points at one point managed to cut that lead right down as the 3rd quarter concluded.

However, The Warriors had Steph Curry coming of an 0-10 night of 3pt shooting in LA and bounced back to go 13 from 17 and secure the best single game 3pt performance in NBA history. It was a show within itself as Curry was firing from deep even if the ball bounced off of Draymond’s leg, Curry dribbled through 2 defenders to get tot he 3pt line – you name it he did it.

Unfortunately for the Pelicans it was this night that Curry decided to be lights out from deep, otherwise its possible that New Orleans could have stolen this one.

 

November 8th


porphx2

Trailblazers 124 – Suns 121


The first time these 2 teams met, with the Suns win over the Blazers I awarded Bledsoe with the best performance for that game. With this game being the exact opposite and the Blazers pulling out the win in another close game, the Blazers CJ McCollum showed up and showed out with a huge 33 points as well as his partner in crime Lillard finishing with 38 points for another massive game for Dame.

Even with the Blazers win, I have seen 2 instances now that have shown me that Eric Bledsoe is one of the best 4th quarter players in the league as of this moment. Both times these teams have now met it has been Bledsoe who has brought the Suns either close to victory or sealed it for them. With the Suns down 8 with 4 minutes remaining, Bledsoe took it upon himself to score 15 points in the last 4 minutes of the 4th. That is the type of performance that shouldn’t be swept under the rug, but with so little coverage of all the NBA teams, these are the things that get lost in the NBA media cycle.

 

November 9th


porlac2

Clippers 111 – Trailblazers 80


Clippers, Clippers and more Clippers.

This year the LA shadow team for many years to the Lakers has taken command of the ship and look to be in better shape than ever to contend for a title this year. With this win over the Blazers improving the Clips to 7-1, it seems like things are nothing but up from here.

This game was dominated by the Clippers from start to finish taking an early 20+ lead and never letting go. It seems a little bizarre that we would discredit the Clippers for dropping that series to the Blazers last year, however now we know why. One major part of this was injuries and as we saw in this game, the Clippers were simply too much for a Blazers team that had an awful night scoring from their starters.

Now this could have a lot to do with the fact that the Blazers had just played in a slug fest with the Suns the night before, certainly it had to have played a factor. It seems highly unusual that you’ll see the Trailblazers starters each individually score under double figures.

 


gswdal

Warriors 116 – Mavericks 106


Injuries aren’t wished upon anybody in the NBA (unless you’re an opposing fan in an NBA Finals game perhaps) but in some cases injuries allow bench players to get some shine and prove their worth and sometimes surprise teams and coaches alike.

Dallas may have lost this game, but by no means were they playing with a whole roster especially while Dirk rehabs his Achilles injury. The Mavs were also without Wesley Mathews, Deron Williams and JJ Barea which for a more veteran type of team is something that is more likely to happen as the season goes on.

However, as stated before, this spawned an opportunity for Seth Curry who so far has bounced around from a few teams as of late. Seth had 10 points on the night but was also undertaking the assignment of guarding his brother Steph and by no means is that easy in itself and even harder when the other brother is trying to school you at any chance he gets.

On a night that celebrated the return of Barnes and Bogut its unfortunate that the Mavericks couldn’t have enough of the roster to compete, however if these 2 teams are to meet in the future with full rosters then perhaps the story might be different.

 

November 10th


bullsheat

Bulls 98 – Heat 95


It’s kind of funny looking back at everything that went down with the Heat and Wade this past summer and thins game was a bit more added proof  that perhaps the move to Chicago was both good for Dwyane and the Heat. On the very surface of it all the Heat were clearly in a position where they wanted to begin a rebuild with the big 3 era evidently over and Wade didn’t feel like doing anymore favours for the Heat.

For Dwayne this move couldn’t have placed him in a better situation, this game specifically showed that even with Wade having an emotional game where stars usually make it a point to play very well. It was the Bulls who carried Wade to the victory on his return to Miami, and of course Wade had his moments but ultimately this game wasn’t really what most expected it to be. At this point I don’t think that it was Wade’s mission to return and drop a 30+ game to remind the fans what their missing as that damage was done as soon as he left.

Courtside Conversations – October/November 2016 (Vol. 7)

Here it is! Finally!

A new NBA season is upon us and with a whole heap of storylines going into the season its sure to be a big one. Why not kick back and have a read of the latest issue of Courtside Conversations to get you up to speed on wha to expect this season as we dive into all 30 NBA teams, dissect the top 10 picks in the draft and much more.

 

What the Derrick Rose trade means for the Chicago Bulls

Not Released (NR)

Source: NY Daily News

A day before draft day, the Bulls make their second trade of their longer than expected offseason by trading former MVP and face of the Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks. Also to be included is Justin Holiday and a 2017 second round pick in exchange for the offering of Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon.

Continue reading

Kobe’s Buddy

kobe-buddy1

Via LakersNation

In this year’s NBA Draft class, there are two top draft prospects in LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram. After those two, it is anybody’s guess as to who is the third best player in the draft, but one of the popular choices is Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield.

Hield was the most prolific college basketball player last year, winning the Wooden Award, Naismith Award, and Oscar Robertson Award. His shooting ability has scouts excited, but there are questions about his ball-handling and defensive ability.

Heading into the draft, Hield is looking to change those perceptions of him, and according to ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider), is getting some help from Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant along the way:

Hield hears the criticism and has been spending most of the past six weeks tightening up his handle and working on his explosiveness in an effort to improve his lateral quickness. He has even received some on-court tutoring from Kobe Bryant.

With the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 taking place in Anaheim this year, Kobe was able to see Buddy up close and came away impressed. Hield even noted that his outstanding performance in the Elite 8 was due to seeing Kobe in the stands.

Apparently Kobe was impressed enough that he decided to work with Hield ahead of the draft. For Hield, the opportunity to work with one of the NBA’s greatest players is something that can’t be measured. As he looks to answer the questions that scouts have about him, Kobe can help him do so and teach him the tricks of the trade.

With the Lakers holding the second overall pick, the likelihood of them drafting Hield is slim if they remain in that position. Of course with the potential of trades, anything is possible, but it would still come as quite a surprise if Hield ended up in the same colors as Kobe.

Tweet This, Meanie

New York State of Sports

No, I have not retired from blogging; just too busy with the 9-5 and this crazy little thing called life. Sometimes it takes an event or an article to really provoke some thought and compel someone to write. Today, I found just that.

Jimmy Kimmel has a popular segment called “Mean Tweets” where celebrities read mean tweets that people have said about them. I find this segment particularly funny and have laughed out loud watching it. Kimmel is an entertainer and as such, his skits are funny.

However, here is something that is not funny. Here is an article from AdWeek. It is titled “Men Read Mean Tweets About Female Sportswriters, and Are Shocked at How Dark It Gets.” The video is below:

I’d like to give a huge shout out to “Not Just Sports.” They are the group who put this together. I’ve never listened to any…

View original post 246 more words

New Futures

gyi0064721108

One of the most dynamic duo of superstars the league has ever seen in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant has been something marvelled at by fans and NBA media alike. The combination of an explosive and freaky athletic point/shooting combo guard and an MVP leading scoring monster, if that doesn’t scream NBA championship then what else does?

Coming into this season, something that has been echoed since the Thunders departure from the 2012 NBA Finals has never been chanted more as we continue to watch this team underachieve. This year is also Durant’s free agency and questions and rumours have swirled around the team for the last 2 years.

So is it time for a break-up?

Continue reading

Joe Johnson has gone M.I.A.

joe-johnson-lebron-james-nba-cleveland-cavaliers-brooklyn-nets-850x560-520x343

This week in NBA news brought us a transaction that seems like it was a late bloomer in what could have been the most uneventful trade deadline ever.

The Brooklyn Nets decided to wave their “star” player Joe Johnson and throughout the week the talks didn’t seem to stop about where Joe would end up.

So Joe’s ultimate decision was an interesting one, especially when we consider the playoffs and Johnson’s intentions.

Continue reading

Courtside Conversations Vol. 3 (February 2016)

Here is the second issue of Courtside Conversations, we are always looking for writers and designers.

For more info/questions contact us at courtsideconversations@gmail.com