The 2017 All-Star starters were announced and as always there are disagreements with who made it and who was snubbed.
This week we’ll see Game 2 of the 3 game regular season match up between the Warriors and Cavaliers. As we’ve done since this rivalry started in 2015 each game has been magnified and broken down so much that we think it really has an effect on how the Finals will eventually end.
But does it really matter in the end?
The Knicks season started off with some excitement of what the team could accomplish which had Knicks fans hoping for the best and possibly a playoff seeding. As it turns out, it has been anything but that as New York continue to find ways to lose games and in some ways more embarrassing game after game. The Knicks are 1-9 in their last 10 games, bordering on being a .500 team and only 2.5 games outside of the 8th seed, giving them plenty of incentive to hold leads and beat the teams they should on the schedule.
Unfortunately it seems that the Knicks are a collective that are damaging themselves internally even with a healthy Carmelo Anthony, sophomore star Kristaps Porzingis and a contract-year Derrick Rose. Internal problems such as Carmelo calling his own isolation play in part frustrating coach Jeff Hornacek and vice versa when Hornacek draws up a play that Anthony gets caught on camera being visually disgusted with his coaches decision.
The Knicks appalling play has gotten so bad that reports of Derrick Rose abandoning his team following a reported “blow-up” with Hornacek, eventually resulting in the Knicks being unable to reach Rose before, during and even a while after the game had finished.
The last stretch of games and life in general for the Knicks has been anything but pleasent and when you suffer 2 losses on game winners it tends to sting a little more, causing heavy evaluation and reflection on how the team got to that point and why it’s not an isolated incident but rather a consistent shortcoming. It’s alarming when your franchise player releases this gem to the media regarding the target of the “blame game” in relation tot he Knicks performance:
“When We Win, It’s Us. When We Lose, It’s Me”
The real question is just how the Knicks will handle this and with the trade deadline coming up its only a matter of time before the Knicks and its players begin to decide their fate. The Knicks aren’t the only team struggling right now, however they’re actions and behaviour while dealing with the losses are being projected far more loudly than any other team in the league.
It’s been incredibly easy to dig in and be consumed with some great NBA action this past week. Opening week can sometimes show the ugly side of professional basketball as teams come out of training camp and begin to get into the coveted “mid-season” form.
I’ve heard a few people say it but coming into this season it hasn’t been easy to forget what occurred just a few months back in June – and so far – becoming a faint cloud over this current NBA season.
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.
The first week definitely triggered an onslaught of hot takes that only exist to drive conversation among the “sports talk” groups. However there were some things that stood out to us at the CC staff post-discussion before the season began.
Select any team to face the Cavaliers in the first game of the season and with the Knicks being scheduled it would seem they drew the short straw. From the first play however the Knicks appeared to have a tiny boost in their step as the newly acquired Derrick Rose drive to the hoop finishing with his signature gather-jump lay-up. As the game progressed the Knicks stayed relatively close to the Cavs right up until the 3rd quarter where the Knicks became the Knicks and the C’s rolled them over and into an eventual 29 point loss.
The game was a direct reflection of a team that stayed together for the majority and have entered the season in great condition physically and mentally. Physically the Cavs are not a question as long as LeBron is at the helm, but the mental advantage this team now has will more than likely land them right back into the NBA Finals for the 3rd straight season. The release for everybody on this roster made everything they’d been through as a group making their bond stronger than simply winning a championship together.
Down in Oregon the team that was once a very promising payoff team is now a scary playoff team being lead by one of the most underrated players in the league. Coming off an All-Star worthy year last season, the Lillard lead Blazers are hungry for more.
It always amazes me how Blazers head coach Terry Stots constantly improves the offense around Lillard and McCollum. They run great PnR’s with Plumlee, Davis and Aminu who can also play dynamically and shoot from range. They always seem to get great energy from their shooters in Crabbe and Harkless who can deadly from doing the simple things while the defense is preoccupied with Lillard and McCollum.
On the other side, the Jazz are deserving of a playoff spot, and so far they seem to have a clear direction for how they want to attack this season. They’ve treated themselves to a good point guard in George Hill who is more than capable of scoring but will also keep the ball moving. If you only saw the boxscore and thought that Joe Johnson’s 29 was a typo, you need to watch the second half of this game as the rebirth of Johnson seems to have engulfed him in Salt Lake City.
Utah was missing 3 of their key pieces in this game of Hayward, Favors and Burkes which could have been a factor in this game being a possible W for the Jazz. It’s clear they missed the offense these 3 can bring and will be something to re-visit once they do finally return to the starting line-up.
I’ve finally given in to my hubris and still refuse to believe that #35 is actually Kevin Durant in a Warriors jersey. It’s become so bad that I find myself shaking my head in disbelief as soon as the Dubs take the floor… EVERYTIME!
Pre-season storyline, here we were with our first meaningful look at the Warriors and against who else but the San Antonio Spurs (thanks NBA schedule makers!).
The Warriors looked incredible during the pre-season but on their home floor on opening night that quickly turned into shaming from fan of the 31 other NBA teams. Everyone tuned in to see a great game which in almost no time at all turned into a thumping by the Spurs and ultimately making it one of the greatest games of the season so far.
The Warriors were met with an onslaught from both Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge along with some great contribution from gamer of the night Jonathan Simmons. The Spurs never once seemed to lose control of the game and the Warriors looked like they were still playing a pre-season game. * It’s only on game but…* the Spurs look ready to top the West and in the meantime continue to encourage Leonard to go after any award or achievement he damn well pleases.
On a bit of a hectic day of NBA action with 10 games being played, most casual fans would have been patiently waiting for the Rockets v Lakers game to begin. Well if that was you then you may have only found out later that this game was both amazing and awful.
The Nuggets are relatively the same this year and while they continue to build team chemistry and grow their young core they showed quite the fight against the Pelicans. The Nuggets survived one of the greatest stat lines in recent NBA history and did so as a team. The eye-popping figure that gave the Nuggets the W was their rebounding with 58 boards and 47 coming from the defensive side of the ball Denver was everywhere the Pelicans weren’t.
Alright, so the Pels lost the rebounding battle (eventually losing the game in the process) but they had one huge positive by the way of Anthony Davis. Davis has been injured for what seems like forever a this point, so much that it cost him millions in contract money. On the Pelicans opening night game however, Davis reminded the city and the league why we all jumped at the chance to crown him an MVP candidate just a season ago. With a 50Pt-15Rbd-5Stl statline he appeared to be unstoppable but none of that meant whole lot when only 2 other players on your entire roster cracked double figure points, 4 scored more than 2 points and 3 others scored 0.
When I saw this game on the schedule I didn’t need a second longer to decide if I was in wholeheartedly to see how this would play out.
First of all, I (Jordan) lead the charge against CC staffers Tom and Rob that James Harden would be my clear-cut MVP winner for this season, and after this game it wasn’t easy to argue. Although, with all that said, Harden’s MVP chances require he have nights like these against LA, putting up 30+ points and 10+ assists. Harden is quite capable of these accolades with his new supporting cast and they didn’t disappoint as new acquisitions Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon dropped 33 points combined.
The Lakers scoring scope was a lot wider than that of Houston’s – they shared the wealth and managed to keep up with the Rockets the whole 48 minutes. This game made it very difficult to gauge both teams when they combine for 29 turnovers each and play the equivalent of an all-star game allowing 134 points combined in the first half!
It was for this reason however that this is my pick for most entertaining game of the week, and here’s hoping that for the Lakers fans they’ll continue to see Clarkson and Russell have these types of games more often.
Theres 2 teams that the Blazers play every season that will continue to grab my attention and I don’t need to question if the game will be anything short of pure entertainment. Whenever the Clippers or Warriors roll into the Moda Center it almost always feels like a rivalry playoff game and the competition is always at its highest.
The Clippers are finally at full health to start another season and with some minor additions to the roster all systems appear to be good but whether or not that will last…. we’ll find out. CP3 and Blake gave the Clips huge games respectively, along with 15 a piece from Speights and Crawford to help give the Clippers the win. It appeared the Clippers were happy to let Damian Lillard try to win the game for the Blazers even when Harkless poured in 23 for Portland, and yet I feel like this was a big red flag for the Blazers.
Going forward, the Blazers won’t need to worry about Lillard’s offense as it will require guys like Harkless, Crabbe and Vonleh to provide the spark and scoring that will push this team higher up the Western Conference ladder and make them even more of a threat than past seasons.
This was amongst the many games played over the first weekend in the league and while its still early in the season the Raptors have a lot to prove this season. This rematch with the Cavs was a good way to kick off the Raps season and it didn’t disappoint.
DeRozan looks to be in a new mode coming into this season and if it remains consistent then not only will his contract seem reasonable, but would likely get the Raptors back in the Eastern Conference Finals. In a game that the Raptors could have won, the Cavs were too much from outside and what they gave the Raptors inside the paint – much like any Warriors statistic – the 3pt shot will do more damage.
In this new addition to the series of “Courtside close-ups” we bring you a look at this adidas Revolution 30 Jersey from the 2014-2015 NBA season.
This New Orleans Pelicans Game-Worn Jersey was worn by Pelicans Point Guard Norris Cole. You may remember Cole from his 2 championship winning seasons with the Miami Heat, where he came in as a rookie and was an immediate spark for the team with some notable playoff performances.
After one season with the Miami Heat, Amar’e Stoudemire has decided to retire following a reasonably successful 14 year NBA career. Stoudemire had just recently signed a deal with the Knicks but immediately after decided to hang it up for good.
Amar’e was drafted in 2002 by the Suns however, where he spent 8 of the most exciting years of his career, helping to build the Suns alongside hall of fame point guard Steve Nash to become one of the most exciting teams in Western Conference for years to come. During his time in Pheonix he was a 5-time all-star and won Rookie of the Year honours in 2003.
“Although my career has taken me to other places around the country, my heart had always remained in the Big Apple,” he said in a statement. “Once a Knick, Always a Knick.”
After being knocked out of the 2010 playoffs, Stoudemire decided to follow his fellow head coach Mike D’Antoni to New York, where he would do things in a city that hadn’t seen alot of winning in a long time. In just his first season with the Knicks, Amar’e racked up an average of 25 points and was the first Knick selected for an All-Star game appearance since Patrick Ewing in 1997.
Although he started off great, his constant battle with knee issues was ultimately the detrimental factor to his career and eventually had him in a limited role on the court. Soon after Carmelo Anthony came into the fold, Stoudemire opted to be bought out and moved on to Dallas before ultimately playing his last season in Miami.
The Blazers have locked in their other half of the backcourt tandem in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as they offer McCollum as massive 4-year $106 Million contract extension.
The Blazers have done a good job this offseason in retaining most of their core players, which is a stark contrast to the year before when the Trialblazers lost 4 of their starting 5 leaving Lillard and company to pick up the pieces.
Pieces were definitely something Portland scrambeled to get, and they found a gem in McCollum who was voted Most Improved Player this past season averaging 20 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Together both McCollum and Lillard have risen as one of the most lethal tandems in the NBA alongside the Thompson and Curry, Lowry and DeRozan backcourts in the league.
The new look Blazers shocked the league this year by reaching the playoffs after losing so many assets in the offseason prior, as they moved past the first round defeating the Clippers and taking the Warriors to 5 games in the second-round.
The Cavaliers have announced today that they will be bringing back recently appointed head coach Tryonn Lue for a 5-year $35 Million deal with a 5th year option.
It wasn’t too long ago that the rumblings of a rift between Cavs superstar LeBron James and former head coach David Blatt came tot he light and forced the front offices hand in terminating Blatt and quickly promoting then Assistant head coach Tyronn Lue.
After not signing a contract even with the high praise from James regarding his coaching perspective and likeness of the players in the locker room, Lue led the Cavs onto their first championship in 50+ years. This achievement alone along with the franchises superstar endorsement seemed imminent that the Cavs would want to bring Lue back for a few more years.
Now from the highest paid assistant coach to head coach to then helping lead the Cavs to a second finals, Lue was equally praised for inspiring his players to come back from a 3-1 Finals deficit. For the near future at least, it seems clear now that the coaching questions are over in Cleveland.
The NBA All-Star game was set and ready to be hosted in North Carolina, the hometown of Hornets owner Michael Jordan himself. The city of Charlotte hadn’t seen the All-Star game been hosted in the city since the first time it visited in 1991 when the 76ers own Charles Barkley won the All-Star MVP even after Jordan scored 26 points on 10-25 shooting.
Recently however, stretching back as far as the start of this year, the spotlight has been hot on North Carolina in relation to todays climate on social issues that are rapidly changing as society becomes more accepting and including. The state was under close watch as to whether or not they would pass the bill known as HB2 and as the news spread that it had passed, the NBA was quick to announce it’s dissatisfaction.
The announcement was swift in stripping the All-Star game from Charlotte, which may cost the city more than $100 Million in revenue from the event, as the NBA continues it pursuit to tackle social issues and support it’s players in doing so. This was apparent when star players around protested such issues as the Donald Sterling incident to when many players donned the “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts in support of the Eric Garner case against New York City police.
In light of the All-Star game’s rescinding, a few cities are already being targeted as the relocation begins to move forward as sources around the league suggest that New Orleans could receive the event for the second time in just 3 years.
Introducing a new series we’re calling “Courtside close-ups” we bring you a look at this adidas Revolution 30 Jersey from the recent 2015-2016 NBA season.
In this Courtside close-up we look at a Golden State Warriors Game-Worn Jersey that was worn by Warriors Guard Ian Clark. Clark wore this jersey in 2 games that the Warriors played against the Portland Trailblazers and the Houston Rockets.